It somehow saddens me that a mere 7 months into the Obama administration, the Republican primary for ’12 is beginning to take shape. It’s too early, but so be it. It has been clear since virtually a month after the last election that Mitt Romney was working hard to 1) help the Republican cause in what ever way possible and while doing so to 2) keep open, and enlarge if possible, an already very large door through which he could walk to try again in ’12.
Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty is another that has been spoken of as a possible candidate, but the rather massive press coverage of statements by him yesterday make it plain that he too is seeking the make sure he can run should the proper conditions prevail.
The most interesting Pawlenty take that I read yesterday was from Dan Gilgoff. He speaks of Pawlenty’s rather impressive evangelical bona fides, but his relative silence on them.
Unlike prospective Republican White House contenders like Mike Huckabee and Sarah Palin, Pawlenty doesn’t talk like a culture warrior, which helps explain why Pawlenty coverage in the national media ignores his faith-based side. But can his less strident tone help him win independents in a way that Huckabee and Palin have failed to, while his evangelical side makes him a hit with the GOP’s social conservative base?
That is interesting from a couple of aspects. The analysis of Huck and Palin is dead on – playing the religion card is a two-edged sword, it alienates some, even as it solidifies a base of others. These reader comments to EFM from yesterday make plain the problems that both candidates have.
But more interesting yet is the fact that like Pawlenty, Romney says almost nothing about his faith, and yet he was prodded and probed and in the last cycle and it seemed his name could not be mentioned without the word “Mormon” appearing in very close proximity. The double standard is so plain and obvious as to be distressing. Even Gilgoff’s lack of mention of Romney has been interesting. Gilgoff has proven to be an extraordinarily good source of information about inside Evangelical politics, but does his lack of Romney talk indicate that Romney remains simply out of the picture in Evangelical-land, or does it reveal a personal bias?
As we said, it is early, early, early. This blog started about two years before Super Tuesday of the last cycle. It is currently 33 months before the next one. To date, The Question is getting no play. But then smart Evangelicals know that they were harmed by it last time, as Gilgoff’s analysis of Pawlenty intimates. It is going to get interesting.
The “Weird Factor”…
… is a term I have heard used to describe why Romney’s religion got so much play in the last cycle, even in places where religion is generally not discussed. Well, when it comes to weird, it’s hard to top this gem of a video that was making the rounds yesterday. (It was all over, but HT: Gilgoff)
It makes the case that President Obama is the anti-Christ. Such charges have been bandied about concerning political opponents of Christians pretty much since the Apostle John wrote of his Revelations in A.D. 90. The fact that the charge has yet to have any substance to it, even when applied to total reprobates like Nero and Caligula, all the more gives it the appearance conspiracy theory nonsense, right up there with the Bilderbergers and “chemtrails.”
And people think Mormon beliefs are bizarre. Hmmmm.
Lowell adds: I can’t add anything other than my usual amazement that someone spent that much time on such hogwash.