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"Religion, Politics, the Presidency: Commentary by a Mormon, an Evangelical, and an Orthodox Christian"

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"No religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States."

*SIGH* Reading The Press This Morning, I guess Romney Really Did Not Win Two Big States Yesterday

Posted by: John Schroeder at 07:35 am, February 29th 2012     —    5 Comments »

I have a friend that takes enormous, and I mean ENORMOUS, joy at pointing out whenever possible that my beloved Butler Bulldogs have pulled up one game short for the national championship the last two years running.  We Butler fans tend to point out that Butler is a tiny school (Dick Vitale quipped last year the Connecticut’s recruiting phone bill was larger than Butler’s entire basketball budget) and take great pride in the achievements even without that final victory.  In fact, two years ago when Butler lost to Duke by an in-and-out three pointer at the buzzer, Butler was the story, not Duke.  But Duke still has the trophy, one of several.

Mitt Romney has the trophy – one of several at this point – but reading the press you would think something entirely different.  The NYTimes says the race is “unsettled.“   The leading Christian branded news outlet in the nation calls the Michigan win “uninspiring” and does not mention Arizona.  And then it starts to get creepy.  Another NYTimes post says:

Arizona Mormons Provide an Edge

And yet one of our regular commenters, a Mormon living in Arizona, made a very relevant comment just last week:

One of the problems that Mormons have in Arizona is that many people have moved here in the last 15 years from other states. Lots from places like Michigan and the midwest, looking for employment and trying to leave the snow behind. Some of these people have brought their anti-Mormon prejudice with them. During Salmon’s run for government, I heard an exchange on the radio which I will never forget. A woman called in and expressed her concern that people would not vote for Salmon because “he is a Mormon.” This woman said she had lived in Utah for a number of years, and while not a Mormon herself, she had really liked and respected her neighbors. She said that “Mormons get a bad rap.” The radio talk show host agreed with her. He is a native Arizonan. He explained that a woman who had moved here from another state said to him, “I can’t vote for Matt Salmon because you know how those Mormons are about women.” Charles said, “Well, there might be some of the ‘get-in-the-back-of-the-station-wagon-Mormon women’, but they aren’t the Mormon women I know.” Some members of our Church have been here for seven or eight generations. They have elementary schools and streets named after them. I know at least two women who have served or are serving on the school board. The ideas expressed by this woman about Mormons are as false as they are damaging. The only reason Mormons more often get elected in states with higher Mormon populations (outside of Utah) is because most people know enough members that we don’t frighten them. [emphasis added]

Yet the actual data reveal that Romney won pretty much every demographic except “true conservatives” (whatever that means) and “born-again Christians.”  Methinks I see a code here.

Yesterday afternoon when we realized the extents to which the left would go to attack religion, I said:

But in the far more likely event Romney emerges as the nominee, they can add “Mormon” into the discussion and kick start the thing all over again.

Here we go!  And they are being ably assisted by the far right.  Back to my quip above about “the leading Christian branded news outlet” – I flat out do not get David Brody.  I met him at the “Faith in America” speech in 2007 and he had nothing bad to say about Romney.  But this time….

The Dems have already launched in to the Veep race.  What does that tell you about whether this thing is “unsettled” or not?  And some of it has just gotten silly.

There was an op-ed out of the UK yesterday that was extraordinary:

You got an idea of McCain as a man.

You dont get that with Romney. Worse still for Romney, he cannot copper-bottom his candidacy with culture. This is not just a question of money or class but, unavoidably, one of religion.

For understandable reasons he is keen to avoid making his candidacy a referendum on Mormonism. But he cannot talk about who he is without talking about Mormonism. And talking about Mormonism makes his candidacy some kind of referendum on Mormonism. So Romney is doomed to be the Man from Nowhere, a candidate without bottom who is, and can only be, defined by his record in office and the wealth he accumulated at Bain.

[...]

If all this is the case and Romney still actually wins the nomination then, in some ways, he will have pulled off one hell of a trick. The Republican party in its present mood is not built to welcome the likes of Mitt Romney. All his advantages  – save perhaps financial muscle – have been compromised and yet he remains the favourite. Doubtless this owes much to his impossibly implausible opponents but its own small way it will be an achievement if the Man from Nowhere actually prevails.

That is very insightful.  But here it is – Romney now is the prohibitive favorite to win the nomination.  Spin, prevaricate, and analyze the exit polls all you want – Mitt Romney has the trophy.  The party that “ in its present mood is not built to welcome the likes of Mitt Romney” needs to figure out how to alter its mood pretty quickly or it is going to find itself aiding and abetting the reelection of Barack Obama.  There is something wrong when David Brody sounds this much like the New York Times.

I can find no cause for the ennui amongst Republicans other than religion.  The voting results tell me the ennui is overstated to some extent, but it’s there nonetheless.  However, at this point such emotion is as much a weapon in the hands of Democrats as it is an expression of the party’s mood.

I love Butler, but Duke (and Connecticut) still won.  Butler did amazing things and will continue to do so – God I love them.  But the plaudits belong to Duke and Connecticut.

The plaudits belong to Mitt Romney and if a significant portion of the party is not willing to acknowledge that they do not benefit, Obama does.  It’s time to give Romney the conference championship  so Obama does not win the big dance.

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