Time magazine has decided to make its latest issues all about Mitt and Mormonism, including a stained glass depiction of Romney on the cover announcing “The Mormon Identity.” Here is a link to the abridged, blog version of the feature story (with a pic of the cover) and here is a link to the story itself, though subscription is required to read all of it. They also had a companion feature on the Third Ward in Maryland/DC that Romney would attend should he take up residence at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. This later bit was echoed at the Washington Post, who then went on and did some follow-up.
Lowell and I have managed to seer the whole Meacham/Time piece, and this all seems to be reasonable reporting; just the sort of profile stuff you might expect when a new president takes up residence and joins a new church. The timing; however, is a bit unusual. Such profiles would normally appear in the period after the election, but before the inauguration. So with these pieces Time is clearly trying to ring the Mormon bell louder than it has been rung to date in this cycle.
We do still have some of the less reputable Mormon mentions, say Harry Reid’s, going on. Speaking of which, you have got to love this tweet from former CEO of GE, Jack Welch on Wednesday:
Politics are one thing…but the Senate Majority leader’s comments about Gov.Romney’s taxes and religion reach a new low.
Welch does have a point. But you will recall that yesterday, I analyzed playing the Mormon card this way:
So desperate are the forces defending Obama that they will go to these extreme lengths to take the Mormon shot, which they think will help them. There are only two ways the Mormon shot works. One is to divide the Republican base by splitting off Mormon-objecting Evangelicals. Well, if Mormon-bashing Evangelical Robert Jeffress now says that avenue is dead, it’s dead. The other way the Mormon shot works is “weird.” Well, that may resonate to some extent in the leftie echo chamber, but not out here in the real world. Too many people know a Mormon personally to think they are that weird. And those that don’t know a Mormon certainly know people of deep religious conviction of some sort and don’t find them “weird” – so it just has no play except with those ardently opposed to faith, and there are not enough of them to matter.
So let me offer you an alternative understanding of what Time is up to here. It is commonly bandied about that as the election approaches, the polls are going to come far closer to the real result than they seem to be right now. As Mark Steyn put it on Hugh Hewitt yesterday, “When they start to worry about their paychecks,” more than their politics they will adjust their turnout models and the polls will shift rather dramatically.
What if Time sees the handwriting on the wall? I mean this is some of the first reasonable reporting we have seen from a major outlet on this issue since this whole thing started. These stories are inevitable given a Romney victory. Suppose Time just wants to be ahead of the curve? The pollsters have their paychecks to worry about and journalists have “access.” Do you think the Jon Meacham’s of the world, if they spend the entire cycle bad-mouthing Romney and his faith, are going to get much access to a President Romney?
I speculated on Wednesday that some of the MSM’s infatuation with Obama may be coerced. Well,
if when Obama loses, his ability to bring such coercion to bear disappears. I think it possible Time sees that ability on the wane and is responding accordingly. Thirty-nine days from now, I think it is entirely possible that we will look back on this issue of Time as the turning point.