Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Back To Politics

In keeping my promise, I'm leaving my Hurricane Katrina stuff over at The Pacific Slope.

So, how about some politics, national this time?

Seen at
The Corner:
YOUR DAILY MITT UPDATE [John J. Miller]
The
Washington Monthly runs an article on whether Mitt Romney's Mormonism makes him unelectable. The writer, Amy Sullivan, points out that Romney has been the subject of several profiles--in NR (including a cover story by me), as well as in the Atlantic Monthly, the Weekly Standard, and by George Will. She goes on to claim that "each Romney profile plays down the Mormon issue." This is just plain silly. Mormonism was almost the exclusive subject of the article by Terry Eastland in the Standard.

For my part, I'll acknowledge that I didn't dwell on the Mormonism issue. This was a conscious choice, because the article was meant to assess Romney's record as governor, which to me is a far more important political question for conservatives than the (inevitable) one about whether evangelicals will vote for a Mormon. But I did make two points: There is some polling evidence to suggest that although very few voters say they won't vote for a Jew or a Catholic for president (about 5 percent), there are many more who say they won't vote for a Mormon (17 percent). So it's obviously a challenge. On the other hand, Mormons are not a dirt-poor group of people--if they were to pool their resources and rally behind Romney, the governor of Massachusetts could find himself a very well financed candidate heading into Iowa and New Hampshire.

Sullivan's article is worth reading, once you get past her little potshots at those of us who beat her to the story.
17%? Wow. I didn't realize it was that bad. (Although my inner cynic is surprised that number isn't higher.) (Another note from my inner cynic - is this because Mormons are an "okay" group to hate, whereas Jews are not? Discuss.)

The questions I have are two:

  1. Can a competent campaign reduce this problem to a non-issue?
  2. What does this say about the overall image of LDS members across the US?

2 Comments:

At 3:55 PM, Blogger Nathan said...

I think the biggest reason so many people will not vote for a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is nothing more than pure ignorance. So many rumors and falsehoods abound about the LDS church that many people don't know what is true.

I think a well run, well financed, competent campaign could dispell many myths about the LDS church. If it accomplishes this effectively, then the topic of religion will become minimal.

 
At 7:53 AM, Blogger Maine Man said...

I'm torn in my opinion between two options on how to proceed:

1. Treat the issue the way JFK treated his Catholicism- make it look like anyone who doesn't vote for you is a bigot.

2. Harvest the stereotypes played out in pop culture. I mean, most of the time when LDS people are made fun of, it is usually about good things. For example, a few years ago a sitcom (I can't remember which) portrayed a company that couldn't find an honest accountant so they hired a Latter-day Saint. The show continued to make fun of his honesty by having him show up to a last-minute, late-night board meeting in a scout uniform.

 

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