The EFM Feature

Over at the Corner, Ramesh worries (along with Jay Cost) about Bob Novak’s report that the Governor’s “Mormon speech” is mostly written and will focus on anti-Mormon bigotry.
I would be stunned if Novak’s report is correct. First, that is not the approach the Governor has taken from the beginning. In my experience, the Governor welcomes good-faith questions. He has rightly approached the issue by emphasizing common values, rather than claiming victim status. I don’t see him making any drastic change of tone (especially since he is so inherently optimistic). In every state where he has made a big effort, he has succeeded in dramatically raising his polling numbers–in part on the strength of his common-values message. If it ain’t broke; don’t fix it.
Second, true religious bigotry is much more of a left-wing than right-wing phenomenon. Sure there are some cranks on the right that believe no rational person can be Mormon, but they are few and far between–and tend to be a bit strange (you should hear some of the unhinged, creepy calls I get from fringe figures saying they have a “message from God” about Mitt Romney). On the left, however, there is widespread hatred for conservative religious faith, not because of the obscure details of the theology but because conservative religious faith tends to manifest itself in pro-life and pro-family political stands. A secular progressive doesn’t care one bit about Mitt Romney’s view of salvation and the afterlife. He passionately hates Mitt Romney’s support for traditional marriage and defense of the unborn.
Third, a speech attacking anti-Mormon bigotry would end up placing more scrutiny on Mormonism as those who considered themselves targets of the speech respond by highlighting those aspects of the Governor’s faith they find objectionable on the merits. Mitt Romney wins the presidency on his character and his biography–a biography that is undeniably and proudly Mormon, but also features a record of accomplishment in business and public life that no other candidate can match.
A “Mormon speech” may well happen sometime in the near future. If it does, I would expect it to be far more uplifting and unifying than Bob Novak predicts.


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