The EFM Feature

Nancy, I believe the last time I blogged was when I was on vacation. I thought I’d get points for that, but alas, no. ;-)
Seriously, very sorry to hear about all the sickness and missed trips in the French home. We’ve had some sickness here, but not as much, and certainly no messed-up escapes to Chicago. (Did start a new job last week, though.)
As I was running around last week, I saw this story in the Boston Globe on Gov. Romney’s religion in Jonathan Martin’s Twitter feed. It begins:

Mitt Romney and his strategists expected his Mormon faith to fade as an issue for fundamentalist Christians during his first presidential campaign. This time around, should he choose to run again, they have doubts.
The idea during the 2008 campaign was that exposure to the candidate himself — a likable, teetotaling family man — would help convince people that there was nothing to fear in his beliefs. But even as the national Republican establishment warms to Romney as never before, the former candidate and his closest aides now believe a group of voters will always be off-limits because of his religion.
“There are some people for whom it will not be settled,’’ Romney said in a recent interview. “That’s just the nature of who we are as a people: A lot of people have differing views.’’
That acknowledgment is just one part of a growing consensus within Romney’s circle that his 2008 campaign’s almost obsessive focus on winning over social conservatives was not only unsuited to his strengths as a candidate, but strategically misguided.
“You’re not really going to alter your main message to accommodate this tiny group,’’ said Carl Forti, who served as the campaign’s national political director. “You’re going to acknowledge that there’s this small group of people and move on.’’

I don’t know anything about the reporter here, but this reads to me like an account by someone who doesn’t really understand evangelicals. My take, at least, is that while there is a small group of evangelicals who will never consider voting for a Mormon, it doesn’t follow from this that “winning over social conservatives” should not be a priority. The former group (those who will never come around) are a small subset of evangelicalism; the latter is a large group that includes most evangelicals but is by no means limited to them. So even if there are some evangelicals who will never get the distinction between voting for a pastor and a president, Gov. Romney must still emphasize that part of his persona (there’s more, obviously, but it’s a key part) that centers upon being a family man and looks at what those values mean in public life.

About Charles Mitchell

EFM's resident Yankee, Charles Mitchell, works in the non-profit arena in his native Pennsylvania. He and his wife, Charissa, live near the state capital of Harrisburg with their daughter, Adeline, and are members of a congregation of the Presbyterian Church in America.

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