The EFM Feature
The President is going to try to destroy his main opponent.  Prepare for the worst.

It turns out that the “Kill Romney” strategy is also going to focus on Mitt’s alleged weirdness:

The character attacks on Romney will focus on what critics view as a makeover, both personal (skinny jeans) and political (abortion) … Democrats also plan to amplify what Obama strategists described as the “weirdness” quotient, the sum of awkward public encounters and famous off-kilter anecdotes, first among them the tale of Romney having strapped his dog to the roof of his car.

None of the Obama advisers interviewed made any suggestion that Romney’s personal qualities would be connected to his minority Mormon faith, but the step from casting Romney as a bit off to raising questions about religion may not be a large step for some of the incumbent’s supporters.

Look, I don’t like to play the religion card.  Really, I don’t.  But . . come on.  Does anyone in their right mind think that skinny jeans and a couple awkward anecdotes make a person “weird” enough to launch a national backlash?  Ross Douthat explains what’s going on:

Indeed. The crucial thing to understand here is that Romney’s Latter Day Saint affiliation isn’t just a potential liability among evangelical voters in Republican primaries. It’s a potential general election liability as well. In a recent Gallup poll, 18 percent of Republicans described themselves as unwilling to vote for a Mormon candidate — but that number actually climbed to 19 percent among Independents, and 27 percent among Democrats.

Who are these non-conservative Mormon skeptics? Well, their ranks probably include a lot of theologically conservative/politically liberal Christians (mainly African American and Hispanic ) who regard Mormonism as a dangerous heresy, and a lot of secular liberals who dislike the L.D.S.’s positions (and politicking) on issues like gay marriage. But most likely some of them are people who don’t have a particular theological or political ax to grind, who know Mormonism primarily through pop culture (from “Big Love” and “Sister Wives” to “South Park” and “The Book of Mormon”) and the occasional encounter with bicycling missionaries, and who have a vague sense of the L.D.S. church as little bit cultish, a little bit outside-the-mainstream, and a little bit, well, weird. Presumably the Obama campaign sees this half-formed attitude as the fertile ground in which its “Romney the weirdo” seeds will take root and grow.

Douthat doesn’t think the “weirdness” strategy will work, but we already know the Left will go directly after Mormons when it feels threatened.

So get ready.  Soon — very soon — other Republicans will come hard after Mitt.  And when they do, their attacks may very well be supplemented by Obama’s own negative campaign, a campaign that may very well have bigotry at its core.

Comments and Discussion

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6 Responses to Obama’s “Weirdness” Strategy is About Religion

  1. David Walser says:

    I have a feeling that this campaign will be very ugly. (That’s true no matter whom the Republican’s nominate. Obama cannot campaign on his accomplishments, so his only option will be to go negative.) What’s truly disappointing is how many good conservatives seem intent on making Obama’s job easier for him. These conservatives (Malkin, I’m looking at you) are not content with discussing policy differences; their intent is to destroy the character and reputation of anyone who is not their favored candidate. If (when?) Republicans nominate Romney, these conservatives’ vicious and highly personal attacks on Romney will be adopted by Obama.

    I don’t begrudge any conservative for supporting a candidate of their choice, even if that choice isn’t Romney. I do wish they’d try to offer that support in a way that doesn’t make the eventual nominee’s candidacy harder than it need be.

  2. Liz says:

    Bring it. Let’s get the Mormon weirdness out in the open. It’s about time. While we’re at it, let’s take a look at Obama’s college transcripts, see if his grades best Perry’s 1.9 GPA or not, check if his father really was a polygamist and his mother a prostitute, and let’s discuss ad nauseum what it’s like to use cocaine as a college student. Let’s see why he never gave his destitute family members any money or support. Let’s find out if Obama really does have a beef with interracial marriage. There’s plenty of weirdness to go around, friends. Choose your slant.

    I guess it’s going to happen whether we want it or not.

  3. Mark Evans says:

    I can’t believe we’re back to the dog on the car again! In 2007 I remeember thinking ‘is this the most dirt they can get on Mitt? Obviously, ANYONE can look silly if speaking flubs are played together…like the President’s ’57 states.’ I think they’ll have a tough sell. since he reeks dignity.

  4. Daniel Peterson says:

    If Obama really tries this strategy, it will reveal beyond question the kind of person he really is.

    Will the American people buy it? They might. They just might. Demagoguery does sometimes work.

    I hope, though, that, if he does, they will rise up and reject it AND him in a wave of indignant revulsion.

    The only thing that Obama has going for him now is that a substantial number of Americans still find him personally likeable. He can’t argue that his domestic or foreign policies have been successful. He can’t even really claim to be competent. If he forfeits his image as likeable, he’s gone.

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