I wasn't going to do the Willard Mitt Romney, a.k.a. Cap'n Brylcreem, thing after his religion speech yesterday. I comment only for a major point I don't see getting play.
Cap'n Media Note: Look on his home page in the Mitt TV box. Click the Faith in America link for the pop up of the 6-minute version. The 21-minute one has lots of podium shots and embarrassing spans of former President G.H.W. Bush patronizing the Cap'n, and distancing them.
Many analysts draw comparisons with then Presidential candidate John Kennedy's I'm-an-American-who-happens-to-be-Catholic template. That's fair. Clearly, the Cap'n hoped for the same mollifying effect and stole Kennedy's outline.
For the bulk of the speech, note a huge difference. While both had a primary message of their churches not controlling their public policies, the second big message showed their minds, and Romney's great flaw.
Kennedy spoke forcefully of the desirable and necessary separation of church and state. Romney called for religiosity in public office. Kennedy spoke of a religion-blind America, free of "attitudes of disdain and division" and promoting "the American ideal of brotherhood." In contrast, Romney assumed all Americans were some flavor of Christian, and that this shared religion has a major role in the Presidency. The Cap'n said, "(I)n recent years, the notion of the separation of church and state has been taken by some well beyond its original meaning."
That may play well to conservative Republicans, particularly evangelicals. However, their skeptical view of Mormonism may just as well keep them from supporting Romney anyway.
As is his wont, the Cap'n was too spongy and too slick. Kennedy stood to confront preachers who distrusted Roman Catholicism. Romney went before a handpicked claque. Even there, he did not make strong personal statements. He did nothing to placate the Protestants other than noting that they all had a tie to Christ (even though their ropes lead down different cliffs). That's about as effective as contending Jews and Arabs in the Middle East claim the God of Abraham together.
Nope. The Cap'n is smarmy. He is and remains a salesman. Are you buying...from a God in your politics and government guy?
Tags: massmarrier, Presidential, Massachusetts, Mormonism, religion, Willard Mitt Romney, speech