Should Mitt Romney be less guarded about his Mormon faith? It’s an interesting and legitimate question. Politico looks at that issue this morning. See below for an excerpt from the article.
What does The Brody File think? I think it is high risk, high reward but ultimately the more Romney doesn’t speak about his faith, the more people might wonder why exactly. Remember, Romney’s Mormon faith WILL be vetted in the General Election by the media, whether he likes it or not. It may have been vetted in 2008 during the GOP Primaries but never at the General Election level.
The last thing Romney needs is to be secretive about another subject. He needs to connect and show authenticity and since by all accounts he has been a faithful, authentic Mormon, showing that side of him could reveal a more personal side, hence connecting with voters.Yes, voters want someone who can fix the economy but studies show they also want someone that they can relate to from an emotional perspective.
Prediction: Don't bet on Romney letting down his hair when it comes to his faith. He's a very private man. Expect the campaign to be on defense all General Election long when the critical articles come out. It's coming. Just wait for it.
Here’s part of the Politico article:
Mitt Romney’s Mormon faith has hovered over his 20-year political career like a thick layer of incense at Easter Mass. Negative perceptions of the religion so worried his 2008 presidential team that the dilemma had its own acronym in campaign power point presentations: TMT (That Mormon Thing).
Worries persisted this year as skeptical evangelical Christians flocked to other candidates—any other candidate it seemed — causing Romney to avoid all things Mormon in public.
But now that the former Massachusetts governor is the likely GOP nominee, many Republicans think that the standoffish candidate actually needs to embrace his Mormonism publicly to open a window into his life.
Even some Christian conservatives who never thought they could vote for a Mormon are relaxing their opposition, as they see the alternative as…. well, a living hell.
“I will support anyone against this president,” said Penny Young Nance, president of the advocacy group, Concerned Women of America, and who was a Rick Santorum supporter.
Nance maintains that if voters could see Romney worshiping, and observe him as a leader of his church, it could go a long way in helping people connect with him. “His religion isn’t the issue- he’s the issue,” says Nance. “At some point you need to be honest about who you are. He has an authenticity problem. People don’t get him. They don’t feel that they know the guy.”
Conservative activist L. Brent Bozell hasn’t endorsed a presidential candidate but admittedly favored the more conservative players in the race over Romney. Still, he sees no reason for Romney to hide his light under a bushel. “If you’re a Mormon, you don’t need to distance yourself from it,” says Bozell. “We can all get along. I think the hostility seen in the primaries toward him was based more on cultural issues—social issues, not religious.”
But not entirely: Romney experienced pushback this year from evangelicals who view the Mormon faith as at odds with the historic Christian doctrine of the Trinity. They question whether Mormons even believe in Jesus Christ –even though the official name of the religion is the Church of Jesus Christ Latter Day Saints. One prominent Texas cleric who supported Rick Perry called the church a “cult.”
“What I find disturbing,” said one Romney adviser who asked for anonymity, “are the exits polls where people said they could only vote for someone who shared their religious faith.” According to this adviser and others, Christian conservatives feel that electing a Mormon president would further legitimatize the lay religion founded nearly 200 years ago, when many of them see it as a false religion.
Penny Benson and Molly Maimone, Ohio Christians, are among those dubious voters. “I don’t know what Romney believes… If it was between Romney and Obama, I don’t think I could morally vote,” said Maimone, before that state’s primary earlier this year. Benson concurred, noting “My religious beliefs dictate my political beliefs. Romney is not an option for me.”
Still, Mark DeMoss, a Romney adviser who has worked tirelessly to persuade Christian conservatives that Romney is worthy of their vote, sees a softening among some evangelicals “who may be coming to terms with the idea that they can support someone who shares their values—but not necessarily their religious beliefs.”