NYTimes dissects Romney speech…

Mainstreaming Politics

… before the speech even occurs. There’s a great op-ed in the Times today on Romney’s upcoming “Mormon” speech. I think this is the best commentary I’ve seen about its potential impact (which is to say, it won’t have an impact). Romney is not JFK and Mormonism is not mid-20th Century Catholicism. Some choice quotes:

  • If Mr. Romney wants to counter issues and false assumptions, he will have to bring them up himself.
  • Paradoxically, Kennedy was an indifferent Catholic, which is why there really was no reason to fear that he would take orders from the pope. Mr. Romney, on the other hand, has been a Mormon pastor and the equivalent of a Catholic bishop. Moreover, he is campaigning for the Republican presidential nomination at a time when candidates from both parties are expected to detail how their religion informs their politics — and answer to the news media if they refuse. Kennedy was spared having to explain Catholic doctrines that never mattered much to him. Mr. Romney’s challenge is to avoid talking about controversial Mormon doctrines that to him matter very much indeed.
  • But there is still one other difference between the two speeches. Kennedy engaged a live audience of doubters and bearded lions in their own den. It was high noon drama. Mr. Romney will speak in protected Republican surroundings, unable to engage a pair of adversarial eyes or read a single hostile face.

8 thoughts on “NYTimes dissects Romney speech…

  1. AGREE. almost a 180 degree difference.
    politicians these days know how to choose an audience and the right time/circumstances.
    Mormonism has learned how to spin what it can’t control, so has MR.

  2. The biggest eye-opener in the whole discussion of Mitt’s “JFK speech” has been to read JFK’s real speech and see how very committed he was to separation of church and state. I’ve always felt kind of indifferent towards JFK, but wow did his speech impress me!! The sad part is to see how far the value of leadership in America has fallen.

    I didn’t read Romney’s speech, but there is some interesting commentary here and here.

    From the perspective of someone who’s not following this story closely but is aware of the grand lines, it sure looks to me like Romney is saying that it’s right for Christians to be prejudiced against everyone else, but it’s bigotry for Christians to claim Mormons aren’t Christian. In other words: “Romney opposes bigotry in self-defense, not in defense of others, which is to say that he does not really oppose it at all.”

  3. chanson… That’s exactly why I would never vote for Mitt – to him the separation of church and state yet respect for religious practice only applies to Christians (a group in which he places Mormons). If you’re not Christian, the state can treat you unfairly and that is just fine with Mitt. As an atheist, I’d like to pull Mitt’s head out of his ass just long enough to kick it back in.

    Of course, I wouldn’t vote for Mitt regardless of his position on church/state separation simply because I disagree with basically every other position he holds. Mitt is basically a perfect representation of everything I don’t believe in.

  4. I recommend reading the speech. Even if I am not sympathetic to Mitt Romney’s platform, I still have to admit that his speech was very good. Not as cool as the Huckabee Chuck Norris ad though… 😉

    exmoron

    How exactly does the state treat atheists unfairly? And regardless of what Mitt or any other candidate says about the separation of church and state, the final say rests with Supreme Court.

  5. dpc… I don’t think the state treats atheists unfairly (though if I was going into detail I could mention a couple ways where I do think it does). What I was trying to say is that Mitt’s position is basically implying that he thinks the state should treat atheists unfairly (and anyone else who is not Christian). So, if Mitt is being honest, under him as President atheists would be treated unfairly (which is, frankly, what many conservative Christians would love to see – those “scary” secular humanists should be burned at the stake).

  6. Exmoron

    “under him as President atheists would be treated unfairly”

    Possibly, but I feel that the Supreme Court has done a fairly good job at balancing separation of church and state so far. I think that Congress is a much greater threat than any President to the separation of church and state because they have greater control over domestic legislation and the budget.

    “those “scary” secular humanists should be burned at the stake”

    …along with heretics and witches, I suppose . How else would they be cleansed of evil spirits? 😉

  7. Possibly, but I feel that the Supreme Court has done a fairly good job at balancing separation of church and state so far. I think that Congress is a much greater threat than any President to the separation of church and state because they have greater control over domestic legislation and the budget.

    I agree with you in principle, except for the fact that it seems like the system of checks and balances has gone a little awry lately…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *