… 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 â€” and answer to the news media if they refuse. Kennedy was spared having to explain Catholic doctrines that never mattered much to him. Mr. Romneyâ€™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.