Friday, March 17, 2006

Friday's Buzz

There's a lot in the news today about Mitt. The more I hear and read about him, and particularly the more attention I pay to the way he is portrayed in the media, the more I think he has a legitimate shot at the White House. You always hear about how in some poll (not trying to denigrate it, I just don't recall who did it) something like 30% of respondents said that they wouldn't vote for a Mormon for president. I guess I really need to find the poll and disect it, but I can imagine that when it comes down to a primary or a general election people are not going to say, "Hmm, I'm going to sit this one out because my party's guy is Mormon." My feeling is that when voters get to know a particular candidate -- like Mitt, for example -- any prejudices or preconceived notions will pale in comparison to the substantive issues that candidate espouses and even the personality of the particular candidate. Off the top of my head -- and any and all of this is subject to change after I see the poll -- I would guess that the people who responded that they wouldn't vote for a Mormon are thinking along these lines: "Mormons...they're the people that knock on my door right? No way!" Am I wrong about this? I think as people see what kind of a person Mitt Romney is -- and frankly how eloquent and charming he is -- many will forget any prejudices against Mormons and vote for the guy.

Oh yeah, the news. Thanks to Marc for the heads up on this National Journal roundup of all things Mitt this week. Also, Dick Morris gave his assessment of 2008 in The Hill this week. The portion relevant to this blog:
Romney probably carries enough baggage with him from Massachusetts to make his pursuit of the Republican nomination futile. You cannot be elected governor of the People’s Republic and hope to keep your positions conservative enough to win the Republican nomination.

I'm not so sure about that. I think Dick Morris may be selling him short. I'm really starting to think Mitt may be able to make a successful transition.

There's a ton of other news. I'm done for today though, so click on the links to the right.

4 Comments:

Blogger Nathan said...

Regarding Dick Morris...he can be a real idiot at times. He's always thought of as this mighty political guru, but he's been wrong so many times in the past. Like when he said Kerry had it in the bag in 2004. Or his prediction that it's Hillary v. Condi in '08. He's already backing off that one.

3:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When it comes to the evangelical vote in the South during the primaries, I couldn't disagree with you more.

First, the timing is very bad for Romney. The religious right's unwavering commitment to Pres. Bush has been, in significant part, due to their belief that he is one of them. Although I question whether Bush is actually a true evangelical, they nevertheless claim him as one of their own. Remember that the administration’s primary defense of Harriet Miers during her, pardon the pun, crucifixion was that she was an evangelical. This quickly converted many of the evangelical talking heads to her favor (Chuck Colson, Tony Perkins and Charles Dodson to name a few). So the transition from eight years with an evangelical President to a Mormon President would be just too shocking to the movement of the religious right.

This leads to my second point of how evangelicals view Mormonism, which is much more hostile than how they see other Christian dominations. Indeed, they don’t even consider Mormons as Christian. To most (but not all) evangelicals, Mormonism poses a grave threat to all of Christianity. And I feel confident in making such a statement. A vote for a Mormon nominee would be touted as acceptance of Mormonism is general. It would be considered a vote to bring Mormonism into the mainstream and they would be correct. I’m sure thousands of evangelical churches will be addressing these issues during the primaries.

Finally, the fact that Romney is from Massachusetts is just another strike against him in the South, though relatively minor in comparison to the above. Think about it, the right has been demonizing north eastern elites for decades. The fact the Romney is so well spoken and intelligent will ironically count against him. Again, the transition from eight years of an inarticulate and sometimes incoherent good ole boy President from Texas to a brilliant north easterner would just be too shocking to…heck the entire country.

As far as Nathan’s comments are concerned, I completely agree. Dick Morris is an idiot.

5:21 PM  
Blogger David Kennedy said...

Anonymous,

This article

http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/features/2005/0509.sullivan1.html

makes a lot of the same points you do. It also looks like this is where I heard about the poll in which 17% (not 30% like I thought) of respondents said they would not vote for a Mormon.

I don't know, maybe I'm just hoping, but it seems like all this "the religious right won't vote for him" talk might actually work in his favor. Maybe it's like the downplaying of expectations talk right before presidential debates. If Romney were to win South Carolina or at least do really well the story for the rest of the primaries would be that Evangelicals love Romney. I think it's become accepted wisdom to say that "Romney can't win the south," when in fact it might not even be true. Can we get Steven Levitt on the case?

9:18 PM  
Blogger David Kennedy said...

I'm finding more and more about this poll. Very interesting. Check out these links:

Considering Candidates' Religion: What It Can Mean for the Vote:

http://marty-center.uchicago.edu/sightings/archive_1999/sightings-072999.shtml

Here's the poll on the Gallup website, but you have to be a member to see it. Anyone out there with a Gallup membership who would be willing to check it out?

March 29, 1999
Americans Today Much More Accepting of a Woman, Black, Catholic, or Jew As President:

http://poll.gallup.com/content/default.aspx?ci=3979&pg=1

9:40 PM  

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