Kevin Drum asks: “Here’s a question for any old-timers who might be reading this blog: was George Romney’s Mormon faith an issue for him when he ran for president in 1968?” I wonder, too. One important difference, though, is that George Romney, much like Mitt Romney when he ran for office in the past, was a moderate Republican.
If you’re going to adhere to secular politics, then people are either going to dislike you because they dislike secular politics, or else they’re not going to care a lot about your religious views. When Romney was running in 2002, I recall his Mormonism only really playing insofar as it made a lot of people assume Romney was anti-choice and anti-gay and his campaign put a lot of effort on reassuring people about that. The new Mitt is trying to run as a cultural conservative who’s trying to get people to write things like “we believe Governor Romney is not only acceptable to conservative Christians, but that he is clearly the best choice for people of faith.” This is a demographic that clearly sees its political views as grounded in religion. Evangelicals for Mitt have the view that conservative Christians principles drive them, in this instance, to support a Mormon for the presidency but it’s natural that other conservative Christians might feel that their principles drive them to seek out someone whose religious views are more closely aligned with their own.