Mitt Romney has essentially been running for president for five years. By now, you would think that those who knew of him would identify him with some of his accomplishments: successful businessman, salvaging the Winter Olympics, governor of Massachusetts, heck even “Romneycare.” Perhaps a proposed policy initiative or a campaign platform.
And yet the Washington Post seems surprised that among poll respondents asked to define a candidate by a one word description, Gov. Romney is overwhelmingly known as a “Mormon.”
Romney during both campaigns has repeatedly explained that he is not running to be “pastor in chief.” He reluctantly gave a J.F.K.-like speech to appease the calls for him to explain his religion. He wisely side-stepped this by instead emphasizing our nation’s principles of religious freedom and plurality. And yet after all this time he is still saddled with what the Post describes his “one word problem.”
Gee, why would he still be so overwhelmingly defined by his religion?
“Uh oh” I thought when I saw the SL Trib’s headline, “Newcomer, Mormon card spice up Salt Lake City race.” Not another invocation of one candidate being holier than the other.
Fortunately that was not the case.
It started in late July, when a postcard using LaMalfa’s campaign logo was sent to an unknown number of District 2 households. It paints LaMalfa as the only progressive, non-Mormon and LGBT-friendly candidate, noting he participated in June’s gay pride parade.
“A vote for Van Turner or Michael Clara is a vote for more narrow-mindedness,” the mystery mailer read. “The two other candidates are Mormon Republicans — ENOUGH SAID.”
All three candidates deny sending the postcard, though the LaMalfa and Clara camps point fingers at each other.
Good for the Tribune for reporting this, but not much else is mentioned. Why the casual shrug of the shoulders? How often are political mailers attacking candidates for being Mormon? Is this a first for Utah? The mailer probably isn’t attempting the reverse psychology of last year’s “temple mailer” (which purported to align candidate Mike Lee as a worthy Mormon but was actually sent by a Senator Bennet ally).
I wouldn’t want too much made of this, and fortunately not much is. But it strikes me as very strange that such an attack makes good politics in Salt Lake’s west side.