Sunday, December 16, 2007

Oops on missed Mormon issue, but Oprah v Chuck is the real battle

Latter Day Republicans vs The Church of Oprah - Frank Rich makes at least one point that forces As Good As News to reconsider. Recent posts here decried evangelicals who questioned Romney's credentials because Mormons are not sufficiently Christian. In reacting to this, As Good As News overstated Mitt's case. The LDS did officially discriminate against Black people and did so until well after Mitt became an adult. His failure to disagree publicly with this position is a legitimate concern. A younger Mormon, one who grew up after the LDS changed its doctrine on this point, would not raise the same concerns, but Mitt was old enough to question his own church's former doctrine and his opponents can raise the issue without crossing any boundaries on freedom of religion. Of course this was not the issue that concerned Idaho's evangelicals, but it may emerge now, or in the general election if Mitt gets that far.

I also agree with Mr. Rich's observation that Romney's speech was disappointing - targeting tactically on conservative Republicans, Mitt missed a chance to make a broad statement tying his own values to real religious freedom. He may have persuaded a few Republican primary voters that Mormons are not suspect characters, but he failed to ignite any enthusiasm beyond the pundit classes.

It will be interesting to see if Oprah, as an extraordinarily trusted celebrity endorser, can bring something unique to Barack Obama's campaign. Much hoopla has surrounded the battle of the stars between Bill Clinton and Oprah, but As Good As News awaits steel cage death match between Oprah and Chuck Norris. Chuck's endorsement was a real factor in getting Huckabee some attention as he began to move from very dark horse to contender. Now that he has everyone's attention, why did Huckabee accept what was essentially a salary supplement from the tobacco lobby while working as Arkansas Lieutenant Governor?

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