As expected, thoughts on Romney’s speech are all over the blogosphere:
On the Bloggernacle:
Times & Seasons provides a list of articles and Nine Moons some commentary. Andrew’s Miracle Drug is skeptical about Romney’s exclusion of skeptics while A Bird’s Eye View sees the speech as pluralistic. My favorites are the feminist Mormon housewives — who are Christian enough to wonder why the president should have to be Christian, and of course Snarkernacle, who cleverly warned us all to get our posts in early for “Romsday.”
In the atheosphere, the reviews weren’t quite so mixed. Ezra Klein says: “In a speech Romney was forced to give because he feared unfair discrimination, Romney did not stand against intolerance. Instead, he simply asked that it not be directed against him, a man of faith. You can be intolerant, but do it to them, over there. They’re even more different.” Similarly, Wendy Kaminer notes: “Romney opposes bigotry in self-defense, not in defense of others, which is to say that he does not really oppose it at all.” These sentiments are echoed by many others: Friendly Atheist, Jewish Atheist, and Unscrewing the Inscrutable.
Unsurprisingly, the exmos were none too pleased with Mitt’s rhetoric: see Mind on Fire, My Thoughts Exactly, and NxtOracle.
So with all the many people he alienated, did he at least win the hearts of his core constituency, the Evangelical right wing? Apparently not. Short version: “Nice try, Mitt, but you forgot to denounce your ‘horribly blasphemous’ beliefs about Jesus.”
Nice roundup. That is the sense I’ve been getting as well. Mitt’s over-hyped talk was just that, hype!
Mormons were impressed.
Atheists and ex-mormons were critical.
What a surprise! 😉
Missing the real point:
Romney just got 30 minutes of national air time (and who knows how many hours of post-game analysis) that he didn’t have to share with any other candidate, for free!
dpc — In the case of this particular speech, it’s more than just “of course atheists hate him.” I think atheists have a very legitimate complaint: In the very same speech where he’s asking others not to judge him for his beliefs he’s saying that atheists’ beliefs disqualify them from being a legitimate part of the public discourse in America. Do you disagree?
Seth R. — I agree that strategically it was a brilliant move. I think it’s sad, however, to see candidates getting praise for how well they play the game rather than for actual leadership qualities.
I’m sorry if that sounds sanctimonious, but I’m completely serious. I feel like the American public has reached such an extreme degree of political cynicism that it doesn’t even occur to them to expect leadership or honesty from their elected leaders. It’s not just Romney; I think it’s a problem with the (long and costly) electorial process that encourages the attitude that image is everything.
Here are a couple more exmo stragglers who got their Romsday posts in late: Beanie Cap Guy and Fiddley Gomme, plus a Christain reaction.
Personally, I have a mixed reaction to his speech. (Thanks for the links, btw).
I have some sympathy for Mitt and his position. Growing up mormon (outside of Utah) I was always very aware of just how different I was. It was not a comfortable position to be in. And I do know many “normal” mormon people who just want to be able to worship as they choose, to have their beliefs respected. To be considered Christian.
There are also lots of doctrines within the LDS faith that are decidedly not mainstream Christian. There are also lots of things that were doctrinal in the past (blacks and the priesthood, for example) and no longer are now. Some of these doctrines make mainstream Americans very uncomfortable.
I feel that Mitt has an uphill battle. His speech was obviously directed at evangelical Christians, not those who may be atheist, secular or agnostic. I’m not sure that he changed anyone’s mind.
He didn’t really address some of the concerns of the evangelicals. He did appear “presidential” – whatever that means.
If nothing else, I think the message of what family first really means is very important. He (along with the LDS faith) is not in favor of gay marriage. Most of George W.’s social policies will probably continue just as they have been. If you’re in favor of that, you probably want to vote for Romney.
aerin — Well, he didn’t address the concerns of those Evangelicals who find his beliefs “horribly blasphemous” — and there’s not a whole lot he can do about those people. However, he may have succeeded in his goal to deflect some of the prejudice against him by directing it at someone else…
We’ve got a few more posts to round up:
The Exterminator provides some fantastic quotes from Founding Fathers era Baptist ministers: “Guard against those men who make a great noise about religion, in choosing representatives. It is electioneering. If they knew the nature and worth of religion, they would not debauch it to such shameful purposes.”
Puddle of Nothing has some detailed analysis of the various things Romney did and didn’t say about separation of church and state, and naturally concludes with the most glaring point: “One glaring omission from the speech is any recognition of a place in society for freethinkers, unbelievers, and followers of spiritual belief systems not rooted in the Bible or the Quran, i.e., Hinduism, Sikhism, and Buddhism–even assuming, as Romney does, that the Biblical God has a unique role in American society.”
DMI Dave — who has been crowing all over the Bloggernacle about how the Mitt-only religion test is because of bigotry — didn’t have a problem with Mitt’s “Discriminate by religion, yes, just not against me” message. I agree with Dave that bigotry is the reason the religious right required a religion test of Romney and not of the others. But that’s what you get when run on a platform of bigotry, isn’t it? 😉
Hey Chanson – inspired by Sideon and you and Romney fever I shared a couple of my thoughts about the subject on my blog this week. Not sure what everybody else is saying but here’s what I’ve got going on in my head:
P.S. NSFM (not safe for mormons)
I cut Dave some slack. He’s been getting a bit grumpy about evangelicals as of late. And after you’ve talked to a select group of them, who can blame him?
Seth R. — You’re right, the above is probably a bit too harsh. The thing is that I’m surprised so many Mormons seem so quick to want to hitch their wagon to the religious right and get taken for a ride. The religious right is happy to have the Mormon vote, but ultimately it’s led by people who don’t like Mormons (and probably dislike them almost as much as the dislike gay people, whom they’re actively discrminating against). And I think Dave has basically been warning Mormons to be wary of this alliance as well.
tom — Glad to see you here on MSP!!!
I noticed you wrote about Mitt, and I was going to add a link to your article here in the comments. 😉
Here are some more slackers who got their posts in late: TUIB Guy, Daylight Atheism, and The Mutt’s Nuts.
I’m afraid to say that Romney gave me indigestion to the point of a horrific rant.
how can leaders (and celebs) ‘Mainstream’ mormonism, and still have it ‘special’?
with losing 2 primaries (Iowa + N.H.), Romney will be yesterday’s news. Quote me on that.
Sideon — I saw your article, and in my haste this morning I forgot to add it to my list here. Thanks for providing the link. 😀
GNPE — We’ll see. He looks like he’s doing fairly well at this point….
Guy Noir, I assume you’re referring to Huckabee’s gain on Romney? I’m not sure he’s as big a threat as some think. Huckabee doesn’t have much of a campaign war chest. He simply doesn’t have the money to respond effectively when the attack ads start.
I heard some analysts predicting that, since no one wants to sling mud during Christmas, they’ll wait until after the holiday. Then the attack ads on Huckabee will start (and he does have a few real vulnerabilities for conservatives). Huckabee won’t have the money to place ads countering them. And that may very well be the end of him.
Romney has gotten a lot of media attention and momentum from this piece of political theater. We’ll have to see how it plays out.
Personally, I’m more interested in the supposed recent surge in Obama’s popularity (my fav to win).
I’m starting to lean towards Obama myself.
I think H’s recent gains on MR (and others) are as much indicative as substantial…
There had to be a certain vulnerability there in the first place.
MR’s campaign is largely self-financed, and that’s Not A PLUS.
OTOH: Politics is much a matter of Style over Substance, so… who knows?
One more thing to note:
I disagree with Mitt that freedom is about two hostile camps (the people of the Abrahamic religions vs. everybody else) vying for dominance. I think we can all work together. See my passionate secularism.