“There is nothing more ridiculous than another man’s religion”
----from the “Quotations of Chairman Joe”
On an NBC panel tonight, featuring Chris Todd and other election analysts, recent polling has confirmed the surge of ‘Baby Huey’ to the head of the pack as the former House Speaker gains the lead. Gingrich is only the latest following Sarah Palin, Ron Paul, Texas Governor Perry and most recently Hermann Cain to challenge Mitt Romney for the lead in various straw polls and public opinion polls, as the ’fundamentalist’ base of the Rescumllican Party searches desperately for some alternative to the Mormon from Utah. Whether ‘Baby Huey’ is allotted more than his fifteen minutes of fame remains to be seen.
The assembled analysts were quick to point out the Achilles heel of the emerging Rescumlican field. Romney, running nearly even with Obama is the most electable but will have a hard time getting his party’s nomination, presumably because of his so-called ’health plan’ in Massachusetts and his earlier positions on taxation and social issues. Gingrich while facing an easier road to the nomination is reviled by Democrats and Independents alike and faces a daunting task winning the general election. So ended the analysis for further penetration into the political realities will reveal the darker side of American politics, places nightly commentators and news anchors fear to tread.
Simply put, to any honest political observer it is readily apparent that the fundamentalist base of the modern Rescumlican Party will not nominate a Mormon to carry its standard into the general election. Focusing on Romney’s so called “moderate” political record and pointing out--correctly--that the Massachusetts health care law is anathema to the political base of his party, the political pundits cover only part of the story and present only half the analysis.
Deviations from bedrock orthodoxy have not cost national political figures their party’s nomination. Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Bush the Greater, Bob Dole, John McCain and even Ronald Reagan deviated from orthodoxy when the recognized both unpopular and god-awful public policy when they saw it. Nixon instituted wage-price controls, gave us the Environmental Protection Agency, even called for a guaranteed annual income, Ford was Mr. Pragmatist incarnate, Bush raised Taxes, Dole worked with Democrats at least some of the time, even Reagan raised taxes and increased federal spending. However much is made of Romney the moderate, Romney the Compromiser, Romney the Reasonable, this is not what the fundamentalist base of his party finds troubling. It is Romney the Mormon.
To Southern Baptism, the place to which the modern Rescumlican party went in search of succor as it embraced southern politics after the flogging it took at the hands of Lyndon Johnson, Mormonism is seen as a nothing more than a cult. Through the eyes of Southern Baptism Mormonism not only appears ridiculous but, like Catholicism, is seen as a “cult”. Anyone embracing such a cult must, by definition, lack the moral fortitude and perhaps the intelligence necessary to see ’the light’. Such a man is disqualified from high office. It is the reverend Wright issue all over again unalloyed with issues of race.
The press, of course, not eager to offend the southern audience or the religious fundamentalists, fixes instead on the horse race betting as it always does that the public will be content with form rather than substance. Meanwhile in churches all across America, as in 1960, a campaign will be waged against the “Mormon’ discounting his beliefs as ludicrous and, by extension, his political standing. The analysts are right of course. Romney will find it hard to get the party nomination for he will fight to a near draw in Iowa, win New Hampshire and then head South where he will hit a brick wall. The question for the political base of the party is whether it can coalesce around a viable alternative, someone suitably protestant, in time. Enter Baby Huey. Oh yes he’s changed his religion. The once suitably Baptist, then Episcopalian is now Catholic.