The Washington Monthly runs an article on whether Mitt Romney’s Mormonism makes him unelectable. The writer, Amy Sullivan, points out that Romney has been the subject of several profiles–in NR (including a cover story by me), as well as in the Atlantic Monthly, the Weekly Standard, and by George Will. She goes on to claim that “each Romney profile plays down the Mormon issue.” This is just plain silly. Mormonism was almost the exclusive subject of the article by Terry Eastland in the Standard.
For my part, I’ll acknowledge that I didn’t dwell on the Mormonism issue. This was a conscious choice, because the article was meant to assess Romney’s record as governor, which to me is a far more important political question for conservatives than the (inevitable) one about whether evangelicals will vote for a Mormon. But I did make two points: There is some polling evidence to suggest that although very few voters say they won’t vote for a Jew or a Catholic for president (about 5 percent), there are many more who say they won’t vote for a Mormon (17 percent). So it’s obviously a challenge. On the other hand, Mormons are not a dirt-poor group of people–if they were to pool their resources and rally behind Romney, the governor of Massachusetts could find himself a very well financed candidate heading into Iowa and New Hampshire.
Sullivan’s article is worth reading, once you get past her little potshots at those of us who beat her to the story.