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Sunday, December 09, 2007

Maureen Dowd Channels Mark H

Maureen Dowd has a similar take to Mark H's post here with her column today.

Now in addition to asking candidates about boxers or briefs, we have reporters asking Mitt Romney if he wears The Garment, the sacred one-piece, knee-length underwear with Mormon markings and strict disposal rules.

“I’ll just say those sorts of things I’ll keep private,” he told The Atlantic.


I called Mr. Krakauer — who also wrote the best sellers “Into Thin Air” and “Into the Wild” — to get his opinion of Mitt’s religion speech.

Mormons see themselves as the one true religion, and don’t buy all of the New Testament, he said, “which makes it curious why Mitt thinks evangelical Christians are his allies.”

Asked Thursday by Diane Sawyer on “Good Morning America” if he thought Mormons were Christians, Richard Land, an official of the Southern Baptist Convention, replied, “No, I do not.”

Mr. Krakauer can envision a Mormon making an “excellent president.”

“The Mormon approach to family life is amazing, and there are a lot of good things about the faith,” he said. But he worries that “the Mormon Church, while more welcoming, is still not a place that grants women and blacks equal status, and it’s a terrible place to be gay. The leadership is authoritarian, male, white and absolutely intolerant of dissent.”

The problem with Mitt is not his religion; it is his overeager policy shape-shifting. He did not give a brave speech, but a pandering one. Disguised as a courageous, Kennedyesque statement of principle, the talk was really just an attempt to compete with the evolution-disdaining, religion-baiting Huckabee and get Baptists to concede that Mormons are Christians.

“J.F.K.’s speech was to reassure Americans that he wasn’t a religious fanatic,” Mr. Krakauer agreed. “Mitt’s was to tell evangelical Christians, ‘I’m a religious fanatic just like you.’”

The backdrop, he said, is “the wickedly fierce competition between Mormons and Southern evangelicals to convert people.”

The world is globalizing, nuclear weapons are proliferating, the Middle East is seething, but Republicans are still arguing the Scopes trial.

Mitt was right when he said that “Americans do not respect believers of convenience.” Now if he would only admit he’s describing himself.