ROMNEY'S SPEECH WON'T BE ABOUT HIS MORMONISM -- IT'LL BE ABOUT HOW MUCH LIBERALS SUCK
Curiously, there doesn't seem to be a real announcement of Mitt Romney's upcoming religion speech at his campaign Web site -- there's just this abridged version of a CBS story about the speech, with a link to the full story. I wondered why the Romney campaign would want you to read this story in particular; here's what it says in part:
..."This speech is an opportunity for Governor Romney to share his views on religious liberty, the grand tradition religious tolerance has played in the progress of our nation and how the governor's own faith would inform his Presidency if he were elected," said Romney spokesman Kevin Madden in a statement released Sunday evening.
..."I can tell you I'm not going to be talking so much about my faith as I am talking about the religious heritage of our country and the role in which it played in the founding of the nation and the role which I think religion should generally play today in our society," Romney said in an interview with WBZ-AM....
Steve Benen says:
Romney wants to "share his views on…the grand tradition religious tolerance has played in the progress of our nation."
I’m not sure if Romney's been paying attention to Republican politics lately, but right-wing Iowa caucus voters ... don't much care for "religious tolerance." Indeed, many of them revel in their intolerance.
But, see, that's what "religious tolerance" means to people like us. Romney knows perfectly well that that's not what it means to people in the GOP base. He knows that, to them, it means "acceptance of religious conservatives' right to impose their religious beliefs anywhere and everywhere they choose." It also means "acceptance of their belief that America is a Christian (or possibly Judeo-Christian) nation." When people in the GOP base talks about "religious intolerance," they mean the unwillingness of people like us to have their religious beliefs imposed on us and their religion-drenched version of the nation's history taught as the truth. We don't like either of those things, so we're intolerant.
And that's going to be the real subject of Romney's speech.
The giveaway is what he said to WBZ: that he'll be "talking about the religious heritage of our country and the role in which it played in the founding of the nation and the role which I think religion should generally play today in our society." He couldn't have given a more blatant signal that he's going to say America is a Christian (or Judeo-Christian) nation, that he as a right-wing Mormon is just as persecuted as a right-wing Protestant or right-wing Catholic or right-wing Jew, and that he doesn't need any lip from some pointy-headed liberal at the ACLU or Americans United for Separation of Church and State.
He knows that Mike Huckabee, however pure his evangelical Protestantism, isn't dishing out the hate this way. So he's going to tell the Rage Party what it really wants to hear about religion.
UPDATE: Just to clarify, in response to Aimai in comments: He's not going to give a lock-and-load Pat Buchanan-type speech. It's going to be a Romneyesque speech, which means it will seem reasonable in tone, so the pundits will think it is reasonable. And yes, there could well be a fair amount of centrist window-dressing -- but not so much that the base won't get the message.
UPDATE, TUESDAY: Told ya:
Mormonism not focus of Romney speech
Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney said Monday that he would not focus on his Mormon beliefs in a major speech on religion this week and instead would discuss his concern that "faith has disappeared from the public square."
The former Massachusetts governor encouraged Americans to learn about Mormonism but said he did not see himself as a spokesman for his religion.
"There's plenty of ways that people can learn more about my faith if they'd like to, I'm sure -- a lot of websites people can go to," Romney told reporters as he opened a two-day New Hampshire campaign swing....
Oh, man -- "faith has disappeared from the puiblic square"? That line is to religious conservatives with persecution complexes was "Woo pig sooey!" is to Arkansas Razorbacks fans -- the ultimate rallying cry.