Romney has lost control of the message in advance of “the speech”
“Wisely, in his speech Romney will not seek to explain any Mormon doctrine which, for instance, according to some, places the Garden of Eden somewhere in Missouri,” writes Andrew Malcolm for the LA Times blog, Top of the Ticket, in a post titled What Mitt Romney will say about faith
Just as in his 1960 speech to Baptist ministers confronting the Roman Catholic issue (also in Texas), John F. Kennedy did not seek to explain how his wife Jackie was descended from a rib of Adam’s and what in the world Noah did with all that manure on the Ark. Kennedy had one advantage going for him: about 28% of the country’s population then was Roman Catholic. Today, about 2% is Mormon …
… Romney’s longest campaign discussion of faith, which aides point to as a model for Thursday’s speech, came earlier this fall when the candidate told CBS’s Bob Schieffer:
“What I can tell you is that the values of my faith are founded on Judeo-Christian principles, and the same kind of philosophy that`s associated with other Christian faiths and the Jewish faith and others is very much consistent with ours. The view that there is a God that created us, that all the children on Earth are of the same, if you will, divine origin, that the loss of one life anywhere is the loss of a fellow son or daughter of God, that liberty is a gift of God. These fundamental principles are the same faith to faith.”
Romney said he wasn’t asking people to vote for his church but to look at the candidate and his conservative values. “By and large,” he said, “people will make their decision not based on where you go to church but instead based upon your values, your vision for the country and your ability to actually help the country at a time of great need.”
“I accept the teachings of our church, and I do my best to live by those teachings. It hasn`t made me perfect. I`m far from that. But I`m probably a better person than I would have been and my kids are better than they would have been without faith. And you know, I don`t try and be critical of other people`s faith. Actually, I`m of the view that religious individuals have an enormous advantage in stability in their life. And I respect the work that`s being done by ministers of all faith. I think it draws people closer to God and makes us better people” …
Comment: What Romney proposes to say is reasonable but unremarkable. And he has said it before. So how is “the speech” supposed to save Romney’s candidacy? But this is not the question that interests us.
Here is the question that interests us: Why are Grrr-Romney’s “aids” leaking the technical specifications of the Romney inoculation script in advance of its delivery?
Answer: Because Romney has completely lost control of the message. Hence the frantic transmissions of Romney’s B-string flaks to every journalist who will listen. Hence their willingness to reveal specifics of the speech at the risk undermining the impact of the speech’s actual delivery.
Here is the problem for Romney: When Romney first began to emit his great noise about his great speech on his great faith he granted tacit permission to every voice in the media to begin urgently inquiring into the Mormon issue, and to speculate on the question of why Romney’s Mormon confession could be a problem. This line of questioning inevitably leads to a discussion of the Mormon confession itself. Here is but one example:
“BOSTON (Reuters) – From baptism of the dead to a ban on coffee, Mormonism’s doctrines are alien to many Americans and that is unlikely to change when Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney gives a long-awaited speech on his faith this week, religious scholars say,” or so writes the curious Jason Szep in a Reuters release titled Romney to walk fine line in Mormon speech
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, as the sect based in Salt Lake City, Utah, is formally known, is the fourth-largest U.S. religion and one of the richest, with 12.9 million members globally and an estimated $5 billion in annual revenue. More than half live outside the United States ….
… It bans alcohol, tobacco, tea and coffee. It maintains there is no eternal hell, the dead can be baptized and that God speaks through living apostles and prophets such as the church’s current president, Gordon Hinckley … etc., etc.
Memo to the geniuses at Team Romney’s posh waterfront headquarters: with crack communicators like you, Romney doesn’t need rival candidates to bring him down.