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Romney As “Too Quirky?”

Friday, July 6, 2007  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt
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The ordinarily indispensable Geraghty goes way off the rails with today’s broadside at Mitt Romney.

Here’s just one take from the column:

There are 519 blog posts that use the terms “Romney” and “creepy” according to Technorati. According to Google, there are 202,000 web pages that have those two words.

There are 1,282 blog posts that connect “Hillary” and “creepy,” and 871,000 Googled web pages with those words, and she is still the most formidable candidate the Dems have.

There are 412 blog posts that connect “Giuliani” and “creepy,” and 316,000 web pages with the terms courtesy of Google. Less blog posts than Romney, yes, but far more web pages. Does Jim count out Giuliani as well? Where’s the Technorati “creepy” index supposed to be, anyway? Zero? Jim’s attempt to introduce a new metric into politics is fine by me provided it is consistently applied, which of course it wasn’t. And shouldn’t be as it is a meaningless measure of rhetorical excess, not political strengths and weaknesses.

Upon examination, there just isn’t any there there in Jim’s column. An idiosyncratic name for a son isn’t a real vulnerability, nor is doggate.

Then we come to the Mormon problem, which may have been Jim’s real concern:

After eight months of covering a Romney campaign, the mainstream media will make the Mormon church resemble Wahhabism without the melanin.

A nice turn of the phrase, but wholly wrong in the predicted outcome, as explained at length in A Mormon In The White House. Indeed, when the subject of Romney’s faith came up in the last GOP debate, Romney’s response drove the approval ratings in Frank Luntz’s focus group off the charts. Americans don’t like religious bigotry, and Al Sharpton’s smash-up when he tried it underscores this fact. There are nearly six million Mormons in America, and the MSM can’t expect to sell a sham portrait of the neighbors you know. I agree some MSMers will try, just as many lefties have already tried to use religious bigotry to attack Romney. Some of the far margins of the evangelical world have also issued edicts against voting for a Mormon. But the overwhelming response of the center-right, including the evangelicals, has been to note the wide chasm between Mormon theology and evangelical and Catholic beliefs and then to note that that chasm is no reason not to vote for Romney. There is agrowing recognition as well that attacks on Romney’s faith are simply the latest attempt by the left to delegitimize the participation of people of faith in politics.

The efforts of center-right pundits is better spent responding to both the nonsensical attacks and the far more serious expressions of religious bigotry, as well as to the other low blows that will be directed at Fred Thompson and Rudy Giuliani, not in announcing surrender to any or all of them. And it especially the task of pro-family folks to praise a great family like the Romneys. Speculating that family vacations, family videos and family names are an occasion for political despair is just, well, quirky.

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