It finally happened. Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney delivered his “religion speech” last Thursday, and by all accounts, it was a success. Of course, the lasting results of his message remain to be seen. But it’s done. It happened. Time to move-on.
I’ve got lots more to say about the fact that Romney was compelled to deliver this speech, even against the better judgment of some of his advisors. But before I go further, let me make something very clear: I am not endorsing, nor opposing Romney’s presidential bid. I have been watching Romney fairly closely since he became governor of Massachusetts in early 2003, and I find him to be an impressive leader. But if there was a primary election in my home state of Arizona tomorrow, I honestly don’t know who I’d vote for, and I am certainly not writing today as a partisan Romney supporter.
That said, I am intrigued, and troubled, that Romney felt that he “needed” to do this.
Let’s start by considering Romney’s apparent intent with the speech. For this, it’s best to review this official statement by Romney spokesman Kevin Madden, issued just prior to Thursday: “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.”
Okay, fair enough. The “grand tradition” that “religious tolerance has played in the progress of our nation” is something we should all revisit from time to time. By why must Romney be the candidate that is stuck with this task?
The reason is simple: there has been a growing drumbeat over the past few months from pundits, supporters and would-be supporters, saying that Romney needed to speak publicly about his Mormon faith. Many have made the comparison between what they have believed that Romney needed to do, and what John F. Kennedy did do during his presidential campaign in 1960, when he addressed our nation about his Catholicism. In short, Romney is being singled-outl, simply because he's a Mormon, and he's making the best of it that he can.
Austin Hill is an Author, Consultant, and Host of "Austin Hill's Big World of Small Business," a syndicated talk show about small business ownership and entrepreneurship. He is Co-Author of the new release "The Virtues Of Capitalism: A Moral Case For Free Markets." , Author of "White House Confidential: The Little Book Of Weird Presidential History," and a frequent guest host for Washington, DC's 105.9 WMAL Talk Radio.