Via Mediaite. On the one hand, this probably was a consideration in Team Mitt’s mad dash this morning to distance themselves from the now-kaput Rev. Wright Super PAC ad. On the other hand, does anyone think the media’s going to let Romney’s faith pass unremarked upon if he’s three or four points up on O circa early October? Newsweek was willing to churn out this cover last year; imagine what they’ll do once real panic sets in.
John Ziegler has an interesting theory about today’s trial balloon:
Secondly, a proper attack on the Wright issue could provide a strong defense, or at least a deterrent, on the “Mormon issue” regarding Romney’s religion.
The media has already made it clear that they intend to make Romney’s religion a campaign topic, either overtly or covertly, whenever possible. By making Wright a major campaign subject this puts the media/Obama campaign in a rather tough spot. If they condemn the Wright attacks, then it makes it extremely difficult for them to “go Mormon.” If they don’t, then at least the issue is neutralized as very few undecided voters are going to view Romney’s Mormonism as more of a negative than Obama’s Wright connection. My gut tells me this is a good trade for the Romney forces. At worst, it is a wash.
In other words, Rev. Wright and Mormonism act as nuclear weapons in Romney’s and Obama’s respective arsenals. In theory, a launch would bring about mutually assured destruction. Would it really, though? Obama might sustain some damage but the issue is old news for many voters; if anything, it’d be a handy change of subject for him on the economy, especially with the media in full gasping-indignation mode on behalf of their guy. By contrast, depending upon how nasty and demagogic O’s surrogates are, attacking Mitt’s Mormonism could be a way to define him negatively for swaths of voters who are unfamiliar with him. As BuzzFeed points out, most Americans know next to nothing about LDS, which makes it a blank slate that might be used effectively by a sufficiently vicious/desperate campaign operative. If you’re going to rattle the campaign saber about Rev. Wright, do it because you think that’s an important issue, not because it might deter O’s boosters from dragging religion into this. Because it won’t.