RomneyExperience on Fox News, Friday September 28

SECOND UPDATE: You can view the video here.

UPDATED: Fox Says the story will likely be the second piece played, so look for airing around 6:04 Eastern Time.

Just a note for loyal R.E. readers, I was interviewed today by Fox News’ Major Garrett for a piece he’ll be filing tomorrow. I believe the focus is on the Rally for Romney that’s being held in Salt Lake tomorrow, but my comments were all regarding the Romney-religion angle.

I’ll post further details about exact air times tomorrow, but I’m told the piece will be shown during Special Report with Brit Hume, which I believe comes on at 6:00 Eastern. More details tomorrow.

Also, I hope to participate at tomorrow’s Romney for Rally in Salt Lake City. Send an email if you plan to be there, or would be up for receiving a fundraising call from me tomorrow.

Might Mitt Romney Be a Closet Polygamist? Umm, No.

Writing in the U.K.’s Daily Telegraph, Harvard History Professor Niall Ferguson analyzes the Yanks’ ’08 race for the Presidency. He breaks down some of Giuliani’s deficiencies before moving on to this somewhat astounding paragraph about Romney:

No wonder Mitt Romney’s Mormon faith suddenly seems like less of a handicap. Although technically entitled to practise polygamy, Romney is (as he likes to repeat) the only Republican contender who has had only one wife. Giuliani’s children are so sick of his father’s antics that they are unlikely to vote for him. By contrast, Romney’s progeny resemble the Osmonds: handsome, wholesome, and 100 per cent devoted to Dad.

The Romney-as-possible-polygamist meme is making the rounds lately. Moving from middlebrow, above, to very lowbrow, one finds the comments of much-derided, but much-viewed talk show regular Elisabeth Hasselbeck of ABC’s The View. (more…)

The Kinsley Manifesto: You Can’t Believe in the Bible and Be My President

Michael Kinsley has raised the bar. Starting out on the trail blazed by his former Slate colleague Jacob Weisberg, Kinsley has pulled out a blowtorch to slash and burn great swaths of new acreage. Where Weisberg posited (against all evidence) that people who believe in prophets are incompetent rubes, Kinsley argues (against all history) that you can’t even believe in the Bible and be qualified for the presidency. The war of secularist escalation continues, and before long, it’s going to claim some victims.

All of this from a new Time Magazine op-ed titled God as their Running Mate. For a writer as well-respected as Kinsley, the ubiquity of flat-out cheating in this piece is lamentable. (more…)

The Best of Last Week

And . . . we’re back. Hope you weren’t holding your breath.

While there was plenty of coverage of Romney-religion issues during our week of posting silence, we might as well use the comeback post to highlight the best entry. That award goes (by a long shot) to A Mormon President, by Laurie F. Maffly-Kipp writing in the Christian Century. Several readers sent emails regarding this story while I spent last week mostly in a drowsy haze, and I’m glad to have seen it.

This piece should serve as the authoritative reference on the topic of “How Would Romney’s Religion Influence His Politics as President?” The treatment of Mormonism is surprisingly fair, but even more unusual, it is full of depth and nuance that is possible only for someone deeply familiar with this religion.

Ms. Maffly-Kipp’s writing is especially interesting for one of its repeating themes– the idea that for all its moral absolutism and hierarchical authority, Mormonism is absolutely bristling with emphasis on individual autonomy. While this element of the faith is admittedly easy to overlook in favor of the flashier doctrines, it is absolutely crucial to an understanding of what motivates the average Mormon, particularly in political life. You could even go a step farther and say that Mitt Romney himself is undoubtedly motivated by Mormon concepts of agency, free will, and spiritual humanism (that’s my own term– the LDS-inspired idea that human individuals are beings of enormous value and potential).

Kudos to Ms. Maffly-Kipp for her piercing insights and willingness to get the Mormon faith right. Further compliments for the ability to analyze Mormons as a unique set of people while also refusing to assume that Mitt Romney must be exactly like every other Mormon. Needless to say, this article is highly recommended.