That's the title of a WSJ op-ed piece by James Taranto taking yet another run at the "Can Mitt get nominated?" question. It's clear he has a shot at being elected, the only real question is whether Evangelical Republicans will swallow their sectarian prejudice and nominate him. That's exactly where Taranto comes down on it, noting in his last sentence: "If Mr. Romney runs for president, it may test the proposition that the religious right is an issues-based movement as opposed to a sectarian one." So it's not just Mitt Romney who faces a defining political moment next year, it's also politically engaged Evangelicals.
For those of you too lazy to follow the link, here's the key passage:
A crucial question will be whether Mr. Romney's religion is a handicap. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is indigenous to America, but many Americans view it with suspicion. In a 1999 Gallup poll, 17% of those surveyed said they would not vote for a Mormon for president, far more than said the same of a Jew (6%) or a Catholic (4%).
Wow, that's a revealing statistic. Consider that in our present enlightened age, most Americans wouldn't have a problem with an African-American president or a female president. But 17% say they would categorically not vote for a Mormon candidate? Remember, that's a poll number, where presumably you have to tell another human being you wouldn't vote for a Mormon candidate just because they're Mormon. I imagine some Americans might decline to vote for an African-American candidate in the voting booth, but I suspect few of them would freely confess that prejudice to a pollster. But somehow confessing anti-Mormon prejudice is not something people think they have to hide. A few bigots are even proud of it. This could be a very interesting presidential cycle.