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More on Mitt's Mormonism

In the event you missed it last night, Cal Thomas asked the question "Can a Mormon Be President?" Meanwhile, David French at Evangelicals for Mitt calls my recent post (Romney's 37% Problem) "off base" and says he believes most Southern evangelicals will not have a problem with Romney's Mormonism. Furthermore, French thinks that attacks against Romney's faith will backfire:

I believe that a frontal attack on the Governor's religion would have an effect that is opposite of that predicted by many pundits. It is easy to forget that many evangelicals are deeply disturbed at the way in which the left and especially the mainstream media (What am I saying? The left and the mainstream media are the same entity) have consistently mocked and attacked their faith. It is much easier for me to imagine evangelicals getting angry at religion-based attacks on a man of obvious and demonstrated integrity and a man who forcefully and eloquently advocates political and moral values that evangelicals share. Remember, in the context of a presidential race, the attacks will not be seen as simply attacks on a religion but also as attacks on a person . . . a person that evangelicals will like. I believe evangelicals will respond to dirty tricks by saying, "Let's leave the religious bigotry to the Democrats."

He may be right. The only problem is that any attacks on Romney's faith certainly won't be "frontal." They'll be whispering campaigns conducted under the radar and behind the scenes. And the inevitable Time cover story or 60 Minutes piece that Douthat mused about won't come off as overt attacks on Romney either, though they will manage to raise questions and focus attention on his faith.

One final factor that shouldn't be overlooked is plain old human nature: what people say publicly versus what they do privately behind the curtain of a voting booth can often be two different things. It's obviously impossible to quantify, but there will be some who say they support the idea of a Mormon being president but simply won't pull the lever for Romney when it gets right down to it if they have questions about or are uncomfortable with certain aspects of his religious beliefs.