Are Mormons ready for a Mormon president?
|Here's the partial transcript from Orrin Hatch's recent Hardball appearance. Chris Matthews asks him whether America is "ready" for a Mormon president. Hatch says it is:|
MATTHEWS: Mitt Romney has been making some noises. He's a very impressive fellow. He's a Republican governor of Massachusetts, and that‘s an accomplishment in itself for a Republican.
I'm not sure Hatch is right (that America is ready), but Romney might be the man. I'm wondering, however, whether Mormons are ready for a Mormon president? That would really signal our coming out of obscurity, but the wilderness is a comforting place to hide from the glare of an unforgiving world. If a Mormon president was utterly useless, terribly unpopular, or embroiled in some kind of scandal, it would reflect very badly on the Church in a way that it wouldn't for presidents from other denominations. And can you imagine the fallout overseas? Imagine Bush was a Mormon? Baptisms in Europe would grind to nothing!
Or maybe I'm wrong: if the president's Mormonicity was common knowledge, then it would do wonders for brand recognition that years of missionary work and PR could not even come close to.
I suspect that most if not all Mormons would be delirious if Mitt was president. But we should not imagine that such a prospect would bring only dividends: there might be a high price to pay for such exposure.