EVANGELICALS FOR MITT?...

EVANGELICALS FOR MITT? After noticing an incoming link yesterday from Evangelicals For Mitt, I headed over to the advocacy site to take a look for myself. Unfortunately, the place is barred and shuttered, password protected and closed to the masses. Yet it has been built -- Feedster picked up plenty of text behind the wall, including active links. In my experience, few personal web pages are locked until they're ready, but most all official political organizations keep their door tightly shut until the last possible moment. So I'd guess -- though on the basis of rather flimsy evidence -- that this is a professional site, either sponsored by the campaign or operatives near to it. The "WhoIs" information on the domain name backs up my suspicions; the information is hidden, a Utah-based hosting company being the closest thing you get to a name.

Given all the talk that Mitt Romney will find his Mormonism a huge barrier in collecting evangelical votes, it's perhaps not surprising that the outreach is starting this early. My hunch has long been that Romney's religion will manifest itself less as a particular (and particularly controversial) organized faith and more as a set of social beliefs the Christian Right can thrill to. That, after all, is what's happened with evangelicals' former blood enemies the Catholics, and now plenty of scions of the Christian Right take Catholic communion on weekends. Similarly, so much as folks warn that Mormonism is viewed as a cult -- I think Romney is too far from a cult leader, and possibly too attractive an option against actual social liberals like Giuliani -- to resist. That said, Amy Sullivan, who certainly knows more than I about religious matters, examined the issue in-depth and reached the opposite conclusion, so maybe you shouldn't be listening to me. The Romney team certainly isn't. They, or folks close to them, are obviously concerned, and thus the campaign to create an astroturf groundswell of Evangelics for Romney seems to be getting underway early.

Updated against a few too many glib turns of phrase.

--Ezra Klein

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