Thursday, May 10, 2007

Romney: Beyond Belief

"There's two ways to look at this guy. One is that the glass is half empty. The other is that the glass is totally empty."

Stephen Crosby, the Republican dean of the graduate school of policy studies at the University of Massachusetts, is talking about the state’s former governor Mitt Romney.

As he engages the Rev. Al Sharpton in theological debate, Romney is the subject of a Time cover story this week, crediting him with sincerity about his faith, skills as a venture capitalist and success in managing the Olympics but questioning, as opponents have, whether his flexibility on issues is simply expediency.

"He does not appear to be credible in his deathbed conversions--pro-life, anti-homosexual agenda and so on," the magazine quotes Paul Weyrich, a founder of the Heritage Foundation and the Moral Majority. "People simply do not believe him."

For non-members of the Religious Right, that skepticism about Romney’s true feelings may be reassuring, but from all sides, he will have to answer questions about his character.

It would be unfortunate if Romney’s candidacy depended on voters’ prejudice against a Mormon in the White House or if, as Sharpton suggested, “those that really believe in God will defeat him.”

The real issue, Time concludes, lies elsewhere:

“Romney says he wants voters to see ‘somebody who has unusual experience managing tough situations.’ He even titled his Olympics memoir ‘Turnaround.’ The question he must answer now, however, is whether that describes what he can accomplish--or what he is willing to do to get elected.”

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