The publicity materials for A Mormon in the White House? 10 things every American should know about Mitt Romney (Regnery) feature this declaration from author Hugh Hewitt: “This is the book Mitt Romney didn’t want written. It explores the angles the mainstream media would never see, and raises the questions Mitt Romney would rather disappear.”
Don’t believe it. If Romney is elected president, A Mormon in the White House? should earn Hewitt an appointment as Minister of Propaganda. Some highlights from his purported muckraking:
“Enter Mitt Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts, former leader of the Salt Lake City Olympics, a billionaire venture capitalist who blazed his way through Harvard’s Business and Law Schools and then built a reputation as one of the country’s most brilliant and successful entrepreneurs. The eloquent, funny, self-deprecating father of five sons and grandfather to eleven grandchildren has been married to Ann Romney for more than three and a half decades. He is pro-life, pro-marriage, and pro-Second Amendment. He understands economic growth and the world economy as only wildly successful businessmen do” (pp. 3–4; emphasis added here and elsewhere)
“Many in the pro-life movement will look for candidates willing to master this complex terrain [i.e., stem-cell research] and to advocate for alternatives that protect unborn life, even in its earliest form. Romney’s record in Massachusetts will appeal to such activists.” (p. 115)
“On marriage, Romney advocates for the mainstream position in the country, a solution that happens to be conservative and that rejects extremist solutions and denounces extremist rhetoric.” (p. 143)
All this pales, though, next to the treatment Hewitt gives Romney’s Mormonism. Borrowing the structure of the Right’s argument against gay marriage (i.e., gay-marriage advocates actually want to destroy the very institution of marriage), Hewitt claims that discussion of the political implications of Romney’s faith is actually part of a broader secular attack. Quoth Hugh:
The Left will relish the assault on Romney’s faith, treating it as the soft underbelly of a more generalized assault on the idea of religious belief leading, they hope, to the routine dismissal from the public’s consideration as leaders any man or woman who believes in revelation as well as reason. (p. 8)
Never mind that Hewitt’s full of shit — this is truly ingenious stuff. In one fell swoop, Romney is transformed from an object of suspicion to a martyr to the cause, someone whose candidacy deserves the support of believers of all stripes.
Will it work? We’ll know next year. For now, though, the early signs are promising: as of Tuesday afternoon, a day after its publication date, A Mormon in the White House? was Number 60 on Amazon.com. It's since risen to Number 30.