Orrin Hatch is here in Utah, stumping around town for his reelection. At a stop in Farmington, Hatch predicted that Obama would “use Mitt Romney’s Mormon faith against him in the general election.” When asked to explain himself, he later said that:
The Obama people have some of the best political consultants in the country and they don’t get there because they’re always wonderful people. They’re very tough. I have respect for them. They’re very tough. I’ve met with Axelrod, he’s the best there is in the business. Plouffe, you’ve got to say he’s one of the best. And there is nothing they won’t do.*
Clearly Hatch has watched what his own party has done, attacking the President’s religion, brand of religion, quality of religion, lack of religion, and every goddamned aspect of religion they could muster and he figured turnabout would be fair play in the election. Granted, there’s yet to be any evidence of said religious slander, but Orrin just knows it’ll happen!
Perhaps he’s worried about various, ahem, issues with the LDS Church’s past.
You can find some pretty outlandish statements by some of our early leaders that we’ve all had to live with from time to time, but he [Romney] handles it very well and I think he’s going to do a good job.
Heading off issues with Mormonism’s general unfavorable opinion among the electorate and worries that the LDS Church would have a role in crafting his administration policy, it appears Hatch is going to bat for Romney in defending their shared religion. He warned those tempted to attack them based on religion arguing that Mormons were good people who valued their families.**
For what it’s worth, the Obama campaign pointed to a previous statement issued on the matter from spokesman Ben Labolt, who said, “Attacking a candidate’s religion is out of bounds, and our campaign will not engage in it.” So yeah. There’s that. Perhaps it’s just me, but this is the Mormon who also values being able to fire people, isn’t concerned with the very poor, believes that corporations are people, believes that he’s unemployed, makes $10,000 bets without a care, and has a paid lobbyist for his car elevator. There’s plenty of nonreligious material in play here.
*General slurring and repeated “very tough” mumbling edited for clarity.
**We’ll just forget that for a very long time they also “valued” the idea that black people were cursed.