NEWSWEEK is catching a little heat this week with their "Mormon" cover. The cover is a photo-shopped parody of the popular play, THE BOOK OF MORMON, on Broadway by the creators of SOUTH PARK. A tiny text on the cover even reads, "Mitt Romney, Mormon For President" creating even more controversy. While the feature story is a look at how many Mormons are driven to success in American society, the cover could possibly be more damaging to Mitt Romney than not by focusing more attention on his faith which is considered a cult by most Christians and has many usual beliefs, some adapted from Freemasonry such as a secret handshake in order to be admitted to Heaven, although the Bible seems to indicate that most people don't go to Heaven.
It's probably not helpful to Mitt Romney that NEWSWEEK has helped to make his unusual faith a major discussion point now, where Mitt Romney will now have to focus much time answering questions about his faith. During the 1960 campaign for president, candidate John Kennedy faced many distracting questions about his faith, and only narrowly beat Vice President Richard Nixon to become president.
The question can also be raised whether NEWSWEEK's cover is a legitimate attempt to lure readers by means of controversy or whether it's an attempt to influence the 2012 election by some staff members by putting Romney in an embarrassing light.
Mitt Romney is probably the most electable of any Republican candidate right now, and could likely put together the electoral majority to win the general election unless President Obama can turn around the economy. But, the big problem that Romney is being able to win the Republican nomination in the first place. He's running in a a party with many Christian conservatives who harbor serious reservations about Mormonism. Mormonism supplements the Bible with their own Book Of Mormon, which many Christians deeply object to.
Another big problem for Romney is his two-faced style of politics. He signed a health care law for Massachusetts much like the federal bill that the Obama Administration supported, yet Romney has attempted to condemn the federal legislation. Romney also angered many in the pro-business growth community this past week with his views that humans contributed to global warming or climate change. Romney wants to have it both ways, to support legislation similar to the Obama Administration on one hand, but to attempt to paint his positions he supports as being more conservative. The result is that he's hard to trust, much like the problems that plagued Richard Nixon during his political career.
Mitt Romney proved that he could win election as governor in one of the nation's most democratic states, Massachusetts. But his path to the White house has been far less easy. In 2008, he failed to capture the Republican nomination, and now hopes to be the last man standing among the big name Republican candidates for 2012. But, Romney has a political identity crisis. Is he a more moderate Republican much like his father, former American Motors Corporation CEO and governor of Michigan, George Romney? Or is Mitt a conservative? And now NEWSWEEK has raised the thorny Mormon religion issue for Romney. That's a public discussion that he didn't need to be elevated by NEWSWEEK.
A public discussion of unusual religious beliefs and practices by Mormons can't be something either Mormons or Mitt Romney are welcoming this week. Probably their unified thought, is "Thanks a lot, NEWSWEEK".