Witty Comebacks

No one’s ever asked to see my birth certificate.

That’s true, Mittens, but how about showing us your underwear?

Mormon temple garment, circa 1879, via Wikipedia.

This joke brought to you by the Woman Formerly Known as Goose, who objects strenuously to the lowering of political discourse in these United States but nonetheless can’t stop thinking about Mitt Romney’s underwear. I know that sounds strange and superficial, but WFKG’s curiosity goes to the deeper question of whether Americans are really ready to move a Mormon into the White House, despite a recent Gallup poll showing that 80% of voters would be “willing to vote for a well-qualified presidential candidate who happens to be Mormon.” I think that number is high, because I think that’s one of those poll questions likely to elicit horse $hit a polite-sounding answer rather than an honest one. (Interestingly, respondents are less polite when it comes to atheists and Muslims than when it comes to Mormons. Only 54% said they would be willing to vote for a candidate who identifies as atheist; 58% said they would be willing to vote for a Muslim. So much for pluralism, eh?)

The Romney campaign must harbor similar suspicions about the accuracy of the sure-I’d-vote-for-a-Mormon number. The Republican nominee for president has avoided the subject of his religion almost as assiduously as he has avoided disclosing his tax returns, though many observers of the campaign think that focusing more attention on his relationship to his church would be an effective way for Romney to humanize himself and “make[] the case for his worldview.” Perhaps, but it might also remind all those cranky evangelical voters Romney is so desperate to appease that their ministers — and Rick Santorum — used to tell them Mormonism was a cult. That same poll showed that four in ten respondents didn’t know that Romney is Mormon, and I have a hunch the Republican party is hoping to keep it that way. Which is why, when the pageantry and storytelling get underway in Tampa next week, my guess is you won’t be hearing the M-word. Or, you know, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.

So, if it’s cool for Romney to make birther jokes, I say it’s cool for Obama to pop the underwear question. I mean, shucks, kids. Bill Clinton had to answer it. What do you think, Madpeople at your Laptops: Should Romney say more about his faith or continue to avoid the subject? How is this issue playing out in your neck of the political woods? Are we all Mormons or Mormon lovers now, or is there still resistance to the notion of a Mormon president? (We don’t endorse such resistance, of course, being as tolerant of Mormonism as we are of any cult religion. We’re just trying to get a bead on the culture.)

And if you’re scratching your head thinking, “Wow, you know, I actually don’t think it’s cool for Romney to make birther jokes,” go read this. It will help to explain that queasy feeling you’ve got. And if you’ve got a little time and want more context, go read this (Ta-Nehisi Coates’s “Fear of a Black President” from The Atlantic). We live in interesting sick times, darlings. Some days, it’s hard to keep up with the Madness, but stick with us. We’ll muddle through it together, somehow. Peace out.


  1. I think Romney should go fucke himself, the greedy motherfucken asshole.


  2. I don’t have a problem with Mormons–just with pols like Mitt Romney.

    I actually feel kind of sad for Mormons, whose first major-party nominee for the Presidency just isn’t performing very well at all. Imagine if the first black major party were Hermann Cain instead of Barack Obama, or if the first woman candidate is someone like Sarah Palin or Michele Bachmann? That’s not how any minority/marginalized group wants to be represented.


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