With former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee running television ads like this one in Iowa, and with Iowa polling numbers starting to show Huckabee with a lead, the Mitt Romney for President campaign announced tonight that their man Mitt will take to the podium in Texas this Thursday to talk about his Mormon religion. The problem, of course, is that the expectations for this speech will be impossibly high for Romney, as the obvious comparison is made between Mr. Romney and then-candidate John F. Kennedy's speech to the Greater Houston Ministerial Association on September 12, 1960.
Reviewing President Kennedy's speech, the soaring oratory is striking not only for its quality, but also in stark contrast to modern oratory which so often demurs from the lofty nature that this speech exhibits. For Mr. Romney, there is much to borrow from in this speech - or rather, perhaps - to be compared against.
"For while this year it may be a Catholic against whom the finger of suspicion is pointed, in other years it has been, and may someday be again, a Jew--or a Quaker--or a Unitarian--or a Baptist. It was Virginia's harassment of Baptist preachers, for example, that helped lead to Jefferson's statute of religious freedom. Today I may be the victim- -but tomorrow it may be you--until the whole fabric of our harmonious society is ripped at a time of great national peril."
"But if the time should ever come--and I do not concede any conflict to be even remotely possible--when my office would require me to either violate my conscience or violate the national interest, then I would resign the office; and I hope any conscientious public servant would do the same."
-John F. Kennedy, 9/12/1960, Houston, Texas
How Mr. Romney will ever reach this standard is hard to imagine. Nonetheless, on Thursday, all American eyes should turn once again to Houston as a potential President takes to the podium in defense of his beliefs.