Herman Cain this week told the Washington Times that Mitt Romney's main obstacle to the Republican nomination is his Mormon faith. Cain reasoned that southern evangelicals would hold his religion against him, even though he is a good candidate.
Cain is a good man and would make a good nominee himself. However, he is dead wrong on both Romney and southerners.
Romney's main problem is his faith in state based solutions. His signature program as governor od Massachusetts was a government health care system. In today's environment where Republicans hate big government more than they have in years, Romney really has a shaky resume. He has to emphasize free market economic solutions and play down his problematic health care past.
This is the core of my issue with Romney, as well as many Tea Partiers. It is also why the mainstream media seems to love this guy. Conservativism is different from place to place. Romney may be conservative for New England, but the South and Midwest, economically and otherwise, see him as moderate or even liberal. This is why he will not be nominated, not his religious faith.
Republicans are more focused on economic and domestic policies than in any time that I can remember. Additionally, Mormonism faces less prejudice than at any time in that faith's history, except among Christian hating liberal and leftists. They benefit from the success of the HBO show Big Love (even though that show's emphasis on polygamy does not reflect current official Mormon practice) as well as the increased prominence of Brigham Young University in collegiate athletics.
It hurts the Republican Party to continue making Mormonism an issue. They are a different brand of Christianity, but they are strong backers of the kinds of values Republicans believe in. Most Republicans would have no problem with a Mormon nominee, provided that he or she was dedicated and devoted to free markets and smaller government.