by Max Brantley
The Washington Post has retold a well-known piece of Arkansas history — the 1857 slaughter of an Arkansas wagon train by Mormon militia in what's become known as the Mountain Meadows Massacre.
By the Post's account, the event is well-remembered and perhaps politically significant in Arkansas this year.
There aren’t many places in America more likely to be suspicious of Mormonism — and potentially more problematic for Mitt Romney, who is seeking to become the country’s first Mormon president. Not only do many here retain a personal antipathy toward the religion and its followers, but they also tend to be Christian evangelicals, many of whom view Mormonism as a cult.
And yet, there is scant evidence that Romney’s religion is making much difference in how voters here are thinking about the presidential election and whether they are willing to back the former Massachusetts governor.
“I think the situation right now is more anti-Obama than any other situation,” said Dave Hoover, chairman of the Carroll County Republicans.
I think Dave Hoover is right. But I do think Romney's religious background could be a small contributing factor — a bigger factor being his general cluelessness about average people — in the excitement he generates or fails to generate. Of course, you can generate a lot of enthusiasm based on the fear or hatred of those who are different, too. See Mountain Meadows.