There have been a spat of discussions everywhere about Romney as the next Presidential contendor. The question on most people's minds is how his Mormonism will play out. This is especially the case with the religious conservitive segment of the Republican party that is often at odds with anyone not of their flavor of Christianity or non-Christians in general. So far there hasn't been much, if any, words exchanged about Romney in the negative. The most troublesome part of the Republican party has been quiet. Of course, this is most likely because the primaries are a few years ahead.
The liberal media has stayed rather quiet as far as his religious identity, refering instead to the possible bad hype it will play in certain segments. That is most likely because of two possibilities; they want conservatives to trounce on themselves and they want to not look like the religiously biased people most of them are. That might be an added plus to his running for President when it comes to the Mormon image. So far the secular section has stayed either nuetral or positive toward the fact he is Mormon, and looked more at his career. Of course, the truely touchstone sections of the media have ignored him completely. At this time it is a wait and see moment of calm.
Some have wondered if his winning the presidency would be a bad thing, with non-stop excuse for public Mormon baiting. Past examples have shown, however, that what the person does as a politician plays much more airtime. Sen. Reed, for instance, is a pure politician with hardly a notice of his religious affiliation in his speach and actions (and that discussion is another post). Conservative Mormons might end up excited by him politically, but be dissapointed how little he will change the National perceptions.
He is, however, in the middle of two fractious sides of the political social wars. He is most likely to be seen as too Conservative for the Liberals and too "Mormon" for the Religious Right. That might make it tough to please enough of both parties to gain a majority. He could lose by fiat based on opposing fears.
On the other hand, I don't think his becoming President would be a bad thing. He has already proven his ability to change a dangerously contorted mess and get voted governor of a highly Democratic state. His past actions seem to dictate an ability to weather crisis and come out on top. In the end, I would say he would be anywhere from nuetral to good for the LDS Church’s image and mission; baring an excessively nasty scandal. Then again, as someone else has pointed out, scandal is what politics thrives on.
I wish him well, and as both a Conservative and a Mormon I would vote for him. He is currently the most viable Conservative Republican in the recognized running. It might end up him against a moderate Republican group of primary contendors. The only real visible "threat" would be if Jeb Bush decides to run; and for me that would make a hard choice and a belief that Jeb would win because he is not Mormon. As for who will win the actual Presidential race if he ran? Thats up to the Democrats.