This is a blog on matters Northwest; in general we leave commentary on presidential candidates to others.
Last week's speech on religion and politics by Republican Mitt Romney actually seems to fit because of the context: He was delivering it largely because of the political issues around his Mormon faith; that faith (in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints) is one of the largest in the Northwest, and much the largest in Idaho; and his speech was bound to have an effect on the religious/political environment in the region. The speech was no doubt watched closely not only in Salt Lake City but in many other places with substantial LDS populations.
It was a big moment in the church's history, and the messages it sent out will have significant ripple effects, not least in areas where the LDS population is significant. And in at least one way, it may set a disturbing tone.
It was aimed less at Romney's fellow Mormons or at Americans generally, than at the socially conservative Republican primary voters whose largest concerns about him center on his religion. With them, he tried to make common cause: "Let me assure you that no authorities of my church, or of any other church for that matter, will ever exert influence on presidential decisions. Their authority is theirs, within the province of church affairs, and it ends where the affairs of the nation begin." Observers of Mormons in politics probably have no trouble accepting that, generally at least, the principles of his religion probably influence his decision-making, but that would not be taking orders from the church hierarchy. It doesn't work that way. But then, it wasn't the people in states where Mormons are large in number who needed the convincing.
The disturbing tone came from something else, layered through the speech.