"Mitt Romney has already proven he will prefer Mormons in top positions by tapping Mike Leavitt as his transition team head."
"Most important thing is that they're qualified. If they have the educational and experience qualifications, small to zero fallout."
"He needs to be very careful. Millions of eyes will be watching to see if he plays favorites because of religion."
"Believe it or not, there are some Mormons who know how to do important things."
"Personally I would be extremely upset if he began appointing prominent church members to his cabinet. We have a ridiculous government here in Utah because that happens, I would hate to see it occur nationally too."
"It really depends on how many people from the LDS faith he would appoint. I doubt Mitt would get any fallout for appointing Kirk Jowers to his staff."
"Regardless of who he'll appoint, someone will complain. Nature of the beast."
"Mike Leavitt makes some sense because Mitt doesn't have a huge political resume so he doesn't have much top talent that he has worked with. If it becomes a pattern, you will hear about it. I think this is a reason he didn't pick Chaffetz for the house liaison."
"If they are seasoned politicos nobody would blink about it."
"If Romney win the 2012 Presidential election, he will be able to do whatever he wants during the first year. He could appoint an LDS Apostle without too much political fallout. After that the uber-religious right will keep close tabs on him to see if he is bringing any of that 'secret' Mormon activity into the White House."
"Depending on the national reputation of the person. For example, if he were to appoint Clayton Christensen to a high ranking position related to management, etc., I don't see how he could be faulted on the basis of his religion."
"Haters gonna hate."
"I could be naive, but I'm not sure it really matters that much anymore. sure, there will be some, but I don't think it's the big deal some make it out to be."
"Not much, if any, for a few on his White House staff, a little for minor cabinet posts, a lot for major cabinet posts and Supreme Court Justices. Lets be honest, there are only a "handful" of Mormons that would otherwise have the "resume" for these positions anyway."
"It depends on how many. If he picks one or two Mormons for high profile positions, it probably won't be a big deal. Most people would expect him to pick at least a couple."
"Officially, it shouldn't make a difference. Who can remember the last time an appointee was questioned because they were Southern Baptist, Catholic or Jewish?"
"All Presidents surround themselves with those whom they have associated and whom the trust--the Irish Mafia with Kennedy, Bush's Texans, Obama's from Chicago, etc. As long as they are qualified and it isn't done excessively it will not be an issue."
"Should Mitt prevail, he needs to be very careful appointing members of the LDS Church to top positions. People are very wary of the Mormon-influence and he could lose his base very quickly if they felt he was trying to establish that as any type of consistent influence."
"'Mormom Mafia' would become the hot new word in D.C."
"A Romney Administration will have fewer LDS top officials than past Republican administrations precisely because of the sensitivity."
Some anonymous comments:
"It's only the far right and the far left that that want to keep mixing religion and politics. The middle groups want to keep religion and secular issues separate."
"Did Kennedy have this problem in 1961?"
"He wouldn't overdo it with LDS appointments because he would need to get reelected."
"Religion shouldn't matter, neither should race or gender but they do. Any appointment of LDS folks will have opposition to it. Maybe not open congressional opposition but opposition is rarely open in Washington."
"If the candidates have unassailable credentials it should not be a problem. But the more Mormons appointed, the greater the scrutiny and expectations will be."
"Personal staff won't be a big issue, cabinet posts he could name up to two if they aren't the high profile ones. I don't think he could name a mormon as Sec. of Treasury or Sec. of State or Sec. of Defense but could pretty much do a couple for the rest of the cabinet spots. The real 'Mormon' presence will be at lower and mid levels but since there aren't that many Mormons, and not that many 'qualified' Mormons we are only talking about a few hundred out of the thousands of important positions anyway so it won't be that big a deal overall. Look for a few 'Mormon money' ambassadors like Kem Gardner too."
"It depends on their reputation. Jon Huntsman and Mike Leavitt might have enough clout to not cause backlash about their religion, although there still would be resistance to their moderate ideologies."
"If Romney picks more than two Mormons, he'll have to hire at least three Jews, two Jews if one of them is a woman. A Mormon woman would only count as a half Mormon against the Mormon cap. Jon Huntsman would count as a quarter Mormon. So he could hire four Mormon women (good luck with that) without needing offsets. Not sure if hiring Hindus, Muslims, or humanists offsets hiring Mormons."
"There will be opposition to any appointment. Religion shouldn't matter, but that won't be the real world. The public will end up accepting a modest amount."
"Religion shouldn't matter - but it does."
Some anonymous comments:
"Leavitt is competent, but he does not possess a Chief of Staff personality. He is likely be be named a special advisor."
"Good administrator, not enough political management since he helped Norm Bangerter."
"It's an interesting idea, maybe even a good one. But I doubt it."
"I don't know his options. Certainly he trusts him enough to help with building the team. Once built, Leavitt will have been established by default as a leader within the group. Makes sense that he would be COS but politics don't always make sense, now do they?"
"Sure, and while we are at it, Donny and Marie for ambassadors to Trinidad and Tobago . . . It just isn't going to happen. But who am I to ruin anyone's fantasy?"
"I don't know who he has in his campaign that he might have in mind for that role. Also, that could depend on the way someone performs during the campaign."
"He would be a good choice. He knows Washington well and how to get things done, they have a history of working well together, and Leavitt is smart. If Rahm Emanuel is a proper stereotype of a chief of staff, however, Mike doesn't swear enough."
"The pushback we've already seen about him from conservatives probably dooms him, since Romney doesn't seem to have much of a spine."
"Governor/Secretary Leavitt would make an outstanding Chief of Staff. He understands the federal government and he appreciates the very important role of the states. We haven't had that for awhile in D.C."
"Mike Leavitt would be a qualified chief of staff if he were asked to serve in that position. Should a man be disqualified because he belongs to the same religious denomination as the President? We would have had a difficult time finding "appropriate" candidates for chief of staff in many other presidencies if we used the religious affiliation as a Litmus test. Would we do the same if the candidate and the President were atheists? Oh, that was a stupid question: Religion can be a determinant, but lack of religion would not be questioned."
"Whether or not it's chief of staff, Leavitt will probably have a major role."
"I hope so. No one...NO ONE...would be better at the position."
"Mike Leavitt would be an outstanding Chief of Staff. He has been one of the 10 best administrators in the state or federal government."
Respondents include -
Fred Adams, Stuart Adams, Jess Agraz, Scott Anderson, Laura Arellano, Patrice Arent, Bette Arial, Neil Ashdown, Bruce Baird, Tom Barberi, Heather Barney, Steve Barth, Jeff Bell, Tom Berggren, Mike Bertelsen, Ron Bigelow, Emily Bingham-Hollingshead, Rob Bishop, Laura Black, Nanci Bockelie, Charles Bradley, Jim Bradley, Ralph Brown, Ken Bullock, Chris Bleak, Curt Bramble, Joel Briscoe, Ralph Brown, Aaron Browning, Dave Buhler, Ken Bullock, Ric Cantrell, Maura Carabello, Marty Carpenter, Rebecca Chavez-Houck, Kay Christensen, David Clark, Kim Coleman, Peter Corroon, Tim Cosgrove, Fred Cox, Lew Cramer, Gene Davis, Richard Davis, Brad Daw, Alan Dayton, Margaret Dayton, Mike Deaver, Brad, Dee, Joseph Demma, Jake Dennis, Dan Deuel, Jeff Dixon, Brian Doughty, Carl Downing, Randy Dryer, Susan Duckworth, Donald Dunn, Alan Eastman, Becky Edwards, Scott Ericson, Chase Everton, Jessica Fawson, Janice Fisher, Wendy Fisher, Lorie Fowlke, Ronald Fox, Ryan Frandsen, Adam Gardiner, Jordan Garn, Ernie Gamonal, Luke Garrott, Dave Gessel, Natalie Gochnour, Robert Grow, Karen Hale, David Hansen, Neil Hansen, Joe Hatch, Jeff Hartley, Dan Hauser, Lynn Hemmingway, Deidre Henderson, Neal Hendrickson, Casey Hill, Lyle Hillyard, Kory Holdaway, Randy Horiuchi, Ben Horsley, Bruce Hough, Scott Howell, Greg Hughes, Miriam Hyde, Allison Isom, Casey Jackson, Eric Jergensen, Mike Jerman, Jonathan Johnson, Michael Jolley, Gordon Jones, Leslie Jones, Pat Jones, Kirk Jowers, Jeremy Keele, Brian King, Scott Konopasek, Steve Kroes, Chris Kyler, Carter Livingston, Fred Lampropoulos, Clark Larsen, Douglas Larson, David Litvack, Larry Lunt, Matt Lyon, Ben McAdams, Daniel McCay, Gayle McKeachnie, JT Martin, Maryann Martindale, Jason Mathis, Bob Mayhew, Karen Mayne, Bret Milburn, Derek Miller, Rob Miller, Ethan Millard, Brett Millburn, Karen Morgan, Jeffery Morton, Mike Mower, Holly Mullen, Wayne Niederhauser, Mike Noel, Randy O'Hara, Ralph Okerlund, James Olsen, Val Oveson, Kelly Patterson, John Pearce, Helen Peters, Karen Peterson, Frank Pignanelli, Becky Pirente, Marie Poulson, Jason Powers, Tami Pyfer, Joe Pyrah, Mike Reberg, Jill Remington Love, Lauren Richards, Holly Richardson, Robin Riggs, James Roberts, Luz Robles, Ross Romero, Carol Sapp, Don Savage, Bryan Schott, Shauna Scott-Bellaccomo, Jay Seegmiller, Jennifer Seelig, Patrick Shea, Randy Shumway, Soren Simonsen, Jeremy Slaughter, Brendan Smith, Brian Somers, Carol Spackman-Moss, Robert Spendlove, Barbara Stallone, Howard Stephenson, David Stringfellow, Mike Styler, Shinika Sykes, Juliette Tennert, Gary Thorup, Kevin Van Tassell, Royce Van Tassel, Doug Thompson, Michael Waddoups, Laura Warburton, Chuck Warren, Christine Watkins, LaVarr Webb, Todd Weiler, Alan West, Mark Wheatley, Larry Wiley, Ted Wilson, Carl Wimmer, Mike Winder, Travis Wood, Thomas Wright, Crystal Young-Otterstrom
Results from the UtahPolicy.com/KSL Insider poll can be heard on KSL Radio every Friday and read on Utah Policy.com every Monday.