Opinion: Can Romney win by embracing his Mormon masculinity?

I'll admit it: I was nervous. I thought last night's debate would feature a machismo standoff between Rick Perry and Mitt Romney, and that the bow-legged Texas governor would inevitably prevail. After all, as I've argued before, Mormon men do masculinity differently than their non-Mormon rivals.

And last night, that difference (as well as as some clear gaps in Rick Perry's preparation) worked to Romney's favor.

Perry came out of the gates strong, then got bogged down in sexually transmitted disease (his executive order to vaccinate girls against HPV), garbled intellectual history (on science), threw some wild punches (not backing down on calling Social Security a "Ponzi scheme"), compared himself to a "piñata," and then stumbled to the finish--again raising questions of electability in a general contest.

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