Only Divine Intervention Can Make the Evangelical Endorsement Matter Now

Bookmark and Share  As disgruntled conservatives and the the doubting Thomases of the conservative evangelical community continue to fear the potential candidacy of Mitt Romney,  leading evangelicals met in Texas on Saturday, to finally decide upon a single candidate to unite behind in the hopes of denying Romney the nomination.

After all the hand wringing, they decided to get behind former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, a committed Catholic and self-described consistent conservative.

In explaining the decision, Tony Perkins, the group’s spokesman and President of Family Research Council, said:

“Rick Santorum has consistently articulated the issues that are of concern to conservatives, both economic and social. He has woven those into a very solid platform. And he has a record of stability.”

While the decision and the statement supporting the decision to back Santorum has a plausible tone to it, the facts that led up to the choice of Santorum tell an ugly story which undermines the conclusion that these religious leaders and values voters made.

Rick Santorum is not articulating  “the issues that are of concern to conservatives, both economic and social”, any better now than he was two, three, or four months ago.  Rick Santorum has not “woven those” issues into a more “solid platform” than he already established when he first announced his candidacy.  Yet it took Mitt Romney’s winning of the first nominating caucus and primary for these religious leaders to suddenly decide that Rick Santorum is their man.

The indecision, procrastination, and lack of committment demonstrated by these evangelical leaders up to now,  has essentially made this way too late endorsement of Santorum as the consistent conservative, an incredibly meaningless move that in the final analysis seems to be based less on the actual issues and more upon religious bigotry.

Had these moral men and women been truly sincere and really did believe that Rick Santorum was the best candidate for them and the nation, they would have and should have reached this conclusion well over a month ago, when the decision may have helped Rick Santorum pick up the 9 votes it would have taken for him to actually win in Iowa.  If these people of conviction had the courage to turn their moral conviction in to political courage, they would have united behind Rick Santorum many weeks ago and while Santorum was campaigning in New Hampshire, the evangelical community could have been coordinating their efforts and preparing South Carolina for Santorum.

But for some reason, the spirit to support Rick Santorum suddenly struck these movement conservatives now, when it looks like Mitt Romney might lock up the nomination.

For some reason, I find it hard to believe that the so called consistency of Rick Santorum is the real reason behind their endorsement.  A part of me can’t help but feel that Mitt Romney’s Mormonism is more a factor.  While some of the most well known and popular mainstream evangelical leaders have stated that they have no issue with Romney’s faith in a political context, others have not been so tolerant.    One such person is Robert Jeffress of the Southern Baptist Convention.  Pastor Jeffress, a Perry supporter, essentially declared that he disqualified Mitt Romney’s candidacy simply because the former Massachusetts Governor is a Mormon.  And Jeffress is not alone in that sentiment among many people of more mainstream faiths.

In their defense, this group of 150 evangelical leaders may deny that religious bigotry played a role in their decision.  Such denials inevitably make this a my word versus their word issue, but what their is absolutely no denying is the fact that the evangelical base of the Republican Party, embarrassed themselves during this election cycle.

They essentially defeated themselves during this nomination process.  Their inability to agree upon a single candidate as their favorite social conservative, has in large part been the reason for Mitt Romney’s success to date.   Now, at this late stage in the game, their endorsement of Santorum seems to lack any real meaning.  The unavoidable impression they created here is one of last minute desperation which makes their endorsement of Santorum seem quite half hearted and disingenuous and most of all, a last ditch effort designed more to stop Mitt Romney than support Rick Santorum.

Meanwhile, as stated previously, the endorsement is too little, too late.

First of all, in the Bible Belt of South Carolina, Catholics like Rick Santorum are viewed only slightly better than Mormons and the weak endorsement of Santorum by conservative Christian leaders does little to chip away at that bias among the evangelical masses.  Under normal conditions, the endorsement would have certainly helped to convince this voting bloc to approve of the Catholic more than the Mormon, but the inept handling of the evangelical leader’s decision makes these conditions far from normal.  So it would seem that Santorum’s sudden spiritual based support will not save him in South Carolina and it will probably fail to gain traction in Florida, where conservatives are resigning themselves to the inevitability of Romney’s nomination and beginning to unite behind him.

Secondly, the unconvincing sincerity of the evangelical endorsement will do little to help Rick Santorum raise the amounts of money that will be required to continue competing with Romney effectively.

In the end, the entire process leading up to endorsement by these evangelical leaders seems to me to have been quite an unsavory one. I have also found it to be quite hypocritical.  During the Sunday morning news shows, several speakers for this coalition of Christian leaders made it clear that electability was the main reason behind their decision.  Tony Perkins added that Rick Perry was actually the favorite going in to their Saturday meeting, but he failed to meet their electability expectations.  So they went with Santorum.  The problem with that claim is that if electability of someone who promises to commit themselves to the same conservative values that they share, than Mitt Romney would have to  win on that argument.  But there was far more to this decision than electability and the consistency which this Christian coalition also claims led to their endorsement of Santorum.

I believe it came down to the fact that Mitt Romney is a Mormon and that any excuse to deny him their support provided these social conservatives with a quick and easy way to deny religious bigotry played a role in their decision.    Were that not the case, based upon the Christian belief that people can change and redeem themselves, Mitt Romney’s committment to their issues combined with his electability should have allowed them to unite behind Romney.  Instead these religious leaders were more hellbent on just stopping Romney.

The question now becomes, will they be hellbent enough to stop Obama that they will allow themselves to vote for a Mormon come November?

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Obama Strategy Is To Paint Romney as Weird and Assassinate His Character

Bookmark and Share   Recent reports from numerous outlets have discussed the claim that President Obama is preparing a campaign strategy that is designed to paint Mitt Romney as being “weird”. This stems from a reported quote from an Obama advisor that stated:

“There’s a weirdness factor with Romney, and it remains to be seen how he wears with the public,”

 That same advisor noted that the contrasts they’d drive between the President and the former Massachusetts governor would be

“based on character to a great extent.”

According to Politico “a prominent Democratic strategist aligned with the White House” said:

“Unless things change and Obama can run on accomplishments, he will have to kill Romney,”.

Have to kill Romney”…….so much for that political correctness Democrats preach about and their cries for civility in politics. But those of us who understand the use of metaphoric flare, understand what was meant by that remark. However that still does not make the comment any less inflammatory. It is a direct claim from a member of the Obama camp, that the President does not intend to run on the issues but will instead focus on personality.

At the moment, the Obama strategy is planned to be used against frontrunner Mitt Romney but considering President Obama’s record, the strategy will probably be the same regardless of who the nominee is. Nevertheless, let us look at this strategy in terms of Mitt Romney.

Any attempt for Barack Obama to portray Mitt Romney as weird is about as ridiculous as the claim that Barack Obama had the experience to be a President in the first place. Besides, you think Mitt Romney is weird? Have you looked at our President? How many wealthy Americans have a brother living in poverty on ten dollars a month in Kenya? How many Americans have convicted terrorists like Bill Ayers for a friend? How many Americans have a Pastor who preaches racial hatred and are unaware of it? How many Americans grew up in Hawaii and moved to become the state senator representing the slums of Chicago? If ya wanna talk weird, let’s have at it Barry!

As it pertains to Mitt Romney, the second part of the “killing” of Romney consists of a full-out assault on Romney’s record as a successful businessman. Really? Does President Obama really want to go their? I would love to compare Mitt Romney’s business record to the only comparable record that President Obama has………..his handling and manipulation of the U.S. economy? Bring it on Barry!

Politics is politics and to be fair, if the shoe were on the other foot and a Republican were in Obama’s position, they too would probably have to resort to character assassination as their only means of winning. But part of President Obama’s weirdness angle is undoubtedly a subtle attempt to exploit Mitt Romney’s religion. Romney’s Mormonism is somewhat alien to most Americans. In fact many Americans still equate the official Mormon Church of Latter Day Saints with polygamy. Indeed there are several mainstream TV series that proliferate this view such as HBO’s “Big Love”. But for President Obama, of all people, to try to take advantage of this form of religious bigotry, is beyond despicable and hypocritical.

One of President Obama’s first major initiatives in the Oval Office was to reach out to the Muslim community at home and abroad in a mission to promote religious tolerance. And President Obama has himself  been the victim of wild innuendo and religious-based bigotry that has tried to claim that he is a Muslim and sympathetic to the cause of Isamic terrorists. As such, for President Obama to even subtly try to exploit Romney‘s Mormonism is utterly disgraceful.

So far that has not begun, but it seems as though the seed is their within the campaign strategists that President Obama is surrounding himself by and building his reelection effort on. Hopefully, the President will think twice about such a strategy and veto the architects of his presidential reelection effort. If not, President Obama will go down in history as the first President to see our credit rating downgraded and the biggest hypocrit to ever sit in the Oval Office since Bill Clinton .   Oh wait, I take that back.  He already is both of those things.

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