Friday, February 01, 2008

Blaming Evangelical Christians

K-Lo and Jim Geraghty on NRO note an NBC First Read item about whether evangelicals are keeping Mitt Romney from becoming the GOP nominee. The key quote:
Anyway, we're starting to hear from a lot of smart Republican strategists about what happened. And the thing that everyone seems to come back to is Romney's religion. Why? Ask yourself: Without the issue of Romney's religion, does Mike Huckabee ever take off? Because Mike Huckabee is the single biggest obstacle to Romney coalescing economic and social conservatives behind him to take on McCain.

The sentiment isn't all that suprising. We all want to blame someone else for our failures. Mitt Romney outspent Mike Huckabee by 20-to-1 in Iowa. Is evangelical bias against Mitt Romney's church really the only reason he didn't win enough support from conservative Christians?

I have another theory. To evangelicals, Mike Huckabee is real. See this video, about 2:50 in, for proof.

And here's one for Mitt Romney.

I respect and admire Gov. Romney's change of heart on abortion. Pro-lifers should welcome such shifts. But I think it's fair also to suggest that Gov. Romney's wholesale shifts on issues of importance to social conservatives has at least seemed inauthentic, bordering on pandering. And meanwhile, Gov. Huckabee showed them through work and effort that he could really compete in an election environment.

It certainly possible that some people are biased against Gov. Romney's religion. Gov. Huckabee's campaign may have been the benefactor of that bias. But to take from that that evangelical bigotry is the only reason Mitt Romney failed to bring social and economic conservatives together is really quite a leap. And it fails to place the blame for failure where it really lies: the candidate himself.



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