Because people like Mitt Romney are already dead-in-the-water when it comes to winning the Republican primary.

I’ll have much more on Mitt Romney’s liberal record on social issues as the primary heats up. Mitt thinks that he can just erase his Massachusetts-liberal record, but we can’t let him get away with it.

“Christianists” ($1 to Andrew Sullivan) like Matthew Naugle exert an undue amount of influence on the primary process. When Mitt Romney is “too liberal” (like Voinovich) for the base, the candidate that they’ll end up putting forth in the general election will be far too conservative for the general electorate.

Fact: Moderates are increasingly supportive of pro-choice positions. In fact, less than one in four Americans believe that abortion should always be illegal.

Fact: Barely more than half (52%) of Americans feel that gay people should be denied the legal rights and responsibilities of marriage in a “civil union” construct.

Despite this – and his staunchly conservative track record – Romney is a charismatic social conservative, and clearly appeals to voters in the Northeast. He, much like Bush, could win a general election on his charisma alone. But he’s “not conservative enough” for the Christianists. And that doesn’t even begin to address the fact that over half of evangelicals would refuse to vote for a Mormon regardless.

Romney was the most electable of the “non-moderate” Republicans, and the base is staunchly opposed. Relative moderates like Giuliani and McCain, while electable in the general election, have no hope of winning the nomination as long as the Christianists maintain their current level of influence.

Apparently Naugle hasn’t learned the lesson of Blackwell’s terrible defeat. Americans aren’t interested in Christianism. Romney was the best hope you had to get a staunch social conservative in the White House again in ’08, and you aren’t even interested. What’s the alternative? Frist? Allen? Brownback? None of those guys could win a national election. Romney could.

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  • Wouldn’t this be the same Mitt Romney that Blackwell so prominently campaigned with and decided to run on a health care plan modeled after Romney’s?

  • The problem with Romney and his liberal social issues is that he brings nothing on the table that is worth making the sacrifice on the social issues, especially considering the other candidates out there.

    I personally believe that the 2008 election will, again, be about war and terrorism. I’m not saying that that cuts against Democrats, as they proved in 2006, but Iraq and terrorism is going to dwarf the usual social issues, especially as these are seen as state by state projects now.

    All that being said, the CW that socially moderate GOP liberals are dead in the water for GOP primaries is absolutely 180 degrees wrong. A socially moderate liberal, who is also fiscally conservative, strong on defense, a truly outstanding spokesperson and is competitive in Democratic areas will have no problems with the GOP base, especially if the other choice is McCain, which much of the base absolutely despises.

    That could be Romney, but it also could be Giuliani. The Democrats 06 victory changed the presidential nomination dynamics completely. It’s all about winning now.

  • Brian

    The insanity starts when someone like Petro is classified as a RINO. Or Voinovich, for the occasional instance where he elects to be pragmatic rather than dogmatic. The gun lobby is about the only pet conservative cause that has legitimate beef with Voinovich. He is consistently anti-labor, anti-abortion, anti-tax, and strongly free-trade, and despite all this he’s labeled a RINO because he thought it irresponsible to cut taxes during a war, and that nuking the filibuster would have been foolish (bet he looks pretty smart on that one now).

    I see zero sign that the Christianist “base” gets it. You can call a guy who doesn’t exhibit 100% compliance with the planks you hold dear a “RINO”, but that doesn’t make it true. Again, Romney is the closest Christianists will get to having a true-blue social conservative in the White House in ’08. If not him, who? Nobody more electable, that’s for sure. Giuliani? He’s more liberal than Romney!

  • Evan

    Theres plenty of time for Mitt to win over support before the primaries. Everywhere you go, once people meet Mitt and see what he’s all about, then it becomes a no brainer. His intelligence,charisma, character, and class is so far above any other candidate from either side.

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