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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