Article VI Blog

"Religion, Politics, the Presidency: Commentary by a Mormon, an Evangelical, and an Orthodox Christian"

United States Constitution — Article VI:

"No religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States."

Laying Traps

Posted by: John Schroeder at 04:33 pm, April 16th 2012     —    5 Comments »

I wonder if some people understand how they play into the political oppositions hands?  Today brought us a story about how Evangelicals and Catholics can work together:

Despite differences over contraception, evangelical leaders have fallen in step with Catholic bishops over what they see as federal compulsion to provide services against their conscience.

[...]

Evangelicals including Chuck Colson, Albert Mohler, and Jim Daly specifically said the issue was not just a Catholic one. While evangelicals do not take the same stance against all contraception, they generally oppose forms of birth control that block uterine implantation.

And yet, one of the biggest names in Evangelical leadership, Ralph Reed, tells us:

But Santorum and his supporters may have the last laugh. From John C. Fremont to William Jennings Bryan in the 19th century to Barry Goldwater, Eugene McCarthy, George McGovern and Ronald Reagan in our time, losing presidential candidates have previewed the ideological trajectory of their parties — and often of the nation.

Romney would be wise to remember this in his general-election campaign. Of course he can’t neglect independents, or women, or Hispanics, or other nontraditional Republican constituencies. But his immediate task is to consolidate conservative support and unify the party. The best way to do that is to appropriate the best parts of Santorum’s message.

So, rather than follow the lead of the party, like Evangelicals are doing on the contraception issue with Catholic leadership, they are telling the WINNER that he has to move towards them.  In other words, they are emphasizing the divide inside the party at the time when the clear message is to come together.  Reed is absolutely right when he says the immediate task is to “unify the party,” but given that Evangelicals, in the form of their designated candidate Rick Santorum, are the LOSERS is not the onus on them to make concessions to party unity?

And so, into this picture steps Team Obama and their more-then-willing allies in the MSM.  First we turn our attention to Marc Thiessen at WaPo:

Mitt Romney handed President Obama a political gift this weekend, when his campaign announced that he would not file his tax return on time. Romney made the announcement at 5 p.m. on Friday — the time politicians usually put out bad news they hope no one will notice. Team Obama noticed all right. The president took a break from the Summit of the Americas in Colombia to criticize Romney’s lack of transparency, while Obama campaign manager Jim Messina declared that it “begs the question — what does he have to hide?”

[...]

The “secrecy” charge is particularly damaging for Romney because it is a clever way for Obama to exploit some Americans’ discomfort with Romney’s Mormon faith without ever raising the issue directly. Recall the outcry last August when a senior Obama adviser declared their intention to highlight the “weirdness factor with Romney.” Team Obama knows many Americans see Mormonism as a “secretive” religion. Calling Romney a “secretive” candidate is a way to tap into those fears without incurring any political blowback.

Now. lay on that Lois Romano’s Politico piece of early this morning:

Mitt Romney’s Mormon faith has hovered over his 20-year political career like a thick layer of incense at Easter Mass. Negative perceptions of the religion so worried his 2008 presidential team that the dilemma had its own acronym in campaign power point presentations: TMT (That Mormon Thing).

Worries persisted this year as skeptical evangelical Christians flocked to other candidates—any other candidate it seemed — causing Romney to avoid all things Mormon in public.

But now that the former Massachusetts governor is the likely GOP nominee, many Republicans think that the standoffish candidate actually needs to embrace his Mormonism publicly to open a window into his life.

So, the left are telling Romney he has to tell everybody about his Mormonism.

On all the issues that matter, Romney is socially conservative.  There is no reason whatsoever to be “suspicious” of whether Romney is a “real conservative” save for suspicions about his faith.   And yet the Evangelical right continues to insist that he prove his sincerity – a fact which can only be seen to mean he has to be somehow “less Mormon” (more like Santorum.)  It’s like the Evangelicals, in their petulance, swung for the fences when a base hit or sacrifice is what is called for .

Social issues are simply not in the issue set for this campaign.  To stand up and argue social issues would be to talk about stuff that just does not matter this cycle.  Time spent talking about stuff that does not matter in an election cycle is time spent losing that election.  Talking social issues, and especially talking religious identity, is giving the left bait with which to set traps.  Therefore it is time to be quiet and step up to the plate and make the sacrifice.  Santorum’s amazing performance makes it a spectacular sacrifice fly, but it is still a sacrifice – an effort to advance the runner if not bring him home.

The alternative is four more years of Obama; therefore, unalterably changing the nature of our nation.  I like our nation just the way it is, as does every conservative regardless of their particular brand of conservatism.

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