In 2008, Evangelicals, particularly from western Iowa, pretty much cost Mitt Romney the Republican nomination for the presidency. And yet, yesterday the Editorial Board of the Des Moines Register, the biggest journalistic voice in that state, endorsed Mitt Romney for the 2012 general election now less than 10 days away. This marks the first time in 40 years that the paper has backed a Republican.
Newspaper endorsements do not matter like they used to, but they do matter, and this one is huge. The signs continue to mount that Mitt Romney has captured, fully, the Evangelical vote. The Catholic Bishops are coming dangerously close to outright endorsing him, so the Catholic vote is seemingly his as well. That is quite possibly an unbeatable combination. Once again we see evidence that Barack Obama thinks the world thinks like he does. I don’t think he realized that for many of us, faith matters deeply and predominantly.
CNN is recycling an old story, by their own admission, about Romney’s “faith journey.” There is a sort of “at a distance” about the story that simply rings hollow to the believer of any stripe. Faith is not a demographic, and identity, nor a mere affiliation. It is something much deeper, something that we seek to allow to change us fundamentally – to make us better and to allow us to rise above our base desires. But then the press has not “gotten” deep, committed faith for quite some time.
I am not sure Obama understood this either as he began his assault on religious conscience and freedom. I have to believe he thought most people of faith would just shrug their shoulders, as he obviously did when listing to the rants and “God Damn America’s” of Jeremiah Wright, because in his mind faith was just a box we tick off on Sunday.
It may be without historical precedent that an incumbent candidate for the presidency has so profoundly misunderstood the American people. We will probably never know whether he was intentionally not listening or simply lacked the mental capacity to hear. And the possibility remains, though it is shrinking, that he may yet prevail. But it is now clear that were that unlikely event to occur, that like the first time, it would not be because he represents the will of the American people. It would be because he capitalized on an extraneous set of circumstances that made the election about something other than what really matters most to most Americans.
But that is not the “big picture” I am getting. I am getting a picture of Mitt Romney, rising from the Iowa that rejected him some four years ago, becoming the next President of the United States and unleashing the natural forces that have made this nation uniquely great in the history of nations.