I’ve slowed down slightly on posting, but that doesn’t mean I’ve slowed down on writing. Today in the Washington Post, Jordan Sekulow, Matt Clark, and I make the positive case that conservative Christians and Tea Partiers are moving to Mitt:
Buried in the exit polls from Romney’s more than 15 point win over Newt Gingrich is the fact that Romney won Protestants, Catholics, and virtually tied among evangelicals. Tea Partiers too broke for Romney.
With this, Romney has won the conservative Christian vote in half of the primary contests so far This critical group makes up a plurality of the Republican primary vote in Florida, over 40 percent.
There are several key factors that have led conservative Christians to rally around Romney. First, Romney stands for the values that evangelicals and social conservatives hold dear. He is strongly pro-life. In addition to winning an award from a major pro-life organization in Massachusetts as governor after vetoing expanded access to the morning-after pill and expanded fetal stem-cell research, Romney pro-family, pro-life values are now touted by Florida’s pro-life advocates as well as those in other states across the country.
He has been steadfast in his defense of marriage and religious liberty. After the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court legalized same-sex marriage by judicial fiat, then-Gov. Romney went so far as to file a lawsuit to force the Massachusetts legislature to act on a citizen-initiated marriage amendment. His defense of religious liberty earned him the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty’s coveted “Canterbury Medal,” an award given to leaders in the fight for freedom.
Many evangelicals are angry, and rightly so. They’re angry with a president who embraces abortion rights, who restricts religious liberty and who saddles their children and grandchildren with a mountain of debt. They understand the necessity of protecting life and the imperative of financial stewardship.
But they also understand that we don’t discard our core values for the sake of political victories. Fidelity, honesty, humility and charity matter.
No one doubts that God forgives, but only God knows Newt Gingrich’s heart. We only know his actions, and we know that he has a history of deceiving even those who are closest to him.
Three other Republican candidates are anti-abortion. Three other Republican candidates have been faithful and honest in their personal and professional lives. With honest alternatives to choose from, evangelicals will soon abandon Gingrich.
I’ve gotten several messages from people who tell me that I’m too negative on Gingrich. Yet other Republican candidates have not only advanced the right values, they live them as well. The values that Gingrich has lived have on many occasions been hypocritical and reprehensible, and I’m quite puzzled at the insistence of people who have never met him and will never meet him that he’s unquestionably sincere in his regrets. You have no way of knowing that and many reasons not to trust him.
I have good friends who support Rick Santorum, and I understand why. He’s a hero of the pro-life movement, a man with an exemplary personal reputation, and a person who is living the values we hold dear. I simply don’t think he’s best-equipped to handle the economic crisis we face. Mitt Romney is also a man with an exemplary personal reputation and is living the values we hold dear. Why are so many people taking such a massive risk with Newt Gingrich? Could it be that he channels the anger they feel and that anger is clouding their good judgment?