Five Reasons Why Mitt Romney May Out-Perform Even George Bush With Evangelicals

In today’s Wall Street Journal, Daniel Henninger has a smart (and hopefully prescient) piece on Mitt Romney’s strength with evangelicals.  While no one can predict Tuesday’s outcome with any certainty (Get to the polls, people!  Get to the polls!), I feel confident that Mitt will do very, very well with evangelicals — outperforming John McCain and even perhaps outperforming evangelical George W. Bush, in spite of the alleged increase in “post-partisan” evangelical sentiment.  I can think of five reasons why.

1.  The radicalism of Barack Obama (abortion): I’ve written about this before, but if there is one issue that still unites evangelicals — even evangelicals who consider themselves moderate or possibly even progressive — it’s life.  Simply put, the issue absolutely key to evangelical support for Republican candidates.  I’ve seen confidential polling numbers (not from the Romney campaign, but predating this presidential cycle) indicating that if abortion were removed from the table as an issue, evangelical support for Republicans would simply collapse.  Republicans would lose their base.  In other words, while Christians often embrace opposing views about economics, war, and social safety nets, the case for life is so strong — so morally fundamental and biblically sound — they simply can’t grasp the idea of pulling the lever for a man or woman whose moral compass leads them to often not just permit the intentional mass killing of innocent children in the womb but also to demand that the state subsidize that mass killing.

And make no mistake, Barack Obama is radically pro-abortion.  He was willing to shut down the government to keep funding Planned Parenthood (the nation’s largest abortion provider), he imposed a contraceptive/abortifacient mandate even on religious employers, he voted against the born-alive infant protection act, and his party’s platform demands direct taxpayer funding for abortion.  I’m aware of no legal limit on abortion that Barack Obama supports.  How can a Christian vote for such a man?

2.  The radicalism of Barack Obama (religious liberty): It’s sad and simple truth is that for most evangelicals religious liberty simply isn’t a policy priority.  Sure, they get outraged when they hear that student groups can’t meet in empty classrooms or that a prayer group can’t meet in a private home, but when any given case in their community is over, evangelicals tend to move on to other issues.  Then came the administration’s HHS guidelines.  At first perceived to be largely a “Catholic issue,” thanks to clear communication from prominent evangelicals, the extent of the administration power grab became painfully clear.  Simply put, if the HHS regulations stand, the entire concept of religious liberty as a foundational American liberty is upended.

3.  The values of Mitt Romney:  Despite the fact that Mitt has been running for president for some time, many evangelicals felt like they didn’t really know his character — his core values.  In large part this is because Mitt’s competitors tried to run to his right, and as they did they hurled invective at Mitt, questioning his commitment to life, his commitment to marriage, and even his character and decency.  While this is par for the course in hard-fought primaries, it had a lingering effect — until Mitt’s friends came forward in bunches to testify to his acts of compassion and kindness.  Emails and stories raced around church groups, and the story they told was clear: Mitt is a good man, and he’s a humble man.  Mitt Romney became first acceptable, then — ultimately — admirable.

4.  The Paul Ryan pick:  While Heninger notes the importance of the Ryan pick, most in the MSM — so focused on his budget — failed to grasp the clear message it sent to evangelical voters from a man they’d been told was “wobbly.”  In one stroke, Mitt told economic conservatives he was serious about the budget and values voters that he was serious about life.  He was going to run a “choice” campaign, not a referendum campaign, and Mitt had clearly chosen life.

5.  The vicious opposition:  As the Left bared its claws and tore into Mitt — including his stay-at-home wife, his squeaky clean image, and his “1950s” values — many evangelicals felt their values were being mocked (again).  Even working evangelical moms couldn’t abide the attacks on Ann Romney, and for millions upon millions of evangelical voters, being “squeaky clean” is unmistakably a virtue, not a vice.  In other words, Mormon Mitt Romney became “one of us” because the media made him one of us.

The bottom line: While I’m not making my precise election outcome prediction (that’s coming Monday afternoon, with electoral map and popular vote estimates), I do think evangelicals will turn out for Mitt in numbers that will surprise the MSM and may well put him over the top.

In other words, we’re all Evangelicals for Mitt now.

  • http://talkorigins.org jatheist

    Where do evangelicals stand on the issue of lying?

    While I will readily admit that it’s a (sad) part of every politician’s arsenal – Mitt just seems so much better at it than the others. He lies so well that he can repeat a lie over and over, put out TV ads filled with this lie and even fool the people he’s lying about!!! Oh wait – no he can’t… it turns out that you can’t repeat the same lie about Chrysler and have them ignore it!!

    I can’t imagine a worse political move than to campaign in Ohio and Michigan on a lie so obvious that the auto makers themselves have to release statements pointing out the lie:

    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/10/30/1152627/-Chrysler-CEO-smacks-down-Romney-s-Jeep-to-China-lies?detail=hide

    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/10/31/1152993/-GM-joins-Chrysler-in-smacking-down-Romney-ad-claiming-it-s-moving-jobs-to-China?detail=hide

    I’m sure some of you will ignore these links ’cause they’re from dailyKos – but the facts are the facts and Romney is clearly taking a lot of flack for this latest (in a long line) of whoppers. You can’t deny that these 2 automakers really laid into Romney for this lie…

    • David French

      Hmm, he was just referring to Bloomberg reports from Jeep’s own Chinese operations: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-10-21/fiat-says-china-may-build-all-jeep-models-as-suv-demand-climbs.html

      Of course Chrysler is going to defend its government partner once it’s called on its own comments. The price of a bailout is their own credibility.

      • http://talkorigins.org jatheist

        David wrote: “he was just referring to Bloomberg reports from Jeep’s own Chinese operations”

        Oh please… do you ~honestly~ buy that? Even the article you cite doesn’t back up Romney’s position.

        The very first sentence of the bloomberg article you pointed me to was:
        “Fiat SpA (F), majority owner of Chrysler Group LLC,(snip snip) and may eventually make all of its models in that country”

        May “eventually”…

        And then how do you miss this line from the SAME article:

        “Chrysler currently builds all Jeep SUV models at plants in Michigan, Illinois and Ohio. Manley referred to adding Jeep production sites rather than shifting output from North America to China.”

        He’s ~not~ talking about moving jobs to China, he’s talking about expanding there. Do you need more?

        The article is making it clear that Chryler is doing so well (thanks partly to the bailout) that they are EXPANDING operations into China. Chrysler is also planning on ADDING jobs to it’s NA plants.

        That Romney took this information and (dishonestly) distorted it for his own political gain is pretty bad…

      • http://talkorigins.org jatheist

        And just so I’m clear – it’s not even the dishonesty from a politician that is so bad here (as I’ve said many times – they ALL lie about some things), but it’s the fact that it’s such a lazy lie that is so easily debunked (even the article YOU cite in your claim he wasn’t lying betrays you).

        He’s either:
        a) not that bright (which I find unlikely)
        b) so full of himself that he believes he can say/do anything and the ‘people’ will still support him.

        I think it’s (b).

        • http://talkorigins.org jatheist

          Well it appears that you can’t rebut my story David… Are you really OK with Romney’s blatantly dishonest campaign tactic? Really?

          • David French

            You can’t be serious. We didn’t bail out these companies for them to build manufacturing plants in China. The Bloomberg article — quoting Chrysler officials — said they want to build jeeps in China and Mitt’s ad says they want to build Jeeps in China. If you want to talk dishonesty, how about the ads detailing how Mitt basically killed a woman, the accusations he committed felonies, the claim at the debate that he didn’t propose federal guarantees for the car companies. Mitt’s ad was right, and taxpayers didn’t involuntarily donate billions of dollars to car companies to see them expand production overseas.

          • http://talkorigins.org jatheist

            Yes – I’m serious. I quoted the bloomberg article you cited and it couldn’t be more clear what the article said.

            Chrysler is doing SO well (thank you Prez Obama) that they aren’t just adding jobs to their NA plants (MORE jobs!) but they’re also considering (just considering) opening up a plant in China ~too~. Not instead of – but as well as. This is good news – and Romney is spinning it to make it seem like Chrysler is stopping NA production and moving it to China – which couldn’t be more wrong.

            Regarding the “basically killed a woman” and other things you wrote – I honestly haven’t heard any of that… which is odd ’cause I’ve been following this race.

            At any rate – I will admit that politics is a dirty game which often involves lies… and both parties play that game. I just find Romney doing it far more brazenly than any politician before him ever has.

    • Lisa Hill

      I am sure you were just as angry when the Dems accused Romney of murder and tax fraud! ;)

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