(Today is the day – promoted by Patrick)
Some time Thursday, Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney plans to make a speech regarding his “Mormonism”. Admittedly, I do not know as much about the Mormon faith as I should, but I respect anyone who has come to the conclusion that they will follow and adhere to a strong religious faith. I do know that many people were hoping that the topic of Mitt’s Mormon faith would not become an issue in this Presidential election, including many in the Romney camp.
If that is the case, then why is Mitt Romney going to make an unsolicited speech about his faith life in what will be a closely watched public forum? Why speak about the very issue they didn’t want to be publicly scrutinized? It sounds very odd to me.
Here is what I have observed over the last few weeks. Baptist Minister, and former Arkansas Governor, Mike Huckabee has steadily surged ahead of Mitt Romney in the Iowa polls and has gained considerably in the national polls as well. Mitt has been banking (literally) on a strong showing in both Iowa and New Hampshire to give him momentum going into the Super Tuesday event in hopes of overtaking Rudy. His plan is now fumbling based on Mike Huckabee’s underfinanced and gravity defying rise in the polls.
I believe Mitt Romney sees what I see. I see a Republican Party beginning to rally around a man that proved himself a strong Governor with a sensational ability to connect with ordinary folks while maintaining a strong religious value system. Unfortunately for Mitt Romney, they are seeing that in Mike Huckabee and not Mitt Romney. Mike Huckabee has made no secret of his faith. His campaign has been filled with open dialogue about his faith, his Youtube videos sound like good advice from a best friend and people are accepting his likeable, unassuming style. With Mike Huckabee what you see is what you get. Mike Huckabee makes no apologies for his faith and insists that it is the very foundation of his life, whether he wins the Presidency or not. Mitt Romney, on the other hand, seems sheepish to speak openly about his religion for fear of a backlash from atheists and devout Christians.
What to do? Well, Mitt Romney has decided to throw caution to the wind and come clean regarding his walk with God. It has worked for Mike all along so maybe it will work with Mitt. The problem is that there are very few Mormons among us. I couldn’t begin to guess how many Mormons are in the United States, but I would be willing to bet a week’s pay that the Baptists outnumber them several fold.
Mark my words – this is Mitt Romney’s Hail Mary Pass. If this goes wrong and the people don’t like what he says it is over for Mitt Romney. People are finding Mitt either soft or wishy-washy on fundamental conservative issues. Mitt comes from the bluest of blue states and clearly he was once for both abortion and civil unions. He can talk all he wants about growing in his experience, but the bible thumpers (like me) aren’t buying it. This Thursday speech will be the most important speech Mitt Romney ever gives – Ever. Truthfully, I don’t know what Mitt can say that will endear him to the Christian voters. I can’t wait.
This has been a long election year with many, many candidates. People are beginning to get a taste of what it will be like to have one of these men, or woman, as President. As the election cycle continues “likeability” will begin to play a more important role. We are going to have to stare at, and listen to, someone for the next four to eight years. Who can we stand? I think as time passes the front runners are going to fade in the eyes of the voters. Already, Hillary, Rudy and Mitt are becoming indigestible. We are beginning to question their motives and history. Rudy cheats on his wives and is convinced that he alone saved America on 9/11. Mitt is a Mormon, but only as long as it doesn’t get in the way of his rise to the top. Hillary simply is not to be trusted – ever. All three of them want to be President, not to help the American people, but simply to be able to say they did it. They want to win and though there is nothing wrong with that – you have to want to win for us, not for youself. The voters are beginning to sense that.
The man to watch is Mike Huckabee. He is currently up by five percent over Romney in Iowa even though Romney has far outspent him. Romney can’t buy additional votes in Iowa anymore. Thursday, we will get to see if he can earn any of them back again….