My memo to conservative and evangelical leaders

By Joseph Farah

Recently, high-powered Christian public-relations consultant Mark DeMoss sent a memo to unnamed conservative and evangelical leaders urging support of a non-evangelical, non-conservative candidate for the presidency in 2012.

Peculiar?

Not really. DeMoss has long been enamored of Mitt Romney, having supported him enthusiastically for the Republican nomination in 2008.

The emphasis of DeMoss’ well-publicized memo was on creating “a new litmus test” for presidential candidates. And, indeed, support for Romney would require a new standard for committed evangelicals and conservatives – a much lower standard.

The premise of DeMoss’ memo is that Mitt Romney’s values about life, marriage, character and integrity are shared with conservatives and evangelicals. And that is just plain not true.

When Romney ran against Ted Kennedy for U.S. Senate in 1994, he ran to the left of Ted Kennedy on the life issue, on the issue of special rights for people based on their sexual predilection, on Reaganomics, on affirmative action and other issues of prime concern to conservatives and evangelicals.

When he served as governor of Massachusetts from 2003 to 2007, Romney used his executive position to push that liberal agenda on a very liberal state. Long before the Democrats imposed Obamacare on an unwilling nation, Romney pushed Romneycare on a regretful commonwealth. And he still defends that Big Government program to this day! And when the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts exceeded its constitutional authority, ordering the legislative branch of the government to approve same-sex marriage, Romney quickly capitulated to the tyranny of the judiciary and, without a peep of protest, ordered state and local agencies to begin implementing the redefinition of marriage.

If Romney had been a Democratic governor, there is not a doubt in my mind that Republicans would be correctly recognizing him to have been one of the most radical, “progressive,” liberal chief executives in the country.

But Mark DeMoss, presumably, is one of those folks who believes Romney had some kind of an Apostle Paul-like Damascus Road experience between 2007 and 2008 that turned him into a legitimate conservative with new biblical worldview in harmony with evangelicals. I strongly believe Romney’s “conversion” was simply a matter of practical politics by a man driven to be president of the United States.

Everyone knows you cannot get the Republican nomination without at least portraying yourself as a pro-life conservative. It has been that way since the days of Ronald Reagan.

Romney certainly sounded persuasive to me in 1994 in his sincere convictions that he had long been an abortion-on-demand advocate, even committing never to change his position and calling the horrendously illegitimate Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision “the law of the land.”

I’ve been a journalist for 35 years. I’ve learned to judge politicians not by what they say, but what they do. Using that standard, Romney is nothing but an ultra-liberal Republican on economic and moral issues who has made a pragmatic political decision to reinvent himself so he can win the Republican nomination for president. Where am I going wrong? How can people like Mark DeMoss not see that?

“Those who would suggest I am placing values on the back burner will be misreading me and wrong,” he wrote. “I am only saying that a candidate’s values alone are not enough to get my vote.”

Of course values are not enough. One also needs people skills, management ability, determination, fundraising potential, commitment to the Constitution and many other attributes. But a rock-solid foundation on good values is an absolute prerequisite.

Presidential politics is not a sport for the naïve – especially when we’re talking about 2012. America needs someone in the White House to clean up the mess left behind by Barack Obama.

Romney could never be that person.

In fact, judging him by his record, he would be the worst possible choice for the Republicans in that critical election year.

Could he effectively debate Obama on health care, having instituted his own Big Government version?

Could he challenge Obama on the key moral issues of our age, having unconvincingly flip-flopped on them only a few short years ago?

Could he be expected to govern differently than he did while in office just four years ago?

There are only two excuses for principled conservatives and evangelicals to support Romney – and neither of them is good:

  • complete disconnect with his actual record as governor;
  • total naiveté when it comes to the nature of big-league national politics.

As I have concluded in a previous commentary, I wouldn’t vote for Mitt Romney if he were running against Satan himself.