Monday, December 03, 2007

Romney's Big Speech (and Big Mistake?)

Most readers of this blog know that I'm on record supporting Mike Huckabee for President. My second choice would be Mitt Romney--and if he's nominated, I'd definitely support him.

Now I may very well be proven wrong, but on this side of Thursday I have to say that I agree with the views of Ross Douthart ("it's a big mistake") and David Frum ("a big and possibly disastrous error") and Daniel Larrison ("My guess is that Romney gives the speech on Thursday and his campaign in Iowa begins to implode. . . .").

Larrison puts it well:
The impossible balancing act is stressing the political irrelevance of the theological differences Mormonism really does have with Christianity while simultaneously claiming that this very same religion, whose distinctive substance is supposed to be irrelevant, informs and shapes his “values” that he will rely on to make judgements about policy. Another part of the balancing act (which is where it becomes really dangerous politically) is to declare that it is “un-American” to judge a candidate based on his religion without insulting the millions of voters who consider a candidate’s religion an important part of selecting their preferred candidate, while also paying homage to the “separation of church and state” without actually endorsing the idea that the separation of church and state has any constitutional basis (which a fairly large number of religious conservatives doesn’t accept). His speech will have to go something like this: “My faith, which is very important to me and has made me who I am, should not be important to you, but it is important that we have a person of faith leading this country, and that person happens to be me.”
At the end of the day, Team Romney decision to give "The Speech" could be a great gift to Huckabee--who is now leading in Iowa, tied for second in New Hampshire, tied for second nationally, and within 1% point of Hillary Clinton. For those interested, Michael Medved has a helpful article on why Huckabee is doing so well.