This Washington Post piece discusses the trials and tribulations of John McCain and Mitt Romney as they court social conservative support - and the trials and tribulations of the social conservatives being courted. The fact is, none of the front-runners look good from the sociocon perspective. But other considerations may have to win out:
"Winability is a bigger issue in this campaign because of the Darth Vader-like specter of a Hillary Clinton presidency," according to the Rev. Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention's policy arm. Evangelicals "want the most socially conservative candidate they can find, who can win," he added.Hillary Clinton: somewhere between Communism and Islamofascism on the right-wing enemies list. And nothing unites the right better than its enemies.
McCain and Romney have also done significant spadework to recruit well-regarded social conservative operatives to their cause. McCain has inked Marlene Elwell, who oversaw Robertson's 1988 presidential campaign in Michigan, and Judy Haynes, a former senior official in the Christian Coalition. Romney's team includes Gary Marx, a former head of the Virginia Christian Coalition who was the day-to-day coordinator of evangelical support for President Bush's reelection campaign.And it paints a picture of the social conservatives' own struggles to reconcile their principles with the field of front-runners - while holding back from supporting second-tier candidates like Huckabee or Brownback, who would otherwise be much more their cup of tea.
"Some say this is flip-flopping. It's not. He just flipped."Brilliant. Wait, he was defending Romney?