Gallup conducted a survey in 2010 that showed that members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are the most conservative major religious group in the United States. Yet, what have Mitt’s opponents been saying about his political views and to whom do they often make their pronouncements?
Both Speaker Gingrich and Senator Santorum have taken to accusing Mitt of being a liberal. For example, in January Gingrich, speaking outside a megachurch in Lutz, Florida, called Mitt, “pro-abortion, pro-gun control, pro-tax increase liberal.” On 24 February, Santorum was quoted by ABC News as saying that Mitt “is resolutely liberal.” As reported by ABC News:
Santorum’s comments paint Romney as a “liberal” who supported “activist judges,” who granted marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples, who allowed “$50 dollar abortions” and who fought “against the 2nd Amendment” and for “radical environmental regulations.”
So, how to we understand this? Mitt has been an active member of the most conservative religious group in the United States and says that he is conservative. More importantly, his policies as governor were conservative. While the survey does show that some Mormons are liberal (8%, the smallest percentage than for any other group!), what are the chances that the accusations that he is a liberal are correct? Should we believe Mitt or his opponents? Need I ask?
The irony of course in all of this is that Gingrich and Santorum use the accusation that Mitt is liberal while speaking to religious groups that as a whole are less conservative than the group to which Mitt belongs. They of course know that Evangelical Protestants are more conservative than most mainline Protestants, so the perversity arises in the way they frame their message. Using the pretext that they want to alert these conservative groups of MItt’s supposed liberalism, they know full well that this particular voting group is less likely to vote for him simply because of his religion!
Perverse or merely disingenuous? Either way, I am convinced that this will eventually prove to be a losing proposition!