Today, outspoken Republican Mike Huckabee criticized the idea being pushed by some members of his own party that Mitt Romney should be John McCain’s running mate. Not because Romney is a Mormon, but because he is a flip-flopper.
“I think a lot of people, not just social conservatives, but a lot of the Republicans I know are not necessarily comfortable with Romney. But it has nothing to do with religion. It has everything to do with inconsistencies in positions he’s held, and that’s it,” Huckabee said to CBS News.
Evangelical leader Richard Land touted Romney last week, “There are people in the evangelical community who would have a problem with his Mormonism. I am not one of them. I mean, I’m very clear that I do not believe Mormonism is a Christian faith. But that does not disqualify someone from being President or Vice President. And my guess would be that, probably, about 15 to 20 percent of the evangelical community would have a problem with his Mormonism.”
Before I discuss this, I want to make it perfectly clear, that I have no issue with Romney’s faith, but I think that Land’s estimate of evangelicals who have a problem with Romney isn’t even close to the truth. If only 15%-20% of evangelicals had a problem with Romney, he’d be the nominee right now. The reality is that many evangelicals believe that Mormonism is a cult, and I would guess that the number of evangelicals who have issues with Romney is closer to 60%-80%.
However, Huck did hit the other problem with Romney right on the head. Romney is the gold medal gymnast of flip flopping. The other problem that evangelicals had with Romney is that is Johnny come lately to their positions. They don’t trust Romney, and they are already distrustful of McCain, but I can understand why McCain would select Romney. Mitt brings money and Michigan into the campaign, but putting the two of them on the same ticket is a big risk.
Romney has his own baggage, and this is a boom or bust move. Romney isn’t going to excite the GOP base, and may push the evangelical vote away. McCain is counting on the support of Independents who already leaning towards Obama, but a selection of Romney could mean a mass defection of Independent support. I think that there are better lesser known options like Rob Portman out there for McCain. As someone who wants change, I hope McCain does pick Romney, because that ticket looks like a sure loser to me.