It seems every time presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney gets conservatives looking his way, he does something to turn them off and remind them that one of the greatest concerns they had about him during the primary season was his soft record on the conservative social agenda.
After drawing solid conservative reviews for his speech about faith and family to Liberty University, his prompt opposition to President Obama’s endorsement of same sex marriage and his strong opposition to Obama’s tax increase plan, conservative concerns about Governor Romney have once again surfaced after his recent speech to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
Romney’s speech to the NAACP was an otherwise unremarkable repetition of his standard campaign pitch until he got to this line, which to some young speech writer with a background in establishment Republican politics probably sounded like a good idea: “…I hope to represent all Americans, of every race, creed and sexual orientation. From the poorest to the richest and everyone in between."
Of course, the President represents “all Americans,” but by including sexual orientation along with race and creed, Governor Romney undid a lot of the goodwill he gained with conservatives through his speech at Liberty University and his opposition to same sex marriage.
Governor Romney and his inexperienced establishment Republican staff apparently failed to notice that by putting sexual orientation on the same plane as race and religion, Romney just undercut the rational and philosophical basis for opposition to same sex marriage. It also played right into the hands of supporters of the radical homosexual agenda.
Since Governor Romney and his speechwriters apparently haven’t figured this out, we will clarify it for them: social conservatives do not believe sexual orientation creates the same kind of constitutional rights that forbid discrimination based on race or religion.
That’s why we support the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), for example, and why social conservatives lead support for marriage amendments when they come before voters in state referenda.
The values Governor Romney seemed to share with us in his speech to Liberty University have policy consequences. By pandering to those who want to give sexual orientation the same status under the Constitution as race and religion enjoy, Mitt Romney put many social conservatives back on the sidelines of the presidential campaign, wondering whether what he said at Liberty University is what he really believes -- or if he was just pandering to us, too.