Why have conservative thinkers, commentators, Tea Partiers, politicians, political strategists, and GOP presidential hopefuls converged in Washington D.C. for a couple of days?
They’re in our nation’s capitol to participate in Ralph Reed’s 2nd annual Faith and Freedom Conference and to get a ‘look-see’ at the upcoming GOP presidential campaign.
Governor Mitt Romney was there:
* Economic issues dominate
* Romney: Economy is “moral tragedy
WASHINGTON, June 3 – Republican presidential hopefuls courted Christian conservative voters on Friday at a conference where U.S. economic concerns shared the stage with social issues that frequently dominate the religious right.
Many political speakers at the Faith and Freedom Coalition emphasized jobs, debt and deficits on the day the Labor Department reported the unemployment rate rose to 9.1 percent in May.
In contrast to some previous presidential campaigns, social issues like gay marriage and abortion have not been prominent topics for Republican hopefuls seeking to replace President Barack Obama in next year’s election.
Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, who announced his bid this week, began his 2008 presidential run talking largely about social issues. His 2012 run has begun with an emphasis on the economy.
Romney told the crowd the sputtering economy is a “moral crisis” and criticized the White House for saying the rise in unemployment represented “bumps on the road to recovery.”
“No, Mr. President, that’s not a bump, that’s Americans,” Romney said. Unemployed people are not statistics, he said.
Evangelicals are a powerful force in Republican politics, usually a reliable base of support for the party. And they will be key to victory in Iowa, whose voting contest in January will help set the tone for the 2012 Republican presidential race.
(emphasis added) Continue reading here.
F&F Conference founder, evangelical Ralph Reed, was interviewed by Newsmax TV yesterday. Here’s what he said about Romney:
He [Reed] credited former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney with being a “trail blazer” in 2008 as the first Mormon candidate by either party to be a viable candidate for the presidential nomination. He predicts the Mormon faith will be much less of an issue for Romney and former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman in the upcoming cycle.
To watch Romney’s Faith and Freedom speech, click here.
I can’t count the number of political commentators I’ve heard in the last two days state that Gov Romney’s presidential announcement and Faith and Freedom speech couldn’t have been better timed. With the troubling unemployment numbers released yesterday, unrelenting home foreclosures, high gasoline, clothing, and food prices, slumping auto sales, overall market uncertainty, and genuine fear of a double-dip recession, Romney’s authentic voice on economic recovery is making people sit up and pay attention.
When The Gov’s Faith & Freedom speech ended last night, he was inundated by the excited crowd; so much so, that after waiting for a few minutes, the emcee had to interrupt the crush to introduce the next speaker.
For additional reading, more video, and updates
Leading Republican politicians warned fiscally conservative and religiously devout voters Friday not to impose “purity” tests on candidates seeking the party’s 2012 presidential nomination.
“In politics, purity is the enemy of victory,” Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour told an audience of approximately 400 attendees at the first annual Faith and Freedom Coalition conference at the Renaissance Downtown Hotel in Washington. “We can’t expect our [presidential] candidate to be pure. Winning is about unity, not purity.“
To watch Barbour’s F&F speech, click here. (I think you’ll enjoy what he has to say.)
This time next year, we should have a Republican in place to challenge President Obama for the title of ‘World’s Most Powerful Man.” The campaign, of course, is the ultimate reality show, and it could get nasty.
As it stands now, Obama has to be considered the favorite despite the shaky economy. The Osama bin Laden takedown was huge for him, and the Medicare debate is going his way, as well. The president is a shrewd campaigner and may have as much as a billion dollars in donated money at his disposal. That kind of cash can buy a lot of things.
If the Grand Old Party nominates a populist candidate, it will lose the election. Independent voters will decide the race, and they are looking for someone to improve their lives, not drive ideology. The tea party movement is a force, but unless it is willing to compromise in some areas, there will be no celebration in Boston Harbor come November 2012.
Political advantage can be fleeting. A couple of months ago, during the winter quarter, job gains looked to be picking up, unemployment was easing lower, and President Obama’s reelection hopes looked more secure. But things sure have changed.