Here’s the setup.
Lowell Brown, the savvy legal eagle over at the Article VI blog, links to this article by Warren Smith. (Lowell and crew are masters at surveying the current intersection of politics and religion. Its an important post which we will discuss at some later date but Smith’s claim is the issue at hand.)
In his WorldMag article, Smith alleges that Paul Weyrich (noted conservative Christian leader who endorsed Romney last November) now openly regrets his endorsement. Quoting Weyrich: “Friends, before all of you and before almighty God, I want to say I was wrong.” Smith continues:
In a quiet, brief, but passionate speech, Weyrich essentially confessed that he and the other leaders should have backed Huckabee, a candidate who shared their values more fully than any other candidate in a generation. He agreed with Farris that many conservative leaders had blown it. By chasing other candidates with greater visibility, they failed to see what many of their supporters in the trenches saw clearly: Huckabee was their guy.
Lowell thinks Smith is spinning. I’m not convinced. Its difficult for me to claim spin with that direct quote from Weyrich. Still, context is everything.
My sources tell my that Weyrich (like many conservatives) was not a little miffed about Mitt’s endorsement of McCain. I understand his sentiment but disagree with his reasoning.
The gist of the meeting, which Smith says took place in early March, lambastes leaders for not getting behind Huck. Its hard to justify this thinking. I could use the same logic in my corner to berate Iowan Evangelicals for not getting behind Mitt (which is the demographic move that started the whole McCain ball rolling after all).
From my perspective Mitt’s McCain move was calculated but completely logical. McCain has always been the snubbed candidate from most sides of the conservative playground. But today, he’s the only guy left to be picked for the kickball game. With the anti-Bush electorate so vocal, McCain may just be the best guy. This is what Mitt sees and what I hope our readers will see as well.
To wit: conservatives who oppose McCain for political reasons are essentially “kicking against the pricks” - a rough venture when the alternatives are President Clinton or Obama.
Still, Weyrich is expressing a certain bewilderment and understandable angst which many conservative Christians are feeling about McCain. Another source who is deeply connected in Evangelical circles expressed his dismay that McCain isn’t reaching out to them.
A third source confirmed this feeling but indicated that its mostly par for the course. “McCain is coming to these conservative events but mostly just to check the box that says he was there. He holds no private meetings, no meet and greets and never lingers to mix with the crowd.”
I hope he’s wrong. Its going to take more than the facade of placation to placate these masses.
Still, context is everything. While Weyrich in early March was miffed at Mitt I’m told he’s also a bit perturbed about Huck’s defense of Reverend Wright. What goes around comes around.