The EFM Feature

I think one of the overlooked aspects of the upcoming primary season is the extent to which conservatives in general (and evangelical conservatives in particular) are hungry for, well, a better spokesman. The frustration of social conservatives with the White House is almost palpable: “Why can’t they make a better case for our values?”
Conservative evangelicals have supported George Bush with such enthusiasm in part because we feel that he really believes what we believe. He doesn’t simply use us for political gain. He believes in a culture of life, and he believes that we have to aggressively defend our nation from our enemies abroad.
He may believe these things, and he may demonstrate enormous political courage in advancing those beliefs, but he is not (except on rare occasions like his September 19, 2001, speech to Congress) the best spokesperson for his (our) cause. Not only is he personally not the best spokesperson, but the White House itself does not communicate with half the clarity and effectiveness of the Clinton spin machine. Things are better under Tony Snow, but let’s face it…communication is not our president’s strength.
And this is immensely frustrating for evangelical conservatives (and after a month at judge advocate officer basic training, I can tell you it is frustrating for many military personnel as well). We have a wonderful argument to make about the enduring value and justice of our positions, but the bully pulpit is not being used effectively to make that argument. So we feel the cultural moment slipping away.
When we first began talking to fellow Southern evangelicals about Governor Romney, I always told folks that he not only shares your political and moral values, he can communicate those values better than any major candidate. I was shocked at the response. When people heard him speak for the first time, there was an almost palpable sense of relief: Finally the best case is being made.
In the months that come, don’t be surprised if evangelicals demonstrate a connection with Gov. Romney that shocks the pundits. Why? Because we want to see leaders make the best possible case for life, for the family, and for courage and perseverence in the war. Gov. Romney makes that case better than anyone else.


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