The EFM Feature
Eat More Vegetables, from Flickr user wlan0, used under a Creative Commons license

As you all know, I write from deep in the heart of what was, until very recently, Santorum Country.  Democratic operative James Carville wasn’t too far from the truth when he quipped that Pennsylvania is Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Alabama in the middle.  I live in the Alabama part–and you know how Alabama went this primary season.  My Facebook feed was full of my friends getting their pictures taken at Sen. Santorum’s local events, and my posts about Gov. Romney tended to produce crickets chirping, not friends liking.

Now, obviously, Sen. Santorum has stood aside, and I find the attitude of my friends now towards Gov. Romney is very similar to the attitude a lot of people have toward broccoli:  Yeah, I know, it’ll be good for me, and I’ll eat it eventually, but I really don’t want to.  The trouble is, it isn’t enough for stoutly conservative folks simply to know that if they don’t vote for Gov. Romney, President Obama will have a second term (with flexibility!), just as if they don’t eat their vegetables, they will have health problems.  Because we don’t need them simply to vote.  We also need them to grab their friends and family members who don’t take the time to bone up on politics and get them to the polls.  We need them to knock on doors and do phone banks.  In an election that is sure to be close, we need their enthusiasm, not just their grudging assent to the inevitable.  This really could come down to two percentage points in a few evangelical-heavy areas, such as mine, not to mention North Carolina, Virginia, and other swing states.

That’s why I’m glad to see, via one of those friends and also our friends at Mitt Romney Central, that Gov. Romney is giving the commencement address at Liberty University, which happens to be both the largest private university in Virginia (no small distinction, that) and the creation of the late Jerry Falwell.  In my view, this kind of constructive engagement by Gov. Romney with conservative evangelicals is a key part of building trust.  My strong sense is that in many quarters, there simply isn’t any real degree of trust right now.  As I’ve said many times, I think there’s only a certain degree to which we should trust politicians, and that when we go beyond that, as many evangelicals did with President George W. Bush, the country loses because we don’t hold them accountable and they enact bad policies.  But when it comes to conservative evangelicals, Gov. Romney is well below the ideal level of trust right now–and he can fix that without trying to be someone he isn’t.  What he clearly is is a man who shares our values and is now defending them under hostile assault in the public square.  Here’s hoping that comes through at Liberty and elsewhere.

About Charles Mitchell

EFM's resident Yankee, Charles Mitchell, works in the non-profit arena in his native Pennsylvania. He and his wife, Charissa, live near the state capital of Harrisburg with their daughter, Adeline, and are members of a congregation of the Presbyterian Church in America.

Comments and Discussion

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6 Responses to Broccoli at Liberty

  1. RC says:

    If Newt or Rick would have won the Primaries and became the GOP nominee, I would have to swallow real hard, swallow my pride and being compelled to vote for them would soon dissipate because of my loathing for another four years of living hell.

    I was genuinely excited to see Governor (President) Romney being the keynote speaker at Liberty University. I will be anxious to watch. As I have watched the political scene lately, is it just me, or do I see the Democrats scampering like they don’t know what to do next? They have no record to stand on – a negative one at that.

    I truly believe that the “attitude” mentioned above with conservatives and evangelicals will fade real soon once they start to see the stark contrast that will be put in front of them. The loathing over Romney will soon transfer to Obama and the Democrats. The fire will be ignited and the flames will get bigger and bigger because Obama and the Democrats will be the ones putting the fuel on the fire.

  2. Terry says:

    RC…despite protestations to the contrary, I think Romney scares the heck out of the Dems. They may lie to others about the situation, but deep down they know that Obama is in real trouble. I remember at the beginning of the GOP primary, the Obama team hinting that they hoped Romney would win the nomination because he would supposedly be the easiest to beat. They said the same thing in 2008, also. I remember thinking, “Who are they trying to kid?” I thought it was a ploy then, and I think it’s a ploy now. I heard a female Democrat on one of the cable shows several months ago state that “we would love it if Mitt Romney got the nomination”. What they were trying to do is convince Republican voters that Romney was the weakest candidate in the GOP field. To some extent, I think they succeeded. (They sure managed to suck in the likes of Rush, Hannity, et al.) I’ve heard callers on local and national talk shows express doubt about Romney. One caller stated that “I know what Romney said he’s going to do, but I just don’t trust him”. With attitudes like that, the situation was looking pretty bleak.


    “You know, Ann Romney has probably never worked a day in her life.”

    This is a personal opinion, but I think that if the Democrats were to deliberately pick the worst thing, the VERY worst thing they could to turn voters against them, they could not have improved on that one comment Hilary Rosen made about Ann Romney. Talk about a fox in the hen house! (Rosen being the fox, and the rest of Obama’s election team being the hens.) Oh, they pretended to jump all over Rosen, but no amount of damage control was going to fix that disaster. And the way Ann Romney handled the situation…nothing but grace and class. And never a bad word towards Rosen. A simple reply about raising five boys being hard work, then dropping the issue.

    Anyway, I’ve noticed that almost everything the Dems have tried since then has managed to blow up in their faces. They even trotted out the 2008 Semus the dog issue again. Then some Dem on Obama’s team tweeted a picture of Obama’s dog riding with him in his car, under the title of “How good owners treat their dog” (or words to that effect). Then some one on Romney’s team discovered that Obama, in his book, admitted to eating dog meat. The picture of Obama and his dog was re-tweeted with a new heading, “In retrospect, a chilling photo.” (The insinuation being that because Obama had tried dog meat, would he be eating his own dog at some point in the future?) At least one cable station had a hay-day with the photo. One of the reporters was laughing so hard that tears were rolling down his cheeks.

    Some pundits are claiming that the general election will be very close. I’m not in that number. We have a disaster of a president, and a presumptive GOP nominee who is the best financial fix-it guy in the world. I think this is going to be a Reagan-Carter scenario all over again. If Romney can stay cemented to the real issues and not get sidetracked by frivolous dog stories or phony war against women claims, I think he’s going to clean Obama’s clock.

    Is Obama’s reelection team afraid of Romney? Oh, yeah. I’d bet a year’s pay on it.

    • pragmatic says:

      I also think the dem’s protestations of “we want to run against romeny” is a reverse psychology ploy because yes, he is the one who scares them the most.
      Romney stays focused – he has to in his line of work. One guy who worked with him on the olympics said he is focused on getting the job done, and that is his priority is getting the job done. Romney knows his job is to focus on obamas economic disasters so people have to actually look at what the last three years have been. (especially as the lamestream media keeps whispering “all is well” in their eaers.)

      I too think this will be a replay of 1980 – and obama is WORSE than carter.

    • OregonConservative says:

      It’s easy for the Dems/Libs to SAY they want Romney to win the primary. . . but it became obvious that they feared Romney when the DNC and big labor unions PAID millions of dollars in ads against Romney in Florida, Ohio, and elsewhere in an attempt to derail him. Why, if they wanted Romney to win, would they pay so much to try to have him loose. Were there any liberal-sponsored ads against Santorum or Gingrich? Talk is cheap, follow the money.

    • RC says:


      I nominate you to be Romney’s public relations writer. You are excellent in your observations and transferring those observations into the English language that is very easy to follow, to the point and persuasive.

      ( I really think you could “bet” the rest of your life’s salary on it……….)

  3. Pingback: Mitt Romney to Address 48,000 at Liberty University in May | Mitt Romney Central

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