James Antle’s piece today makes a good case for how Romney could appeal to evangelicals in 2008, despite his Mormonism. While he may not be the ideal choice for evangelicals, given his previous pro-choice stances, I think he may be able to market himself as a born again pro-lifer like Ronald Reagan and George HW Bush before him– especially against Giuliani, given his liberal social views, and McCain, who just makes conservatives’ skin crawl.
The problem for Romney–and I think this is a huge problem–is that he doesn’t have any credentials on national security. I’m sure he’ll say all the right things, but I don’t think that will be enough. People may argue that President Bush came into office without national security credentials. However, he was elected prior to 9/11, and 2008 will be the first contested primary since that fateful day. Fighting terrorism is the defining issue of our time, and while I think that merely saying the right things was good enough in past elections, I don’t think that will work anymore. You need a real record. Romney doesn’t have it. It’s for this very reason that I consider Giuliani to be the actual frontrunner.
And, moving beyond national security, Romney’s universal healthcare plan makes me worry that he would try to be the torch bearer for Bush’s “compassionate conservatism” that has given us the Medicare prescription drug plan and No Child Left Behind. David Hogberg has been keeping tabs on how RomneyCare isn’t working out, recently here.