The Southern Republican Leadership Conference was billed as a conference for the Republican core. $119 a seat. Come and speak your mind about the future of the party. And then a straw poll about who best represents those core values.
“Evangelicals for Romney” bought and gave away 200 tickets. Ron Paul’s supporters sold 600 at a discount. No other potential candidate electioneered at the event. So it’s not surprising the “victory” for Romney. In fact, it’s surprising Paul didn’t do any better, except that he’s not core Republican. (439 votes for Romney, 438 for Paul.)
The news article I read came from CBS (see it here). The companion article asks “Is This How Straw Polls are won?” It noted that a ticket got the holder into the straw poll, but also political speeches and a Friday dinner party. All you had to do was say you’d support their candidate.
Looks like the money is on making an early appearance of front-runner status.
One thing that bothers me is the “Evangelicals for Romney.” It’s run by a Presbyterian (not core for the evangelical community) and seems to say that Romney’s Mormonism is just as valid as Huckabee’s Baptist faith.
The group’s founder, David French said “Mormons and evangelicals are fellow travelers in a lot of the cultural battles that are taking place around the country.” He says Romney’s Mormonism is not a problem because Romney “shares our core values.”
French wants evangelicals to “unite — early — behind the right candidate. He’s pro-life, pro-traditional marriage, and the guy knows how to balance a checkbook.”
Pro-marriage, yes. Pro-life, yes (lately). And he balanced checkbooks at Bain & Co by firing the people that founded the companies and siphoning the value in leveraged buyouts. He balanced his checkbook on the backs of middle-class workers. It’s elitism. Might work in Washington, but doesn’t play well to the centrist core.
(The Republicans lost in 08 because they ran an uninteresting old codger against an eloquent orator. Just about anyone besides Paul would have made for a better campaign. McCain needed Palin just to draw a crowd, and then made sure her opinions were minimized.)
There is so much falseness in this straw poll it’s invalidity taints the winner. He might claim front-runner for now, but will it stick?