Romney for President announced yesterday the Catholics for Romney Coalition. While there has been a loosely organized effort to engage Catholics in the campaign, yesterday’s announcement makes things “official.”
The Romney/Ryan campaign released a statement announcing the coalition and explaining why Catholics are important in this election:
“I am honored to have the support of Catholic leaders from all over this country,” said Mitt Romney. “The Catholic Church embodies all that is great about America—loving your neighbor, defending life, and helping the less fortunate to overcome poverty and rise in the world. Forming a more perfect union requires that we continue to turn these principles into reality. If I am elected president, that will be my highest priority.”
“As a life-long Catholic, I learned very early that we must love our neighbors as we love ourselves,” said Congressman Paul Ryan. “That principle has informed my life in public service, and I am pleased to have so many leaders in the faith supporting Mitt Romney and me in this election. We understand that policymakers must target the root causes of poverty with reforms that promote economic growth and opportunity. Free enterprise and strong communities remain the best means to promote upward mobility and help individuals escape the trap of government dependency. It is an honor to support Governor Romney as he advances solutions that champion the dignity of every human being. That is a goal that people of all faiths can support.”
Granted, these sorts of coalitions happen in due course during every campaign, but the Catholics for Romney National Advisory Committee is made up of many of the most influential Catholic political thinkers and advocates. It shows an earnest effort by the campaign, and by those who have signed on to advise, to truly craft a campaign and policy course that will not just appease Catholics, but integrate Catholic social teaching into its decisions.
What this means, for those unfamiliar with politics, is that the campaign will specifically target Catholics to help with the “three legs” that every campaign must rest upon. “Money, Manpower, and Messaging.” Catholics are willing to help in all those areas if the cause is right. This coalition and the people serving as Co-Chairs and Advisors were specifically picked to make sure that Catholics engage in those three areas this election.
For you at home, that means there will be special events (many states will have Catholics for Romney Kickoff events in the coming weeks), directed messaging to Catholics, and appeals from people you are quite familiar with.
While some may see this as a purely political decision due to the importance of the “Catholic Vote” in presidential elections, the list seems to tell a different tale. What one can glean from this announcement is that the selection of Paul Ryan, and the composition of this coalition, are a direct effort by Mitt Romney to speak directly to Catholics and conservatives. Romney has a record that is off-putting to many in the conservative “base.” This coalition signifies that he has plotted a course in a much different direction. Those wary of Romney’s past have wondered whether he was simply ”talking the talk” early on in this campaign, and the question of whether he would “walk the walk” loomed heavily over his head.
This announcement, and the selection of the people on this advisory committee seems to confirm that Romney/Ryan are sincere in their statements.