Mitt Romney’s complex relationship with social conservatives

Although Thomas Peters thinks Mitt Romney understands what Catholics are going through (and in all honesty he probably does) you wouldn’t know it based on his actions. Sure, Romney’s latest video portrays himself as a culture warrior, but the fact is that he’s done little to ally himself with the Republican Party’s socially-conservative base.

When asked at a press conference last week about the controversy surrounding Chick-fil-A restaurants, Romney refused to comment on the matter. He simply ducked the issue and said “those are not things that are part of my campaign.”

Some argue that Romney was smart not to wade into the controversy, but how can such an issue not be part of his campaign when his ads tell voters that he shares in their values and that he will stand with them wherever religious freedom is threatened?

Bill Donahue, the president of the Catholic League, argues that Romney’s decision to not address the controversy is concerning. “This is the most disheartened that certainly I’ve felt looking at this entire race,” Donahue told Newsmax. “I am astonished that [Romney] couldn’t even come to grips with the question,” given that “mayors of large cities [are] trying to intimidate…enterprises whose politics they disagree with.”

In a similar fashion, commentator Pat Buchanan said that he doesn’t “understand why Mitt Romney doesn’t just get his Secret Service detail and take his press corps down to a Chicken-fil-A and show solidarity with these people.”

Still, there may be some good news for conservatives seeking a voice within a party that is increasingly lurching to the left when it comes to social issues. It was just announced that Rick Santorum, the pro-life, pro-family, pro-everything related to social conservatism former Senator from Pennsylvania, will be speaking at the upcoming Republican National Convention.

This is good news. But Romney – and Republicans at large for that matter – need to make a more concerted effort to reach out to social conservatives so they’ll turn out for him in full force come November.

Stephen Kokx is an adjunct professor of political science and a featured columnist at RenewAmerica.com. Follow him on twitter

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