It has been a frequent assertion on this page that one Willard "Mitt" Romney, Presidential Candidate, would have to endure a grueling uphill slog towards that office based upon the simple fact that his Mormon faith makes him suspect in the eyes of Southern Religious Conservatives, who view Mormons as the next, best thing to apostates and child rapists.
Recent events -- i.e. The GOP southern caucuses and primaries -- have shown this to be true. It didn't take a rocket scientist to predict this outcome; all one needed was some first-hand experience of Southerners, in general, and Southern Religious Doofuses, in particular, to figure this out.
The professional Pontificating Flapping Rectum Class (and you know who you are Messrs. Krauthammer, Will, and others) will explain Romney's troubles in the South as a simple matter of Romney's lack of a clearly conservative record, and there is some truth in this, but the real problem that Chuckie and Georgie are trying so hard to dance around is that these same Southern Religious types are extremely prejudicial when it comes to such a trivial matter as which tremendous load of superstitious bullshit is the better one.
If one examines the basic backstory (as they say in Hollywood) of the Mormon Church, it can be summed up, thusly:
Jesus visits some random asshole in Upstate New York in the 1800's, and tells him that he's buried some golden tablets full of mystical wisdom in a nearby hillside. In order to help this doofus find this mystical knowledge, Jesus hands him something akin to a Batman Decoder Ring, which the doofus then uses to find said Golden Tablets. He (the doofuis) then goes on to found a religion which eventually runs the state of Utah with an iron fist in a velvet glove, only with polygamy, and which then inflicts Donnie and Marie upon us.
Now, how it should be that Jesus should visit rural New York State, which is positively drowning in brain-dead democrats (whose very continued existence is irrefutable proof that God, indeed, does not exist) and pick some unlikely dude seemingly at random, and make him jump through hoops should be any less believable a mythology than the standard Christian doctrine of a virgin birth, death, resurrection, turning water into wine and curing the blind with spit, is something that no one has been able to ever adequately explain to me.
It would seem to me -- and I'd like to believe that I have at least a minimum level of intelligence -- that both stories are a load of crap and wholly lacking in empirical evidence to support them. I mean, think about it: if God wants Joseph Smith to come into possession of this holy knowledge, why doesn't he just give it to him instead of making him go on a fucking scavenger hunt? Why sacrifice yourself on the Cross to redeem mankind (a creature far beyond redemption, in my estimation) with a David-Copperfield-like Death/Resurrection routine, when you can just will that state of grace into existence with your divine power?
Neither story holds water any more than the one about God talking to some child rapist in the desert, giving him a set of sacred instructions that would eventually lead us to 9/11.
I know, I know; God works in mysterious ways. Actually, I think God (if we can assume that She exists again for strictly rhetorical purposes) is really just a fucking asshole who likes to bully us, and make people jump through hoops for Her sick pleasure.
Anyways, back to the idea of Romney not being "conservative enough" to suit "hardcore" southern conservatives.
The first thing you need to know is that there are a series of code words being used here that are intended to obscure the basic truth that if you don't follow the same asinine superstition as your typical dumb-as-dogshit southern christian, then you're not electable in their eyes. When someone uses the phrase "not conservative enough" they're not talking about matters of political ideology. They're talking about religion.
When the words "hardcore" or "die-hard" are placed before the word "conservative", this too is intended to throw anyone with three braincells off the trail; you're supposed to believe that when those words are used that we're, again, discussing matters of ideology and political doctrine, but it's still all about Christianity, and in particular, a specific strain of Christianity.
And worse, it's a Calvinistic strain of Christianity which mostly went out of favor some 150 years ago, but which has been largely revived as a means of helping people with serious psychological problems pull their lives back together. From personal experience, I can run the list of every Evangelical Christian I know (it's a considerable list, btw), and they all have the same laundry list of deficiencies in their backgrounds:
Former Drug addict or alcoholic
Wife-beater, petty criminal, or gambler
At least one divorce or at least one child born out-of-wedlock
A minimum of three minor psychiatric issues which all revolve around low self-esteem, sexual dysfunction or defect, or a history of child abuse
A spotty, at best, family history with plenty of skeletons in every closet
In other words, these are all the lowlife scum you ever knew, suddenly banded together and given a prupose beyond immediate gratification.
God "saves" them because thay are given a psychological crutch that they may have never had before in their lives: a sense that they are loved solely for themselves and that the guilt and shame they have lived with for most or all of their lives can be mystically, automatically, immediately washed away and replaced with a sense of hope based upon a mythology, which unfortunately, requires that they die first in order to receive their just reward. And they don't even have to DO anything to get this sort of mental relief from the tortuous circumstances of their lives; they just have to surrender their will and suspend their critical thinking skills and follow a set of rules that, if they were established outside the realm of a religious institution, would just be plain, old, common fucking sense.
All you need do to in order to be "saved" is to surrender your ability to think for yourself, and join this other, superior-to-your-old-circle-of-degenerate-lowlifes herd. In return you get to think of yourself as some sort of superhuman being, possessed of some great "secret" that is denied to others, and be secure in your sense of snobbishness. You get to go from being one of the people whom "polite" society spits upon, to being the person doing the spitting...with God's permission.
It's easier -- and more enjoyable -- than a 12-step program, and cheaper than a psychiatrist.
And what's more is that you get to spit on people secure in the knowledge that no matter what you'll never be called to account for it in This Life, because only God (She who does not exist) can be your judge. In effect, being an Evangelical Christian is to join an elite club of complete dickheads who believe they have been given the Divine Right to persecute and ostracize on God's behalf. Which is pretty presumptive of them, in any case, but it's a trait that usually makes them insufferable boobs.
When you wed this religious, psychological and superstitious stupidity to the field of politics, you get something totally unhinged; like an internecine fight between wings of the GOP that otherwise agree on 99% of most topics, except one: who's vision of God is better than the others. And how to use that disagreement to drive yet another wedge between people.
I say "drive a wedge" because you need to understand the differences between a "republican" and one of Mr. Krauthammer's "hardcore" conservatives:
A republican believes the constitution exists to promote the general welfare and freedom of the American People. It is a framework upon which the reciprocal rights and responsibilities of both citizen and government are both clearly defined and delineated. The Constitution is intended to govern the actions of all citizens and their elected representatives so as to protect our basic, human freedoms, which begin with the Right to Life, and then protects and defines our rights to Conscience, and Property, and extends legal protections for our speech, free associations, and personal security.
(BTW, no one is making the argument here that even the Republican Party has stayed true to those principles in recent deacdes. Well, many of us who don't hold power have, but three genrations of politicians haven't).
A hardcore conservative sees the Constitution as a document with some serious flaws in it. The first flaw is that the Founding Fathers fucked up when they didn't establish an official religion, and the second flaw is that the Constitutional system is far too easy to manipulate for purposes which God frowns upon.
For a republican, this system works just fine; getting it to work as best as we can is only a matter of repeated compromises and consensus-building, which must necessarily take into account changing circumstances. Although the republican admits that change is often necessary, he does not want that change to be precipitous, nor to take effect without first building the necessary consensus for it, or implementing it in a way which violates the original spirit and letter of the Constitution itself. The paramount concern of a republican is the right of the sovereign individual.
For a hardcore conservative of the type that doesn't vote for Romney, this system doesn't work at all, and the proof is that the Ten Commandments aren't posted at every bus stop in America, that Christianity often has to share the public realm with people who are not on board with it's belief system, and that "undesirables" (as defined by their interpretation of a non-existent-God's words that have been passed to them through several translations, reinterpretations, and deliberate skulduggery) can be persecuted and hounded out of America -- gays, abortionists, the Hippies, Muslims, left-wingers, atheists, and so forth -- or outright stoned in the Public Square, like in the good ol' days of Deuteronomy.
In other words, your hardcore conservative who is often portrayed by the likes of the Professional Commentariat (Hannity, Robertson, Buchannan, and so forth) as simply someone who has a more rigid interpretation of what is supposed to be a secular political ideology -- Conservatism -- is in reality little more than a Mullah Omar or Ayotollah Khomeini with a vote.
Which is why they like Santorum better than Romney in many places, despite the fact that they know deep in their hearts that Rick Santorum couldn't beat Barack Obama on the day he best breathed. The point is not to elect someone who can run a country and correct the worst aspects and results of the Obama regime, keeping our Constitutional Traditions and restoring our American Promise, as much as it is to elect someone who thinks...who believes...exactly (or near to it) the same way they do. And who will do exactly as they want him to.
Because if the gays aren't converted, the abortionists aren't punished, the Muslims not scourged, Israel not supported far beyond the national interest, and prayer not returned to the public schools, God -- who doesn't exist, remember? -- will be angry, and the world will NOT come to an end so that they can all be Raptured up to Heaven, their poor souls sentenced to remain upon Earth to have to suffer all the ignominious degradation of being a human being.
Like working, paying taxes, having to be tolerant of others, being 'forced' to rub elbows with people they dislike, and having to fucking think every so often.
And this particular brand of mental midget predominates in the South. I know: I have lived there.
Now some will chide me for being extremely harsh and for making sweeping generalizations, and they'd be correct. They will also point out that I have shit all over them without being equally profligate in defecating over their ideological enemies, and that'd be right, too. But then again, I pee all over left-wingers on a daily basis on this page, and the point of this post is to explain why Mitt Romney hasn't won a damned thing below the Mason-Dixon.
And no, Virginia and Florida are not "southern" in the Old Confederacy sense: they are simply overrun with transplanted Yankees who work for the government or have retired, or are lousy with Cubans still fighting the Cold War and Haitians who have managed to float past the Coast Guard. Besides, for all intents and purposes, Romney ran unopposed in Virginia, unless you're one of those feeble mentalities that believes Ron Paul is something more than a cardboard cutout.
South Carolina, Mississippi, Alabama, Tennesee, Georgia, none of have been in Romney's Win Column, and they have instead gone to candidates that the Professional Talking Asshole Circle will tell you are "more" conservative, i.e. Santorum and Gingrich. But "more conservative" how, exactly? Santorum talks the talk and walks the walk when it comes to wearing his religion on his sleeve, and in fact, probably doesn't take a dump without reciting the Lord's Prayer. Gingrich is the real-deal ideologue and doctrinaire, who would probably be doing much better if he could remember he's running, ultimately, against Barack Obama and not Mitt Romney. Technically-speaking, Gingrich is even more conservative than Santorum; he just doesn't burnish his religion like a populist flaming sword of vengeance.
I'm not going to make the case that Romney is a consistent conservative in any sense of the word, because that would be patently ridiculous. However, he is -- at present -- the most conservative candidate available who at least has a chance to win. This makes voting against him based on stupid matters of religious differences a self-defeating act.
The above-mentioned states all have one thing in common beyond not voting for Romney, and that is that they are litterally crawling with people who attend church regularly (their church, in fact, often becomes the central focus of their lives), believe they can speak in tongues, and handle snakes without taking even the least of precautionary meausres because they believe their "faith will protect them".
These are also the people who send large sums of money to televangelists who promise it'll rain Skittles, and that Unicorns and purple teddy bears will proliferate as a manifestation of God's Divine Favor towards her loyal trained seals, who then spend the money on the new Tabernacle-cum-Water-Park-and-Bait-Shop...before they get caught in a homosexual tryst, that is.
If Mitt Romney should fail to garner the GOP nomination come June, it will in large part be due to people who have put their religion before their reason, and in so doing, might possibly hand Barack Obama a Second term he doesn't deserve. At present, we're being sold a load of horsecrap that Romney is unable to get over the hump because of minor disagreements or because of the intransegance of ideologues, but the truth can't really be concealed forever: if Romney loses out, it'll be because Evanglicals fucked up the process for their own selfish reasons, and the rest of us will have to suffer for their beliefs.
There is never a sense of prgamatism amongst people dumb enough to swallow 2,000 year-old ghost stories. Pragmatic leadership is exactly what is most needed now. Instead, they want a candidate who will help to usher in a new Christian Caliphate which will, eventually, be every bit as vicious and pernicious as it's Islamic Counterparts.