Mitt Romney gave a speech last week on how religion will inform his role as President, should he be elected. It was a very well-received speech. Plenty of pundits applauded, many referenced JFK's historic speech on religion and the Presidency, and yet almost all missed the point: Mitt Romney's speech will not make a bit of difference.
Here's why: first, I ask if anyone you know saw the speech, read a transcript, or heard it on the radio. I'm betting that 99.9% of you did not. The reason for that is, Mitt Romney just is not a popular guy. If Barack Obama, Hillary, or even Rudy had made the speech, people would have been more inclined to listen. But right now, Mitt Romney does not register on the radar screen of most Americans.
So, point one: people don't care about Mitt.
More than that, though, Mitt Romney did not speak on the issue that gives him the biggest disconnect with voters, and the issues that hurts him the most when compared with Mike Huckabee: honesty, or the lack thereof. Huckabee comes across as a nice guy. Honest to a fault. But he certainly seems like a good human being.
Mitt Romney is a panderer. He will do and say anything if it helps him get elected, but in truth, none of what he's doing helps him. If he had stuck with his true identity - a moderate Republican, and a person with a proven track record of effective leadership and solid results - he would be a formidable frontrunner today. But Mitt feared that the conservatives in his party would not take kindly to his true beliefs, when in truth, the only thing he had to fear was his own biases toward his own party.
So, point two: Mitt's focused on an incorrect reason for his drop in the polls.
The people, it seems, judging from Huckabee and Barack Obama, do not want to elect another George W. Henny-Penny. They want to elect someone who is true, honest, and speaks to the goodness in people. That is the turn people are looking to make after seven years of being told that we are on the verge of a world war, and after seven years of incompetent government.
If Mitt wanted to make a speech that would make a difference, that's what he'd talk about - smart government. Sticking to your guns. But Mitt, many months ago, looked at the Republican primaries, and decided he had to go right, no matter if it put him on the opposite side of a debate with John McCain on torture. No matter if it put him at odds with his own record on universal health care. No matter if his posterior-kissing made him say we should double the size of Guantanamo.
So, point three: Mitt is out of touch with the zeitgeist.
This is the issue for Mitt, not his religion. The issue is, Mitt misread the Republican Party. If Mitt wants to win, if he's going to win, he is going to have to win as a Republican who gets results. He is going to have to run as a business leader, and then the man who tamed left-leaning Massachusetts. That's what he should talk about. Not his religious views, which in truth, just reflect more pandering.
All that being said, I have no idea, at this point, who will win the Republican nomination. Each candidate has huge negatives:
Mitt is a phony, but has the most money.
Huckabee is sincere, and may win Iowa, but he has no money.
Rudy is Rudy. He explained on Meet the Press that he needed security for the mistress no one knew he had because of "threats." Who was threatening him? His wife?
Fred Thompson apparently became exhausted when he heard the words, "running for President." Fred's not running for President. He's sleeping for President.
John McCain is the person who should win, and if he pulls off New Hampshire, maybe he will.
Ron Paul has more money than anyone could have expected, but does he have the votes?
The Republican race is up in the air - and there's not much time left until Iowa and New Hampshire. One thing is certain, though: Mitt Romney's speech will not be the turning point in this race.