I’m off the grid today, due to pressing work obligations elsewhere.
But I do plan to write Sunday morning about Mitt Romney’s Saturday commencement speech at Liberty University. The school was founded by the late Jerry Falwell, afiliates with the Southern Baptist Convention, and today bills itself as the world’s largest evangelical Christian college.
Just what Romney needs, another panderfest to religious conservatives at a time when he’s trying to “pivot” to the center by Etch a Sketching his previous panders.
He accepted the invitation a few weeks ago, and, pivot strategy notwithstanding, it’s easy to see why. He still needs to reassure evangelical Christians that even though he’s a Mormon, and even though they view Mormonism as a cult, he is actually not scary. He still needs to convincingly speak their language of family and faith. And especially now that President Obama has voiced personal support for gay marriage, Romney needs to reaffirm his devotion to the traditional bonding verities. He won’t have to worry about a hostile reception; after all, this is a school that revoked its recognition of the campus College Democrats back in 2009, citing a disagreement over “moral principles.”
But my guess is, Romney will play it very safe at Liberty. A commencement speech isn’t the right forum for red meat, anyway. He’ll probably just talk a lot about his very large family (code for traditional marriage), his work ethic growing up (code for “we all have the same values, whatever our faith”), and he’ll probably focus on the challenges that new graduates face in the sluggish economy (code for, “No way I’m gonna touch gay marriage, instead I’m gonna stick with the one issue I want to talk about”).
Or maybe I’m wrong. See you Sunday.
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