Steve Deace

Perhaps if Romney were consistent in applying the Constitutional principles espoused by a fellow Mormon like Cleon Skousen, who’s had an impact on my worldview, the discussion of Romney’s religion would be more problematic. However, the sad truth is that most Christians can’t even defend their own belief system, let alone articulate the differences between Mormonism and Christian orthodoxy. I would guess that most Christians know far more about BYU football and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir than they do Joseph Smith.

For his entire political career prior to running for president in 2008, Romney was a Rockefeller Republican. He was Rudy Giuliani, without the personal baggage and with the quintessential American family. He opposed Reagan-Bush, was an ardent defender of sodomy, was pro-infanticide, favored socialized medicine, amnesty for illegals, and gun control. Then as he was running for president he attempted to re-create himself, and the majority of Republican primary voters didn’t buy it four years ago and still don’t.

Romney’s religion isn’t so much a problem as it is his lack of sincerity as a candidate. People just don’t trust him, and if they don’t trust you it doesn’t matter what your religion is. Whichever consultants Romney hired to tell him to so cynically take every side of every issue should’ve been fired long ago. He would’ve gotten further just being a Giuliani whose wife and kids still talk to him.

Ron Paul

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is there is liberty.

2 Corinthians 3:17

On about 60% of the issues you don’t get more correct than Ron Paul. This time around he’s doing better as a candidate primarily because he’s correctly phrasing the economic woes facing the nation in moral language, and many of us are more educated on things like monetary policy than we were four years ago.

However, Paul still struggles to expand his base into the ranks of those that believe neither the Bible nor the Constitution are living, breathing documents. That’s because of the other 40% Paul gets wrong. And he gets that other 40% wrong because Paul confuses liberty with libertine at times. He’s stuck at the crossroads between the Bible and Ayn Rand, and those two moral enterprises each express a different morality.

For example, many of Paul’s most ardent supporters are from National Right to Work, which is an issue I am in favor of and have promoted in the past. Right to Work would like to one day see a federal Right to Work law, which is fine by me. However, how come we can have a federal law mandating right to work, but if we ask the federal government to defend the inalienable right to life and uphold the 5th and 14th Amendments we’re somehow violating states’ rights?

When the day comes that either Paul, or someone who shares his philosophy (Rand?), marries the message of liberty with Judeo-Christian morality, they will create the successor to the Reagan coalition as the next era’s dominant American political movement. Until that day, Paul unfortunately compels Christians to choose between freedom and morality, as opposed to promoting the traditional American premise that you can’t have one without the other.

Rick Perry

Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and the power of His might

Ephesians 6:10

Last year Texas Governor Rick Perry published a book called Fed Up, which correctly summarized the frustration many of us have with the direction our country is headed. Almost immediately upon entering the presidential race, his spokesman was back-peddling from the stirring words of his own candidate’s book.

Perry attempted to confront Romney for his flip-flops, but did so clumsily and actually helped Romney to come across even stronger. Perry has allowed his entire 11-year record in Texas to be defined by Gardasil vaccinations and college tuition for illegal aliens. Surely he must have done something other than those two missteps for the past 11 years. However, from the moment he was put on a national stage Perry has struggled to consistently project the confident leadership voters were expecting from him before he entered the race.

He comes across as unsure of himself, and it’s gotten to the point that we start to get nervous for him in these debates as he’s about to start talking. Perry should shed the consultants, start from scratch, and go right back to his book. He can certainly be charming, now he needs to show leadership.

Michele Bachmann

But He turned to Peter and said, “Get behind Me, Satan. You are a stumbling block to Me. You are merely seeing things from a human point of view, not from God’s.”

Matthew 16:23

The most impressive presidential candidate I have seen this election cycle was Michele Bachmann at an invite-only roundtable of conservative activists/voters in Iowa back in March. She was scary good, sort of an American evangelical version of Margaret Thatcher.

In private the woman blows you away with her command of the issues and core of conviction. Unfortunately, too often in public on the campaign trail she has been a cliché machine, and left voters with the impression she’s not a person of substance. In recent weeks she’s come out swinging again, and giving voters a public glimpse of the woman I have seen in private.

This begs the question as to why it has taken so long. As someone that covers these campaigns closely, I believe it’s because there is a tug-of-war within the brain trust of outspoken conservative candidates like Bachmann. Some in her inner circle want her to turn it loose. Others want her to tone it down afraid she may out-kick her coverage.

Bachmann is at her best when she shoots from the hip. Those that have been advising her to reel it in may think they’re doing her a favor, but like Peter promising to protect Jesus they don’t see the bigger picture, and they don’t realize they’re actually harming her cause. They may mean well, but they’re actually hurting her. In an election where undecided voters are looking for a champion, trying to tame Bachmann’s fierce courage of conviction hinders her chance to make the case that champion is her.

Rick Santorum

Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but not with God. With God all things are possible.”

Mark 10:27

Rick Santorum’s political career has been all about defying the odds, which is how he was elected to Congress and the U.S. Senate to begin with. Few are bolder about communicating a moral viewpoint in public, regardless of fear of reprisal.

Yet despite that boldness, Santorum has struggled to gain traction as a presidential candidate, and I believe it’s because voters see a troubling tendency in his mostly solid conservative record. They see that when they heat is on Santorum has a tendency to take the best deal he can get, when they want to see him fight to the death. His endorsements of RINOs Arlen Specter and Christie Todd Whitman still pain conservatives as reminders of this troubling trend, and earlier this year he thought it was irresponsible to not make a deal on the debt ceiling.

Legislators make deals but presidents cast a vision and see it through.

Legislator Santorum negotiates when we want him to fight, because the mantra of the legislator is “something must be done.” Most of the worst legislation in human history begins with that mantra. President Santorum is the one that stands up for babies conceived in rape and incest, and to a homosexual soldier who wants permission to turn the military into a politically correct parade of depravity.

Like many of us as people of faith, Santorum is at his best when he puts the focus on what’s right regardless of the consequences, and not what he thinks is possible.


Steve Deace

Steve Deace's nationally-syndicated radio show airs coast-to-coast each weeknight from 9-Midnight eastern, including many of the Salem Radio Network's top conservative talk stations in markets like New York City, Houston, Philadelphia, Seattle, and Minneapolis. His radio program has been featured in major media such as Fox News, CBS News, ABC News, CNN, MSNBC, The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, Politico, The Weekly Standard, and National Review among others. In 2013 he wrote the second-most shared column of the year for USA Today, defending "Duck Dynasty" and traditional American values. In addition to being a contributor for Town Hall.com, Deace is also a columnist for The Washington Times. He is also the author of the new book Rules for Patriots: How Conservatives Can Win Again, which includes a foreword by David Limbaugh and is endorsed by a who's who of conservative leaders. You can follow him on Twitter @SteveDeaceShow.