Evangelical leaders unlikely to derail Romney with a ‘consensus’ candidate

Matt K. Lewis Senior Contributor
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Never mind Lou Gehrig, Mitt Romney may be the luckiest man on the face of the earth.

A few days ago, Politico reported that Texas evangelicals had called an “emergency meeting” in order to “find a ‘consensus’ Republican presidential hopeful…” (According to an invitation obtained by The Daily Caller, the meeting was billed as a  way for “Conservatives of faith” to “reach a consensus on which Republican Presidential candidate or candidates we can support…”)

Many of the organizers were the same folks who backed Texas Gov. Rick Perry in August. And now that he has decided to stay in the race (at least through South Carolina), the meeting seems destined to fail.

As the Washington Times reported, “finding a mutually acceptable candidate to stop Mitt Romney is not likely to happen…”

“Will they coalesce around one candidate?” It is possible, but not probable,” said the Family Research Council Tony Perkins — the group’s spokesman (who won’t be attending the meeting.)

A source I spoke to confirmed the sentiment, telling me “there’s not going to be a consensus reached.”

The problem, of course, is that the clock is ticking. And if Romney wins New Hampshire and South Carolina (despite the fact that he would only have garnered 37 delegates), it may be a moot point. Romney’s nomination would probably be considered a fait accompli. The money that might go to other candidates would then probably dry up; donors would likely begin thinking about focusing on helping win congressional seats.

This, of course, should be embarrassing for conservatives. Anyone who believes in a “vast right wing conspiracy” isn’t paying attention. Evangelicals — who, by definition, resist hierarchy — have been (with a few exceptions) unable to organize effectively. (Consider 2008, when Fred Thompson helped John McCain defeat Mike Huckabee in South Carolina.)

According to the invitation, event organizers include:

Dr. James Dobson
Rev. Don and Linda Wildmon
The Honorable Paul and Nancy Pressler
Dr. Jim and Cecelia Leininger
Dick and Sherley Bott
Rich Bott
Gary Bauer
Stuart and Nancy Epperson
Deal and Theresa Hudson
Rev. Sammy and Eva Rodriguez
Craig and Janet Parshall
Rabbi Daniel and Susan Lapin
Kelly and Karen Shackelford
Bob and Rita Fischer

Matt K. Lewis