even if they have to pretend to disagree
on God-supported rape.
The basic conventional wisdom about Mitt Romney’s refusal to answer questions about Richard Mourdock’s view that pregnancies resulting from rape are “something that God intended” is that this whole thing represents a dilemma for Romney:
If Mr. Romney, the Republican presidential candidate, does not distance himself enough from Mr. Mourdock, he could find it harder to narrow his deficit with women — but if he distances himself too much, he could turn off some of the evangelical voters whose turnout will be crucial if he is to carry swing states like Iowa and Ohio.
Welcome to Mitt Romney’s campaign! That’s the entire game plan, isn’t it? Try not to piss off the far-right base while not publicly embracing far-right positions that would alienate just about everyone else? Romney’s got a lot of experience at this by now.
It’s not just Romney, either. The entire Republican Party has relied on this balance for years. The Republican platform may contain a slightly more politic version of what Mourdock said, and the sentiment may have been expressed by dozens of other Republican elected officials and candidates, but outside the reddest of the red areas, they try to hide that fact from voters.
Yeah, it’s a dilemma for Romney. But only because people are noticing the unpopular ideas his party embraces, not because the ideas or his refusal to distance himself too far from them are anything new.