Preaching to the Choir: Romney’s Faith & Freedom Coalition Speech

Between the continued coverage of the immigration directive and the Greek vote, the speech Mitt Romney gave yesterday at Ralph Reed’s Faith & Freedom Coalition conference has gotten little attention. That’s too bad; there aren’t many opportunities to see Romney engage the most socially conservative wing of his party.

Once the throat-clearing was over, Romney told a story: how, many years ago, a boy water-skiing on Utah Lake drowned because the boat “had no anchor” and the vessel drifted away. The death of this boy, it seems, reminds Romney of how grateful he is to have “anchors” in his own life, including family. Per TPM, here’s what happened next:

“Families are an important source of strength for the nation,” Romney told the crowd. “Rick Santorum is fond of reminding us of the study that was carried out by the Brookings Institution where they looked at the qualities that were the best predictors of happiness and in this case financial wherewithal.”

Romney ticked off the familiar points from Santorum’s reading of the study easily recalled by anyone who followed Santorum’s primary campaign. The chance at poverty is lessened dramatically, Romney said, if people have “had the chance to be married,” graduated from high school and “whether they ever, one time, took a job.”

“If they did those three things, the likelihood of them falling into poverty was only two percent,” Romney said.

The unintended Darwinian subtext: If Romney believes that gays and lesbians lack the right to marry, he has — by his own admission and with eyes wide open — condemned perhaps four percent of the Americans to poverty.

Maybe this calculation is simply an extension of the ethos that made Romney such a success at Bain: In order for the country to turn a profit, as it were, the rights of millions and of gays and lesbians will have to be “downsized.”