I'm scheduled to be on Fox News Live at 11am Pacific / 2 pm Eastern to talk about the South Carolina primary, faith and politics. Before going on air let me take a moment to put in writing some thoughts on the state of the race.
For most Americans, I think, the GOP nomination contest has been disappointing. Rather than engaging in a serious discussion of the issues - to match the serious policy proposals offered by President Obama on issues ranging from the economy to health care to immigration - we've seen the Republicans contenders offer homage to Tea Party activists and their principles while offering tired old trickle down economic policy proposals that helped drive the country off the cliff in the first place.
Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum, both Roman Catholics, oppose Roman Catholic teachings on immigration, poverty alleviation, economic inequality, and the environment when these issues are front and center. On many issues, Barack Obama is closer to the Roman Catholic Church.
Gingrich's open marriage and three divorces might be explained away to evangelical voters. People change, Rick Perry said when endorsing Perry. But Gingrich's hypocrisy in preaching "family values" all these years while not practicing them will - and should - upset a lot of voters. Does he have a moral center? That's an open question.
It is further disappointing that Gingrich and Santorum have engaged in racial politics with their attacks on "black" welfare recipients (most people on public assistance are, in fact, white).
And then there is Mitt Romney. He's still having trouble selling his campaign for a few reasons. One - let's be honest - is religious bigotry against Mormons. Religious intolerance has no place in American politics but evangelical activists are trying to stop Romney's campaign, in part, because of his faith. Still, no one knows where Romney stands. You can't run one decade as the pro-choice, pro-gay candidate and a decade later run as the anti-choice, anti-gay candidate. Voters, regardless of faith, will question your values and principles. On the economy, Romney wants to take us right back to the presidency of George W. Bush - and Bush's tax cuts (thanks to congressional Republicans) - are still driving up the deficit, increasing unemployment, and forcing families into poverty. Romney has embraced the Tea party line. And he's shown in his private sector work that he'll put his own private interests above anyone or anything else.
Sometimes I disagree with him on policy matters but I think Americans want a president like President Obama who will always put the common good before personal gain.