So is Romney a closet moderate? No. Even on abortion, he’s now on board with the social conservatives.
The bigger question is whether it matters. Despite the sound and fury of last week’s campaign in conservative South Carolina, the debate over which Republican candidate is most zealous on social issues is unlikely to have much effect on either the GOP nomination or the November general election.
Gay marriage and abortion have been little more than distractions in a year when, as Republican pollster Whit Ayres notes, “Jobs and the economy completely dominate the concerns of voters.”…
So, ironically, the issue on which Romney’s conservatism is clearest and most consistent now puts him unexpectedly at odds with most of the voters he will face if he wins his party’s nomination.