Desperate to prove to the rightest of the Republican right wing that he's just as conservative as they want him to be, Mitt Romney has accepted an invitation to be the commencement speaker at Liberty University, a Christian school in Virginia that teaches its students that the earth is 6,000 years old, fossils aren't real, and that God wants America to be governed by the Bible. But if you're concerned he's swung so far right that it's getting scary don't — as of this morning, Romney hasn't yet agreed to deliver the speech in Tongues.
Romney's Big Day will be on May 12, when LU's 14,000 graduates will be commemorated in a ceremony on the school's Lynchburg campus. Romney won't be the first Republican to grace the holy podium of the country's biggest, scariest Christian school — the first President Bush spoke there in 1990, and His Holiness the Most Elevated and Spectacular Ronald Reagan spoke there in 1980. And after that blessed talk from St. Ron, tongues of flame and fire appeared over the heads of the anointed — fitting, because the school's mascot is the Flames. As in flamingly into God, not flamingly gay. Flamingly gay for Christ. Gay as in happy. Nobody's homosexual, okay?
That Romney's speaking at Liberty should shock no one — I mean, it's a little desperate and pander-y of him, but it's certainly not surprising. He needs to convince far-right conservatives that he's actually one of them. After all, he was the father of Romneycare, which means he's the grandfather of Obamacare, which might mean, somehow, that he's the cut from the same Nazi-Fascist-Communist mold some elements in the far right seem to think forged President Obama. To make matters worse, many evangelicals don't even consider Romney's faith to be a technically "Christian" religion, on account of the fact that the Mormons have a whole extra book in their Bible. Unless Romney convinces the Republican party's evangelical base that he's on their team, they won't be motivated to vote for him. And if they don't vote for him, Romney will end up losing the Presidential election, and nothing will make him sadder than not winning the Presidency.
Liberty University was founded by Jerry Falwell, a now-dead guy who once said that Satan is delivering messages to government officials who keep interfering with Christians' Constitutionally-guaranteed rights to run the country like a theocracy. Jerry Falwell's also the guy who believed that Tinky Winky the Teletubby was gay because he was purple and carried a purse around. And! He blamed 9/11 on abortion. So, Romney's really going full metal wingnut here, if you can judge politicians by the people they pal around with.
If you're keeping track, here are the things that Mitt Romney's campaign has given the well-manicured middle finger to so far: women, poor people, dogs, and science. What other popular thing will he eschew next?!