With just about two weeks to go before the Republican National Convention kicks off in Florida, a conservative group is campaigning in high gear to get Tampa delegates to dump Mitt Romney, the presumptive GOP presidential candidate, from the Republican ticket.
The group Jews and Christians Together has begun sending memos to Tampa delegates urging them to choose someone else besides Romney to campaign against President Barack Obama for the White House.
The convention is the week of Aug. 27. Though the group behind the "DUMP ROMinee" push is urging delegates to not give Romney the nod, it hasn't recommended a candidate as a replacement.
Steve Baldwin, a political consultant and former California State legislator, is the driving force behind the group. He was also the executive director of the Council for National Policy, a networking group for social conservative activists. Some 20,000 people in media and politics reportedly got the memo that is being sent around.
Baldwin made it clear in a telephone interview on Friday that he is not against Romney's Mormonism, but that he believes the religion is "easily exploitable by Barack surrogates" who can lash out at Romney on the issue. The group also believes Romney's "odd, bizarre beliefs, are very different" and are "likely to bite the GOP hard."
"We don't think Romney has the guts to finish this race," Baldwin said. "[Delegates] are going to have to figure out one person. It may be Jim DeMint. who all the conservatives and the party like. It could be one of [those] who dropped out."
Jews and Christians Together believes that Romney's nomination would result in Obama's reelection. It also believes "totally-unbound GOP delegates" have the right to dump the presidential hopeful.
Baldwin and others are even more fearful now that polls are showing Obama leading Romney in many swing states.
"That tells us it is not looking good," Baldwin said. "Just because you are a successful businessman doesn't make you a good president or campaigner."
In its manifesto, the group wrote that "four more years of President Obama will devastate the United States of America" and that "the Republican Party needs to do everything within its power to prevent his reelection."
For the conservative group, which backed Rick Santorum during the primaries, the Tampa delegates are the ones with that power.
"However, if you're a thought leader or a thoughtful Tampa delegate, you already know that the original purpose of major party conventions was to nominate the best possible candidate, even if he or she requires drafting," the manifesto read. "Were frontrunners simply entitled to the nomination, a convention wouldn't be necessary; some RNC bureaucrat would just tally up all the votes from the 50 states."
Several polls are showing Obama with a lead over Romney, some with a wide gap.
The latest Fox News poll shows Obama with a nine-point lead over Romney (49 to 40 percent). That is an increase of four percentage points from last month and, according to Fox News, Obama saw a boost in support among independents, who favored him by 11 percentage points. Another boost came from women, black voters and Democrats.
Real Clear Politics poll shows Obama with a 4.4 percentage point lead over Romney, while a Reuters/Ipsos poll shows a 7 point lead for Obama.
No Faith In Romney
Conservatives of late have seen Romney as weak.
In an opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal Friday, conservative doyenne Peggy Noonan wrote, "I suspect some conservative used the Romney campaign's listless response as a stand-in for what they'd really like to say to Mr. Romney himself, which is, 'Wake up, get mad, be human, we're fighting for our country here!'" Noonan believes Romney overmanages and second-guesses himself.
"Up to a certain point that's good: Self-possession is a necessary quality in a political leader," she wrote. "But people don't choose a leader based solely on his ability to moderate himself. They're more interested in his confidence in his own judgment or an ease that signals the candidate has an earned respect for his own instincts."
The Atlantic's Connor Friedersdorf also believes conservatives don't have faith in the man who is set to get the party's nod.
"The right doesn't trust Mitt Romney's instincts on any subject save business-friendliness and taxes," he wrote.
"Social conservatives are worried Romney's instinct is to dispassionately take the politically advantageous stance on abortion. Small-government conservatives know his instinct was to enact Romneycare. Libertarian-leaning conservatives worry that his instinct is to be a corporatist. Populists worry that he's an Ivy League educated financier at heart," he continued. "Aside from Romney's affection for Mormonism and big business, both of which seem genuine, is there any position the man wouldn't abandon or embrace if it would win him the White House? The regularity with which he's changed positions and his rhetorical zealousness both before and after his "conversions" give the impression he's severely malleable. That's what a lot of Republicans thought during the primaries."
Friedersdorf said Republicans are forcing themselves to vote for a man they don't like or trust because they want to beat Obama.
Words echoed by Baldwin.
"Are you willing to hit back when you can hit, make the distinction between you and your opponent?" Baldwin asked, saying he isn't really seeing that in Romney.
What are your thoughts about the conservative group's push to oust Romney as a White House hopeful? Do you think conservatives really distrust Romney but are making do with him to get rid of Obama? Let us known in the box comment below.
To contact the editor, e-mail: