One big strength of Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign is that he has a lot of institutional support from establishment-minded social conservatives. One big weakness of Romney’s presidential campaign is that he seems like a great big phony all the time. To liberals, he looks like a phony. But to the socially conservative rank and file he . . . also looks like a phony. So why all the love from elites? Tom Edsall and Ethan Hova have the story: Bribery!

Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney is distributing numerous payments, primarily to religious and social conservatives, most of them in Iowa, for what he calls “GOTV Consulting.” “GOTV” is political shorthand for get-out-the-vote – just what walk-around payments financed. […] The payments start at $500 a month, the base rate for student leaders, many of whom are chairs in the “Iowa Students for Romney” campaign organization. At a higher level, Joe Earle, former director of the Iowa Christian Alliance (the successor to the Iowa Christian Coalition) gets $4,000 a month, and Gary Marx, a top-level member on the Romney for President National Faith And Values Steering Committee, gets $8,000 a month.

Well, that explains it.