Christian conservatives are very bad at politics. The left imagines that these people have the GOP on a short leash and are wily operators wielding influence with the best of them. The left tells us the Romney-Ryan ticket is in their grasp. Nonsense. These folks couldn’t win a high school student body race.

Take the GOP primary. They fidgeted. They thought. They couldn’t agree. Then they did agree to back Rick Santorum, but did nothing to aid him. So Mitt Romney, the candidate they liked the least, got the nomination. Not impressive.

Now faced with a threat to the GOP’s capturing of the Senate (not to mention besmirching their own cause with crackpot science and a sprinkling of misogyny), social conservative “leaders” have generally remained quiet or actually encouraged Todd Akin in what is fast becoming a display of sheer craziness. Mike Huckabee sent an e-mail urging him to stay in, leading one to conclude there must be some angle that Huckabee thinks will inure to his benefit.

But there is apparently no one in a movement of millions of pro-life people with the common sense and wherewithal to tell Akin to take a hike. They wallow in victimhood ( the liberal media is out to get us) and resentment (why should we move to oust one of our own?). In other contexts loyalty is admirable, but Akin — by sheer stupidity and then self-delusion — has in effect turned on his party. It is he who has not remain devoted to his party or the pro-life cause.

In behaving as they do, social conservative “leaders” are often afraid of their own members, or the leaders might be horribly naive themselves. But at moments where common sense and sure-footed leadership is needed, social conservative leaders come across as amateurs. It’s a shame, because they diminish their own relevance and hurt their cause.

Sure the GOP may take the Senate anyway. But if not, the meek and the foolish will have done great damage to religious freedom (leaving in place the contraception mandate), the pro-life movement and their other causes. If social conservative leaders want to maintain their influence and advance their cause, they better learn how to play politics.

UPDATE (4:25 p.m.):Brian Walsh, communications director for the National Republican Senatorial Committee is gracious. He e-mails me: “Sen. Cornyn thinks very highly of Gov. Huckabee but respectfully disagrees with him on this matter. The stakes in this election are far bigger than any one individual.” Perhaps at some point Huckabee can be convinced to be of help to his party and hasten Akin’s exit.