The Dreaded “Religious Right” Rears Its Head

Salon reports breathlessly that the “Religious right may blackball Giuliani.” This is, of course, the kind of headline that liberals delight in; it reflects their conviction that the Republican Party is dominated by a sinister cabal of Christians. That’s an odd way to think of Christians, in my opinion, but there you have it.
The actual story is less dramatic than Salon’s headline. A meeting of the Council for National Policy, a “powerful shadow group” that I’d never heard of, is taking place in Salt Lake City. A side meeting of approximately 50 people “including Focus on the Family’s James Dobson, the Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins and former presidential candidate Gary Bauer” took place. A participant leaked news of the meeting, evidently for the purpose of discouraging the nomination of a socially liberal candidate:

“The conclusion was that if there is a pro-abortion nominee they will consider working with a third party,” said the person, who spoke to Salon on the condition of anonymity.

Some “conclusion.” Whatever they might consider, I’m pretty sure that religious conservatives will not elect Hillary Clinton by backing a spoiler candidate. There is more:

The decision confirms the fears of many Republican Party officials, who have worried that a Giuliani nomination would irrevocably split the GOP in advance of the 2008 general election, given Giuliani’s relatively liberal stands on gay unions and abortion, as well as his rocky marital history.

That’s obviously what the leaker, and likely the group of 50, intended. But I haven’t spoken to a single Republican leader who thinks that nominating Giuliani would “irrevocably split the GOP,” a suggestion I find ludicrous. I have considerable respect for James Dobson, but he is anything but a kingmaker:

Dobson, who is one of the nation’s most outspoken Christian leaders, has previously announced that he does not support Giuliani, Arizona Sen. John McCain or former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson as nominees for the Republican Party.

He doesn’t support Mitt Romney, either. Mike Huckabee has been rumored to be Dobson’s favorite. Salon’s report continues:

Attendees at the Saturday afternoon meeting also discussed the possibility of recruiting another person to run for the Republican nomination, said the person familiar with the proceedings. Several names have already been floated, though no decision on a possible candidate has yet been made, the person said.

The idea that this group of 50 can put up a new candidate who will have a significant impact on the process at this point is even sillier than the idea of a third-party candidate who will “irrevocably split the GOP.”
It’s possible that a group of social conservatives could support a fringe third-party candidate–Gary Bauer, say, as the nominee of the Constitution Party–and it’s certain that a few social conservatives would stay home if the Republicans nominate Giuliani or, perhaps, Romney or McCain. That number would be about equal, in my opinion, to the number of anti-war zealots who would stay home rather than vote for Hillary Clinton.
Contrary to the assumption of many liberals, religious conservatives (a group in which I include myself) are not stupid. As President, Rudy Giuliani would nominate judges who will support rather than usurp the Constitution. That’s the only significant role the President plays with respect to social issues. James Dobson et al. wish that they controlled the Republican Party, and Salon wishes they controlled it, too. But they don’t.
Via Power Line News.
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