Sept. 30, 2007 | WASHINGTON — “A powerful group of conservative Christian leaders decided Saturday at a private meeting in Salt Lake City to consider supporting a third-party candidate for president if a pro-choice nominee like Rudy Giuliani wins the Republican nomination,” writes the estimable Michael Scherer of Salon.com in an article titled Religious right may blackball Giuliani Christian conservative leaders privately consider supporting a third-party, antiabortion candidate should Rudy Giuliani win the GOP nomination.

Various responsa follow:

“Now, I like Rudy Giuliani very much. And lest anyone think I have a vested interest in this Christian Right boycott of America’s Mayor please understand that my guy John McCain is hardly the favored candidate of this same group,” writes Patryck Hynes in an Ankle Biting Pundits post titled Rudy and the Religious Right (Updated).

But I don’t understand why some conservatives think that the GOP is entitled to the votes of the Religious Right and that religious conservatives are expected to act against their interests for the benefit of the partisan good. Indeed, I get the feeling that the Religious Right is the only group within the body politic of whom such a cynical bargain is expected (not that they aren’t also criticized when they do behave with such cynicism) more

“These leaders may even damage their influence within their own faction,” writes some random guy apparently named Ed Morrissey in a Captains Quarters Blog post titled Christian Conservatives For Hillary.

Right now, Giuliani receives a significant amount of support from the very Evangelicals for whom James Dobson and Tony Perkins speak. If they call for the formation of a third party to oppose Giuliani’s nomination and these voters do not follow them, they will find themselves very lonely in political circles, and the Council for National Policy along with them. Republicans have already figured out that Presidents can’t do much about abortion except appoint strict-constructionist judges, which Rudy has pledged to do already, and that other issues hold more significance in this election — like war, taxes, spending, and beating Hillary Clinton.

Republicans don’t need petulance from its internal factions. Primaries exist for these groups to make their best case to the voters, and the voters decide which candidate fits their agendas. Threatening to take one’s ball and go home doesn’t build respect or confidence in any faction, and it’s getting old from this particular one, even among its own members. The Christian Right needs to find a primary candidate to endorse and make its best case — and then make a mature and intelligent decision about the general election if they lose the primaries … more

“The politician wants his power short-term. The movement activist wants his power long term. One of the great questions will be who voters side with. The politicians purport to offer victory in the war on terror, a 5th judge to overturn Roe, and a couple more things. To a normal person, these could override a greater concern about the candidate’s total vision,” writes eye of eyeon08.com in a post titled Rudy, the conservative movement, their constituents, and power.

The movement activist offers a strategy for moving the country to the right over the long-term. And over the medium-term, the movement activist actually probably grows his organization and his power with a target like Hillary Clinton to attack. And this is the point. Many, many conservative consultants will say in private that they know that they will make a lot of money attacking Hillary Clinton if she is President. And many suspect that she can’t be beat. The one way for them to lose is to lose influence in the party over the short term. And that’s what Giuliani brings, especially if we manages to win more

In sum—if we read the above arguments correctly: Hynes suggests that the GOP should not take the religious conservatives for granted; on the other hand, some random guy apparently named Ed Morrissey argues that religious conservatives should sit down and shut up as it is their responsibility to forward a candidate or candidates in the primaries etc., etc. To threaten to walk is to hand Sen. Clinton the presidency. eye of eyeon2008.com bases his analysis on the asymmetry of interest between politicians and movement activists—the one thinks, acts, and organizes for the long term, the other for the shorter term. A Rudy victory means short term gains for the politicians and loss of influence for the movement conservatives, although “[movement conservatives] will make a lot of money attacking Hillary Clinton if she is President.” We favour eye’s analysis—we do tend to think long-term, and the term “republican” means very little to us. Hence the threat of another Clinton presidency or else is to us a vain and empty threat. We will not support a candidate or a nominee simply because he or she is not Sen. Clinton.

Our own position has been consistent since the inception of this humble, anonymous vanity web log: as religious conservatives we make compromises all the time. There are no perfect candidates, or candidates that perfectly represent our views—we don’t even expect that there should be. So: based on what know now about the candidates, we would probably vote for any Republican nominee to the general election—McCain, Giuliani, Huckabee, Paul etc.—except Willard Milton Romney.

And here is why:

Joseph Farrah of Worldnet.daily rejects Willard Mitt Romney: “I will not vote for Romney under any circumstances, no matter who his opponent might be.”

Were Romney to win the GOP nomination we would be happy to vote for Sen. Clinton or any one else who is not Willard Milton Romney. Party means nothing to us—it is but an organizational means to an end that issues in policy; what has meaning for us is principle, how we live our lives. You simply cannot be a Willard Milton Romney and expect our support—ever. We don’t necessarily need to trust our leaders—we generally don’t—or, put differently, we generally trust that they will behave badly, make wretched decisions, and act in their own interest most of the time, just like everyone else—but we do need to know who they are, to be confident that we know who they are. How can you know a figure who has reversed himself so many times on so many important issues?—what does Willard Milton Romney truly believe!?—we have no idea!—and neither does anyone else, least of all Romney himself!

That said, if Romney wins the nomination we will probably vote Libertarian.

yours &c.
dr. g.d.

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