Rudy Vs. The Social Conservatives

I can’t say that I am happy to hear about this, but it was a forgone conclusion that Rudy would tear the Republican base apart at the seams if he were to be the nominee,

Alarmed at the chance that the Republican party might pick Rudolph Giuliani as its presidential nominee despite his support for abortion rights, a coalition of influential Christian conservatives is threatening to back a third-party candidate in an attempt to stop him.

The group making the threat, which came together Saturday in Salt Lake City during a break-away gathering during a meeting of the secretive Council for National Policy, includes Dr. James Dobson of Focus on the Family, who is perhaps the most influential of the group, as well as Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, the direct mail pioneer Richard Viguerie and dozens of other politically-oriented conservative Christians, participants said. Almost everyone present expressed support for a written resolution that “if the Republican Party nominates a pro-abortion candidate we will consider running a third party candidate.”

…A revolt of Christian conservative leaders could be a significant setback to the Giuliani campaign because white evangelical Protestants make up a major portion of Republican primary voters. But the threat is risky for the credibility of the Christian conservative movement as well. Some of its usual grass-roots supporters could still choose to support even a pro-choice Republican like Mr. Giuliani, either because they dislike the Democratic nominee even more or because they are worried about war, terrorism and other issues.

In recent polls by the Pew Research Center, Mr. Giuliani has received a plurality of support from white evangelical Protestant voters despite a rising chorus of complaints from Christian conservative leaders about his liberal views on social issues and his unconventional family life. Some players in the movement not present at the meeting may be open to Mr. Giuliani as the lesser of two evils.

…For months, Christian conservatives have been escalating their warnings about the risk that nominating Mr. Giuliani could splinter the party. Dr. Dobson wrote a column declaring that he would waste his vote before casting it for either Mr. Giuliani or a Democrat who supports abortion rights like Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton. Richard Land, the top public policy official of the Southern Baptist Convention, has said that nominating a Republican candidate who supports abortion rights would make white evangelical votes “a jump ball” between the Republicans and Democrats, with other issues taking the fore.

Back in August of 2006, I wrote a column called, The Conservative Case Against Rudy Giuliani In 2008.

In that piece, I pointed out that Rudy would cause this sort of schism in the GOP if he were to be elected,

One of the biggest selling points for Rudy Giuliani is supposed to be that he’s “electable” because a lot of independents and Democrats will vote for him. The problem with that sort of thinking is that if he becomes the Republican nominee, the very liberal mainstream media will spend nine months relentlessly savaging him in an effort to help the Democrats. Because of that, Giuliani’s sky high polling numbers with non-Republicans are 100% guaranteed to drop significantly before election time rolls around in 2008.

That is not necessarily a problem; after all the mainstream media is always against the Republican nominee, if — and this is a big “if” — the GOP nominee has strong support from the Republican base.

The big problem Rudy has is that he isn’t going to be able to generate that kind of support. For one thing, as a candidate, he offers almost nothing to social conservatives, without whom a victory for George Bush in 2004 wouldn’t have been possible. If the choice in 2008 comes down to a Democrat and a pro-abortion, soft on gay marriage, left-of-center candidate on social issues — like Rudy — you can be sure that millions of “moral values voters” will simply stay home and cost the GOP the election.

The other issue is in the South. George Bush swept every Southern state in 2000 and 2004, which is quite an impressive feat when you consider that the Democrats had Southerner Al Gore at the top of the ticket in 2000 and John Edwards as the veep in 2004. Unfortunately, a pro-abortion, soft on gay marriage, pro-gun control RINO from New York City just isn’t going to be able to repeat that performance. Even against a carpetbagger like Hillary Clinton, it’s entirely likely that you’ll see at least 2 or 3 states in the South turn from red to blue if Rudy Giuliani is the nominee.

Also, the reason why George Bush’s approval numbers have been mired in the high thirties/low forties of late is because he has lost a significant amount of Republican support, primarily because his domestic policies aren’t considered conservative enough. Since that’s the case, running a candidate who is several steps to Bush’s left on domestic policy certainly doesn’t seem like a great way to unite the base again.

Now, I am of the opinion that anyone the GOP runs in 2008, including Giuliani, would be an improvement over the Democratic nominee for America, conservatives, and yes, for social conservatives.

However, given that the Republican base is disgruntled because they don’t think the GOP leadership is conservative enough and that Rudy is almost guaranteed to alienate large numbers of social conservatives that the GOP absolutely cannot win without in 2008….well, you get the idea.

In the end, if Rudy were to capture the nomination, he would not be able to hold and turn out a high enough percentage of Republican voters to win the election — especially after he began running back towards the middle for the general election.

You can say that’s not fair and that conservatives should be willing to compromise more to win, but we have to deal with reality as we find it and realistically, I don’t think Rudy has what it takes to win the Republican nomination or the presidency. Time will tell if I am right…

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