Holier Than Thou (or at Least Holier Than Rudy)


Michael Scherer has the story of the week, a report on irate religious right leaders and their poorly-concealed planning for a third party movement if Rudy Giuliani gets the GOP nomination.

Giuliani was the last major Republican candidate to accept the invitation to [James Dobson's] Values Voter Summit. As a result, he is now scheduled to address the crowd just a few hours before religious and conservative leaders meet in private to discuss strategies for derailing his bid for the White House. "It is going to be an interesting juxtaposition," said one other participant in the Salt Lake meeting, who plans to attend the summit. "We will see what effect it has." Among the expected speakers at the private Saturday meeting is James Clymer, who chairs the U.S. Constitution Party, according to a person familiar with the planning.

I've heard conservatives talking like this for months, no one taking them very seriously. Richard Viguerie spoke to a Libertarian Party conference about how a "third movement" might be needed to scare Republicans straight. "But Viguerie's a harmless old crank!" went the chorus. Well, he doesn't look so harmless now.

On one hand I respect what the Dobsonites are doing here. On the opposite trenches of the culture wars, the professional lefties the two million or so people who voted Nader in 2000, are collapsing into the Democratic Party and asking nothing from it. Hillary Clinton says "I'll end the war," then mulls plans to keep troops in Iraq indefinitely; well, nobody's perfect!

There is a big difference, though, that sort of scuttles that comparison. The lefties of 2000 had nowhere to go after Sen. Paul Wellstone backed off on his possible presidential bid. The Dobson crowd have a perfectly adequate candidate in Mike Huckabee: Married for three decades, a former preacher, trigger-happy in the Middle East. So why don't they support him in an effort to stop Rudy? Maybe Huckabee's lazy campaign and failure to court them effectively has convinced them he's a loser. Or maybe it's better for the long-term power of these conservatives to throw a tantrum about the frontrunner than to back a dark horse and possibly lose. (I wonder if twice-married Sen. George Allen would have really been acceptable to this crowd.)

If they actually do bolt the party and scout for a Constitution Party ticket, here's what they have to look forward to.

NEXT: Bye-Bye Brownback

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  1. Or maybe many of the religious right voters really only care about religion and religious values when it can be used to attack Democrats?

  2. Maybe they figure the GOP is going to lose the next election, and if the social cons put a 3rd party candidate up, the party can put the blame on Nader..er, Huckabee or whoever. That way they get to throw their tantrum, and the GOP might even think that they have to swing farther to the social cons side. I mean, if you're going to lose anyway, why not take the credit?

  3. The Constitution Party. A reminder that no matter how bad things are, they could be a whole lot worse.

  4. I wonder if twice-married Sen. George Allen would have really been acceptable to this crowd.

    Whose mother is also Jewish. But hey, he still had still had a ham sandwich for lunch, and she made great porkchops!

  5. I would welcome a third party bid backed by the religious right! The theocons garnering < 5% of the vote would hopefully bring the GOP back to their senses.

    Note that I wrote hopefully, not probably. This FORMER republican has substantial doubts about rationality returning to the Republican party. I support Ron Paul in spite of not because of, his party affiliation.

  6. Whose mother is also Jewish.

  7. Whose mother is also Jewish.

  8. So why the hell isn't my comment getting posted, after the italicized quote?

    Let me try again:

    You know, somehow I don't think that would be the thing that would bother the religious Right. Allen shares that characteristic with Jesus (though I don't believe Allen's mother was immaculately conceived, or that upon her death she's expecting to be bodily assumed into heaven).

    (I know, the Protestant wing of the religious Right doesn't believe those things of Jesus' mother, either.)

  9. Well Jesus didn't (weirdly) deny his mother was Jewish, and then admit to it two days later. I don't think Mary made great porkchops, either.

  10. So why the hell isn't my comment getting posted, after the italicized quote?

    You probably offended reason's protestant server squirrels.

  11. Or maybe many of the religious right voters really only care about religion and religious values when it can be used to attack Democrats?

    I won't pretend to be an expert on the "religious right," but I did grow up going to a bunch of different fundamentalist/evangelical/pentecostal churches and I never got the feeling that people really cared about politics per se. They wanted to vote for someone who was against abortion, gay marriage, pornography, etc., who would bring back school prayer and impose christian morals. Whether that person was a Democrat or Republican wasn't always that importatnt. Yeah, some of the religious right is just in it for the political power, and I'm not sure how the national Democratic party could change enough to cause a realignment now, but I always find it interesting that for many of my parent's friends, the last president they felt was on their religious wavelength was Carter.

  12. I think Allen denied his mother three times by the time the rooster crowed.

  13. You probably offended reason's protestant server squirrels.

    No clearly the server squirrels are Buddhist, merely reincarnated versions of Abbot and Costello.

    They weren't funny then, either...

  14. With his deep Christian roots, opposition to abortion, and major neo-Nazi support, Ron Paul would make a big splash as a third-party candidate. The turds would be flying everywhere.

  15. Yay! Huzzah!

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