Yesterday's announcement that Pat Robertson is endorsing Rudy Giuliani is a big moment in modern political history. It signals the beginning of the end of the power that social conservatives have held over Republican Presidential candidates for many years.
Giuliani's camp is spinning the endorsement as a proof of Giuliani's conservatism. Maybe those living in the bubble of Giuliani-land believe that, but the grassroots conservatives aren't buying it. At the recent conservative mega-conference, Value Voters Summit, Giuliani took a pathetic 1.8 percent in the straw poll at the conclusion of the event. That was several spots behind 'undecided' and only a couple spots ahead of Barack Obama.
These people represented the folks that work year after year to elect conservative Republicans. Giulaini isn't their man.
In addition, James Dobson of Focus on the Family and Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, have teamed up with other prominent social conservatives and pledged to 'seriously consider' backing a third party candidate if the Republican party nominates a candidate that supports choice.
This division among he conservative movement is a good sign. For years, they've been unyielding in their right-wing ideology. Now that their guy, George W. Bush, has soured the American electorate on the conservative agenda, they see their long fought for power on the brink of extinction.
Further, Robertson's Christian Coalition organization endorsed Giuliani's opponent in his 1993 campaign for mayor of New York City. They cited issues such as abortion and gay rights as reasons not to support the Republican.
In an act of desperation, Robertson is willing to throw his values out the window to hop on the train of the perceived front-runner. Combined with the shifting positions of Giuliani, this new duo has more flip flops than Miami Beach on a summer afternoon.
Looking forward to 2008, the right wing surely won't be happy about this. It will be interesting to see how this plays out, but I'm looking forward to all of the pandering that the Republican nominee will have to do to try to achieve some semblance of a winning coalition in the general election.
In the meantime, let's hope the Democratic candidates will run positive campaigns that are about the future, so that when our nominee is decided, we will not be divided. That is the only way we will lose.
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