Friday, November 9, 2007

The "Religious Right" pick sides

Over the past week, some new Republican Presidential endorsements have been appearing from those who have been characterized by the media as "The Religious Right". After recently all the "leading Evangelical Christian" leaders got together to discuss what to do since they didn’t have a candidate to support. Now all of a sudden, 3 have decided that they have a candidate they want to support. Pat Robertson, who had founded or been behind the creation of the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN), the Christian Coalition, Operation Blessing International Relief and Development Corporation, and Regent University, Robertson has decided to back former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani. American Family Association (AFA) founder Donald E. Wildmon has personally endorsed former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee today. There were rumors on the internet that Focus On the Family founder James Dobson would endorse Huckabee as well, but Dobson has denied any endorsement anytime soon of anyone. In the meantime, Paul Weyrich, co-founder of the Moral Majority, has thrown his support behind former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney while Kansas Senator Sam Brownback (known for his "core Christian" beliefs).

For months, many "Christian leaders" had been hesitant to endorse any of the Republican candidates. And the typical stereotypical reasons fall inline here: Giuliani isn’t Pro-Life, Romney is a Mormon, McCain has flip flopped on various issues, Thompson is not an ideal or strong candidate, and Huckabee is too good to be true and not well known. But now, everyone is picking "their" candidate. I guess those rumors of supporting a "3rd Party Candidate" are out the window? Maybe, maybe not, especially since Dobson has not officially changed his positon yet. Each endorsement says something unique, because Wildmon now endorse Huckabee since he is gaining ground in polls and Huckabee is a ordained Baptist minister. Brownback choose McCain, both who have "strong" Pro-Life voting records, but also have flip flop on other issues over the years. Weyrich's support of Romney might speak to the fact that Romney has the financial firepower to sustain after getting the nomination, a reflection on Weyrich's background with the Moral Majority. Robertson's endorsement of Giuliani is purely a political pick, nothing that has to do with Christian or Moral beliefs (he talked about National Security and the threat of Islamic Terrorism at the official endorsement press conference).

Now we need to see how each endorsement affects how people will vote. I have the feeling that the endorsements help Huckabee and Giuliani, while they hurt McCain and Fred Thompson. Romney is still going to poll well in Iowa and New Hampshire no matter what. Watch for Huckabee to start doing even better in polls, he is my Dark Horse in the Republican race. McCain is trying so hard to gain traction, but it just is not happening, while Thompson has not really excited anyone. So this race is looking like it will develop into a three man contest between Giuliani, Romney, and Huckabee.

As for Dobson, dont forget what happened back in earlier this year with Fred Thompson.

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