Rudy Giuliani

No Shows Found Guilty in Absentia

Not content with rewording “God Bless America” and grilling second-tier candidates with questions about what they’d do to overturn Roe v. Wade and fight “the homosexual agenda,” the organizers of the Values Voter Presidential Debate made sure that everyone was aware that the four leading Republican candidates had snubbed the debate, leaving empty podiums on the stage and even reserving time during the program to allow panelists and special guests to direct questions at the candidates who declined to participate - even though they weren’t there.

And it is probably a good thing they skipped the event, since it is unlikely that Fred Thompson would have enjoyed being questioned by Mat Staver when he compared same-sex marriage to slavery, or that Mitt Romney would have liked being called a hypocrite by Peter LaBarbera, or that John McCain would have appreciated Janet Folger’s condescending tone, or that Rudy Giuliani would have been comfortable about being questioned by an “abortion survivor” demanding to know whether he “honestly believed that an abortionist had a right to kill me.” 

Giuliani’s Pathetic Excuse

Yesterday we noted that Rudy Giuliani was scheduled to be in Fort Lauderdale, Florida on the very day that the Values Voter Presidential Debate was taking place, though he and the other top-tier candidates had all declined to participate.  While the other candidates all gave excuses about scheduling conflicts, the Giuliani campaign didn’t even bother trying to come up with an excuse.  

Needless to say, his refusal to attend the event when he was in town campaigning just four miles away did not endear him to the organizers of the debate, with Janet Folger saying he was essentially telling them "I’m here in town, but I don’t care enough about your values to actually show up."

Apparently, the Giuliani campaign is starting to think that sticking a finger in the eye of the GOP’s right-wing base might not have been a very good idea and so Giuliani is desperately trying to come up with an excuse about why he didn’t make it:

Giuliani was slated to meet with supporters at a Tampa cafe and attend a fundraiser.

Asked why he wasn't attending the debate, Giuliani said, “I wasn't aware of it.''

Oh really?  That is odd, since his campaign sent a letter to the organizers weeks ago declining the invitation:

The Giuliani camp didn't even bother with the scheduling-conflict ruse, providing the Sun with the text of a letter the former mayor's campaign manager, Michael DuHaime, sent to the debate's organizers on Friday. "Thank you for your kind invitation for Mayor Giuliani to attend a presidential debate hosted by Values Voters," Mr. DuHaime wrote. "Unfortunately Mayor Giuliani will be unable to accept your invitation."

And in case it has slipped his mind since then, his campaign also shared the letter with CBN’s David Brody just last week when he inquired why Giuliani would not be attending.  

If Giuliani thinks his excuse is going to convince anyone, he’d better think again.  

What Is Rudy Up To?

With the Values Voter Presidential Debate sponsored by a collection of second-tier Religious Right leaders scheduled for tonight, the organizers are still pressing hard to get top-tier candidates who have refused to participate (Thompson, Giuliani, Romney, and McCain) to change their minds, claiming that the straw poll being held at the debate will “decide the nominee” and warning them that if they don’t show up, “they're going to be hurt substantially.”

When asked a few weeks back why they weren’t going to be attending this debate, most of the top candidates made excuses about scheduling conflicts, except for Rudy Giuliani:

The Giuliani camp didn't even bother with the scheduling-conflict ruse, providing the Sun with the text of a letter the former mayor's campaign manager, Michael DuHaime, sent to the debate's organizers on Friday. "Thank you for your kind invitation for Mayor Giuliani to attend a presidential debate hosted by Values Voters," Mr. DuHaime wrote. "Unfortunately Mayor Giuliani will be unable to accept your invitation."

Apparently, the reason the Giuliani campaign didn’t bother with the scheduling conflict excuse is that, according to this recent update in the AP Daybook, he is actually going to be in Fort Lauderdale today: 

NEW* GIULIANI in Fort Lauderdale, FL: At 3:30 PM Rudy Giuliani holds a press availability at Advanced Roofing, located at 2100 NW 21st Ave. [Associated Press Daybook, 9/17/07]

Was Giuliani just keeping his options open in case other leading candidates decided to participate? Or perhaps he has decided to trek down to Florida in order to meet with the debate organizers in private in an attempt to placate them before the debate without having to answer for joining them publicly?

If not, then this is a rather staggering slap-in-the-face to the debate organizers, because rather than schedule Giuliani to be somewhere that would at least provide a plausible excuse for not attending tonight’s debate, his campaign’s decision to drop him less than 4 miles away from the debate venue on the very day it is being held can only be seen as attempt to send an unmistakable signal to these leaders that he does not want or need their support.  

So which is it?  Is Giuliani in Florida today to secretly pander to the very right-wing leaders he has publicly blown off or is he there taunting them and sending them a very clear message that he plans to run without seeking their support?    

Federalist Society and GOP Candidates

The Chicago Tribune notes that Rudy Giuliani is utilizing the Federalist Society in an attempt to assure the Right that he'll appoint their kind of judges and that he isn't the only one courting the groups: "Mitt Romney and Fred Thompson also have recruited members to high-level positions in their organizations."

Dobson’s Low Profile Hides Focus on the States

Following the rejection of the Right’s political agenda in the last election, there have been a number of news articles written in recent months about a potential split emerging within the evangelical political community, with newer leaders pushing to incorporate issues such as the environment and poverty into the agenda, while old-school leaders seek to quash any efforts to dilute their traditional anti-choice, anti-gay message.  

From this split, some new right-wing leaders appear to be emerging, such as Richard Land who seems to be attempting to position himself as the Right’s new powerbroker, seemingly at the expense of James Dobson.  For his part, Dobson has been keeping something of a low profile, perhaps chastened a bit by the controversy he generated when he suggested that presidential hopeful Fred Thompson was not a Christian.   

Other than appearing from time to time to declare that he won’t support or vote for Rudy Giuliani or John McCain, Dobson has been relatively quiet as of late – but that doesn’t mean that his organization, Focus on the Family, has become any less influential or involved in politics, especially at the state level. Just in the last two days, it has been reported that FOF has hooked up with a new “state policy council” in Washington and is affiliated with a similar organization in West Virginia, both of which have a similar goal:  pushing the right-wing agenda at the state level and energizing right-wing voters ahead of the upcoming elections. 

Cause or Effect?

Wayne Slater, writing in The Dallas Morning News, says that while Rudy Giuliani might not be much liked by the Republican Party’s social conservative, right-wing base, he might not be totally unacceptable either, especially if they are faced with the prospect of Hillary Clinton as the Democratic nominee:

As the most powerful movement in American politics for several decades, conservative Christians insisted that above all else, their candidates adhere to their positions on social issues, particularly abortion and gay marriage. But as their movement changes, many are placing the fight against Islamic extremism at the top of the list as well.

For the last several years, the “fight against Islamic extremism” has never been a key issue for the Right.  While it has been an issue they’ve mentioned occasionally, its importance has always paled in comparison to their primary goals of fighting for restrictions on abortion, passing a federal marriage amendment, and controlling the federal judiciary.  As a matter of fact, the issue of terrorism was nowhere to be seen on last year’s Congressional scorecard [PDF] put together by the Family Research Council and Focus on the Family, which claimed to be a “compilation of significant votes representing a cross section of issues affecting the family.”

So what could explain this relatively sudden rise in the importance of national security issues and terrorism for the Right?

Nobody Can Question Romney’s Commitment to Winning Meaningless Polls

A few weeks ago, after it was announced that both John McCain and Rudy Giuliani were not going to be participating in the Iowa Straw Poll, Mitt Romney’s campaign decided to scale back its own operations in the state:

"I think initially we planned to bring in a very large number of folks from across the state for the straw poll," Romney told reporters. "We've cut back on our target from that standpoint to a level where we think we can win, but we're not trying to overwhelm anybody."

Romney said it is important to keep showing his commitment to the straw poll and "engage our base of supporters so that by the time the caucus comes along we'll have our structure in place and our team members that are tried and tested.

"But we have pulled back the level of investment financially that we're making, in part, to recognize that Mayor Giuliani and Sen. McCain have decided not to participate, and apparently Sen. Thompson as well."

Romney said the straw poll is "not going to be as intense of an event as it would have been had the other front-runners decided to participate."

If that is indeed that case, Romney sure had a strange concept of “pulling back the level of investment” his campaign planned to make in the winning the poll, reportedly outbidding his rivals for on a prime location for his tent, sending out expensive mailings, and spending millions on television ads and other material.  As the Wall Street Journal reports:

Does Gushing Count as an Endorsement?

A few months ago, Richard Land appeared on “Hard Ball with Chris Matthews” where he repeatedly stated “I don‘t endorse candidates.”  Of course, that hasn’t stopped him from “negatively endorsing” potential nominees such as Rudy Giuliani and Newt Gingrich.

But while Land may not have technically “endorsed” any Republican presidential hopeful, it is becoming increasingly clear that he is enthusiastically supporting Fred Thompson’s campaign.  So enamored with Thompson is Land, in fact, that his relentless campaign to heap praise upon him is becoming somewhat embarrassing and calling into question his claim that he doesn’t endorse candidates. 

For instance, when James Dobson questioned whether Thompson was sufficiently Christian, Land came to Thompson’s defense, praising him as a “Southern-fried Reagan” and saying that to “see Fred work a crowd must be what it was like to watch Rembrandt paint.”

Since then, Land has been Thompson’s number one fan, introducing him before he addressed the right-wing Council for National Policy and more recently riding to his rescue after it was reported that Thompson had once lobbied for a pro-choice group, gushing to CBN’s David Brody that he has “never seen anything like this grassroots swell for Thompson” and telling WORLD Magazine that the candidate would be “red meat” for conservative Republican primary voters. 

And when the Washington Post recently ran a story about the impact Thompson’s past lobbying might have on his support among right-wing voters, there was Land again to praise him as the second coming of Reagan and the great right-wing hope:

Richard Land, an official with the nation's Southern Baptists, called the video "stunning in its strong, pro-life message."

"I'm around a lot of Baptists," Land said. "They find Fred Thompson to be a tantalizing combination of charisma, conviction and electability. He's got a Reaganesque ability to connect with ordinary folk that is powerful."

Land added: "He also has the same Teflon coating that Reagan had: Bad stuff just doesn't stick."

It is getting to the point where Land would be better off just dropping the claim that he doesn’t endorse candidates and admit that he is endorsing Thompson, as he claims of neutrality and nonpartisanship are becoming increasingly dubious.  

Fox News Discovers DC Caucuses, "Heavily Republican" Neighborhoods

Fox News reported today that "GOP frontrunner Rudy Giuliani will unveil his 'Justice Advisory Committee' this week on a two-day swing through heavily Republican western districts of Washington, D.C., home of the first presidential caucuses in 2008." Do they know something we don't?

More Trouble for Giuliani from Conservative Catholic Activists

A few weeks ago we noted the formation of an anti-Giuliani Catholic front, including Joseph Cella of Fidelis and Steve Dillard of Catholics Against Rudy, right-wing activists key to forcing the withdrawal of Harriet Miers from nomination to the Supreme Court. Now more self-identified Catholic activists are mobilizing against Rudy Giuliani, himself a Catholic and the leading GOP candidate for president.

Acting under the rubric of “Republicans Against Rudy Giuliani,” two activists put out a press release targeting the candidate for “liberal views on foundational issues of abortion, homosexuality, judges, and gun control” – in particular, his dressing in drag for comedy sketches:

Republicans upset with Rudy Giuliani's anti-family policies protested on Sunday, June 10th when the "Republican" presidential candidate appeared in Irvine. A "Rudy Giuliani in drag" was among dozens of sign-holding protestors outside the hotel. …

"Imagine what heads of state would think of an American president known for dressing up as a woman," said Bob Cielnicky, a southern California pro-life leader. "What was Rudy Giuliani thinking when he did this publicly three times as mayor of New York? Obviously not the Presidency." …

"It's appalling to see some Republicans abandoning their Republican Party core principles for Rudy Giuliani," said Ken Fisher, a conservative Republican activist in Orange County, California. "If you support Giuliani, you aren't supporting family values."

Fisher is president of Concerned Roman Catholics of America, which seeks to “undo the last thirty-plus years of watered-down Catholicism.” One section of the group’s website attacks the “Pro-Sodomite, Pro-Abortion” Knights of Columbus, listing politicians associated with the Catholic fraternal order. Fisher is joined by Cielnicky, who has been involved with various groups in California including the Life Priority Network, the Alliance Against Abortion Funding, and Californians Against Assisted Suicide.

In addition, the New York Observer reports on the question of whether the Roman Catholic Church itself will get involved against Giuliani’s bid. Some U.S. bishops made headlines in 2004 by announcing that they would not permit Democratic candidate John Kerry to receive communion in their dioceses; one clergyman told the Observer, “We’ll wait and see if the dozen or so bishops who all went after Kerry, if they go after Giuliani for the same thing.”

Giuliani Creating a “Moral and Spiritual Dilemma” for the Right

Rudy Giuliani has already scored “negative endorsements” from right-wing leaders such as James Dobson, Richard Land, and Richard Viguerie and it looks as if he can now add the Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins to that list:
"Speaking as a private citizen, no, no, I could not support (Giuliani)," said Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, which has about a half-million members. "The 20 years I've been involved in politics, the life issue has been at the very top. How could I turn my back on that?" Perkins said that should Giuliani win the nomination, he would vote for a third-party candidate who reflected his values. "It wouldn't be the first time," Perkins added in an interview last week.
A potential Giuliani win in the primary also appears to be a grave concern to a few other right-wing figures:
"When I give my support for a candidate, I am giving the green light, if he wins, all the way down the line in terms of so many moral and social issues," said [Lou] Sheldon, chairman of the Traditional Values Coalition, which represents 43,000 churches. "I'm personally not supporting Giuliani," he added. Sheldon is backing former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney in the primaries. … "Where Mayor Giuliani is today, I absolutely could not support him” …said Pat Mahoney, executive director of the Christian Defense Coalition.
But that whole dynamic could change, says Mahoney, with just two words – “and those two words are Hillary Clinton.”
Mahoney, like Sheldon, said that if Giuliani pledges to support conservative "strict constructionist" jurists -- who do not believe the Constitution mandates a federal right to abortion -- to the Supreme Court, the prominent social conservatives could vote Republican in the 2008 election. Sheldon added that support for a third-party candidate is a "wasted vote." … "I have talked to many Christian leaders privately, and I don't know of any faith-based evangelical or Catholic organization, pro-family, pro-life, that could support Rudy Giuliani and stand with him," Mahoney said. "But on a personal level," he added, should Giuliani face a Democrat in the general election, "then what are you faced with? You are faced with appointments to the Supreme Court that could be two or three. It is a moral and spiritual dilemma."
So not one right-wing leader is willing to endorse Giuliani, but apparently their fear of Hillary Clinton and for the future of the Supreme Court might just be enough to get some of them to abandon everything they claim to stand for. Mahoney claims that the Right is facing a “moral and spiritual dilemma,” but what they are really facing is a political dilemma because their primary concern is that if they refuse to back Giuliani and he ends up winning not only the GOP nomination but the presidency, their hold on the Republican Party will have been dealt a devastating blow. And the Right’s dilemma is not just limited to a potential Giuliani nomination – it plagues them with all of the current Republican frontrunners. If they don’t back Romney, Thompson, McCain or whoever becomes the GOP nominee and that candidate wins the White House, the Right is going to be left out in the cold. But if they do back one of the current frontrunners, they will in essence be admitting that their political power is more important than their self-described principles. Ironic as it may be, the Right’s best hope for 2008 might just be to stand back from the presidential campaign and election altogether and hope that the GOP’s nominee loses, at which point they will be well-positioned to trot out their standard line about how the Republicans lost because they abandoned their right-wing base and quickly re-establish themselves as the GOP’s source of electoral power.

Rudy to Get The Harriet Miers Treatment

Back in 2005, when Harriet Miers was humiliated and forced to withdraw her nomination to the Supreme Court, the Republican Party’s right-wing base was largely responsible.  Having torpedoed their own president’s nominee for being insufficiently zealous regarding their social and legal agenda, the Right forced President Bush to send them someone whose ideological commitment could not be doubted, which he did by nominating Samuel Alito.  

In the face of what, initially, seemed insurmountable odds, the Right mobilized and managed to torpedo Miers’ nomination in just under a month, achieving arguably their single most significant political triumph of the entire Bush presidency to date. 

Now, heading into 2008, the Right is facing what some of them see as an even more ominous threat: the prospect that Rudy Giuliani could win the GOP presidential nomination.  And just as they did with Miers, right-wing activists - especially anti-choice Catholic ones – are gearing up to launch an all-out attack in an effort to deny Giuliani the nomination:

Rule Number One: Know Your Right-Wing Leaders

Gov. Mitt Romney is well-positioned to capitalize on the fact that several right-wing leaders have already rejected several other GOP presidential hopefuls – a position that might be solidified if he can get the endorsement of James Dobson:  

It wasn't quite an endorsement, but Mitt Romney must see promise in comments conservative icon James Dobson made about him yesterday.

Dobson, the influential leader of the Christian organization Focus on the Family, praised Romney on a radio program and said he may end up supporting him.

"I mean he's very presidential and he's got the right answers to many, many things," Dobson told conservative commenator Laura Ingraham on her show. Dobson said he hasn't decided whom to back, but that Romney "is still on the list."

But if Romney hopes to take advantage of this position, he first needs to brush up on his understanding of which right-wing leader he's busy pandering too: 

At the fund-raiser for Mitt Romney at the posh 1818 Club on Friday, the candidate was making the introductions to the room.

Romney gestured to Ralph Reed and said, “Why it’s good to see Gary Bauer here.” (For the detached, Bauer is a former presidential candidate with ties, like Reed, to the Religious Right.)

Romney then caught himself. “Oh, I’m a little mixed up here,” he said. But Romney still couldn’t place Reed’s face — and had to move on.

After the event, Romney approached Reed and apologized for misremembering him.

Ralph Reed (Left) and Gary Bauer

And just what is Reed doing at a Romney fundraiser anyway?  Is that any way to repay Rudy Giuliani for his support?

Rudy Keeps Racking Up The Negative Endorsements

Last week, Richard Land was a guest on “Hardball With Chris Matthews” where he stated that while he did not endorse political candidates, that didn’t mean he wouldn’t “negatively endorse” them.  And that is just what he proceeded to do regarding Rudy Giuliani:

I don‘t think I could sell him to most of them and I wouldn‘t try.  I would say vote your values and your beliefs and convictions and have to leave it to them to connect the dots.  But I have said publicly, I don‘t endorse candidates, but I‘m negatively endorsing. I could not vote for Giuliani.

In addition to Land’s negative endorsement, Giuliani has also received a similar endorsement from right-wing direct-mail pioneer Richard Viguerie:

“If the Republican Party nominates Rudy Giuliani as its candidate for either president or vice president, I will personally work to defeat the GOP ticket in 2008,” says Richard A. Viguerie, author of Conservatives Betrayed: How George W. Bush and Other Big Government Republicans Hijacked the Conservative Cause.

And if that wasn’t enough, Focus on the Family’s James Dobson has now taken to the pages of WorldNetDaily to declare that under no circumstances will he support Giuliani:

My conclusion from this closer look at the current GOP front-runner comes down to this: Speaking as a private citizen and not on behalf of any organization or party, I cannot, and will not, vote for Rudy Giuliani in 2008. It is an irrevocable decision. If given a Hobson's – Dobson's? – choice between him and Sens. Hillary Clinton or Barrack Obama, I will either cast my ballot for an also-ran – or if worse comes to worst – not vote in a presidential election for the first time in my adult life. My conscience and my moral convictions will allow me to do nothing else.

It should also be noted that Dobson has already negatively endorsed John McCain and has suggested that potential candidate Fred Thompson is not enough of a Christian.

Land Negatively Endorses Giuliani

Richard Land was a guest on last Thursday’s edition of “Hardball With Chris Matthews” where he discussed whether “Christian conservatives [are] comfortable with the leading Republican presidential candidates.”  Land has managed to position himself as some sort of seemingly neutral observer of the current GOP primary process and, as such, repeatedly stated that he does not endorse candidates during his appearance on "Hardball."

Of course, just because he won’t endorse a specific candidate doesn’t mean he won’t “negatively endorse” other candidates:

LAND:  I don‘t think I could sell him to most of them and I wouldn‘t try.  I would say vote your values and your beliefs and convictions and have to leave it to them to connect the dots.  But I have said publicly, I don‘t endorse candidates, but I‘m negatively endorsing. I could not vote for Giuliani.

Two days later, Land was in Virginia introducing possible Republican presidential candidate Fred Thompson when he addressed the ultra-secretive Council for National Policy

Thompson was the keynote speaker at a dinner organized by the Council for National Policy, a group of many of the nation’s most influential conservative leaders.

Most of them have large followings in the groups they lead, and many have expressed dissatisfaction with the Republican Party’s presidential contenders.

Richard Land introduced Thompson at the event. As president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, Land plays a starring role in the nation’s largest Protestant denomination.

Land has already negatively endorsed both Rudy Giuliani and Newt Gingrich while remaining circumspect about candidates such as John McCain and Mitt Romney, but he hasn’t even bothered to try and hide his excitement about Thompson. 

Considering that Thompson’s appearance before the Council for National Policy was widely seen as key test as he lays the groundwork for officially announcing his intention to run – something he’ll reportedly do this summer – it is beginning to look as if Land’s “I don‘t endorse candidates” claim is soon going to be put to the test.  

The Fracturing Right

If one was looking for an example of just how fractured and confused those on the Right are as they attempt to decide which Republican presidential candidate to support, one wouldn’t find a better example than this article from CNS News.    

As it stands now, the Right is so desperately lost that the Catholic League’s Bill Donohue, of all people, is touting Rudy Giuliani and pushing anti-abortion voters not to be ideological purists:

But it is Giuliani's commitment to appoint "strict constructionists" to the U.S. Supreme Court that should matter most to Christian activists, Donohue said.

"Social conservatives are going into this campaign with some degree of reservation, if not trepidation," he acknowledged. "But when push comes to shove, there is a day and night difference" between the three leading GOP contenders and their Democratic counterparts, he added.

"The problem with the pro-life movement is that some people are purist, and as far as I'm concerned, they're detrimental to the cause," Donohue said. "It's important to be principled, but it's also important to be prudential."

While Donohue singles out Giuliani’s pledge to appoint "strict constructionists" to the Supreme Court as the candidate’s top credential, other candidates -- Mitt Romney, John McCain, and Mike Huckabee – have all stated that, if elected, they would nominate judges like Roberts, Alito, and Scalia.

It is somewhat surprising that Donohue hangs so much on this Giuliani claim, considering that his judicial appointment history has not been particularly reassuring to the Right.

But at least Giuliani has someone out there championing his campaign – the best John McCain could get in the article was a quote from Janice Crouse of Concerned Woman for America saying he’s “never been popular with any branch of conservatism” and that it “may be too late for him to prove himself.” 

As for Romney:

Jordan Sekulow, a law student who works as a consultant on Romney's campaign, said prospective voters should look at his record as governor of Massachusetts, where he closed a $3 billion budget gap during his first year in office by eliminating waste and streamlining government.

Romney was willing to confront the judicial activism of the Massachusetts Supreme Court, which ruled in favor of same-sex "marriage," Sekulow added.

Sekulow.jpgIf the name “Jordan Sekulow” seems familiar, that is probably because he is not just some ordinary “law student” – he was the national chairman of “Students for Bush” in 2004 and is the Deputy Director of Government Affairs at the American Center for Law and Justice, which just so happens to be the organization headed by his father, Jay Sekulow, who is himself an advisor to the Romney campaign.

But while Romney may have the support of the Sekulow family sown up, he’s going to have a hard time winning over Donohue:

Donohue also said there is good cause "not to trust" Romney, since he "made it clear to everyone in Massachusetts" during earlier campaigns that he was an abortion-rights supporter.

Apparently Donohue doesn’t think Giuliani has that sort of problem at all.

Struggling Huckabee Chides Religious-Right 'Political Bosses' for Not Backing Him

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, beloved by many on the Religious Right for his positions on wedge issues but dismissed as a serious presidential candidate, has spent the last few weeks deploying a seemingly desperate gambit aimed at undermining support for frontrunners Rudy Giuliani and John McCain. They should “be held to a standard of personal accountability and responsibility for their personal lives,” he said, alluding to what Vision America’s Rick Scarborough called “multiple marriages and serial adultery” among the candidates. “If Republicans in this election vote in such a way as to say a candidate’s personal life and personal conduct in office doesn’t matter,” said Huckabee, “then a lot of Christian evangelical leaders owe Bill Clinton a public apology.”

Unfortunately for Huckabee, the strong attack apparently has not helped his own candidacy: he has yet to break 2 percent in polls, and he’s raised less than $600,000, putting him in the lower end of the second-tier candidates.

In a recent appearance in Iowa, Huckabee sharpened his “personal lives” attack, noting that “I’m specifically referencing Christian evangelical leaders who were the most vocal in saying back during the Clinton era that personal behavior, personal responsibility and character were the key factors in a president’s criteria.” He accused those leaders of selling out to the Republican Party.

‘‘That’s my challenge to Christian leaders — either be consistent, be Christian leaders or just say I’m a political boss and it’s really about the power,’’ he said.

What’s at stake, Huckabee said, is the credibility of religious conservatives.

‘‘Christian leaders need to be Christian leaders, not Republican leaders,’’ he said.

Of course, Huckabee isn’t running for a church board, he’s running for the Republican presidential nomination, so it’s not exactly clear why embracing his own political bid would prevent a religious-right leader from being a “political boss.”

2008: WorldNetDaily Editor Starts Anti-Giuliani Pledge

Under no circumstances will I cast a vote for Rudy Giuliani as president.” Meanwhile: Giuliani reaches out at Regent. Also: Religious Right unhappy.

A Bad Omen for Rudy In Iowa

The Associated Press ran an article over the weekend examining the role “religious conservatives” in Iowa continue to play in the Republican presidential primaries.  As the article noted, GOP “candidates will need to convince religious conservatives that they are serious before they can win them over” and that none of the front-running candidates has managed to do that quite yet.  

And just like leaders and organizations at the national level, local Religious Right leaders and activists in Iowa are divided over which candidate to support.  But while these activists might not currently wield enough political power to single-handedly dictate who the nominee will be, they certainly can do the opposite: 

"Religious conservatives and social conservatives in the Republican Party are like the driver's education instructor," said [Drake University political science professor Dennis] Goldford. "He has a brake, but he doesn't have a steering wheel or an accelerator. They can pretty well say who is not going to be the nominee."

This fact, coupled with this recent declaration by “100 conservative Iowa Republicans” vowing never to support Rudy Giuliani cannot bode well for Giuliani’s campaign: 

When, in the course of political process, it might become necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, it becomes necessary to declare the causes which would impel the separation.

We, the undersigned of this digital document, hereby agree that we are Conservatives first and Republicans second, and that we would not support the candidacy of Rudolph William Louis "Rudy" Giuliani if the Republican Party chooses to nominate him for President of the United States.

We hereby agree that Mr. Giuliani is an American hero for his performance in the aftermath of 9-11, however his liberal record as Mayor, appointment of liberal judges, and the conduct of his personal life make it impossible for us to support his candidacy under any circumstances.

While Giuliani may currently be second in fund-raising and leading in some polls, the fact that 100 right-wing activists from Iowa would publicly declare that they will not “support his candidacy under any circumstances” makes it clear he’s got a long way to go with a big chunk of the GOP’s base.

Coveting Religious-Right Support, Giuliani Deploys Promise on Judicial Nominations

Last month, Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention declared Rudy Giuliani’s campaign for president doomed, citing the former New York mayor’s reputation as a supporter of gay rights and a woman’s right to choose. He told The Hill that “If [Giuliani] wins, he’ll do so without social conservatives” – a result Land considered impossible. But less than two weeks later, Giuliani garnered a warm reception at the Conservative Political Action Conference, where he side-stepped social wedge issues and emphasized his supposedly Reagan-like leadership qualities in the context of 9/11. Conservative columnist Bob Novak declared Giuliani “the big winner here,” and he came in second to Mitt Romney in the CPAC straw poll. Unlike Romney, noted Novak, “Giuliani had not stacked the crowd with supporters,” a strategy that casts doubt on Romney’s first-place showing. And Giuliani continues to top polls of primary voters.

According to Novak, “Some activists expressed dismay that so many conservatives would cheer Giuliani without even making him offer anything for the Right” – apparently flying in the face of what every other Republican candidate has been doing for the past few months. But it’s still early in the campaign. Giuliani is scheduled to speak at Pat Robertson’s Regent University next month, and the televangelist himself has declared that the former mayor “did a super job running the city of New York and I think he'd make a good president.” Last year, he helped raise money for Ralph Reed, an unsuccessful candidate for Georgia lieutenant governor who is better known as the former head of the Christian Coalition and one of the seminal organizers of the Religious Right in the late 80s and 90s.

And recently, he has been making promises to the far Right on an issue that could be seen as a calculated revision of his abortion position: judges. “On the federal judiciary I would want judges who are strict constructionists because I am,” he announced in South Carolina. And he offered specific praise for right-wing members of the Supreme Court: “I think those are the kinds of justices I would appoint -- Scalia, Alito and Roberts.” Such statements fall short of the ham-handed pandering of long-shot candidate Rep. Duncan Hunter (“If any judicial candidate comes before me and can look at a sonogram … and not see valuable life, then I will not appoint him,” said Hunter to applause at CPAC), but they do echo almost exactly the words President George W. Bush deployed when he was campaigning for the office.

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Rudy Giuliani Posts Archive

Kyle Mantyla, Wednesday 05/21/2008, 2:50pm
Back when he was running for president, Rudy Giuliani was not particularly popular with the Religious Right, so he went out of his way to promise to deliver on their most pressing issue:  the future of the Supreme Court.   For its part, the Right was torn between the idea of standing firm in its refusal to support Giuliani and swallowing its principles for the sake of the next Justice, with some claiming all that mattered was getting control of the Supreme Court while others insisted that they would not be bought off with such promises.   As it turned out, Giuliani... MORE >
, Wednesday 04/02/2008, 8:20am
It was at a Council for National Policy meeting back in September that the Goldilocks brigade of the Religious Right, led by Focus on the Family founder James Dobson, threatened to break away from the Republican Party if Rudy Giuliani won the nomination. And the CNP meeting in March was one of John McCain’s first stops after securing the GOP mantle—continuing his pandering to the fringe. Now, Warren Cole Smith of the conservative-Christian World magazine relates a tense scene from the CNP meeting: Michael Farris of the Home School Legal Defense Association, an... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Friday 03/14/2008, 3:41pm
Say what you want about Vision America’s Rick Scarborough, but when the man sets his mind to something, he sticks with it … at least until he’s had a chance to think about it and then changes course.   From his inability to decide whether he liked Alexandra Pelosi's documentary “Friends of God” to his ill-fated and seemingly defunct “70 Weeks to Save America Crusade,”  Scarborough has a remarkable ability to announce grand plans one week only to watch them quickly collapse and to make bold declarations only to turn around a... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Friday 03/07/2008, 12:56pm
Fresh off his endorsements from John Hagee and his stumping around Iowa with Rod Parsley, John McCain’s outreach to the Right appears to be picking up steam: FOX NEWS HAS LEARNED that in New Orleans on Friday John McCain makes a major speech to the influential and little known Council for National Policy. The CNP is an umbrella organization of influential social and religious conservative groups. What is the Council for National Policy, you ask?  The council was founded in 1981, just as the modern conservative movement began its ascendance. The Rev. Tim LaHaye,... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Thursday 02/14/2008, 3:33pm
Remember a few months ago when various Religious Right leaders gathered in Utah and announced that they were prepared to considering abandoning the Republican Party if Rudy Giuliani became the nominee?   Well, just because Giuliani dropped out doesn’t mean those threats have evaporated – in fact, a new effort appears to be underway now that John McCain has all but locked up the GOP nomination: The same conservative Christian activist who called a meeting last fall to discuss backing a third-party candidate to counter a possible Rudy Giuliani... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Tuesday 02/12/2008, 10:19am
Eight years ago, Gary Bauer stood all but alone alongside John McCain in his campaign against then-Governor George W. Bush in the race for the Republican nomination.  While the majority of the Religious Right leaders rallied to Bush, Bauer struck out on his own, hoping to make a political killing with McCain … hopes that were dashed when McCain made his infamous “agents of intolerance” speech, which Bauer was involved in drafting and which he then made the rounds of the political talk shows defending.   Following McCain’s defeat, Bauer was... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Monday 02/04/2008, 3:58pm
With John McCain seemingly poised to emerge from Super Tuesday as the de facto front runner in the Republican primary, the question will become just how much he intends to try and make nice with the Religious Right base that does not much like him. As the McCain campaign admitted last year, his previous efforts to win them over were entirely half-hearted and purely political, but now that he might very well become the nominee, it looks as if some on the Right might be starting to warm up to him out of political necessity: Republican presidential candidate John McCain today... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Wednesday 01/30/2008, 10:49am
Catholics Against Rudy declares mission accomplished on the news that Rudy Giuliani is set to drop out of the presidential race. MORE >