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 candidacy is revisiting the idea as Sen. John McCain closes in on the Republican presidential nomination.
Bob Fischer, a South Dakota businessman and anti-abortion activist, told The Associated Press on Wednesday that while he could back the Arizona senator over either Democratic Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton or Barack Obama, he made clear that he and others in the evangelical movement are not content with those choices.
“I’ll be working in other ways to see that we have additional choices as conservatives,” Fischer said.
He declined to elaborate, but held out hope that Mike Huckabee might mount an improbable comeback, or that another “good conservative, Godly, Christian pro-life” GOP candidate somehow emerge to supplant McCain. The Arizona lawmaker has opposed abortion during his four terms in the Senate.
Fischer said that for large numbers of social conservatives to entertain backing McCain, he would need to reverse himself on several positions, including his support for relaxing restrictions on federal funding for embryonic stem-cell research. Fischer said if McCain prevails short of doing that, he and many other conservatives “will not work as hard as we could” to elect him.
He then raised the possibility of Christian conservatives lining up behind the Constitution Party, citing its conservative moral stances and ability to get on state ballots, a steeper challenge for an entirely new party.
The article notes that this new effort might not get as much support as the anti-Rudy threat since, as Huckabee-backer Mat Staver notes, McCain is seen as much better on the social issues the Right cares about than was Giuliani. And considering that the McCain campaign is currently hard at work reaching out to the very sorts who would likely participate in such a meeting, the impact of any such an effort is likely to be limited.