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.