One has to wonder just what world right-wing commentator Cal Thomas inhabits. The fact that the Right is resoundingly under-whelmed and dismayed by the current crop of GOP presidential frontrunners is not to be taken as a sign that their influence may be waning, but rather as sign that “Conservative Evangelical Christian voters” are supposedly “maturing” in their political outlook:
Conservative Evangelical Christian voters have come a long way in a short time. From their nearly unanimous condemnation of Bill Clinton for his extramarital affairs, a growing number of these “pro-family” voters appear ready to accept several Republican presidential candidates who do not share their ideal of marriage and faith.
Thomas then goes on to recount the various infidelities of Rudy Giuliani, Newt Gingrich, and John McCain before concluding
That substantial numbers of conservative evangelical voters are even considering these candidates as presidential prospects is a sign of their political maturation and of their more pragmatic view of what can be expected from politics and politicians.
Seeing as these men are widely considered to be among the GOP’s frontrunner and that the first Republican presidential primary is still almost a year away, these voters don’t really have much choice but to consider these candidates at this point. Nonetheless, according to the most recent New York Times/CBS News poll, they don’t seem too happy about it:
ASKED OF REPUBLICAN PRIMARY VOTERS ONLY:
Are you generally satisfied with the candidates now running for the Republican nomination for President, or do you wish there were more choices?
Satisfied – 40%
More choices – 57%
DK/NA – 2%
But if, in fact, “conservative evangelical voters” really are willing consider these candidates despite their past infidelities, then they are a lot more forgiving and mature than some of their self-described political leaders, who are actively writing off GOP candidates for an endless variety of reasons:
Rick Scarborough on McCain, Giuliani, and Gingrich: “There is no better way to assess these personal qualities than in the way a man keeps his vows to his wife. These men have failed miserably – and, in some cases, repeatedly – to do so.”
Richard Land on Giuliani: “I mean, this is divorce on steroids. To publicly humiliate your wife in that way, and your children. That’s rough. I think that’s going to be an awfully hard sell, even if he weren’t pro-choice and pro-gun control.”
Land again on Giuliani: “If he wins, he’ll do so without social conservatives.”
Land on Gingrich: “I heard that he was sorry and that he expressed regret, and that he had asked for forgiveness, but I didn’t hear the word repentance … But it is still a fact that Newt Gingrich was unfaithful to his first wife, he was unfaithful to his second wife.”
Phyllis Schlafly on Gingrich: “It’s the marriages and the girlfriend problem.”
Schlafly on McCain, Giuliani, and Romney: “I don’t think that any of the three are acceptable.”
Tony Perkins on Giuliani: “He’s the front runner but it’s kind of like here in DC, you drive over the Potomac at night and it looks beautiful but if you get down near it you certainly wouldn’t want to take anything out of it and eat it. It’s polluted it’s got problems.”
Perkins again on Giuliani: “I think he’s going to have absolutely no chance. There are certain threshold issues of being pro-life and supporting the sanctity of human life, then you’re not going to get the support of social conservatives.”
National Catholic Register on Giuliani: “No Deal, Rudy”
Janet Folger on Giuliani, McCain, and Romney respectively: “Completely unacceptable,” “Disqualified,” and “Most concerning.”
James Dobson on McCain: “I would not vote for John McCain under any circumstances.”