The Day After (a Giuliani Primary Win)

Robert Novak points out a slight problem with the threat by religious-right activists to bolt the Republican Party if Rudy Giuliani wins its nomination: Their supposed constituency may not follow.

The most surprising recent national polling result was an answer given by Republicans who attend church weekly when Gallup asked their presidential preference. A plurality chose Rudy Giuliani, a Catholic who in 1999 said: “I don’t attend regularly, but I attend occasionally.” … The Gallup data suggests that Dobson and the Salt Lake City group may be out of touch with rank-and-file churchgoers.

As W. James Antle of the American Spectator put it, “Giuliani has cleverly pitched himself as the Republican best equipped to confront two challenges that concern religious conservatives: Hillary Clinton at home and radical Islam abroad.” Which may put the political influence of James Dobson—who has sworn to vote against Giuliani in a general election—in a precarious position.

Gary Bauer, who has apparently been spending the last few weeks trying to undo what Dobson has done, is trying to leave the door open in the case of a Giuliani nomination, saying that religious-right leaders would have to “sit down” and have some “serious discussions” about “avoid[ing] a split that would guarantee a disaster.” For example, they might negotiate some concessions from the candidate. In the Weekly Standard, Bauer and Tony Perkins say that while Giuliani would be a “hard sell,” the candidate could “help” his case by announcing that he would “pledge to do nothing–either by executive order or by signing legislation–that would increase the number of abortions.”