The Right Has Its 2008 Candidate All Picked Out

USA Today has an interesting article on the Right’s search for a 2008 presidential candidate that it can wholeheartedly support.

The Right has concerns about possible front-runners like Sen. John McCain and former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani. As Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council says

“I think it would be very difficult for someone to win the Republican nomination who is not supportive of the effort to defend marriage, including supporting a federal marriage amendment. That, I think, is a threshold issue, just as the life issue is a threshold issue.”

That pretty much leaves Sen. Sam Brownback, a man who is more or less their ideal candidate

Big issues like ending abortion, banning same-sex marriage, battling indecency on TV and refusing to fund embryonic stem cell research fuel Brownback’s long-shot hopes for the Republican presidential nomination in 2008. Most Americans have never heard of him, but the conservative Christian leaders who play a critical role in the GOP take him seriously.

After delivering what they see as the decisive votes to elect and re-elect George W. Bush, they grumble that social conservatives haven’t gotten all they deserved on the issues that matter most to them, especially the campaign for a constitutional amendment to bar gay marriage.

“I love Sam Brownback,” says Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission. “Sam Brownback is a great man, and Sam Brownback is a great senator.”

And Brownback has been busy traveling through Iowa, courting voters

In his speech, he never mentions that he is thinking about a presidential bid, although he does allude to the Iowa caucuses that are likely to open the campaign season in January 2008. “All politics go through Iowa, as you’ve seen a few people pass through here over time,” he says. The crowd chuckles appreciatively. “So it’s critical what you do here. It’s magnified.”

Brownback has a plan — and a model. In 1976, former Georgia governor Jimmy Carter cultivated Iowa voters and trumped a field of better-known Democrats in the caucuses. The victory helped propel him to the White House and provided the template for long-shot would-be presidents ever since.

Brownback’s message?

“These are tough issues. This isn’t a ride in the park,” Brownback tells the crowd there. “This is about life. This is about marriage. This is about God in the public square.” He warns that the USA and its way of life “stand in the balance. And we could win this thing, and we could have another 100 years as the greatest nation on the face of the earth, and we could lose it and we could lose the culture.”

With a message like that, it is not hard to see why he is quickly becoming the Right’s favorite candidate.