Last week, the Wall Street Journal’s editorial board blasted their fellow Republicans – primarily the socially conservative right-wing ones – for undermining GOP unity with their open hostility toward Rudy Giuliani, saying that when it comes to “the politics of 2008, the last thing the GOP needs is another intramural abortion brawl.”

The WSJ even went so far as to single out the Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins by name:

This is where some of Mr. Giuliani’s conservative critics are also politically opportunistic, not to say cynical. “Americans do not yet realize how far outside of the mainstream of conservative thought that Mayor Giuliani’s social views really are,” says Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, knowing the networks will always put him on the air when he’s trashing a Republican.

Well, it doesn’t look as if the WSJ’s public castigation of Perkins has had the desired effect, since he is now openly fighting back against those other sectors of the GOP that are telling him and his allies to just keep quiet and support the party:

[Supporters says that in the general election, Giuliani] could be the most electable Republican because his support of abortion rights, gun control and gay couples’ civil unions could appeal to independents and moderate Republicans. Many of those voters abandoned the party in last fall’s elections, believing it has become too beholden to the religious right.

At the Family Research Council, one of the most prominent Christian conservative groups, president Tony Perkins isn’t buying it, saying, “It sounds as if the economic side of the family is serving us divorce papers.” He says of the economic, social and national-security conservatives who are the three legs of the Republican base: “If one is missing, you have a two-legged stool. And try sitting on that.”

Such conservatives bristle that party officials and pundits are patronizing them, with admonitions to stifle their moral objections in the interest of an inclusive party — and victory in November 2008. Mr. Perkins says Christian conservatives share with “the conservative family” a belief in economic principles such as low taxes, spending and free trade — “but we don’t share them at the expense of our core social values.”

And after years in which Republicans have drawn people into the party with its stands against abortion and gay marriage, “the idea that social conservatives…would all of a sudden wake up and say, ‘Those things don’t matter,’ well, it’s just not going to happen.”

It should be noted that it is obviously not only “the networks” that are willing to provide a venue for Perkins’ “opportunistic” and “cynical” criticisms since this passage appeared in today’s edition of the Wall Street Journal