I see via Hot Air that the New York Times is concerned that the religious right might be fracturing over Rudy Giuliani. It may be more accurate to say they’ve been impatiently waiting for it to happen, since it fits their notion of the religious right in general as ignorant and intolerant types. The incident prompting this expectation was James Dobson saying that Rudy was unacceptable to him as a Republican candidate, and that he and those who agreed with him would rather create a third party and nominate a pro-life candidate than vote for Rudy.
I’m always touched by the New York Times showing such solicitation for us backwards types. Other than that, I’m not too concerned, for multiple reasons.
First, Dobson is hardly a “kingmaker.” So his opposition is not exactly the Crack of Doom for the Republican party in general or Rudy Giuliani in particular.
Second, while Dobson is pushing the envelope with talk of creating a third-party just to avoid compromising on a Giuliani candidacy, he does have a valid point. It’s basic politics: if you want someone’s vote, you need to pay attention to the issues that concern him.
There are those in the Republican party who are almost giddy to have a candidate that is relatively liberal — pro-abortion, anti-gun, pro-gay marriage, etc. They think these positions will help him do well in blue states, while the red states will vote for him because anything is better than the presumptive Democrat, Hillary.
And if the religious conservatives, or social cons, don’t like it: well, that’s too bad. What are they gonna do, vote for Hillary?
Then they read this about Dobson, and the poll that suggests the religious right is at least open to the idea of a third party that will nominate a true conservative, and they are outraged. Several commenters at Hot Air are calling the religious right stupid for even considering it.
I half-way agree. A split party would basically give the nomination to the Democrats, and we can’t afford that. That’s the half I agree with.
The half I disagree with is this: There are two sides to this story. If the Republicans split because half of them push a candidate the other half finds unacceptable, it’s just as much the fault of those who tried to ram “their” candidate down the others’ throats as it is the fault of those who refuse to accept the candidate.
That is, you could just as easily blame those who are pushing Rudy, knowing that significant chunks of the party, their putative allies, are less than pleased with him.
Of course, this kind of issue is exactly what the whole candidacy process is about. Eventually, there will be a Republican candidate, and everyone will rally around him. But whoever that candidate is, he’ll have to give both sides reason to unite behind him.