Monday, 26 February 2007

Religious right split over '08, unsure of candidates

Following the Democrats' win in the 2006 midterm elections, there was speculation of an impending fracturing of the thus-solid Republican Party. Though that has yet to happen, the GOP's quite conservative, adamantly religious supporters do seem to be going through a phase of conundrums over the 2008 presidential elections. Funny how there's all this fuss over an election almost two years away.

The New York Times:

A group of influential Christian conservatives and their allies emerged from a private meeting at a Florida resort this month dissatisfied with the Republican presidential field and uncertain where to turn.
For eight years and four elections, President Bush forged a singular alliance with Christian conservatives — including dispatching administration officials and even cabinet members to address council meetings — that put them at the center of the Republican Party.
The conservative concern may also be an ominous sign for the Republican Party about the morale of a core element of its political base. Conservatives warn that the 2008 election could shape up like 1996, when conservatives faced a lesser-of-two evils choice between a Republican they distrusted, former Senator Bob Dole, and a Democrat they disdained, President Bill Clinton. Dr. Dobson of Focus on the Family later said in a speech to the council that he voted for a conservative third-party candidate that year rather than pull a lever for Mr. Dole.

The Council for National Policy was founded 25 years ago by the Rev. Tim LaHaye as a forum for conservative Christians to strategize about turning the country to the right.
In addition to doubts about their ability to generate enough money and momentum, each candidate who addressed the group also faces initial skepticism from one faction or another on issues like immigration, trade, taxes and foreign affairs.

Current staunch very conservative possible candidates (all are GOP):
Former Sen. Rick Santorum (Penn.)
Sen. Sam Brownback (Kansas)

Additional, less staunch; still religious but lesser known potential candidates:
Former Gov. Mike Huckabee (Arkansas)
Gov. Mark Sanford (S. Carolina)
Rep. Duncan Hunter (Cali.)

More moderate, flexible 'conservative frontrunners':
Sen. John McCain (Arizona)
Former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani
Former Gov. Mitt Romney (Mass.)

I'll be developing the above list as things move along, and I will work on making one that goes more in-depth to the potential candidate's qualities. In addition, expect a similar list for Democratic/liberal — though the two are far from synonymous — candidates.

The Christian right and far conservative elements of American politics might well need to choose the lesser of two evils. If there ends up being a race between a moderate, ever-so-slightly left-leaning Democrat and a moderate Republican, they'll need to choose the latter. Not doing so might do harm to the GOP candidate like liberals choosing Ralph Nader in several elections put their votes for him instead of the Democrat (Gore in 2000, Kerry in 2004). I wonder, though, if it was many in the religious right with conflicting feelings over the Republicans' recent political moves and assumed hostility from the party that was the actual cause of the GOP loosing the 2006 election. (It was probably a decent combination of factors, including the latter.) In addition, it is virtually impossible for an independent to win an American presidential election. All the odds are against them, not least the electoral system!

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Kevin Price said...

I appreciate your thoughts and your breakdown, though I have a slightly different view. The bottom line is that Republicans can't seem to win unless the head of the ticket appears to the worker bees that keeps the party in motion. Those individuals primarily represent the Christian right. I discuss this some at and will do more so in the future. You have a great blog!

clearthought said...

Thank's Kevin. I'll be sure to check out your blog.

I agree. The GOP's primary focus is and, for their survival in their current state, which still isn't too bad, needs to be conservative Christians.