|Christian conservatives led by Reagan pal and movement conservative forefather Richard Viguerie may lead a walk-out on the GOP if Rudy is the nominee. Read on.
More than 40 Christian conservatives attended a meeting Saturday in Salt Lake City to discuss the possibility, and planned more gatherings on how they should move forward, according to Richard A. Viguerie, the direct-mail expert and longtime conservative activist.Viguerie was on Ed Schultz's show today exlaining that conservatives, religous and fiscal, are fed up with the broken promises of the GOP that if a candidate like Rudy Giuliani is nominated, it will be "the end of the Republican Party." Viguerie is author of "Conservatives Betrayed," and yknow what? He's not feeling Fred Thompson either, calling him an actor playing the part of a conservative on TV.
Other participants in the meeting included James Dobson, founder of the Focus on the Family evangelical ministry in Colorado Springs, Colo., and, according to Viguerie, Tony Perkins, head of the Family Research Council, a conservative policy group in Washington.
However, Dobson spoke out against the idea of a third party even if "both Democratic and Republican nominees are known to be entirely unsupportive of the sanctity of human life, the institution of marriage and other aspects of the pro-moral agenda," according to Gary Schneeberger, a spokesman for Focus on the Family Action.
A spokesman for Perkins did not respond to requests for comment Monday.
Viguerie would not give specifics of the proposal or reveal additional names of participants, but said President Bush "would not have been elected in '04 without the people in that room."
"There is such a jaundiced feelings about any promises or commitments from any Republican leaders," he said in a phone interview. "You could almost cut the anger and the frustration with a knife in that room it's so strong. Because they don't know what else to do, they're talking third party."
More on what was said at that conference:
"Giuliani is beyond the pale, it's just not going to happen," he said.Your mouths to God's ear.
"There's no way conservative leaders are going to support a pro-abortion candidate."
Mr Viguerie says if the conservative Christians decide to support a third party bid, it will not be a one-off occurrence.
"It will be that we have determined that the Republican Party is beyond salvation, they have lied and betrayed the conservative voters one time too many, and that this will be a major effort that will go far beyond the '08 election," he said.
Tony Perkins is another powerful conservative leader from the Family Research Council. He too was at the weekend meeting and says social conservatism is important for the Republican candidate.
"To the degree that the party moves away from those principal issues, social conservatives, evangelicals will move away from the party," he said.
"These are black and white issues. These are issues that there's just no room for negotiation [on]."
But Mr Giuliani's trump card is that he has the best chance of beating the front-running Democrat.
"Every poll shows that I would be by far the strongest candidate against Hillary Clinton," he said.
Jerry Mayer, a professor of politics at George Mason University in Washington, says the conservative Christians' plan threatens to split the Republican vote.
"You nominate a pro-choice Republican as liberal on gay issues, as liberal on sexuality as Giuliani is, I'm telling you some right-wing Republican maverick, like Alan Keyes or some other minor figure, will run as a third party candidate, will run as a pro-life candidate of the party of God, and that will hurt," he said.
"Indeed, it will make it impossible for the Republicans to win."
The revolt by Christian leaders could be a damaging blow to Mr Giuliani's campaign, because white evangelical Protestants make up a large share of Republican voters.
Labels: 2008 election, conservatives, religious right, Rudy Giuliani