AUSTIN – A leading conservative Christian leader said Wednesday that Rudy Giuliani and Hillary Rodham Clinton are virtually "indistinguishable" to many social conservatives, and that those voters will abandon the GOP if Mr. Giuliani is the presidential nominee.
"There is very little difference between the Republican and Democratic parties when you look at advancing candidates like this," said Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council.
...he warned that nominating the former New York mayor, who supports abortion rights and gay rights, would probably drive away enough anti-abortion voters to put Mrs. Clinton in the White House.
"Will evangelicals vote for him? Yes, there will be some," said Mr. Perkins. "But some social conservative support is not enough to win."
Last week, influential religious leader James Dobson of Focus on the Family predicted that a Giuliani nomination would trigger a third-party challenge by a staunchly anti-abortion candidate. Mr. Perkins said he doesn't anticipate that, because he doesn't expect Mr. Giuliani to win the nomination.
If he does, it would be a recipe for disaster for the party, he said. "My experience is you don't beat a liberal with a moderate," he said.
He said former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney is the strongest candidate on social issues. He rejected suggestions that Mr. Romney's Mormon faith will be a stumbling block.
Giuliani equals Clinton? Ouch. That's a pretty weighty indictment if you're a Christian Conservative. Distaste at Giuliani could very well splinter the Conservative Christian base of the Republican party as Dobson has threatened. If I were a Republican though, I wouldn't be too worried. The party is far from committing to a candidate--voters are clearly still shopping around, and with the addition of Fred Thompson to the race, it's really kind of anything-goes. Looking at Thompson's website, he certainly, at the very least, pays lip service to Conservative Christians:
Thompson is also a pro-life candidate, as is Romney. Between those two and the second-tier candidates, Conservative Christians still have a lot to choose from. Then again, Giuliani is far from out for the count. One can't really speculate at this point, but it will certainly be interesting as we find out how big a role the "values voter" agenda will play in 2008.
A healthy society is predicated on belief in God; respect for all life; strong families centered on the institution of marriage—the union of a man and a woman; and self-respect and tolerance of others. While we are all free to live our lives in the pursuit of our own happiness, the government has a responsibility to respect the right of parents to raise their children and to promote the values that produce the strongest society.