Giuliani’s Christian-right foes to meet again

At a second meeting this weekend, leaders will mull mass defection from the GOP if the pro-choice New Yorker is the party nominee.

Topics: 2008 Elections, Rudy Giuliani,

Giuliani's Christian-right foes to meet again

Key conservative and religious leaders will continue discussing a mass defection from the Republican Party in a private meeting at a Washington hotel Saturday afternoon, just hours after the pro-choice presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani speaks before thousands of pro-life voters.

The unnamed group of about 50 people first met in late September in Salt Lake City, sending shivers through the Republican establishment by adopting a resolution to consider a third-party candidate if Republicans nominate someone like Giuliani. “If the major political parties decide to abandon conservative principles, the cohesion of pro-family advocates will be all too apparent in 2008,” warned Dr. James Dobson, of Focus on the Family, in a published article after the meeting.

In addition to Dobson, the September meeting was attended by the Family Research Council president Tony Perkins, conservative activist Richard Viguerie and former presidential candidate Gary Bauer, who called in by phone. Before the meeting ended, the group agreed to meet again this weekend at the Hilton Washington Hotel, where thousands of social conservatives are expected to gather for a “Values Voter Summit” beginning Thursday.

“There will be further exploration of what is to be done,” said Howard Phillips, the president of the Conservative Caucus, who participated in the Salt Lake meeting. “And there will be some discussion of who would be a viable independent candidate.”

Conservative circles have been buzzing for weeks about the possibility of a third-party bid, which remains a heavily disputed idea even among religious conservatives. On Wednesday, longtime conservative leader Paul Weyrich, president of the Free Congress Foundation, published a column laying out three requirements for a successful third-party bid: major defections of elected officials from the Republican Party, the financial backing of an independently wealthy individual, and the support of a major news organization, like the Fox News Channel or the Wall Street Journal. “If the walkout of Republicans grassroots were dramatic enough and if it enticed major figures to join, which in turn caused millionaires to follow along and caused major media continually to provide favorable treatment, a third party could work,” Weyrich argued in the article.

You Might Also Like

Giuliani was the last major Republican candidate to accept the invitation to the Values Voter Summit. As a result, he is now scheduled to address the crowd just a few hours before religious and conservative leaders meet in private to discuss strategies for derailing his bid for the White House. “It is going to be an interesting juxtaposition,” said one other participant in the Salt Lake meeting, who plans to attend the summit. “We will see what effect it has.” Among the expected speakers at the private Saturday meeting is James Clymer, who chairs the U.S. Constitution Party, according to a person familiar with the planning.

The Values Voter Summit, which has been organized by Perkins, will provide each of the major Republican candidates a chance to address religious conservatives. On Friday, speeches will be given by John McCain, Sam Brownback, Ron Paul, Duncan Hunter, Fred Thompson, Tom Tancredo and Mitt Romney. Giuliani is expected to address the group Saturday morning, along with Mike Huckabee, who has gained traction among many conservative Christian voters, despite his poor fundraising record.

Ever since the September meeting in Salt Lake, conservative Christian leaders have been increasing their public protests of a Giuliani candidacy, arguing that it would sever the coalition between evangelical voters and the Republican Party that dates back to Ronald Reagan’s 1980 presidential campaign. “The establishment just doesn’t get it,” said Dr. Richard Land, a leader in the Southern Baptist Convention, in a recent interview. “I cannot vote for a pro-choice candidate as a matter of conscience.”

At a Republican debate in May, Giuliani said he hates abortion and would encourage women to not undergo the procedure. “But ultimately, since it is an issue of conscience, I would respect a woman’s right to make a different choice,” he continued. “You have to respect a woman’s right to make that choice differently than my conscience.”

The fact that Giuliani continues to lead national polls has only increased the dissatisfaction of many conservatives, who feel betrayed by President Bush and Republicans in Congress. “The train has left the station in terms of conservatives being committed to a different relationship with the Republican Party,” said Viguerie, who pioneered the use of direct mail to raise money for conservative causes. “It is not clear what track it is going to go on.”

Michael Scherer is Salon's Washington correspondent. Read his other articles here.

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 13
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    DAYA  
    Young Daya has yet to become entirely jaded, but she has the character's trademark skeptical pout down pat. And with a piece-of-work mother like Aleida -- who oscillates between jealousy and scorn for her creatively gifted daughter, chucking out the artwork she brings home from summer camp -- who can blame her?

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    MORELLO   
    With her marriage to prison penpal Vince Muccio, Lorna finally got to wear the white veil she has fantasized about since childhood (even if it was made of toilet paper).

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    CINDY   
    Cindy's embrace of Judaism makes sense when we see her childhood, lived under the fist of a terrifying father who preached a fire-and-brimstone version of Christianity. As she put it: "I was raised in a church where I was told to believe and pray. And if I was bad, I’d go to hell."

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    CAPUTO   
    Joey Caputo has always tried to be a good guy, whether it's offering to fight a disabled wrestler at a high school wrestling event or giving up his musical ambitions to raise another man's child. But trying to be a nice guy never exactly worked out for him -- which might explain why he decides to take the selfish route in the Season 3 finale.

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    BOO   
    In one of the season's more moving flashbacks, we see a young Boo -- who rejected the traditional trappings of femininity from a young age -- clashing with her mother over what to wear. Later, she makes the decision not to visit her mother on her deathbed if it means pretending to be something she's not. As she puts it, "I refuse to be invisible, Daddy. Not for you, not for Mom, not for anybody.”

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    SOSO
    We still don't know what landed Brooke Soso in the slammer, but a late-season flashback suggests that some seriously overbearing parenting may have been the impetus for her downward spiral.

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    POUSSEY
    We already know a little about Poussey's relationship with her military father, but this season we saw a softer side of the spunky fan-favorite, who still pines for the loving mom that she lost too young.

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    PENNSATUCKY
    Pennsatucky had something of a redemption arc this season, and glimpses of her childhood only serve to increase viewer sympathy for the character, whose mother forced her to chug Mountain Dew outside the Social Security Administration office and stripped her of her sexual agency before she was even old enough to comprehend it.

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    CHANG
    This season, we got an intense look at the teenage life of one of Litchfield's most isolated and underexplored inmates. Rebuffed and scorned by her suitor at an arranged marriage, the young Chinese immigrant stored up a grudge, and ultimately exacted a merciless revenge.

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    HEALY
    It's difficult to sympathize with the racist, misogynist CO Sam Healy, but the snippets we get of his childhood -- raised by a mentally ill mother, vomited on by a homeless man he mistakes for Jesus when he runs to the church for help -- certainly help us understand him better.

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    NORMA
    This season, we learned a lot about one of Litchfield's biggest enigmas, as we saw the roots of Norma's silence (a childhood stutter) and the reason for her incarceration (killing the oppressive cult leader she followed for decades).

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    NICKI
    While Nicki's mother certainly isn't entirely to blame for her daughter's struggles with addiction, an early childhood flashback -- of an adorable young Nicki being rebuffed on Mother's Day -- certainly helps us understand the roots of Nicki's scarred psyche.

  • Recent Slide Shows

Comments

0 Comments

Comment Preview

Your name will appear as username ( settings | log out )

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href=""> <b> <em> <strong> <i> <blockquote>