Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Evangelicals Elevate Giuliani and Thompson

An interesting column appeared in the LA Times (excerpt below) just as I was pondering which presidential candidate I would support and contribute to for 2008, Giuliani or Thompson. I am no evangelical, but I am a conservative, and it appears that my thinking is along the same lines as was reported in the article cited. I have had policy differences with President Bush on immigration, education and McCain-Feingold, but my biggest disappointment with Bush has been his inability or unwillingness to defend himself from the malicious vitriol, dishonesty and meanspiritedness of the left. His assassination has been proposed in a book and characterized in a movie; he has been called a liar, a murderer, and a Hitler, and not just by youthful idiots, but by Democrat politicians, and he has not responded. My top three issues for 2008 are Islamic terrorism, illegal immigration, and the ability and willingness to fight back against vicious partisan attacks.

Rudy Giuliani has much baggage and also has positions on some social issues I do not like, but he clearly understands the dangers facing America and the West, and clearly he has the stomach for the job. He also is a fighter who will rise to the challenges the Islamists and the left have in store for him, and I firmly believe that the left is going to sink to even greater depths in the years ahead in debasing our politics and our society (especially when they understand that our troops will be in Iraq for at least 50 years, not exiting in 08). I know that when President Bush took office, he pledged to insert more civility into political squabbles, even inviting Senator Kennedy and his family for a private movie showing, but silence does not answer vitriol. We need someone who can consistently fight back calmly with the facts and with civility to these attacks. I believe Giuliani can do that.

What I think I know about Fred Thompson is that his conservative credentials are even stronger than Giuliani’s, and he does not have the baggage that Giuliani has. What he has to show me in the months ahead (and quickly, the key primaries are 9 months away) is that he has the stomach for the slime he will face, and that he has executive ability. The Senate has not been an especially good proving ground for presidents, but of course, Thompson was an outstanding attorney and counsel to the Watergate Committee.

A new Crusade for GOP evangelicals
Defeating Islamic radicals has become a priority for religious conservatives.
By Dan Gilgoff, March 25, 2007

“WHEN Mitt Romney emerged from a closed-door meeting at the recent National Religious Broadcasters convention, a handful of reporters, myself included, descended on him. What, we asked, was the toughest question put to him by evangelical leaders?

" 'How does America win against the jihad?' was at the top of the list, and the nuclear proliferation represented by Iran," the Republican presidential candidate said.

My fellow reporters groaned disbelievingly. What about battling the "radical homosexual agenda?" Or building a pro-life majority on the Supreme Court?

Maybe Romney was being coy. Or maybe his powwow with Christian-right activists happened just like he said it did, signaling a major development within the GOP's evangelical base: that the war on terror — and, more broadly, the confrontation with Islamic radicalism — have become "values" issues.

Such a change would turn the conventional wisdom about the 2008 GOP presidential primary on its head. No longer would front-runners Arizona Sen. John McCain and ex-New York Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani find their moderate (or inconsistent) records on abortion or gay rights a looming liability. Under a "terror values" rubric, both could win over evangelicals with their tough-on-terrorism credentials.

Romney, meanwhile — who's been courting the Christian right most fervently — would suffer from his lack of experience with national defense and international issues. Same goes for former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, current darling of the right.

Polls show that evangelicals support President Bush's "kill the terrorists over there so they don't kill us here" vision in greater numbers than other Americans. A survey by the Pew Research Center in December found that 63% of white evangelicals supported Bush's handling of the terrorist threat, while fewer than half of all Americans expressed similar support.”

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