Who Are The Radicals Again?

by digby

It has long been my contention that Rudy was playing a strongly racist primary campaign to try to signal to the base that he was one of them even though he doesn't have social conservative credentials. In fact, I think the four front runners --- none of whom are pure --- have been skipping these debates with Hispanics and African Americans for that very reason. They have to signal their hatred a little bit more obviously than usual because they don't have the right conservative bona-fides(except Thompson, who has other problems)to send code to the racist conservative neanderthals and be believed. They need to be direct. Especially Rudy, who is the fron trunner only by dint of his sadistic, bloodthirsty rhetoric with its not-very-subtle appeal to racism.
It seems to be working out fine with the rank and file, but it may not turn out to be as easy to soothe the religious right pooh-bahs as I thought. I assumed they would toe the line. They threw their lot in with the Republicans a long time ago. But they seem to feel somewhat insulted that the Big Money Boyz have allowed a (comparatively) social liberal a chance at power purely for practical reasons.

Salon reports:

A powerful group of conservative Christian leaders decided Saturday at a private meeting in Salt Lake City to consider supporting a third-party candidate for president if a pro-choice nominee like Rudy Giuliani wins the Republican nomination.

The meeting of about 50 leaders, including Focus on the Family's James Dobson, the Family Research Council's Tony Perkins and former presidential candidate Gary Bauer, who called in by phone, took place at the Grand America Hotel during a gathering of the Council for National Policy, a powerful shadow group of mostly religious conservatives. James Clymer, the chairman of the U.S. Constitution Party, was also present at the meeting, according to a person familiar with the proceedings.

"The conclusion was that if there is a pro-abortion nominee they will consider working with a third party," said the person, who spoke to Salon on the condition of anonymity. The private meeting was not a part of the official CNP schedule, which is itself a closely held secret. "Dobson came in just for this meeting," the person said.

The decision confirms the fears of many Republican Party officials, who have worried that a Giuliani nomination would irrevocably split the GOP in advance of the 2008 general election, given Giuliani's relatively liberal stands on gay unions and abortion, as well as his rocky marital history. The private meeting was held Saturday afternoon, during a lull in the official CNP schedule. Earlier in the day, Vice President Dick Cheney had traveled to Utah to deliver a brief address to the larger CNP gathering. Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney also addressed the larger group.

The decision has also been reported in an unsigned article by WorldNetDaily, a conservative online news service. "Not only was there a consensus among activists to withhold support for the Republican nominee, there was even discussion about supporting the entry of a new candidate to challenge the frontrunners," the article said. According to the Salt Lake Tribune, WorldNetDaily's editor, Joseph Farah, attended the larger CNP gathering.

I'm certainly looking forward to all the stories about the Republicans being held hostage by their far right "activists" who stupidly refuse to compromise and are ruining their party's chance for victory. I'm especially looking forward to the insightful piece in the NY Times that posits that the 60's narrative that so animates the whole political establishment is now turned on its head: the war is unpopular with a vast (somewhat) silent majority, but the social radicalism and upheaval that fueled the Republican rise back in the day is now all on the conservative side.

You tell me which party should have more to fear that its base is alienating the American people? Which party really needs to be running from the "crazies" of its base and which one's "crazies" are actually average Americans from all walks of life whose most radical proposal is to ensure that all Americans have access to a doctor?

Sadly, you will never hear this from the mainstream press since the radical clerics of the CNP are members in good standing of the Village. They don't have long hair and they don't take drugs and they aren't the crazed anti-war Move-On hippies who are destroying American society. Of course, those hippies are a figment of the fevered imaginations of the Villagers, but that hasn't stopped their dutiful stenographers from writing the narrative of this election as if the activist base of the Democratic party were all dropping acid in the Haight like it was the Summer of Love.

Meanwhile, they ignore the crazed radical religious right which is threatening a third party run against the most conservative Republican party in history and blandly portray a bunch of bloodthirsty billionaire war profiteers as "outsiders" and "activists."

For those who think you have caught me being naive and foolish once again, please re-read the post and you'll notice that I didn't say that the radical religious right was going to actually break off or that they wouldn't make some sort of a deal. I actually think they are applying political power in a pretty effective way.

My point is that a significant conservative constituency is actually threatening to run a third party candidate if they don't get their way and yet all we ever hear about is how the Democrats are being led down the path to perdition by the Move-On hippies who are pushing them to respond to the large majority of Americans who want the US to begin withdrawing from Iraq.