That Darn Rudy!

This post, written by Steven Reynolds, originally appeared on the All Spin Zone

It all revolves around Rudy, Rudy, Rudy. A conservative publication today notes that evangelicals are supporting Rudy, but the Politico is reporting the opposite. Man, that is one big old confused voting bloc, eh? Let's look at the reporting from the American Conservative first:
Support for former New York City mayor Rudolph Giuliani among the Religious Right and particularly among evangelicals is a surprising development in American political culture. According to Quinnipiac polls, Giuliani is the Republican presidential candidate who enjoys the most popularity among evangelical Protestants, and the lead in polls that he commands in certain swing states, especially Florida, is attributed to "white Evangelical voters." On April 30, the Baptist Standard announced that "Giuliani leads among Evangelicals; Clinton leads among Catholics." Although the report about Clinton's support may have been news, the information about Giuliani was, by the end of April, old hat. Already in February the Washington Post had him "surging among white Evangelicals."
At the beginning of May, among this group, which is essential for large Republican turnouts on election day, Giuliani ran 11 points ahead of his closest competitor, Sen. John McCain, whose positions on abortion and other social issues would suggest closer agreement with evangelical values. For a while it seemed that Giuliani's social positions--which are generally garden-variety leftist on abortion, gay marriage, and amnesty for illegal immigrants--plus his publicized dalliances, two failed marriages, and the attacks on his lack of paternal sense of responsibility made by his son would end the Religious Right's love affair with the candidate. But this has not been the case.
A number of Giuliani's fans in the Fourth Estate, such as Cal Thomas, Richard Brookhiser, and the editorial writers for the neoconservative New York Post, have revealed some of the reasons for the Religious Right's attachment. Religious Protestants have come to view the issues that Giuliani has emphasized, "national security" and "fighting terror," as more crucial than those family issues they stressed in the past. Thomas, who is himself a professing Christian but with a neoconservative, Zionist twist, stated the opinion on March 13 that such prioritizing indicates a definite "maturing" among his coreligionists. This seems to be the general view of the establishment conservative press in the U.S., which remains agog over Giuliani's candidacy and his stand on terrorism.
Paul Gottfried reports approvingly, it seems, of Cal Thomas' assertion that evangelicals are "maturing" so much that they see Giuliani's (disputed) strength on security as more important than the usual issues of abortion, family and gay-bashing. I think Paul Gottfried is a bit too in love to see the truth, and the major players on the evangelical side clearly would dispute Gottfried, at least according to Politico:
"Speaking as a private citizen, no, no, I could not support (Giuliani)," said Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, which has about a half-million members. "The 20 years I've been involved in politics, the life issue has been at the very top. How could I turn my back on that?"

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