Despite what some of those “in the know” on the right will tell you, the threatened 3rd party run by the leaders of the Religious Right could have a big impact on the GOP if they were to carry out their threats to blackball a Giuliani presidential nomination. Powerline’s John Hinderaker thinks that in fact it is silly (emphasis mine).
The idea that this group of 50 can put up a new candidate who will have a significant impact on the process at this point is even sillier than the idea of a third-party candidate who will “irrevocably split the GOP.”
It’s possible that a group of social conservatives could support a fringe third-party candidate–Gary Bauer, say, as the nominee of the Constitution Party–and it’s certain that a few social conservatives would stay home if the Republicans nominate Giuliani or, perhaps, Romney or McCain. That number would be about equal, in my opinion, to the number of anti-war zealots who would stay home rather than vote for Hillary Clinton.
Contrary to the assumption of many liberals, religious conservatives (a group in which I include myself) are not stupid. As President, Rudy Giuliani would nominate judges who will support rather than usurp the Constitution. That’s the only significant role the President plays with respect to social issues. James Dobson et al. wish that they controlled the Republican Party, and Salon wishes they controlled it, too. But they don’t.
Just maybe Mr. Hinderaker might want to rethink his position after the latest Rasmussen poll. According to that poll, a 3rd party anti-abortion candidate could pull as many as 27% of the GOP voters away from Giuliani which would tip the balance in favor of the Democrats, in this case Hillary Clinton 46-30%. So maybe you (and the religious conservatives) aren’t as smart as you profess them to be, or maybe some liberals are actually smarter than you give them credit for being. My guess is it is a little bit of both but either way James Dobson and the rest of the religious conservatives he represents and their one issue crusade are providing us with a great service…putting a democrat in the White House.