Wednesday, November 7, 2007

The endorsement game gets crazier

One-time darling of the religious right, Sen. Sam Brownback, has announced his support for John McCain.

One-time religious right presidential candidate Pat Robertson has announced his support for Rudy Giuliani.

One-time influential religious right activisit Paul Weyrich has announced his support for Mitt Romney.

None of them seem to have any idea of why they are endorsing the candidate they choose.

Taken as a whole, the "leadership" of the religious right has been ineffectual to say the least in this nomination cycle. The problem, of course, is that there isn't any one candidate that is the entire package -- strong on the issues, having broad conservative appeal, having a consistent track record, and being clearly electable.

It was telling that at the recent conference in D.C. for social conservatives, the "leadership" when polled was split between multiple candidates, whereas with the rank-and-file activists who were there, Mike Huckabee ran away with the straw-poll, outpolling all of his opponents combined. But the former Baptist pastor has yet to garner any high-profile endorsements from his fellow conservative Christians. Interesting.

This kind of disconnect between leadership and those they are supposedly leading is not a good sign. It points to political calculations about who might win and whether they will have any influence in that person's administration. What on earth makes religious leaders competent at predicting who is electable or not?

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