Beliefnet
J Walking

Ok, it isn’t really round one but for my purposes it is. After news broke this weekend about the – all to predictable – call from James Dobson and friends about a third party for Christian conservatives, I started emailing some of my Christian conservative friends to get their take. Some of these folks are very senior folks in the heart of politics, others more junior politicos and still others are just in the heartland of the country. My questions to all were the same – Was this a good idea? Would it make them more/less motivated to vote? What did they think. Some responses:

I see this as the last gasp of a generation of men that have gotten used to sitting at the kings table. In the practical sense, Dobson and Co. are using an issue that they have ridden to power in order to maintain their own relevance.
In their final years, these men have adopted tactics that do nothing to differentiate themselves from any other power game, win at all costs DC organization…instead of bearing the face of Christ, they have bought the glitter of access.
Ultimately, a third party candidate will relegate them to permanent fringe status and the saddest part will be that their final stand will not be remembered as a last charge for their ideals but an ill advised attempt to save a seat at the kings table.

Another voice:

It would impact my mother (who is my personal gage for the moral-Christan right). She was stunned by the Dobson thing a week ago, and no longer supports Fred Thompson as a result. I think those of us here in DC forget how much sway men like Dobson, Perkins and Pat Robertson have outside the beltway.
To Christian conservatives like my mother, a resolution like this would be a very serious “check” to her support of Giuliani (who she considers a 9/11 hero at present). As the article rightly noted, abortion is one of her 3 planks for supporting a candidate.
Depending on the tone, if those 3 men demanded that the Christians break off in another direction…well, Christians in America have been waiting for political revolution for years. They have been waiting to “take back” the government. If the right someone led a charge in a 3rd direction, she might follow on principal. And so would others.

And another

Thanks for the fat ball down the middle. To say that I am annoyed is the least of my thoughts on this.
To sum up, practice what you preach. There are already conservative candidates in the race for President but this community has not endorsed because, in their view, those candidates cannot win. Last time I checked, God likes long shots. Any endorsement earlier would have indicated to the entire field of candidates to start moving on more conservative themes on the issues this group considers important. Their absence has done nothing more than make everyone wonder whether they will be players in 08. And now, their answer to all of this? A third party candidate. Brilliant! Wow. So they will…
If they would at least rally around the existing candidates with these principles, assuming those candidates don’t win, we may have a VP who can hold the line. In the end, they are proceeding, thinking like men, instead of listening to God.

Another:

“…there are elements of the base that would definitely stay home or vote for a third party. Right now those who would claim this are a large percentage of base voters. The question is when they get alone and really think about another President Clinton what they will do….

Finally:

I think that both parties are somewhat unwieldy alliances of interest groups. Each group wants to be seen as necessary for the party’s success. Evangelical and Family Values Republicans want the party to believe “You cannot win without us, so you must be prolife to win.” If Giuliani wins, the family values wing fears that other candidates will assume their influence can now be discounted. Although they may not say so publicly, they may prefer a Democratic win because it will confirm their role as necessary for Republicans.

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