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Religious fringe struggles to find a suitable prez candidate

“Right now there is still a vacuum among conservative Republicans. [Conservatives] want a more provable conservative who also is demonstrating that they can put together the resources necessary to prevail.”
— Gary Bauer, “Christian” and failed Republican primary candidate in 2000

Cry me a river, fundies. You’re stuck with philandering, divorced, flip-flopping frontrunners that aren’t true believers in your book, and the second tier looks like amateur hour.

The professional “Christian” set gathered in Florida at the meeting of the Council for National Policy, a fringe organization that includes the usual suspects — Daddy D and Rev. Tinkywinky. They are worried that their theocracy movement hasn’t someone to coronate in ’08.

But in a stark shift from the group’s influence under President Bush, the group risks relegation to the margins. Many of the conservatives who attended the event, held at the beginning of the month at the Ritz-Carlton on Amelia Island, Fla., said they were dismayed at the absence of a champion to carry their banner in the next election.

Many conservatives have already declared their hostility to Senator John McCain of Arizona, despite his efforts to make amends for having once denounced Christian conservative leaders as “agents of intolerance,” and to former Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani of New York, because of his liberal views on abortion and gay rights and his three marriages

…Many were also suspicious of former Gov. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts; members have used the council as a conduit to distribute a dossier prepared by a Massachusetts conservative group about liberal elements of his record on abortion, stem cell research and gay rights. (Mr. Romney has worked to convince conservatives that his views have changed.)

Interestingly, the second-string wingers aren’t passing the smell test either, for various reasons:

* Representative Duncan Hunter of California: the folks like his stance on immigration (he’s one of the proponents of building the wall along our southern border), but his protectionist stance re: foreign trade places him squarely at odds with the Republican business community from which he needs buxxx to mount a campaign.

* Senator Sam Brownback of Kansas: attendees who are foes of illegal immigration are pissed at his support for a temporary guest worker program; some think he’s soft on terrorism. [Little Ricky Santorum was at the meeting and apparently won over the crowd for his dark warnings about the threat of radical Islam.]

* Gov. Mike Huckabee of Arkansas: Covenant-marriage proponent and Baptist minister Huck seems to be the candidate least troublesome for the fundies, and has appeared several times on Daddy D’s radio show. His problem area is with the limited government/anti-tax crowd, because as governor he presided over tax and spending increases.  At the conference he said he was leaning to signing some bogus pledge not to raise income taxes that Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform shoved before all the candidates.

Norquist said he won’t hold a taxing history against them.

“It’s called secondary virginity,” Mr. Norquist said. “It is a big movement in high school and also available for politicians.”

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding