In the words of the Tribune's Swamp blogger, televangelist Pat Robertson's endorsement of Rudy Giuliani yesterday was "straight out weird."
I've never thought much of Robertson one way or the other. As an evangelical I considered him a slightly embarrassing uncle I endured for the sake of the family. Whatever impact he had was before my time, but I respected him for whatever that was.
But after yesterday I began to wonder if liberals were right all these years and Robertson's nuts, or at least spiritually unstable.
An evangelical Christian leader just doesn't do what Robertson did. You just don't ignore the two biggest social issues of our day, abortion and homosexual marriage, to endorse a candidate who is pro-both when there are other worthy - and viable - candidates who are anti-both. There is no excuse.
Hugh Hewitt had plausible explanations for the endorsement:
(1) Robertson can't bring himself to support a Mormon, even if Romney is much more conservative than Giuliani. (2) Robertson wants to show Jim Dobson that Robertson still matters. (3) Robertson really, really, really wants to win to keep the Supreme Court safe from Hillary.
So did the Robertson endorsement help Giuliani, hurt Giuliani, help Robertson, hurt Robertson, or do nothing?
Liberals used the endorsement to pull out all Robertson's old quotes. It appears Robertson's endorsement hurt Giuliani from their angle, and dredging Robertson's past can't help Robertson either.
Social conservatives like me won't be budged. As Hewitt said, we have strong objections to Giuliani "for which no argument really matters."
But, according to Hewitt:
But [Robertson's endorsement] does have one great benefit to Rudy: The MSM has never, ever come close to understanding the evangelical voter. MSM thinks of the group as a sort of carnival of gap-toothed, snake-handling, rural post box owning weed chewers. They will assume that Robertson is a general with many divisions, and representative of a much more significant following than he has. Robertson's endorsement will thus be reported as a breakthrough for Giuliani, and a reassurance to fence-sitters that the mayor's got the momentum they were hoping to see.
It is thus among non-evangelicals that the Robertson endorsement will be of greatest value to Rudy....
I'm not sure about that. I can't see moderates finding Robertson the person any other than unpleasant, although Hewitt is saying Robertson's generic evangelical stamp of approval may quell concerns of some moderates, provoked by conservatives, of Giuliani's personal track record and social positions.
Bottom line, in my opinion: Robertson's endorsement of Giuliani made no difference to the Giuliani campaign but hurt Robertson, certifying him as irrelevant among Christian conservatives, particularly if Giuliani loses.
If Robertson's gamble pays off and Giuliani wins the presidency, Robertson's stock may rise. But he will then have to assume responsibility for Giuliani's social political decisions as president, at which time I foresee another apology coming from Robertson for having made yet another gaffe.
I definately would say it has made no difference to the Guiliiani front.
Robertsons comments over the years has taken him out of the playing field among evangelicals. The statements he has made are over the top and I think a sensible minded person realizes that.
Being conservative fiscally is one thing but it doesnt take precedence over the non-negotiables.
This is going to be a very L-O-N-G year..Posted by: yvonne at November 8, 2007 11:06 AM
I don't think Pat Robertson's endorsement would help any candidate. He is weird.
I wonder if Giuliani just couldn't find a way to say no thanks.Posted by: hippie at November 8, 2007 11:43 AM
I choose #'s 1 and 2. I think Guiliani may end up regretting this. He is probably going to have to spend alot of time explaining away the various outrageous comments that we all know Robertson is gong to make.Posted by: Carrie at November 8, 2007 11:46 AM
Yes, this only confirms my long standing belief that these kinds of evangelical leaders are out of their minds.
I understand the attraction to Rudy but also understand how devastating he would be to the pro-life, pro-family movement. What was Robertson thinking?
This will do nothing to persuade Catholics to vote for Rudy, that's for sure.Posted by: Andrew at November 8, 2007 11:59 AM
Im definately no a fan for the G-man.. but Im not so sure he would be THAT devastating to the pro-life movement.
For one, he contradicts himself.. He would appoint Constitutionalist judges- which tend to highly favor the side of life. To me, he is just passing the buck here and taking his popularity off the line.. He is playing the safe-zone game. Typical politics..
While I am sure he would not push for legislation that favors life- do you really think he would veto a bill that came across his desk that passed the house and senate with majority?
That position isnt very clear to me --YET..
And you are right.. this move is definately not persuading me, as a Catholic, to vote for him. I have better options at least until the primary.
If he made it clear that he wouldnt veto a pro-life bill that came across his desk, I would still be sceptic.
He has created a balance, like many politicos do... to save face..Posted by: yvonne at November 8, 2007 12:34 PM
Anybody whose seen the 700 Club should know where Robertson's loyalties lie.
He disgusts me.Posted by: prettyinpink at November 8, 2007 1:11 PM
I just posted about this today!
With a snarky aside about Giuliani's weaseling abortion stance.Posted by: Milehimama at November 8, 2007 2:04 PM
Chuck Norris endorses Huckabee!Posted by: Erin at November 8, 2007 2:10 PM
Chuck Norris lost his virginity before his dad did.Posted by: Jacqueline at November 8, 2007 4:28 PM
Chuck Norris counted to infinity. Twice.Posted by: Jacqueline at November 8, 2007 4:29 PM
Everynight before he goes to bed, the boogeyman checks his closet for Chuck Norris.Posted by: Jacqueline at November 8, 2007 4:33 PM
Hand Sanitizer gel kills 99% of germs on contact. Chuck Norris can kill 100% of whatever the hell he wants.Posted by: Jacqueline at November 8, 2007 4:34 PM
I never thought much of him either and yes, I'm beginning to think he's a little bit crazy too!! I mean, GEEZ!!! What CHRISTIAN in their right mind does that??!! HOW COULD HE??!!! I'm disgusted!!
At least we got one thing going for us; Chuck Norris endorses Mike Huckabee. And, Rick Warren (whom I don't particularly care for much more than I do Robertson) gave an "almost" endorsement of Mike. But, his opinion does carry a lot of weight. So, I am hoping that he will stand strongly for Mike and speak up for him soon and give him the push he needs!!
Huckabee is gaining momentum - which is why I don't understand how Robertson could possibly support anyone other than Mike at this point. How are we supposed to get a good person like Huckabee into the white house if everyone is so pushed into thinking Rudy is our only chance?? :P If that's our mentality, the liberal media has won. But, if we truly realize that the evnangelicals are STILL the key and hold all the power, we CAN and WILL have Huckabee as our president if we would just stand up and say, "YEAH!! He's our man!! Let's stand behind him!!" COME ON PEOPLE!!! For the sake of America, we GOT TO start being bold!!!Posted by: Melissa at November 8, 2007 4:38 PM
Posted by: Jacqueline at November 8, 2007 4:44 PM
Jacqueline, if you could change that to "people against Rudy" you'd have everyone on board.Posted by: hal at November 8, 2007 5:13 PM
I have a feeling people don't listen to Pat Robertson to find out who to vote for. Mostly its just little old ladies wanting him to cure their water on the knee...Posted by: JKeller at November 8, 2007 6:43 PM
And Chuck Norris doesn't vote, he roundhouse kicks his candidate of choice.....Posted by: JKeller at November 8, 2007 6:44 PM
Actually I'm kinda likin' Ron Paul. I bet the first thing he toasts would be the NCLBA which is awful.
And perhaps he would do something about China poisoning our children because they are too cheap to use products safe for humans.
OMG No Child Left Behind is really bad.Posted by: prettyinpink at November 8, 2007 9:30 PM
My pleasure, Hal:
Posted by: Jacqueline at November 9, 2007 10:25 AM
i'm using that....
ThanksPosted by: Hal at November 9, 2007 12:24 PM
If Hugh Hewitt will not support Giuliani even if he became the Republican nominee then that is reason to rejoice!
He said that he would back Giuliani on Bob Enyart LIVE over a year ago. The audio of his statement was even included in the Focus On The Strategy DVD.
Robertson is probably giving Giuliani his support because in doing so Giuliani will help Robertson get some sort of sweet deal that will make him lots of money or put him in a position where he can make lots of money.
* Robertson Defends Forced Abortion: Pat Robertson discussed on CNN's Wolf Blitzer Reports on Dec. 16, 2001 China's forced abortion and their outlawing of brothers and sisters. "I don't agree with it," Robertson said, "but at the same time they've got 1.2 billion people, and they don't know what to do. ... I think that right now, they're doing what they have to do. I don't agree with forced abortion, but I don't think the United States needs to interfere with what they're doing internally in this regard." Denver Bible Church pastor Bob Enyart says to Pat Robertson, "Christians should not defend mass murderers. The Chinese need us to bring them liberty and Christianity, not to defend the slaughter of their children. It's bizarre that Pat Robertson says he's against abortion, except where it's forced, then he's for it. Moral relativism has brought the ‘pro-life' Republican movement into a post-Christian era.Posted by: Zeke13:19 at November 10, 2007 3:57 AM
Moral relativism has brought the 'pro-life' Republican movement into a post-Christian era.
Zeke, morals are relative even if we believe they are relative to a supreme being, etc. Some aspects of some Christian sects are far enough "out there" that the Republican party may reject them, yes, but you never know.
DougPosted by: Doug at November 12, 2007 6:29 PM