Sunday, January 27, 2008
Where are the Kingmakers
Where Are The Kingmakers
Where are the “kingmakers” of the right? These days they seems oddly silent. Dr. James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family and puppetmaster of Tony Perkins’ Family Research Council, has been very quiet for an election year. It is rare for him not to make an immediate endorsement during a presidential election year. Have the “Christian right’s” claws been shortened?
So far, neither Dobson nor his organization has actually come forth to endorse Mike Huckabee, the darling of the far right wing of the Christian right, nor have they come forth to place the mantel upon Mitt Romney. Of course, the far right wing of the Christian right is dead set against Gov. Romney because of his Mormon beliefs, which they equate with cultism and Satan incarnate. Is Dobson playing the game in order to maintain his position as “kingmaker” and waiting until he determines which way the wind is actually blowing. It seems he has offered some glances toward the Romney camp by calling and congratulating him on his speech concerning religion in America. Dobson said is was "a magnificent reminder of the role religious faith must play in government and public policy. His delivery was passionate and his message inspirational." Hardly an endorsement, yet, more than he gave Huckabee, who has seemingly been wondering out loud when his endorsement is coming and dropping the Dobson name many times, especially in the Iowa Caucasus, which he did win. In New Hampshire, where the Dobson anointing would have perhaps been some help, and in South Caroline, a bastion of the “Christian far right,” we have heard not a word from Dobson.
Tony Perkins, the political arm of Dobson’s group, has not come out directly saying they endorse Huckabee, but he did say that Dr. Dobson has by no means given his blessing to Romney either. Perkins and his “values voter” agenda-driven audience is very much against Romney because of his religious beliefs. They continually put out the incorrect statement of Romney’s constant endorsement of abortion and gay marriage in his home state while Governor. First of all, Romney did not endorse anything; rather, he said that he would not seek to overturn what the people had voted for. When it came to the financing, Romney showed his distaste for funding abortions with taxpayer money. His vetoes were often overridden by the legislature of the state, but that does not constitute a personal endorsement of either agenda. Of course, it sounds good to the Perkins followers to say he flip-flopped. Many individuals have changed their minds on issues, but that is another story for another time.
So where are the “kingmakers”? Falwell is dead, and the rest of the fundamentalists have never been strong voices in the political arena. It seems that the religious right is now pandering to those in Hollywood who will endorse their agenda, such as Chuck Norris, who has already cast his lot with Huckabee. Could it be that the “kingmakers” are running out of money, and clout as well?
In doing some reading, it seems that Dobson’s FoF is not doing well financially. The ministry's expenses have exceeded its revenues for two years, what CEO Jim Daly calls a "drawdown from reserves," by $4.1 million in fiscal year 2006 and $9.9 million in 2005. (Figures for 2007 have not yet been released.) Could that be why Huckabee’s camp is not receiving the endorsement, because with endorsement comes a financial responsibility, as seen in past years when Dobson’s organizations have thrown bags of money into the coffers of the “anointed,” as did Rev. Falwell and his organization. Even Newt Gingrich, who was “anointed” by these two and brought into power in ‘94, seems to have abandoned the far right wing, or even the right wing of the Republican Party, and has not fully endorsed Huckabee. But then Gingrich has plans for a “Trojan Horse” entry as a candidate of the GOP. (More on that another day.)
Huckabee’s campaign is desperate for money, as hinted at by the campaign manager in Flordia this weekend. His statement of “we are still in there fighting at the grass root level and not spending on TV as others have done” certainly is a hint that the money is in tight supply. It seems that Huckabee, a Southern Baptist, has turned to the Pentecostal evangelical side for support in none other than Kenneth Copeland. However, it doesn’t appear that Copeland and his minister friends have been able to deliver on the million dollars’ worth of pledges supposedly received. Sources have it that only $111K was actually collected. Huckabee has to be desperate in turning to Copeland, whose ministry has been targeted by Senator Grassley (R-Colo) and his congressional group looking into various televangelism organizations and how they spend their money.
Huckabee, in reaching out to Pentecostals and evangelicals, has alienated his Southern Baptist base, since it is well known that attempting to mix the two is like mixing oil and water. Pentecostals in SC will vote for Southern Baptist Huckabee, but Southern Baptists won’t vote for what they deem a Pentecostal-leaning Baptist. Huckabee has referred to himself as a Bapti-costal, and that is not going over well with his SB brethren. Copeland has actually endorsed Huckabee and could be some help in the fundraising department and possibly more so than Hollywood’s Texas Ranger Chuck Norris.
Even with the appearance of Ken Copeland and his endorsement, the “kingmakers” of the religious right are strangely silent.
Could it be that what Dick Armney said back in 2006 prior to the Republican losses in the Congress is true, that the GOP sold out to the religious right, and it will come back and bite them in the butt? Could it be the one who receives the least endorsements from the religious far right will win the nomination? What say you?
In a few days, we will take a look at the Democrats and who is endorsing whom, and ask where the far left “kingmakers,” such as Soros and the moveon dot org crowd, have disappeared to.