I pointed out last week that pro-family conservative leaders are all over the map on this year’s Republican presidential field. That splintering continued today with the endorsement of Fred Thompson by the National Right to Life Committee — despite Thompson’s past representation of Planned Parenthood and his recent opposition to the Human Life Amendment. There is some question whether this endorsement will help him, given his free-fall in the polls.
At a gathering of social conservatives this weekend in Scottsdale for PRO-PAC, Thompson received just 3 percent of the vote in a presidential straw poll. If that is anything like what is happening nationally, then an endorsement from a right to life group isn’t going to help.
More importantly, the failure of religious and social conservatives to unify around a single candidate in the Republican primary mitigates their influence. In essence, all these endorsements are doing is canceling each other out. And that helps the one candidate who is most openly hostile to social conservatives, and is also leading in the national polls — Rudy Giuliani.


  1. Len,
    I’m sad to hear that you don’t seem to want to support the only viable choice for leadership in this country, Fred Thompson. Your poll in all honesty represented less then 1/100th of the voting population in this country. It surprises me that has the founder of PRO-PAC that you would not support Thompson, a man who has always been a consistent conservative.

  2. A straw poll is a straw poll — the results are interesting but not hugely significant. I agree Thompson has been a fairly consistent conservative, but there are definitely chinks in the armor. My concern is your statement that he is the “only viable” choice. Others are saying the same thing about their favorite candidate. When conservatives are splintered, and are convinced that “their guy” is the “only” guy who is a conservative and can win, it makes it difficult to come together around the conservative who finally wins the primary.

  3. I’m with Len on this one. As I responded in another post, there are pros and cons with all of the Republican candidates. There are definitely things I like about many of them and will be more than willing to support the Republican who wins the nomination. I believe that there is more than one candidate who would be able to knock out the Democrats’ nomination, and we should move forward with that kind of attitude.

  4. I find it interesting that the NRLC endorsement of Fred Thompson has illicted such a negative response from Mr. Thompson’s fellow contendors and their supporters. On the one hand there is much hand-wringing over that endorsement and on the other hand his opponents say the endorsement will be of little benefit.
    Let me see if I have this right. If Romney or Giuliani would have gotten the NRLC endorsement it would have been a monumental coup, but since it didn’t go to any of the current front-runners in the polls, it’s a non-issue or a major error on NRLC’s part. Gotta’ love watching the Republican party self destruct this way. So glad I’m a “Non-affiliated”.

  5. No, R.Hamric, had Romney or McCain received the NRLC’s endorsement, social conservatives would have been just as upset. While it may have been touted as a coup by their respective camps, I believe most social conservatives recognize that the endorsement should have gone to a tried and true social conservative like Mike Huckabee. Even McCain would have been a better choice than Thompson – while he isn’t with us on embryonic stem-cell research, McCain has been consistently pro-life when it comes to abortion.

  6. Correction – my last post should have read, “had Romney or GIULIANI received NRLC’s endorsement, social conservatives would have been just as upset.”

  7. LD-11,
    Could you be more specific when you put Gov. Huckabee out there as the “tried and true social conservative”. I have looked at his record on the issues and as you posted in the your opening post ” there are pros and cons with all of the Republican candidates”. Specifically as it pertains to the Right to Life issue which the NRLC endorsement is all about. I do believe Sen. Thompson’s record on that issue is equal to Gov. Huckabee’s. As to the differences on other key issues, I will await Len’s lead-in for those discussions.

  8. R. Hamric,
    My comment on this post that Mike Huckabee is a “tried and true social conservative” was, as it states, solely a reference to Huckabee being a social conservative – an area where Mike Huckabee is very strong. You are right, I did say that there are pros and cons to all candidates, but the area of social issues are a huge positive for Huckabee.
    Mike Huckabee’s stance/record on social issues (abortion is the first section listed):
    Fred Thompson’s stance/record on social issues:
    Now, I hope you can see why Huckabee would have been a better choice for NRLC’s endorsement. Huckabee did not lobby for Planned Parenthood, did not serve as a consultant for an abortion group, and never marked on any survey that he was pro-choice. While Thompson’s record in the Senate was pro-life, these other issues should have at least raised the eyebrows of someone at NRLC.

  9. LD11,
    It is the hypocrisies of people and districts like yours that have caused many people including myself to back away from local politics and come to the conclusion that Arizona Republicans are no better then Democrats. You say that you agree with Len but the only viable choice comment that I made but then two seconds later you are pushing your own candidate as the only option. at least Thompson has experience. Again I reiterate that thanks to people like you that are in charge of our legislative republican groups, we are no better then democrats, and that is hard for me to say, especially after working in the county office and starting the young republicans club on the GCC campus. REPUBLICANS STOP BEING HYPOCRITES!

  10. Josh,
    There was no contradiction – I do truly believe that there are many viable candidates. If you look again, I think you will see that the comment in which you accuse me of pushing “my candidate” as the only option was purely in reference to social issues and NRLC’s endorsement of Thompson. I am in no way saying that Huckabee is the only viable candidate or trying to push him on anyone – I’m simply surprised that the NRLC endorsement didn’t go to him. I would be equally surprised if the National Rifle Association endorsed Giuliani, if the Council on Foreign Relations endorsed Huckabee, or if the Consumers for World Trade endorsed Ron Paul. Each candidate has his strong suits. Of the candidates, I believe that Huckabee closest embodies social conservative values, while McCain is strongest in foreign relations, and at the same time Ron Paul certainly gets it in terms of government spending and waste. I fully agree with you – Thompson does have experience, and there is a lot to be said for that. I’m not pushing any candidate, but rather talking about them with regards to the issues – something Republicans must be able to do if we are to convince others that our ways are right.
    I do commend you on your involvement with Young Republicans and your work in the county office. I encourage you not to give up – let’s continue to have a dialogue about what we believe and why we believe it. In the end, this is what’s going to convince others that Republicans have the best policies for governing our nation.


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