Thursday, November 8, 2007
Paddycake with Rudy and Pat
On the occasion of Pat Robertson's endorsement of Rudy Giuliani for president, we have a window of opportunity here of about 24 hours when we can reasonably ask Rudy what he has to say about, for instance, Robertson's suggestion that the United States should assassinate Hugo Chavez? Robertson later apologized, as he has done for a long series of equally outrageous suggestions over the years, but it's fair to say that this is connected to why Rudy likes Pat and is surely why Pat likes Rudy. Rudy sells national security hawkishness. For someone like Robertson this policy satisfies all of his apocalyptic sensibilities as well as gives the government something to do other than domestic policy. Under a liberal government, Rudy is telling him, Christian conservatives shouldn't want a government that was activist on social policy. To weather the liberal storm, get the government out of social policy, and concentrate on national security. What he really is, Rudy goes on to say, is a guy who's running one of the most important security consulting firms in the world, with contracts with governments all over Asia (whether this is accurate, and if so whether that is good or bad, is a topic for another discussion). Probably Robertson made an impetuous mistake to throw over the Right's domestic agenda with this endorsement. Or perhaps this is part of some larger struggle between Robertson and James Dobson and the rest of the Council for National Policy, the Christian conservative leaders who made their "over our dead bodies" resolution about Giuliani a couple of weeks ago. In any event this schism on Rudy, along with the (to me, surprising) antagonism towards Mormons on the Christian right, makes it look like that movement is degenerating into sectarian conflict. Certainly both Robertson and Giuliani are using the prospect of external enemies as a unifying idea. One can only hope that all of this will be a dead end in the general election.