The Pat & Rudy Show

The big political news today is that televangelist Pat Robertson is endorsing Rudy Giuliani for president. I have to say I'm not very surprised. I have nothing against Robertson and I know he's done much good work. However, he's always struck me as a pragmatic sort of guy. He's calculated that Giuliani is the likely GOP nominee and naturally wants to get aboard the bandwagon.

Robertson is a little wacky sometimes but he's no dummy. The fact that James Dobson and other religious right leaders are loudly anti-Rudy gives Robertson an opening to be Giuliani's link to evangelical Christians. If Rudy goes on to become president, he'll owe some favors to Robertson.

Even so, it seems wildly inconsistent for someone like Robertson to support a pro-abortion, pro-gay rights guy like Rudy. The answer, I think, is that to Robertson these things are less important than the fight against radical Islam. He is one of the Giuliani Christians that I wrote about a few months ago, people who will compromise larger principles so they can feel "safe." I think these folks are wrong but there are obviously a lot of them.

Stephen Bainbridge reports on an interesting angle someone noticed. Consider:

1. Giuliani's biggest political problem is his stance on abortion and gay rights.
2. Giuliani's greatest strength is his leadership of NYC on and after 9/11.
3. Robertson has said that God sent the terrorists to attack us because of American support for abortion and gay rights.
4. Therefore, God must want Giuliani to be president.

This is a twisted line of thought, but to Robertson it just might make sense. It fits perfectly with his eschatological views and fervent desire to defend Israel. Because Giuliani and Robertson both view Islam as a dangerous enemy, each sees an alliance as beneficial despite their other differences.

Will it matter? There are plenty of people who regard Pat Robertson as a dangerous nutcase, so the endorsement might actually hurt Rudy with them. You could argue that the people Robertson is most likely to influence are concentrated in Southern states that will vote Republican anyway, no matter who the nominee is. On balance I think it is probably a plus for Rudy, but things can change very quickly.

More views from the blogosphere:
Rod Dreher
David Kuo
Texas Fred
Steven Taylor

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