Christian conservatives are less than thrilled with the current crop of probable Republican candidates for the 2008 Presidential nomination. The complete list of likely candidates is: McCain, Giuliani, Romney, Brownback, Lugar, and MAYBE Huckabee. Of those, only Brownback has solid social conservative bona fides. But Brownback has no chance to win the nomination. Neither does Lugar -- a useless old git who is a Kissingerian detente-ist in full 1970s accommodationist mode with regard to terrorists and enemies.
McCain has aired his disdain for evangelicals in the past and has a history of betraying any conservative principle at a moment's notice. Giuliani is a fiscal conservative and defense hawk, but has too many divorces and a history of support for socially liberal policies. Romney's the proverbial leopard that continually tries to change his spots -- he was a social moderate to liberal in the 1990s and now seeks to position himself as the true social conservative.
Time for the hard tonic. First, the best potential GOP nominee is Jeb Bush. Unlike his brother, Jeb is a fiscal conservative, small government Republican instead of a profligate spender. Therefore he'd appeal to the libertarian centrists of the Western states who tend to vote Republican. He's also a strong social conservative, so the evangelical Right would rally behind him. Problem is, after big brother won the election in 2000, Jeb cannot run now and will not -- the "too many Bushes" argument is too powerful.
Second, The Monk agrees with the Ryan Sager analysis that indicates a fundamental problem within the party -- too much emphasis on social/moral issues that cater to one aspect of the party, too little emphasis on conservative economic principles that have broader and cross-party appeal. By jettisoning the conservative economic principles that were the foundation of both the Reagan economy AND the Gingrich Revolution, the GOP lost moderate voters and lost the House and Senate.
Third, the social conservatives do not have a choice in the general election between staying home or holding their nose and voting for a social moderate from the GOP. At this point, evangelicals have become as obvious a constituency for the GOP as blacks and Jews for the Democrats. There is no level at which Democrat values can attract the social conservatives. Instead, the core Democrat values as established by the Left-wing base, are anathema to evangelicals. Therefore, the social conservatives can either vote GOP or sit back and watch Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama become the 44th President.
The GOP does not need a candidate who can "rally the base". It needs a candidate who does not look and sound like the vapid Senators who seek to run a nanny state and control what everyone does with their money whilst concurrently concerning themselves with the perks of their office. The base of evangelical conservatives has a choice if the GOP picks a candidate that is not a staunch anti-abortion, anti-gay rights, anti-flag burning firebrand -- sit on its hands and deal with at least four years of President Rodham Clinton OR rally itself to prevent that calamity.