Clintons and the Christians third party gambit – UPDATED

[Jesus] then addressed this parable to those who were convinced of their own righteousness and despised everyone else.
“Two people went up to the temple area to pray; one was a Pharisee and the other was a tax collector. The Pharisee took up his position and spoke this prayer to himself, ‘O God, I thank you that I am not like the rest of humanity–greedy, dishonest, adulterous–or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week, and I pay tithes on my whole income.’ But the tax collector stood off at a distance and would not even raise his eyes to heaven but beat his breast and prayed, ‘O God, be merciful to me a sinner.’

I tell you, the latter went home justified, not the former; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”
- Luke 18:10-14

It is always interesting to me to reflect that Jesus always went to the sinners to get his work done, to spread his message. He didn’t go to the “pure” ones who thought they already knew everything they needed to know, and who would never dare to taint themselves by dealing with the lesser among them. He went to the guys who screwed up, made mistakes and understood that they were not worthy, who knew that they didn’t know everything. The guys who would continue to make mistakes but who would grow and would – most importantly – never give up.

Someone sent me several versions of this story about Christian conservatives meeting to consider a break with the GOP and the establishment of a third party.

“The conclusion was that if there is a pro-abortion nominee they will consider working with a third party,” said the person, who spoke to Salon on the condition of anonymity. The private meeting was not a part of the official CNP schedule, which is itself a closely held secret. “Dobson came in just for this meeting,” the person said.

Yep. Right on schedule. Writes my Li’l Bro Thom: Did they learn nothing from ’92? They may as well start engraving the “President Clinton” commemorative coins now…

Had Ross Perot not run in 1992 it is unlikely Bill Clinton would have been president. I suspect the Democrats would like nothing better than to see a third party of conservative Christians siphon just enough votes away from the GOP to do the same for Hillary.

We’re already watching the Clintons re-run all their moves from the ’92 playbook. Triangulation Kitty is again being served up to feed the masses, this time with Bill as the Hard Left Outside and Hillary as the Softer, Chewy and Yummy Center. We’re already watching the press do what it can to bury any negative perspectives on the Clintons and their team. (Notice that Hillary said she gave the Hsu money back to the donors and the press said, “oh, fine…no story here anymore!” Next that money will be re-donated to her campaign). We’ve seen the reemergence of Sandy “Pants” Berger as a trusted advisor, and Harold Ickes as himself. The Clintons have no reason not to believe that what worked before will not work again. All that is needed now, is the “third party” mindset that brought Bill Clinton his presidency on a buckled platter.

And here it comes.

I’m going to hate watching Mrs. Clinton assume the presidency with 42% of the vote, like her husband did, and I’m going to hate watching her get sworn in in January ’09, while her husband holds the big bible and bites his lip, and I’m going to really hate everything that comes after it. So will you.

The third-party pipe-dreamers will once again make the Clinton tag team victorious. And with a Supreme Court likely to need three quick replacements in ’09, the third party folks will watch as the court becomes a permanent 5-4 liberal majority activist court – for decades. Decades, folks. The America you think you’re going to “preserve” with your third party candidate may become unrecognizable in a very short time. The Roe v Wade you think you’re going to reverse with your unelectable third candidate will seem almost quaint when compared with the “compassionate” euthanasia and the “practical, community-serving, environment saving” limitations on life you’ll be watching get handed down as law by an activist court determined to see the Constitution as a “living” and flexible document.

And all of this will come about because the only person seemingly capable of beating the Clinton’s wasn’t a good enough Christian for the Christian right. I think it’s a mistake, folks. Create a third party in order to give yourselves a “good Christian” to vote for – one who doesn’t offend any of your principals – and you lose. And life loses, too.

If Jesus were here today, walking with – just say for arguments sake – Rudy Giuliani, would you be among those asking him why he was eating with those sinners over there, those tax collectors and Galileans who were not perfect in faith and observance?

Jesus didn’t give the Keys to the Kingdom to a “suitable” candidate who had long-proved his religious bona fides. He gave them to a self-admitted “sinful man,” an impetuous man with a temper and a touch of cowardice – no one’s “ideal” of a leader – who was also a rock. And let’s not forget that Jesus’ very earliest followers would have had a hard time swallowing Saul as a likely instrument for Christ. Then he became Paul. God uses whom he chooses and he doesn’t need your approval to do it.

We have already seen – twice, now – that a pro-life Christian president does not translate into pro-life policies. Even when the Congress managed to pass a ban on partial birth abortions that law was stayed within hours by the courts.

The courts are where Christians need to keep their focus. And even a “sinful man,” can serve the cause for life, in the courts, if he is the sort of man who has displayed in his career, a respect for the constitution and the rule of law.

Sometimes I get the feeling that Christians forget that God can do anything. That means He can use anything or anyone to achieve His aims, even someone His own church might turn up their noses about. To assume that only certain people can be used by God to work His will is to make God awfully small…and human ideas and perceptions much too large.

If the Christians lose sight of the fact that they too are sinners, and go about looking for that unelectable pure candidate to vote for (“at least I will be able to vote my principals!”) then they will effectively be voting for the pro-abortion Democrat candidate, and endorsing all those new SCOTUS judges, too. Think about that while we watch the right begin to assemble its circular firing squad.

No wonder Hillary is laughing.

Meanwhile Rudy Giuliani is said to be pushing back. I think he should at some point admit that he’s a “sinful man.” That would go a lot further with Christians than trying to convince them that he could ever be good enough for them. After all, he’s (gasp!) divorced and has gay friends. Gee whiz, we’d be better off with a Newt, or some reasonable facsimile thereof, I guess. Oh, wait…

UPDATE: This piece by Rod Dreher (H/T Greg) actually illustrates my point very well.

I am glad it is not given to me to judge him. By one standard, Father Benedict deserves a millstone lashed to his neck for eternity. That’s what I’d have given the old buzzard, but God’s a better Christian than I am. And yet, I’m forced to admit that from Sam Greene’s wicked deeds, my beloved family sprung. I can’t help wondering: no fake icon, no visit to Austin, no meeting my true love.

Even if the vehicle by which your prayers are answered ends up being less-than-holy, or even downright corrupt…God can use anything and anyone to accomplish what he chooses. Believe it.

Deacon Greg links to this story from the National Catholic Register and writes:

Given a choice between Rudy and Hillary, I can’t believe these voters would invite a replay of ’92, and back a candidate who would further split the electorate and assure that Hillary wins with just 42% of the vote.

I can’t believe it, either, but there it is.

Excellent commentary from Ed Morrissey here, and by Eric here. Ace spells out the ages of the Supreme Court Justices and links to some of Giuliani’s Judiciary Advisors – an impressive list.

Evangelical Outpost takes the counterview.

Comments on this post are lively and – as ever because I have great readers – mannerly as ever. Please join in.

WELCOME: Instapundit readers, and thanks Glenn, for the link! While you’re here, please look around. Today we’re also discussing non-phony soldiers and these distorted narratives that are becoming so commonplace. We’re also taking some fun tests, and I’m begging please, not another 8 years of polarization and hate.

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • Mark Grannis

    Anchoress, I applaud your invocation of Christian charity in support of moderation. And yet: Shouldn’t we hope for more than either party currently promises? Shouldn’t there be a party that wants to get all the children born AND feed them? A party that wants to be strong enough to repel attacks but prudent enough to avoid bloody crusades to “rid the world of evil-doers”? A party whose nominee a Catholic can support without having to worry about continued reception of Communion?

    If there should be such a party, how do we get there from here, if not by refusing to support parties that stand for very different sets of priorities?

  • TheAnchoress

    Mark, by all means we should hope for the ideal. But we should remember that sometimes what seems “ideal” to us is not quite what God (who likes to write straight with crooked letters, and use the basest of materials – like mud and spit – to do his bidding) has in mind. I’m sure when the church began to form some looked at Peter and said, “you’ve got to be kidding…him?”

    People are put before us for a reason, and all of our paths are incomplete. I simply maintain that for Christians, the road may not always look pretty and the tools are not always ideal.

  • newton

    Woman, you’re so right on target, it isn’t even funny.

    It is obvious to me that Dr. Dobson and Co. (a group with whom I, a Christian who happens to be a Baptist, will never associate with) are making the perfect the enemy of the good, so to speak. I’ll wait to see when they will be the first ones to walk down the plank to total humiliation when they see Hillary pretty much taking over and making sure many of our voices are never heard from again.

    I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. We elect Presidents. Not Messiahs.

    Someone should tell Dr. Dobson this: If you wanna “get saved”, go to church. Don’t go to a political party!

  • newton

    OH, BTW. I don’t mind Rudy at all. I was living in the NY area when he was elected major. I heard and read all the stuff they said about him – the dysfunctional family, the fights, everything. Did that matter when he governed the City? Nah! The City became better than ever before!

    I haven’t picked “my candidate” yet, but if he’s the nominee, I won’t mind at all! I’ll say “Go Rudy!” and mean it!

  • Terrye

    If these people bolt and let Hillary Clinton win the election, I hope they stay gone. Then the Republican party can work on building a new party without them and they can wander the wilderness alone.

  • Mommynator

    You are absolute 100% correct, which is why I’ve become convinced that Dobson needs to go back to his private psychology practice (which he is very talented for), and the rest of them need to get back to their pulpits and preach the gospel.

    C.S. Lewis said that we should consider the BEST PERSON for a job, and while others can disagree with good reason, for me that is Giuliani (at the moment). I live in NYC and know what this man did and accomplished. It aggravates me no end when conservatives carp about him when he accomplished so many things that are essentially . . . CONSERVATIVE in nature like LOWER taxes (MASSIVELY lower taxes), lower crime, law enforcement, people off welfare and working, etc.

    Drives me nuts.

    [edited to add commenter's closing remarks from a second comment post - admin]

  • knightinplaidpjs

    It is always interesting to me to reflect that Jesus always went to the sinners to get his work done…. The guys who would continue to make mistakes but who would grow and would – most importantly – never give up.

    I find it equally interesting that He also had a tendency to tell those people to “go forth and sin no more,” and to tell them that they “are called to be perfect, just as your holy Father is perfect.” As for the guys who would “never give up,” are you seriously suggesting that this applies to Giuliani? I’d agree with you if it applied to, say, Fred Thompson (formerly pro-abortion, but later had a perfect pro-life voting record in the senate) or Mitt Romney (formerly pro-abortion and pro-gay marriage, now opposes both of those). But where’s the sense that Giuliani is willing to “grow” in areas of interest to traditional Christians? He revels in his pro-abortion stance, and he and his enablers expect conservatives to just “get over it.” Yes, Jesus spent time with the sinners and told them to turn their lives around. When considering the first part, don’t forget the second.

    If Rudy Giuliani gets the Republican nomination, I WILL be voting for a third party. I don’t want Giuliani to represent the conservative major political party in this country. I don’t want this country’s “right” to drift so far left. If it essentially becomes a vote for Clinton while the GOP gets itself right, then so be it. But I will not lend my support to a process that sets the choice for president between a Giuliani disciple and someone to his left.

  • TheAnchoress

    Knight, I NEVER forget the second part of Jesus’ admonishment, “go and sin no more,” because I have needed his mercy greatly. But that doesn’t change the fact that Peter, who screwed up often, was still permitted to work as God’s instrument. You’re certainly entitled to your vote or to sit things out if you like. But if you truly believe that you’ll get another chance to change anything in your lifetime once a new – very liberal SCOTUS is in place…well, you and I will have to agree to disagree. And I will still maintain that God can use anything – or anyone – to do his will.

  • Sarge6

    More and more I think that Missouri Lutheranism (to which I belong), solidly in the orthodox (or “conservative”) column, has about as strong a theological position on separation of Church and State as you can find. Regrettably, we’re too insular and marginal and the Christianity and Culture debate left us behind (pun intended) long ago.

    Of Church and State

    (St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, N.D.)

    [Adopted 1932]

    34. Although both Church and State are ordinances of God, yet they must not be commingled. Church and State have entirely different aims. By the Church, God would save men, for which reason the Church is called the “mother” of believers Gal. 4:26. By the State, God would maintain external order among men, “that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty,” 1 Tim. 2:2. It follows that the means which the Church and State employ to gain their ends are entirely different. The Church may not employ any other means than the preaching of the Word of God, John 18:11, 36; 2 Cor. 10:4. The State, on the other hand, makes laws bearing on civil matters and is empowered to employ for their execution also the sword and other corporal punishments, Rom. 13:4.

    Accordingly we condemn the policy of those who would have the power of the State employed “in the interest of the Church” and who thus turn the Church into a secular dominion; as also of those who, aiming to govern the State by the Word of God, seek to turn the State into a Church.

  • Gabriel Hanna

    Anchoress, I really appreciate your citing the New Testament here–I keep looking for the place where Jesus says “Form ye political action committees”, and all I ever keep finding is things like “Render unto Caesar” and references to “the god of this world”.

    Christ, of course, lived under one of the more brutal (but less cruel) Roman emperors; politics is not what He was about.

  • masterforecaster

    Dear Anchoress,

    I do not have time to comment on all the ludicrous statements on your website, so Ill limit to just the top few:

    1) GW Bush lost the 1992 election because he had a 35% approval rating on election day. I know conservatives like to believe Ross Perot cost them that election, but if they pull their heads out of their rears, they’d see that all the data suggested that Bush was NOT going to be president. (Recall Perot dropped out of race mid-summer 1992, and Clinton STILL led Bush by 15% in polls.) Nice try though.

    2) It amazes me why GOP supporters are so surprised that the religious right wants to abandon them and create a 3rd party. What amazes me is that it took this long for the religious right to realize that the GOP was just using them! (You’d think that after flooding to the polls for decades to vote on the pro-life issue, often against their own personal economic interests, and getting NOTHING in return, (except for the GOP making fools of themselves in the Terry Schiavo case) that they’d figure this out much sooner! Im amazed it took this long!!!

    3) If the GOP wants to continue to try to claim moral superiority over the Dems, they need to at least keep their sex scandal count on par with the Dems. They currently outnumber the Dems in such scandals by a two to one margin! (Fox news compiled this data, they aren’t dying to broadcast this, Im sure!)

    Too funny!

    IP Freely from Minnesota

  • John K. Walker

    I’m not in favor myself of some quixotic third-party attempt at this time either (although there is a way this could work in the longterm, if anyone were serious), but the documented (by dingbat “thinker” Hugh Hewitt, who seems to SUPPORT him!) flaw in any moral or even crassly politically reasoning that Giuliani is a worthy “lesser evil,” is that during his term as NYC Mayor, he didn’t appoint a bunch of “strict constructionists,” but 95% liberal democrats!

  • DMOnline

    Excellent piece. Thank you for sharing this with all of us. We included a link at our Blog for our readers to review.

    As my mother would put it, we’re electing a president, not an elder in our church.

    What I find most disconcerting is the apparent conceit that certain self-proclaimed leaders among social conservatives, most notably James Dobson, seem to have. They apparently want to flex their political muscle by making threats to the Republican Party if social conservatives don’t get the nominee they want. These tactics are no more virtuous than those employed by the NEA, Union thugs, or against the Democrats.

    Polling suggests that among those who consider themselves social conservatives, Rudy continues polling at the top of the heap. I suspect that’s because they find the man honest, true, principled and, perhaps most important, the only Republican capable of actually beating Hillary Clinton.

    God’s speed, Rudy. You’ve got my vote.


  • turbo

    I agree with knightinplaidpjs.

    There is not a lot of political guidance given in the Bible, but Moses was given the guidance to “provide out of all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness”. He wasn’t told to grab anyone to govern, regardless of their personal dignity or worthiness and let God work it out.

    Rudy has serious moral flaws. I would rather cede to Clinton while the Republican Party rights the ship for ’12 than endorse Rudy as representative of my views.

    I mean at what point do we not overlook someone’s personal flaws in choosing our elected representatives? If he were a an admitted pedophile rather than adulterer would you still vote for him if you thought doing so would keep the Clintons out?

  • mtebeau

    So nice of you to speak for Jesus and to help him find the right messenger. Obviously Jesus would prefer one heathen over another in a U.S. presidential election. I wish God’s preferences were more clear to me, but then again, I am not devout or holy enough to be privy to such insider information. Thank you and your fellow commentators for speaking for the Lord.

  • TheAnchoress

    LOL I would never for an instant presume to speak for the Christ. I’m merely offering food for thought, here, and pointing out instances where God has used very surprising people to achieve His aims. I merely asking my fellow Christians to consider that the Lord works in mysterious ways and not always in ways we understand or expect. As I think I did demonstrate with the Dreher piece. But if you’d rather ignore all of that and simply accuse me of excessive pride and presumption, that’s okay with me. I never claimed to know the Mind of God. Perhaps others do. Thanks for writing.

  • BenK

    First past the post voting is ridiculous. Is there any support for preferential voting in the US?

  • Miss Orange

    turbo and knightinplaidpjs:

    Amazing, the GOP will “right itself” by 2012 — while Empress Hillary reinstates the Fairness Doctrine, cancels faith-based initiatives, grinds our schools into feel-good/think-not Democrat incubators, and gets her husband to blow a nice soothing cloud of anaesthesia from his tainted cigars.

    You DO believe in miracles, don’t you?

  • andrewp111

    Then I expect old George Soros to secretly fund any Dobson-backed third party run. He certainly has the billions, and has secretly funded a lot of mischief in the last few years. But do they have a credible candidate to pull a “Perot”?

  • Foxfier

    Miss Orange: Nicely said.

    I love how someone claims W lost the election in ’92– I didn’t even know he was running….

  • tennannie

    If some Republicans refuse to vote for Rudy due to his stand on abortion, won’t socially liberal ones abandon the party?

    Republicans cannot win without both groups. Even in 12 years.

  • Cavalier829

    I’ve never really understood all the Republican hatred of the Clinton’s. In terms of policy they were never really that effective in Washington. Unless you have simply an exceptional party and candidate handing power to the opposition is a healthy thing in a democracy. Besides, have we not heard of a little thing called the Filibuster? The odds of a Clinton Revolution are almost nil. Right now we’re in that point in the cycle where Republicans feel like committing suicide in the face what they ALL say amounts to another 1932.

    Chill out. I voted Republican in ’06 thinking McCain-Kennedy would become immigration law. Turns out it wasn’t to be. Now I feel completely liberated. I’d never vote for Hillary, but there are other choices (Democrat, Indpendent, and GOP) I am ready to consider.

    And do we not forget what happened after the LAST two times the GOP lost the White House. (1980 and 1994???)

  • sturm

    It is certainly true that the Bible says God uses the foolish things of this world to confound the wise. But there are a couple of other things in there that we shouldn’t overlook. So if we are to come at this from a Biblical perspective, we should not necessarily disregard the “pick the candidate that supports your values” angle that Dobson are taking.

    As an aside, the Bible says that God used Pharaoh and the Pharisees to work His will (and heathen king Cyrus). So maybe *Hillary* is God’s chosen instrument. If we’re focusing solely on the “God might do anything” rule of thumb to criticise Dobson, then you must admit that Hillary is just as likely as Rudy. How can we know?

    But more to the point: the apostles chose Stephen on the basis of his character; Saul/Paul had well-respected Ananias and Barnabas to vouch for him; and Paul writes in the pastoral epistles to choose elders based on character. Now of course, President is not the same thing as Deacon, Apostle, or Elder. But if you want to look to God’s selection of Peter as instructive in this situation, then we should also consider these other cases.

    (Please note — I’m not necessarily defending Dobson’s strategy, I’m just saying that this aspect of your critique is unconvincing.)

  • TheAnchoress

    Hi Sturm – you are absolutely correct. Since we cannot know the mind and workings of God, he may well end up using Hillary Clinton as his instrument – that’s entirely possible, and a contingency I’ve thought of. It’s entirely possible. Saul/Paul may have had Ananias and Barnabas to vouch for him, but then again Rudy has Ted Olsen and others vouching for him.

    I’ve never thought it was an “accident” that Rudy got prostate cancer and pulled out of the 2000 election. Had he stayed in and defeated Hillary he would have been in DC on 9/11, and not in NYC, where he was needed. In his place would have been a very ineffectual toady who could not have helped the whole nation as Rudy did; he simply would not have had the stuff. I’m willing to entertain the notion that Hillary is in the US Senate right now because God wanted Rudy in DC (I’m simply entertaining that notion, mind you) and I’m willing to wonder if this election is not meant to be the “real” showdown, the important and meaningful one between Rudy and Hillary.

    Understand, I’m not even entirely sure I am completely in support of Rudy – I liked him very much as Mayor of NYC. As a New Yorker I remember quite clearly what the city was before he took office, and how his fiscally conservative policies and many sensible small-s social policies turned the quality of living in the city around. I liked the fact that while Hillary was kissing Suha Arafat, Rudy was telling him, “you’re not coming to my opera house!” I liked the fact that he returned a ten million dollar check to a Saudi prince after 9/11, because the prince implied that our friendship with Israel was partly to blame for 9/11. On terrorism, I trust Rudy. On Israel, I trust Rudy. On judges, yes, I trust Rudy. Take a look at his Judicial Advisory committee. So…these are very big issues, on which I trust the man, but I do disagree with some of his Capital-S social policies – so now I have to decide if the perfect is the enemy of the good. And I also wish he’d stop the silly phone calls with his wife. Embarrassing.

    But that was never the point of my post. My point has always been to get my fellow Christians to move beyond, a “he’s not pure enough so I must split off” mindset that will make the whole election a pointlessly predictable exercise, because when I hear conservatives say, “better to lose in ’08 and win in ’12, ” I think to myself…”lose THIS election, lose THESE seats on the SCOTUS…and you may never get your ‘next’ chance…”

    Another commenter said, “remember what happened when the GOP lost before…” well, yes, but the world is a vastly different place, America is much more balkanized that it was before, and the press is quite more deeply “owned” than ever before. Circumstances are not what they were. I don’t know if “lose now to win later” is really smart, anymore.

    These back-and-forths are fun and as usual, I have the best and most mannerly readers in the ‘sphere!

  • Miss Orange

    Foxfier, thank you. And to clarify, Empress Hillary will control information (in schools, the media, wherever she can) to the extent that conservative voices will be muted all over the land. How is the GOP supposed to “right itself” in such an atmosphere, especially in four short years? Heavens, has the GOP *ever* been sufficiently “right” for the most conservative Christians?