Update: Since writing this, Glen Johnson at the AP has written on the whole Romney/porn story. He quoted Tony Perkins, the head of the Family Research Council. At the very least, this puts an exclamation point on my second point below. Clearly the Focus/FRC operation has engaged for Thompson and against Romney. A very, very bad day for Mitt Romney. And a very, very good one for Fred Thompson.

So, I read three things today that made a thunderclap in my head about the support of the Christian right in the 2008 GOP presidential nomination fight.

First, Focus on the Family ran a segment entitled, "Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney, an outspoken critic of pornography, is called to task for his ties to Marriott hotels; a chain that makes money by providing porn to guests." In other words and in reality, James Dobson signed off on an attack on Mitt Romney, something that had not been done earlier. This story had been previously reported by CBN’s David Brody and had been covered by a lot of mainstream press. This is, however, the first time, other than CBN, that it made it into the Christian press. And you can’t beat the Christian radio networks for targeting devoted listeners.

Second, Hugh Hewitt pointed out that the new site Blogs for Fred was founded by Joe Carter, who writes Evangelical Outpost. Joe also works at the Family Research Council where his title is director of Web Communications. Now, I am sure that this is not on behalf of FRC, but….

Third, Dr. Al Mohler, President of Southern Baptist Seminary and an evangelical leader beyond the 30+ million Southern Baptists begins an online debate taking the position that "Mormonism is not Christianity."

My reading? Christian right leaders have found their man in Fred Thompson, after a long, but ultimately unsuccessful courtship with Mitt Romney. This reminds me of the 2003 and 2004 buttons and bumper stickers "Dated Dean, Married Kerry."

If more attacks from the right emerge against Romney, I think that it will be fair to say that this is a push for Thompson.


7 Comments

The Right’s Field » Religious Right Abandoning Mitt for Fred? · July 5, 2007 at 3:35 PM

[…] Another good post by Dayton, who looks at evidence that religious conservatives (or at least their leaders), after an initial flirtation with Mitt Romney, are beginning to move into Fred Thompson’s camp. […]

Piling on Mitt? « Greg Prince’s Blog · July 5, 2007 at 7:23 PM

[…] Posted by Greg on July 5th, 2007 Eye On 08 suggests the religious wrong might be leaving Mitt in favor of Thompson. […]

race42008.com » Blog Archive » Dated Mitt, Marrying Fred · July 6, 2007 at 2:03 PM

[…] Soren Dayton has the details: So, I read three things today that made a thunderclap in my head about the support of the Christian right in the 2008 GOP presidential nomination fight. […]

Focus on Fred at Bene Diction Blogs On · July 7, 2007 at 8:58 PM

[…] Why is a bit murkier. They might be afraid of Romney’s cash and good looks, or they might distrust his Mormonism or his born-again conservatism. It might be even simpler than that. It could be that that they’re plumping for another candidate, or that they’re using this as a convenient lever to push the anti-porn campaign. (See here for dark speculation that this is part of a coordinated campaign to dump Mitt in favor of Fred Thompson. If Dobson apologizes for questioning Fred’s Christianity, we’ll know the theory’s a winner.) […]

eyeon08.com » Rudy, the conservative movement, their constitutents, and power · October 1, 2007 at 9:25 AM

[…] I had argued in July that the Christian Right and the conservative movement had dated Mitt Romney (really flirted) but married Fred Thompson. At least it seemed like an engagement. Between Schiavo, Thompson’s personal life, his apparent personal secularism, his positions on abortion and gay marriage, etc., the engagement is falling through. I also argued that this relationship felt strange but it had a purpose, to maintain a grip on the party apparatus: The conclusion that I come to from this is that a Thompson candidacy is getting its support from conservative groups partly to maintain some level of control over the party apparatus. Thompson is not perfect. (who would think that the social conservative groups would rally behind a pro-campaign finance reform, anti-marriage amendment, anti-life amendment candidate?) But he does not flood the party with new activists. And, if you were to believe that the party will not keep the White House in 2008 — a safe bet –, then … he’s a safe bet to keep people in their positions of power. […]

eyeon08.com » Huckabee consolidates the religious right · November 11, 2007 at 4:33 PM

[…] Earlier on, I said that it seemed that the religious right had dated Mitt Romney, but decided to marry Fred Thompson. It appears that I spoke to soon. It seems that Fred might have jilted them at the altar, and they found a new person. […]

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