It's been hinted at since the earliest days of the Giuliani campaign: Rudy can't carry social conservatives. The multiple-married, pro-gay, anti-gun ex-Mayor of New York City (NEW YORK CITY!?!?!) simply cannot galvanize the support of the oh-so-important religious right to clinch the GOP nomination, the critics said. And despite whispers that Rudy was polling well with the minions, it turns out his critics were right.
Focus on the Family founder and political juggernaut James Dobson has declared that he, and a number of other politically powerful conservative Christian leader, will throw their support to a third party candidate if Rudy is the Republican nominee. Well, they actually go a bit further in saying they would support a third party man "If neither of the two major political parties nominates an individual who pledges himself or herself to the sanctity of human life..." But we all know who that means.
Dobson and his crew command a relatively small, but extremely disciplined block of voters who can make or break an election when margins are as close as they've been these last several years. If they sit out, the Republicans can all but forget 2008.
So we have a battle for the soul of the GOP going on and it's, not surprisingly, a religious fight. Will the fickle moderates who have been driven out of the Big Tent in favor of march-in-step zealots finally come home to roost? Will it matter?