Televangelist Pat Robertson recently offered his endorsement to Republican candidate Rudy Giuliani.
The former mayor of New York City, as reported by the Los Angeles Times, graciously accepted his support, saying of Robertson, “his experience and advice will be a great asset to me and my campaign.”
Robertson’s endorsement enables Giuliani to better court the religious right, a group at odds with the former mayor on social issues such as gay rights and abortion.
Although this endorsement can be seen as advantageous, holding the potential to swing the religious voters his way, Giuliani better think twice before considering Robertson’s advice an “asset” in his pursuit of the presidency. Robertson’s words of wisdom are more like landmines than diamonds in the rough.
A controversial individual who never holds his tongue, Robertson, a former presidential candidate and founder of the Christian Coalition, has been an outspoken opponent of homosexuals, feminists and liberals, even going so far as to claim that the September 11 attacks were a result of America’s compliance and tolerance of these groups.
In 1992, according to the Washington Post, Robertson said that feminism encourages women to “kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians.”
Robertson, a former Marine officer and Yale University Law School graduate, has, in his long and illustrious life, engaged in many endeavors, both in the humanitarian and private sectors. However, Robertson’s career as a statesman has not been as successful as his career as a religious broadcaster.
In 2003, CNN reported that Robertson suggested the detonation of a nuclear weapon outside of the U.S. State Department, so as to “shake things up,” would be “the answer” to America’s diplomatic woes.
In 2005, on his television program, The 700 Club, Robertson called for American operatives to assassinate Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, thereby stopping the spread of communism and Islamic extremism through the American continent.
Although Robertson may be an excellent and generous humanitarian, one cannot ignore his verbal gaffes and unbridled opinions. After all, frosting on a cow pie doesn’t make it a cupcake.
Many have questioned why Robertson selected Giuliani, especially since his policies run contrary to Robertson’s platforms.
Fred Thompson, the former conservative senator from Tennessee, must be speechless at hearing of this endorsement, especially since, during his congressional career, he consistently voted pro-life.
Fellow Republican candidate Mitt Romney, who, in the wake of recent campaigning focused on family values, took the lead in South Carolina away from Giuliani, is more of a social conservative than America’s mayor. Despite the obvious theological differences, why wasn’t he chosen?
Why didn’t Robertson endorse fellow Baptist preacher and social conservative, former Arkansas governor, Mike Huckabee?
In explaining his decision, Robertson selected Giuliani because he is, as reported by CNN, a “proven leader.”
With the threat of Islamic terrorism and government overspending the overriding issues of debate, Giuliani has shown, according to Robertson, that he is the candidate most capable of dealing with these problems.
Rudy’s record backs up this claim.
As mayor of New York he led the city during the tragic events of September 11th. During his tenure in City Hall, he lowered taxes and cut spending, turning deficits into profits, creating thousands of jobs in the process.
The affect of Robertson’s endorsement has yet to be seen.
Although terrorism and taxes seem to be the paramount issues of discussion, the social agenda should not be underestimated, nor ignored. With value-voters comprising a significant part of the population, especially in early primary states, it will be interesting to see if Robertson’s endorsement will be able to compensate for Giuliani’s lackluster record on social issues.
Joseph Haynie is a senior political science major. His column appears occasionally in the Collegian. Letters and feedback can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.