Is Richard Land the New James Dobson?
People For the American Way's Right Wing Watch blog speculates
that the "new political powerbroker" of the religious right, overstepping James Dobson, may be Richard Land, head of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission
. Depending on the type of contest they use to determine a successor, my money might have been on Chuck Norris instead
. But it does indeed seem like Land is challenging Dobson at every opportunity.
Starting with Land's questioning
of Dobson's efforts to move the National Asssociation of Evangelicals away from global warming and other environmental issues, and his unlikely recent association
with Ted Kennedy in urging comprehensive immmigration reform, Right Wing Watch then quotes a recent story in The Hill
demonstrating the SBC leader's involvement in 2008 presidential politics.
The top rung of Republican presidential candidates has too many flaws for social conservatives to offer any candidate their full support, but former Sen. Fred Thompson (R-Tenn.) could be just the man to fill that hole, according to evangelical leader Richard Land.
The president of the Southern Baptist Convention's Religious and Ethics Liberty Commission, Land said Thompson would be a formidable candidate and more likely to shake up the top tier than an entry by former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.).
Thompson, the former senator-cum-television star who is considering a bid, is "a masterful retail politician" who could appeal to a wide swath of voters, including a currently dissatisfied group of social conservatives, Land said.
The issues of marriage and adultery also give Land pause when it comes to Gingrich, the choice of many conservatives unhappy with the current field.
"I think Fred would make much more of a splash than Newt would," Land said. "I wouldn't vote for [Gingrich]."
Land said he has talked about Gingrich and Giuliani with some conservatives, who say they have received assurances from the candidates on a number of issues, including would-be nominations of so-called strict-constructionist judges.
But Land said he asks those conservatives how they can trust a candidate who has broken his marital vows in the past.
"He lied to them; what makes you think he won't lie to you?" Land said he asked.
Dobson has made no secret of his support of Gingrich and recently said of Thompson
that he didn't think the former Senator was really a Christian. And now, Land is clearly taking the opposite tact.
How about we just settle this on Chuck Norris' World Combat League? Dobson v. Land? Winner take all? I'd pay to see that.