When we last saw Paul Weyrich, he was urging social conservatives to wait and see whether a "real" conservative candidate would emerge, rather than jumping on the electability bandwagon with one of the unappealing frontrunners.
[I]n a stark shift from the group’s influence under President Bush, the group risks relegation to the margins. Many of the conservatives who attended the event, held at the beginning of the month at the Ritz-Carlton on Amelia Island, Fla., said they were dismayed at the absence of a champion to carry their banner in the next election.Reading between the lines, it's interesting to note that, as it enumerates the Council members' complaints, the Times piece leads with denunciations of McCain and Guiliani, relegating Romney to a second tier of conservative discontent. Is this because Romney is a second-tier candidate, or because he doesn't offend them quite as much as the other two?
Finally, in a measure of their dissatisfaction, a delegation of prominent conservatives at Amelia Island tried to enlist as a candidate Gov. Mark Sanford of South Carolina, a guest speaker at the event. A charismatic politician with a clear conservative record, Mr. Sanford is almost unknown outside his home state and has done nothing to prepare for a presidential run. He firmly declined the group’s entreaties, people involved in the recruiting effort said. A spokesman for Mr. Sanford said he would not comment.At the National Review recently, Mallory Factor praised Stanford for his supposed ability - apparently rather unique among governors - to avoid raising taxes. Sanford's clearly not going to jump in this time around - unless he's got some stunt up his sleeve - but is somebody worth keeping an eye on as a potential star on the conservative bench.
Mr. Huckabee said he was now leaning toward signing a pledge not to raise income taxes that is presented to all the candidates by Mr. Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform.Of course, we all know how these virginity pledges usually work out.
Mr. Norquist said he remained open to any of the three candidates who spoke to the council or to Mr. Romney. He argued that with the right promises, any of the four could redeem themselves in the eyes of the conservative movement despite their past records, just as some high school students take abstinence pledges even after having had sex.
“It’s called secondary virginity,” Mr. Norquist said. “It is a big movement in high school and also available for politicians.”