I find it interesting that The FAMiLY Leader has not endorsed a Presidential candidate yet. Bob Vander Plaats positioned the organization to be a player in the Iowa Caucus as they reorganized. They have had more opportunities than any other organization (that I’m aware of) to vet candidates through their Presidential Lecture series. Each prospective candidate that agreed to participate spoke at three different venues, met with different pastors and church leaders for a private meeting at each location, and had a Q&A time with Chuck Hurley and Bob Vander Plaats. I know they also had private meetings with different candidates, and then there was the Thanksgiving Family Forum. They also had their pledge they asked different candidates to sign.
All of that on top of their staff and board’s ability to participate in the vetting process every Iowan has access to – go to different forums, campaign stops and watch debates. All of this and yet they are still sitting on the sidelines. While I don’t believe that their endorsement is a silver bullet by any stretch of the imagination, many like me for instance, were not waiting on their endorsement to make a decision. They still add a voice to the mix, and could help give the candidate they back some positive momentum going into the Iowa Caucus.
They could exercise some leadership here, but for some reason they haven’t pulled the trigger. Steve Deace said the two choices that Christian prolife voters in Iowa really have to choose from who have been solid on their issues are Michele Bachmann and Rick Santorum, and we need to choose or lose. I agree with that assessment. Yet Bob Vander Plaats is sending some strange signals, and I’m not sure what to make of it:
Bob Vander Plaats, the head of the Family Leader, an influential Iowa social-conservative organization, says groups like his are taking a hard look at Gingrich and have come away impressed. After a forum last month at which candidates discussed their faith, Vander Plaats, in consultation with his organization’s board, whittled the list of candidates the Family Leader may support to four: Michele Bachmann, Rick Santorum, Rick Perry and Gingrich.
“He is articulating a very Christian-historical worldview. People are seeing he’s had a life transformation,” Vander Plaats says of Gingrich. “The second thing he’s got going for him is some people believe Newt is the best prepared to lead. And three is that he looks like the one with the best shot at being the alternative to Romney and defeating Romney. Believe me, conservatives want an alternative to Romney. They don’t trust him.”
Now I don’t begrudge the short list as mine was the same, but I can say I would be shocked, shocked if The FAMiLY Leader made an endorsement for pragmatic reasons. Sure somebody is going to be unhappy with their choice, but if nothing else we expect them to make a principled choice, not a pragmatic one. The FAMiLY Leader has the opportunity to help tip the scales for a candidate who champions their values, but time is running out.
Picture by Dave Davidson – Prezography.com