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Monday, April 23, 2007

Top 10 GOP "King Makers"

Religion News Service released last week a list of the ten most influential "King Makers" who are shaping the race for the 2008 Republican nomination. The list includes prominent activists, grassroots organizers and outspoken religious leaders.

The RNS list includes:

· Broadcaster and psychologist James Dobson, whose Focus on the Family radio show attracts some 220 million listeners who tune in for his views on the merits – and failings – of various candidates.

· Michael Farris, founder and chairman of the Homeschool Legal Defense Association, who one observer said had "a network of home-schoolers that will do anything for him."

· Richard Land, the go-to political guru for the nation's 16 million Southern Baptists, who has been outspoken in declaring what is acceptable (Mormonism) and what is not (infidelity).

· Pam Olsen, president of the Florida Prayer Network, and a mother of four who set up a network of pastors and organizers in each of the state's 67 counties.

· Rod Parsley, pastor of the 14,000-member World Harvest Church in the battleground state of Ohio, who can use his network of pastors to help a candidate fine-tune his message to reach conservatives.

· Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, the most powerful Christian lobbying group in Washington whose e-mail alerts reach 200,000 people each day.

· Steve Scheffler, head of the 4,000-member Iowa Christian Alliance, the most active – and credible – religious group in the Hawkeye State.

· Tamara Scott, Iowa leader of Concerned Women for America, who has talked with nearly every GOP candidate and is willing to back a candidate who's "truly conservative," even if he's a longshot.

· Jay Sekulow, chief counsel of the American Center for Law and Justice and national radio host, whose blessing on Mitt Romney's campaign was a huge stamp of approval for the Mormon candidate.

· Don Wildmon, chairman of the influential Arlington Group and head of the American Family Association, pontificates about politics and society on the 185 radio stations that his group owns across 36 states.

I find it quite interesting that old-timers like Falwell, Robertson, and Kennedy were left off the list. Perhaps Rick Scarborough deserves a place on the top-ten? It seems his influence is often underestimated...

What names would you add to this list?


Blogger Dan Trabue said...

Was this list targeting Christian King makers specifically? If not, this seems pretty skewed towards the Religious Right.

11:16 AM

Blogger Big Daddy Weave said...

The list was put out by Adelle Banks at Relion News Service - so yea, just Christian Right figures.

Not the typical list that you'd expect. However, quite a few are located are powerful organizers located in key swing states..

1:33 PM

Anonymous Lee said...

You might want to check that figure on Dobson's listeners again. I think 220 million is probably a bit high for a radio broadcast.

7:29 AM

Blogger Big Daddy Weave said...

Those aren't my numbers. That's from the RNS article by Adelle Banks.

I think that number is correct - but worldwide. Pretty sure D. James Kennedy gets about 200 million listeners too worldwide. I won't guess - but they are both broadcast in MANY MANY countries.

10:06 AM

Anonymous Lee said...

World wide, perhaps, though having that many listeners worldwide wouldn't necessarily make him a kingmaker in American politics.

I really wonder how many people will trust him in the wake of his support for Bush, considering Bush's failure to deliver on any significant social issue of the religious right. Both he and Wildmon have lost credibility as a result of that.

With even the Republican Party moving solidly to the left, as it is apparently going to do with the choice of either Giuliani or McCain as it's nominee, and with significant numbers of religious righters supporting Giuliani in spite of his liberal social views and his down the line Democratic party economic and government views, it doesn't look like Dobson, Wildmon, Robertson or Falwell have much pull.

4:18 PM

Blogger Big Daddy Weave said...


You may be right. Perhaps the days of Falwell, Dobson, and Robertson are over. I'm not sure one can gauge how much power they have, individually.

However, I think the real power of the Religious Right lies at the grassroots level. Activists in specific swing states with well-organized campaigns to get out the vote are likely the true King Makers.

It's hard for me to fathom the GOP nominating McCain or Giuliani. If push comes to shove, I can see the GOP settling for McCain. But for all the talk of traditional family values, I can't imagine Giuliani getting the nomination. If he does, I suspect many conservative evangelicals will stay at home on election day or perhaps a few might even jump ship and vote Democrat (assuming the nominee isn't Hillary)

Either way, it seems the McCain nomination would truly frustrate the leaders of the Christian Right and a Guiliani nomination would be a death blow...

5:46 PM

Blogger texasinafrica said...

Scarborough for sure. And maybe Phylis Schafly, and the guy in San Antonio whose name I can never remember (he's involved with the pro-Israel lobby). All of these Texans have huge networks of supporters who will respond to requests on a moment's notice.

4:27 PM


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