Whether Pat Robertson's endorsement will advance or impede the presidential ambitions of Rudolph Giuliani cannot be predicted with any confidence. The old huckster from Virginia Beach remains a vigorous presence in Christian broadcasting and certainly is among the most widely known preachers in America, even though his Christian Coalition is defunct.
By discarding the supposedly sacred principles of his movement to support a twice-divorced, suspiciously liberal and lapsed Roman Catholic candidate will only encourage Robertson's critics to highlight his hypocrisy.
Such opportunities may be irresistible to his rivals, most notably James Dobson, the Focus on the Family leader whose denunciation of Giuliani may well have provoked Robertson to endorse the former mayor.
If Robertson's primacy among fundamentalist leaders is debatable, however, his reputation for extremism and outright loony talk is not. That's why listening to Giuliani accept the Robertson endorsement with praise for the preacher's judgment was so jarring.
"Having him aboard gives us a great deal of confidence because he has a tremendous amount of insight into what the main issues are and how they should be dealt with. His advice is invaluable and his friendship is even more invaluable," said Giuliani, who went on to add that they don't agree about everything.
He probably doesn't agree, for example, that Robertson possesses the power to turn away hurricanes or cure sick people who donate money to the 700 Club. He probably doesn't agree that 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina were heavenly punishments for the sinfulness of American society, and of abortion and gay rights in particular, as Robertson has implied more than once.
He probably doesn't agree, as Robertson once suggested in a bestselling book, that the first President Bush was an unwitting instrument of Lucifer. And he probably doesn't even think that we should abolish Halloween, as Robertson once insisted, because it is a "satanic" holiday. (MORE)