There was plenty of talk at the end of last week about a summit of social conservatives, gathering in Brenham, Texas to try to come to some sort of consensus on which Presidential candidate to support. The idea, it was said, was to avoid what happened to Mike Huckabee in 2008, when he won the Iowa caucuses but didn’t carry enough momentum to take the nomination. They worry a disparate Evangelical vote means Mitt Romney will get the Republican nomination. Some of the names associated with this meeting have included Gary Bauer, president of the conservative group American Values (a frothy supporter of Rick Santorum); James Dobson, the evangelical Christian leader who founded the Focus on the Family activist group; and Southern Baptist leader Richard Land.
Before the meeting, I asked Dallas’ own conservative leader, First Baptist’s Robert Jeffress, an early endorser of Rick Perry and the subject of this month’s D Magazine cover story, what he thought of the planned meeting. His answer may surprise you.
Jeffress told me over email that he would not be attending the meeting. “Waste of time,” he said. “I’ve been in meetings with these folks before.Â There will not be any consensus. Â Too many egos with too many agendas. Â Furthermore, Evangelicals in the pew couldn’t care less whom this group or I endorse. Â Although I personally endorsed Perry I would not presume to tell my flock for whom they should vote. I think it is appropriate to suggest criteria Christians should consider in voting but that’s different than officially endorsing candidate.”
Jeffress also wrote this op-ed for Foxnews.com last week, about why Evangelical voters shouldn’t “settle.”