The nuclear option is on the table, my friends.

NEWSWEEK: So we wanted to ask you, first of all, about the third party idea and whether it’s serious. A number of people are suggesting it is just a threat.
Land: My intuition [is that] this is not a bluff. If Giuliani is the nominee, there will be a third party. There are things that Giuliani could do to help mitigate the damage. But I have been in too many discussions over the last 15 years where evangelical leaders have said, “The one thing we will never allow to happen is for the Republican Party to take us for granted the way the Democrat Party too often takes the African-American community for granted.”
This is not a bluff…

When Rudy says “I will appoint strict constructionist judges,” you are not hearing that?
I hear it. I hear it.

Well, you don’t hear Hillary saying that.
[Land turns to question a Newsweek reporter] Could you vote for a Klansman?

[Reporter responds] No.

You’ve answered my question. I cannot vote for someone who believes that it’s all right to stop a beating heart.

He predicts 25-30% of evangelicals will walk away if Rudy’s the nominee, and that’s assuming Rudy does his level best at “mitigation,” i.e. promising to veto any attempt to expand abortion rights and to sign any attempt to restrict abortion rights. If he doesn’t, then his social liberalism plus the “abominable” circumstances of his second divorce, in Land’s words, will drive away even more. The good news? Any other nominee will obviate the need for a third party, including Mitt — but in his case perhaps only if he delivers a speech promising that he won’t have a lot of Mormons in his administration. “That is a concern that has been expressed to me by my constituents,” says Land. Seriously.

Exit question: Is it time for the big A and the other three other Republican atheists in America to walk? You’ll miss us when we’re gone. Well, no, probably not.

Update: Isn’t this whole debate getting us sidetracked from the real issue?