Rick Perry’s rapid lead over previous Republican front-runner Mitt Romney was predictable. But it is not a good sign for Republicans hoping to reclaim the White House and further highlights the crucial battle within GOP circles: Who is the godliest of us all?
That’s the mirror-mirror question for Republicans. Forget charisma, charm, intelligence, knowledge and that nuisance, “foreign policy experience.” The race of the moment concerns which candidate is the truest believer...
Perry knows he has to make clear that God is his wingman. And this conviction seems not only to be sincere, but also to be relatively noncontroversial in the GOP’s church — and perhaps beyond. He understands that his base cares more that the president is clear on his ranking in the planetary order than whether he can schmooze with European leaders or, heaven forbid, the media. And this is why Perry could easily steal the nomination from Romney.
And also why he probably can’t win a national election, in which large swaths of the electorate would prefer that their president keep his religion close and be respectful of knowledge that has evolved from thousands of years of human struggle against superstition and the kind of literal-mindedness that leads straight to the dark ages.
It was conservative columnist Kathleen Parker, and I think she's 100% right on. It fits nicely with what Steve Benen said recently in an article about Perry, Parties and Pragmatism.
In general, conservatism isn’t pragmatic because policy outcomes aren’t the goal. Indeed, they’re largely irrelevant. As we’ve seen in too many instances, Republicans aren’t principally concerned with solving problems; their goals are ideological.
I wouldn't make the claim that that's always been true of conservatism. Or that its true of all conservatives. But it is certainly true of todays GOP church. It's also what Campbell and Putman found to be true of Tea Party members.
So what do Tea Partiers have in common? They are overwhelmingly white, but even compared to other white Republicans, they had a low regard for immigrants and blacks long before Barack Obama was president, and they still do.
More important, they were disproportionately social conservatives in 2006 — opposing abortion, for example — and still are today. Next to being a Republican, the strongest predictor of being a Tea Party supporter today was a desire, back in 2006, to see religion play a prominent role in politics. And Tea Partiers continue to hold these views: they seek “deeply religious” elected officials, approve of religious leaders’ engaging in politics and want religion brought into political debates. The Tea Party’s generals may say their overriding concern is a smaller government, but not their rank and file, who are more concerned about putting God in government.
This inclination among the Tea Party faithful to mix religion and politics explains their support for Representative Michele Bachmann of Minnesota and Gov. Rick Perry of Texas. Their appeal to Tea Partiers lies less in what they say about the budget or taxes, and more in their overt use of religious language and imagery, including Mrs. Bachmann’s lengthy prayers at campaign stops and Mr. Perry’s prayer rally in Houston.
None of this is new to those of us who have been paying attention. But Infidel753 lays out the consequences for us very well.
It would be nice if, someday, there were once again two parties I could consider voting for.
I know of people who think in terms of weighing the relative merits of the Democrats and Republicans to decide which is better, as if it were still the 1970s. I don't have the option of thinking that way, not now.
As I've pointed out many times, what we have in this country right now is a Christian Right party and a secular party...
This means that I don't have a choice. The Republicans are simply not an option for me. As it happens, the Democrats are also a lot closer to my own views on all the fiscal/economic stuff, but even if that weren't the case -- even if it were the Republicans who favored humane and reality-based economics while the Democrats touted laissez-faire Randroid insanities -- it would make no difference. The Republicans still would not be an option, not as long as they remained under the sway of de facto theocrats.
I happen to be very pleased with the Democrats who currently represent me on a national level (President Obama, Senator Klobuchar, Senator Franken and Rep. McCollum). But even if I have some qualms with a position or two of theirs, or I don't support their strategies, my choice is clear right now. The sooner all of us understand that and get busy with the task at hand...the better.