Friday, March 13, 2009

Religious Party Power

Carpetbagger's got a post about the religious right and how obviously impotent they have become. But this shouldn't be a surprise. The surprise is that they ever officially tried to get power and that anyone assumed they had it. Because they never did. It was always smoke & mirrors.

For as much as the Christian conservatives had power, it was because Republicans aligned their message with the evangelicals in order to get more foot soldiers on the campaign trail. But the party wasn't doing this because they were being forced to by the evangelicals. Rather, the Republicans were taking advantage of them. They saw how their message could be piggybacked onto the religious message and sent out together.

Somehow, we were to imagine that a group that wanted a strong government to rid the country of abortions, porn, drugs, and violent entertainment meshed perfectly with anti-government libertarianism. But at the end of the day, the Republican Party stood for the Republican Party and they'll do whatever it takes to stay in power. Everything else was a sham.

Party People

And the religious right's big mistake was in ever becoming part of the party. They were supposed to be agitators from the outside who applied light pressure on a like-minded ally. They weren't supposed to be part of the same group. Yet before they knew it, they were giving church directories to the RNC and attacking church members for supporting Democrats. Rather than being a group pressuring from the outside, they effectively turned their religion into an arm of the Republican Party.

And it's the same mistake that Limbaugh made. By taking too aggressive a stand in controlling the party, they become liabilities to each other. No longer can Limbaugh or the evanglicals be interested parties pushing from the outside. Now, they represent the party. And their interests are expected to coincide. And even worse for them, they can be taken for granted. Limbaugh and the evangalicals still have a stranglehold on Republican messaging, but have almost no influence over actual policies.

And when the party goes against them, by nominating McCain for example, then they have no choice but to suck it up and toe the line. But of course, neither Limbaugh or the evangelical leaders ever represented anything more than a sizeable minority and couldn't have possibly delivered elections or primaries singlehandedly. And they continue to make that abundantly clear.

That's why they should have stayed at arm's length from the party, rather than becoming outright party leaders. Instead of being able to pick their fights, they're stuck slogging through every battle that comes along. And every time they don't prevail, they become that much weaker. They were much better off posing as a victimized voiceless minority than as bullying power players. And the more they force the Republican Party into adopting their positions, the less sense there is for there to be a Republican Party.

4 comments:

Mahakal / מהכאל said...

The Republican party represents the owners, and what it says to the rubes is to some extent irrelevant as long as it wins elections. They know that under present circumstances they are doomed but they are hoping for some catastrophe that will bring down or discredit the Obama administration, and to that end all of their strategic thinking is turned. As could well have been expected.

Donald Douglas said...

Loser, with a big "L", Biobrain. Slippery eel, as usual, and never pinned, down, like a slimy polecat. I hammered you on handouts, which is all you guys want. No one will have to actually take care of themselves any more when you're finished. We can always rely on the state ... forget personal responsibility and intitiative. That's so "archaic."

Mahakal / מהכאל said...

What's your damage, Donald? You don't even make sense.

TRUTH 101 said...

WE're the ones that tell President Obama to keep the tax cut so our Veterans can get the benefits they deserve Professor. You really take the cake Don. A mountain of debt is fine and dandy with deluded neocon wackos like yourself as long as you get to spout off your nonsense.