And several commenters gave the typical logic that the religious right has no choice, because they can't vote for Democrats. But this completely misunderstands the picture. Because the mistake these religious leaders made was in ever turning to politicians to solve their problems. The solution isn't for them to start voting Democrat, but rather, to get out of politics all together. While they could still support their kind of candidate, they need to pick and choose their battles, rather than being seen as outright Republicans. And they need to establish that being Republican isn't enough to win their support.
While it helped Republicans in the short term, it was a lead weight that's now really dragging them down. And I can't see what religious leaders ever got out of this, beyond the illusion of power; based upon their ability to schmooze with Republican politicians who were only using them. And the ones who were genuinely interested in winning these culture wars got absolutely nothing in return, and I suspect that quite a few of their numbers have now flipped sides and are now more aligned with the party than the religion. They came in as Christians, but they're now diehard Republicans.
It's about time these religions leaders realized the limitations politicians have in terms of winning these battles. And if they know of any omnipotent beings that might want to help them out, this would be the time to go that route instead.
Below is the comment I wrote on this, starting with the quote I was responding to:
Ultimately, it doesn't matter whether the Republicans put the culture-war agenda on their platform. The religious right will support them because they are the religious RIGHT.This is absolutely wrong. What you're suggesting only makes them more irrelevant. Religious leaders screwed up royally by getting too close to Republicans, as they stay more powerful if they're the sole voice for a "victimized" minority. Because by cozying up to politicians, they gained real power, thus denying them the victimhood they required. And worse for the religious leaders, their followers started looking to the government to solve their problems, rather than looking to the religion. Big mistake. And so they ended up losing power to the Republican Party, and now that the party is failing, losing even the appearance of power. BTW, this isn't dissimilar to what happened during the Reformation, when governments realized that they now had the power that the Church once owned.
And as for the religious right caving in and supporting McCain, that was a TREMENDOUS blunder. They couldn't have made a worse move last year. McCain was going to lose, and had they abstained from supporting him, they could have claimed that it was their distaste for him that caused his defeat and used that as a club to keep the Republican Party in-line. As it is, they ended up betraying their cause and looking impotent, which only made things worse. But again, much of that stems from the fact that they were already too closely associated with the party to begin with. They needed to be critics pushing the government from the outside, not allies pulling from the inside.
And while that made sense for the politicians, who realized they were putting these people in their own pockets, it was also a stupid move in the long run, as they became too closely associated with a fervent minority with an insatiable desire for power and no willingness to compromise. Overall, this was a huge blunder for everyone involved. And the longer the religious leaders keep supporting Republicans, the worse it will be. They'd do best if they took their flocks and left.