Culture War Watch: “Values” Voters Edition

October 24, 2007, 12:07 pm | Posted by

This week’s dispatch from the trenches:

Making a Summit out of a Molehill?

This week’s Family Research Council-sponsored “Values Voters Summit” succored the proverbial troops with rations of red meat from several presidential candidates and other well-known culture warriors. The well-publicized debate between Rev. Jim Wallis of Sojourners and Dr. Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention included a culture war high point (or low point, depending on how you look at it) when Wallis was booed for talking about global warming.

Didn’t the War on Christmas used to start the Day after Thanksgiving?

In a new take on “Christmas creep,” World Net Daily began publicizing its Christmas Defense Kits in early October. Of course, it is never too early to prepare for the greatest battle Western Civilization has ever faced, and these kits offer resources for following the mandate outlined in Paul’s Letter to the Shoppers, Book 1, Chapter 3*:

And in pursuit of the the door-buster sale thou shalt get thee to thine local mall, and if at the checkout thou receivest not the greeting “Merry Christmas” but instead receivest the abomination “Happy Holidays” thou shalt shake the dust off thy loafers as you leave the accursed place, never to return [except for a discounted Nintendo Wii], and thou shalt denounce the evildoers on Fox News.

*most scholars believe this book to be apocryphal

What is this “terrorism” of which you speak? I have been too distracted by global warming to become aware of this phenomenon.

Thanks for the tip, “Islamofacsim Awareness Week!”

Powerful Republican decries partisanship, using religion for political ends, by calling political foes “sinful…false prophets.”

Rep. Thaddeus McCotter, chair of the Republican House Policy Committee, slammed Catholics United for supposedly using the Catholic faith for political ends. We’re still waiting for a similar condemnation of The Catholic League.

What’s compassion got to do with it?

In FPL’s humble opinion, the “compassion issues,” have the potential to reshape the faith and politics landscape due to their ability to bring people together across ideological and faith divides. But don’t take my word for it.


It pains me to say so, but the Common Do-Gooders are looking pretty beat up this week. With all the “values voters” coverage, there was plenty of space to re-hash those old issues. But, all is not lost for the Common Do-Gooders; they’ve clearly got the culture warriors worried. The new poll showing the shift in Evangelical priorities and Pat Robertson (perhaps inadvertently) acknowledging a broader Evangelical agenda, the Common Do-Gooders show that the Common Do-Gooders have gotten some serious reinforcements.

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You’ll never believe this

October 23, 2007, 11:39 am | Posted by

What would you say if I told you Pat Robertson said the Family Research Council only speaks for a faction of evangelicals?

You’d certainly have cause to accuse me of fibbing, but you’d be wrong. In an on-air exchange with David Brody, Robertson said

“I’m not sure that that group in Washington is really representative of evangelicals across the spectrum. This is the Family Research Council and some of the James Dobson supporters, I just think that’s just a narrow slice of evangelical thought.”

Was he acknowledging the broadening agenda embraced by people of faith, or was it a petty shot at a turf rival? I report, you decide. Check out the video; Robertson’s remark is not quite halfway through the clip.

My two cents: He’s speaking about “the evangelical spectrum” and “evangelical thought” in the context of a political discussion, so it’s fair to infer that he’s talking about the spectrum of political beliefs, and I doubt Robertson thinks FRC’s agenda isn’t narrow enough (after all, how much narrower can it get?). Then again, I can only delve but so deeply into the Right’s internal squabbles. But Robertson’s words contrasts Richard Land’s contention that the latest CBS poll overstates the breadth of evangelical priorities.

Am I losing my mind?

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What’s new in the neighborhood? A coming W.alues V.oters split

October 23, 2007, 4:02 am | Posted by

After years of propping up W., the Family Research Council inAction crowd apparently threw their weight behind Huckabee and/or Romney.

A quote from AU’s Barry Lynn: “This may be the biggest collection of theocrats in one room since the Salem Witch Trials.”

But that misses what the conference actually revealed, a brewing fight between the grassroots and pundit leaders.

Coming out of the con, Gov. Huckabee was the news as Brody notes, but Marc Ambinder tackles the issue that’s been bugging some folks: with all the socon values Arkansas Huck embraces, why is there such tepid support. Marc quote’s a Redstate poster who intimates something that anyone watching the nonexistent Christian right support for SCHIP can see:

“Even Tony Perkins, the head of FRC, said he hoped the social conservative candidate would be palatable to the fiscal conservatives out there. Huckabee is not.”

Clearly for the religious right, the Club for Growth sets the monetary values.

And this brewing fight between right elites and the rank-and-file is exactly what Amy Sullivan sees a-comin’:

the real struggle in the 2008 Republican primaries will be not between Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney or social conservatives and fiscal conservatives but between Christian Right leaders and the conservatives in the pews.

Why? In part because the leadership has become rich, and increased in good relationships with folks like Norquist.

The New Republic’s Noam add a Machiavellian layer:

I’d add that social conservative leaders generally prefer to support mainstream, front-running candidates because mainstream front-runners don’t usually need much help winning elections. And when they do win, they can turn around and claim to have put them over the top. Low risk, high reward, in other words. But more marginal candidates like Huckabee need a lot of help winning, probably significantly more so than the elites can deliver. Worse, if you get behind a Huckabee and he comes up short, it exposes your movement as relatively powerless. And, of course, even if he wins you can’t really take credit. So the crass calculation here is the opposite: high risk, low reward.

For example, Justin’s Thoughts “Christian. Conservative. Patriotic.” who was live blogging the conference and had this to say after Huckabee spoke:

As a evangelical Christian, I loved everything he said. The Governor didn’t make a political speech. It sounded much like a sermon. . . .This man needs our support. I really believe that the resurgence of Mike Huckabee is an act of Providence.

Can’t argue W.ith that, as they say.

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The Right’s DeLay tactics

October 22, 2007, 3:39 am | Posted by

While the Family Research CouncilAction “Values Voters” were praying for someone like Reagan to appear this weekend, their old pal Tom DeLay set up tent, back for some more DC business. The Politico writes:

His new firm, First Principles, had its opening party last night, bringing in the Texas contingent — Sen. John Cornyn, former Rep. Henry Bonilla, Rep. Mike Conaway — and also Rep. Patrick McHenry, Pastor Rick Scarboro of Vision America, former Rep. Bill Paxon and Ken Blackwell (who is rumored to be doing work with DeLay).

Being D.C., things got started at 6 p.m. but went into the wee hours of the night — goers were probably encouraged by the fully stocked bar and cigars. We’re told: “His new office looks like it was decorated by Stephen Colbert and Rush Limbaugh. I never knew you could fit so many elephant and eagle figurines into one space.”

You might remember Vision America and Ken Blackwell from the infamous “Patriot Pastors” network that We Believe Ohio moderated.

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Poll results

October 20, 2007, 2:42 pm | Posted by

Before the announcement, you ought to know that I have a 2nd place bet with another blogger. It was pointless to bet on the winner because we’re both sure it’s Huckabee. She has Romney for runner-up, and I have the rest of the field. That sums up the weekend nicely.

Speaking of other bloggers, Rob Tice Lalka cranked out some terrific live-blogging over at Faith Democrats this weekend. His ability to simultaneously describe and analyze is outstanding. Take a look.

Poll results:

Top Issues

1. Life

2. marriage

3. tax cuts

4. permanent tax relief for families


1. Romney – 1595

2. Huckabee – 1565

3. Paul – 868

4. Thompson – 564

Missed the part about the online polling. Shocking result, but it looks like I still win my bet.


1. Huckabe – 488

2. Romney – 99

3. Thompson – 77

4. Tom Tancredo – 65

5. Giuliani – 60

6. Hunter – 54

7. McCain – 30

8. Brownback – 26

9. Paul – 25

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