The Republican Religious War
Make no mistake – if Mitt Romney was a Baptist this thing would be over. But Citizen’s United unleashed a ton of Mormon money and Evangelicals are running scared.
What’s playing out in the GOP today isn’t a battle between moderates and conservatives – the party no longer has any moderates. In fact, the word “moderate” has become a pejorative. No, the current battle is between collection-plate Christians and the insular financial powerhouse that is Mormonism. They are fighting over which religion will call the shots in the R-Party going forward.
Within all the Sturm und Drang about the Iowa caucuses, an underreported story is that Rick Perry dropped out, and then got back in. Those who live in fantasyland will parse his words and say he never literally said he was dropping out. But he clearly spoke the code words candidates speak in order to avoid saying they lost.
A Saturday meeting in Texas is the likely result of this. Well known collection-plate evangelicals Don Wildmon (former chair of the American Family Association,) Gary Bauer (a famous evangelical lobbyist,) and Dobson (founder of Focus on the Family) quickly called the meeting. They, with others, are the same group that had a secret meeting with Perry in August. Wildmon and Dobson were both speakers at Perry’s prayer rally. Both have endorsed him in the past, though Wildmon has been a Gingrich supporter lately.
No word if Pastor Bill Keller will be in attendance. He’s the one who said a vote for Romney is a vote for Satan. But you can bet Perry-supporter Pastor Robert “but he is not a Chris-ti-an” Jeffress will be in attendance. Other prominent collection-platers Tony Perkins and John Hagee have also supported Perry and are sure to be invited as well.
The meeting is important. So important that Rick Santorum surrogate Ron Carey was on cable news Thursday morning trying to co-opt the agenda for Santorum. He told Chuck Todd,
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“There is a bunch of faith-based conservative leaders who are getting together to talk about can they coalesce as leaders of the conservative movement to get behind Santorum.”