Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Right-wing evangelical theocrats love them some Rick Perry

The Republican presidential field is still embarrassingly weak (and even more embarrassing because the best Republican candidate by far, Jon Huntsman, isn't really catching on at all), and there is still a good deal of talk about some savior coming to the rescue.

With Huckabee not running this time, social/religious conservatives perhaps more than any other core Republican constituency seem to be driving that talk. Much of the rest of the party is already represented, after all, particularly the moneyed establishment (Romney) and the Tea Party (Bachmann, Paul). The theocrats only have Santorum, a distant also-ran with zero electability, and Gingrich, a joke of a candidate who's in it to glorify his ego and fill his coffers, and also Bachmann, though she doesn't seem to be what they're looking for.

The so-called "social conservatives" (actually moralizing right-wing evangelical theocrats) used to be a powerful force in the party, if not the dominant one, but they've been reduced to a bit of an afterthought, even though they still wield enormous influence at the grassroots level. And so it would be foolish to ignore them.

And who are they now looking to as their savior? Why, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, of course, who has done a great deal to appeal to them, presenting himself as their kind of theocrat. They're pushing him to run and no doubt he'd be a formidable candidate if only for their support. Could he actually win the nomination? Maybe. Or maybe he'd be the #2. (How does Romney-Perry sound?) Either way, social conservatives aren't about to let this election cycle pass without trying to wield their influence, and they may just be able to do that through Perry.

For more on this, see Amy Goodman's piece at Time: "Christian Right leaders have sought to find a new – preferably electable – candidate to carry the social conservative banner." They've picked Rick Perry.

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