The news accounts of Rick Santorum’s exit from the presidential race are rife with testimonials about how the former Pennsylvania senator departs the campaign a much larger figure than when he entered it. “It was an impressive performance and it leaves him with an elevated status and a prominent role as a leader for evangelicals and conservatives,” Ralph Reed told The New York Times. “No one can know what the future holds, but my guess is we haven’t heard the last from Rick Santorum.” Er, I’m not so sure.
According to received wisdom, the Christian Right is engaged in a tactical alliance with more secular-minded conservatives in the Republican Party. The pairing was established as far back as 1980, when Ronald Reagan made unambiguous support for social-conservative priorities (especially the abolition of abortion rights) GOP orthodoxy and earned the support of conservative evangelicals who had been politically mobilized and then bitterly disappointed by Jimmy Carter.
Former Republican press aid Lisa Baron has a mildly funny, deeply pathetic "tell all" memoir. Michelle Goldberg's sharp review zeroes in on Baron's personal ambition: As a liberal, I've often wondered about the motivations of Republicans who work on behalf of a social agenda that they have no intention of abiding by in their own lives. Why would a hard-partying socially liberal woman devote herself to electing men like Reed, or like Georgia Senator Saxby Chambliss? The answer, it turns out, is distressingly simple. Because she's kind of a terrible person. Okay, that may be going too far.
I've been highly skeptical of the idea that Donald Trump is really planning to run for president, or that he would stand any chance at all of winning if he does. But I'm starting to treat the possibility just a bit more seriously now. One reason I've discounted his chances is that Republicans elites have shunned his candidacy.
On Monday night, the 2012 Republican primary kicked off in earnest. The occasion was an Iowa forum sponsored by Ralph Reed’s Faith and Freedom Coalition, which is eager to ensure that the Christian Right (and Ralph Reed, who is launching his own comeback) maintains a prominent—indeed, an absolutely overweening—place in the decision-making process of the GOP. This “cattle call” was held in a brightly colored suburban megachurch in Waukee, Iowa, known locally for having a rockin’ pastor and praise band.
The Republican Party—and indeed much of the media establishment—is living in a fantasy world when it comes to 2012. To hear most of the pundits and soothsayers tell it, the presidential nominating contest is still a long way off. The GOP heavies we’ve been talking about since 2008, such as Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee, Newt Gingrich, Sarah Palin, and Tim Pawlenty, are all terribly flawed: Mitt’s got his RomneyCare; Newt has been a national pariah; Huck has money problems; Palin is toxic outside her base; and T-Paw induces narcolepsy.
I noted the other day that the Daily Caller is attempting to market itself as the populist, true-conservative alternative to elitist, co-opted conservative outlets like National Review and the Weekly Standard.
“God’s not looking for perfect people—there’s only been one perfect person in the history of the human race,” Ralph Reed tells the crowd at the Mayflower Renaissance Hotel in Washington. It’s the weekend of September 11, and Reed is holding the inaugural conference for his new Faith and Freedom Coalition (FFC), which is aiming to mobilize evangelicals the way the Christian Coalition did in the 1990s. “God’s looking for broken people,” he says, “humble and contrite people.” “Broken” was once the perfect word to describe Reed’s career.
Ed Kilgore is managing editor of The Democratic Strategist, a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute, and a frequent contributor to a variety of political journals. As the Senate vote on Sonia Sotomayor's nomination draws nigh, most Republicans, privately if not publicly, are probably relieved that this hasn't become a strict party-line (and thus party-defining) vote, much less a filibuster fight, and are ready to move onto other issues. But cultural conservatives, who are absolutely obsessed with the shape of the Supreme Court, and are bitter about the failure of past Republican p
I suppose it's long past obvious that McCain doesn't play like this anymore, but surely the year 2000 version would have denounced Ralph Reed--a chief villain in the Abramoff scandal that McCain doggedly pursued--and declared his presence and assistance unwelcome at his fundraiser, no? Quick Reed flashback here: McCain, as chairman of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, launched an investigation of Abramoff's tribal lobbying that turned up a mountain of e-mails, including some between Reed and Abramoff. The e-mails revealed Abramoff's corrupt dealings with politicians, as well as conservativ