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"The Republican delegates met in Tampa for their convention. The delegates for the Democratic convention met in Charlotte. And now, value voters are meeting in Washington, D.C. And you are the value voter delegates, and this is our convention."
That's Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, speaking at the Values Voters "convention" in D.C.

Thanks, Tony--you cynical, bigoted creep selling out Christ's holy name for power and money. Thank you for pointing out a new reality in American politics that I've been pitching here, for years: the Christian right is no longer a "political movement," one of many "forces in American politics." According to Tony and me and a few others: it's a political party, organized as a political party, with its own candidates. Even though the candidates of this new third major American political party run as Republicans...

...they're a new political party, the rivals of both Republicans and Dems. I've been selling this for years--to political bloggers, academics, reporters for major news outlet, anybody who will listen. They don't buy it--it's critical that the reality of this new party becomes part of the daily narrative on American politics--but they don't buy it.

Not yet. Maybe Tony's remark will help, a little. Tony's with James Dobson's Family Research Council (FRC) Michele Bachmann is one of the politicians that the FRC groomed for leadership and promoted into national influence with the right.

Michele Bachmann was an early protege of the Christian Right in its successful effort to transform conservative evangelical doctrine into a third American political party. Bachmann "joined up" in the late seventies, as a law student at Oral Roberts University. Other recruits and cadres were trained at Pat Robertson's Regent University. Many of these went directly from Regent into government policy making positions in the Bush administration. That's a matter of record and it gives them kick-ass conservative resume status for political runs when they returned home to influence their local GOPs.

Perkins is a member of the Council For National Policy (CNP.) The CNP is an umbrella group of leaders coordinating the federal, state and local political strategies of the "third party." If, as Perkins says, the Values Voters attendees are the equivalent of "convention delegates" of this third party: CNP leaders are "the third party's leadership/its powerbrokers."

(It's not clear that Michele Bachmann's a member of the CNP, but that's the way to bet. The CNP keeps its membership list secret.)

This third political party is a "stealth" political party. It has to be; it has to operate under Republican branding. Because if "the Christian Right Party" split to proceed under its own branding...that would gut its national influence and national fortunes of the GOP, and bring about something very like a permanent Dem majority. There are millions who would vote for something openly identified as a "Christian Right Political Party," but the blowback would be intense--and the leaders exercise more practical power by taking over existing Republican institutions. The leaders of the Christian Right exercise more power than ever before in US history, via this stealth strategy. They may lose the White House, but they pick up and retain seats in the governorships, the Senate, the House, state and local government.

It's working, because the Christian Right is not treated as an organized political party by the press or academia or the political experts. If the third party's protege candidates were identified as such at election time (just Democrats and Republicans candidates and politicians are identified as such)...
...if the hierarchy and funding and actions of the new third party were examined and reported daily (just as the hierarchy and funding and actions of the Democratic and Republican Parties are examined and reported daily...)
...if the third party was identified as a third party by the media and academics around the world... would be far more difficult for them to keep American politics in this swamp of craziness, extremism and apocalyptic domestic and foreign policy.  

You guys who thought the solution was a third major political party: congratulations! You got it; it's here. Of course you'd never consider joining, and they hate you--but they're already more powerful than you'll ever be. And if you don't beat them: the crazy stays.

Give to Bachmann's opponent, Jim Graves. The fact that Graves is releasing internal polling and Bachmann won't release her internal polling this year...signals she's weak.

Tony Perkins notes "it's a convention."

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Comment Preferences

  •  I've sort of thought of the religious right (7+ / 0-)

    as their own party for some time. They never really fit in the traditional GOP mold. Look at the GOP platforms pre-Reagan to see how they've hijacked the party. But if you had any doubts they made it crystal clear after the 2010 elections. The Tea Party candidates (and most of these religious "values" candidates are TP'ers) are as much a danger to John Boehner as they are to the Democrats. They've got their own agenda and the Republicans can pound sand as far as they're concerned. It was probably just a brilliant marketing strategy on their part. By using (well, stealing, really) the Republican name they can get elected in a two party, winner take all, election.

    If we got Mitt to be slightly less dishonest and gave him some personality he could pass as a used car salesman.

    by ontheleftcoast on Mon Sep 17, 2012 at 10:44:18 AM PDT

    •  They can add or subtract a few % from Republican (3+ / 0-)

      presidential candidates. When a critical number of them are unenthused about a candidate who hasn't sucked up to them enough - Gerry Ford, GHW Bush, Bob Dole, John McCain - and stay home on election day, Democrats win.

      This year 1) they're seriously not into Mitt Romney or Ayn Ryan, 2) the Republican campaign has sucked and gaffed for an entire year, and 3) Dems are enthused about their candidate, so it should be a banner year for us.

      What's so lovely is that these rightwing christian voters will now promote the single meme that Romney lost because he wasn't Jesusoidal enough. Which will cause even more factioning of the Republican party.

      We need to encourage these zombies to eat each other.

      "I was a big supporter of waterboarding" - Dick Cheney 2/14/10

      by Bob Love on Mon Sep 17, 2012 at 11:25:16 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yup. (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Bob Love, Thomas Twinnings, coquiero, kurt
        What's so lovely is that these rightwing christian voters will now promote the single meme that Romney lost because he wasn't Jesusoidal enough.
        They hated Romney, and the idea of Romney. Not just for the Mormon road block, but for his liberal bent, his untrustworthiness. It's funny to see them enthusiastically backing him, for fear of being accused of betraying the effort against Obama.

        The Christian Right stopped Romney cold in Iowa in 2008; they made it a priority to stop him. Then they embarrassed him this year with the Santorum surge--made R look weak and unprincipled.

        In his past and present prez efforts, Romney has always courted the Christian Right and has always been shut out. (Every serious GOP candidate for the past twelve years has appeared before the Council for National Policy. Seriously.)

        But Romney went in over their objections--the first time a GOP prez candidate has gone in over CNP objections since before Bush. Now the Christian right needs voter turnout for Romney--because that is voter turnout for their proteges and allies down ticket.

        Co-author of the first political biography of Michele Bachmann: Michele Bachmann's America

        by Bill Prendergast on Mon Sep 17, 2012 at 11:50:01 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  The last president of the Southern Baptist (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          Conference declared that Mormonism was not a Christian religion. I don't know if the new one has changed tunes.

          But that's gotta turn away a few voters. Especially old farts who've heard that all their lives.

          "I was a big supporter of waterboarding" - Dick Cheney 2/14/10

          by Bob Love on Mon Sep 17, 2012 at 12:16:46 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  You're assuming Bachmann does internal polling. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    coquiero, ontheleftcoast, wyvern

    Everything I've heard about her is that she's barely organized enough to show up to work.

    Repubs started up the car, hit the throttle and sent it over the cliff, and now they're complaining that the black guy hasn't fixed it fast enough.

    by Bush Bites on Mon Sep 17, 2012 at 10:50:37 AM PDT

  •  I wish them all the best. Kudos to the nutters. (0+ / 0-)

    Ds see human suffering and wonder what they can do to relieve it. Rs see human suffering and wonder how they can profit from it.

    by JTinDC on Mon Sep 17, 2012 at 10:54:04 AM PDT

  •  I think that at this point, these right-wingers (5+ / 0-)

    insist that the repug party is theirs.  After all, it is them who provided the margin of victory for many a repug elected official, and with that, the rw is owed.  And they do take.  

    The rw isn't going anywhere.  The repug party is theirs at this point, and they only tolerate the gazillionaires because of the $$$$ that they provide to the party.  

    It's probably going to have to be that the gazillionaires/country-clubbers, and libertarians, the other two facets of the repug party, that will have to do the splitting off and start a new party.  These two groups now more than likely realize that the religious cannot be controlled as well as not going anywhere.  


    •  It's very hard for the gazillionaires to (5+ / 0-)

      get a divorce from this.

      Where will they get the necessary voters, if they divorce? The right has spent decades turning the GOP into a Limbaugh media/religious right/tea party lunacy camp.

      An official split into an "estab Republican plutocrat GOP" versus the Dems and a "wacky Christian Right Party" is a surefire winner for Dems.

      And the winner in all of this, right now, is the Christian Right operating a stealth party inside the GOP. They're primed to lose the White House again, but they're winning down ticket seats in Congress, local and state gov, etc... organization in the down ticket GOP contests. They're winning, picking up seats in the red state contests under the GOP brand.

      So the right wing and the extremists of the right are going somewhere; more powerful in US politics than ever.

      We gotta take the House, to get the sanity back and gut the craziness on the right.

      Co-author of the first political biography of Michele Bachmann: Michele Bachmann's America

      by Bill Prendergast on Mon Sep 17, 2012 at 11:05:42 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  yea, divorce isn't allowed here.... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Bill Prendergast, coquiero

        I agree, eh?

        But.... if the gazillionaires themselves won't do the divorcing, hopefully those that are not either religious or a gazillionaire that are repug will start filing for divorce.  

        I agree that in quite a number of places, repugs will continue to survive locally due to the demographic composition of any individual district.  So the goal has to be to minimize as much as possible, and get as much of them out of the national political scene, where they do the most damage.  

        Easier said than done, eh?

      •  they'd get a lot of voters from the Democrats (0+ / 0-)

        They might be charitably called the Party of Sane Billionaires: people whose motivations are fundamentally economic - which is why they don't like fundies (or hippies) - but they don't like Ayn Rand either.  Their natural constituency would be educated urban professionals who dream about a society somewhere between Scandinavia and Hong Kong/Singapore - wealthy and developed, cosmopolitan, and tightly-run but fundamentally apolitical - and Bloomberg might be their first candidate.

        To those who say the New Deal didn't work: WWII was also government spending

        by Visceral on Mon Sep 17, 2012 at 03:53:40 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  They also insist that this (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ardyess, Bill Prendergast, coquiero

      country is theirs.  They count on those who are not effected by their religious law, not to object out of fear of being labeled an athiest or heathen.

      This election is an all out war for them.  

      The religious fanatics didn't buy the republican party because it was virtuous, they bought it because it was for sale

      by nupstateny on Mon Sep 17, 2012 at 11:20:50 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  This is an opportunity to bring (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      country-clubbers and libertarians into the Democratic camp.  I hereby reach out to them:  Consider the alternatives - religious repugnancy vs civil liberty.

      An illusion can never be destroyed directly... SK.

      by Thomas Twinnings on Mon Sep 17, 2012 at 12:16:59 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I have.. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Bob Love, Bill Prendergast, coquiero, kurt

    ...seen a poll (don't remember where) that has Graves & Bachmann tied at this point.

    I figured Bachmann would use her Values Voters appearance to say something incendiary, & (as usual) use it as a fund-raising ploy.

    And here we go...

    FOX News = where David Axelrod spends his every Sunday morning legitimizing the illegitimate.

    by wyvern on Mon Sep 17, 2012 at 11:04:46 AM PDT

  •  I would love to see a diary detailing this: (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Bill Prendergast, coquiero, trumpeter
    There are millions who would vote for something openly identified as a "Christian Right Political Party," but the blowback would be intense--and the leaders exercise more practical power by taking over existing Republican institutions.
    I don't doubt it (in fact, it terrifies me), but hard numbers would rock.

    Poverty = politics.

    by Renee on Mon Sep 17, 2012 at 11:26:45 AM PDT

    •  Good point, but I can't detail that (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dhavo, Thomas Twinnings, coquiero, kurt's just a fundamental assumption of mine that their candidates (the Christian right candidates like Bachmann and a host of others)... far better at election time running under a Republican brand than they would under an "Independent American Christian" brand.

      I just assume that recognizing that reality--is a long time fundamental premise of the leadership of the Christian Right. I assume that because:
      1) they almost never make noises about an official split or an official third party
      2) it's inarguable that the "stealth" right wing evangelical candidacies have been working non-stop, for at least a decade. There's no need to split; inside the GOP and at the red elections: they're winning.

      I can't point to data showing how things would actually work out if they officially split. If they did and lost, they could no longer claim that they represented America--as they can under the aegis of one of the two viable political parties.

      Co-author of the first political biography of Michele Bachmann: Michele Bachmann's America

      by Bill Prendergast on Mon Sep 17, 2012 at 11:43:53 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Plus which ... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Bill Prendergast, coquiero

        they have to maintain a fictional division between politics and the pulpit for reasons of tax exemption.

        Where does the Tea movement fit into your analysis?

        The former three-legged stool of Bush-era Repubs has become unbalanced.  It used to be that fiscal tightwads + international saber-rattlers + Christian fundies stabilized the party.  


        •  The tea party's shot through with (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          coquiero, Dhavo, kurt

          right wing Christian activism. The media version of the tea party says it's not primarily religious right; in reality the Christian right has a strong and influential presence in the "movement."

          Michele Bachmann has been identified by media as a kind of tea party queen; that should have tipped media off about the stature and presence of the Christian Right in the tea party. Here in Minnesota, evangelical broadcaster organized bus transportation to Washington tea party rallies, that should have tipped off the media to the connection. Media reported that at tea party gatherings the Ayn Rand conservatives were surprised to find themselves next to right wing Christians, that should have tipped off the media to Christian right attempts to coopt the tea party.

          And this year if you read the quotes from tea party rank and file in the straight news reporting, you'll find a lot of references to God and Christianity; that's how it is in the trenches these days.

          I'm not claiming a religious right origin or religious right control for the tea party factions. I think it's pretty clear that the TP got its start outside the Christian right (from professional politicians and right wing media figures and millionaires.) I am claiming that the "party of the Christian Right" I'm talking about--shot through the tea party early on, in attempt to coopt its influence and voters and steer its media energy and agenda.

          Co-author of the first political biography of Michele Bachmann: Michele Bachmann's America

          by Bill Prendergast on Mon Sep 17, 2012 at 12:05:35 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I agree with this ... (0+ / 0-)

            but sense theoretical "contamination" arising from contact between the two groups.  Each has a fundamentalist's concern for purity, and ultimately will reject the other's prescription.

            Ron Paul wouldn't want to be distracted and slowed down by the dominionists any more than Bachmann would accept Paul's isolationism.  Sure you've got Ayn Randians cheek by jowl with Gary Bauer's lot, but won't they ultimately reject the other's presence?

            Don't you think the religious fundies have made another bad marriage of convenience?

      •  I think it might be possible to detail, but it (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Bill Prendergast, coquiero

        would be a huge undertaking.

        Poverty = politics.

        by Renee on Mon Sep 17, 2012 at 12:06:09 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

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