"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...
...it 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."