Browsing the blog archivesfor the day Monday, January 16th, 2012.

Christian Conservative Dirty Tricks

Religion, Republican Party

You may have heard that over the weekend a group of more than 100 Christian conservatives met to discuss their choices for the Republican presidential nomination. And you may have heard that the group voted to endorse Rick Santorum.

Today some of the attendees say the ballots were rigged.

A civil war is breaking out among evangelical leaders over allegations of a rigged election and ballot stuffing at a Saturday gathering of religious and social conservatives. …

… in back-and-forth emails, Protestant fundamentalist leaders who attended – most of them backing former House Speaker Newt Gingrich to be the anti-Romney candidate — are accusing Catholic participants of conniving to rig the vote.

They said they were conned into leaving after the second ballot on Saturday. They said pro-Santorum participants held a third ballot which Mr. Santorum won with more than 70 percent of the vote — far higher than the nine-vote margin he won on the first ballot.

Steve Benen points out that both Gingrich and Santorum are Catholic (Newt being a convert). Still, it shows us that the Religious Right ain’t the political juggernaut it used to be.

It also shows us that the word “evangelical” is now being stretched to cover conservative Catholics as well as a subset of protestantism, which certainly didn’t use to be the case.

And WWJD? Live in Canada, one suspects.

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The Long Game

Obama Administration

I am no fan of Andrew Sullivan, but here I think he’s seeing something that seems to elude others:

… given the enormity of what he inherited, and given what he explicitly promised, it remains simply a fact that Obama has delivered in a way that the unhinged right and purist left have yet to understand or absorb. Their short-term outbursts have missed Obama’s long game—and why his reelection remains, in my view, as essential for this country’s future as his original election in 2008.

Sullivan argues that the President has a pattern:

To use the terms Obama first employed in his inaugural address: the president begins by extending a hand to his opponents; when they respond by raising a fist, he demonstrates that they are the source of the problem; then, finally, he moves to his preferred position of moderate liberalism and fights for it without being effectively tarred as an ideologue or a divider. This kind of strategy takes time. And it means there are long stretches when Obama seems incapable of defending himself, or willing to let others to define him, or simply weak. I remember those stretches during the campaign against Hillary Clinton. I also remember whose strategy won out in the end.

For example:

What liberals have never understood about Obama is that he practices a show-don’t-tell, long-game form of domestic politics. What matters to him is what he can get done, not what he can immediately take credit for. And so I railed against him for the better part of two years for dragging his feet on gay issues. But what he was doing was getting his Republican defense secretary and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs to move before he did. The man who made the case for repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell” was, in the end, Adm. Mike Mullen. This took time—as did his painstaking change in the rule barring HIV-positive immigrants and tourists—but the slow and deliberate and unprovocative manner in which it was accomplished made the changes more durable. Not for the first time, I realized that to understand Obama, you have to take the long view. Because he does.

It’s an interesting analysis, and I’d like to know what you think of it.

BTW, this piece apparently is being featured in the new issue of Newsweek and the cover blurb asks “Why are Obama’s critics so dumb?” This has drawn much ire from rightie bloggers, who assume “Obama’s critics” are all on the Right.

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