Saturday, August 06, 2011

Rick Perry - Extremist or Morally Bankrupt Political Whore?

Today is the day that Texas governor and possible GOP presidential candidate Rick Perry will hold his "The Response" event in Houston which will show case some of the nastiest far right religious extremists in the nation. The event is clearly a evangelical Christian nutcase event and one has to wonder whether Perry - sometimes rumored to be a closeted gay - actually believes the Christofascist bullshit or if he's simply the cheapest of pandering political whores. The gathering will feature many in the Christian Taliban who, if allowed to do so, would transform the USA into a Christianist version of Iran. The Washington Post looks at this foul gathering and highlights some of the top hate merchants who will be no doubt in top demagogic form. Here are some highlights:

The event, originally conceived by Perry before he started laying groundwork for a presidential campaign, is one of the most explicit appeals to conservative Christians by any of the Republican hopefuls, and it will closely link his candidacy to his evangelical faith if he decides to run.

Evangelical Christians make up a critical voting bloc that could comprise more than half of the voters in some of the GOP primaries. But liberals are criticizing Perry, highlighting the controversial comments of some of the people he has invited to participate. And some Republicans worry that the Texas governor could hurt his prospects of winning the general election if he chooses to emphasize religion . . .

The event “might play well in Iowa or South Carolina, but I’m not sure how well it plays in New Hampshire, Florida or Michigan. It’s too much of an overt mixing of religion and politics,” said John Feehery, a Republican strategist who was a top adviser to then-House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (Ill.) “Rick Perry has got to decide if he wants to run for president or run to replace Pat Robertson.

Officially, the event is non­political. Perry does not have a formal presidential campaign staff, and the American Family Association is paying for the rental of the 71,000-seat stadium. Organizers don’t detail positions on any major policy issues on the event Web site; instead, they list seven religious points they agreed on, such as “We believe the Bible to be the inspired, the only infallible, authoritative Word of God.

Some of the groups and figures involved are highly controversial. Following the Fort Hood shootings two years ago, a top official at the American Family Association, Bryan Fischer, said Muslims should be not allowed to serve in the U.S. military. He has also suggested Adolf Hitler and the German soldiers who carried out the Holocaust were gay, and their sexual orientation was part of the reason they orchestrated the mass killings.

A Texas pastor named John Hagee, who is listed on the event’s Web site, has suggested Hitler and the Holocaust were part of God’s plan to drive Jews from Europe.

Some Republican strategists privately say that highlighting the party’s opposition to gay marriage in particular turns off young and swing voters. They say Perry can avoid annoying these voters if the event remains largely about prayer instead of crossing into those sorts of issues.

Given who some of the other speakers will be (Mother Jones has a run down on them here), I'd say it's a pretty safe bet that some very extreme batshitery will come down and that Perry may well come to rue prostituting himself to the worse elements of hate and intolerance in the nation. He'll likely have to disavow some of the hate and bigotry - and thereby piss off the loonies - or stand by it and horrify normal, rational voters.

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