Mitt Romney

Stay Classy, Tim Rude

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It's a slow news week, probably a bad time for a conservative Iowa pastor to use this pitch for Mike Huckabee.

"I know Senator Brownback converted to Roman Catholicism in 2002," the Rev. Tim Rude, pastor of Walnut Creek Community Church, wrote in the e-mail. "Frankly, as a recovering Catholic myself, that is all I need to know about his discernment when compared to the governor's."

In the e-mail, Rude calls Huckabee "one of us."

I'm predispositioned to like any political e-mail that quotes "Pinhead" (which quotes Freaks, I know) but that's some high-class sleaze. And it's not a new thing in this Republican primary. Mitt Romney has been rising in the polls everywhere he's run one of his (nine!) TV ads… except for South Carolina. He's in the low single digits there. Every couple of weeks he gets hit by something that brings up the Mormon issue—a mysterious anti-LDS mailer to voters, a heckler who slams his church. But there's obviously a churning anti-Mormon bigotry among religious conservatives and it's burning away just fine without that extra tinder.

Is any group in the GOP coalition having as hard a time right now as the religious right—the evangelicals and conservative Catholics? Unless Fred Thompsons re-locates his mojo and McCain un-implodes, they're going to have the least palatable nominee since 1976. (What a difference from two years ago when liberals were quaking and occasionally penning books about how the mighty religious right was going to torch the Constitution and replace it with Deuteronomy.)

For more on evangelicals—and hippies, of course—check out Brink Lindsey's July cover story.

NEXT: Your Daily Clusterfuck News from Iraq

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  1. May I be the first to make the obvious comment about how appropriate Pastor Rude’s name is? Has he made any mentions of rum and rebellion?

  2. Religious bigotry is ugly for sure (and pointless, my unverifiable claims of the universe are better than yours and I’m so certain [though I can’t verify them] that I loathe you for disagreeing with mine). However, both Romney and Brownback have no qualms about bashing other people’s religion if that religion is humanism or something non-theistic, so I won’t cry for them.
    I do think though that if you look at the conservative movement you do see, in the intellectual circles, a heck of a lot of Catholics and few Evangelicals compared to these groups make up as conservative voters. Catholics have done a great job of rising to the top of conservative intellectuals (look at National Review for Pete’s sake) and guiding their less intellectual brethern from the evangelical camp. This is quite the achievement since when I was a kid 20 years ago my Southern Baptist church (a quite large one) told us that the Pope was the anti-christ. I think there are of course real differences between Catholics and Evangelical Protestants that people in the conservative movement (especially the Catholics guiding it) are frantically trying to keep under the rug right now. For me, I’d like to see them come out for the following reasons: 1. as a Baptist I feel like we have a rich intellectual tradition that need not be led blindly by Catholics 2. I personally think Catholicism as a theological and intellectual system is incorrect and 3. I don’t like religion in politics, so let ’em fight each other till they drop.

  3. I can almost respect this guy more than the Jerry Falwell types who smile in Catholics’ faces and pretend to respect them.

  4. predispositioned

    Goddammit, Weigel!

  5. Is any group in the GOP coalition having as hard a time right now as the religious right-the evangelicals and conservative Catholics?

    Umm, are the libertarians still considered part of the GOP coalition?

    It depends what you mean by “hard time”. Prospective presidential hopefuls aside, the religious right’s agenda “to torch the Constitution and replace it with Deuteronomy” is proceeding apace.

    They’re still at the high water mark, but maybe it’s stopped raining. We’ll see.

  6. Goddammit, Weigel!

    It’s a perfectly cromulent word.

  7. Is it just me or is the South Carolina primary always far and away the ugliest one on the Republican side?

  8. Have they done the “black love child” thing to Mitt yet?

  9. I’ve alway’s been more of a fan of Dick Rude.

    Now let’s go get some sushi. And not pay!

  10. Any relation to “Ravishing” Rick Rude?

  11. lunchstealer… just as long as you don’t look in the trunk…

  12. (What a difference from two years ago when liberals were quaking and occasionally penning books about how the mighty religious right was going to torch the Constitution and replace it with Deuteronomy.)

    Uh, I seem to recall your leathercoated boss doing the same thing chumming with Bill Moyers a couple of months ago?

  13. “Predispositioned” is just “predisposed” – only embiggenized.

  14. I often make fun of my friends who think the fundies are taking over.

    The fundies have lost on abortion, societal acceptance of gays, civil unions, divorce law, prayer in schools, and just about every other fundie agenda item you can think of.

    The best they have done is a few modest points civil unions vs “marriage”, late term abortion, that are viewpoints shared by large majorities of the population.

    I would argue the fundies have been under represented in the public sphere compared to their numbers.

  15. The fundies have lost on abortion, societal acceptance of gays, civil unions, divorce law, prayer in schools, and just about every other fundie agenda item you can think of.

    They’re like the Cubbies of constituencies, only unlovable.

  16. They’re like the Cubbies of constituencies, only unlovable.

    They need to find their Lou Piniella…

    One game back, bitches…

  17. nebby, on the whole I agree with you, but Texas ‘assualt on marriage’ ammendment passed pretty handily, as did similar measures in many states. These pretty much expressly forbid civil unions.

  18. lunchstealer,

    If the fundies were confident that they were winning on the gay marriage issue, they’d just defeat proposals to legalize it.

    Instead, with no plausible gay marriage bill anywhere in sight, they feel the need to hurry up and pass a law making it harder to legalize gay marriage in Texas in the future.

    What’s that tell you?

  19. Instead, with no plausible gay marriage bill anywhere in sight, they feel the need to hurry up and pass a law making it harder to legalize gay marriage in Texas in the future.

    Or, like in Virginia and other states, a constitutional amendment that makes it very hard to reverse.

  20. joe,

    I take it you wouldn’t be concerned at all if Roe vs. Wade were overturned then.

    If pro-choicers are confident they’re winning on the issue of abortion, why don’t they just defeat attempts to make it illegal at the state level?

  21. Also, if civil libertarians are confident they’re winning the battle for civil rights, why do we care about the Bill of Rights being upheld in the courts? Why don’t we just try to defeat every proposal that infringes them?

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