DADT and the Religious Right’s Clout

Jonathan Chait dissects the breach in Republican resistance to gay rights in the wake of the coming repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, and reaches an astounding side conclusion, emphasis mine:

The progress of gay rights in the United States over the last generation has been intoxicatingly rapid. It’s happening so fast that opponents, rather than fomenting a successful backlash, have mainly lost their desire to fight. In part this reflects changes in the Republican Party, which is now dominated almost entirely by defenders of the economic prerogatives of the rich and barely pretends to care about the Christian right’s agenda anymore.

What? Really? I dunno about that, sir. I might — might — buy into the notion that the organized Christian-Coalition-type political onslaught has lost some of its potency (some!), and if so, that’s mainly because the Southern strongholds for religious conservatives have essentially been established and heavily fortified for, I suspect, the next couple of generations at least, with no new territory to be won, only maintained.

But one can’t have witnessed the rise of the tea-bagger right and not have noticed that they, too, seem pretty crazy for the Jesus of Real America. They may not be as organized or have the kind of media sophistication of the major pressure groups, but they have passion and rage, a hair-trigger defensiveness about supposed attacks on their Christianness, and they don’t require any finessing to be made upset. If anything, this Christianist Mob that is currently posing as the Tea Party is more dangerous; angrier, dumber, and quicker to strike.

But yes, all Republicans really care about is the rich. The religious pandering is just a means to an end. But it is still one of the prime means.

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