lieberman.jpgridge2.jpgRemember all those stories earlier this year about the Christian Right’s waning influence, about how James Dobson and his crowd were on the way out and had been marginalized by their own political allies, the Republicans? That John McCain, who once referred to the movement’s leaders of “agents of intolerance,” threatened to write an epitaph for a movement that just four years earlier was credited with reelecting George W. Bush? That a new generation of evangelical leaders who care about global warming and poverty were eclipsing the movement’s abortion- and gay-rights obsessed old guard?
Well, John McCain’s selection of Sarah Palin is a poignant reminder that the Christian Right–the old school, James Dobson-led Christian Right–is decidedly undead. In seems that on his most consequential post-primary choice as a candidate, the maverick McCain caved to the folks he formerly knew as agents of intolerance:

Up until midweek last week, some 48 to 72 hours before Mr. McCain introduced Ms. Palin at a Friday rally in Dayton, Ohio, Mr. McCain was still holding out the hope that he could choose a good friend, Senator Joseph I. Lieberman, independent of Connecticut, a Republican close to the campaign said. Mr. McCain had also been interested in another favorite, former Gov. Tom Ridge of Pennsylvania.
But both men favor abortion rights, anathema to the Christian conservatives who make up a crucial base of the Republican Party. As word leaked out that Mr. McCain was seriously considering the men, the campaign was bombarded by outrage from influential conservatives who predicted an explosive floor fight at the convention and vowed rejection of Mr. Ridge or Mr. Lieberman by the delegates.

Those Christian conservative to whom Lieberman and Ridge were anathema. That would be James Dobson and other old-liners, who are elated over Palin. If that old line movement can turn out enough values voters to elect McCain in November, they’ll be even more undead than they are now.


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