Tension between the GOP and its religious base is a long tradition — but it all may come to a head now. Here’s why
Heather Digby Parton
Thursday, Oct 9, 2014
I wrote a piece earlier about the GOP’s “three-legged stool” that stands for “family values, small government and strong national defense” in light of the recent resurgence of jingoistic fear-mongering in the 2014 campaign ads. The commentary on the right has been shifting perceptibly day by day as the threat of ISIS and our renewed military involvement in the Middle East tickled the martial lizard brain into action. But what of the other legs on the stool? The Christian Right is very likely to be on board with whatever military adventures the Republicans push (they usually are) but they are also likely to be agitated at the loss of prestige within the party and what they see as a defeatist attitude toward such issues a gay marriage and contraception.
The right wing firebrands’ reaction to the Supreme Court’s decision not to make a decision on marriage equality this week is instructive. The Tea Party king Ted Cruz wasted no time in condemning the Court saying, “by refusing to rule if the states can define marriage, the Supreme Court is abdicating its duty to uphold the Constitution.” (He went on to bizarrely call the Court’s failure to act “judicial activism at its worst.” Ok.)
Christian Right leader and possible presidential candidate Mike Huckabee said:
“It is shocking that many elected officials, attorneys and judges think that a court ruling is the ‘final word,’” Huckabee said. “It most certainly is not. The courts are one branch of government, and equal to the other two, but not superior to either and certainly not to both. Even if the other two branches agree with the ruling, the people’s representatives have to pass enabling legislation to authorize same sex marriage, and the President (or Governor in the case of the state) has to sign it. Otherwise, it remains the court’s opinion. It is NOT the ‘law of the land’ as is often heralded.”
(And then he stood on the courthouse steps and thundered, “In the name of the greatest people that have ever trod this earth, I draw the line in the dust and toss the gauntlet before the feet of tyranny, and I say No gay marriage now! No gay marriage tomorrow! No gay marriage forevuh!”)
In fairness, Huckabee has been out of government for some time now, kicking back, playing guitar on his Fox News gig with his buddy Ted Nugent so he’s probably forgotten how American government works. Still, he probably spoke for many members of the religious right in his anger that the Court didn’t take the opportunity to strike down the abomination of marriage equality, especially since they’d been led to believe that they finally achieved their goal of a conservative majority that would give them everything they want when they want it. Why if it weren’t for decisions allowing corporations “religious liberty” and banning buffer zones at abortion clinics, they wouldn’t have had anything to cheer about in 2014 at all.