Sad Dregs Open Thread: The GOP ‘Values Voters’ Meet the Alt-Right

Happenings that got overlooked when more important news broke over the weekend… Even four years ago, the Talibangelical “Values Voters” could credibly assure each other they were on the cusp of another Great Awakening. But this year, there’s a cuckoo in the conservative nest. Ed Kilgore, at NYMag:

The relationship between the Republican Party and its most important constituency group, the Christian Right, has often been compared to a marriage of convenience that does not involve a lot of mutual respect or trust.

As a couple of thousand Christian Right activists gathered in Washington for the Family Research Council’s Values Voter Summit this weekend, it was more obvious than ever that the GOP is straining the loyalties of the faithful. The star attraction, Donald Trump, was, after all, the fifth-place finisher in the presidential straw poll at last September’s VVS.

But like a long-suffering spouse, the Christian Right is sticking with Donald Trump as we head toward Election Day because he is convincingly the enemy of its enemies and is willing to make a few key gestures in the direction of the righteous, albeit in a clumsy and offhand way.

None of the Christian conservative leaders who have made opposition to Trump (e.g., Russell Moore of the Southern Baptist Convention) a matter of conscience were allowed near the podium of the VVS. Still, much anxious rhetoric was aimed at those who are thinking about voting third or fifth party or staying home. Former representative Michele Bachmann characteristically used the most extreme words possible to condemn that temptation, comparing the election to the choice God gave the Hebrews in presenting his covenant with them: “I have set before you life and death. Which will you choose?”…

Nor could The Great Orange Fraud deliver a credible performance of giving a good God-damn, per troublemaking Mormon Buzzfeed reporter McKay Coppins:

Donald Trump dutifully trundled onto the stage at Washington’s Omni Shoreham hotel Friday afternoon to attend to one of his dreariest campaign-trail chores: courting conservative Christians.

“There are no more decent voters or selfless people than our Christian brothers and sisters here in the United States,” Trump read aloud to the audience gathered for the 2016 Values Voter Summit. “I’ve witnessed that incredible generosity all across this land.”

Trump continued like this for the first few minutes of his speech — plodding through prepared remarks as they crawled across a teleprompter screen — but he seemed quickly to grow bored. Before long, he was wandering off-script for several minutes at a time, as though in search for something more fun to talk about.

At one point, after indulging in a lengthy tangent about his recent meeting with a cohort of admiring clergy (“It was a love fest!”), Trump suggested the country was becoming less religious because faith leaders were no longer allowed to endorse political candidates from the pulpit (lest their churches lose tax-exempt status). The candidate’s pledge to change this law and un-muzzle America’s pastors has been a key element of his pitch to social conservatives, one of the few concrete offerings he’s made to them. But even here, he struggled to focus…

Mr. Charles P. Pierce, at Esquire, on the people who chose to be there:

Here’s the roster of speakers at the VVS. You will see people who ran for president. You will see the chairman of the Republican National Committee. You will see some of your favorite star pundits, many of whom are welcome to appear on cable news programs for the purposes of “balance.” You will see many of you favorite star nutballs. And you will see the Republican nominee for President of the United States, who went before this designated hate group and pretended he’s read a Bible any time in his life.
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Timekiller Open Thread: Trump/Pence None the Richer

This VP-announcement thing, it’s golden. Everybody wants a piece of it. No way is He, Trump gonna waste his big all-networks announcement if there’s any chance it will be preempted by “breaking news” from some place that is not even America. You media people can just suck on it…

Signals! The NYTimes:

Donald J. Trump’s campaign has signaled strongly to Republicans in Washington that he will pick Mike Pence, the governor of Indiana, as his running mate, though Republicans caution the party’s mercurial presidential candidate may still backtrack on his apparent choice.

Mr. Trump’s advisers have told national Republican officials that they are preparing to make an announcement with Mr. Pence, according to three people with knowledge of the conversations, who were not authorized to discuss them publicly. His campaign has said that it will unveil a running mate for Mr. Trump in New York on Friday.

Mr. Pence, a former congressman and radio host, emerged over the last week as the strong favorite of Mr. Trump’s political advisers and senior officials in the Republican Party.

But Mr. Trump himself has sent conflicting signals in recent days, as he has subjected his potential running mates to a final round of screening. He addressed a rally in Indiana alongside Mr. Pence on Tuesday night and met privately with him several times…
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Open Thread: Pastor Dobson Has A Sad

James “Focus on the Family (While I Pick Your Pocket)” Dobson is very, very disappointed by all us haterz who cruelly mock his optimistic embrace of “baby Christian” Donald Trump…

And not just the unsaved Christianist-haters, either:

Poor saintly Mr. Dobson just wanted to remora Deadbeat Donald’s #WINNING grift while that shark is still moving — living off a host’s, uh, leftovers is an honorable tradition among his clan. How was he to know how rapidly the gilt would wear off the Trump scampaign, once it was exposed to the acid examination of non-believers?



Open Thread: Return of the Cruz-ifiction Candidate

With the Democrats openly rebelling against the NRA (and the GOP candidate flailing on all fronts), a call went out in search of a New Hope. And guess who happened to be waiting by the phone…

From the Hill, yesterday:

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) attended a confidential dinner with more than 20 top conservatives on Tuesday night to plan his comeback as a movement leader in the mold of Ronald Reagan.

The dinner was at the Virginia home of conservative activist Brent Bozell, and the agenda was to plot Cruz’s future and the future of the conservative movement.

The undertone of the dinner was about how to position Cruz for a future tilt at the presidency and to spearhead the conservative movement from his seat in the Senate, those in attendance said.

Dining with Cruz and his chief of staff, Paul Teller, were some of the most powerful figures in the conservative movement.

The spectrum of economic, national security and social conservatives seated at the table included Heritage Foundation President Jim DeMint, Club for Growth President David McIntosh, direct-mail guru Richard Viguerie, National Rifle Association board member and former Cincinnati Mayor Ken Blackwell, and Susan B. Anthony List President Marjorie Dannenfelser, sources confirmed…

Many of the leaders at the dinner want Cruz to run for president again, and they are viewing Cruz’s unsuccessful 2016 run as similar to Reagan’s failed attempt in 1976 to unseat the incumbent Republican president, Gerald Ford…

Reagan gave the grifting bigots of the “Moral Majority” a comfy seat at the top table, back in the day when AIDS was still a mysterious new “gay plague”. And as far as these good Christianists are concerned, it’s not as though the Orlando massacre involved, you know, actual American people — just pawns of the devil
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ISIL Can’t Kill Us (But They Can Encourage Us to Kill Each Other)

Charles P. Pierce, in Esquire:

[B]efore we start talking about banning anyone from a Muslim country, or even before we wring our hands again about how easy it is to get your hands on an AR-15, a weapon that is built for, and exists only, to kill people in this country, we should all accept that, for all the advancements that have been made in ensuring equal rights for our fellow citizens who are gay, there is still a kind of virulent hate that we can see in its more polite forms in our legislatures and some of our courtrooms, and now we can see it in its most raw and unreconstructed form in our nightclubs.

The events in Orlando do nothing more than demolish our most treasured illusions about ourselves and our country and—most trivially—our politics. How many of the congresscritters now sending “thoughts and prayers” to the victims in Orlando, and to their families, spent a lot of time in their day jobs making the everyday lives of those victims more miserable than they had to be? There’s still an audience for clean-shaven, well-tailored bigotry of all faiths.

Yes, it appears that Mateen might have come to his violence through his religion, which will make him no different from practically any homophobe—including, I would point out, Eric Rudolph, who bombed the Atlanta Olympics. Allegedly, shortly before he opened fire, he called the local 911 operator and “pledged allegiance” (whatever that means to a guy walking into a club intending to slaughter 50 people) to ISIL, which has claimed responsibility, which is what it would do, under the circumstances.
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Late Night Horrorshow Open Thread: Christianist Hypocrites Embrace the Combover Caligula

Or, as the Grey Lady mealymouths it, “Social Conservatives, However Reluctant, Are Warming to the Idea of Trump”

Activists and leaders in the social conservative movement, after spending most of the past year opposing and condemning Donald J. Trump, are now moving to embrace his candidacy and are joining the growing number of mainstream Republicans who appear ready to coalesce around the party’s presumptive nominee…

“Oh, my, it’s difficult,” said Penny Nance, the president of Concerned Women for America, a group that has openly campaigned against Mr. Trump. “He’s not my first choice. He’s not my second choice,” she added. “But any concerns I have about him pale in contrast to Hillary Clinton.”

And Mr. Trump — whose litany of offenses against cultural conservatives include support of Planned Parenthood, past positions on abortion rights and his more accepting views on gays and lesbians — is winning over this once deeply skeptical constituency.

He has made overt moves, such as suggesting last week that he would name Supreme Court justices who would overturn Roe v. Wade, and sent subtle signals, like employing people for his campaign who are well known in the movement.

Mr. Trump has, to a large extent, placated a vocal and powerful element of the Republican Party’s base, whose backing he will need if he wants to wage a general election campaign leading a united conservative movement.

The support of social conservatives is not just symbolic. It means getting assistance from groups that plan to spend millions of dollars mobilizing voters, people who lead influential faith-based organizations and Republican activists who will help craft the party’s platform at the national convention this summer…

“They love a convert because it’s what their faith is all about,” said Ralph Reed, founder of the Faith & Freedom Coalition and a friend of Mr. Trump.
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Late Late Night Horrorshow Open Thread, Christianist Edition

This tweet has been bouncing around the ‘tubes, but since it’s Dinesh D’Souza, who knows whether “marrying” is a verb that applies to the present or the indefinite future? Wikipedia links to a wingnut-welfare-sponsored YouTube clip of D’Souza’s marriage proposal to Deborah Fancher, “conservative political activist and mother of two”, so at least she should have a pretty good idea of what she’s signing up for. Note, this is not the young groupie blogger for whose charms D’Souza divorced his first wife and ended his career with King’s College; perhaps Ms. Joseph failed to sever ties with her existing husband, or maybe she didn’t care to marry a convicted felon?
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