If you haven't seen Rick Perry's new pandering ad, you should watch it first. If you're too lazy, the transcript is below:
"I'm not ashamed to admit that I'm a Christian, but you don't need to be in the pew every Sundee to know that there's something wrong in this country when gays can serve openly in the military, but our kids can't openly celebrate Christmas or pray in school. As President, I'll end Obama's war on religion, and I'll fight against liberal attacks on our religious heritage. Faith made America strong; it can make her strong again. I'm Rick Perry, and I approved this message."
Sorry, I transliterated Sunday. That's the way he said it. Shades of GWB's "nucular" references. It's called pandering to the ignorant middle. The assumption in Washington is that fans of Toby Keith, the King James Bible, and big tits in camo bikinis will always mispronounce words in a very down home sorta way. Aside from the linguistic tactics, Perry is winking without winking. See, like you, he's a Christian, but like you, he's "not in a pew every Sundee." In other words, feel free to bring your religious biases to the polls, even if your version of Christianity has more to do with what you loathe rather than what you affirm—so long as what you loathe are gays, liberals, and a certain black President—and even if you don't actually go to church but managed to check "Christian" on your last census. You're Perry's kind of Christian if civil religion in a Jesus mask is your preferred faith. That means you really prefer America, conservative politics, "old-fashioned" morals, guns, and sex with a mistress to actually going to church, tithing, taking care of the poor, and living sacrificially. (I think I just described a massive number of Republican politicians.)
Beyond that is Perry's bizarre comparison. Gays can serve openly in the military but our children can't openly celebrate Christmas or pray in school. One at a time.
- Has Perry been to a public school around Christmas time? It's all carols and creches and Christ. Sure there's Santa and reindeer and presents, but he's lying if he says traditional religious themes are missing. And what does he mean they can't openly celebrate? Are they forbidden to say "Merry Christmas" or wear a shirt that says "Jesus is the Reason for the Season"? No.
- Our children can't pray in school? Is he an idiot or a liar? Can I choose all of the above? Of course they can pray in school. They can pray during the moment of silence in the morning. They can say grace over their lunch. They can "see you at the pole." They can pray at their lockers, in hallways, between classes, with friends, at Bible clubs and FCA meetings. Hell, they have more opportunities to pray than to actually learn. Again, he's either a liar or an idiot.
Obama has a war on religion? The Christian president, like the previous 43 Christian presidents, is warring against religion? This is so desperate that it's clear Perry is aware that his campaign is fucked, and he's trying to scrape together the Palin voters to achieve double digits in the polls.
Liberal attack on Christian heritage? Is he channeling Barton now? We have no Christian heritage. We have an American heritage, a Constitutional heritage, a heritage that mythmakers like Perry and Barton would savage with their idiotic assertions about our religious heritage. The problem with history is that it is seldom on our side. Yes, it's a revisionist practice, but it typically revises itself over against our generalizations and propaganda.
I don't even know what it means that "faith made America strong." Strong how? In war? That wasn't faith; it was technology in the form of weapons. In commerce? That was manufacturing, assembly lines, mass production and marketing. In character? Ha! It's all pretty words, which is ironic, because conservatives accused Obama of using pretty words. Clearly, the blade cuts both ways. This ad is perhaps the most desperate case of pandering I've ever seen. It's pathetic really, and the music and costume and tone don't save it. Can't wait to see what the handlers will do with Newt. He is an historian after all.