The Herderian religious conservative governor of Texas, Rick Perry, at the recent Republican Leadership Conference in New Orleans, appears to have wowed the Christian fundamentalist dominated crowd. This is from NBC News:
Of all the speakers of the three-day confab, Perry was the best-received, even more so than Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), who was a close second. Perry got a standing ovation when he took the stage, several times during his speech, and at the end.
“He’s the man,” one man said to a woman right after Perry’s speech.
“Him and Bachmann,” she responded. “That’s the ticket.”
Compared to Rick Perry and Michelle Bachmann, Mitt Romney is a relative moderate. He should be worried. As should be the rest of us. Overt and anti-Jeffersonian Christian nationalism, funded and orchestrated by rich and cynical Machiavellians, is coming to America. They’ve already got the House of Representatives. They may soon have the presidency.
I fear for the secular Enlightenment character of my country. I hope President Obama can fend off the religious right for just one more election cycle. Pray the economy picks up over the next year, and unemployment trends down. This is a dangerous moment for our country. The politics of Perry and Bachmann must be given a decisive electoral trouncing in this cycle or unapologetic Christian nationalism will become, over the next decade, even more brazen, irrational, paranoid, and hysterical than it already is.
Because such a movement is essentially vampiric and dead, it has to be deprived of its blood-lust (large electoral victories). It draws its strength and energy from the collective “we” because it cannot justify itself with reason. Indeed, it is a severance from reason and reality generally—an escape into messianism, out-group demonizing, and nostalgia—and so must rely on crowd manipulation and bandwagon effects.
So it needs a decisive defeat at the polls. 2012 will be the nation’s collective opportunity to give it one. Romney and Obama, whatever you might think of them, are the ones standing, however wobbly, in the way of Perry and Bachmann. And Romney may have to signal his willingness to make Bachmann his running mate to bolster his own chances at the Republican nomination.
So, really, it’s going to come down to Obama again, the representative of our nation’s bourgeois liberal and secular traditions, and whether a majority of voters will continue to stand with him.