The recent meeting of Evangelical leaders in Texas to designate the “Christian Candidate” initially struck me as reminiscent of the 1957 meeting of Mafia families in the Poconos. In 1957 mob leaders from all of the “families” met in a resort in the Appalachian Mts. to strategize their response to Federal efforts to break them apart. For decades the Mafia (or “Cosa Nostra”) had ruled crime in America and dictated how many legitimate businesses could conduct business. However, by 1957 their powerhold had already all but ended by the efforts of law enforcement and, the by the emergence of other organize crime groups. When the meeting was broken up by a raid by the FBI (something that was unthinkable before) they had to know their day on the throne had ended.
Similarly, the Evangelical leaders of the “Christian Right” should also know that their time is past, with their power eroded by a society that has rejected their political/cultural agenda and the emergence of other political “syndicates” such as the Tea Party and Super Pacs. However, the real sign that they have lost the “culture war” is the emergence of Newt as the “Jesus” candidate (that is not a reference to what Newt thinks about himself). The fact that evangelicals in South Carolina and Florida voted overwhelmingly for Newt is the most persuasive argument that while evangelical leaders talk the talk, their followers don’t walk the walk.
It is no surprise to me that Evangelicals have lost their political flock. Their whole mojo was about capturing the perpetual resentment, anger and hatred of Christians, especially in the South. Now that the Tea Party has provided a less-filtered outlet and Newt has provided the unfiltered rhetoric, Evangelicals are left to scamper from Texas and try to claim some sense of relevance. Meanwhile, most of society has moved on culturally and support reproductive rights, gay rights and free will.