I have said and will always believe that the downfall of the Republican Party was their late 70's marriage to the far right Christian evangelical radicals. President Reagan's alliance with Jerry Falwell's Moral Majority paid short term dividends. Falwell dishonestly convinced Middle America Christians that President Carter wasn't a Christian at all, but a man given to secular thought and a supporter of immorality. And Christians went to the polls in droves to oust Carter and annoint Reagan, a man who didn't even go to church.
Meanwhile, Carter spends the rest of his public life dirtying his hands with things that Falwell never, ever did. Notice that Carter doesn't spend his time touring Europe, Japan, Australia, etc. vacationing in lavish hotels and collecting hundreds of thousands of dollars in speaking fees, even though he could. Instead, he focuses most of his energy on helping people that are otherwise forgotten by most of the world - the sick, the starving, and poor people who have little control over their own lives. You know, the people that many Christians claim to care about but don't do anything for.
But those short term benefits are now long passed. Even many Republicans have begun to move away from radical evangelicals' dangerous fundamentalist philosophies while maintaing their own faith. However, someone forgot to tell President Bush about this trend. His adminstration is littered with quite a few of the dimmest minds of Falwell's Liberty University. Funny, I would've expected more accomplished people from places like Harvard, Duke, or Stanford.
These radicals have noticed the fact that they're losing their grip on mainstream politics. And they're meeting in Florida to rally the troops:
"In Tampa, most panels stuck to hot-button themes aimed at
getting Florida conservatives involved in politics: The Homosexual Agenda. Life Issues. Redeeming the Culture Through the Legal System. The Church and Voter Registration. Several speakers highlighted threats from militant Islam, an increased emphasis in the movement."
In other words, their tactics haven't changed. Preach and encourage discrimination and hate against the LGBT community, put the government back in control of a woman's own body and using the death penalty as a cruel and racist tool, misusing the legal system to enforce their rigid, fundamentalist, flawed beliefs, and refuse to seperate church and state. And if all else fails, ignore their own shortcomings by pointing out radicals of other religions.
One of the absolute few bright spots in Georgia politics in 2006 was the repudiation of Ralph Reed. For that to happen in a red state was a significant sign nationally. But that doesn't mean that these radicals have given up. They're obviously getting ready for another round of battles in 2008.