Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Ralph Reed Spins a New Faith, Freedom and Conservative Politics Message

By Gary Berg-Cross
You don’t have to be an historian to know that politics and religion intertwine. A good example is the case of Ralph Reed, corrupt former lobbyist, and now chairman of the Faith and Freedom Coalition (FFC). Actually the FFC is a Reed creation which one supposes is designed to rehabilitate his image from various past scandals. Just a while ago Reed was damaged goods in mainstream Republican circles, but the increased radicalization and historical numbness of a significant number of the populace seems to have allowed him to ease back into the scene under cover of religious activity.

Reed rose national awareness in 1989 as the 1st executive director of Pat Robertson’s Christian Coalition (CC). He rode that early fundamentalist-politico train through the 90s and became, as the picture says, "The Right Hand of God.". Then the FEC had found that the CC group had earlier violated federal campaign finance laws Fed prosecutors were investigating allegations of CC financial misconduct in the Bush 92 re-election effort. Reed jumped off the damaged religio-political train and became a lobbyist. In 1999, Jack Abramoff hired Reed. Soon the Abramoff casino scandal  sideline Reed for a number of years, although he escaped jail. But in the popular mind his hand of God image was replaced by one of casino dealings (see picture below).

But with a change in the culture and a FFC cover Reed is back with brave in your face talk such as:
"We’re not just playing around. We’re not shadowboxing…We are playing for keeps. We’re playing for the most valuable prize in the history of the human race and that’s the United States of America and we are not going to lose."

Reed has always had friends in the Christian fundamentalist sector, but connections to political conservatives. He brags of having cell phone numbers of 44 million conservative and Republican voters. That means something to Pols like Willard Romney who said recently:
“Ralph Reed is doing a great job here with the Faith & Freedom Coalition. This is going to make a big impact across America and I appreciate the work you are doing here.”
People wondered if a Mormon could win over fundamentalists. You can read about the effort - Faith voters begin to rally behind Romney
The FFC conservative group work is to turn itself into a national organization with a key role in the Republican takeover of the American government in the 2012 election and as Ralph says “Beyond.” Leveraging the T-party is one vision. On the FFC website you can read about things like the conservative teavangelical movement and 5 Reasons Teavangelicals matter. This is a vision for that un-separated American religio-state. One can already hear the faith-based arguments:

“We’re up against a president who’s trying to destroy faith by imposing a secular government and arguing that secular bureaucrats have greater moral authority than religious leaders,” 

That wasn’t Reed talking but his Georgia friend Newt Gingrich, the former U.S. House speaker.

One hopes that people will turn away from Reed the way they did with the rehabbed Gingrich, when they get a closer look at the deeper corruption under the facade. Of course Reed and others are now well financed and it may be hard to get a counter message across over the noise and emotion.

Picture Credits:
Hand of God (Time)
Reed Casino Dancer:
Cartoon on Relgio-politics Mix:

1 comment:

Edd.Doerr said...

Thanks, Gary. The baby-faced Reed has been a slimeball since he was old enough to shave. Several years ago a major Jewish organization nad Reed as a speaker, and, wisely, instead of having a NY Jewish lawyer debate him, they got a Texan, James Dunn, head of the Baptist Joint Committee, to do so. Dunn mopped up the floor with the slimy Reed. There is a lesson in this strategy. -- Edd Doerr