It was just the other day that I was noting that Mike Huckabee, who had long been identified with the socially conservative wing of the movement, had suddenly jumped on the Tea Party bandwagon.
But for those who need more proof that tea party activism has become the driving force of the entire right-wing movement, look no further than fact that the Family Research Council is hosting an event next week featuring several tea party groups:
On Tuesday, February 2 at 8 p.m. EST, Family Research Council’s headquarters will be the host site for a special webcast, State of the Union, Voice of the People. This live webcast, one week after the President’s address, will provide a voice to the American people and an opportunity for them to give their own State of the Union response. Family Research Council is partnering with TVTownhall.com and eight leading national conservative organizations that represent a combined membership estimated to be over 15 million Americans.
Organizations joining Family Research Council include THE New Voice, the Institute for Liberty, Media Research Center, Let Freedom Ring, Americans for Prosperity, Concerned Women for America, TEA Party Patriots and Freedomworks.
The inclusion of Freedomworks is especially telling. While the organization has been at the forefront of the tea party activism, it has long had a rather icy relationshyip with the Religious Right. Back in 2006, right around the time Republicans lost control of Congress, Freedomworks’ chairman Dick Armey had this to say about the socially conservative wing of the party:
“[James] Dobson and his gang of thugs are real nasty bullies. I pray devoutly every day, but being a Christian is no excuse for being stupid. There’s a high demagoguery coefficient to issues like prayer in schools. Demagoguery doesn’t work unless it’s dumb, shallow as water on a plate. These issues are easy for the intellectually lazy and can appeal to a large demographic. These issues become bigger than life, largely because they’re easy. There ain’t no thinking.”
That set off a round of attacks and counter attacks between Dobson’s supporters and Armey that eventually involved FRC’s Tony Perkins. It continued into 2008, when Armey even attacked Perkins outright and questioned his conservatism.
Tea party activism is so entirely driving the right-wing movement at the moment that the most influential Religious Right organization is willing to co-host an event with a group lead by a man who publicly and repeatedly insulted them as stupid, shallow demagogues just to get in on the action.
If that doesn’t tell you just where the Religious Right fits in to the conservative movement, I don’t know what does.