Perry, Gingrich playing to Iowa’s evangelicals

Rick Perry

The television ad of Republican presidential long-shot Rick Perry, that pits gays in the military as the ideological foil to children celebrating Christmas, earned the candidate some tense moments on the campaign trail last week, from both gays and straights alike.

The ad, entitled “Strong,” began airing on Iowa television stations in early December and showed a casually dressed Perry walking along a rural setting, saying, “I’m not ashamed that a I’m a Christian.”

No one ever said he was ashamed, but that was, nevertheless, his starting point, maybe because an estimated 60 percent of Iowa caucus-goers identify themselves as evangelicals.

Then, Perry veers sharply off the point, saying, “You don’t need to be in the pew every Sunday to know there’s something wrong in this country when gays can serve openly in the military but our kids can’t openly celebrate Christmas or pray in school. As president,” he says, “I’ll end Obama’s war on religion, and I’ll fight against liberal attacks on our religious heritage.”

Washington Post columnist Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite called Perry’s ad “the gift that keeps on giving,” for both parodists and critics.

One particularly festive parody is “Jesus Responds to Rick Perry’s ‘Strong’ Ad,” where an actor portraying Jesus says, “You don’t need to be in the pews every Sunday to know there’s something wrong in this country when Rick Perry is running for president.”

“What have gays in the military done to Rick Perry besides keeping him safe while he executed the mentally retarded,” says the Jesus character.

Another parody, viewable at YouTube, is entitled “SuperParody: Rick Perry ‘Strong’”, which has the candidate expressing his incredulity that “even gay people have the right to vote.”

But the hands-down best video parodies make fun of the fact that, in his ad, Perry wears a jacket identical to that of one of the lead characters in gay buddy movie hit Brokeback Mountain. In one, called “Jacket,” viewable on YouTube, he opens with, “I’m not ashamed to admit I’m ignorant.”

A lot of people are going to miss Rick Perry when he “suspends” his campaign, probably after the South Carolina primary in January. But that won’t mean he’s gone. Somebody’s going to win the GOP nomination and the party will need a strong right-wing man or woman to woo its conservative case to the polls in November. Perry is one of several who could do that, though none have more than six to eight percent of support from Republican voters right now.’s Maggie Haberman said Perry’s anti-gay hit has become a “staple” of his campaign to evangelicals in Iowa. And with evangelicals playing such a large part of the January 3, it is no surprise that current frontrunner Newt Gingrich finally signed an intensely anti-gay “Marriage Vow” circulated by the National Organization for Marriage. In a conference call with reporters Saturday, December 17, he added that he might ignore a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that said the constitution requires that same-sex couples have a right to marriage licenses.

Interestingly, a group of evangelical pastors in Iowa, Iowans for Christian Leaders in Government, apparently are having trouble seeing any difference, biblically speaking, between Gingrich and gays, when it comes to marriage. They say both adultery and homosexuality are proscribed in the bible, and they sent a letter to the head of another anti-gay Iowa group, the Family Leader, urging it not to endorse Gingrich. The Christian Leaders say their reading of the bible concludes that Gingrich, twice divorced and married for the third time, is committing adultery. (They cite Matthew 19:9 which says, “anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, and marries another woman commits adultery.”)

Gingrich’s half-sister, Candace Gingrich-Jones, who is gay and married to a woman, told MSNBC she’ll be voting for President Obama.

Speaking of family relations, it was the daughter of ultra-conservative operative Ed Rollins who helped nix Rollins’ involvement as Michele Bachmann’s campaign manager. And the issue there was also civil rights concerns for gays.

That’s what a new “mini-book” from says.

Playbook 2012: The Right Fights Back says Rollins’ 16-year-old daughter let her dad know she was “uncomfortable with Bachmann’s stance on gay rights.”

Rollins told Politico that his daughter was getting “little notes” from hundreds of people on Facebook, asking “about who your daddy is working for.”

That’s not the reason the Bachmann campaign gave other media in September, when Rollins stepped down. The Washington Post reported that Bachmann’s campaign said Rollins, 68, was stepping down for health reasons. The campaign said Rollins would stay on in an advisory role. And, in fact, itself reported in September that Rollins was leaving for health reasons, related to a stroke.

Maybe associating with people full of hate is bad for one’s health.

Meanwhile, President Obama, who is running for a second term in 2012, repeatedly lists the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell in his routine campaign speeches touting his accomplishments.

At a campaign stop in New York City November 30, he said, “Change is the fact that for the first time in history, you don’t have to hide who you love in order to serve the country that you love—ending “don’t ask, don’t tell.”

And at a December 13 fundraiser in Washington, D.C., he listed it right behind “rescue the economy and rescue the auto industry, and end the war in Iraq and end “don’t ask, don’t tell.”

One Response to Perry, Gingrich playing to Iowa’s evangelicals

  1. Arouete says:

    “I’m not ashamed that a I’m a Christian.”

    Coming from Perry those are the words of a sociopath incapable of feeling remorse for the harm they cause to others in the name of virtue. This is the last ditch effort of a dying breed that is going out with a desperate and pathetic whimper.

Leave a Reply