When Ralph Reed talks, I listen.
Sure, the enfant terrible of the religious right made himself out to be Evangelical Rambo when he told the Norfolk Virginian-Pilot back in 1991, “I want to be invisible. I do guerrilla warfare. I paint my face and travel at night. You don’t know it’s over until you’re in a body bag.” But that’s exactly what happened when, as chair of Georgia’s Republican Party in 2002, he quietly mobilized white evangelicals and booted out a Democratic establishment that never knew what hit it.
Dude likes to call his shots. And unlike most political operatives, when he blows smoke, there’s plenty of enlightening dope in it.
Take the recent interview he gave to the Christian Post. His Faith and Freedom Coalition has, he claims, micro-targeted 29 million “social conservatives.” The agenda is to get them to provide the resources to mobilize voters.
But which voters? Will there be any mobilization for the primary battles of the civil war within the GOP? Social conservative groups are, he said,
probably more with the outside groups. But I think [their] modus operandi is probably a little different, and they probably have a better relationship with Republican leadership on the Hill than some of the other outside groups do, largely because a lot of those leaders are strongly pro-life, pro-marriage and pro-family.
Translate this and what you’ve got is a signal that the religious right want to sit out the civil war. The Family Research Council, Concerned Women of America, Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, and FFC may like “the outside groups” — FreedomWorks, Tea Party Patriots, the Senate Conservatives Fund, the Madison Project et al. — but they’ve been inside the GOP tent for third of a century, and many of the insiders are friends.
Reed, who has always been more of an insider than an outsider himself, is saying that, at the end of the day, the religious right will stick with the establishment. I believe it.