PoliticsNation | November 13, 2012
>>> is trying to figure out what went so wrong. how could they have laos like this? for 30 years evangelicals have been a force in the republican party . the evangelical explosion came in 1980 when millions helped ronald reagan win the presidency. preachers like reverend jerry fallwell and pat robertson rose to national prominence. the religious right was credited for helping george w. bush win in 2004 , with 79% of the evangelical vote. the atlantic writes about the end of evangelical dominance in politics but points out 79% of white evangelicals voted for romney on tuesday. the evangelical vote was 27% of the overall electorate, the highest it's ever been in an election. but guess what? it didn't matter. america rejected the culture wars . america rejected the religious rights agendas on issues after issue. abortion, gay marriage , rejected. is it the end of the evangelical force in politics? joining me now is frank schaeffer , columnist for "the huffington post ," also author of "crazy for god." frank, thanks for being here tonight.
>> thanks for having me.
>> now, let me ask you, do you think the religious right poses a real problem for the gop?
>> yeah, you know, before the election, not after, but before the election i wrote an op-ed for an evangelical progressive group called patheos.com, and they are open to liberal ideas. and i wrote a piece called how the evangelicals have doomed the gop party. it was the evangelical party perhaps more than any single element in the last election cycle that peeled off so many voters who were just tired of the extremism, the masogony, the anti-woman platform, anti-abortion platform which many evangelicals hold as right wing tea party , many of these things. just as i trace in my book "crazy for god" the evangelicals have dug themselves a very deep pit they can't negotiate out of. in the last election cycle they were held by the right wing roman catholic bishops who inexplicably threw their hat in the ring with republicans overtly saying obama was, as you remember, reverend, because we did a program about this --
>> yes, we did.
>> -- anti-religious. they called him anti-religious. the roman catholic bishops, evangelicals are totally ineffective and can the republican party move past that? not on your life.
>> let me show you some reaction of evangelical leaders on the right to the president's re-election.
>> what have they got? he doesn't seem to have any program yet he's not able to win re-election. what is going on with the american people ?
>> i think this was an evangelical disaster.
>> romney was pro life , pro family , but i don't think we engaged in the ad war on those issues. i think if we would have engaged instead of being forced to be on the defensive, i still think we would have gotten many, many more of what used to be call the reagan democrats , catholics and others who are pro life and pro family . but may identify more with the democrats on economic issues, but with republicans and conservatives on values issues.
>> so, frank, when you hear gary bower talking like that, pat robertson , it doesn't sound like they've given up. and if they are not given up, if they're digging in, that could be a problem for moderate republicans that want to recapture the party.
>> well, it will be a huge problem for two reasons. one, theological and ideological. these guys can't budge because this is part of their faith. they've included in their faith now the kind of karl rove agenda of big business and corporate america and capitalism. so, they're totally stuck. but i want to say something else. there are republican agitators and extremists like ralph reed , who are now also in it just for the money. look, he claimed he got $11 million. you can be sure he took a nice, big cut off the top of that to get out the evangelical vote. like karl rove , who will keep coming back like a bad lunch, they aren't going to go away. why? because there's big money in sucker-punching evangelicals into thinking you can deliver a vote for them. how do i know that? as i talk about in my book "crazy for god" i was one of those guys 30 years ago, raising millions of dollars from people like rich, who founded amway, promising him we could change america , bring it back to conservative values, blah, blah, blah, blah. since i've been there and done that, and had the good fortune to bail when i was young enough to start a new life, i understand how tempting the money is to keep sucker these evangelical votes along.
>> so is this --
>> it's about money. the leadership, it is. karl rove , ralph reed , mike huck huckabee, they earn a lot of money off pushing this agenda and saying you give us donations, millionaires or 25 bucks a pop and we'll deliver the vote. they have failed misserably and they'll take the republican party down with them. which is not good for the country. i'm overvoied one of the best presidents that's ever been elected in this country was just re-elected. still in the long term we need two vibrant political parties. these ivevangelicals are like cancer. they'll take down republicans with them. they may even peel off into a third party if they can't get their way. then that will be -- our system will teeter for a while until we readjust.
>> frank, thanks for your time tonight.
>> thanks for having me on.