With the rise of Mike Huckabee to the top of polls in the race for the Republican nomination for president, the pile of candidates rejected by the religious right is a roster of formerly regarded GOP front-runners or political saviors: Rudy Giuliani, John McCain, Mitt Romney and Fred Thompson.
[John McCain's recently acquired Joe-mentum is a joke, and McCain, of the top four Republican candidates, remains the least acceptable to the religious right, as he deviates slightly from being mean-spirited and dogmatic.]
So, will Huckabee sustain his frontrunner status, propped up by the religious right?
Let's hope so, because the religious right has worn out its welcome among the center of American politics.
As Harold Meyerson writes today in the Post:
As Christians across the world prepare to celebrate the birth of Jesus, it's a fitting moment to contemplate the mountain of moral, and mortal, hypocrisy that is our Christianized Republican Party. ...
The most depressing thing about the Republican presidential race is that the party's rank and file require their candidates to grow meaner with each passing week. And now, inconveniently, inconsiderately, comes Christmas, a holiday that couldn't be better calibrated to expose the Republicans' rank, fetid hypocrisy.
As fans of the popular television series House and Bones attest, heroically free-thinking, compassionate and secular American archetypes remain admired figures in the American consciousness.
I mean who wants to see a Gastroenterology specialist who isn't brilliant and rational-minded? And a brilliant and rational president has its advantages too, even imperatives, as the ruin of Bush/Cheney becomes clear and irrefutable.
Craig Unger puts the conflict between reason and religion this way:
(As discussed in the new book, The Fall of the House of Bush), most secularists, who refer to the culture wars or the red state-blue state conflict, still don't understand that what is really going on is an age old battle between faith and reason. After all, America is not only the country that put a man on the moon, that unraveled the human genome, that invented the iPod. It's also a country with tens of millions of people who don't believe in evolution, who think the earth was created 6,000 years ago and who think that the Final Conflict may bring the world to an end any day now.
The religious right remains powerful on Planet GOP, but is faltering badly in the greater reality-based American consciousness.