As Tony Perkins explained to James Dobson’s audience earlier this week, the Religious Right is thrilled with John McCain’s choice of Sarah Palin as his running mate not only because Palin is everything they have been praying for, but because it demonstrates, for once, that McCain “can listen.”
And not only will McCain “listen” to the Right, he will respond accordingly to their screams and threats – at least that is how Richard Viguerie sees it:
Conservatives who refused to fall in line behind the Republican Party–who maintained their independence, at the price of being ridiculed as “cranky” or “impossible to please”–are the ones responsible for John McCain’s brilliant, game-changing selection of Sarah Palin, Richard A. Viguerie said.
“Those who backed John McCain as the ‘lesser of two evils’ did no favors to themselves, their movement, or to Senator McCain,” said Viguerie, chairman of ConservativeHQ.com. “He needed to know what conservatives really thought, and he needed to know what had to be done to get conservatives enthusiastically on board his campaign.
“As we know now, what he had to do was pick Sarah Palin,” he said.
[Credit goes to] conservatives, especially religious conservatives, who “went nuclear” in their criticism in the past couple of weeks before the announcement upon hearing that the pick might be Joe Lieberman, Tom Ridge, or someone nearly as disastrous for the McCain campaign and the Republican Party. (“Those of us who spoke up strongly were roundly criticized by some conservatives,” Viguerie noted.) It was our firestorm that stopped that catastrophe from coming to pass.
“Across this country, conservatives and Republicans at every level let John McCain know what he needed to do to get them fired up and excited and ready to go door-to-door and make phone calls and do all the things that have to be done. They told him, and he listened, and his selection of Sarah Palin has completely turned his campaign around … [T]hose conservatives who held to their principles are the men and women ‘in the arena’ who can claim their own share of John McCain and Sarah Palin’s triumph last night.”
So that is why Religious Right leaders – who, until last week, were nearly unanimously unenthusiastic about McCain – are now full-throated supporters: because they stared him down and won and now know that he can be bullied and intimidated into doing their bidding.