Rick Perry’s desperate ad attacking openly gay service members and criticizing President Obama’s purported “war on religion” has quickly become one of the most disliked videos on YouTube, but it has found a few unsurprising fans: anti-gay zealots in the Religious Right. The ad even divided Perry’s own campaign staff with one pollster calling it “nuts”:
American Family Association spokesman Bryan Fischer said that the ad’s hostile reception on YouTube proves that Perry is a good candidate for Christian conservative voters: “Perry’s ad had triggered an astonishing 637,738 dislikes to just 19,792 likes by 10:53 Eastern time this morning, clearly stamping him as the candidate the vengeful, hate-filled, vitriolic homosexual lobby wants to destroy,” Fischer wrote today. “If you’re looking for your values candidate, conservatives, you may have just found him.” On his radio show last week, Fischer even said that AFA founder and chairman emeritus Don Wildmon, who led The Response prayer rally with Perry, called the ad “the best political ad he’s ever seen.”
Wildmon’s son Tim, the current head of the AFA, agreed with Todd Starnes of Fox News that the ad might help Perry consolidate support among conservative voters and propel Perry to the top of the polls. Starnes predicted “that we are going to see a bump in the poll numbers as the result of this ad, they may not give this ad credit but if you see a rise in the numbers I think it is because of this ad,” saying that it “articulated” how evangelical Christians in America feel:
The Family Research Council even promoted the ad to members and dismissed concerns that it would backfire on the Texas governor, whom they claim is in touch with “everyday Americans”:
Rick Perry’s latest ad was intended for Iowa, but thanks to the national media, it’s airing on every network in America. A number of pundits are panning the spot for its bold social conservative themes, which they insist will hurt the Texas Governor’s chances. “I’m not ashamed to admit that I’m a Christian,” Gov. Perry says, “but 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.” The ad is called “Strong,” and that’s the kind of message it sends on issues like religious freedom. “As President, I’ll end Obama’s war on religion. And I’ll fight against liberal attacks on our religious heritage.” True, Gov. Perry probably wouldn’t win the media’s vote with that kind of platform–but he does stand to benefit with everyday Americans who are tired of seeing their values in the line of fire under this administration.