Just yesterday I wrote a post explaining that, thanks to the recent announcement that he was heading a new Religious Right organization known as the Faith and Freedom Coalition, Ralph Reed appeared to be “succeeding in resurrecting his reputation and re-establishing himself as a bona fide leader of the Religious Right.”
And, despite the fact that this new effort currently consists entirely of Reed, one adviser, one actual employee, and a bare-bones website, I think it is safe to say that the “Ralph Reed Redemption Tour” is officially underway now that he is getting long profiles written up by the Associated Press:
Ralph Reed was once a powerful force in Republican politics, able to marshal millions of religious conservatives to the polls while leading the Christian Coalition.
Then his political career took a tumble in 2006 when he was clobbered by a lesser-known opponent in the Republican primary for Georgia lieutenant governor, leading some to conclude Reed’s days as an influential GOP figure were over.
But Reed is searching for a dose of redemption. He’s launched a new venture that supporters hope will bolster a Republican Party struggling to find its footing after the 2008 election and a recent string of embarrassing scandals.
“I don’t view it as a comeback,” Reed said in a recent interview. “I view it as something I’ve always done — trying to be part of the solution and trying to build at the grass roots (level).”
The startup, known as the Faith and Freedom Coalition, is little more than a Web site, but Reed hopes to turn it into a strident new force that uses social media to capture a broader, younger and more diverse audience.
Perhaps most telling, the man who helped cement religious conservatives into a solid GOP voting bloc said he won’t focus his group on social issues, but rather the economic crisis.
“This is not the Christian Coalition redux,” Reed said. “It’s a much broader attempt. Our primary focus is jobs, the economy, taxes, creating economic opportunity. That’s the number one issue in the country right now.”
Other than a lukewarm statement from Roberta Combs, current president of the Christian Coalition, saying “there is always room for more people who want to start organizations,” the article doesn’t really contain any particularly new or revealing information, with the exception of this key quote:
Reed said his organization is looking to be more inclusive by reaching out to Jews, Hispanics, blacks and any other group receptive to a fiscal conservative message.
“It’s going to look different from the vehicles we have now. It’s going to be younger, it’s going to be more strident,” he said. “It’s going to be principled but less ideologically reflexive. And it’s going to have a broader issues agenda.”
How exciting. A “broader” and “more strident” version of the Christian Coalition? I can’t wait to see how that turns out.