Well it's on now. The pastor, Robert Jeffress, who introduced Rick Perry at the Values Voters Summit, has just opened a can of evangelical whup-ass on Mitt Romney. Here's the money quote:
Jeffress described Romney's Mormon faith as a “cult,” and said evangelicals had only one real option in the 2012 primaries. Continue Reading “That is a mainstream view, that Mormonism is a cult,” Jeffress told reporters here. “Every true, born again follower of Christ ought to embrace a Christian over a non-Christian.” Asked by POLITICO if he believed Romney is a Christian, Jeffress answered: “No.”
And I just heard Tony Perkins on CNN refuse to deny that Mormonism is a cult. I have to say the crudeness of this attack, even if Perry had no idea a surrogate would convey this message, is striking. It appears the Perry camp signed off on Jeffress two weeks ahead of time and Jeffress has said this kind of thing before – which makes this even more gob-smacking.
If you wonder why Romney cannot quite seal the deal, Pastor Jeffress has part of the answer. If you turn a political party into a church, as the GOP essentially now is, sectarianism will eventually emerge. In all its ugly, bigoted, negative manifestations. Perry is showing he can play a card from the bottom of the deck when he's up against it. Which is not a good sign for next year.
(Photo: Anita Thigpen (C) wife of Republican presidential candidate and incumbent Texas Gov. Rick Perry, listens as Perry addresses the Values Voter Summit 2011, hosted by Family Research Council Action (FRC Action), October 7, 2011 in Washington, DC. All of the major Republican presidential candidates are expected to speak in the annual two-day event. By Alex Wong/Getty Images.)