Rove and these other strategists knew the religious right were “new voters” which is the political promised land. Everybody dreams of dragging some of the unaffiliated, apathetic uninvolved into the political arena. Getting an entire block of voters who will vote according to what they are told by an authoritarian organization is a miracle. Hallalujah.
With the business marketing savvy of the big money boys of the GOP they were quite successful in the last decade or so at convincing the media and many of the public that the Republican party actually is more moral and more sincerely religious than the Democrats. However, the events of the last year have begun to unravel that carefully constructed image.
It's time everybody recognized that so we can deal with it honestly. These so-called religious leaders (and it's not just the national leadership, it's the whole hierarchy) are not dupes. Sure Rove and the rest call them nuts. But the leadership and the party know they are essentail to each others' continued status, even if they spar over who's their daddy. The truth is that they are all elites who have the same goals --- power.