In case there was any doubt that the religious right’s power is on the wane, the evidence was quite clear last night in South Florida. Several evangelical groups co-hosted what they labeled the “Values Voter Debate,” featuring theocratic right-wing luminaries like Phyllis Schlafly, Roy Moore, Paul Weyrich, Don Wildmon, Rick Scarborough, and Janet Folger. The event was “moderated” by Joseph Farah, the unhinged activist who founded WorldNetDaily.
Shortly after the event was announced, the debate organizers said seven of the nine GOP candidates would participate. Shortly thereafter, sponsors lowered expectations, saying only that a “majority” would participate. By the time candidates took the stage last night, the entire Republican top-tier — Rudolph Giuliani, Fred Thompson, Mitt Romney, and John McCain — was a no-show.
Little more than asterisks in the public opinion polls, the lesser-known candidates for president tried Monday to appeal to the most conservative elements of the Republican Party in an attempt to break into top-tier status.
Hot-button social issues, especially related to abortion and homosexuality, were the most frequent questions posed to seven candidates for their party’s presidential nomination at the Values Voter debate at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts.
To get to seven, organizers had to include Alan Keyes and John Cox.
Worse, debate organizers said they had a waiting list with people anxious to attend the event, but they were probably bearing false witness -- about a third of the 2,700 seats at the Broward Center for Performing Arts were empty.
Don’t go away mad, religious right; just go away.