2012 Presidential Hopefuls: God Game is On

ABC News is reporting that Michele Bachmann, Tea Party religious right heroine, wants to run for president.

That would mean that, despite some talk from Mitch Daniels about a “truce” in the “culture wars,” that the Republican presidential primary field will be crowded with candidates who want to talk about God, the Christian nation, the divinity of the Constitution, and “Judeo-Christian values.”

The field will be heavy with hardcore culture warriors: aside from Bachmann, Sarah Palin, Mike Huckabee, dark horse Rick Santorum, and culture warrior-when convenient Mitt Romney are among the candidates.

Here’s an early look at what these Republican contenders might do to win the hearts of Iowa’s social conservatives, from last year’s Values Voters Summit:

[T]o win over this crowd, the presidential hopefuls — and tea party king- and queenmakers like Michele Bachmann and Jim DeMint — have to know how to preach it. That was something that some speakers this morning — DeMint and Bachmann, as well as Mike Huckabee and Mike Pence, had down. They all tapped into the “founding principles,” “Judeo-Christian” foundation, and other code, but they did more. They wept; they told stories about soldiers and family members; they evoked imagery of mountains climbed and enemies vanquished.

Mitt Romney, though? Not so much. Speaking directly after Pence, who since the inaugural Values Voters Summit in 2006, has always invoked the language of the religious right base, Romney was at a disadvantage. He was boring, technocratic, and business-like, and the audience wasn’t buying his claim to be on their side on abortion and gay marriage.

In contrast, Huckabee knew how to play the big-bad government card, claiming that the crisis we face is not “fiscal,” but “moral” — in other words, if everyone was just good and “Judeo-Christian” we wouldn’t need financial regulation. (Good luck with that!) See, for Huckabee, if people were moral, then there wouldn’t be juvenile delinquency and we wouldn’t spend government money on programs for juvenile delinquents. It’s a common refrain on the right now — especially as the religious right — that economic prosperity flows from everyone falling in lock-step with their “Judeo-Christian values.”