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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

T-Paw and the Teavangelicals

As a close observer of the Christian Right and its preoccupations, I try to make a habit of checking The Brody File–the blog of CBN political correspondent David Brody–now and then. Today I ran across a video of his show from last week, a feature on the “Teavangelicals” (people equally at home in the Tea Party Movement and the Christian Right) shot in Atlanta. It included interviews with Jenny Beth Martin of the Tea Party Patriots, Amy Kremer of the Tea Party Express, and the teavangelical godfather himself, Ralph Reed–all of whom live in Atlanta.
The whole thing is actually worth watching. But the most interesting moment for me was when Brody began rating a few Republican presidential candidates, on a scale of 1 to 5, in terms of their “Teavangelical” street cred. Michele Bachmann and Herman Cain, unsurprisingly, got a 5. Mitt Romney got a 1, and apparently only rated above a zero because he occasionally wears Tea Party ties (“He’s not, after all, an evangelical” noted Brody). But guess who else got a 5? Tim Pawlenty, which might come as a surprise to those who persist in thinking of him as some sort of “moderate.”
Brody interspersed a clip of a walk-and-talk interview he did with the former Minnesota governor recently, wherein he quizzed him about his appeal to Tea Party folk and evangelicals. Not missing a beat, T-Paw rattled off a list of all the GOP’s factions (including libertarians, economic conservatives and national-security conservatives in addition to evangelicals and Tea Folk) and said he appealed equally to them all. (Note that “moderates” didn’t make the grade.) This is clearly his calling card as a candidate, and he sure can stay on message, even if it means passing up a chance to do some more specific pandering.

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