... but NOT in the way that you might think, or the way most people mean it when they say such things.
Oh, sure, there is a far right core of seriously over the top Christians in the Pat Robertson vein... but they're generally only really an issue in the presidential primaries, and about 20% of the Republican house races.
... of course the Democrat and media (but I repeat myself) portrayals of Republicans as a whole through the lens of these margins is another issue entirely...
No, by the religious right, I mean those who view their political ideology, as a religion (whether they admit it or not)...
Of course, many of those happen to also belong to the OTHER religious right...
What I'm talking about though, is the current gestalt of the right, that somehow, opposition to the "bad" things that democrats do, is the most important thing possible, and that politicians should be judged by how much they oppose/hate/fight against democrats in general, and Obama (and ObamaCare) in particular.
It's their version of "justification by faith", and the harder they "fight" the more they've proved their faith.
Well, when it comes to politics, I believe in justification by acts... SUCCESSFUL good works...
Obamacare and the debt ceiling are really great examples of the split on this issue. Particularly obvious in this, is Ted Cruz, who has proclaimed his anti-obamacare faith most righteously... while not actually doing a damn thing that could possibly stop it, nevermind repeal it... and thus accreted himself all the funding of these idiots who have decided that the test of a politican must be their anti-obama purity.
He's not being a senator... he's trying to lock up the Mike Huckabee/Rick Santorum vote for president a couple years early.
Hijacking the entire government to "try to stop Obamacare", after the law has passed and it has passed supreme court challenges (by the way, Roberts made it pretty clear, there is a lot more of Obamacare that they could, probably would, strike down, if the proper arguments were made and properly supported. The whole "this is a tax" issue hasn't even been addressed, never mind a dozen other issues that were not brought to the notice of the court during the one big Obamacare challenge to actually make it there thusfar) is IDIOTIC.
It's the law... they already lost, multiple times... You can't just "defund" something to try to make it not be the law.
You may be able to successfully de-fund or delay something, but it's still the law, and eventually you run out of tricks to stop it.
The way to fight Obamacare at this point is to allow it to fail, as it undoubtedly will... kill everything but the good parts (and by the way, there ARE good parts... some very good things that should have been done a long time ago... and in fact should go further. The state by state exchanges for example, are a LOT better than the way things were done before... but don't go far enough. We should end the individual state by state regulation of health insurance coverage in this country; particularly the laws that make it illegal to offer or buy health insurance across state lines; and create a true, open and transparent, national market for health coverage); and lay the blame for the bad parts squarely where it belongs.
Politics, are not about purity; they're about strategy, and tactics. The people pushing this ideological view aren't concerned with either... These idiots (and that's what they are, idiots; or those taking advantage of idiots) are either convinced that their utter rightness will just carry their side to victory, or they don't care about victory at all, so long as they are "right".
Well, in politics you can be "right" and lose, or you can be smart, and realistic, and win... Which would you prefer?
Hell... some of these purity test types actually believe it's better to lose, than to "compromise on their principles"; both as a moral thing (and yes, I mean that literally... not ethical, moral), and as a strategy. They believe that the utter awfulness of anything other than their "right" idea will simply accelerate the collapse of the country, which will then, finally, put them in power so they can fix everything with their "rightness".
Meanwhile, they're turning the rest of their own party against them (and reducing that 70% of the parties fundraising), AND the entirety of the center; and they're firing up the base of the left, and increasing the lefts fundraising.
Which they either don't know... or don't care about.
I haven't actually heard any of them say "the ends justify the means", but they're certainly living it.
They're idiots. Even the really intelligent ones... They're delusional.
The republican party of the 2010s, is turning itself into the democratic party of the 1970s... or the Labour party of the 2000s... Unable to actually do a damn thing, and dooming themselves to lose; because the vocal minority within their party has just enough power (funding, and safety against reprisal or electoral challenge) to prevent the remainder from actually succeeding, if they do anything other than go along completely with that minority... Which means preventing them from succeeding at all, because THE OTHER PARTY STILL EXISTS... and has enough power to prevent anything that vocal minority would agree too.
This whole government shutdown is very popular among the purity test crowd... the right as a religion crowd... and horribly unpopular with everyone else.
It's a DISASTER for the conservative cause with the general public; and both low information center, and high information voters across the whole political spectrum. It's only popular among the right as a religion folks, and low information voters on the right.
And it's going to result in electoral disaster for the Republican party as republicans who AREN'T in low information right districts, or safe republican districts, get destroyed in the next election.
These guys doing this... they are already representing either low information republican districts, or extremely safe republican districts (usually both). They don't have to worry about losing the center to the democrats. It's to their advantage to pretend to be as far right as they possibly can...
... hell... they might even believe what they're saying and doing... Stranger things have happened...
Meanwhile, they increase their own far right turnout, and their own fundraising... At the expense of the 30% of Republicans who actually NEED the center, and who NEED that fundraising to fight against the Democrats for REAL.
Napoleon had a maxim.
Never interrupt your enemy while he is making a mistake.
And that's exactly what these few Republicans have done.
They're making Obama, and the democrats, look GOOD, not bad. They're making the Republicans look BAD...
The Democrats were doing a very good job of killing their midterm electoral chances, all by themselves... By creating a purity test, and challenge from the right for about 30% of republican senators and house members, THEY ARE GIVING THE ELECTIONS BACK TO THE DEMOCRATS.