Michael Scanlon: How to "bring out the wackos"
Here's something that should at least temporarily replace "poor, uneducated, and easy to command" as the most outrageous characterization of conservative Christians.
Salon.com reports from the U.S. Senate Indian Affairs Committee hearings on the practices of lobbyists Jack Abramoff, Ralph Reed, and Michael Scanlon.
Weblog doesn't have time to go into all the details of the investigation here. If you need a background briefing, Wikipedia has a pretty good one. What Weblog is more interested in is how sure Scanlon (and presumably the others, including former Christian Coalition president Reed) were that they could convince conservative Christians that they were opposing gambling by protecting gambling interests.
Indian tribes wanted their casinos protected from competition, such as state lotteries and casinos on other tribes' land. So the lobbyists decided to mobilize Christians against the proposals to expand local gambling.
Here's Salon's Michael Scherer:
Consider one memo highlighted in a Capitol Hill hearing Wednesday that Scanlon, a former aide to Rep. Tom DeLay, R-Texas, sent the Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana to describe his strategy for protecting the tribe's gambling business. In plain terms, Scanlon confessed the source code of recent Republican electoral victories: Target religious conservatives, distract everyone else, and then railroad through complex initiatives.
The brilliance of this strategy was twofold: Not only would most voters not know about an initiative to protect Coushatta gambling revenues, but religious "wackos" could be tricked into supporting gambling at the Coushatta casino even as they thought they were opposing it.
The use of the term "wackos" was ...1