Before Texas governor Rick Perry became this week's Great White Hope for the Republican presidential nomination, he organized a prayer-fest in Houston called "The Response" for this Saturday.
There are a lot of questions associated with the event. Should Perry be inviting gay-baiting hate groups like the American Family Association (AFA)? Sure Perry wants to identify himself with the religious right, but senior AFA researcher Bryan Fischer has publicly referred to gay rights activists as "Nazis" and and is rather sympathetic to the ideas of the Norwegian shooter Anders Beiring Breivik. Perry also invited John Hagee of "the Holocaust was a good thing because it brings us closer to the Apocalypse" fame.
Likewise, wouldn't identifying with the religious right undermine Perry with independents and moderates if he won the GOP nomination? According to Alex Castellanos:
"One thing Republicans are going to demand this election is a candidate who can beat Barack Obama . . . The election is all about him. A candidate who establishes his identity on the fringe, talking about social and religious issues, when the economy is going over a cliff, risks marginalizing himself, becoming unacceptable to independents and unelectable. That would be the kiss of death."
And Castellanos knows extremism, having made his career by producing the racist "White Hands" ad for Jesse Helms during Helms' last Senate campaign.Too bad Helms himself is dead. He would have been a logical choice for Perry's program.
Another problem is that Perry booked 71,000 seat Reliant stadium but only has 8,000 reservations. Nothing says "epic fail" like 63,000 empty seats.
But the biggest question hanging over Rick Perry's Day of Prayer is whether Lady Gaga will perform.
The statement below certainly makes it seem like Perry is teasing a Gaga performance.
"There will be folks who think it's [politics], that there are other motivations. But it's not about me," Perry said. "It's about Him."
That's the exact same terminology of divinity that Lady Gaga references in "Born This Way."
"It doesn't matter if you love him/or capital H-I-M."
Certainly that can't be an accident.
Perhaps Perry had an inspiration while singing along with Gaga's lyrics (what rising politician doesn't think "you're on the right track baby, you were born this way.) and decided to put out an invitation to the hottest singer on the planet.Of course, there's also the odd chance that Rick Perry has become a better person, come to an acceptance of gay marriage, and invited Lady Gaga to perform as a way of manifesting his new enthusiasm for marriage freedom.
Now THAT would be a sensational way to launch a presidential campaign.
Clever of Perry to keep it a secret so long.