A reporter from the National Review is throwing some cold water on the Christian right’s adoration of Duck Dynasty patriarch Phil Robertson, telling them that this is really the last guy they should be elevating to the status of unofficial spokesperson and free speech martyr.
Phil Robertson is an embarrassment, not a hero, and the socially conservative movement needs to distance itself from him immediately.
But none of this changes the fact that Phil Robertson is an ignorant buffoon, and that many of his comments — despite the fact that he does have every right to make them — are not ones that anyone should ever want to be associated with.
Now, before you start composing your hate mail — think about it. Do you really want a dude who is going to publicly ruminate about the gruesome rape, murder, and castration of a man and his “little atheist wife and two little atheist daughters” to be an official face of your #brand?
And he is an official face. He spoke at this year’s CPAC, where he also received a free-speech award named after conservative legend Andrew Breitbart. As for his most recent controversial comments, he made them during a speech at a prayer breakfast, and the very fact that he was given the role of “speaker” suggests that he’s viewed as a model of the Christian faith. He’s an icon — but why?
He was also a speaker at last year’s Republican Leadership Conference, so yes he’s being welcomed into the halls of Republican power and feted as a hero. And while all of this is correct, the reporter doesn’t mention that this is all part of a disturbing trend in the GOP to mainstream the most extreme elements of the far right. The political leaders of the party, the professionals that run it, don’t want to do that. They’d like to make sure it doesn’t happen. But the GOP made a deal with the Tea Party devil and they can’t put the toothpaste back into the tube now.