Pat Robertson is always good as an internet punchline, as his recent comments about the Oklahoma tornadoes and male infidelity have shown. But what the jokes at his expense highlight is that Robertson is now famous for being nutty, not for being influential. At some point, the 83-year-old televangelist moved from being at the center of power to a fringe player. Despite the attention he still gets from a bemused media, he is a dinosaur.
Twenty five years ago, Robertson was a key player in GOP politics. He ran for president in 1988, and he wielded tremendous influence on the 1992 Republican convention. The political arm that Robertson created in the Christian Coalition flooded churches with voter guides, and its executive director Ralph Reed was hailed by the media as a brilliant political strategist. The Republican tsunami in the 1994 Congressional elections confirmed Robertson’s status as a power broker in GOP politics. Along with the Moral Majority’s Jerry Falwell, Robertson can take credit for politicizing evangelicals and demonstrating the power they can have at the ballot box.
But that was then. Evangelical influence in the GOP remains strong, but it’s not as powerful as it once was. His endorsement means nothing. Just ask Rudy Giuliani. The Christian Coalition is a shell of its former self, and Ralph Reed has been casting around for a comeback for years. The success of marriage equality on the ballot in 2012 proves that the religious right can’t turn out the vote the way it did just eight years ago. And young evangelicals are more likely to favor marriage equality than their elders.
All of which points to one inescapable fact: Pat Robertson has lost. Yes, he created a huge media empire that continues to promote the same offensive drivel that it has for decades. The law group Robertson formed, the American Center for Law and Justice, will continue to file harassing lawsuits (although a lot of its energy seems to go into profitable charities controlled by its head, Jay Sekulow). Robertson will always be a threat, even if it’s a shrinking one. But the days of Robertson the king maker are long gone. The media can help keep his name alive, but they can’t change the truth: Pat has outlived his time.
They are extinct, why isn’t he?
The rise of freely available information has consigned these religious nutters to the dustbin. Not a moment too soon.
Their death throes are sad, shame they can’t follow the stellar example of the man in France, that’s a way they should all go.
I remember fondly how he said that God would send a hurricane to Orlando to punish it for observing Gay Pride or something. He backtracked a bit. God had a different idea, apparently. The very next hurricane hit Virginia Beach, where Robertson’s operations are located.
Perhaps he’ll take a cue from that other dinosaur Dominique Venner, and do the world a favor.
Every day, old bigoted white men and women are dying. With them go their antiquated thoughts and ideals about gays, non-white folks, and women. The young folks aren’t havin’ it, so with every passing day, things get a little bit better. Hurry on to heaven, bigots, hurry on!
Caleb in SC
@buffy123: Amen! This observation is also why the GOP is going down. As old, white people die off, the GOP is losing its most conservative members.
He’s gotten whackier – who imagined that was even possible – with the passage of time. I really wonder if the dude has dementia.
As Robertson and others like him die off a new and more just world is emerging. I teach high school in a rural desert town in Southern California. I recently gave my students a writing prompt that asked them what they feel so strongly about that they would go out and protest for it. Most of them said either gay rights or gay marriage.
Pat Robertson is such a dinosaur that Jesus rode him!
I wish this conservative, prejudice tard would just die already
A relic of a dying age this one.
I liked what DavidSanford77 said >>
Maybe Pat Robertson needs to read his Bible a little more often and take what it says a little more seriously. After all, according to the Bible, the words we say are a big deal to God. Jesus Christ said: “But I tell you that people will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken” (Matthew 12:36). Sadly, if there’s one verse that’s missing in Pat Robertson’s Bible, it’s probably that one.
I say maybe Pat should read “The Screw Tape Letters” by CS Lewis, because it looks like he’s working for Wormwood.
That is an insult to dinosaurs , they were magnificent fascinating beasts
Dinosaurs are dangerous.
@Caleb in SC: The GOP consists of the corporate elite plus whatever populist haters or scared and hysteric people they can attract. The corporations will continue to set the agenda and get their way no matter who wins elections. The Democrats will never be able to govern because the Republicans have gerrymandered the districts to guarantee control of the House. The corporate elite will be willing to give in on social issues, but never on the economic issues. The Republican Party is not done for, it is more powerful than ever.
With him and those like him, “The many roads to Hell are paved with good intentions.”
Well, they always morph a new one, and it seems the old guard goes into shot calling mode to codify the crazy for the masses. You’ve got Osteen, and Warren at the podium, Koch com working overtime with all of the data from orgs like FRC to Biola university. You name an evangelical org. and there’s an employee there trolling right after every one of us (well, bots and snooping apps etc. are also used of course). The strange thing to me, is many of them aren’t even evil. They just made some bad choices trying to be a part of something. That something turns out to be un-American to a pathetic degree, so it’s sad.
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