Last night, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow explored some of Rick Perry’s associations with radical social conservatives like the American Family Association and Rev. John Hagee — the televangelist who believes that Katrina was God’s punishment to New Orleans for hosting a gay pride parade and and has said that “Hitler was a hunter” sent by God in order to get “the Jewish people” to “come back to the land of Israel.”
As the Daily Morning News’ Wayne Slater explained, Perry — who is hosting an anti-gay prayer meeting sponsored by the AFA in August — has courted the radical right for years and understands that his audience “will see nothing wrong with the comments made by the American Family Association”:
SLATER: That large constituency of social conservatives and religious conservatives who will be important in early states like Iowa, South Carolina and Florida, will find this a very appealing argument will find their attitudes and associations with Christian conservative groups like the American Family Foundation just fine.
If Perry decides to run for the 2012 presidential nomination, he may decide to pursue President George W. Bush’s strategy of appealing to powerful religious conservatives for political support. He’s already courting Bush-era figures. John Hagee, for instance, held “much sway within the Bush administration” and was just “one of a number of evangelical pastors, social conservative” that “had a heavy influence on some of the White House policies.” In fact, when he was first running for president, Bush “enlisted Hagee to recruit other pastors to sign on to the Bush campaign effort.”