Bob Moser

Bob Moser is senior editor at National Journal and author of Blue Dixie: Awakening the South's Democratic Majority (Times Books). He is the former editor of The Texas Observer, senior editor/writer at The Nation, and executive editor of The American Prospect.

Recent Articles

What Would Tebow Do?

Ding! Welcome to "Ringside Seat," The American Prospect ’s daily guide to Election 2012. Each afternoon we'll send an end-of-the-day compendium of the campaign news you might have missed—but shouldn’t. Please send tips to newsletters@prospect.org . I n a weekend dominated by the latest miracle victory engineered by Tim Tebow—the quarterback who puts a happy, winning face on evangelical Christianity—a smaller one occurred on Saturday night in Des Moines: Rick Perry had a pretty good debate. He didn’t misidentify any Supreme Court justices, or conflate Iran and Iraq—and he cannily refused to shake hands on Mitt Romney’s disastrous $10,000 bet. But if Perry’s not bettin’ on that, he is counting on Christian phobias to salvage his presidential hopes in Iowa. In the most-loathed campaign ad of the season , Perry donned a Brokeback Mountain jacket and in just 30 seconds managed to invoke just about every imaginary assault on Christianity that right-wing evangelicals (and Bill O’Reilly) have...

God Help Us

Will Rick Perry’s blend of Christian-right, small-government, and pro-corporate fervor land him in the White House?

I n April, Rick Perry traveled to North Texas for a taping of televangelist James Robison’s TV show, Life Today . For six months, starting as soon as he was re-elected Texas governor in November 2010, Perry had been crisscrossing the country to promote his second book, Fed Up! , while testing the presidential waters with potential donors and conservative activists. His visit with Robison, a hellfire-breathing pastor known as “God’s hit man” (for “giving ’em so much hell nobody will ever want to go there”), had the potential to pay serious dividends. Robison had led the Christian-right campaign that helped lift Ronald Reagan to the White House in 1980, and he was re-emerging as the chief instigator of a national effort to mobilize evangelicals to defeat Barack Obama in 2012. With former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee—who left divinity school in 1976 to work for Robison—having forgone the race, the pastor was searching for a candidate the resurgent evangelical right could anoint. Perry...

Lucky Ricky

As the Orlando debate demonstrated once again, Rick Perry's greatest asset is his Republican opposition.

(AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack, Pool) Republican presidential candidate Texas Governor Rick Perry, left, points out a member of the audience to Utah Governor Jon Huntsman during a Fox News/Google debate yesterday.
For anyone who's lived -- or, rather, done time -- in Rick Perry's Texas, nothing could be more astonishing than what transpired in Orlando on Thursday night: The governor who has turned his state into an Ayn Rand fantasia with a Wild West theme looked and sounded ... humane. And as a result, thanks to the implacable absurdity of his opposition, he took another improbable step toward resembling an electable candidate for president. Assailed for being "soft" on immigration by hardass-come-lately Mitt Romney -- who set world speed records for repeating the words "magnet" and "illegals" -- Perry first stood up cowboy-straight and blustered about border security and how he's the only candidate who's actually had to deal with it. But then he defended the Texas "Dream Act" he signed and supported, giving some undocumented students in-state university tuition. And if his opponents disagree, he said -- as every Texan gasped in wonder and surprise -- "I don't think you have a heart." Had the...

Perry's Pitfalls

The Texas governor could trip on his way to the top.

(AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)
When Rick Perry opened his presidential campaign with a dazzling display of what GOP consultant Alex Castellanos called "mad cowboy disease" -- threatening Ben Bernanke with ugly treatment if he ever ventured into Texas, questioning President Obama's patriotism, denying the global-warming "hoax" -- one of the Texas governor's greatest vulnerabilities as a candidate became immediately obvious: He enjoys nothing more than raising eyebrows (and hackles) with incendiary talk. Whereas George W. Bush adopted a swaggering, plain-speaking populist persona, Perry -- the poor ol' farm boy from Paint Creek -- is the genuine article. Unless his savvy campaign guru, Dave Carney, can glue Perry's tongue to the roof of his mouth while he sleeps, the campaign is practically guaranteed to dish up an endless stream of heavily accented, overheated rhetoric. It's one reason the press, in Texas and now nationally, has always fawned over the man: As long as the subject doesn't venture into actual policy...

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