First, their GPS must be broken because if the GOP thinks the Faith and Freedom Coalition’s agenda is going to get it in the White House they’re nuts. The country is moving away from Reed and company on gay rights (think the GOP would do a repeat of 2004 and put marriage bans on the ballot in key states?) and does not want to overturn Roe v. Wade.
Second, E.W. Jackson is not leaving the Virginia ticket on his is own. He whipped up the crowd on Saturday and once a candidate sees that it is hard to get them to walk away from it (even if he is on his way to getting crushed).
Third, foreign policy is going to be a big fight in the GOP primary. Like the start of any great boxing match here in round one the fighters are just feeling each other out. But you can already see the makings of a Rand Paul/Marco Rubio clash.
On Saturday you could see how deep the division might end up being. Neocons like John Bolton were in full saber rattling mode and Sarah Palin sounded a note of caution regarding Syria when she said “I say let Allah sort it out.”
Of course she did wrap her statement around her feelings that Obama is incompetent (so if a Republican president were to do the same thing she could just as easily support it). Palin’s comments do show that the non-interventionist streak in the GOP, outside of the Paul clan, is probably just a pose for most. Politicians like Palin will quickly go back to rallying around big military spending and foreign policy adventurism when they’re back in the White House (much the same way Democrats will go back to supporting civil liberties when we have a Republican in the White House).
Finally, the candidates can ask for God’s mercy as they remind themselves they have three more Road to Majority conferences to go to before election day 2016.