Not exactly, but close. The Republican party -- that is the old Republican Party of Eisenhower, Nixon, Ford, and Reagan -- reached out to the then fairly moderate Christian Right in the 1980s. That's how the Republicans managed to take over the South. For their part the Democrats, who dominated the South from the end of Reconstruction until the 1980s, went through a phase where they did the opposite of today's Republican move to the far right. After the Carter years, the Democrats moved too far to the left to keep the loyalty of religious rural people, not just in the South but also in the Plains states and Midwest.<quoted text>
Good post. My take is that the Republicans had to buy the religious right's votes by incorporating their beliefs into their platform. The RR has yet to understand that they are being used by the Republicans. However, it is beginning to infringe upon the ability of the Republicans to find a moderate stance and hence causing them to lose stature. They are so tied to the RR that they cannot break free and have been defined by them. Either they will move to a mainstream platform or they will become marginalized.
At the same time, a small clique of wealthy libertarians who adhered to the economic thinking of Ludwig von Mises and Murray N. Rothbard, were trying to move Republican economic thinking to the right. They would never have had a chance except that a preacher, Gary North, came up with what he called "Christian" or "Biblical" economics that was pure libertarian laissez-faire Social Darwinist economics wrapped in Bible verses. North opposes all forms of welfare, even traditional Christian charity. In North's view, poor people are poor because of their evil and indolent ways. The televangelist Pat Robertson picked North's ideas up, sanitized them, and popularized them by associating them with the traditional Puritan work ethic.
Libertarians and the Christian Right then reached an unlikely compromise. The wealthy Libertarians, who care most about economics, sacrificed their ideas about human freedom to the Christian Right's "moral" issues. The Christian Right sacrificed its traditional views about charity, social responsibility, and social justice to the Libertarians economics.
The two allies then hijacked the Republican Party -- the Christian Right working at the grass roots and the rich libertarians from the top down.