Maddow paved the way by discussing the irrelevance of the Iowa caucuses and straw poll, especially to Perry, who has other plans:
The most interesting thing in presidential politics right now is Governor Rick Perry of Texas. The first presidential nominating process is, of course, the Iowa caucuses, which were held in January last time around. They are set for February this time around. And the Iowa caucuses are designed to capitalize, literally to capitalize – to make money, sorry, Iowa politics in order to capitalize to make money off all the candidates’ early attention to Iowa, also hold the Ames, Iowa, straw poll- a fake, very unscientific poll that they encourage candidates to spend a ton of money to try to win, to supposedly give those candidates momentum heading into the caucuses, to supposedly give the momentum heading into the rest of the primaries.
It’s a racket, frankly, particularly the straw poll, but even the whole idea of Iowa’s out-sized influence and whether or not their caucus is all that important. It’s not that important most years, just ask President Huckabee who won the Iowa Republican caucuses last time around or President Romney, who won the straw poll last time around. In Republican politics, Iowa just doesn’t matter that much anymore, but the beltway thinks it does. And so, the Beltway is all excited about the straw poll this weekend. And like a snake eating its own tails, the Beltway’s interest gives it whatever interest it does have, which justifies the Beltway’s interest which – and so on and so on….
But this year, there is a problem in Iowa coverage, which is that the front runner for the Republican nomination, Mitt Romney, is not doing any campaigning for the straw poll. He’s not really trying to win it, which means him losing the straw poll wouldn’t really mean anything because he didn’t try to win it, and him winning the straw poll wouldn’t really mean anything either since he’s the frontrunner anywhere. Also, to the extent that the Republican race right now is about who can beat Mitt Romney, about who has any chance of being the nominee other than him, well, Texas governor Rick Perry just screwed dup Iowa coverage for this weekend too. Governor Rick Perry is not technically running for president yet, and he’s not one of the candidates in the straw poll. But nationally, he is polling second to Mitt Romney in some polls. That was true last month in polling from Gallup and it’s true this month in a brand new poll from McClatchy/Marist.
When nearly every other candidate in the race will be working for a good showing at the straw poll on Saturday, and some hope that they could win Iowa and some coverage thereof – Rick Perry has chosen the day of the straw poll as the day he’ll start his unofficial campaign with speeches and appearances that day in South Carolina and in New Hampshire, and then another round of “I’m running for president” events on Sunday, the following day, in Iowa. It has seemed like Rick Perry was about to get into this race for awhile now – why is he finally doing it? Why is he finally getting in?
Her answer to that question is one the MSM has proven all too uninterested in:
MADDOW: Part of it maybe the opportunity to stick it to all the other wannabe Romney challengers who really need good news coverage of their campaigns in Iowa in order to become contenders – news coverage that Rick Perry has an opportunity to block frankly by jumping in this weekend and stealing all the headlines. But the other may have cleared Rick Perry’s campaign for takeoff here is that it is only this week that Rick Perry has successfully put behind him his big stadium prayer event in Texas. This past Saturday in Houston, Governor Perry less than half-filled Reliant Stadium for a prayer rally – a Christians-only prayer rally event – to ask God to take over projects like fixing the economy.
GOV. RICK PERRY (R), TEXAS: I’m all too aware of government’s limitations when it comes to fixin’ things that are spiritual in nature. That’s where prayer comes in, and we need it more than ever. With the economy in trouble, communities in crisis, and people adrift in a sea of moral relativism, we need God’s help.
This makes you wonder if Perry thinks droughts are spiritual in nature. If so, doesn’t that make the droughts he tried – unsuccessfully – to pray away, a sign of God’s disapproval of Texas?
MADDOW: Governor Perry invited governors in the country to come to his stadium prayer event in Houston. In the end, only Sam Brownback of Kansas showed up in person. But the political risk here for Governor Perry was not about attendance at his event. It was not even about even seeming overtly to mix the roles of church and state – whatever you think about that issue, that frankly, is a constitutional conflation that Republican candidates have been long-delighted to commit. No, the risk for Texas Governor Rick Perry’s stadium prayer even this past week, the risk for his presidential campaign, was not that he held a stadium prayer event. It was that the particular stadium prayer event he held was with these guys.
C. PETER-WAGNER, ONE-TIME “THE RESPONSE” ENDORSER: Japan, as a nation, is one of the nations of the world which has consciously, openly invited national demonization. The sun goddess visits him in person and has sexual intercourse with the emperor.
BRYAN FISCHER, AMERICAN FAMILY ASSOCIATION: Permits, in my judgment, should not be granted to build even one more mosque in the United States of America, not one.
MIKE BICKLE, “THE RESPONSE” ENDORSER: The harlot of Babylon is preparing the nations to receive the antichrist. The harlot of Babylon will be a religion of affirmation, toleration, no absolutes, a counterfeit justice movement.
WAGNER: So the emperor becomes one flesh with the sun goddess, and that’s an invitation for the sun goddess to continue to demonize the um, the whole nation. Since the night that that ended the present emperor slept with the sun goddess, the stock market in Japan has gone down, never come up since.
BICKLE: I believe that one of the main pastors as a forerunner to the harlot movement, it’s not the harlot movement yet, is Oprah. She is winsome, she is kind, she is reasonable, she is utterly deceived – utterly deceived. A classy woman, a cool woman, a charming woman, but has a spirit of deception, and she’s one of the clear pastors, forerunners, to the harlot movement.
JOHN HAGEE, “THE RESPONSE” ENDORSER: God sent a hunter. A hunter is someone who comes with a gun, and he forces you. Hitler was a hunter. How did it happen? Because God allowed it to happen. Why did it happen? Because God said my top priority for the Jewish people is to get them to come back to the land of Israel.
FISCHER: Hitler discovered he could not get straight soldiers to be savage and brutal and vicious enough to carry out his orders but that homosexual soldiers basically had no limits to the savagery and brutality they will willing to inflict on whoever Hitler sent them after. So he surrounded himself, virtually all the storm troopers, the brown shirts, were male homosexuals.
JOHN BENEFIEL, “THE RESPONSE” ENDORSER: You know, there’s a statue in New York harbor called the Statue of Liberty. You know where we got it from? French Freemasons. Listen folks, that is an idol, a demonic idol right there in the middle of New York harbor.
FISCHER: Counterfeit religions, alternative religions to Christianity have no First Amendment right to the free exercise of religion.
CINDY JACOBS, “THE RESPONSE” ENDORSER: What happens when a nation makes a decision that is against God’s principles? Well, often what happens is that nature itself will begin to talk to us. For instance, violent storms, flooding.
HAGEE: I believe that New Orleans had a level of sin that was offensive to God and they are – uh, were recipients of the judgment of God for that. The newspaper carried the story in our local area that was not carried nationally, that there was to be a homosexual parade there on the Monday that Katrina came.
JACOBS: The blackbirds fell to the ground in Beebe, Arkansas; well, the governor of Arkansas’ name is Beebe, and also, there was something put out of Arkansas called Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell by a former governor, this was proposed by Bill Clinton. And so, could there be a connection? It could be, because we have said it’s OK for people who commit these kinds of acts to be recognized, you know, in our military for the first time in our history. There is a potential that there is something that actually happened in the land where 100,000 drum fish died and also where these birds just fell out of the air.
MADDOW: Those are some of the religious figures with whom Rick Perry did his stadium prayer event this past weekend. And while many of their statements and their views seem eyebrow raising for being associated with this supposedly mainstream presidential campaign, I think it’s worth taking seriously why there are all these eyebrow raising statements with all these people associated with the Rick Perry event. These are not just one-off comments by these individual pastors where they had a moment where they said something that sounded strange. A lot of these pastors allied with Rick Perry, they say things that do maybe sound strange, but they are saying things that also sound a lot like each other. There are some patterns among these folks. For example,
WAGNER: There is a spirit called a harlot.
BICKLE: The harlot Babylon.
WAGNER: She has fornication.
BICKLE: The harlot Babylon will have a religion of affirmation, toleration, no absolutes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Libertas is also called the freedom goddess.
BICKLE: She is winsome, she is kind, she is reasonable, she is utterly deceived.
UNIDENFIED MALE: False goddess.
BICKLE: Utterly deceived.
WAGNER: Sun goddess. The goddess of liberty, Japan, as a nation, is one of the nations of the world which has consciously, openly invited national demonization.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We practice idolatry in America in ways that we don’t even recognize.
JACOBS: What happens when a nation makes a decision that is against God’s principles?
WAGNER: The stock market in Japan has gone down.
JACOBS: Violent storms, flooding.
MADDOW: If you are noticing an argumentative pattern here, there’s a reason for that. According to this month’s extensively reported cover story in “The Texas Observer,” the reason you’re hearing thematic similarities from all these pastors from the Rick Perry event is because many of them are part of a little-known, very specific religious and political movement that has a name. It’s called the New Apostolic Reformation. The main idea of the New Apostolic Reformation theology is that they are modern day prophets and apostles. They believe they have a direct line to God. C Peter Wagner, the sort of founder of this movement, wrote in 2006 book, that the first age of the apostles occurred just after Jesus was resurrected a couple thousand years ago. The second apostolic age, he says, started, in his words, around the year 2001. And the new apostles for the second apostolic age are, of course, C. Peter Wagner and the other people who are in this movement.
For more on the ties 2012’s Republican candidates have to dominionism, see Leah Burton’s excellent article here on PoliticusUSA – and continue to read below)
MADDOW: Unlike rapture-ready evangelicals who think the end of the world upon us now and it’s time to get ready and fast, the New Apostolic Reformation guys believe that the only way the world can end is if they clear the way for it. And the way they’re going to clear the way for it is by infiltrating and taking over politics and government, taking over what they describe actually as the “Seven Mountains” of society. The seven are family, religion, arts and entertainment, media, education, business, and government. They want to take over all of those things. They are making plans to take over all those things, and that will clear the way for rapture, bingo.
“The Texas Observer” identified more than half a dozen New Apostolic Reformationists who have also been listed as organizers or endorsers of Rick Perry’s stadium prayer event this past weekend, including Mike Bickle, who, you heard earlier, thinks Oprah is the forerunner to the antichrist, the harlot movement thing. He’s listed as a national endorser of “The Response” event. John Benefiel, who you heard thinks the Statue of Liberty is a demonic idol. He’s also listed as a national endorser. Cindy Jacobs who you heard say that she thinks “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” caused birds to fall out of the sky in Arkansas. She’s listed as a national endorser as well. And C. Peter Wagner himself is the Japan stock market never recovered from the sex with the sun goddess thing, she used to be listed as a national endorser. But the night before the event, we could no longer find him on the Web site anymore.
Rick Perry did not just do a prayer event in Texas that was a no non-Christians allowed. Rick Perry did a prayer event hat involved a specific Christian political movement, a movement that has political goals and wants a political vehicle that seems to want a Rick Perry presidential candidacy to be their political vehicle. The “Texas Observer” begins its story about these new, self-styled apostles with the story about a visit two of them paid to Governor Perry in Austin in 2009. Quote: “The pastors told Perry of God’s grand plan for Texas. A chain of powerful prophecies had proclaimed that Texas was “The Prophet State” anointed by God to lead the United States into revival and Godly government. And the governor would have a special role.
“The New Apostolic Reformation movement appears to have chosen Rick Perry as their candidate, as their vehicle for their political goal, which is, of course, you know, world domination, blah, blah, blah.” Rick Perry is announcing the presidential start of his campaign this weekend in New Hampshire and South Carolina and in Iowa, after hosting a stadium prayer event with all these folks and frankly getting away with no one in the Beltway media reporting on who these folks are or why they just did the stadium prayer event with Rick Perry.
Which, again, must be why God sent the droughts to Texas, to show his approval for Rick Perry, whose attempts to pray away the drought didn’t work? And Rick Perry’s judgment also comes into question – what exactly is the role of government compared to “things that are spiritual in nature”? He doesn’t seem able to tell the difference, based on his record so far.
Maddow does an excellent job, as always, of exposing what needs to be exposed to the light of day. But I’d continue to stress that Perry seems to be nothing more than a rank – a very rank – opportunist, as do the members of the New Apostolic Reformation; the latter for latching onto a means to an end – the White House – and the latter for latching onto a means to an end – the White House.
It is reminiscent of the support given the fledgling Nazi Party by Germany’s industrialists and later, the army. They used each other quite enthusiastically, and that didn’t turn out well for Germany, or the world. But Germany didn’t have nuclear weapons; the United States does. And the nuclear football would be in the hands of a man who is the tool of a group that believes they have to “force God’s hand” to bring about the rapture.
Not a pretty picture.