Bon voyage, Jerry

Think the influence of right-wing Christians on today's Republican Party is overstated? Think again, buddy.

First, consider what ur-conservative Barry Goldwater had to say about Jerry Falwell when Falwell urged "good Christians" to oppose Sandra Day O"'Connor's Supreme Court nomination in 1981: "I think every good Christian ought to kick Falwell's ass.*"

Contrast that to the gushing that ensued among top GOP presidential candidates after Falwell's death was announced yesterday.
John McCain: "Reverend Falwell was a great man. He built a great university and got millions of people involved in the political process. ... I'm particularly grateful personally, that Reverend Falwell reached out to me in spirit of Christian reconciliation. We healed our differences and worked together for the good of the country."

Rudy Giuliani: "We all have great respect for him."

Mitt Romney: Falwell was "an American who built and led a movement based on strong principles and strong faith."
Maybe the Big Three believe this bunk; maybe they don't. It's still pathetic. What Falwell really deserves is the send-off offered today by Slate's Timothy Noah--who, after reviewing some of Falwell's more objectionable statements, offered this: "Rest in peace, you blowhard."

*This quotation is from today's Globe; other variations have Goldwater urging good Christians to "kick Falwell in the ass.

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