More Notes from Ralph Reed's Jamboree

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Sept. 22 2011 4:53 PM

More Notes from Ralph Reed's Jamboree

ORLANDO, Fla. -- The most interesting thing about the F&F cattle call so far is the clear delineation between who's expecting to run for national office next year, and who isn't. Mitt Romney, who came close to winning the state in 2008, gave a speech that variated not at all from his usual stump. No special religious notes. No tales of the founders communicating with the divine. A lot of economy talk, and the now-familiar -- and extremely photo-ready -- chestnut about the origins of the Pledge of Allegiance.

David Weigel David Weigel

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

"We're the only country where people put their hands on their hearts when they sing the national anthem," he explained, demonstrating as cameras whirred and clicked.


His lower-tier rivals attempted to check more boxes with the crowd. "We are Gideon's army that is coming together!" said Michele Bachmann, who moved around the stage (if she was taller, she said, she'd use the podium) and told stories about the divine inspirations of the founders. Ron Paul started with the story of Isaiah, reminding the crowd of what God told the prophet about the "remnant" that can be activated by faith.

"The greatest example of this 'remnant' idea was what happened with the Soviet system," said Paul, going into the life and battles of Russian dissidents. Too subtle? Fine: "We ought to obey the Bible on the monetary issue!"

Rick Santorum made the pitch he always makes to religious conservatives: I've walked the walk, and the other guys just took pledges. "Look at what bullets and arrows they've taken for the causes they believe in," he said.

There's a difference, though, between the religious rhetoric that a presidential candidate will use, and what a state politician will use. Florida Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll, an African-American elected in 2010, barely talked about anything but religion. Among her applause lines:

- "They attacked the Passion of the Christ!"

- A secular minority trying to take religion out of public life was what "the dictators and the socialists did."

- Too many politicians put their faith in scientists, but "there's nothing a scientist can make that is exactly what God creates!"

- After an accident, "the only reason I survived was that God heard my profession of committment to him."

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 


Sports Nut

Grandmaster Clash

One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.

The Extraordinary Amicus Brief That Attempts to Explain the Wu-Tang Clan to the Supreme Court Justices

Amazon Is Officially a Gadget Company. Here Are Its Six New Devices.

Do the Celebrities Whose Nude Photos Were Stolen Have a Case Against Apple?

The NFL Explains How It Sees “the Role of the Female”

Future Tense

Amazon Is Now a Gadget Company


How to Order Chinese Food

First, stop thinking of it as “Chinese food.”

Scotland Is Inspiring Secessionists Across America

The Country Where Women Aren’t Allowed to Work Once They’re 36 Weeks’ Pregnant

The XX Factor
Sept. 18 2014 11:40 AM The Country Where Women Aren’t Allowed to Work Once They’re 36 Weeks’ Pregnant
Sept. 17 2014 5:10 PM The Most Awkward Scenario in Which a Man Can Hold a Door for a Woman
  News & Politics
Sept. 18 2014 3:19 PM In Defense of Congress Leaving Town Without a New War Vote
Sept. 18 2014 5:09 PM Three CEOs Step Down in 30 Minutes
Sept. 18 2014 4:15 PM Reactions to a Sketch of Chelsea Manning Reveal Transmisogyny
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 18 2014 3:30 PM How Crisis Pregnancy Centers Trick Women
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Sept. 18 2014 1:23 PM “It’s Not Every Day That You Can Beat the World Champion” An exclusive interview with chess grandmaster Fabiano Caruana.
Brow Beat
Sept. 18 2014 4:33 PM The Top 5 Dadsplaining Moments From The Cosby Show
Future Tense
Sept. 18 2014 5:43 PM Oracle’s Larry Ellison Steps Down, Will Be Replaced by Hurd’n’Catz
  Health & Science
Sept. 18 2014 3:35 PM Do People Still Die of Rabies? And how do you know if an animal is rabid?
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.