Many Republicans and conservative leaders regarded Falwell as a liability. During the 1984 race, a Democratic campaign aide told Time: "Jerry Falwell is a no-risk whipping boy." Ed Rollins, who ran President Reagan's re-election campaign, later agreed: "Jerry Falwell, no question, is a very high negative." Politicians also noticed that Moral Majority was mainly a direct-mail operation and had never built much of a grassroots organization. With ebbing support from the political world, Falwell quit as president of the group in 1987. It folded two years later.Yeah, we should all be onto that trick by now.
Since then, the religious right has had a complex political history. For a time, the Christian Coalition loomed as a powerful successor; and it eventually crumbled. Although conservative Christians took up a key role in Republican politics, they were far from monolithic, having a variety of leaders and viewpoints. Their activists came to see Falwell as a small part of their heritage, if they thought of him at all.
Liberals, however, did not forget Falwell. As a political consultant once advised his fellow Democrats: "Find your candidate a nasty enemy. Tell people they are threatened in some way. . . . It's a cheap trick, but the simplest."
May 28, 2007
"Find your candidate a nasty enemy. Tell people they are threatened in some way. . . . It's a cheap trick, but the simplest."
Politics professor John J. Pitney Jr. writes about the way Jerry Falwell served the interests of liberals: