The Real Religious Right, pt. 1

While the Religious Right's influence may or may not be waning, it's clear that Christian conservatives have a disproportionate amount of influence within the Republican party. Republicans must seek the blessing of Religious Right high priests before they can climb the ranks of the party leadership, and GOP policy is often mandated directly by these folks. But who are they? What do they really believe? Who holds the power? I hope this will be a regular series describing the nefarious networks of power within the religious right and exposing the extremist views of its leaders.

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UPDATED: On Social Spending, Conservatives ARE Liberal

While the "liberal" brand name has been intensely demonized over the past few decades, liberal policies and ideas have maintained considerable appeal--even among self-identified conservatives. Here are a series of charts showing levels of support for national spending to address major problems or needs. While support drops off from left to right, the level of support among even extreme conservatives is such that only for welfare does a solid majority support cutting spending. "Welfare," too, has been demonized, as can be seen by the dramatically higher support for assistance to the poor.

All charts are based on data from the General Social Survey (GSS), 1992-2002. They run from extreme liberal on the left to ectreme conservative on the right. The dates were chosen to provide a large data set across the allegedly most conservative era since the GSS began, in 1972.

Let's start with the environment.  Not a surprise, really. But an important reminder about a hegemonic liberal value, no? And just look at the levels of support:

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