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Chad’s Morning Brief: Rick Perry Defiant, Evangelicals and the Republican Party, and Other Top Stories

Here is your Morning Brief for the morning of August 18, 2014. Give me your feedback below and tune in to The Chad Hasty Show for these and many more topics from 8:30 to 11am. Remember, you can listen online at KFYO.com or on your iPhone/Android with the radioPup App.

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Rick Perry Stands Defiant

Texas Governor Rick Perry is defending himself and on Saturday he came out swinging against an indictment. According to FOX News, Perry is standing behind his decisions.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry stood behind his decision Sunday to veto giving money to a state agency run by a prosecutor with legal problems, despite an indictment saying he abused his official powers, and ramped up his criticism of the official.

Perry told “Fox News Sunday” that he would make the same decision again, as he has said repeatedly. And he urged Americans to look at a video of the prosecutor, Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg, being arrested and jailed for driving while intoxicated.

“The highest-ranking prosecutor in Travis County was stopped for driving while drunk almost three times over the legal limit,” the Republican governor said. “She was abusing law officials. She had to be restrained.”

Perry, a 2012 GOP presidential candidate and potential 2016 candidate, has already said the indictment filed Friday is a “farce” and on Sunday suggested, as supporters have, that the case is politically motivated.

“That’s not the way we settle political differences in this country,” Perry said. “We settle [them] at the ballot box.”

The indictment alleges Perry abused his power by vowing to veto $7.5 million in state funds for the public-integrity agency run by Lehmberg, after she pleaded guilty to the April 2013 drunken-driving charge and didn’t resign.

Perry vetoed the money after Lehmberg, a Democrat, refused to resign.

Perry on Sunday also thanked a top Democrat and several influential Republicans who have supported him or questioned the lawsuit — including Democratic strategist and former President Obama adviser David Axelrod as well as Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, all Republicans.

“Unless he was demonstrably trying to scrap the ethics unit for other than his stated reason, Perry indictment seems pretty sketchy,” Axelrod tweeted.

Perry also downplayed his 2016 presidential aspirations, including several recent trips to Iowa, by suggesting he has gone there largely to help GOP Senate candidate Joni Ernst.

Said Perry: “2016 will take care of itself.”

Perry was indicted by an Austin grand jury on felony counts of abuse of official capacity and coercion of a public servant. The maximum punishment on the first charge is five to 99 years in prison, and two to 10 years on the second.

The indictment comes toward the end of Perry’s final term in office. In office since 2000 and already the longest-serving governor in Texas history, Perry isn’t seeking re-election in November.

Lehmberg served about half of her 45-day jail sentence but stayed in office, despite Perry’s assertions that her behavior was inappropriate. The jail video led to an investigation of Lehmberg by a separate grand jury, which decided she should not be removed for official misconduct.

Evangelicals Feel Left Out

According to the Washington Post, social conservatives are now feeling isolated within the Republican Party.

The assessment from Geraci, the founding pastor of Calvary South Denver, a sprawling evangelical church with several thousand congregants, reflects a broader sense of despair among white evangelicals about the Republican Party many once considered their comfortable home.

Many social conservatives say they feel politically isolated as the country seems to be hurtling to the left, with marijuana now legal in Colorado and gay marriage gaining ground across the nation. They feel out of place in a GOP increasingly dominated by tea party activists and libertarians who prefer to focus on taxes and the role of government and often disagree with social conservatives on drugs or gay rights.

Meanwhile, the list of possible front-runners for the party’s 2016 presidential nomination includes New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who has a limited relationship with evangelical activists, and the libertarian-leaning Paul, the senator from Kentucky who only recently began reaching out to social conservatives. One prominent establishment favorite weighing a bid, Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), is a supporter of legal same-sex marriage who claims his views on the issue could help him and his party appeal to younger voters.

The disconnect between social conservatives and the GOP has become a “chasm,” said Gary Bauer, who ran for the Republican presidential nomination in 2000 and is now head of the Campaign for Working Families. He pointed to the party’s two most recent presidential nominees, Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) and former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, as examples of candidates who were touted initially as having broad appeal to centrists in the general election but ultimately never inspired evangelicals and lost.

“Values voters have been treated as the stepchildren of the family, while the party has wanted to get on with so-called more electorally popular ideas,” Bauer said. “The Republican base will not tolerate another candidate foisted upon us as a guy who can win.”

Discontent among evangelicals could have implications for the GOP next year as campaigning for the presidential nomination escalates in early-voting states such as Iowa, where social conservatives are a major bloc. Their presence could complicate matters for top-tier candidates such as Christie and Paul who want to remain viable in a general election but will feel pressure to appeal to religious voters. A surge of support for more fiery contenders such as Carson or former senator Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) could turn candidate debates into a spectacle while pulling everyone to the right, affecting the party’s image more broadly.

Even if social conservatives turn out this year to support like-minded candidates for Congress and help propel the GOP into the Senate majority, they could just as easily decide to sit out a presidential race if they feel the party again has produced a nominee who does not represent their interests.

That last part is what enrages me about some within the Republican Party. They would rather sit-out a presidential election if the nominee isn’t 100% “their guy” than defeat the Democrats. This happened with Mitt Romney. If Republicans had turned out like they did in 2008, we wouldn’t be dealing with President Obama and his failures across the globe.

It’s not that social conservatives are being isolated by the GOP. In many cases social conservatives have isolated themselves. One or two issue voters on subjects that most Americans don’t care about right now.

Other Top Stories:

AJ on a new Lubbock Police Station 

Michael Brown Story Continues 

Justice Department Orders Second Autopsy 

As World Boils, Fingers Point to Obama 

Planned Parenthood Blames Rape on Greg Abbott 

Obama Returns to the White House 

Perry vs. Cruz 

These and many more topics coming up on today’s edition of The Chad Hasty Show. Tune in mornings 8:30-11am on News/Talk 790 KFYO, streaming online at kfyo.com, and now on your iPhone and Android device with the radioPup App. All guest interviews can be heard online in our podcast section after the show at kfyo.com.

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