Photograph by Brandon Thibodeaux/Getty Images.
UPDATE: Maybe Rick Perry should include himself on the list of politicians on the offensive in Obama's so-called "war on religion" referenced in his latest Iowa campaign attack ad.
As it turns out, Perry used "holiday season" instead of Christmas in a message to the troops posted in December of last year, and has reportedly issued similarly Christmas-free messages dating back to the early 1990s. That has some liberals smiling over what they see as the Texan's hypocrisy.
Perry's ad, released this week, targets the greatest hits of the culture war made famous by Bill O'Reilly, and has already received criticism from the Log Cabin Republicans for his negative reference to gays in the military. The War On Christmas is more or less the high holiday of the culture war, and Perry tapped into the spirit of the season with a Wednesday interview on CNN's The Situation Room, during which he repeated a reference to a perceived liberal crackdown on Christmas in public life:
What we're seeing from the left, of which I would suggest to you, President Obama is a member of the left and substantial left-of-center beliefs, that you can't even have a Christmas party. You can't say a prayer at school.
As CNN notes, Perry's message to the troops last year was a holiday, not a Christmas message: "During this holiday season, remember to thank a first responder or salute a veteran for their service and pray for God's protection on them and their families."
With war on Christmas goggles on, Perry's 1992 holiday message reads like the epitome of liberal holiday neutering. It references Mother Nature, quotes Emerson, refers to his family baking "holiday cookies," and concludes:
That would be my wish for you this holiday season. A holiday season that is filled with the bounty from our land.
A holiday season filled with joys of family and community; a holiday season filled with excitement and expectations; a holiday season filled with the anticipation that only a bright future holds.
UPDATE Wednesday, Dec 7, 5:02 PM: Rick Perry is taking some heat for his controversial new ad that, among other things, criticizes the end of Don't Ask, Don't Tell -- including from some of his fellow Republicans, albeit ones that don't necessarily fall into the group of conservatives that the Texan is currently trying to woo.
CBS News reports that the Log Cabin Republicans, which bill themselves as a national gay and lesbian GOP grassroots organization, released this statement showing their displeasure:
"Our nation was built upon individual liberty and individual responsibility, and open service by gay and lesbian servicemembers is directly in line with the vision of our Founding Fathers," said R. Clarke Cooper, Executive Director of the Log Cabin Republicans. "It is wrong for Governor Perry to assume being a person of faith does not afford one to support equality."
Wednesday, Dec. 7: Rick Perry accuses President Obama of waging a "war on religion" in a new television spot aimed at the conservative voters seen as crucial to the Texan's attempt to regain his footing in the race for the Republican presidential nomination.
"As president, I’ll end Obama’s war on religion. And I’ll fight against liberal attacks on our religious heritage," the one-time GOP frontrunner says in the 30-second ad. According to the Des Moines Register, the new ad, called "Strong," is set to hit the air in Iowa, where it will run in rotation with Perry’s "Energy Jobs" commercial already airing in the state with the nation’s first caucus.
More from the new ad: "You don’t need to be in the pew every Sunday to know there’s something wrong in this country when gays can serve openly in the military but our kids can’t openly celebrate Christmas or pray in school," the Texas governor says.
Perry has his work cut out for him in winning over Iowa conservatives. In a new NYT/CBS poll, he trails Newt Gingrich by 20 percent points. (The Texan is fourth behind Gingrich, Ron Paul, Mitt Romney and Michele Bachmann.)
You can watch it for yourself below: