SULLY AND BUSH….Has Andrew Sullivan officially jumped ship and decided not to support George Bush? Jonah Goldberg wants to know.

Andrew says yes: “My only dilemma now is whether to support Kerry or sit this one out. It still is.” Interesting.

Can Kerry do for Bush and the Christian Right what Bush Sr. did for Michael Dukakis and Willie Horton: make them inextricably linked in the public’s mind? Sullivan may be an extreme case, but I think he’s an example of what could happen if Kerry manages to link Bush strongly with the social intolerance of the Christian Right. When you combine that with his poor performance in Iraq and his lack of dedication to small government, there are a fair number of moderate conservatives who might jump ship to Kerry or ? at a minimum ? at least stay home in disgust.

One of the longtime arguments of mainstream Republicans has been that the Christian Right doesn’t really have much influence on the party, so there’s nothing to worry about. Gay marriage, though, is an opportunity to show that that’s not true. After all, if Bush is willing to amend the constitution to ban gay partnerships in order to win their votes, what might he do next?

What indeed? Let the culture wars commence….

UPDATE: OK, here’s the kind of ad I see. Open with the Twin Towers smoking in the background and Jerry Falwell telling us that 9/11 was God’s punishment for America being an immoral nation. Pat Robertson nods in agreement. Cut to Paul Weyrich (or someone) saying that unless Bush supports a gay marriage amendment, the Christian Right walks. Fade out and then show Bush caving in by supporting the amendment. Cut to fanatic crowds of Christian Rightists cheering and stomping. Fade to black, with an ominous voiceover that asks, “What’s next?”

Something like that, except, you know, done professionally. And carefully targeted. And all that good stuff.

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