Boss Pat: Comparing the Christian Coalition to the Tammany Hall Political Machine, Pat Robertson Shares with Top Lieutenants His Secret 'Game Plan' for Taking the White House and Ruling America

By Boston, Rob; Conn, Joseph | Church & State, October 1997 | Go to article overview

Boss Pat: Comparing the Christian Coalition to the Tammany Hall Political Machine, Pat Robertson Shares with Top Lieutenants His Secret 'Game Plan' for Taking the White House and Ruling America


Boston, Rob, Conn, Joseph, Church & State


Pat Robertson has a "game plan" for electing the next president of the United States, a plan so secret he would prefer that most Americans know nothing about it.

At a Sept. 13 closed-door breakfast session for Christian Coalition state leaders during the group's "Road to Victory" Conference in Atlanta, the television preacher and right-wing political activist offered a detailed "game plan" for delivering the White House to a hand-picked Christian Coalition GOP candidate in the year 2000.

Comparing the Coalition to the most notorious political machines of American history, Coalition Chairman Robertson instructed his group's operatives to form a "united front" behind a single Republican presidential hopeful to maximize their influence in the primary.

According to a tape of the speech obtained by Americans United for Separation of Church and State, Robertson cited ancient Chinese warrior philosopher Sun Tzu, author of The Art of War, for his inspiration.

"You know, the principle of warfare that has been used forever by those who wish to beat another enemy is, you know, divide and conquer," he said. "If you can split their forces, that was Sun Tzu's maxim, you know. Whenever possible avoid what he calls a juncture of forces. Don't ever let your enemy join together. So always get yourself in the middle to keep them split. And that technique we can use on others, but it's also used very effectively on us."

Continued Robertson, "Now, we'll be coming in, in the next year or so, into a presidential primary. And so, we're nice people and we think this is just `we'll do what we want to do.' So this one likes this candidate, this one likes that candidate and this one likes the other candidate. And so we have absolutely no effectiveness when the primary comes. None whatsoever. Because we have split our votes among four or five people and so the other guy wins. And we have had a couple of so-called moderates. And moderates lose. You know, they lose. And we've had two major losers, and I don't want any more losers. I want a winner."

Robertson insisted that coalition activists line up behind one presidential candidate and stick with him. "We're not a bunch of ingenues anymore, we're a seasoned group of warriors," he said. "And we have to know what we're dealing with. We can't be swayed just by rhetoric .... I told [new Coalition President] Don Hodel when he joined us, I said, `My dear friend, I want to hold out to you the possibility of selecting the next president of the United States because I think that's what we have in this organization.' And I believe we can indeed."

Robertson said the Coalition's power in the presidential race and other federal and state contests will continue to hinge on its precinct-based political operation. The Coalition "play book," he said, involves identifying sympathetic residents, getting them registered to vote and making sure they turn out at elections. He compared the Coalition to infamous political machines from American history.

"If we have that basic core and we have identified people, this is the power of every machine that has ever been in politics," Robertson observed. "You know, the Tammany Halls and Hague and the Chicago machine and the Byrd machine in Virginia and all the rest of them. They had an identified core of people who had bought into the values whatever they were, and they worked the election and brought people out to vote. The other people were diffuse and fragmented, and they lost and the people that had the core won. I mean, this isn't complicated, but this is what we've got to do."

Robertson seemed well aware that his remarks could spark legal problems for the tax-exempt organization at the Internal Revenue Service and the Federal Election Commission (FEC). At the beginning of his talk, he remarked, "This is sort of speaking in the family. It's speaking out of my heart and not from any kind of prepared text. …

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