Why Liberty? As the Sophisticated and Good-Looking Regular Readers of ILYBYGTH (SAGLRROILYBYGTH) are well aware, I’m working on a history of fundamentalist higher education. These schools–places like Liberty, along with more liberal cousins such as Wheaton College and Biola University, and more conservative ones such as Bob Jones University—are central institutions of American conservatism.
Not only do they represent conservative evangelical belief, but also a vaguer (and politically powerful) sense of cultural traditionalism. The campuses of Wheaton, Liberty, and Bob Jones are not just in-your-face religious environments, but also places where you wouldn’t see until recently a man with long hair or a woman with a short skirt.
Not only that, but college campuses also represent cutting-edge learning. Fundamentalist and evangelical colleges are not only religious, not only conservative, but also forward-looking places. By hosting scholarship and teaching, evangelical schools represent the future.
For all these reasons, at least since Reagan, GOP candidates have made it a point to campaign at these campuses. As CNN noted this morning, everyone from Romney to McCain, Rick Perry to Michele Bachmann has put in an appearance.
It makes sense. And it leads us to an interesting question: If you planned to run for president, where would YOU make your announcement? I have an idea of what I’d do.