Rachel Maddow: The Culture War Is Back (VIDEO)

09/21/2010 12:10 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Rachel Maddow declared Monday that the culture war is back.

Maddow was discussing the rise of GOP nominee for the Delaware Senate seat Christine O'Donnell. She noted that, after her primary victory, O'Donnell's website was overhauled, with some of its more controversially right-wing sections hidden away. This, she said, was reminiscent of the steps that some other Tea Party-backed candidates, such as Nevada's Sharron Angle, took after their own primary wins.

Maddow tied the O'Donnell makeover into what she said was a relatively hidden undercurrent in the current election season: the resurgence of right-wing cultural politics, even in an age when many in the Tea Party have said they want to de-emphasize social issues in favor of economic ones.

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Maddow said that, though the GOP was supposed to be "uniting Republicans and conservatives on all these fiscal issues and not dealing with these divisive social issues anymore," the 2010 crop of candidates was more extreme on issues like abortion than many in the past. Five of them want to ban abortion entirely, even in the cases of rape and incest.

All in all, she said, the culture war had returned:

"Culture war issues are back in Republican politics this year, even though everybody said they weren't. And they're back in a big way. The right is now starting to admit it amongst themselves, even as the Beltway media has failed so far to catch up."

She then played a clip of Indiana Rep. Mike Pence at the recent Value Voters Summit, where he said that banning gay marriage was essential to achieving fiscal solvency, because "you would not be able to print enough money in 1,000 years to pay for the government that you would need if the family continues to collapse."