Monday, October 24, 2005

Downfall of the Christian Lip-Service Coalition

You know, I do have friends who are conservative.... Family members, even.


Don't cry, libs -- I get out of dinner conversations with my soul and integrity intact. But I've gotta say, the Miers thing really has the crunchy people all kinds of turned up. I mean, religious conservatives I've talked to are almost giving Bush the Clinton treatment. Almost. I haven't heard any screaming innuendos about Laura Bush and dildos on the White House Christmas tree just yet -- just like in their favorite Hillary Clinton fable -- but it's early.

I'm also waiting for them to train their dogs to bark ferociously at the mention of W's name, just like they trained the pups to do with Bubba.

I guess this is what happens when, after being a true believer for five years, you wake up one day and finally realize that all you ever were was just another vote for an economic agenda and all the talk of loving God, kicking gays and saving unborn babies were just red meat electoral devices to tickle your ears and exploit you, nothing more.

If I were that dupable, I'd be pretty angry, too. But would I have the right to be so angry for being so easily dupable?

It's a valid question.

Dick Polman, our local Inquirer's sterling national political correspondent, details the cleavages in the Republican party in today's paper

[I]t's getting very personal. Consider the insult directed at Bush the other day by conservative commentator Jonathan V. Last. After learning that high-court nominee Miers had stated in 1989 that she couldn't recall "the last time I read a whole book," Last remarked: "Those who voted for George W. Bush were promised a mind like [Antonin] Scalia's for the Supreme Court. Instead, they've been given a mind like George W. Bush's."

Mark Rozell, a political analyst at George Mason University who tracks the conservative movement, said: "There is so much bitter frustration right now. Conservatives were out of power for so long, and once they got into power, their expectations were so high. But those expectations are not being met.

"So they're firing not just at Bush, but at each other. The conservative movement has always been, in a sense, a dysfunctional family. They get along well when times are good, but when times are bad, you start to see all these fights between purists and pragmatists."

H.L. Mencken, the famed political commentator of yesteryear, remarked during the New Deal that the Democratic Party comprised "gangs of natural enemies in a precarious state of symbiosis." That's also a fair description of the GOP during the Bush era. The factions that muted their differences when Bush was riding high - small-government conservatives, religious conservatives, war-hawk "neocons," big-business conservatives - now appear to be forming a circular firing squad, and hunting for betrayers of the movement. Similar actions will occur during the next few years, as conservatives seek a presidential candidate who can restore purity and rescue the movement from Bush's alleged transgressions.

For instance, the religious conservatives, who care about values, are now openly attacking the business conservatives, who care about money. Tony Perkins, who runs the Family Research Council, launched an assault the other day on Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, a former corporate lobbyist in Washington, because Barbour is bringing new casinos to his state. Meanwhile, Gary Bauer, another religious-conservative leader, is attacking Grover Norquist, a prominent tax-cut activist, for his decision last week to share his economic conservatism with an audience of gay Republicans.

My God, as if it wasn't clear that these people were all one big repressed, self-immolating mess before....

Yo progs, there is hope!



Blogger John Hearn said...

Great chasms in *both* parties have opened. Its going to be a crazy election cycle.

24/10/05 18:16  
Blogger Todd said...

It's been 160 years since we've had major party political upheaval. If the corporate world weren't so afraid of the lack of clarity, one or both parties might've folded their tent already.

I can't decide which has been more juicy to watch: the Miers nomination, the Katrina fiasco, or the Rove/Cheney betrayal/treason. More fun is sure to come.

24/10/05 18:54  
Blogger Gyrovagus said...

Soul and integrity intact?

Well, if either are damaged by contact with your conservative relatives, you could always go to brunch after Sunday Mass with our own dear Senior Senator, Ted Kennedy.

And rest easy, Rock. You'll never hear a mention from that Champion of the Working Class, who's never had to work, about saving unborn babies.


See, to me, he's the living icon, the prototype as it were, of the Progressive American Catholicism that seems to give you such hope.

All the younger progressive Catholic politicians - who also would never say a word about saving unborn babies - are simply chips of that old block.

And there's only one thing worse than being a big, repressed, self-immolating mess . . . and that's being a big, unbridled, murdering mess. The icon again.

Paging Mary Jo Kopechne . . .

Todd's funny though: the Katrina disaster! The Catholic Democrats of New Orleans and Louisiana sure did us proud on that one didn't they? Not to mention at least half a century of local victories as the War on Poverty constructed that Great Society! Well done!

And when it comes to betrayal and treason, Todd really ought to sit down sometime, as I have, with a parent of someone who died on the USS Kohl.

Say, the papers up here reported that Joe Wilson was wondering in Vanity Fair who was going to play his covert-wife in the movie version of the book?

Soul and integrity intact, indeed!

Yo progs, there's hope alright!

24/10/05 21:59  
Blogger Jeff said...


Yes, I thought from the beginning the long, serious face you pulled about Katrina was all about "a juicy bit of fun" and "getting Bush." That's why I didn't take you seriously, despite your hollow protestations of non-partisan fairness. I guess a passing and inadvertent confession of hypocrisy is better than nothing!

Enjoy the fun while it lasts. Cons are acting like spoiled brats--everyone does sometimes--but George Bush usually pulls these things off. He'll pull this off, too, one way or another, and it will all fade into grumbling. You guys are always outmaneuvered. And you can remember the glory days when you were having so much fun that it didn't seem to matter that all you really cared about was scoring points.

Remember the election? The one you were supposed to win? That shocking and surprising moment when the South started turning around and pouring into the Bush column and state after state followed? And it started to dawn on you that the impossible was going to happen? Remember when Daschle lost his nice little sincure? Ah, yes, coming back now? That feeling will return! Again.

24/10/05 22:06  
Blogger Todd said...

Jeff, you've lost me on the election bit. I never ran for public office in my life. So if I was supposed to win an election, it's news to me.

Don't come crying to me about the Dems, my friend. I've never voted party lines, and in over two decades of presidential voting, I've only voted for a major party candidate once; never a winner, not even Bill Clinton.

I've long said the D's are too conservative for my political tastes, and though I've supported the occasional Republicans when they've been good people, my distaste for the two-party system is a big aspect of what drives my fandom in politics.

Nice try, bud, but I'm still having a lot of fun watching the R's self-destruct: a good counterpoint to the post-68 Dems.

25/10/05 10:00  
Blogger GregY said...

The post-68 Dems comment reminded me of a fellow Nebraskan who posts over at Amy's website who longs for those Dems of the pre-68 days. So much so that whenever there is not a pro-life democrat to vote for (there are actually some of those around here) he writes in "Harry S. Truman" regardless of office.
As for Third Parties, it's worth noting that the bishops' stances on issues have been described in print as "fitting neatly into tenets of Ralph Nader’s Green Party" save for the moral values issues of course. Not that I'm suggesting the Green Party's a home for a devout Catholic, mind you. But I have noticed the uncanny similarity between Catholics and hippies on some things. For instance, when someone came to our house to learn how we make our own cloth diapers and wash them they commented, we figured you all were either hippies or Christians. Bingo!

25/10/05 14:39  

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