November 08, 2003
Political heresy as religious heresy
Has Dick Morris suddenly become a non-person to Republicans?
I noticed his absence at the usual places which once carried his column, so I'm just wondering....
Then I happened to catch this. Morris recently advised the Republican Party to "terminate" the Christian right. What fascinated me the most was his contention that religious conservatives have what amounts to veto power:
Is this true? Does the conservative fundamentalist wing of the Republican Party have what amounts to veto power?
The large-margin Schwarzenegger victory must have come as a serious shock to the Republican leadership -- whose party, it should be remembered, barely won the last presidential election, and whose majority in Congress is razor-thin. That Schwarzenegger did so well with women despite the "groping" charges must especially irk moral conservatives, because it was one of the few times they joined the chorus of "feminazis" and agreed upon something, yet the alliance failed.
The McClintock forces (dominated as they were by radical Christian Reconstructionists) also formed an unholy alliance with the left by urging a "No" vote on the recall itself -- placing both McClintock and Bustamante in the odd position of running in an election they opposed "in principle." I think California voters demonstrated that they are capable of seeing past such shenanigans.
born-again Christian conservatives are mortified by the actor's liberal views on abortion and homosexuality and wary about allegations of drug use, infidelity and juvenile sexual antics. The Rev. Louis Sheldon, head of the ultra-right Traditional Values Coalition, warned in a statement last week of a "moral vacuum" in Sacramento. "It is hard to imagine a worse governor than Gray Davis," Sheldon said, "but Mr. Schwarzenegger would be it."Naturally, this made me love Arnold all the more, and I think it brought the guy a lot of voter sympathy.
In other words, a voter backlash.
Such a phenomenon is nothing new; the Democrats have tried to capitalize on it for years. What is truly remarkable is that here, the same voter backlash helped elect a Republican. It is equally remarkable that even a double digit McClintock vote failed to thwart the overall will of the voters -- something which must strike terror into the hearts of people whose arrogant assumption has long been along the lines of: "Republicans can't win with us, but we'll show them they can't win without us!"
In the future, the Democrats cannot count on automatically getting the votes of ordinary voters who fear political dominance by religious theocrats. These voters are smart enough to spot a con game by either side.
It also means that the Republicans need to be very careful.
Will the Republican Party escape from the embrace of the pro-lifers so that it can nominate candidates like Rudy Giuliani, Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice? Likely not. Those who see each election as an opportunity to hold candidates to litmus tests on key social issues are not likely to relinquish their hold or relax their vigilance.Hillary Clinton is counting on Dick Morris being right.
Of course, no one is suggesting that Republicans kick religious conservatives out of their tent or in any way disrespect them. But showing others respect does not mean obeying all their demands. Inclusion in a Big Tent does not mean being its gatekeepers. And as I keep saying, disagreement is not disrespect.
Silencing speech is.
And some of the religious conservatives have demanded that people who disagree with them be silenced -- and not spoken to at all. According to this view, dissenters on abortion or gay rights do not even belong in the Republican Party. And, if Republican leaders even meet with them, speak to them, or have them on their staffs, there'll be hell to pay. Not long before the Schwarzenegger victory, a dire threat was directed to to the White House after RNC Chairman Marc Racicot dared to meet with the Log Cabin Republicans:
Social conservative leaders told Mr. Racicot they had been pleased generally with Mr. Bush's words and actions on social-policy issues but couldn't assure that their rank-and-file members would retain the same degree of enthusiasm for Mr. Bush if the president and his party appeased the homosexual lobby.Well, that was the threat. Were President Bush politically astute enough to call him on it, and if Wildmon really made good on it, the Schwarzenegger equation would likely mean a net Republican gain.
According to this conservative analysis,
[A] welcoming attitude toward gays can be a winning strategy since almost 9 out of 10 Americans agree that homosexuals should have equal rights in terms of job opportunities.NOTE: I left in the above link to illustrate another example of a pattern by anti-homosexual activists. They apparently don't want people like me to be able to read or cite their links -- a phenomenon noted by Mike Silverman earlier.
Why would any organization be afraid of its own words?
For the same reason that some Republicans are now afraid of Dick Morris's words, perhaps?
posted by Eric on 11.08.03 at 02:27 PM
Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Political heresy as religious heresy:
Search the Site
Classics To Go
See more archives here
Old (Blogspot) archives
Why you might get more of what you try to stop
A knee sock jihad might be premature at this time
People Are Not Rational
No Biorobots For Japan
The Thorium Solution
Radiation Detector From A Digital Camera
This war of attrition is driving me bananas!
Attacking Christianity is one thing, but must they butcher geometry?
Are there trashy distinctions in freedom of expression?