Friday, November 14, 2008

Are Religionist Bigots Poisoning American Politics?

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Short answer: positively. And it goes way beyond the satanic Mormon cult and their role inciting and spreading homophobia in the recent California election with the use of tens of millions of tax-free dollars. No one I know would advocate shipping them all off to India but they might feel more comfortable there, given the medieval attitudes towards homosexuality. I'll be more than delighted to see a local Mormon-owned restaurant, El Coyote, which is being boycotted by non-bigots, fold. We don't advocate random acts of unfocused violence but I'm not weeping at the discomfiture to Mormon bigots in their filthy lairs who have been frightened by envelopes with white powder being mailed to them. As the boycott of Mormon businesses gets underway, at least one-- Marriott Hotels-- has run to the press and explained that yes, they are Mormons but no, they did not contribute to the anti-gay jihad the Mormon Cult has declared.
For the past 20 years, Marriott International has had domestic-partner benefits and has earned a perfect score on the Human Rights Campaign's Corporate Equality Index for two years in a row, Marriott said in a release. Many of the hotels have hosted gay-community functions and events for years.

"The Bible that I love teaches me about honesty, integrity and unconditional love for all people," Marriott said. "But beyond that, I am very careful about separating my personal faith and beliefs from how we run our business."

Apparently that isn't the Bible the Republican Party base has been reading. Or maybe their leaders just interpret it a little differently, substituting Satan's message for Jesus' in the hope that the faithful are too stupid to notice. And so far, that hope has paid off marvelously. In fact, according to an opinion piece by former Governor Christine Todd Whitman (R-NJ) in today's Washington Post the GOP won't win back the center that dominates American politics as long as it allows itself to be held hostage to the fundamentalist kooks. When he book to this effect came out in 2005 she was savaged by elements of the lunatic fringe of the GOP, authors of the current disaster like Republican Party polemicist Ann Coulter, GOP leader Gary Bauer, and Matthew Scully, who called her ideas "insufferable snobbery" and "airy blather" and then went on to write Sarah Palin's bloodthirsty and divisive RNC acceptance speech.

Whitman explains that the premise of the book that caused the far right such anguish was simple: "The Republican Party had been taken hostage by 'social fundamentalists,' the people who base their votes on such social issues as abortion, gay rights and stem cell research. Unless the GOP freed itself from their grip, we argued, it would so alienate itself from the broad center of the American electorate that it would become increasingly marginalized and find itself out of power." Today she explains why the American people rejected McCain and the GOP so overwhelmingly last week. And, as you can probably guess, it isn't because the party wasn't far right enough.
While a host of issues were at play in this election, the primary reason John McCain lost was the substantial erosion of support from self-identified moderates compared with four years ago. In 2004, Democratic nominee John Kerry held just a nine-percentage-point margin among moderate voters over President Bush. This year, the spread between Barack Obama and McCain was 21 points among this group. The net difference between the two elections is a deficit of nearly 6.4 million moderate votes for the Republicans in 2008.

In seven of the nine states that switched this year from Republican to Democratic, Obama's vote total exceeded the total won by President Bush four years ago. So even if McCain had equaled the president's numbers from 2004 (and he did not), he still would have lost in Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina and Virginia (81 total electoral votes)-- and lost the election. McCain didn't lose those states because he failed to hold the base. He lost them because Obama broadened his base.

Nor did the Republican ticket lose because "values voters" stayed home. On the contrary, according to exit polls, such voters made up a larger proportion of the electorate this year than in 2004-- 26 percent, up from 23 percent. Extrapolating from those data, McCain actually won more votes from self-identified white evangelical/born-again voters than Bush did four years ago-- 1.8 million more. But that was not enough to offset the loss of so many moderates.

Following the conventional wisdom of the past two presidential elections, McCain tried mightily to assuage the Republican Party's social-fundamentalist wing. His selection of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, whose social views are entirely aligned with that wing, as his running mate was clearly meant to demonstrate his commitment to that bloc. Yet while his choice did comfort those voters, it made many others uncomfortable.

Palin has many attractive qualities as a candidate. Being prepared to become president at a moment's notice was not obviously among them this year. Her selection cost the ticket support among those moderate voters who saw it as a cynical sop to social fundamentalists, reinforcing the impression that they control the party, with the party's consent.

Extremists in the party, which includes virtually the entire Republican caucus in Congress, has decided to double down on the right-wing extremism thing and continue to cater to backward and ignorant religionist fanatics and bigots. It works well for them in rural Georgia and Texas and the party is shrinking into an irrelevant rump that will win elections in much of the former Confederacy and in the Mormon West. And that's it.

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4 Comments:

At 12:32 PM, Blogger john said...

Howie, Have you read "Under the Banner of Heaven"? It's a great read.

 
At 10:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

When your enemy is drowning, throw him an anvil.
We should do all we can to encourage the Repigs on their rightward march to electoral oblivion.

 
At 11:58 PM, Blogger Joe Max said...

I dunno, Howie, I think the "satanic Mormon cult" epithet is insulting to Satanists.

Anton LaVey's Church of Satan has always been a champion of individual freedom (how can you NOT be and be a Satanist?) Genuine Satanists are almost always fierce libertarians. Theistic Satanist and authour Diane Vera is the organizer of the New Yorkers Against Religion-Based Bigotry, "...which aims to oppose the religious right wing (both Christian and Muslim) on many fronts. NYARBB will defend gay rights, women's rights, and the rights of non-mainstream religions and subcultures."

So remember, the real Satanists are on our side!

 
At 4:52 AM, Blogger Lisa said...

I really like "Big Love".....too bad that the real life Mormons are so intolerant.

 

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