Let’s say you have a major political party in a large, prosperous country. And let’s say that this party rode to power on a wave of populist pandering to people who are, to put it nicely, stupid bigots. And let’s say that this party is starting to realize what a mistake this was (but only after seeing how changing demographics deprived this party of its actual goal, which is making rich people richer). So some people in this party have started openly discussing the obvious fact that pandering to stupid bigots is starting to cost them elections as minority and women voters gain more traction. How do you expect the stupid bigots to respond?
By insisting it’s all about themselves, of course! Stupid bigots aren’t really capable of thinking about anything but themselves (that’s why they’re stupid bigots), so it should come as no surprise that they think the Republican Party owes everything to them and the fact that the world isn’t falling in line with their beliefs is proof that they’re being persecuted. Case in Point: David Limbaugh, brother of the odious Rush Limbaugh, proclaiming in the WingNutDaily that The Republican Party needs stupid bigots.
One of the largest elephants in the GOP’s post-election room is the fate of Christian and other social conservatives. Party honchos can’t just wish this problem away – or, maybe they can.
Make up your mind, asshole. Can they or can’t they?
And I was pretty sure that the largest elephant in any GOP room was your brother.
There has been increasing hostility toward Christian involvement in politics, and the animus hasn’t been solely from the left.
Boo hoo hoo! They’re not letting Christians get involved in politics! We’re being persecuted!
Except for the fact that pretty much every politician in America is Christian. And has been for quite some time. And the Christian religion gets injected into pretty much every fucking debate this country has on any issue. It seems like this country can’t decide whether or not to fix a pothole without first asking what Jesus wants (and then learning that Jesus apparently speaks through crazy dumb people).
To be sure, Democrats have taken the lead, demonizing conservative Christians as science-challenged scolds who don’t care about women’s “reproductive rights,”
I put “reproductive rights” in scare quotes because I don’t believe such a thing even exists. How dare the left demonize me by saying I don’t care about them!
No, David. We’re not demonizing you by calling you exactly what you are. You know dick about science, you moralize to everyone, and you’re misogynistic pricks who want to interfere with what a woman does with her own body. That’s not demonizing. That’s just stating the facts. “Science-challenged scolds who don’t care about women’s reproductive rights” is an apt description of the typical religious right wing nut.
but there is plenty of antipathy from certain elements within the Republican Party, as well.
Many establishment and some libertarian Republicans have long looked upon Christian conservatives with mild, condescending contempt. Party leaders from Barry Goldwater to Alan Simpson have openly derided Christians and lamented their negative influence on the party and on the overall political climate.
They derided Christians? I doubt that. More likely, they derided the people who think “Christian” means making every election about what people do with their genitals. Did it ever occur to you that many of these people are Christian themselves, and maybe they don’t take too kindly to you reserving the term solely to people who think cares more about buttsex than poverty? No, of course not. That would require actually considering someone else’s point of view.
Even Ronald Reagan’s warm embrace of faith-based conservatives didn’t diminish the establishment’s disdain for them, which forcibly reared its head over the Todd Akin and Rick Mourdock kerfuffles. So swift and dramatic was their descent on Akin following his “forcible rape” embarrassment that one could almost infer they were lying in wait for just such an excuse to marginalize outspoken Christian conservatives.
The term Akin used was “legitimate rape”. But it’s telling that you see such a comment as a sign that someone is a “Christian”. Am I to understand that the point of your op-ed is to convince me that marginalizing social conservatives is a bad thing? ‘Cause that’s not at all what I’m getting from this.
Don’t get me wrong; I had serious doubts about Akin’s electability after the comments, too, but the establishment’s outrage wasn’t limited to Akin (or Mourdock) or even to his rape comment. There was palpable disgust from certain quarters on the right over what they perceived as the lunacy of making social issues a part of the equation at all.
This is what I love about David Limbaugh. He seems to know exactly why people view the religious right as a bunch of babbling, underpants-on-head numbskulls. They’re science-challenged scolds who hate women and spout a bunch of lunacy. And Limbaugh’s response is, “Why is that so bad?” Love it.
If my analysis is incorrect, then why do we hear so much conflation of the Akin and Mourdock incidents with the question of the viability of social conservatism in general? If the outrage over these two was simply limited to their comments, then why are they increasingly cited as Exhibits A and B in the case for purging social conservatism from the Republican Party?
Your analysis isn’t incorrect. You’re totally right that many Republicans are getting sick of the religious right’s schtick. What I find so amusing is your inability to grasp why that might be. Wouldn’t it be, if not refreshing, at least entertaining if more people were like this? I’d love to see an interview with the members of Nickleback where they said, “For some reason, the fact that our music consists of painfully generic, derivative rock melodies combined with shallow, mind-numbingly stupid lyrics sung in the most insincerely maudlin voice any human can muster is causing people to say we suck. I just don’t get it!”
Imagine if terrorists responded to public outcry with something like, “I just don’t get why people hate being mauled by pipe bombs so much.” Or if con artists started saying, “I’m starting to get the feeling that people don’t like it when I steal their money. Am I wrong?” Yes, the world would still be full of assholes and morons in such a case. But at least the assholes would realize why they’re asshole, though still be utterly stupefied by the fact that this makes people think they’re assholes.
The GOP’s distaste for social conservatives this election cycle wasn’t confined to the Akin affair. If you’ll recall, Rick Santorum was the object of much scorn for his insistence on placing social issues front and center in his campaign. Some of the criticism was based on Santorum’s perceived demeanor and sanctimony, but no small amount of it would have occurred even if Santorum had been cheerfully optimistic in his approach to these issues.
What exactly is the “cheerfully optimistic” way to tell a woman she has to keep a pregnancy that resulted from rape? Wouldn’t that be Mourdock’s “God loves rape” approach? ‘Cause that doesn’t seem to work very well. Is there a “cheerfully optimistic” way to tell a gay man he can’t visit his dying partner in the hospital because the government won’t let them get married?
In fairness, we are in extraordinary times, and it’s understandable that even some Reagan conservatives (those who subscribe to his three-legged stool of economic, foreign policy and social conservatism)
Let me go on record as saying that I am totally on board with calling the current conservative platform “stool”.
became impatient with attempts to place social issues at the forefront. They were convinced that President Obama’s fiscal and economic nightmares alone would ensure a Republican victory and that there was no need to make controversial social issues a drag on the ticket.
What nightmares? Yeah, Obama’s far from perfect, but he still hasn’t managed to tank the economy the way the last couple Republicans have.
But that excuse will not mollify many social conservatives, who believe not only that social issues are the most important matters facing the nation today, but that at the root of our economic problems is an underlying disintegration of the nation’s moral fabric.
There is nothing, and I mean nothing, that could mollify social conservatives. They practically breathe and eat outrage. If they weren’t offended by something, they wouldn’t know what to do. Their minds are constantly in Gibbering Rage Mode, which is why thoughts like “Fags cause recessions” pass through their minds without triggering a That’s Really Stupid alarm.
My purpose here, though, is not to debate the merits of the competing positions, but to point out that this growing intolerance for social issues by some in the GOP could result in a major schism, even a splintering of the party.
People keep saying this, and yet it never happens. It’s almost as if the base that social conservatism appeals to is comprised largely of a bunch of ignorant sheep with short memories.
I am receiving emails and reading articles from Christian conservatives advocating a doubling down on social issues, some even suggesting that Christians redirect their focus away from politics and toward evangelism.
I’ve said this before, but it bears repeating: Please, right wing nuts, shift your focus away from politics. That’s totally the best way for you to counteract left wing heathens like me. It’ll totally work. Do it, do it, do it, do it!
Social issues are like blood in the water to Democrats and their liberal media accomplices, witnessed by their effort to ensnare GOP rising star Marco Rubio in a scandal over the age of the Earth. Even Rubio’s tempered response was uniformly maligned as evidence of his science-illiteracy and superstition. The right’s failure to come to his defense guarantees further and stronger attacks.
Okay, a few things here.
- The age of the Earth is not a social issue.
- Anyone who thinks it is is a dumbfuck.
- Rubio clearly thinks it is.
- He’s a dumbfuck.
- That’s why few Republicans came to his defense.
Perhaps one of the most insidious notions that circulates on the far right is this idea that facts about nature are matters of “personal belief”. It doesn’t take too much reflection to see why this would be a problem (but it’s still more reflection than David Limbaugh could ever muster). The fact that Rubio felt the need to give a “tempered” response (“tempered” here means “non-committal enough that the rubes won’t get upset”) just shows how bad this problem has gotten for the Republicans. The portion of their base who thinks they get to invent their own scientific facts is so large that their leading politicians are afraid to acknowledge that facts exist at all, and rather just offer some mushy nonsense about “mysteries” in answer to a question about a topic that is by no means mysterious.
The Earth is approximately 4.5 billion years old. This has been established by numerous independent dating methods that all converge on the same answer. There is no other scientifically literate answer to such a question. If you don’t think the Earth is about 4.5 billion years old, you don’t know shit about science. It’s that simple. But it’s even worse than that. In addition to being ignorant, you are also rejecting the expertise of people who, you know, actually do all the hard work that makes science happen. As much as Republicans love extolling the virtues of hard work and enterprise, they seem to forget those principles whenever someone applies those virtues and reaches a conclusion they don’t like.
It is no small irony that those urging a remake of the GOP to bring it in line with changing demographics could unwittingly alienate Hispanics and other minority recruits who might be receptive to social conservatism.
I’m sure Hispanics will fall right in line with all those social conservatives who want to make English the official language, ban Hispanic Studies classes, demand immigrants show their papers to any cop who asks for them, and claim that Mexican immigrants are stealing all our jobs. Social conservatives, you sure got a lot to offer those Hispanics! Keep fuckin’ that chicken, y’all!
It is also ironic and a testament to the wholesale ineffectiveness of the Republican Party that it is cowering from potentially winnable social issues: abortion, same-sex marriage, Obama’s assault on religious liberty and his phony war on women.
Well, those issues are “potentially winnable” in the same sense that Karl Rove thought Ohio was potentially winnable. But let’s go through them one by one.
Abortion. The public has spoken. Most Americans think it should be legal. But that’s not the end of the story. Our Founders spoke of the “tyranny of the majority” in the Federalist Papers. This is the fear that as long as something is popular, it will become law no matter how repressive or unjust it is. The solution to this problem is the courts, which have the power to overturn unjust laws no matter how many people support them. This is exactly what happened with Roe v. Wade. So even if abortion didn’t have majority support, it is still not a winnable issue.
Gay Marriage. This is an example of the right wing being once again on the wrong end of history. It happened previously with women’s liberation and black civil rights, and the gay marriage issue appears to be following a similar trajectory. Unfair social norms hold back some portion of the population based on something that does no harm to anyone and is not their fault. People complain, and the norms start changing. Bigots whine and cry and insist that changing these norms will destroy the Universe. Norms change. Universe still exists. Bigots 50 years down the road pretend that no one on the right ever opposed giving equal rights to that portion of the population. Wash, rinse, repeat. The tide is slowly but surely shifting on gay rights. It won’t be long before bigots are pretending they were never bigoted against gays, just like they are now pretending that conservatives never supported discrimination against blacks.
Obama’s assault on religious liberty. There’s simply no such thing. If anything, by expanding Bush’s bogus “Faith Based Initiatives,” Obama has assaulted secularism by getting the government even more entangled with religion. Pretty much every example people can come up with of Obama’s “assault” on religious “liberty” involves preventing someone from interfering with somebody else’s liberty. Obama wants insurance companies to cover contraceptives! He’s assaulting my liberty! Obama acknowledged the existence of atheists and Muslims in this country! He’s assaulting my liberty! Obama says I can’t prevent gay people from marrying! He’s assaulting my liberty! This is all bullshit. “Liberty” does not mean “power over others”. In fact, it means precisely the opposite.
[Obama’s] phony war on women. Need I remind you that you were just earlier wondering why no one defended the guy who said that women can’t get pregnant from “legitimate rape”? I hate the American tendency to call anything people argue over a “war”, but, call it what you want, the right wing has definitely attacked women on more than one occasion recently. The abortion thing is constant. But then there’s the numerous Republican candidates who made incredibly ignorant and insensitive comments about rape. And your brother calling a woman a “slut” just for testifying to Congress about the health benefits of the birth control pill. And let’s not forget that a sizable portion of the “social conservatives” you’re praising still believe in the Biblical notion that a wife is a servant of her husband and women can’t be priests/pastors and have authority over men. I don’t like calling it “war”, but there’s nothing phony about claiming that social conservatives are anti-woman.
Is there no issue on which the establishment will not cave in the end?
I mean, god damn! We already done gave rights to Negroes and Injuns! Where’s it gonna end?
The Republican Party can choose to ostracize social conservatives and their issues, or try to purge them altogether from the party and its platform. But they better be careful what they wish for, because if they do, it will be the end of the party as we know it.
It’s so cute how you keep saying good things like they’re bad things.