Friday, November 16, 2012

The Republican Insane Asylum

As I felt sure would be the case, watching the near civil war between the few rational, sentient folks in the Republican Party and the far right of the party personified by "Christian conservatives" is proving to be entertaining.  Not surprisingly, the knuckle dragging elements in the Christianist ranks refuse to admit that the theocratic agenda played a major part in sinking GOP hopes in the 2012 elections.  Instead in their beyond the looking glass alternate reality, they blame the Romney/Ryan loss to a lack of true conservative credentials - read extremism - on the part of the party standard bearer.  Never mind that he and the GOP endorsed perhaps the most far right extremist party platform in more recent memory.  The GOP sold its soul to these unhinged, backward thinking folks and now it needs an exorcism to rid itself of the demon that continues to harm the future of the party.  A column in the Washington Post summarizes the opposing camps in the struggle and recommends compromise before reverting right into the Christianist mindset problem that haunts the GOP.  Simply put, compromise isn't something religious extremists who seek to destroy freedom of religion for all except themselves understand or want.  Here are column excerpts:

Just as the war between the states is playing out anew on movie screens across America, Republicans have commenced their own civil war in the aftermath of Mitt Romney’s defeat. Some blame party “extremists” for pulling Romney so far to the right that he was unelectable. They attack evangelical Christians (personified by Senate candidates Todd Akin of Missouri and Richard Mourdock of Indiana) for clinging to pro-life and traditional-marriage positions that “turned off independent voters” and “cost Republicans the election.”

Unless evangelicals are willing to soften, they warn, Republicans may never win another presidential contest. And if evangelical Christians want to leave the party, so be it, they say — the GOP might be off, better given Americans’ general shift toward more liberal social views.

Meanwhile, evangelical Christians, who overwhelmingly vote Republican (if they feel inspired to vote at all), blame the party establishment for once again selecting a nominee whose conservative credentials — especially on social issues — were questionable at best. They point out that three of the past four Republican presidential nominees were establishment picks who engendered little enthusiasm among evangelicals, had no genuine commitment to conservative social issues — and lost.

So, should evangelicals cease fighting a culture war that many believe they have already lost — a war that threatens to send the GOP to the political ash heap occupied by the Whigs? Or should establishment Republicans concede their inability to win without evangelicals and swear off their addiction to social moderates who promise to deliver independents?

Establishment Republicans and evangelicals should realize they are incapable of electing a president without the enthusiastic support of the other. Both have to change their thinking if they hope to capture the White House again.

Here is what establishment Republicans need to understand about those of us with the evangelical Christian mind-set: Winning is not everything. Most of the time, we will choose principle over pragmatism, especially when it comes to issues such as abortion and same-sex marriage.

Yet evangelicals need to remember that we are a diminishing minority in America. If we care about winning elections with candidates who will push back against abortion and immorality, then we have to be willing to compromise on some secondary issues to form a winning coalition with other Republicans.

Unfortunately, evangelicals tend to resist “compromise” because of our propensity to label every issue a “spiritual conviction.”  .  .  .  .  My message to fellow evangelical Christians is this: We must differentiate between biblical absolutes and political preferences.

I have a proposal for all Republicans. Instead of nominating a candidate who is mute or malleable on social issues but intransigent on political issues, let’s try the reverse. Let’s find a candidate who has a history of consistently and courageously embracing the social views of the majority of the Republican Party,  .  .  .  

As the establishment and evangelical camps of the GOP engage in some soul-searching about their future, they should remember the lesson of the porcupines huddled together to keep warm in sub-freezing temperatures: They needed one another, even though they needled one another. 

In the end, the author fails to see the larger picture - that more and more, the American public doesn't want the Christofascist agenda that the Christian Right is selling.  Hatred of others, racism, religious based bigotry and discrimination, rank hypocrisy and modern day Pharisee behavior just do not sell the way they used to.  Until the GOP learns this as a whole, we will hopefully see more and more GOP debacles at the polls.

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