Taking Liberals for a Spin

Wow! Someone even more cynical than I am. And eloquent. Wow!

Ross over at The Talent Show has a must read post about Kuo’s new book. His argument is that the religious right already has enough and knows exactly on which side their bread is buttered (and which page in the hymnal to turn to).

[…] Religious right might just be one of the most consistently rewarded interest groups in Modern American politics.

Don’t believe me?

Ask Chief Justice Roberts about his views on Abortion.

Ask public school officials how Abstinence only education is going?

Hell, ask every single outspoken Atheist or Secular Humanist about their chances of getting elected anywhere east of Los Angeles and South of Chicago.

Oh, while we’re at it, anyone out there read anything about how Americans finally kicked Intelligent Design Charlatans out of American Schools, en masse, and returned learning to the people who know something about science? Or about how the FCC stopped disproportionately responding to the complaints of a tiny minority of Religious Funduhmentalists? Ah, I didn’t think so.

Thus the recent ‘revelations’ by Tucker Carlson and the new book by David Kuo’s Tempting Faith is simply a way to get the centrist Republicans back on the right track. (Sorry)

My take is slightly different. Tucker was tossed out so Kuo’s information wouldn’t land like a complete bombshell. The Rove machine is still working on the proper spin. That spin will likely work with the exact ideas Ross is describing. Attempt to pull the center back in line while using the very tricks Kuo exposed, placing covert evangelical messages in speeches and press releases, in order to keep the evangelical right in line. This, coupled with high level meetings reassuring the mega-church leaders, who use their influence to pass the word (of God Bush Rove) down the line, will be designed to keep the the evangelical voters on tap.

Kuo seems much more sincere. He is deeply upset at what he sees as the betrayal of Christian priniples. The abandonment of the poor to push political themes – abortion, homosexuality etc. This is an example of Kuo’s naivity and not demonstrative of political realities. I really wonder if the Bush administration speaks any better of the top Republican leadership than of the top evangelicals. I somehow doubt it. I would probably even argue Kuo is right that the principles pushed by the religious right have little to do with what the bible said. (Except for the homosexual thing which the bible is really explicit on. Sad but true.) This feeling that Kuo is naive but not misguided is shared by E. J. Dionne Jr. in an OpEd for the Washington Post. He has another hope though

Exposés of hypocrisy are the mother’s milk of Washington journalism. Yet the most useful thing that could flow from Kuo’s revelations would not be a splashy exchange of charges and countercharges but rather a quiet reappraisal by rank-and-file evangelicals of their approach to politics.

I hope Kuo’s book promotes serious discussions in religious study groups around the country about whether the evangelicals’ alliance with political conservatism has actually made the world, well, more godly from their own point of view. What are evangelicals actually getting out of this partnership? Are they mostly being used by a coalition that, when the deals are cut, cares far more about protecting the interests of its wealthy and corporate supporters than its churchgoing foot soldiers?

Kuo is being cut up by some administration loyalists. That’s not surprising, but it’s painful for me. I met Kuo in the 1990s through a conservative friend and was impressed by the power of his religious faith and his passion for developing a conservative approach to helping the poor that would be as serious as liberal efforts but, in his view, more effective.

At the same time, while I do think Bush uses his evangelical born-again methods to political advantage, I also think that is one of the few areas where he is sincere. At least in the sense of following the current religious currents being formed by that segment of the population. His concerns are in banning homosexual marriages, abstenance first, abortion etc. He would prefer a unification of a church and state today and not tomorrow. And, perhaps worse, he thinks this would be good not only for the country but for the world. That is part of his worldview – it is filtered through politics or not.

Nevertheless, I really don’t think this is part of an amazingly elaborate vote trap put in place by that master spider – Karl Rove.

But maybe Ross is right, this teacup thunderstorm is just there to take liberals for a spin.

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