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Friday, June 09, 2006

Screw the Religious Right - Seriously, They don't Matter

(Keywords: , , , , screw - people care about )

I've written about this before, in a post titled Give the Religious Right Two or Three Decades and They Realize They're Pigeons. Basically the argument is this; the GOP makes noise about abortion, the religious right votes them in, they get right to work removing the sales tax on Bentleys. The GOP makes noise about gay marriage, the religious right votes them in, they get right to work removing barriers to the international trade of Faberge Eggs. The so-called 'values voters' are prizewinning chumps who'll let themselves be screwed over again and again and will keep coming back for more.

Jonathan Freedland makes this case in a Guardian article, Big business, not religion, is the real power in the White House.

Well, it gave George Bush the presidency once before, so why not use it again? Our old friend gay marriage is back, evoked anew by the man in the White House to scare "values voters", most of them Christian conservatives, into voting Republican one more time. It did the business in 2004, when Bush's efforts to turn the election into a referendum on same-sex unions may well have tipped the pivotal state of Ohio, chiefly by persuading social conservatives to get out and vote.

So it's no surprise to see a beleaguered Bush, facing second-term poll numbers in the Nixon depths, reaching for the same stick now. The Republicans could get whipped in November's midterm elections, unless they can persuade God-fearing values voters to turn out to halt the devil of gay marriage all over again.

Nothing especially new, right? Freedland comes to an interesting conclusion though - maybe the democrats should say, "Screw the religious right."

...The Christian right may be the juicier, more telegenic target, but they are not the sole, or even central, driving force of US policy. To take the most serious example, toppling Saddam Hussein was hardly a priority for evangelicals; but invading Iraq, with its oil reserves, was certainly appealing to US big business.

Where does that leave Democrats? It suggests that in November, and again in 2008, they should train their sights on the real enemy. It does not pay to get into a fight with "values voters". More important is to make a values case of their own, putting the moral, even religious, arguments against poverty, environmental despoliation and a greed culture. That could even work as a wedge issue - splitting "values" Republicans from boardroom ones. As for the rest of us, we shouldn't be distracted by a stunt on gay marriage. We should know exactly what it is we are up against.

It's interesting. Has the religious right become such useful idiots for the right because they only pay attention to their issues? What if every time some rightwinger brought up abortion, democrats said, "Yeah, yeah, yeah... Who cares? Let's talk about why you want to give money to rich people." When gay marriage comes up, they might say, "Whatever. By the way, why do you think Paris Hilton needs a tax break on her inheritance?"

Of course, the right has used straw man arguments for years, so it doesn't matter what democrats actually say on these issues.. Bush does it often. "There's a lot of people in the world who don't believe that people whose skin color may not be the same as ours can be free and self-govern. I reject that. I reject that strongly. I believe that people who practice the Muslim faith can self-govern. I believe that people whose skins . . . are a different color than white can self-govern," Bush said of critics of his Iraq war. Who said that skin color has anything to do with governance - and since when did the US have a national skin color?

Democrats are too often drawn into these debates that only benefit the GOP. Outside of the religious right, nobody cares about this stuff. Dems should focus on the issues that matter to the average person - the economy, the war, health care, etc. - and point out that voting for the GOP isn't going to help the crazies any. "Got abortion illegal yet? Got evolution out of schools?" they should ask, "The republicans have been screwing these 'values voters' over for years. They don't plan to address it and neither do I. Here's what we need to talk about..."

That could be a winning message.



Larry W. Virden said...

It's amusing that your solution to the situation is to ignore the values voters, when it could have been, just as easily, to find candidates who believe as the values voters do and get them elected.

If, as you claim, Bush got in because of his claims of compatibility with the values voters, then let the Democrats come up with a candidate of like values and run them - that would be an interesting political experiment. Two candidates with truly equivalent stands on the values issues. They can have differing views on the "unimportant" issues like economy, etc. if those are unimportant to the voters.

And frankly, I've never met a Republican who was in favor of giving money to the rich and leaving the poor poorer... but then, my friends are among the lower class.

Wisco said...

What, are you nuts?

These 'values voters' are freakin' crazy! Remember Terri Schiavvo? The last thing we need is more politicians who appeal to the nutjobs.

And you've never met a republican who was in favor of giving money to the rich? Take a look at tax policy. Setting aside the topweighted tax cut schemes, what do you think social security reform was all about? It sure wasn't about the 'crisis' in SS, because it didn't do anything to address it - in fact, it would've made things worse by taking money out of the fund and giving it to Wall Street.

Anyone who thinks the GOP isn't the party of wealth just hasn't been paying attention.

Anonymous said...

And frankly, I've never met a Republican who was in favor of giving money to the rich and leaving the poor poorer... but then, my friends are among the lower class.

Are you kidding?!?!? All the Repubs. I know are like that. Live/work in or near any wealthy area and you'll find them in spades.

zenyenta said...

It's not a matter of ignoring the values voters. It's a matter of refusing to take the bait and that's what I've been saying for years now. It's sooo frustrating. When I used to bother arguing with rightwingers I would ask them how they couldn't see that they were being played by the Republicans. They really couldn't see it, though, and would insist that George W. Bush was a Godly man. Gimme a break! Talk about believing what you want to believe!

Now, maybe some people are getting the idea.

alert said...

What if the Religious Right make themselves matter? Bush has done more than pay lip service to pushing Religious Right values. The links below cover this topic. The first article linked below is a little more biased, but the second one may be more balanced.

Rob said...

I didn't agree with the tax cuts, but of course the tax cuts went to the wealthy - they're the only ones in this country who pay federal income tax!

Look at a Circular E on the site.

Anonymous said...


Don't you realize that there are a lot of church goers sympathetic to Democratic issues who get one whiff from the atheist lobby running today's Democratic party and they hold their noses and vote Republican?

Keep spouting off without a clue and the Democrats will never win back government.

Wisco said...

"Don't you realize that there are a lot of church goers sympathetic to Democratic issues who get one whiff from the atheist lobby running today's Democratic party and they hold their noses and vote Republican?"

In other words, there's a set of religious beliefs that no one should be allowed to hold. Substitute 'jewish' for atheist and you'll see how hateful your message is.

Michael Gorsuch said...

I think this is brilliant - seriously. Let's quit giving them so much pull.

I'd love to see a simple response to their outrageous claims. How about a 'no, not really' when the claim that homosexuality is eroding America.

How about a 'there is no evidence to support that' when they scream for creationism to be taught in schools.

Hell, elect me. I'll do it.

Anonymous said...

Your argument is logical. However, your premises are incomplete, so your conclusion is invalid. The mistake you're making is that they're not as stupid as you think. By their standards, almost any Rep is godlier than almost any Dem, and I can't see that changing.

What should they do? Listen to your flawed argument, run a third party candidate and lose to the Dems? I repeat in case you've forgotten: they're not that stupid.

Anonymous said...

Great idea, its about time a liberal got some balls. Im a ex-liberal; now im a hardcore NeoConservative. Main reason im not a liberal is because i was tired of all those wimps.
Remember the Radical Right didnt get in power took them 30 years!!! The Right has staying power...all the liberals got to do is stick with their message. Problem with liberals is they are too busy trying to live a life..all you need are a liberal version of Karl Rove and Tom "Hammer" Delay. Have a few guys dedicated to kicking ass. Not afraid to fight and win or afraid to fight and lose. I think Howard Dean head of the Dems is probably a genius and is trying to lose this November and see how bad the Rep's can ruin our country then for decades lots and lots and lots of people will never vote Republican again (kind of like now; many Blacks and Immigrants vote straight Dem; and many new Cathlic Immigrants (Philipines; Lebanese, Latinos) vote straight Rep). Ill become a liberal again when they start fighting and I bet a lot of other Americans will also. Dems should egg the Rep's on by having them eliminate Social Security, Medicare, Medicad, pensions for government employees, invade Somalia, invade Sudan, North Korea, Iran. Sure itll suck for a few years but the Dems will have 100% power for at least 40 years.

Anonymous said...

"I didn't agree with the tax cuts, but of course the tax cuts went to the wealthy - they're the only ones in this country who pay federal income tax"

Excuse me????
Federal tax, State Tax, Local Tax, Fee's etc, its all tax money.
I am sick and tired of 8% of my salary going to Social Security...thats a tax if i ever heard of one. What about all those DMV fee's we pay? A third of my salary goes to the can you say I (lower-middle class guy) dont pay tax's????
If Republicans are so "anti-tax" why dont they just abolish all tax's???
Thats a great idea we should get a Dem who says "dont like tax's? we will eliminate 'em".
Then when he gets in office he does eliminate 'em...and now the Republicans just got Gay Marriage and Abortion left.
At least get rid of Social Security...toss those lazy old people on the street if they dont want to work...I want my 8% raise. Old people wont have homes...they will have to sell...prices will drop 'cuse excess inventory..young people can now afford homes more easily. Tired of giving my salary to a bunch of bums..get a job or go back to where you came from.

Anonymous said...

Pissed off at the supposed exploitation of "values voters?" Your own party has been exploiting Negroes with a vision of Klanmerica and the just plain "dumbth" of women for 60 years. And don't forget the labor unions.

"You're" out of power because victicrat ideas suck, they don't work. Why do you think 1000 people move to Florida EACH DAY? For low taxes and to escape the socialism of the North.

The "War on Poverty" is a fecking flop. Trillions spent and all we get for our money is MORE poor, the idiots can't stop breeding and we can't (temporarily) sterilize them until they prove themselves responsible.

Republicans, as diluted as they are by this current crop of hypocrites, are still better than voting for a Junk Kerry or Hilarity Clinton.

Wisco said...

I wonder how Larry W. Virden Klan Klub is going. In claiming that the left exploits women, labor, and 'negroes', he manages to insult women, labor, and blacks.

BTW, when people from NYC move to Florida, they move to Dade County - a democratic county. They don't give a shit about republican values, they're old and winter sucks when you're old. They move for the weather.

Nice job, dumbass.