Friday, November 03, 2006

How do these people sleep at night? Plus More Republican Feuding

Today the news broke that "the Rev. Ted Haggard, resigned yesterday as president of the National Association of Evangelicals and temporarily stepped aside as pastor of a Colorado mega-church after a self-described male escort accused him of paying for gay sex."

This is the same party that courts the Evangelical vote, which has long made homosexuality a target of its values attacks. This is the same party that courted that vote in the last election and this one by opposing gay marriage to the point of supporting an amendment to the U.S. Constitution. What hypocrites. Does this party have any credibility left?

In fact, both parties have very little credibility in general. Only particular candidates have more than others. The entire political culture is as rotten as the days of Boss Tweed's New York, albeit with modernized forms of corruption. Backscratching combined with a high-powered, high-tech propaganda assault are the norm today, making the old days look like they were what they were: horse and buggy. Now information bombards, whirls around, and primes citizens at dizzingly high speed and low accuracy. Though political groups and politicans' communication staffs have great resources to try to produce public opinion and control agendas, it also backfires on them, as we're also seeing as the tenuously sutured REpublican platform and identity is torn a bit more every day. The stories only in part resemble muckraking of the Progressive Era, since the issues are more tabloidesque than those the muckrakers often uncovered and publicized. Still, some do have to do with public policy, such as the Anti-Gay Marriage Amendments.

Rotten. On the same Washington Post hits of the day, I learned of another tempest in the Republican teapot. Retired Republican Congressional Stalwart Dick Armey is feuding with James Dobson, "the founder and chairman of Focus on the Family, and other "self-appointed Christian leaders."" Armey claims the party is getting away from its fiscal responsibility roots and focusing too much on cultural values. It's not like Armey's been consistent there though. This is the same Dick Armey who made headlines for referring to Congressman Barney Frank as "Barney fag." What sort of falling out has he had with the evangelicals behind the scenes? What sort of amnesia does he expect of American audiences if he thinks he can present himself this way without even speaking of his past as inconsistent with this new line?

In any case, this kind of factionalism can lead to a party re-alignment, and that might be a great thing for the U.S. today. Good riddance.

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