Republicans – 2012: Here They Go Again

Republicans 2012: what do we have so far…

I said to myself  s more than a year ago that the  Republicans  would come  up with tired non starters like abortion, prayer in schools, flag burning,  family values and so on, when instead they have the opportunity to speak to economic and security issues of critical importance to Americans of all persuasions. With Perry and Bachman, we can only hope they stay on  message and don’t go off  tilting at their tired, but comfortingly familiar, windmills.

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Michelle Bachman,  whose stance on gays means that she’s lost most of them, and their straight supporters, as well a people who just want to live and let live, can‘t seem to walk around the block without motioning her faith. The nature of the American electorate requires  even William Jefferson Clinton to shed a solitary tear in a black church, but this is excessive.

Rick Perry’s been praying  for rain.  Secularist conservatives like me may as well pray to a higher power for deliverance from Obama.  It doesn’t look like it’s coming from the Republicans.

Romney is a Mormon, so he loses the orthodox Christians who view Mormonism as a non Christian cult, which is surely is.  He was  responsible for a proto- Obama  care in Massachusetts so he loses the Tea Party  He is in the unenviable position of saying he was wrong to get them back, or perhaps saying he was right in the vain hope that some liberal progressives will take a look. The anti-RINO crowd won’t deal with him.  In any case the buzz is on Bachman and Perry, with the media already demoting him from frontrunner to has been status.

And it’s easy to go after muscular Christians: they make such easy targets.  Religion in public life troubles me; it scares the hell out of liberals who when encountering someone born again act as if they a had met one of the undead.

Michelle Goldberg in the Daily Beast today(August 15)  attempts  to slay the beasts as she writes to makes a case that Bachman and Perry have troubling ties to Christian Dominionists. This is certainly worth looking into, but I do wish Goldberg and others on her side of the fence would  also take a look at such phenomena as Hizbut Tharir’s recent convention in Chicago. Dominion seems scary only if it’s sought by Christians, while liberals seem to view Islamists as the kind of interesting folks they might encounter on a trip to Morocco,

In my view she goes for the racist knockout punch against Bachman, and overstates her case against Perry..  She does not, perhaps because she cannot, establish the existence of direct ties to anti-constitution Dominionists; rather, she cites “influences” at one or two removes.  Despite the ignorance of the anti slavery movement in American history she displayed on Anderson Cooper 360, Bachman does not endorse the “peculiar institution of the Old South,” as Ms Goldberg clearly implies by citing Bachman’s enthusiasm for the work of historian( I guess that’s what he calls himself) David Barton, who does.  One could point to Barrack Obama and Bill Ayres, degrees of separation: zero.  It would be uncharitable to refer to Joe Biden’s grasp of the history of electronic media.,

In the kind of incestuous citation that passes for research these days, Goldberg quotes extensively from Ryan Lizza’s piece on Bachman in the New Yorker, who “ explains that Bachmann is a believer in a kind of Christian conservative re-imagining of slavery, where ‘many Christians opposed slavery’ but owned them anyway and didn’t free them because ‘it might be very difficult for a freed slave to make a living in that economy; under such circumstances setting slaves free was both inhumane and irresponsible.’ How charitable of them! “

Do you get the impression from the quotation marks that these are Bachman’s words?  I did, but after going to the New Yorker article, I learned that the enclosed quotes were from a book “Christianity and the Constitution,” by John Eidsmoe, for whom she worked as a research assistant..

The article goes on to describe Perry‘s “ties” to the Apostolic Reformation  Party.  In the usual shoddy journalism customary to any sort of partisan piece, Goldberg says that the Apostolics “see Perry as their ticket to power“.  And say that some members have told Perry that Texas is a “Prophet State”, a sort of home for a vanguard of chrtianists,  Was she present at this conversation?  Who said what.  Notice than Goldberg cannot quote Perry as saying anything on the subject. Goldberg’s thesis may well be true, but as he writes for the choir, apparently she sees no need to prove it,

So I could easily write all  this off as another progressive/liberal hatchet job   One wonders that such commentators reserve their ire for Christians of non- mainstream, or to be fair in the case of some of the people Bachman has worked with, radical views, but have nothing to say about the sorts of people who showed up at the President’s iftar dinner,( How’s that for separation of church and state?), but what troubles me most is the “reporting.”  I have no doubt that I will come across similar technique on the other side as well.  I’ll be looking, but damn, it gets tedious.

Journalists left  and right do themselves no favors by writing such convoluted pieces attempting to weave and delineate conspiracies, when the facts alone are compelling  enough, and if clearly spoken to, will support their case,  And they would save their busy readers a good deal of time.

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