Monday, October 8, 2007

Good Riddance

James Dobson, head of the ultraconservative religious/political group, Focus on the Family, recently announced that if Rudy Guiliani won the Republican nomination for the 2008 presidential election, that he would sit out the election entirely, and would urge his followers (sheep) to do likewise. Dobson based his disapproval of Guiliani on the fact that the former New York mayor is pro-choice, pro-gay rights, is not overtly devout, and is twice-divorced, thrice married.

Likewise, Dobson has publicly stated that he could not support Fred Thompson or John McCain. About Thompson, he said, "Isn't Thompson the candidate who is opposed to a constitutional amendment to protect marriage, believes there should be 50 different definitions of marriage in the U.S.?" Dobson also questions whether that Thompson is actually a Christian (as he defines it, of course), as Thompson is not known to be a regular church-goer. McCain ended up on Dobson's shit list because of the Arizona senator's opposition to a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.

Dobson and other extreme social conservatives have talked of encouraging Republican voters to either sit out the election entirely or to promote a third party candidate. I say, fine, go ahead and do it. Either road they take will mean a guaranteed win for the Democrats, if the fundamentalist rank and file heed Dobson's advice in large numbers.

It would also be good news for the Republican party, if the fundamentalists picked up their toys and went home, even if it means a loss for them in the 2008 election. Dobson and the other social conservatives have become increasingly out of step with what issues mean the most to Americans these days. While he and his ilk are obsessed with regulating the sex lives of Americans, the majority of American voters, Republican and Democrat, want a president who will address our health care system, the growing threat of Islamic terrorism, the economy/job market, immigration reform, the war in Iraq, global warming, the deficit, taxes, and so on.

The declining influence of the fundamentalists in the Republican party is obvious, considering the candidates for the Republican nomination, most of whom who are seemingly no longer are willing to adhere to the fundamentalist version of political correctness. Guiliani has taken a dismissive attitude to the concerns of Dobson and other fundamentalists:

"I'm working on one party right now — the Republican Party," Giuliani said. "I believe we are reaching out very, very well to Republicans. The emphasis is on fiscal conservatism, which brings Republicans together."

In the same vein, Thompson said, "I don't particularly care to have a conversation with him[Dobson]. If he wants to call up and apologize, that's ok with me. But I'm not going to dance to anybody's tune."

This is in sharp contrast to the 1980 election, where both Ronald Reagan and George Bush, Sr., both formerly pro-choice, flip flopped on this issue to appease the fundies, as they apparently felt they could not be elected otherwise. I find it an increasingly good sign that Guiliani and Thompson have not felt the need to do likewise.

Since 1980, the religious right has had an unhealthy stranglehold on the Republican party, bringing it closer and closer to the tinfoil hat brigade. It's time to bring the Republican party back to the sensible center; to be once again the party of Eisenhower, of Ford, and of Lincoln.

Why should I, a Democrat, care about the health of the Republican party? It's simple -- I believe America needs both parties, each to provide a different approach, and to provide balance in politics. We also need those in both parties to be able to work together, and actually get things done, instead of engaging in increasingly polarized politics.


1 comment:

Cyn said...

very well said and i agree. its good to see the Religious Reich finally falling apart. which is generally how these things go. from the top to the bottom. i just wish i had some sense of confidence in a Democratic win in '08 making much of a difference in all those issues you stated. *sigh*