Campaigns/Elections

Religious Right Realizes: Time to Compromise!

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Our old pal Mona, doing business at Jim Henley's "Unqualified Offerings" stomping ground, alerts us to some "new maturity" when it comes to Miss Grundyish moralistic sniffing on the right (as well as noting the continuation of some good ol' fashioned hoping that sexually unrepressed gays and woman get the punishment they certainly deserve).

Surprisingly successful religio-conservative pundit Cal Thomas at least realizes, facing a GOP lineup of potential presidential candidates, as Mona puts it, "heavily populated with serial adulterers and those demonstrably unable to sustain a series of marriages, any marriage" that it's time for even the Religious Right to realize they are voting for president, not church deacon, and that looking for staunch Christian moral purity in America these days, even in the high ranks of the GOP, is getting as hard as looking for it in the Sodoms and Gomorrahs of old.

I'll be discussing these sorts of issues–what Americans can or can't put up with in their presidential candidates, and for what reasons–tomorrow morning on the radio, hooked off of my Reason Online article on polls testing what prejudices Americans claim they just can't overcome in the voting booth. It'll be broadcast 7-8 am central time on Wisconsin Public Radio on Thursday morning March 15, with host Joy Cardin–see list of carrying stations here.

NEXT: Bat Ban Update

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  1. Well, sure, the Republicans and the Right looked both cleaner and smarter in the late 90s when they were out of power. Remember when the Weekly Standard wasn’t just a shill for Administration? Now its just a Counterweigel. Same thing for the religious moralism. You can either have a pure candidate or you can fight the gays and abortionists and the gay abortionists.

  2. Eh. They’ll just stay home on election day.

    Or vote Constitution Party.

  3. The first U.S. President to have been divorced was Republican and loved by the Religious Right. How would history record the event that the second U.S. President to be divorced was a Republican President who was also loved by the Religious Right? That would seem . . . odd.

  4. Us libertarians should get as much coverage as they do. …people would think we were 20 times as strong as we are.

    I imagine straight out socialists, anti-globalization types, et. al. think of capitalists the way we think of the religious right.

    As strong as the religious right is, their kids still get abortions without their parent’s knowledge, they can’t seem to keep a creationist on a school board for long, and dagum it, they can’t seem to get anybody to let ’em pray in public schools either.

    We nasty capitalists, as powerful as we are, we still have to pay income taxes, still have to fund Social Security, Medicare public schools, and all other manners of evil… If we were any more powerful, they’d throw us in jail for makin’ a profit.

    …funny how the other side never seems to see it that way.

  5. As strong as the religious right is, their kids still get abortions without their parent’s knowledge,

    What makes you think their parents aren’t the ones insisting on the abortions?

    People claim to be against all sorts of things. Then they have a mess to clean up and everything changes.

  6. You’re right thoreau, a lot of parents do want their kids to have abortions when they get pregnant, even some of those who support the religious right because they want the procedure banned.

    …but that wasn’t my point. My point was that for whatever reason, some people tend to see their enemies, just because they’re enemies, as being more powerful than they are. It’s like a cognitive bias.

    I can’t think of which one, but surely someone’s named it?

  7. OK, point taken, Ken.

    Even libertarians need to keep in mind that for all of the statist influences in our economy, we’re still the richest and most innovative country on earth. Which is not to suggest that those statist influences are OK or anything like that, just that clearly the situation can’t be that bad. The socialists are obviously not winning, at least not here.

    OK, they did take our baseball bats away today, but still. 🙂

  8. Ken,

    Even though religious right “true believers” aren’t THAT much greater in number than libertarians and their sympathizers, they’re much easier to organize. RR slogans and policies are intentionally seemingly very simple on their face, while libertarians get ground down in details and minutia. Also, more RR people are probably keen on being followers in a movement than libertarians, many of whom would be far more into leading.

  9. Roy Moore 2008!

    I wonder how many fundies there are really. 20%? 25% of the US?

    The neocons are the most interesting example of a micro-constituency getting all sorts of inordinate influence. There’s got to be 10x more libertarians than those dudes. It’s like a couple 100 guys.

  10. Lib slogans can be just as simple as the RR. Lower taxes, less spending and more personal freedom. It even fits on a bumper sticker.

  11. “The socialists are obviously not winning, at least not here.”

    I don’t know about that. Like I said, I do have to pay income taxes, and I do have to pay for Medicare and Social Security and all sorts of other “socialist” programs. …which to my eye means the “socialists” are probably more powerful than the religious right.

    I can’t think of much that the religious right can point to as an accomplishment. They made Gay Marriage an issue, but it’s not as if gay people could get married before. The religious right didn’t exactly come and take that away.

    Like I said, I see the wealthy treated the same way by people who perceive them as adversaries. …whether that be by anti-globalization people or anti-immigration people or environmentalists.

    For every comment posted by a libertarian around here about how feckless we are, I bet there are a hundred comments posted elsewhere about how powerful and unassailable rich capitalists are.

  12. Ken,

    Reactionary movements using their power to resist things doesn’t negate their influence.

    You capitalists are the reason 43 million people still don’t have health insurance. That’s quite an accomplishment.

    So is keeping Plan B and RU 486 locked up for years.

  13. I suppose a more mature view of the proper role of sexual history in judging someone’s qualifications for office is one possibility.

    Or maybe the entire subject of pontificating on politicians’ personal morality has always been, for the right-wing commentariat, a cynical partisan scam to be shaped to the particulars of the relevant election cycle.

  14. “So is keeping Plan B and RU 486 locked up for years.”

    Sorry joe, “Progressives” gave us government regulation of drugs. The State didn’t have the power to ban/prohibit/restrict drugs before your meddling busybody foremothers got involved.

  15. Joe, it is not because we are free that 43 million people still don’t have health insurance, it is because we are NOT free that they do not. It is because of regulations and taxes. It is also partly the fault of stupid juries who do not understand the difference between negligence and unfortunate but random circumstances. Do not blame capitalism for the problems of the uninsured because, at least when it comes to health care, the United States is FAR from being capitalistic (and that is the problem.)

  16. Considering that Rudy is way ahead in all the polls, it seems that a lot of “religious right” voters are willing to overlook a lot more than personal moral deficiencies; they’re willing to overlook major policy differences as well, on abortion and gay marriage. It pays to be in the right place at the right time on 9/11, I guess.

  17. thoreau,

    What makes you think their parents aren’t the ones insisting on the abortions?

    I’m not sure what you’re saying here; if you’re implying that some publicly pro-life people would opt for an abortion when the going got tough in their own life, I’d have to agree. There are hypocrites in all segments of the political spectrum. However, Brian’s point was that the sincere pro-lifers are not able to keep their children from having abortions.

    If you’re saying all pro-lifers are hypocrites, that’s a stupid and, frankly, insulting comment. Hopefully that’s not what you’re saying.

  18. Rudy Giuliani has been divorced twice and is in his third marriage. Newt Gingrich is in his third marriage, and cheated on his first two wives. John McCain has been divorced. Ronald Reagan and Bob Dole were each married twice.

    By contrast, Ron Paul epitomizes family values. He has been married to Carol for many years, and raised a family, with all his children now successful in their professions. But the Christian Leadership ignores him as much as the leadership of the Republican Party.

    Perhaps Worldly Power is more important than values to the religious right leadership.

  19. “You capitalists are the reason 43 million people still don’t have health insurance. That’s quite an accomplishment.”

    For the record, the reason 43 million people don’t have insurance (and the reason the other 257 million people in this country either pay too much or get bad service) is because there is so little that is capitalist about our system.

    …but that’s another thread.

  20. One could take exception to joe’s phrasing but still ponder the possibility that pro-market advocates are a big part of the reason why we don’t have universal publicly-funded health insurance, or whatever one wants to call it. Yes, yes, the system that we do have is indeed heavily regulated, but joe makes a good point: Some sort of nationalized health coverage (insert preferred description here) would have a constituency of 43 million supporters (or at least a good chunk of them) and a lot of other supporters, yet it hasn’t happened.

    And pro-market folks probably have something to do with it, for good (in our eyes and on one of Cathy Young’s hands) or ill (in joe’s eyes and Cathy Young’s other hand).

  21. “Testing what prejudices Americans claim they just can’t overcome in the voting booth.”

    Yeah?.I got me my prejudices alright?.it be spelled?.G?O?P?.

    (and I say that smiling)

  22. Comment unrelated to this story:
    Has anyone seen that news video of 5 guards at a Florida “teen boot camp” beating one of the inmates to death? The officers and the nurse who was watching it all happen have been charged with manslaughter. I remember reading a Reason article about these boot camps that chilled me, but I had no idea they were still in use.

  23. You capitalists are the reason 43 million people still don’t have health insurance. That’s quite an accomplishment.

    How ’bout, “You capitalists” are the only reason there is such a thing as health insurance.

    We won’t go into the reason that it’s now such a clusterfuck to get health insurance. Aside from the the fact that it’s no longer “insurance” but a way to get other people to pay your medical bills.

    So is keeping Plan B and RU 486 locked up for years.

    Right, so the “evil” capitalists that developed those drugs so don’t want to make money off of them.

  24. I’d like to point out that most of those forty-three million people actually do have some access to healthcare (through ER visits if anything else). The real issue is that they aren’t insured, and the negative consequences associated with that.

  25. I wonder if joe has a habit of walking up to Christians on the street and saying, “Hey, you know, maybe Satan’s got a point.” 😉

    joe, I keed. Actually, your contrary opinions help me to think through my own more clearly, and in some cases, rethink them.

    thoreau,
    Pro-market forces are a major reason we don’t have nationalized health care but I think they have had only minimal influence, if that, on why there are 43 million uninsured. The two issues/influences do not equate. The major reason 43 million people are uninsured is largely due to government forces unwittingly regulating health care out of the reach of the poor. I remember at one time being able to buy catastrophic health care in my state for about 12 dollars a month. I did this for at least a few years while working mininum to low wage jobs. The government came along and basically destroyed that option.

  26. joe forgot to mention that you are also the reason that weeds grow in the flower garden. You, all you.

  27. wonder how many fundies there are really. 20%? 25% of the US?

    I don’t think so. I’d say 4% tops.

  28. It pays to be in the right place at the right time on 9/11, I guess.

    Yeah, good thing he wasn’t in the emergency command center.

    I just wonder if these voters have seen Rudy decked out in drag. I doubt it, but it would be entertaining to listen to the dismissal of this fact.

  29. crimethink: Considering that Rudy is way ahead in all the polls, it seems that a lot of “religious right” voters are willing to overlook a lot more than personal moral deficiencies; they’re willing to overlook major policy differences as well, on abortion and gay marriage. It pays to be in the right place at the right time on 9/11, I guess.

    For a lot of RR types nowadays, the promise of hawkishness in the War on Islam — whoops, I mean War on Terror — can cover a multitude of sins.

  30. Joe, Roussel Uclaf made RU486. It is a French company. Despite the larger social “safety net” in France, it was still made by a company, and with the intention of making a profit from the company investment (or maybe they just wanted to stir up trouble). I’d call that an achievemnt of capitalism.

    But, I do have some problems with pure capitalism on medical advances, and other less important fronts. Sometimes it occurs to me that there can be more profit in providing continuous treatment for a disease (via drugs) than an actual final cure. As such I favor some government funded research into medical advances. This is a considered opinion, but not considered in great depth. If someone else disagrees…as Ross Perot said, “I’m all ears”.

  31. I figure the upper limit on fundies is ~20%, and is probably much lower. Polling usually yields about 90% of the public having some belief in some god, however vaguely held. Only about 40% of the public attends church services on a regular basis, and a good chunk of those aren’t right wingers, politically or religiously. (Figures from memory. Gallup polled for these figures for years, and they were invariable.) Not every fundie is politically involved.

    As for the “Rudy in drag” photo, it’s already been on the cover of National Review, so even the borderline activists should be aware of it.

    Kevin

  32. Dear Lord,
    The gun hating, god smearing, socialist, abortionist flamers are making a run this election season. Please Lord forgive us as we relax thy rules. As you know Lord, the sale of salvation is slow right now and the lifestyle you blessed us with has made it impossible to adhere strictly to the precepts you set forth.

    Quite frankly Lord, we feel that some of your rules simply cant apply in this modern age and we find it necessary to ignore them. We know that supporting the candidates of our choosing will be in Your best interest.

    Thank you Lord for all that you do and please God, please, change the sinful behaviour of all those that annoy us.

    In Jesus name we pray, Amen

  33. “Sorry joe, “Progressives” gave us government regulation of drugs. The State didn’t have the power to ban/prohibit/restrict drugs before your meddling busybody foremothers got involved.”

    What an idiotic statement. A conservative gave us the automatic rifle, so I guess we can blame every revolution won with the AK-47 on conservatives. It’s a poor carpenter who blames his tools.

    Penguin, Ken,

    Would there or would there not be people who could not affort health insurance under a free market system? OK then. Capitalists prevented the implementation of a univeral system of health insurance, against the will of an overwhelming majority of Americans. Whether you agree or not, this is a major accomplishment, and demonstrates how much power they wield.

    Isaac, bigbigslacker,

    You missed the point about RU-486 – it wasn’t the capitalists who kept it locked up, but the (allegedly powerless) religious right.

  34. Hit and Run is linking to Mona? This never would have happened when Virginia Postrel was here! I’m cancelling my subscription!

  35. “Sorry joe, ‘Progressives’ gave us government regulation of drugs.”

    Nice try, but President Lincoln began the Bureau of Chemistry, the predecessor to the FDA.

    It gets a little old when these jackasses assume that anything regulatory must have started with a “liberal” or “progressives.” Turns out, you’re wrong single issue voter. I wonder how many of your political positions are based on incorrect facts. I know that nobody likes to admit to how ignorant they are, but can you at least admit that you have absolutely no idea about the origin of the FDA? Since the “forebear” you are talking about is actually a Republican president (the Republican president considered by many to be the best president ever), and used by the current Republican to soothe fundamentalists, I have to wonder where you got the notion that the FDA was a progressive invention? Your ass would be my first guess. My advice? Wear gloves.

  36. Pointing to Lincoln as a conservative – or at least a “non-progressive” – doesn’t fly. Putting aside the whole putting down the rebellion/crushing state sovereignty brouhaha, Lincoln might be called a “big government conservative” if he was reincarnated today. Abolition, land grant colleges, subsidies to emerging tech companies (railroads) were all tools Father Abraham used. If you had asked Teddy Roosevelt if he was in Lincoln’s tradition, he’d have said he was.

    Kevin

  37. If calling Lincoln a conservative doesn’t fly, why do you call him a “big government conservative”? Are big government conservatives synonymous with liberals or progressives? Are conservatives now saying that Lincoln was a progressive?

    “Putting aside Lincoln’s conservative credentials, he’s really quite liberal” seems to be your argument. That’s obvious. If you disregard his conservatism, he’s really not a conservative at all! I dunno, man. I just don’t know.

    Ultimately, saying that liberals and progressives started the FDA is factually incorrect, and no amount of spin (i.e., calling Lincoln a progressive) will change the facts.

  38. Lamar,

    Good point. Let’s also keep in mind that “Progressive Movement” during the “Progressive Era” was bipartisan and universal. There were conservative progressives and liberal progressives. The contemporary left is only the descendant of one of them, and even then tenuously.

  39. “capitalists”?

    capitalists != libertarian

    You have your mercantilist big business types who are cozy with corporate welfare and would be pro regulation, as they represent barriers to entry. They can grease the pols, etc. You had it in Boston, we have it in Chicago.

    Corporate welfare queens aren’t “libertarian”.

    You have your Randian types, but besides something about “A= hey, I ordered a cheeseburger” (or something like that), and a fetish about architecture or building sex, I really can’t comment on them. Oh yeah – they talk about commanding and obeying Nature, but I snack high on the food chain, so that’s lost on this citizen 😉

    Don’t call them “libertarian” or Howard Roark will show up and have a sweaty pillow fight scene with you (NOT for page 69, however)!

    And you have a slew of people here who audited Econ 79 (!) and used the cliffs notes version of the book who have all sorts of boiler plate comments (viz, our “DEMAND CURVE!” people).

    They know who they are. Actually they don’t. But they sure are fun to watch!

    As for the approximate 20% we see postulated here, I’d say, however, there is a huge swing group that would default on some issues to the religion side. Just look at the Creationism debate.

    “n a November 2004 Gallup poll, respondents were asked: “Just your opinion, do you think that Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution is: a scientific theory that has been well supported by evidence, or just one of many theories and one that has not been well-supported by evidence, or don’t you know enough to say?” Only 35 percent of Americans answered a scientific theory supported by evidence, whereas another 35 percent indicated that evolution was just one among many theories, and 29 percent answered that they didn’t know. Meanwhile a national survey this spring (conducted by Matthew Nisbet, one of the authors of this article, in collaboration with the Survey Research Institute at Cornell University), found similar public confusion about the scientific basis for intelligent design. A bare majority of adult Americans (56.3 percent) agreed that evolution is supported by an overwhelming body of scientific evidence; a sizeable proportion (44.2 percent) thought precisely the same thing of intelligent design.”

    source

    While there is the issue of a generally stupid populace (viz: those who think CH is in the EU)

    Or the outrage with a pair of boobs on tv.

    Whatever it’s called, there’s a socially conservative element, most conspicuous when issues of sexuality, and also faith-based issues.

    Then we’d need to look at how the local vs federal levels. Local levels I’d bet we see a mix of PC left in certain areas and fundie right in others.

    Federal influence? I’d say there is a slant towards socially conservative (boob-o-phobia exists in non religious types; sex-o-phobia, as well), but not necessarily in the completely religious right sense.

  40. “A conservative gave us the automatic rifle, so I guess we can blame every revolution won with the AK-47 on conservatives.”

    Actually, joe, the AK47 was designed by Mikhail Kalashnikov shortly after WWII. A Russian.

    The man’s never received a royalty check, and more than likely his views on economics are closer to yours than mine, so I have a hard time believing he’s a conservative.

    But, hey, whatever thumps your bass.

  41. And pro-market folks probably have . . .

    And relatively wealthy folks probably have something to do with it, for good (behind the eyes of those covered for sinus surgery) or ill (behind the eyes of those not so covered).

  42. Actually, mediageek, I suspect that Mikhail Kalashnikov’s views on economics would be repugnant to joe as well as you. By the standards of our world joe is a man of the center, by the standards of our country he is a bit left of center, and it is only by the standards of this forum that he can be considered far left.

  43. Actually, to be fair to Mikhail, he has licensed the use of his name for some merchandising, including a brand of premium vodka.

    He’s an interesting fellow.

  44. mediageek,

    I didn’t say a conservative invented the AK-47. I wrote “automatic rifle,” referrig to Browning.

  45. Elections often revolve around candidate’s personal morals. Fine.

    Does anyone have any evidence that a hard-core, God-fearin’ religious person makes a better president? Jimmy Carter was pretty darned religious and I don’t remember him ushering in a Golden age of peace, prosperity and happiness. We can argue all day about reasons and justifications but how many presidents have refused to start a war because of their religious beliefs?

    What if the country does best when the president is a cynical, conniving bastard? Just a thought.

  46. “I didn’t say a conservative invented the AK-47. I wrote “automatic rifle,” referrig to Browning.”

    Eh. Carry on, then, I s’pose. (Not going to nitpick the diff. between the BAR and the Avtomat Kalashnikov.)

  47. Didn’t Browning invent the modern auto-pistol as well? I wonder if lefties admire him for his creative and engineering genius, or if they think we was evil because he had something to do with the gun industry….

  48. I used “big government conservative,” complete with scare quotes, to cast Lincoln’s so-called conservatism in doubt. In some ways Lincoln was a 19th-century liberal, especially considering his opposition to slavery. Using the term “conservative” to describe someone so committed to overturning the Peculiar Institution would seem downright peculiar to me. If Lincoln wanted to conserve anything, it was the Union, which doesn’t quite put him in the conservative camp. The Republic wasn’t even a century old, and any such institution “conceived in liberty” could have been snuffed out, and the political development of the world continued along much different lines. Were not the secessionists the conservatives, reactionaries or counter-revolutionaries, if you will? One could depict the centralizers in American history, the Federalists, the second Republican party and later the Progressives as enemies of liberalism and champions of state power. Here we run into the usual terminological confusion, when reformers who emphasized equality, rather than individual liberty, began using the same label as those who had a limited government outlook.

    Lincoln the War President sure as hell wasn’t a purist “liberal,” what with conscription, an income tax and restrictions on civil liberties. Some of his proto-progressive actions were of a mixed nature. I liked how the Homestead Acts transferred property from the state to the individual, even as I deplore the special privileges given to the railroads and the support for government schools it established. In this it followed the example of the Northwest Ordinance. I leave aside the question of whether the land granted was the government’s to give.

    Lincoln is like Jefferson. Modern day political partisans can find strains in his thinking they can identify with, even as the other sides do the same.

    Kevin

  49. Lincoln was a progressive but that is beside the point.

    The prohibition of drugs for moral reasons is a progressive idea in the US and it was FDR and the New Deal Congress who gave the State the power to prohibit access to non-narcotic drugs.

    Lamar/joe ‘s timeline link proves my point.

  50. mediageek,

    “Eh. Carry on, then, I s’pose.” Thank you.

    Ahem:

    That’s all I have to say.

  51. Was “progressive” even in use in the mid-1800s American political lexicon?

    “The prohibition of drugs for moral reasons is a progressive idea in the US and it was FDR and the New Deal Congress who gave the State the power to prohibit access to non-narcotic drugs.”

    This just in: broad bipartisan movments command the support of Democrats, too.

  52. Perhaps Single Issue Voter is one of these people who looks around, sez “our food is safe, our drugs are safe” and complains that there is no need for the FDA. The question to ask is: How did our food and drugs get to be as safe as they are in the first place? Magic?

  53. BTW: I recognize that a “progessive” or “liberal” by today’s standards has very little to do with a progressive from the progressive era. The movement spanned the parties, and was probably necessary in a lot of areas….unless you think fecal matter is just flavor.

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