Tucker Carlson says it aloud. The Republican elite has contempt for the evangelicals.
The Sunday morning talk shows today, October 8, 2006, included some refreshingly frank or realistic discourse, for a rarity.
Probably most attention tomorrow will be devoted to Bob Woodward narrating how Vice President Cheney used the bullshit word and hung up on him. Possibly some attention will go to the congressional tin ear from Illinois, GOP Congressman Ray LaHood, talking about the Foley scandal: “The real disservice was done to the speaker.”
But for my money, the real jaw dropper this morning was Tucker Carlson finally saying publicly what millions of us have known for years: “The Republican elite has contempt for the evangelicals.”
The commentary centered around the Mark Foley scandal and attendant ironies–that a member of Congress who for years ostentatiously paraded his concern for children and for youth has solicited, also for years, the sexual attentions of teenagers, and not just any teenagers, but teenaged pages specifically under the protection of Congress. Furthermore, all signs indicate that the entire top GOP leadership of Congress, even while campaigning aggressively in some bogus morality posture, either covered up for Foley or at best deliberately avoided knowing enough of his activities to do anything about them.
To call this hypocrisy is just an insult to hypocrites.
As I have said before, this is not hypocrisy. It is deliberate imposture. It is analogous to the current White House policy of pouring gasoline on the flames in geopolitics, under the guise of fighting terrorism, when as it well knows, its policies ignite terrorism, from which it profits. In the ratios of the Miller Analogy Test, Mark Foley is to protecting children what George W. Bush is to protecting Americans. If they really wanted less terrorism, they would eliminate cluster bombs and land mines.
But of all the commentators on all three major television networks, none to my knowledge has made the basic connection, until today. Carlson made the basic, direct statement that for years has needed making. “Everybody in our world has contempt for the evangelicals,” he continued under questioning. When asked, “How do you know?” in response to his initial claim about the GOP, he gave the unequivocal answer: “Because I see them.” As Carlson said, he works with them, meaning members of the power elite or the opinion makers. He has moved among them for years. “They live on my street.”
Following up the statements that “The Republican elite has contempt for the evangelicals,” and “Everybody in our world has contempt for the evangelicals,” he continued, “and everybody knows that. The evangelicals are beginning to figure it out.”
What came home for this viewer is that on a more modest scale I have seen the same thing. Certainly not all Republican women, or all women who sometimes vote Republican, feel the same way on social issues. And some of the most rock-ribbed longtime Republican women voters, at least those of my acquaintance, who also tend to be economically well off or affluent, are exactly the individuals most dismissive of the party line on social issues. They let the men talk, but if a woman or girl they care about or to whom they are related wants an abortion, they are highly unlikely to let the men stand in the way. Or even to let the men know, if that’s the way to play it.
As for the public pronouncements of their party, and the most prominent of their professional religious spokesmen, they roll their eyes. I have seen them do it. You do not get more eye-rolling about the Reverend Mr. Pat Robertson or about the unreverend Ralph Reed anywhere than in the nearest lunch of Republican women at the local country club, and the only people who seem not to know it are the people whose faithful votes keep the corporate hogs in office. So the GOP agenda accomplishes its real objectives such as keeping plaintiffs out of court, letting insurance companies off the hook on large claims, raiding or undermining pension funds, bailing out the top management of mismanaged industries, and preventing any progressive taxation whatever for billionaires.
Meanwhile, the rare genuine voter of rightwing conscience who gets into office, like GOP Congressman Ron Paul of Texas, could not be more sidelined if he were a high schooler trying to play in the NFL. I have said it before. The only real purpose regarding abortion for this administration is to splinter what would otherwise have been moral opposition to its policies, domestic and foreign.
There could have been a clue to the nature of the faith typically espoused by the likes of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney. One clue could have been Cheney, come to think of it. But the broad clue could have been the policies of this White House and of the top crust of this administration. Look at current policies and practices and try to find the gospels in there anywhere. Try to find the New Testament in a takeover attempt on a historic scale, in careers of relentless self advancement and relentless exploitation of others, lying, bullying, bragging, whining, bribery and corruption. A little reading, the merest reminder or thought of comparative religion, would have gotten the idea across.
Instead, ironically, it took a Mark Foley to clarify the disconnect.
If this had happened on stage or in film, in the words of Shakespeare, it would be condemned as most improbable fiction.
Note: The post above was re-posted after being deleted by the system.
Update on Mark Foley, hobnobbing with Grover Norquist at the 2012 Republican convention, here.