Saturday, April 16, 2005


Victims Us "R"

So what way does the Republican Party want to go? Victories on the economic front have been clear. To the extent that George Bush's Social Security initiative has been pushed back, it is arguably because of rhetoric (for a while, Bush was throwing around the "Crisis" word more than the average DC Comics miniseries) or tactics (tax reform or fixing the Medicare mess might have been better things to attempt first).

Yet, the party has to decide how far it intends to go to address the concerns of its religious conservative base. Yes, many on the left are dismissive of religious conservatives as rural, know-nothing yahoos. That's an unfortunate stereotyping that wouldn't be considered if directed toward any other minority group.

That said, the GOP does itself no favors when it tries to set itself up as the sole protector of "people of faith." Reasonable people can disagree with the wisdom of Congress getting involved in the Terri Schiavo case (I personally felt it was a mistake.) However, things have gone too far when the Senate Majority Leader involves himself in a production promoted as portraying Democrat filibusters of Republican judges as, "
being used against people of faith."

It is not merely problematic in the way that Ballon Juice's John Cole points
out: "If you don't share our politics, you hate the baby Jesus....Our leaders have now taken the traditional rhetorical demonization of our opposition and elevated it to heavenly heights."

Republicans have seemingly adopted the tactics that Democrats have used with black voters for years: Not only is opposition to a political point wrong, it must be a sign of blatant bigotry. The flip side of this demonization of the enemy, of course, is the infatilization of one's supporters. In short, Christian conservatives are now officially societal "victims" with all the moral weight that carries. In much the same way that Charlie Rangel said infamously several years ago that the "new" Republican bigotry comes forth in the language of "tax cuts," Bill Frist and Co. are now suggesting that opposition to GOP judges is evidence that Democrats hate judges.

What is rather interesting is that, just a couple of years ago, this charge was limited to the Democrats handling of one judge,
Bill Pryor of Alabama. Republicans charged that Democrats were anti-Catholic because they opposed Pryor, a pro-life conservative judge. Yes, this is some sort of rough-justice for Democrats who claimed that Republicans blocked Bill Clinton's judges because they were -- pick one -- Black, Hispanic, female, etc.

But, it was wrong then and it is wrong now. It is invidious to society. For one thing, I thought Republicans didn't believe in creating new classes of victims.

And now, the charge has evidently expanded to the entire class of judges -- not just Pryor. In addition, as W. James Antle III noted in the Feb. 28 edition of The American Conservative (not online), Republicans have happily adopted the race card to accuse Democrats of blocking judges because they are Hispanic (Miguel Estrada) or black (Janice Rogers Brown).

It's so wonderful that we now have two parties more than happy to turn whole classes of the electorate into "victims." In both cases, of course, the status of "victim" is in inverse proportion to their actual influence within the given party. Democrats point to blacks -- their most steadfast voter -- as permanent victims. Now, Republicans have a very significant religious conservative bloc that must be catered to as victims.

In both cases, arguably, it is the greater society that becomes the true victim.

Bookmark and Share

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Weblog Commenting and Trackback by AddThis Social Bookmark Button
Technorati search
Search Now:
Amazon Logo
  •  RSS
  • Add to My AOL
  • Powered by FeedBurner
  • Add to Google Reader or Homepage
  • Subscribe in Bloglines
  • Share on Facebook