Tuesday :: Jan 25, 2005

Are You Ready For Some Internecine Republican Warfare?


by rayman

Many of us have noted, with a mixture of amusement and disgust, how the Religious Right has continually been played for fools by the Republicans. Every few years, these useful idiots are whipped into a frothing rage over the outrage du jour right before an election, and then summarily kicked to the curb like aging prostitutes once their Republican patrons are safely ensconced in power. And yet they keep coming back for more, again and again. But maybe, after all these years, the Religious Right is finally getting wise to the GOP con game. According to an article in today's New York Times, these groups are planning to oppose the Social Security phase-out if Bush doesn't firmly get behind the Hate Amendment:

In a confidential letter to Karl Rove, Mr. Bush's top political adviser, the group said it was disappointed with the White House's decision to put Social Security and other economic issues ahead of its paramount interest: opposition to same-sex marriage.

The letter, dated Jan. 18, pointed out that many social conservatives who voted for Mr. Bush because of his stance on social issues lack equivalent enthusiasm for changing the retirement system or other tax issues. And to pass to pass any sweeping changes, members of the group argue, Mr. Bush will need the support of every element of his coalition.

[...]

The members of the coalition that wrote the letter are some of Mr. Bush's most influential conservative Christian supporters, and include Dr. James C. Dobson of Focus on the Family, the Family Research Council, the Southern Baptist Convention, the American Family Association, Jerry Falwell and Paul Weyrich.

Several members of the group said that not long ago, many of their supporters were working or middle class, members of families that felt more allegiance to the Democratic Party because of programs like Social Security before gravitating to the Republican Party as it took up more cultural conservative issues over the last 20 years.

Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, declined to talk about the letter, but said, "The enthusiasm to get behind his proposals is going to require that he get behind the issues that really motivated social conservative voters."

The second-to-last paragraph is key, as it highlights a fundamental tension within the Republican coalition. Ever since 1968, the party has succeeded by holding together an incongruous mix of Wall Street/K Street plutocrats and Southern reactionaries formerly within the Democratic fold. But the Social Security debate demonstrates how fragile this coalition truly is. After all, the ideological shock troops can only vote against their economic interests for so long; the prospect of "dude's kissin" in front of the county courthouse may repulse these Real Americans, but so does the possibility of grandma and grandpa living (and dying) in poverty.

Pass the popcorn, please.

rayman :: 6:26 AM :: Comments (18) :: Digg It!