For the past few years we’ve been subjected to Amy Sullivan’s admonitions about the Democratic Party’s “God Gap” and how liberals need to learn to talk about religion as glibly as conservatives do.
Well, look who’s got a God problem now. Kathleen Parker writes in today’s Washington Post —
As Republicans sort out the reasons for their defeat, they likely will overlook or dismiss the gorilla in the pulpit.
Three little letters, great big problem: G-O-D.
I’m bathing in holy water as I type.
To be more specific, the evangelical, right-wing, oogedy-boogedy branch of the GOP is what ails the erstwhile conservative party and will continue to afflict and marginalize its constituents if reckoning doesn’t soon cometh.
Simply put: Armband religion is killing the Republican Party. And, the truth — as long as we’re setting ourselves free — is that if one were to eavesdrop on private conversations among the party intelligentsia, one would hear precisely that.
“Intelligentsia” being party elites, at the heart of which are “professional conservatives [who] are lifelong Washingtonians who live comfortably as organization heads, lobbyists and publicists,” per David Brooks. This group is neither more nor less Christian than any other random segment of America, and if put on the spot to talk publicly about religion I doubt they’d be any more successful than was Howard Dean.
Parker gets better —
Which is to say, the GOP has surrendered its high ground to its lowest brows.
Is she saying that evangelicals are “lowbrows”? And how do we spell “elitist”? K-A-T-H-L-E-E-N P-A-R-K-E-R?
In the process, the party has alienated its non-base constituents, including other people of faith (those who prefer a more private approach to worship), as well as secularists and conservative-leaning Democrats who otherwise might be tempted to cross the aisle.
Here’s the deal, ‘pubbies: Howard Dean was right.
That’s last one’s going to infuriate movement conservatives more than dissing God.
Ronald Reagan found a way to speak to white evangelical voters that touched their deeply ingrained and tangled narratives about religion, patriotism and race at a time when Bible Belt culture was being exported nationwide via Christian television programming. The Republican Party and a new generation of evangelical media stars like Pat Robertson forged a mutually beneficial alliance that was less about God than it was about money and secular power. And it worked for them for a while, at least in large parts of the country (although not the Northeast).
George Bush caught on to the same trick and was able to keep the alliance going. But the times do change, and most of the nation figured out what a clown Bush is. I also think the Terri Shiavo episode clarified the religion matter, so to speak, for a lot of people.
Social-Christian conservatives might argue that it’s their party, too, and maybe it was the neocons who really screwed the pooch. Or the small-government, deregulation uber alles conservatives who wore out their welcome. And I say there’s plenty of blame to go around.
Pass the popcorn. And tell Amy Sullivan to find a new issue.