As Radley adequately demonstrates, the republicans are nothing if not completely full of shit. And Bill Bennett? Jesus. I loathed that fake, self-righteous fuck even while grudgingly supporting republicans over democrats. Stay home; but if you must, just take a chance and shake things up. Kick the republicans out on their asses.
In terms of practical politics, it would only be what they deserve.
On a related note — since I’m talking about the disaster that is the Republican Party — Billy has up a link to a video at youtube, wherein conservative Andrew Sullivan discusses his book. Though Billy is entirely correct concerning the underlying principles of the matter, I think Sullivan’s comments are remarkably insightful, given the logic of the modern political struggle, such as it is. I guess I liked a lot more than just bits, and I just didn’t see a lot of rot.
Part II (additional comments below the video)
I rather like his contrast of all the brands of religious fundamentalism (Muslim, Christian, Jewish) with that of a more liberal religious tradition. It has certainly been my experience. As a kid, I got shuttled off to Mormon church (mom’s family) and Lutheran church (dad’s family) from time-to-time and for the special occassions. But it was a very liberal and tollerant sort of environment. In recent years, I’ve had firsthand experience observing the Catholics (wife’s family) and it’s the same sort of liberal environment I remember from before. It was an exchange of values, not an onerous process of imposing a stifling sense of self guilt, blind faith, obediance and submission to external authorities, and self sacrifice. Later, when I was about 10, my immediate family became involved with a more liberal form of evangelical Christianity. Yes, they were "born agains" (and I much agree with Sullivan’s characterization of that phenomenon), but actually on the more liberal side of things. After a few years, when that wasn’t enough, things went pretty hard core — a state in which we remained until I left home to attend college.
It was a mistake on my parent’s part, a big one. But it was done in an effort to make our lives better and none of us rebelled. At all. All four of us pretty much went right along with it to the very end. And though the science was nonexistent ("science" was Genesis), my parents provided us with otherwise excellent educations and though the environment was stifling, at least it wasn’t the toxic waste I’d have been exposed to at the local public high school.
No ill will. We’ve all moved on, my parents did a good job, and besides, who looking back doesn’t wish a thing or two had been different? I’m quite certain that raising four boys is a lot tougher undertaking than I’ve ever properly given my parents credit for. Quite certain.
That said, I loath fundamental Christianity to the depth of my bones. I really can’t express the depth of my loathing and hatred for it in words sufficient to describe my visceral feeling about it. Moreover, I find it increasingly difficult to be civil to anyone who professes it. They can all go straight to hell, as far as I’m concerned. Mercifully, none of my immediate family has been involved with the fundamentalist nut cases for many years now.
But believe me on this: there is no principle distinction worth making between the fundamentalist born agains and the fundamentalist Muslims. None whatsoever, and the only practical distinction worth making is that fundamentalist Muslims have political opportunities that fundamentalist born agains lack. If the born agains exercised the same sort of political power and opportunity, heads would be rolling. I can assure you.
Keep in mind what Deacon Fred said: "It’s 2002 and the whole world is still at war over who has the most powerful invisible friend." To imagine that a whole lot of what’s going on is not fundamentally about religious conservatism and not platitudes about political "freedom" is just putting your head in the sand. It’s entirely appropriate to oppose the Muslim kooks and murderous zealots over there, but you really ought to be mindful of the sort of religious whack jobs you have holding high office here at home.
Stay home, and/or send them packing. Every last one of them.