Friday, August 26, 2005

The Canis Lupis Dilemma

In eulogizing Henry Clay, Abraham Lincoln quoted Thomas Jefferson in describing a difficult situation thusly: "But as it is, we have the wolf by the ears and we can neither hold him, nor safely let him go."

The Republican Party finds itself in the type of situation with the Religious Right.

The latest example is televangelist Pat Robertson suggesting America "get rid of Hugo Chavez", President of Venezuela. In an inadvertent admission that he doesn't understand the first fucking thing about covert operations, he suggested this on his nationally syndicated television program. Way to uphold operational security, Pat.

Is Chavez a problem? Of course. But do we need to have Robertson weighing in on this? No. I mean, here is a guy who prayed away a hurricane in 1985; one would think he could ask for a well placed bolt of lightning from The Almighty to dispatch a Latin American dictator, right? Force majeure, anyone?

This idiocy would be benign and laughable were many in the Republican Party not beholden to Robertson and his ilk. Yes, Robertson has an ilk, an ilk that has co-opted the Republicans on so many issues that some moderates and Libertarians wonder to what degree the G.O.P may be at risk for becoming a theocratic as much as a political party. It would be a tragedy to replicate the mistake the Democrats have fortuitously succumbed to, allowing the troglodytic minority to set the agenda for an entire party. Let them have their Democratic Underground,their MoveOn.org, their Michael Moore, their Ramsey Clark. Let the unhinged fringe tail of the Democrats wag the Party dog.

Religion should not be driven from the public square, nor should it be the lingua franca of political discourse. It is easy to denounce Robertson's statement, less so to diminish his influence. It is time the party of Lincoln do both.

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