Tuesday, March 22, 2005

You Want To Talk To God? Let's Go See Him Together. I've Got Nothing Better To Do

Was it really just a few months ago that the entire right wing, smug with their victory in the presidential election, was telling 49% of the country that its morals were screwed up, and it had better toe the line along with the good and noble people in this country who worshipped the correct God 'n' stuff?

Well, this morning, we've got three indicators that perhaps that tactic was a touch premature.

First, there are the national polls regarding the Terri Schiavo case, commissioned by ABC, CBS, USA Today/CNN/Gallup, you name it. A majority of Americans agree with Ms. Schiavo's husband Michael, and would, in the same situation as Ms. Schiavo, want their feeding tube pulled. The majority of Democrats is larger than the majority of Republicans... but they're both majorities.

Second, the Federal judge empowered by the odious Terri Schiavo Law ("For the relief of the parents of Theresa Marie Schiavo") refused to order her feeding tube to be put back in, saying the matter had been handled adequately in the state courts. (As it turns out, the law is likely unconstitutional on several grounds, not the least of which are it's a bill of attainder [thanks to commenter jslove for reminding me] and that it was passed with three Senators in the chamber, hardly a quorum.) It's going to go back to appeal, of course, but it never should've got this far to begin with.

Third, on a somewhat unrelated matter, one of the biggest cheerleaders for the Moral Right, and someone I've savaged on this blog several times, David Brooks, is in full covering-his-party's-ass mode:

Only a genius like [Jack] Abramoff could make money lobbying against an Indian tribe's casino and then turn around and make money defending that tribe against himself. Only a giant like Abramoff would have the guts to use one tribe's casino money to finance a Focus on the Family crusade against gambling in order to shut down a rival tribe's casino.

Only an artist like Abramoff could suggest to a tribe that it pay him by taking out life insurance policies on its eldest members. Then when the elders dropped off they could funnel the insurance money through a private school and into his pockets.


Yet it's important to remember this: A genius like Abramoff doesn't spring fully formed on his own. Just as Michelangelo emerged in the ferment of Renaissance Italy, so did Abramoff emerge from his own circle of creativity and encouragement.

Back in 1995, when Republicans took over Congress, a new cadre of daring and original thinkers arose. These bold innovators had a key insight: that you no longer had to choose between being an activist and a lobbyist. You could be both. You could harness the power of K Street to promote the goals of Goldwater, Reagan and Gingrich. And best of all, you could get rich while doing it!


Soon the creative revolutionaries were blending the high-toned forms of the think tank with the low-toned scams of the buckraker....

Ralph Reed, meanwhile, smashed the tired old categories that used to separate social conservatives from corporate consultants. Reed signed on with Channel One, Verizon, Enron and Microsoft to shore up the moral foundations of our great nation. Reed so strongly opposes gambling as a matter of principle that he bravely accepted $4 million through Abramoff from casino-rich Indian tribes to gin up a grass-roots campaign.

As time went by, the spectacular devolution of morals accelerated. Many of the young innovators were behaving like people who, having read Barry Goldwater's "Conscience of a Conservative," embraced the conservative part while discarding the conscience part.


It took a village. The sleazo-cons thought they could take over K Street to advance their agenda. As it transpired, K Street took over them.

A few of the facts are wrong; a few of the dates are wrong. He didn't mention that Abramoff is closely tied to Tom DeLay's current troubles. But most of it is right. And for Brooks, who usually cloaks his shameless partisanship with a smarmy paternalism, to come right out and blast several major Republican spokesmen and fundraisers is astonishing.

All of which leads to what might be a problem for the Republican Party as it is now: Most people seem to think that piously intoning your upright moral standing isn't as important as actually doing good works and taking care of people. Claiming the high road is not as important as walking it. And, possibly, those in power might have overstepped their bounds, and in a way that shows their vile, power-hungry true selves.

Great post! My first time on your blog. I will be here again (I loved today's title, by the way - a favorite childhood film).
Dig your blog. Great title too. I'll be adding you to my links.

This whole Schiavo thing is sickening. It leaves me with only one question. If Terri dies today, will she rise on the third day?

I have an advanced copy of Weekend at Bernie's Part 4 starring Tom DeLay and Bill Frist if you're interested:

Weekend at Schiavo's
My first visit here, too.

And I have to spoil something. It isn't a bill of attainder--those give punishment without benefit of trial.

This is a private bill. An uncommon but not unusually practice.

But the gist of it is rather similar. The whole federal government attentive to the "needs" of one. And it is none of their business. It is a state matter via the Tenth Amendment's "police powers"--health, safety, morality, and welfare.

Keep fighting the good fight.

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