Friday, October 22, 2004
Is the Republican volcano about to erupt?
When I wrote "Why Kerry's going to beat Bush in November", I referred to a Washington Post article that featured Richard Viguerie, right-wing fundraiser. He is quoted as saying,
[N]o matter who wins on Nov. 2, ... "some time early on the morning of Nov. 3, there'll be a big battle for the heart and soul of the Republican Party."
Watching the Republican party is like watching the dome of Mt. St. Helens rise a few inches each day. It's not a question of if but when it's going to blow. Viguerie prophesies that it will be the day after the election, but a post by Mike Pridmore at Daily Kos makes me wonder if the Repugs may start spewing fire and brimstone before election day can get here.
The Republican party at the leadership level has three distinct ideologies—the Cheney Neoconservatives, the Pat Robertson Fundamentalist-Dominionists and the traditional Conservatives lamely represented by Colin Powell. The Neo-cons have made common cause with the Fundies, and the Conservatives are sucking their thumbs.
Pridmore reads great meaning into Pat Robertson's revelation that Bush had told him he didn't expect any casualties in Iraq—especially after God had already told Pat Robertson to expect quite a few. Since we live in a country where both the President and Pat Robertson get their facts from inner voices, contradicting the voice in Bush's ear amounts to apostasy.
I agree with Pridmore's assessment of the seriousness of it. From the Robertson side, this is a very strong signal to the Faithful that Bush has lost his Divine Earpiece.
What it suggests is that the alliance between the Neocons and the Fundies is coming unglued. I have been anticipating a revolt by the traditional Conservatives, but the prospect of a breakdown in the Neocon-Fundy alliance would be a lot more entertaining. Both groups are so nasty in temperament and vicious in a fight that I recommend buying your tickets early. Each has the goods on the other.
Such a split reinforces and explains Vigueries' remark in the WaPo article—that for Christian Conservatives the 2004 election is no different from the 2000 election. In other words, expect no surge of voters from the religious right.
If the Neocons have a natural constituency, you'll find it among the good-ol' boys. Most of them firmly believe that Jesus was a white European, but that doesn't mean they go to church. What they do believe is that kickin' butt is almost always a good thing—which makes an imperial foreign policy led by a nincompoop in a cowboy hat seem absolutely irresistable.
But the Neocon ditto-heads alone constitute no more than a "significant" minority of the American electorate. Only when paired with pre-Raptured Christians do they become a potent voting block.
If the Neocon-Fundy alliance fails, the Republicans won't be able to elect a dogcatcher for quite some time. It will be left for the "grown-ups"—the traditional Conservatives—to try to put the party back together again.
Why Kerry's going to beat Bush in November