Thursday, November 23, 2006
Exorcising James Dobson
James Dobson, the nut who founded "Focus on the Family," was on Larry King Live yesterday. You might assume that Dobson is a preacher of some sort. But no. He was trained as a child psychologist and, according to Source Watch, was "former associate clinical professor of pediatrics, USC School of Medicine," which should make you a little more cautious the next time you seek professional help.
His background helps explain this snippet of the interview—
DOBSON: .... [Homosexuality] usually comes out of very, very early childhood, and this is very controversial, but this is what I believe and many other people believe, that is has to do with an identity crisis that occurs to early to remember it, where a boy is born with an attachment to his mother and she is everything to him for about 18 months, and between 18 months and five years, he needs to detach from her and to reattach to his father.
It's a very important developmental task and if his dad is gone or abusive or disinterested or maybe there's just not a good fit there. What's he going to do? He remains bonded to his mother and...
KING: Is that clinically true or is that theory?
DOBSON: No, it's clinically true, but it's controversial....
Not controversial, really. Just flat out false.
The need for an exorcism
But it was a story about Dobson's thoughts on defrocked pastor Ted Haggard that piqued my interest in the interview. Reporter Hector Gutierrez's account in the Rocky Mountain News appeared beneath the heading "Dobson: Haggard not a hypocrite, just in need of exorcism." The story itself carried this tantalizing paragraph—
Dobson ... told CNN's Larry King Live that evangelicals are not perfect, and when they don't practice what they preach they need to undergo an exorcism.
"Everybody gets exorcised when something like this happens, and for good reason," Dobson said. "It's deceit. It's betrayal. It seems that those who are on the left approach this with glee.
Dobson has a point. I approach exorcism with much the same thrill that I feel for a fresh appearance of the Virgin. And the notion that "everybody gets exorcised when something like this happens" was simply too good to lay aside.
Alas, it was not to be. After hurrying to read the transcript, I discovered that there had been an unfortunate misunderstanding. What Dobson actually said was "You know, Larry, everybody gets exercised when something like this happens and for good reason."
But in my heart I know he meant to say "exorcised."
11/24/06 - 10:44 am
The article in the Rocky Mountain News has been exorcised.
Link Text of the Day
One Turkey Serves Entire Nation —Link displayed beneath a video of George Bush on today's "Politics" page of the Washington Post
Psychotic of the Day
For some the firing of Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld has been a blow too terrible to bear—
His friend and comrade, Vice President Cheney, is reported to be profoundly disturbed. But even before the election, Cheney appeared melancholy. —Columnist Robert Novak, who previously outed CIA analyst Valerie Plame, now reveals the Vice President's mental state
It's a fine time to be a Democrat. The William C. Velasquez Institute conducted exit polls of the Latino population in the 8 states that include 82% of all Hispanic voters. Columnist Jose De La Isla commented on the findings—
The 2006 midterm election revealed a lot about the political future of the nation's 44 million-and-growing Hispanics.
Mainly, it showed that the Latino romance with Republicans is over.
.... [N]early seven out of 10 Hispanic voters nationwide favored Democratic candidates, with Republicans appealing to only 27 percent. There was an 11 percent GOP drop from the midterm election in 2002.
The realignment is a shattering setback for President Bush and his adviser, Karl Rove. They have been counting on escorting more Latinos into the Republican ranks to form a new party base as significant as their Southern strategy.
Unquestionably, immigration reform did the Republicans in. White voters divided almost right down the middle between Democrats and Republicans on key candidates. The Latino bloc became the fulcrum tilting the contest.
The exit poll found that nationwide Hispanics' concerns were focused on the economy, education and the Iraq war. The dovetailing of Hispanic concerns with the concerns of the Left should provide a wonderful opportunity to bring progressive change, if the Democrats can wean themselves off the corporate megatit long enough to take advantage of the demographics.
Election 2006: Where have all the "values" gone? (11/22/06)
Fool of the Day
Thanks to Greg Mitchell of E&P for pointing out this column—
I ... originally had no moral qualms about the war. Saddam Hussein was a beast who had twice invaded his neighbors, had killed his own people with abandon and posed a threat — and not just a theoretical one — to Israel. If anything, I was encouraged in my belief by the offensive opposition to the war — silly arguments about oil or empire or, at bottom, the ineradicable and perpetual rottenness of America.
On the contrary, I thought. We are a good country, attempting to do a good thing. In a post-Sept. 11 world, I thought the prudent use of violence could be therapeutic.
—Richard Cohen, Washington Post columnist, Israeli stooge and consummate asshole writing in "The Lingo of Vietnam"
Can you believe this man gets paid to express his opinions?
Wednesday, November 22, 2006
Election 2006: Where have all the "values" gone?
Colorado Springs, Colorado, boasts of being the locale not only of defrocked pastor Ted Haggard's New Life Church, but also of James Dobson's Focus on the Family as well as the Air Force Academy where cadets and instructors intimidate their non-evangelical brethren (known as the Heathen) when they're not studying the ways of war. In short, it is a veritable Mecca of Christofascism.
So imagine my delight when I read this in the Colorado Springs Gazette—
The good news is that the Ted Haggard debacle a week before the election appeared to have little impact on results.
The bad news for evangelicals who remain loyal Republicans is that their influence may wane in a party that is looking to swerve to America’s middle so that it can better compete with Democrats.
My, what a difference two years can make! After the 2004 election, the media declared—falsely, of course—that the outcome had been determined by "values voters" and that the election was all about "values." Democratic politicians were gathering in workshops to learn how they could speak to the "faith community," and Jesus was on the lips of practically everyone except maybe Ted Haggard, who had other uses for his mouth. Now we're reading that the Republicans are abandoning those same "values voters" in hopes of winning another election in their lifetime.
There has been a remarkable silence about this in the press. No big headlines asking "Where did all the 'values' go?" In fact, while the press has acknowledged that revulsion at Republican corruption played a significant role in the Democrats' wins, the voters' rejection of corruption and war is never linked in any way to "values," which is a term reserved for such matters as gay marriage and abortion. The CNN exit polls for 2006 actually maintained two categories: "importance of values issues" and "importance of corruption/ethics." What a fine distinction!
Democrats dodge a bullet
One Democratic politician who may have attended a "values" workshop was Harold Ford, Jr., candidate for Senator from Tennessee. Here he was on Fox News shortly before the election—
FORD: .... [W]e feel confident because you can feel and sense the momentum all across the state. We've been blessed to have good supporters.
FORD: What Tennesseans will get will be a Jesus-loving, gun-supporting believer that families should come first, that taxes should be lower and America should be strong.
As important as it was for Democrats to gain control of the Senate, the thought that Harold Ford might be the means was disquieting to say the least. This is one Senate seat they were better off not winning.
Of course Senator Barack Obama thought Ford was better than fried grits. And since Ford's loss, self-appointed Democratic "consultant" James Carville has urged that Ford replace Howard Dean as chairman of the Democratic National Committee (DNC). There was a notable lack of a groundswell.
I haven't a fact to go on, boys and girls, but I have a nose for corruption and an ear for hypocrisy and I tell you this: If Harold Ford had been elected, he was a scandal waiting to happen. Happily he was not as blessed as he thought.
A values election at last
Despite the media's refusal to use the term appropriately, the 2006 election really was about values. Jim Wallis, one of the few evangelicals who "get it," had this to say—
This was a moral values election.
Many have now commented on the significant shifts among religious voters in the midterm elections, in what Steve Waldman described as the “Smaller God Gap” between Republicans and Democrats.
Wallis quotes from a new exit poll—
According to Faith in Public Life, the poll shows that:
*Faith groups urging people to vote according to "kitchen table" moral issues had a 20-point higher national favorability rating and a 20-point lower unfavorable rating than religious groups urging people to vote according to abortion and same-sex marriage. This difference was even starker between Catholic groups.
*Iraq was considered the “moral issue that most affected your vote” by 45.8% of voters, almost 6 times as many voters as abortion, and almost 5 times as many as same-sex marriage. Iraq was the top moral issue among Catholics, born-again Christians and frequent church attendees. Poverty and economic justice topped the list of “most urgent moral problem in American culture.”
*When Catholics were asked to name the most important value guiding their vote, 67% chose “A commitment to the common good – the good of all not just the few” while 22% chose “Opposing policies such as legal abortion, gay marriage, and embryonic stem cell research.”
Moral values not as important in the election as some people think (11/12/04)
Tags: * values moral values family values religion religious values economic justice exit polls election election 2006 antiwar corruption anticorruption Harold Ford Carville Wallis Jim Wallis Colorado Springs Christofascism Christofascist
Sunday, November 19, 2006
Silly Expectation of the Day
I have not heard the commander in chief, any governor, any mayor, any member of Congress ever stand in front of a TV camera and ask the country to send their boys and girls to fight with us. —Retired Army Gen. Barry McCaffrey as quoted in "Volunteer force may be ‘severely degraded’ soon, retired general says"