December 25, 2007
They Can”t Even Wait!
Although I consider myself second to none in loathing the Democratic Party, as an ingathering of bureaucratic parasites and self-described victim groups (yelping for set-asides and public funding), there is one Democratic characteristic that Republicans would do well to emulate. Democrats do not exert themselves kissing up to constituencies that they have too much ideological self-respect to court. Unless I”m mistaken, there are no Democratic politicians trying to befriend the NRA or Right-to-Life types or begging Phyllis Schlafly to make up with them. Democratic politicians and staffers know exactly who their core constituencies are; and besides, they and their voters are, broadly speaking, principled people, even if their principles are grotesque and even satanic.
But the Republicans are markedly different. They are, first of all, a WASP country club funded by multinational interests. They also have a much-publicized key constituency, Religious Right voters, who are also conveniently for the most part Protestant. Fortunately for the Republicans, their Evangelical and anti-abortion Catholic voters don”t ask for much, save for a few rhetorical crumbs during electoral campaigns and perhaps for the appointment of a few non-liberal federal judges. The Religious Right is also moving toward the left, particularly among the younger generation, and these leftward moving Evangelicals are looking toward the Democrats, who give religious Christians absolutely nothing in return for their support. Almost nothing, that is, except for expanded government control over the economy and promises to redistribute income, goals that Evangelicals like Michael Gerson and Jimmy Carter obviously endorse.
All of this works well for the Reps, who feel free, and are indeed free, to reach out to aggrieved leftist constituencies. After all, unlike Democratic constituencies, their own voters are too simple-minded and too indulgent to care about such gestures. We already had the pleasure of seeing W crawling to the funeral of Coretta King, where black Democrats had assembled to celebrate the leftist political career of Martin Luther King’s widow. W should have known that the assembled guests would spend the day dumping on him and his “far rightist” and “racist” party, but being a guilt-ridden and/or cognitively challenged Rep, he probably couldn”t restrain his impulse to reach out. More recently we have been treated to other outbursts of sensitivity, on the part of Republican presidential candidates. Two weeks ago we had Huckabee retreating from his former, fully justified stand on putting women into combat and, moreover, acting as if he had second thoughts about the Bible’s defense of gender roles.
We have a further case in point of awkward outreach in the blow-dried mannequin Romney, who is emerging as the new “movement conservative” favorite after Rudy’s fortunes took a downward turn. Romney has begun to yammer about his past exhibitions of empathy toward minorities. On December 12 he reached out to journalists, by dwelling bathetically on how he had been moved to tears of joy upon learning that the Mormon leadership had decided to accept blacks as pastors. By then clearly on a roll, Mitt explained a week later about how his father George, the onetime governor of Michigan and possibly himself (by now the narrative was getting garbled), had joined Martin Luther King on a freedom ride somewhere in the South. Not surprisingly, the “conservative” media found this patently made-up story less newsworthy than whether the Huck had posed for a Christmas commercial near a subliminal white cross. The perpetually sensitive Peggy Noonan has been going ballistic for a week about how the Huck “knew exactly what he was doing” with his supposedly marginalizing Christmas ad. According to this former Reagan speechwriter, who continues to “grow,” the Huck’s “populist manipulations” are unleashing bigotry in our country and sowing divisiveness in his own party.
At this point I”ve had it up to my ears with Reps, who can”t wait a decent length of time, or until they have finished the necessary work of appeasing the relative Right, before crawling on their bellies to the usual suspects. In my Pennsylvania congressional district I happily gave my vote to a politically correct Democratic feminist acquaintance of mine, after having heard our sensitive Evangelical Republican congressman, Joe Pitts, talk about his feelings of guilt toward blacks. There is nothing that sickens me more than these public displays of the “politics of guilt,” a distasteful subject and one on which I have done more research than I care to recall. Let the Democrats worry about reaching out to their proven constituency and providing all the bellyachers with give-away programs. Republicans should be doing what they claim to want for the rest of us, controlling our borders and otherwise getting public administration off our backs.