At the Washington Post last week, Kathleen Parker placed the blame for conservatives' electoral failure on the shoulders of "the evangelical, right-wing, oogedy-boogedy branch of the GOP:"
So it has been for the Grand Old Party since the 1980s or so, as it has become increasingly beholden to an element that used to be relegated to wooden crates on street corners. [...]
Which is to say, the GOP has surrendered its high ground to its lowest brows. In the process, the party has alienated its non-base constituents, including other people of faith (those who prefer a more private approach to worship), as well as secularists and conservative-leaning Democrats who otherwise might be tempted to cross the aisle. [...]
...the future of the GOP looks dim and dimmer if it stays the present course. Either the Republican Party needs a new base -- or the nation may need a new party.
None of the GOP Christianists want to hear what Parker is saying--or, perhaps, none are capable of hearing it--but she is nonetheless correct. Jonah Goldberg at NRO penned a reasonable but ineffectual critique of Parker's stance, but John Hawkins attempted a more radical defense over at ClownHall that is nearly nonsensical. Hawkins wrote, for example, that McCain:
almost completely ignored issues like gay marriage and abortion on the campaign trail, even though Obama had huge weaknesses on those issues.
Yes, McCain didn't make GOP perennial favorites abortion and same-sex marriage the central issues of his campaign--not because the Democratic positions on those issues were "huge weaknesses" for Obama, but because the Republican positions were huge weaknesses for McCain.
A majority of Americans believe that abortion should be legal in all or most situations--agreeing with Democrats--with only a small minority (typically 15-20%) demanding that abortion be always illegal (the Republican stance). When it comes to same-sex marriage, roughly two-thirds of Americans are in favor of either full marriage equality or civil unions for same-sex couples, which again puts the GOP in the minority--one which is steadily shrinking.
Hawkins trots out the tired "values voter" meme yet again, but what he doesn't realize is that most Obama voters also voted on the basis of their values: reproductive rights, civil rights, foreign policy, fiscal responsibility, science, the economy, the environment, and the Constitution. The GOP is the minority party in the United States because its positions on important issues are not those of the majority of Americans, and Republicans will continue to lose until they respect American values. Hawkins, however, would have them continue to defer to their Christianist wing:
If people of faith are willing to help the GOP in return for having their interests protected in Washington, the Republican Party would be extraordinarily foolish to turn them away.
I'd love to see the GOP continue its slide into irrelevance by pandering to the extremists, but gordo at Appletree
thinks they can fail just as ignominiously by throwing the evangelicals overboard and blindly following the same failed policies:
So let's hope that Kathleen Parker and her fellow "moderates" prevail, and Republicans marginalize Christians while they continue to press for less regulation, fewer social services, fewer rights and legal protections for citizens, higher deficits, more wars, and lower taxes for the wealthy. And let's hope that they also continue to scapegoat immigrants when their policies backfire. With any luck, they'll still be banging the same drum when Obama runs for re-election in 2012.
It's like watching a minivan full of crash-test dummies careening over a precipice...