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Wednesday, January 26, 2005

The Other 

Our revered colleague Avedon Carol links to an unassailable strategic insight from a blogger who is new to us, Hugo Zoom:
Although distressingly large numbers of Americans have essentially become proto-fascists who'll snap at you for showing weakness or being in league with the terrorists for objecting to torture or the Patriot Act or the war, they're still in the minority. The Democratic party needs to figure out how to drive a wedge between, well, moderate Christians and crazy Christians.

I myself wince at the indelicacy of what I just wrote, but there's no other way to say it. For years now the movement conservatives and the radical Christian right have worked to make the worldviews of extremist fundamentalist Christians seem mainstream and non-threatening, primarily to give the extremist right wing more power, and so far it's been working. In order to help moderate republican voters (we once called them "Reagan Democrats") see the radicalism and danger of George W. Bush's agenda, it helps-- I hate to say this-- to give them an "other" onto whom they can project their own darker impulses, so they can more easily make the transition to rejecting Bush Republicanism without having to see an attack on Bush policies as an attack on their own values, which would make them psychologically defensive and highly resistant. How? Democrats need to simultaneously attack and re-marginalize the crazy Christians (like these, for example:
godhatesfags.com/main) while redefining what it means to be a moderate religious person, part of the mainstream of a civil American culture. The attack on the un-Christian-ness of the policy statements of Alberto Gonzalez would be a good start.
UPDATE: Almost forgot -- mad props to the eight Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee (Kennedy, Feingold, Biden, Leahy, Schumer, Kohl, Durbin, and even Diane Feinstein), who voted against sending Gonzales's nomination to the Senate floor today. They were, alas, outnumbered by the members of the Objectively Pro-Torture Party, whose endorsement virtually guarantees that Alberto will be confirmed.

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