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October 08, 2006


Yes there is a bad taste in many mouths. Breath refreshers are being passed out and applied vigorously.

denny's attempts to hang on are an indicator of the repuglican fortunes to come

there will be a base population of the puglicritters who refuse to admit that presnit bush made a mistake

this group will be comprised of the most vocal and hostile of the freepi. They will continue to attack all critics, and this includes their fellow repuglicans

unless the moderate repuglicans take control of their party immediatly, the repuglican party will die in a spectacular display of cannabalism and scandal

this process should take about 5 years, and it has started already, so anybody who wants to make a buck off the repuglican requiem should buy stock in that popcorn company now

Can anybody loan the repuglican party a few anchors ???

This just in from the NYt. (I myself overestimated the effect perhaps. At least on people's feelings. I am mainly mad at the Leadership for not being smarter. But I am that way a lot.)

New York Times,


This sums it up:

Evangelicals Blame Foley Not Republican Party

Published: October 9, 2006

"VIRGINIA BEACH, Oct. 7 — As word of Representative Mark Foley’s sexually explicit e-mail messages to former pages spread last week, Republican strategists worried — and Democrats hoped — that the sordid nature of the scandal would discourage conservative Christians from going to the polls ..."

“This is Foley’s lifestyle,” said Ron Gwaltney, a home builder, as he waited with his family outside a Christian rock concert last Thursday in Norfolk. “He tried to keep it quiet from his family and his voters. He is responsible for what he did. He is paying a price for what he did. I am not sure how much farther it needs to go.”

The Democratic Party is “the party that is tolerant of, maybe more so than Republicans, that lifestyle,” Mr. Gwaltney said, referring to homosexuality.

Most of the evangelical Christians interviewed said that so far they saw Mr. Foley’s behavior as a matter of personal morality, not institutional dysfunction.

All said the question of broader responsibility had quickly devolved into a storm of partisan charges and countercharges. And all insisted the episode would have little impact on their intentions to vote"

This is never a situation where "all voters" do this or that. There are people for whom facts mean nothing. But the polls indicate that these few anecdotes do not represent the evangelicals as a group. And any more info that comes out (and there's more every day) will continue to do damage even to the interviewed group.

It was never supposed that these particular voters would vote D. it remains to be seen how many stay home.

Further, N Virginia is becoming more blue/less red every day. The impact on swing voters remains considerable.

I am nearly two/thirds through Ray Suarez's new book, "The Holy Vote: The Politics of Faith in America" -- he was on C-Span 2 this weekend -- and for those interested in the dynamics of the contemporary house blend of faith and Politics, I highly recommend. He has done a good job of combining the stories that have headlined over the past ten years or so with the quality empirical research by institutes such as Pew and NORC, and the literature in the academic Sociology of Religion Journals.

The genius of the Republicans in recent years has been to gain the support of these actually quite different groups frequently referred to as "Fundamentalists" or "Evangelicals" without having to deal with the underlying divisions among them -- aided by Democrats who simply have too little understanding of those real and potential divisions, and thus the ability to divide some of the rather thin Unity.

In the long run, he predicts this wave will die out, -- This kind of movement, he asserts is good at generating a generalized crusade (thus getting voters out), but it is not at all good at forming and sustaining community that less alienate than the general contemporary community. He uses a very interesting example I had forgotten -- the effort by the State of Alabama to re-write its tax code and budget along Christian Principles. Problem is, there is utterly no Chamber of Commerce of large Corporation support for such a tax code or budget None -- Kein. He tracks the debate on this through the Alabama Fundamentalist and Evangelical churches that sponsored the idea, and of course it generated raw conflict. The effort had to be abandoned before too many congregations and groups blew up. The one piece of it submitted to the voters lost by a huge margin. Likewise an effort to outline a course of study for High School Students treating the Bible as History, Literature and Culture which Alabama invested in big time, brought in high value consultants and all -- totally floundered. In other words one can drive voters to the polls on these general matters, but on the particulars, the goal accomplishment level, they flounder.

If I try to use Suarez's generalizations and apply them to some sort of prediction on Foleygate and the likely impact on "Values Voters" this fall -- it would be they will stick to Faith, and divorce themselves from the Republican Party which will be understood as a Faith corrupting project. I have three books in my pile lined up on this topic, Wallis's book on Progressive Evangelicalism, Kevin Phillips recent one on Theocracy, and Suarez's which I picked up first.

Sara, I think that there will always be alliances of convenience. We are not talking about the Amish here. Most of us live in todays world even if we preach a particular fire breathing form of religion.

Here is something I had for you in the "Catholic Crisis ..." thread which was shoved into the Oct archives.

(repeat, but corrected)

Sara, that is amazing.

I know a little, but what you wrote is amazing. I see that you and the all knowing John have differences, and I might have a few, but on a technical knowledge basis I am much lower. I know about "practice" by good resonable priests and Pastors, and that does vary a lot even from local Bishops.

For example, we had a Bishop that stopped girls from being Altar Girls, though it supposedly was ok. [[There was a busy body snitch in the congregation, that wrote the Bishop and complained.]] I was trained but never served. Now they allow it at that church, but of course the Bishop (holding my temper here) is gone.

Our priests stopped having servers since they couldn't have girls as well, and then when the Bishop came for a certain dedication, there was a wild scramble to find "altar boys."

One thing I noticed above was the remark about Foley's dad and the church. Yes his dad and mother are staunch Catholics.

Supposedly that is one reason he never came out publically as a Gay Man. His parents however did know he was, and dined out in very public places with Mark and his companion, a dermatologist, and Marks sister, who is his campaign manager, and her husband. His mother did something for the Priests. I can't remember right now what but it was something like fabricating apparel, in her own business. There I might be off some. My own mom did it but in her spare time. She made some beautiful Vestments. Later, when she owned a flower shop, she supplied flowers at cost and usually below. I helped with both when I was there.


Jodi, I should simply tell you I am not and have never been Roman Catholic. I come out of the Quaker tradition, thirteen generations back one of my female ancestors was the last women to be arrested in the Salem Witch Trials. (she survived) I do have in part a Catholic Education, having attended for four years a private convent school in Ohio back in the pre-Vatican Two days, and then during the Civil Rights Movement, I was executive Secretary for the Council on Religion and Race -- and thus worked during the 1960's with Catholic Structures as they tried to relate to the movement. Among other things, I was a Robert Kennedy funded consultant to the National Catholic Conference on Interracial Justice.

Personally I totally reject what many call Clerical Culture. It creates a dysfunctional class structure. This is something Quaker founders understood in the early 1600's when they abolished clergy as well as church buildings. Plain Meeting Houses are just fine. It is authoritarian in a very negative sense -- and the problems one finds in many religious institutional settings are directly related to it. I got a very good inside view of it all back in the 1960's, and what had long been generalized instincts were confirmed. Nonetheless, I continue to read religious press from many sources, because being familiar with the subjects of current debate tells you a good deal about what is going on in any culture. I am just as likely to read about Fundamentalism and Politics as I am about Protestant, Jewish and Catholic stuff.

As to John XXIII -- did you know that the Foreign Policy statements in Pacem in Terras became nearly word for word, the Foreign Policy statements in the Port Huron Declaration, the founding document of the SDS movement? You know at that conference about a third of the delegates came from Catholic Womens' schools -- and thusly they advocated the language. So John XXIII not only helped write a radical student charter, but he also wrote one of the most dispicable and reactionary pieces on the legal rights of victims of sexual abuse -- and it still stands. I find irony in that.

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