Friday, April 01, 2005

He's the universal soldier, and he really is to blame

The masterful Billmon, of The Whiskey Bar, has departed of late from his self imposed constraint of comparison/contrast with some wonderful original writing.

Here's his piece from yesterday talking about the so-called discomfort the true conservative Right feels with the tactics of the Religious Right:

Today's key document, I think, is former Sen. John Danforth's op-ed in the New York Times, which can be read as both his own personal declaration of independence from the religious right, and a manifesto calling upon the Republican Party to do likewise.

This came as a bit of surprise to me, since I always assumed Danforth was essentially a "social" conservative himself -- not a hardened shock trooper like his old colleague John Ashcroft, but definitely a reliable foot soldier in the great crusade. Danforth is an ordained minister, albeit in the Episcopalian Church (the American upper middle class at prayer) not one of the fire and brimestone sects that are the backbone of the movement. He also was, and apparently still is, a staunch pro-lifer. But for Private Danforth, the raging firefight over Terri Schiavo's feeding tube seems to have been the last straw. He's gone over the hill. And so we get:

But in recent times, we Republicans have allowed [our] shared agenda to become secondary to the agenda of Christian conservatives. As a senator, I worried every day about the size of the federal deficit. I did not spend a single minute worrying about the effect of gays on the institution of marriage. Today it seems to be the other way around.

Danforth quite correctly blames the GOP for this miserable state of affairs, not the grassroots fanatics to whom it panders. Correct, but also a little disingenuous. At one point in his own political career Danforth barely survived a close race against a pro-choice Democrat -- former Missouri Lt. Gov. Harriet Woods. I don't remember hearing any complaints from him about the influence of the religious right back then.

In that sense, Danforth is very much in the mainstream of the GOP mainstream, which has studiously ignored the more bizarre obsessions and authoritarian yearnings of the Christian conservative movement for more than two decades now, out of fear of being left behind (at the ballot box, not the Rapture.)

Go, read. It's a great assessment of the perfidy and hypocrisy of the Right, as well it points the weird connection with a faux military style of presentation that seems to be common these days:

The strong mutual attraction between the career officer corps and the Christian conservative movement, now evolving into something resembling a military-religious complex, is only the most obvious evidence of this trend. Since 9/11, the term "culture war" has taken on a whole new meaning, and this particular New Model Army isn't looking to Adam Smith and Milton Friedman for inspiration. Cromwell would have understood, even if our modern Internet libertarians do not.

Now consider Billmon's subsequent post re: Jeff (James Guckert) Gannon:

The truth is, Jim/Jeff Guckert/Gannon represents, in one muscle-bound package, just about everything I find repulsive about the modern conservative movement. And while I don't hold Jim/Jeff's sex business against him (so to speak), the pseudo-military fetish that was/is his specialty frankly creeps me out, particularly given the the macho fag-hating swagger so common on the gung-ho right. When I saw American Beauty, I thought the character played by Chris Cooper -- the self-loathing homosexual Colonel -- was totally over the top, an unintentional parody of what Hollywood liberals see when they look at the military. But after checking out Bulldog's web pages . . . I'm not as sure.

I have always felt a great distaste and discomfort around folks, almost always men, who are cop and military afficionados and pretenders. If you really feel an affinity for the "uniform" then go enlist.

Otherwise, in my considered and fair opinion, you're a pathetic chicken shit who has no real character or backbone.

And you're also a creep who has an issue about controlling others, in short, a Fascist.

Anyway, Billmon's onto something here. As usual, he deserves attention.