The Bad Guy

The McLaughlin Group (5/25/07)…And then I go off on a tangent.

I don’t care what you say, I love the McLaughlin group. It’s always a nice wrap-up of the week’s events and I just love hearing old folks yell at one another. Also, between Pat Buchanan prefacing his points by saying “John…” and Eleanor Clift screeching “EXCUSE ME!” to get a word in edgewise, TMG has all the requirements to be the playing field for a great drinking game.

John McLaughlin: Issue ONE! [down a shot] : Farewell Falwell.

McLaughlin asked the group who got the better part of the alliance between the Religious Right and the Republican Party: Falwell or the GOP?

An intriguing question that the group was split on. Me, I have my own take on it. Have you ever had a bad co-dependent relationship? One that makes everyone around you uncomfortable, makes you and your partner look like monsters? Sure, you’ll WANT to get out of it, but both of you can’t stop feeding off the negativity the two of you produce. Then there’s the inevitable questions “Where will I go? What will I do?” Neither the GOP or the Religious Right can break free of this marriage because it is too powerful. The only way it can end is if the clout of either party is brought down to the point that continuing the bond is in neither’s best interest. Until that time all the talk of the evangelicals breaking off into a third party is just posturing.

Falwell took the job of being a TV preacher to the next level. He shunned the gaudy suits and the flashy productions to create “The Old Time Gospel Hour.” It was THE single most boring religious show on TV when I was growing up and I hated it. To me it felt just like going to church, and that gave me little incentive to tune in. I guess that’s one of the things that made him able to buddy-up with the GOP, that illusion of normalcy, that facade of respectability. From the traditional looking church he was able to rail against everyone he deemed to be against God and the USA and get away with it. He was a tribal chieftain of the Evangelical movement who, in the 80’s, showed he could translate that clout into political power. He was the power adapter between the unfocused rage of Right-Wing Christians and the voter-craving GOP. He brought in the voting mob of his side and asked only for a lot more Jesus in America than before. As time went on the GOP became the majority party and the Evangelicals insinuated themselves more and more into the political process and scared the crap out of the rest of the country. I’ll concede the point that the line between church and state has blurred considerably since 1980, but a lot of the shows of strength that we have seen lately have been nothing more than bluster.

From the Meese Commission On Pornography in the 80’s to Tinky Winky, to Terry Schiavo. All of these issues and more had Falwell’s fingerprints all over them. he may not have been successful in his many moral crusades but he did prove to one and all that the media would still listen to him and that he could scare his followers and enemies, alike.

At his funeral, Falwell proved that his connection to power was waining but his mob remained loyal. The Bush Administration only sent a low level representitive and no current presidential candidates paid their respects. The week before, the only peope saying nice things about Falwell were Hannity, O’Reilly, Coulter and Larry Flynt. Yes, that Larry Flynt. The guy who had an ongoing feud with Falwell for the better part of three decades and made a movie about it, Larry Flynt. What made it even more hilarious was that Flynt’s statement was the MOST christian thing I’ve ever heard him say in public (and I’m not counting the times he’s invoked the name of “Jesus ‘Tap Dancing’ Christ”). But Larry Flynt doesn’t have to worry about making a good impression. He’s worked hard to be able to say and do whatever he wants and not be hit by a backlash. Since everyone else who depended on Falwell still needed to appeal to the broader spectrum of voters, they couldn’t afford pay tribute. His followers, however, waited for HOURS to get in. Many lined up the night before like they were getting an XBOX or concert tickets. Are we seeing the decline of America’s scariest co-dependent relationship, or just a hiatus until next year when that mob will be needed in battle once again? John McLaughlin seems to think there has been a decline, but I’m of another opinion. I’ll guess that the GOP does want distance itself from Evangelicals but mark my words, next year you will see religious leaders demanding their due and we’ll see the tone of the debate go downhill once again. If that funeral proved one thing is that even from beyond the grave, Falwell could scare the crap out of Americans.

This leads me to my ideas of how things should go down. The Democratic Party has proven that they can’t manage to show any courage to remain stubborn in it’s belief. Congress has caved in abandoning timelines for getting out of Iraq or even holding anyone accountable for the war. Perhaps labor unions, environmental groups, all sorts of anti war activists should abandon protesting the Republican Party to join it. Hear me out. What the GOP needs is a substitute multitude who will vote for who they are told to vote for. Sure, the unions and activists won’t like being around their “enemies” but this is where the deal gets good for them. If enough of them join and get involved they will have a say in WHO gets nominated. This will not only shake the foundations of the Republican party, it will likely drive out traditional Republicans to start a third party…And the cycle begins again. I do, however, know that this is nothing more than an unrealistic fantasy. You need leadership to accomplish a plan of this size and a goal beyond party crashing. But the fact remains that the GOP will not leave it’s current squeeze until it has a voting block stronger than Evangelicals. The party needs to be able to laugh off the bile and vindictiveness that would be hurled in their direction after such an acrimonious break-up.

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May 26, 2007 - Posted by | GOP, jerry falwell, john mclaughlin, Larry Flynt, News and politics, The McLaughlin Group, TV

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