Republicans insane; want to establish theocracy

November 21, 2011 • 10:52 pm

As I’ve found from reading comments on this site, non-Americans are continually astonished by the extreme degree of both religiosity and idiocy of Republicans in America.  Without living here, it’s hard to apprehend how soaked in God our country really is.  And if you do live here, it’s so common that you barely notice it.  If you want a graphic demonstration, here’s a two-hour-plus video of the “Thanksgiving Family Forum,” a meeting of six Republican presidential candidates in Iowa. They include

Congresswoman Michele Bachmann
Herman Cain
[ex] Speaker Newt Gingrich
Congressman Ron Paul
Texas Governor Rick Perry
Senator Rick Santorum

Start at 36 minutes in if you want to skip the opening prayers, Pledge of Allegiance, and other religious and and patriotic requisites and get right to the insanity of the candidates themselves.

Or, better yet, just skip the video and read Rick Saletan’s piece in Slate, “Rule of the Lord,” which summarizes what these politicians have in mind for America.  Here are a few salient quotes:

Herman Cain:

What we are seeing is a wider gap between people of faith and people of nonfaith. … Those of us that are people of faith and strong faith have allowed the nonfaith element to intimidate us into not fighting back. I believe we’ve been too passive. We have maybe pushed back, but as people of faith, we have not fought back.

Rick Perry:

Somebody’s values are going to decide what the Congress votes on or what the president of the United States is going to deal with. And the question is: Whose values? And let me tell you, it needs to be our values—values and virtues that this country was based upon in Judeo-Christian founding fathers . . . in every person’s heart, in every person’s soul, there is a hole that can only be filled by the Lord Jesus Christ.

Michele Bachmann:

American exceptionalism is grounded on the Judeo-Christian ethic, which is really based upon the 10 Commandments. The 10 Commandments were the foundation for our law. That’s what Blackstone said—the English jurist—and our founders looked to Blackstone for the foundation of our law. That’s our law . . . I have a biblical worldview. And I think, going back to the Declaration of Independence, the fact that it’s God who created us—if He created us, He created government. And the government is on His shoulders, as the book of Isaiah says.

Rick Santorum:

Unlike Islam, where the higher law and the civil law are the same, in our case, we have civil laws. But our civil laws have to comport with the higher law. … As long as abortion is legal—at least according to the Supreme Court—legal in this country, we will never have rest, because that law does not comport with God’s law. . . The idea that the only things that the states are prevented from doing are only things specifically established in the Constitution is wrong. Our country is based on a moral enterprise. Gay marriage is wrong. As Abraham Lincoln said, the states do not have the right to do wrong. … As a president, I will get involved, because the states do not have the right to undermine the basic, fundamental values that hold this country together.

And Newt Gingrich, who argues that we should abolish the courts’ power to review the constitutionality of laws:

I am intrigued with something which Robby George at Princeton has come up with, which is an interpretation of the 14th Amendment, in which it says that Congress shall define personhood. That’s very clearly in the 14th Amendment. And part of what I would like to explore is whether or not you could get the Congress to pass a law which simply says: Personhood begins at conception. And therefore—and you could, in the same law, block the court and just say, ‘This will not be subject to review,’ which we have precedent for. You would therefore not have to have a constitutional amendment, because the Congress would have exercised its authority under the 14th Amendment to define life, and to therefore undo all of Roe vs. Wade, for the entire country, in one legislative action.

Don’t think for a moment that if religious candidates like these get the upper hand, they won’t do everything in their power to convert their religious values into laws that apply to all of us.  And accommodationists wonder why we’re so hard on religious belief!  Because, of course, only rarely is such belief a purely private matter. If you think you have God-given truth and morality, it’s almost imperative that you try to impose your values on everyone else, including those who disagree. It’s the Inquisition in latter-day form.

If one of these Republican clowns get elected, it will require the complicity of the religious “moderates” we’re supposed to coddle.  Remember that not everyone supporting these people is a fundamentalist or Biblical literalist.

h/t: Tom C.

197 thoughts on “Republicans insane; want to establish theocracy

  1. Amen.

    Thank you so much. This is why the Republican candidates scare me. Admittedly, however, I don’t fear their election in 2012. I don’t think they can win in 2012. I think they’re playing in 2016, and they have a much greater chance then. And if this is their field… well…

  2. As an Australian, who lives in a basically secular society (with some encroachments from our own nutters), I feel an immense sadness that such a great nation as yours, has this weirdness as normal. A friend recently travelled to NY, and he asked about ‘Jesusland’, the New Yorker, said that they were ‘deluded’ and felt nothing could be done. Lets hope there are enough secular Republicans to know that if these clowns got in, they would gallop towards a theocracy. Our right wingers lie about climate change, however, they are careful about their god-bothering. My deep sympathy.

    1. I used to live in a secular society too. It was called the USA.

      All this godbotting xian Dominionism is a relatively new phenomenon.

      They are going to destroy us or destroy US xianity. Hard to say which will die first.

      1. But all this religiosity is NOT new in America. We were founded by religious zealots wanting religious freedom who then in turn subjugated competing religious ideologies and fought among themselves. Sadly, we’ve always been off the spectrum in terms of religious fundamentalism!

  3. You should include what the Slate article had to say about Ron Paul. He was brave enough to be the reasonable voice of dissent in this forum. I guess you could say that about Ron Paul in every GOP debate, really.

    “There was one voice of dissent among the candidates. Ron Paul, the libertarian congressman from Texas, argued that people should be allowed to make bad decisions, that freedom of choice in religious matters should extend to atheists, and that powers not reserved to the federal government should be left to the states. But in a field of candidates bent on legislating Christian morality and purging uncooperative judges, Paul stood alone. Protecting America is too important to let the Constitution get in the way.”

    1. Its damn scary when Ron Paul is the ‘voice of reason’!

      When a bunch of goddists sit around trying to ‘holier than thou’ each other, all kinds of stupid grows. I notice no one starts giving away all their worldly goods to the poor however.

    2. It is absurd that “freedom of choice in religious matters should extend to atheists” should be argued about and not be self evident!

    3. Ron Paul rejects the theory of evolution, something for which he has even less excuse than the others, given his medical education. He also favors banning abortion. He’s just as much of a religious crank as the rest — and libertarianism these days offers a whole further vista of crackpottery.

      1. Exactly. I guess people find him appealing because he’s the only one willing to take on the military-industrial complex????? But they forget that 98% of the rest of his views are backwards.

        1. Ron Paul is quieter than most of the other politicians running for the slot. It’s easier to miss how nasty his views really are when you’ve got Santorum on your TV.

        2. It’s not his stance on the Military Industrial Complex that makes him so popular, especially among students (though it helps).

          It’s his stance on the War on Drugs. Paul is perhaps the only Republican to want to end the War on Drugs and also legalize marijuana.

          Now, don’t take this post as a defense of the man. I can think of a great many liberals I’d rather vote for. Paul a kooky creationist, a racist, a pro-lifer, and more.

          I only agree with him on two issues: the War on Drugs and the Military Industrial Complex. Barnie Frank shares those views, but he’s also pro-choice, thinks Creationism is crazy, not a racist, thinks we should have universal health care, has been a strong advocate of feminist issues, wants to end the Citizens United Ruling, has been an outspoken enemy of mandatory arbitration, tort reform, and caps on damages, and so on.

          Not that Barnie Frank is the best choice, of course. He’s had his own issues.

          But he’s a hell of a lot better choice than frickin’ Ron Paul.

    4. This would be the Ron Paul who calls himself “an unshakable foe of abortion”, and has said “We get our rights from our Creator as individuals.”

      Yeah, “reasonable”…

      1. “We get our rights from our Creator as individuals.

        So God is apparently a libertarian. I didn’t know that. The bible certainly doesn’t read that way.

  4. These are religious view, but not fundamentalist or Biblical literalist views. Maybe Bachmann is a fundamentalist, as she says that she has a “biblical worldview”, but the others do not say so here.

      1. Torbjorn, though “fundamentalist” and “fundamentalism” is heading towards being a catch-all for “deeply held, profoundly anti-science, religious beliefs, technically the term refers to a specific set of “fundamental beliefs” which were defined in the early part of the 20th century. Wikipedia has an article on the matter :
        which lists the “Fundamentals” as (1) biblical Inspiration and inerrancy (typically and utterly bizarrely expecting utter inerrancy for the King James version) ; (2) virgin birth of Christ ; (3) Christs death being an atonement for sin (whose? I never understood that one) ; (4) the bodily resurrection of Christ ; (5) the historical reality of Christ’s miracles.
        It (fundamentalism) does not actually refer to establishment of a theocratic dictatorship, though that is clearly the direction that most fundies want to go.
        But if you know their “fundamentals”, you sometimes get a key to setting them fighting amongst themselves, which can be a much more effective use of your time than fighting them individually. The fundies are often less a “house of many mansions” as a loose agglomeration of a wide range of extremely narrow-minded bigots who will grudgingly accept working with “fellow travellers”. But if you know their points of dissension, you can toss a logic bomb into their house of discord, and then relax while the fur flies.
        To quote a signature I see on the web from time to time, “Hail Eris, full of mischief!”

        1. This has probably been explained a gazillion times before but I just got to ask.
          Why the King James version? Why is that one venerated above all other versions?

          1. Probably because it’s a Protestant Bible with an English translation that fits the agenda of the Fundamentalists.

            I do know that the proponents of it widely claim that it’s the most accurate Buy-bull translation ever, despite its overwhelmingly faultiness.

              1. It’s my understanding that the King James version is the ecumenical English-translated version both the Catholics and early Protestants jointly created in attempt to satisfy both camps.

              2. @Tim C. – The King James Bible was the third major English translation comissioned in 1604. Its purpose was to provide a bible translation that was more “accurate” in its rendering of certain words from the Hebrew, Greek and Latin “originals”. At the same time, the Catholics were using the Douay Bible, which was published in 1582 (New Testament) and 1609 (Old Testament). The Douay became the more or less official Catholic bible until 1941 when it was replaced by the Confraternity Bible; most Catholics today use the New International version.

                The first lawsuit that took bible study out of public schools was the Edgerton Bible Case, which had its origins in 1886 among Catholic parents in Edgerton Wisconsin who objected to having their children receiving bible instruction using the King James version. In 1890, the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled that teaching the bible was sectarian instruction that violated separation of church and state and ordered such lessons stopped. The Edgerton Bible Case was not the first such to be brought, but it was the first to result in removing religious instruction from public schools.

                When today’s religious nuts point to 1963 as when god was taken out of public schools, they’re off by around 70 years.

  5. If one of these Republican clowns get elected…

    you mean, elected as president.

    they already HAVE been elected to high office, and most still maintain those offices.

    IIRC, Perry has now had the longest term as governor in Texas history?

    Bachman has been re-elected how many times now?

    Santorum is no longer a freshman in Congress.

    and Newtie is STILL the author of the “contract on America”.

    it seems inevitable that America WILL become the mockery that the movie Idiocracy portrayed.

    Sanity in US elected representatives seems to be in ever shorter supply, looking back over the last 40 years that I can recall understanding any of it.

    Other than not voting for these clowns for president…

    what are you all planning to do about it?

      1. which is meaningless if you don’t vote for those parties LOCALLY, but wait until a national election to do so.

        My point is, if you really want to change what’s happening in the States, you have to work from a local level upwards, otherwise your favored candidates will never appear on a national ticket to begin with.

        besides which, in the States in the people in Congress that control most of what happens, regardless of whether you speak State or Federal.

        It would be much more productive to focus on house and senate races than the white house.

          1. America doesn’t have a viable third party. Voting for a third party candidate is quite possibly one of the most slactivistic forms of protest available. As others have already pointed out, even if you don’t like either available candidate from the Republicans or Democrats, there’s still a marked difference in what the effect there will be on the country for which one gets elected, so you actually should vote for the less bad one precisely because he’ll be less bad.

            1. And where do you think third parties come from? The Political Party Faery?

              As whites were so keen to point out, the back of the bus gets you to your destination just as fast as the front, and both are faster than walking, so you better shut up and sit in your place if you know what’s good for you.

              If you’re happy with a president who assassinates civilians, who tortures dissidents, and whose goons will virtually strip search you when you go to the bus station, by all means, vote for Obama. But don’t expect change for the better — or sympathy from those who’re horrified by what the man has done.


              1. “The Political Party Faery?”

                That’s a good one.

                I guess, as someone who is completely dissatisfied with the current choice of candidates, presidential or otherwise, I have to vote my conscience. I can’t vote for any ‘mainstream candidate’ because this would only serve to perpetuate the same political gene pool, and this gene pool is in dire need of a lot of chlorine. No third party will ever become viable until people start voting for third party candidates. Yes, it’s the chicken or the egg conundrum (actually if one considers speciation, it was the egg, because the mother of the first chicken was not a chicken, but belonged to an ancestral species). No one wants to vote for a third party candidate because everyone thinks that no one wants to vote for a third party. At some point the individual voter has to make a stand and start voting for the most far-fetched unelectable third party loon as a statement. Voting for the same old Republicrats and Demoblicans is only going to bring about the same old baloney politics. “If you always do what you always did you will always get what you always got”. Consider that your ideal, dream-come-true third party candidate really is a beneficial mutation in the gene pool. If you don’t breed with it (or vote for it), the gene will not be passed on to a new generation, and speciation will come to an end. There you go, you wasted a good gene.

                Do I really have to use evolutionary biology analogies to get my point across? This sheep mentality that American voters have will be the undoing of this nation. Vote your conscience! It’s really as simple as that!

  6. America is starting to rly scare me… If our politicians say something like this and they were legimite president candidates id be in the streets… Its just so WHAT!?

    1. I am scared that fascists like O’Reilly are given a platform. I dunno if you can see that anywhere else even.

  7. I have yet to be convinced that any of these people are expressing their heartfelt religious sentiments as opposed to using them as a dodge for amassing money, influence and control over the lives of others.

    1. I have yet to be convinced that one is actually worse than the other, in the long run.

      inevitably, they end up having similar effects.

      1. I’m saying that if there were a foolproof way of forcing these idiots to tell the truth (kinda like Wonder Woman’s magic lasso), we’d find out that they don’t really believe in their deity and their holy book any more than we do. Same goes for Pat Robertson and James Dobson and all those other fake moralists.

        1. and so…


          in the end, like I said, the effect is the same, and it’s the effects we really care about, right?

          I personally could care less if someone claims to think flying unicorns exist.

          it’s when they choose to ACT as if they really do exist that the effects become problematic.

          it doesn’t matter at all whether or not they actually believe they exist, if they act as if they do.

  8. Newt’s crazy. All the Congress can do is enforce the 14th amendment and the 14th says a person born or naturalized is a citizen. For Congress to further define ‘personhood’ as someone who is not yet born then is unconstitutional.

    1. Section 1 of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution reads as follows:
      “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”
      Embryos, whether or not they are persons, are not citizens. It is doubtful whether the authors of the 14th Amendment meant them to be either.
      Thank you David!

      1. Indeed, I’d think the 14th is actually evidence that the Founders (blessed be their holy names!) viewed personhood as starting with birth, not conception. After all, if one is a person at conception, why aren’t you granted citizenship based on where your parents boinked, and not where they birthed you? What is special about being born in the US but not conceived in the US, if birth itself is not special?

        1. Don’t even take “born” literally. If your mother is a US citizen when pregnant with you, you are a natural born citizen yourself, regardless of where your birth takes place.

          Sadly, the same isn’t necessarily true for fatherhood. An explicit exception was made for that to prevent soldiers’ children from local populations overseas from claiming citizenship. Not sure what law is in effect in that regard now.

          1. I do not believe that is true, Thanny. A child born to an American mother, who gives birth in another country, and having a non U.S. citizen as the father, may or not be an American citizen, depending on certain residency factors – if I remember this all correctly.

            Any child born in the United States – regardless of its parents – is a U.S. citizen, I believe.

    2. Newt is a sociopathic opportunist. He doesn’t give a damn about the religious right or embryonic personhood except to the extent that he can use them for his own ends (very much like Karl Rove in that respect). Newt carefully cultivates his image as the right’s “idea man” and when he comes up with this kind of crap it is entirely in service of that image.

      Newt is basically Nixon and Cheney all rolled up into one giant creep.

  9. Wow, these guys make the so called “Hindu-nationalist” Bharatiya Janata Party in India look like a bunch of liberals. We have their equivalents in India though: the so called Shiv Sena and its various offshoots who want to establish a “Hindu Rashtra” (Rashtra is the Sanskrit word for nation). However, none of those “Hindu Rahstra” guys have had any chance of coming into power at the Centre nor are like to be able to do so in the near future.

  10. The 10 Commandments were the foundation for our law.

    I really really hope some journalist corners her at some points and forces her to list the 10 Commandments ala Stephen Colbert. I’m willing to bet that she can’t name more than 3 of them.

    1. The 10 Commandments were the foundation for our law.

      No, she is completely wrong. The foundation of our law was the armed revolution against the tyranny of Good Ole King George III.

      Without that, the foundation of our law would be the ‘divine’ right of kings. And how did the ‘divine’ right of kings come about? The direct ancestor of some king used force of arms to strong-arm peasants into serfdom… using the 10 Commandments as a justification.

  11. The stakes are high, the standards are low, and the choice is paltry.
    Thus Gary Younge in yesterday’s Guardian.

    For someone deeply attached to what America once stood for, like myself, the vista of half a nation throwing itself wantonly down the drain, and dragging the other half with it, is pitiful and horrible.

    Some networks in Europe have started broadcasting the ‘John Adams’ miniseries
    run by HBO a few years ago. I’ve been urging friends and colleagues to watch it, pointing to relevant documents of the period. Especially for the younger ones, who follow American politics from some remove, the political and intellectual standard of the protagonists in the age of Adams, Jefferson and Franklin is a revelation almost beyond belief: the contrast with the current clowns is too stark.
    The brazen ignorance of present Republicans is Orwellian: IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH. Orwellian too is the level of half-doublethink. The decay is self-evident, the danger clear and present.

    As one bright young girl put it: “Like ancient Athens voting for the Taliban.” She’s the age of Mason Crumpacker.

    1. What did America once stand for exactly?

      Destruction of the natives, avoidance of taxes, enslavement of the blacks or subjugation of women and minorities?

      1. Cynicism is easy. Cynicism is cheap.
        But if you are in the least familiar with history, which I assume you are, you will undoubtedly know that every empire in the making has massacred conquered nations and subjugated or enslaved minorities. Most empires, however, were not founded around a constitution that guaranteed human rights. Most empires were not built upon principles that commanded the emancipation of slaves, equal rights for women and minorities, and even a degree of reparation for conquered nations.

        It is part of American exceptionalism of the Right to paper over the fundamental flaws of the Republic.
        It is part of American exceptionalism of the Left — a perverted, inverted exceptionalism — to flaunt these flaws as irredeemable and irreparable, to despair of all that cannot be remedied at once, and to despise those with “an obstinate will to erode by inches the conditions which produce avoidable human suffering” (Leszek Kołakowski’s definition of social democrcy).

        As Max Weber wrote:
        Politics is the hard and slow boring of tough boards. It takes both passion and perspective. Most liberals and radicals are historically strong on passion, but wanting on perspective, steadfastness and stamina.

        1. Beautifully put. Whatever the faults of those who came before us, it is a huge mistake to dismiss that which is good about their accomplishments because they had faults (often terrible faults). To do that is to surrender to nihlistic cynicism.

        2. Well, Jan, that personally is the longest insult anyone has ever given me over the internet. At an impressive three paragraphs, they blew away the competition. Simply impressive. The inclusion of two quotes from famous people was a little off-putting, as you think someone of this caliber would be able to come up with their own material. Nevertheless, the epic level of subtlety of the whole thing is marvelous, as it appears not to be an insult at all – but notice how much time he spends on the inadequacies of the Left, even evoking the word ‘radical’. I just have never seen anything like it and that is why I am giving it my highest marks.


          [Well looks like this guy will take the gold this year, and it sure has been a great time here in Bhutan but this now concludes our broadcast. Back to Jan in the newsroom.]

          Thanks for joining us. News from the Middle East today…

  12. RE Bachmann –
    William Blackstone also said “better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer”.

    1. Oh – I see Wikipedia has a page for this with the biblical quote
      ‘Abraham drew near, and said, “Will you consume the righteous with the wicked? What if there are fifty righteous within the city? Will you consume and not spare the place for the fifty righteous who are in it?[3] … What if ten are found there?” He [The Lord] said, “I will not destroy it for the ten’s sake.”‘

  13. the fact that it’s God who created us—if He created us, He created government.

    When they say things like that, do they realise the slippery slope they have just put their position on? By that standard, God also made totalitarianism and genocide. God made terrorism and persecution.

    Yep, the Lord, God, made them all!

    1. “When they say things like that, do they realise the slippery slope they have just put their position on?”

      So true.

    2. Having just read the hagfish post, I translated that into “slimy slope”.

      Either that, or the context helped.

    3. God also made totalitarianism and genocide. God made terrorism and persecution.

      No, no, no, those things arose because the world is Fallen, don’t you see? Because a talking snake convinced a naked woman to eat a magic apple, everything has gone to hell. It makes perfect sense!

  14. Am I the first person to comment “Gilead”? It looks like it. “The Handmaid’s Tale”, a worthwhile book for a re-read. Which is probably why it is so often challenged when “assigned reading” for school students.

  15. Interesting that Romney wasn’t there. I certainly have no soft spot for Mormon beliefs, but I have a gut feeling that while Mitt talks a good game on the stump about “faith” in general, I don’t think he really likes any of these clowns.

    There weren’t many social-conservative issues that were pushed to the forefront when he was governor, and this wacky stuff just didn’t seem to come up that much when Mitt was in office. I know he was governing a liberal state, but still. he just seems to care much more about fiscal issues than social ones.

    Romney has pretty much standard Republican views (and I’m certainly not saying he’s a closeted atheist or anything), but I am at least gratified that the one guy who has a legit shot at winning would probably do the least damage in the policy areas that these whack-jobs consider important. For what it’s worth.

    1. Romney was governor of Massachusetts. This is a very different political environment to the sort of constituency Romney needs to appeal to if he wants to be the GOP candidate.
      Although one can look at Romney and conclude that he is not likely to treat the presidency as a personal mission to create a theocracy in the same way a Bachmann or Perry President would do (I have this vision of Bachmann’s first action in the Oval office being to hit the big red Nuke-em-all button, saying “Hey Jesus, we’re coming home!”), I do have some worries.
      If he needs to please his conservative constituents then he is likely to do things that have a practical theocratic result (such as appointing very conservative Supreme Court justices that overturn Roe vs Wade).

      1. Well, like I said, he’s still a Republican. “Least damaging” is a relative term, certainly.

        Though part of me thinks that the fact that he is Mormon and is acutely aware of the bigoted reaction he gets from standard right-wing fundies gives him a perspective that’s unusual among presidential candidates from that side of the aisle.

      2. Romney wants to overturn Roe as he made clear in an interview with Huckabee a few weeks ago. “My view is that the Supreme Court should reverse Roe v Wade…”

        He has signed the National Organization for Marriage pledge to send a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage to the states, and promising to nominate Supreme Court and federal judges who “reject the idea our Founding Fathers inserted a right to gay marriage into our Constitution.”

  16. Looks like yet another election where I just can’t make myself vote for any Presidential candidate. I may as well just give up my vote since neither party seems to want to put up a serious, sensible candidate.

    1. Surely, you are being rather childishly silly. Obama, whatever his faults, is far better than these clowns, and what is more, far better for the world: you need to grow out of your parochial view of things and recognise that the person whom Americans choose as their leader has a huge and often disastrous effect on non-Americans who are not in a position to have much influence on the choice Americans make: Nixon and Cambodia, Reagan and Nicaragua, the last disastrous presidency of George W Bush which perhaps you didn’t notice (it only lasted eight very bloody years). Grow up and be responsible.

      1. NO. Obama will not get my vote. But neither will any of the others. Why? Because my vote in New York means nothing. Electoral college fail. So spare me the lecture on being “responsible”

      2. I voted for Obama the last time ’round. No way can I in good conscience vote for him again.

        He promised to close the Guantanamo Gulag. He lied.

        He promised to end the war in Afghanistan by the summer after the election. Not only did he lie about that, but every single fucking month we’re sending more and more soldiers there and killing more and more brown people.

        Obama’s been the one to order the TSA to not only start groping babies in airports, but to start X-raying everybody — and he’s now expanded that beyond airports to train and bus stations.

        Mere “extraordinary rendition” wasn’t enough for Obama; now he’s ordering the military to assassinate civilians without even pretending to acknowledge that the courts might deserve to be informed.

        The only reason he withdrew from Iraq is because the Iraqi people learned (though WikiLeaks) of the extrajudicial assassinations the American military has been carrying out there, and the government made clear in no uncertain terms that there would be another revolution if Obama got his wish and continued the occupation. The fact that we’re overcommitted globally and he wants to rape Afghanistan even harder might have something to do with it, as well.

        I don’t give a damn that the “loyal opposition” is batshit fucking insane. Obama is a tyrant the likes of which America has never been subject to in all of her history, and I will not again be party to supporting such evil.

        Marc, I’m not sure that we live in a democracy any more; voting might be one of those quaint traditions that doesn’t make any difference. But I will be voting, and not for any Republican or Democrat.

        I’ll be voting Green, and I encourage you to do likewise. But even if the Greens aren’t for you, I implore you to vote — but for anybody other than Obama and Romney.


        1. This.

          Also, he has still been ramping up the war on drugs and is going after whistle-blowers and wikileaks relentlessly.

          He wants to punish the people that tell us how our government REALLY operates. How could you vote for him and sleep at night?

          1. How could you vote for him and sleep at night?

            And you’ll rest better with President Gingrich?

            I get the Left’s disappointment with Obama, I really do — he has not been any sort of progressive. But it is absurd to say you will simply take your ball and go home, because the game will still be played without you. Like it or not, you are still morally culpable for whom you vote for, or don’t.

            Shorter response: If you don’t vote, then don’t bitch when the Republicans control your country.

            1. “If you don’t vote, then don’t bitch when the Republicans control your country.”

              They already do, whether they’re in power or not. The Democrats are so afraid of them that they cave in preemptively hoping that they can keep the Republicans from saying nasty things about them.

            2. This is really the problem. My support of a 3rd party is met with: “But it is absurd to say you will simply take your ball and go home, because the game will still be played without you.”

              Gotta love the two party system. And indeed, enjoy your rigged game.

              1. Gotta love the two party system.

                Not at all, but I think it’s pretty clear that voting for a third party for president is not an effective way to change it. I’d argue that you’re much better off working from the other end, as the conservatives have done, getting local and state candidates elected who share your views and actually can move the levers of power. It’s that way that a third party trickles up — in the US it can’t trickle down.

                A third-party presidential candidate in the US system is nothing but a protest vote, and makes it more likely that the major candidate farthest from your own views gets elected. And that seems petulant and irrational to me.

                (By the way, these issues aren’t restricted to two-party congressional systems. We have similar issues in the Canadian parliamentary system, with multiple parties — at times it is rational to vote strategically, even if that means not voting for your first preference.)

              2. A third-party presidential candidate in the US system is nothing but a protest vote

                It is far more than a protest vote, even in the most cynical of formulations.

                You are clearly terrified of the thought of losing my vote. Yet all you can offer me to win it back is a promise that you won’t be as bad as the other guys.

                Were you to instead offer a guarantee of a return to the rule of law, I might grudgingly grant you my vote.

                This is how minority parties have always influenced the majority. You need look no farther than the Tea Party for the most recent example.

                The problem with the modern Democratic Party is that it loves the tyrannical power the Republicans offer more than it fears losing the support of those who stand for the rule of law.

                So long as you continue to play the role of the enabler, you will have absolutely zero influence whatsoever with the Democratic Party and will instead drive them even farther to the tyrannical right.

                You do know that Obama is the rightmost president in all of American history, don’t you? That his policies are even more conservative than Bush Jr., and that he makes Reagan and Nixon look like radical leftists in comparison? Hell, I’d trade Obama for Nixon in a heartbeat.

                And you know what Obama’s real power base is?

                Those of you who’ll stand by the blue ass, come hell or high water, because at least it’s not a red elephant.

                Well, we’re neck deep in boiling water, so why are you still standing by your man?


              3. You do know that Obama is the rightmost president in all of American history, don’t you? That his policies are even more conservative than Bush Jr., and that he makes Reagan and Nixon look like radical leftists in comparison? Hell, I’d trade Obama for Nixon in a heartbeat.

                Retire the trophy! Of all the verbiage spilled on this thread this is far and away the winner of the Silly Trophy.

            3. But there are a lot of people like me who live in states that Obama can never win (I’m in Texas). Why should I vote for Obama? If he has any chance of winning Texas, he will win the election in a landslide.

              In 2010, the astroturf Tea Party dragged the GOP to the right, even though their candidates lost some races that more “conventional” Republicans would probably have won. I’m disgusted with the Democrats – I’m voting Green.

            4. It’s not just disappointment, Tulse. It’s more that Obama has enthusiastically embraced the things I absolutely hated about W. I realize that since becoming President he has access to more information, and there might be reasons why he is doing what he is doing, but that does not legitimize behaviors such as ignoring international law on several counts, ignoring the constitution, his specialty, on several others, and cozying up to the patriot act. Much less failing to prosecute or even repudiate the acts of the previous administration. Unless those items are addressed by him within the next 12 months, I’m with Ben.

              I would still be voting, just not for Obama or any of the potential Republican candidates. Not the same as not voting.

              1. Never mind what we hated about W.

                When I was growing up, we used to mock the Soviets for stuff that seems tame in comparison to what Obama is doing.

                I mean, Soviet citizens needed passports in order to travel within their own country. How could anybody possibly put up with such a thing?

                But in Obama’s America, not only do you need a passport (driver’s license, whatever) to board a plane, you have to submit to your choice of a strip search or sexual assault, your belongings are rifled through, and anything the agent takes a liking to can be confiscated on the spot with your only choice between smiling and nodding or being arrested on suspicion of un-Amiercian sentiments. And now he’s even extending that to trains and busses!

                And there was the brutal Soviet invasion and occupation of Afghanistan — you’d think they’d have learned the lesson from us in Viet Nam, no? Holiday snapshots were illegal if there were bridges in the background, and don’t even think of aiming a camera at a cop. And they had no problem with imprisoning dissidents without cause (let alone a trial), when they didn’t simply “disappear” them outright.

                Do you Obama apologists really not understand just how shockingly horrible the “normal” state of affairs is?

                People, the man is your enemy. I don’t care how good a speech he gave at the ’04 Democratic Convention. The man is a tyrant of the most dangerous order.


        2. He promised to close the Guantanamo Gulag. He lied.

          He made some initial efforts and was blocked by Congress.

          He promised to end the war in Afghanistan by the summer after the election.

          What? I thought he promised to get out of Iraq and focus on Afghanistan.

          The only reason he withdrew from Iraq is because…

          I don’t believe that. He probably also considered the savings to the deficit.

          Some of your other points are valid; Obama has been terrible on civil liberties and transparency.

          1. The Commander in Chief does not need Congressional approval to order the military to deliver civilian detainees to the FBI for prosecution. Last I checked, failing to do so constitutes conspiracy to kidnapping and obstruction of justice.

            And that’s the least of his impeachable offenses.

            If “focus on Afghanistan” meant “bomb them even further back into the stone age,” I fail to see how that can be considered an ameliorating consideration.

            And even if the Iraqi outrage at the war crimes committed by the American military command wasn’t part of Obama’s calculations, it still remains that he’s the Commander in Chief of that military command and he’s done nothing about said war crimes.

            The only difference between Obama and the tyrants of the 20th century is that his body count is “only” in the five figure range.


    2. Marc, the only rational option is to vote for the candidate likely to cause the least harm. Not all evils are equal; not choosing between evils is irrational. Understandable, as a gesture of despair; but irrational. You will have to bear the consequences of the election whether you vote or not; better try, by voting, to influence the outcome in the least harmful way.

    3. Please keep in mind the makeup of the Supreme Court and what type of jurist the President is likely to nominate if given the opportunity. Personally, as an atheist, that is my very close to the top of my concerns when deciding which box to check.

  17. “Non-Americans are continually astonished by the extreme degree of both religiosity and idiocity of Republicans in America”.

    ‘Astonished’ is absolutely the right word. I mean the UK loves a bit of satire – but when we learned that

    a) Palin was contemplating the highest office in the world and

    b) there were people willing to back her

    it was like comedy gold. We laughed about it in work the way you laugh about last night’s Colbert. Pure entertainment. You also wonder if a truly moronic candidate could attract sufficient slack jawed voters without presenting serious competition to any candidate with a brain, thereby eliminating whole shedloads of tea bagger votes from the election. But there’s always that nagging feeling at the back of your mind, that concept of ‘it could really happen, they just might elect one of the crazies’. And what then?


    1. I too live in the UK and I think the word I would use, for myself, is “bewilderment”. I genuinely don’t understand how such a great nation, with some truly enlightened founders* can have descended to this. What the hell is going on?!

    2. The absolute scariest thing about the whole Palin fiasco is that Obama really did not win by that much. She was REALLY close to being in the White House.

    3. The US probably still has more intelligent, sane, creative and productive people in it than any other individual country has.

      However, the population is so big that they still seem to be outnumbered by the crazy gang.

      1. I have been to the US many times and in all directions. I have yet to meet an american who has a holistic level-headed view with regards to his own country and the world beyond its borders. I am truly sorry to say this, but I have no reason to believe otherwise

        1. It’s very easy to find an American who has a holistic level-headed view with regards to his own country and the world beyond its borders – just look for anyone the Republicans call an “America-hater”.

  18. they just might elect one of the crazies
    Happened before (think, Reagan, GW). What bothers me is that there seems to be a competion among Republican pols to see who can get the least competent person elected to President. And, they seem to have gotten pretty good at it. You think (un)curious George was bad…

    1. Happened before (think, Reagan, GW).

      And the actual policies of those two would be considered socialist by the current crop of loons.

  19. Ha, the Santorum quote is great. “We’re not like Islam because we separate civil law and religious law. Islam sucks! But, we should also make civil law and religious law the same (and just call them separate).” What a fucking idiot.


    And accommodationists wonder why we’re so hard on religious belief! Because, of course, only rarely is such belief a purely private matter.

    I disagree strongly with the “only rarely” characterization. In my experience, it’s actually quite common for people to hold their beliefs as a purely — or at least almost entirely — private matter. It may even be more common than the alternative, although I suspect it’s closer to 50/50.

    We’re hard on religious belief because the reverse characterization made by the accomodationists is false, i.e. it is also not true that belief is “only rarely” a matter to be shoved down other’s throats and to pollute the political process. That’s quite common too.

    We shouldn’t pretend moderate/private believers are some kind of endangered species. They’re everywhere. They just aren’t the supermajority that the accomodationists make them out to be. Common, but not dominant.

    1. Yeah I noticed that too – Santorum’s sentences on Islam are basically “they are bad because their secular and higher law are the same. I am good because I want to make our secular and higher law consistent.” Idiot.

      I wish Romney and Huntsman had been there. It would’ve been nice to hear three dissenting voices instead of one.

  20. And so it goes again… history always prove, the downfall and problems of every country is ultimately linked to religion.

    1. God. Damn. Republicans.

      Going to make me vote for Obama again.

      Or maybe I will just vote for the candidate I want to win, as I grow oh so weary of this ‘lesser of two evils’ shit every single election cycle. It’s just that Obama is like an angelic being compared to these people, but still a total asshole.


      1. Please don’t vote for Obama. Please do vote your conscience.

        If you vote your conscience, you no more “throw your vote away” than those who voted for McCain in the last election threw their votes away.

        But if you vote for somebody you despise and that candidate wins as opposed to the candidate you supported, then you truly did throw your vote away, exactly the same as if a die-hard neocon had voted for Obama.

        Voting isn’t about making sure you’ve joined the winning team. That’s the whole point of the secret ballot: so you can vote your conscience without fear of the repercussions.

        Of course, a modern, civilized, non-binary voting system would help, and I encourage you to support such electoral reform as well.



        1. Please don’t vote for Obama. Please do vote your conscience.

          What will your conscience say if President Bachman slips in on a few votes?

          The lesser of two evils is still less evil.

          1. And the lesser of two evils is still evil.

            You may be able to sleep at night knowing you stood behind the man who has ordered the military to conduct a great many summary executions, who has ordered his spies to execute massive dragnets of traveling civilians, and who orders the torture of American military personnel.

            I cannot.

            It matters not that a President Bachman would be a disaster for the country, when President Obama continues to wreak havoc.

            If it were a choice between Torquemada and Franco, would you stand behind Franco because at least he’s not Torquemada? Or would you do the honorable thing and oppose both?


            1. It matters not that a President Bachman would be a disaster for the country, when President Obama continues to wreak havoc.

              A President Bachman would install a theocracy, so of course it matters. Opting out of the system is not a moral option.

              (Of course, I say this as someone now a citizen of Canada precisely because of US politics. But I felt I could not remain part of the system and not participate, and feel morally obligated to participate in the Canadian electoral system, even when the choices are not ideal.)

              1. A President Bachmann would install a theocracy, yes. But President Obama has already installed a tyranny, and there’s little practical difference between theocrats and tyrants. I ask again: would you support Franco just to prevent a Torquemada victory?

                And who wrote anything about opting out? I will be voting Green (assuming, of course, the nominated candidate meets with my approval — an assumption I’m exceedingly confident in) and I urge all others to do likewise.


              2. there’s little practical difference between theocrats and tyrants

                Ben, I always respect your contributions here, but if you can’t distinguish between the current situation and the possibilities of a Christian fundamentalist theocracy, I’d argue you have very little imagination. (And frankly, I think it makes as much sense to call Obama a “tyrant” as it does a “socialist”.)

              3. Tulse, I would suggest that the failure of imagination is yours.

                What are we to call a man, a leader of a nation, who has wantonly and repeatedly ordered his military to assassinate civilians, without even pretending to give lip service to due process?

                What are we to call a man who orders the mass warrantless invasive search of travelers whose only crime is to have the temerity to wish to go from one place to another?

                What are we to call a man who orders the torture not only of civilians but of soldiers under his own command?

                What are we to call a man who refuses to even acknowledge the horrific war crimes his armies have committed and assuredly continue to commit?

                What are we to call the spymaster at the center of an all-encompassing surveillance network the likes of which even the Stasi and KGB couldn’t have begun to dream of?

                If you vote for Obama, you personally give your stamp of approval to all the blood on his hands; to all the sexual assaults his goons have perpetuated on children in airports, train, and bus stations; to all the agony inflicted on all his kidnap victims. (Excuse me, “enhanced interrogation techniques applied to extra-judicial detainees.”)

                Is your fear of Christianity really so great that you would grant your blessing upon such a tyrant?

                And how on Earth do you expect to ever effect real change unless you support those who embrace the rule of law? Do you really think that standing behind such a tyrant will somehow shield you from his whim and his wrath?

                We’re all already fucked. Royally, totally fucked. And we won’t un-fuck ourselves by buying extra lube for those who’re fucking us in the hopes that they’ll save us from those who’d rather fuck us without lube. Our only hope is to stand together and fight all the fuckers, not just the ones who dislike lube.


              4. Is your fear of Christianity really so great that you would grant your blessing upon such a tyrant?

                Yes, yes it is. Obama will not outlaw abortions. Obama will not make it illegal to be gay. Obama will not stop the teaching of evolution in schools. Obama will not see the possibility of a nuclear Middle East exchange as the divinely mandated apocalypse. Obama will not go to war against the entirety of Islam. Obama won’t take away the civil rights of atheists.

                And perhaps I’m cynical, but what Obama has overseen (not necessarily done himself) is largely what the US government has always done. You can argue that he has failed to rein in these abuses, but these aren’t abuses new to his administration — they are at best failures of nerve and resolve.

                how on Earth do you expect to ever effect real change unless you support those who embrace the rule of law?

                But here’s the thing — if these are real abuses that concern you, you don’t affect change merely by casting one vote at one time. Indeed, voting for a third party is perhaps the least effective way to actually change the system. A third-party presidential vote is the “slacktivist” choice, which does nothing to actually alter the system. It is a moral palliative, and not real action (indeed, it likely will make the situation worse).

                I don’t at all disagree with your basic analysis of the current situation, or with your general moral principles. But here’s a case where I really think utilitarianism is called for. We have to make the best of a bad situation, and that situation won’t change by merely casting a protest vote.

              5. Tulse, what you’re proposing is no different from those who wished that Ms. Parks had simply moved to the back of the bus.

                Change comes not from being nice to those in power so they won’t hurt you quite so badly. Change comes from doing what’s right, even if it means that those in power will hurt you even worse.

                Even losing battles are often worth fighting for, and no successful revolution ever started out with a good chance of success.


            2. Ben, you surely have read Max Weber?
              The classic distinction between ethics of responsibility vs. ethics of conviction?
              Or, as John Kenneth Galbraith put it, the “choice between the unpalatable and the disastrous”?
              Because you’re putting up a fine display of the ethics of conviction here.
              The outcome of the election is predictable: either Obama or a kook. Whom will the withdrawal of your vote hurt: the kook, or Obama? Which side is going to profit from it?
              Enough people voted for Ralph Nader instead of Al Gore in 2000. What were the consequences?
              Yes, you can do what you deem the honourable thing, and safeguard your honour. Or you can do the responsible thing, and safeguard your conscience, because you will have to stand up for the consequences of your action upon others. There are situations where honour and conscience are not congruent.

              The choice between Franco and Torquemada is empty rhetoric; the choice between Obama and a nutbag is real.

              1. The outcome of the election is predictable: either Obama or a kook.

                If ever there were a self-fulfilling prophecy preached by the power establishment to protect its power base, this is it.

                We will never escape from the clutches of tyrants like Obama if we allow him and his cronies to convince us that he’s the lesser of two evils.

                There are more options than just Democans and Republicrats. We will never live to see the stranglehold of the two-faced party broken unless we ourselves break those chains.


              1. Squeeze me? You’re the one who’s so terrified of a theocracy that you’re unwilling to accept the responsibility that comes with opposing tyranny.

                What about the comfort of Obama’s assassination victims? Those he’s tortured and continues to torture? The innumerable innocents he orders searched every day?

                How is it responsible of you to embrace all that and more? How is it comfortable for you look the TSA brownshirt in the eye and say, “Thank you, sir! May I please have another?”


              2. Ben, you’re not opposing tyranny if you don’t vote for Obama. Sorry but the next president will be either Obama or a Republican, not a Green candidate. If you consider Obama a tyrant, I’m sure you’ll have a far worse appraisal of a Republican president. If you don’t know what that is like – just think back to the Bush years. And even if you get a Green candidate on the presidency (highly unlikely), are you really so confident to think that military policy would be drastically different?

              3. Even if voting my conscience will do vanishingly little to oppose Obama’s tyranny, it will at least not support it.

                Tyrants thrive on the passive support of the governed, and wither upon their opposition. Even token opposition poses a threat to tyrants — else why do you think both parties do viciously enforce these “free speech zones” and “camping” ordinances for those who overstay their welcome in said zones?


              4. It’s cute that you have a very low bar for tyranny. But if you call Obama a tyrant, what would you call Idi Amin?

              5. Since when did “does not eat the dinner guests” become the new standard of “not a tyrant”? I suppose you must be one of those who thinks that America is still a bastion of civil liberties because China outpaces Texas in the number of executions and Saudi Arabia tortures more people than we do.

                If all you’ve got to say about Obama is that other tyrants are even nastier, then I rest my case.


              6. Mr. Goren has a clear-cut case of ODS – a malady I thought unique to teabaggers and Republicans.

        2. Please don’t vote for Obama. Please do vote your conscience.

          Ah, yes, the principled route. Such rhetoric takes me back to the 2000 election when similar high-principled folks voted for Ralph Nader and gifted us with 8 years of George Bush. Who left a legacy on the Supreme Court of Roberts and Alito. One or two appointments from Romney for this Scalia wing of the Court, and you will have creationism in science class, personhood defined at conception, Roe will be history, same-sex marriage will be an impossible dream, and various other lovely outcomes. But by all means, vote your conscience.

          1. Seemingly every American I meet thinks like this. There must be a fear-mongering drug in the water or something.

            It must be nice not to have to think about anything when you enter the voting block – just pick the blue one! The sleeze in the Democratic Party loves people like you, as no matter how much they screw up you will just keep coming back for more. Brilliant!

            1. The sleeze in the Democratic Party loves people like you

              As I’m sure the sleaze in the Republican Party loves you, since people like you are the reason they have a majority in the House and may well have the next President.

          2. Of course if every independent had voted independent in that election, this would be an entirely different conversation. Currently 40% of all registered voters are Independents, which means that if we all actually got out there and voted and voted for a third party, guess who would win? Democrats and Republicans are minorities in this country, why do we still press the bi-partisan paradigm, which is an illusion in itself?

            We struggle at our core to battle religious idiocy, yet here we are defending another type of religion, a political belief system that relies on deception and misinformation all because “it’s the best we can do” or “it’s just practical to play along”. Then why do we take upon ourselves all the negative aspects of being atheists? Why don’t we just shut up and go to church just like everybody else? It would be easier to just put up and shut up, the religious would treat us better, our children would be safer. Or is it an action of conscience that we defy the status quo and try to change the world so that we can live without discrimination?

            Besides, the myth that Nader’s votes cost Gore the election in 2000 has been thoroughly debunked. You assume too much when you say independents would have voted for Gore. Just look at the polling on independents, it’s just as likely that half the independent votes would have gone to bush anyways. Sure, I wish Gore would have gotten the election, but to blame independents for being, well, independent is just stupid. If there is a strong independent, or green candidate that can stand up and offer a good third option, I would encourage that option. If every independent voted in that direction, then the bi-partisan stranglehold will be broken.

            The day we start making “uncomfortable, but practical” voting decisions is the day we acknowledge we no longer have a freedom of choice, and democracy is dead.

            1. Currently 40% of all registered voters are Independents, which means that if we all actually got out there and voted and voted for a third party, guess who would win?

              Just look at the polling on independents, it’s just as likely that half the independent votes would have gone to bush anyways.

              So roughly half of Independents are conservative. And you expect all Independents to vote for the same candidate?

            2. Justin Zimmer wrote:

              Besides, the myth that Nader’s votes cost Gore the election in 2000 has been thoroughly debunked.

              According to you. In the 2000 presidential election in Florida, Bush defeated Gore by 537 votes. Nader received 97,421 votes in Florida. Winning Florida would have given Gore the election, yet you can spin those numbers so that Gore couldn’t possibly have won? That’s just rationalizing the fact that Nader voters gave Bush the election. Just like Green voters this time may well give Romney the election.

  21. Having a law include a phrase prohibiting the Supreme Court from reviewing said law is like those silly signs in parking lots reading “management is not responsible for damage to vehicles” or me wearing a shirt reading “this person may not be arrested for urinating in public.” And every bit as effective.

  22. Yesterday on a completely unrelated quest I came an AP news item in the Nov 29, 1933 Spartenburg (SC) Herald (page 9) on the religious debate in Germany. The journalist reported the following from a speech by Lutheran Church Councillor [sic] Richard Leutheusser of Saarfeld: “Christ has come to us through Adolf Hitler. He was the decisive personality when a whole people was ready to go under. Through Hitler’s energy, his honesty, his faith and his idealism the Savior found his way to us. Every happening is of two-fold nature: internal and external. Today we feel it: The Savior has come to us.” Happy 2012!

  23. always good to see that these “good Christians” have no problem with lying every chance they get. So much for their great “morals”. We have them forgetting that the commandments don’t stop at 10 and I do wonder how many of them have killed someone who was working in the mall that they visited on a “sabbath”(Christians can’t even agree on that). Unfortunately, from these quotes, I don’t have to wonder how many of them are good with their supposed “savior” saying that anyone who doesn’t accept him should be brought before him and murdered.(Luke 19 and the not suprisingly rarely mentioned parable of the 10 minas)

  24. Cain: have allowed the nonfaith element to intimidate us into not fighting back.

    Like that Godless Jesus chap with his “turn the other cheek” advice. (?)

  25. Bachmann: American exceptionalism is grounded on the Judeo-Christian ethic, which is really based upon the 10 Commandments.

    I suppose a reading of the OT would support that, with Yahweh wiping out all those other tribes in order to make room for the Israelites. On the other hand, probably every tribe of the time had a similar ethic.

    1. “Together”. Cartoon shows tall, white, controlling Christian with arm around neck of short, insecure Jew, saying, “Not only are we best friends, we’re the foundation of morality. Never forget it!” In second frame, he whispers in Jew’s ear, “Right, Christ-killer”?

  26. My opinion is that the country gets the government it deserves.

    And right now, the right-wing theocrats appear to be holding sway with a fairly hefty proportion of the population.

    Or are they? My parents are life-long Republicans and practicing Christians, but they voted for Obama rather than McCain/Palin, in large measure because they were turned off by Palin’s religiosity (and McCain’s lack of education).

    What has happened is that the “tea party” minority has taken over the Republican Party to such an extent that you can’t get past them to the larger proportion of voters who aren’t quite so … um … anti-rational.

    I fully expect that whoever wins the Republican nomination will get wiped out in 2012 by Obama. Yes, it won’t be a contest. Then maybe the tide will shift back. We’re already seeing push-back against the “tea party” wingnuts elected to Congress. Even Forbes magazine has tagged it the “Worst Congress Ever.” I expect that sometime soon, the adults will come to the party and try to clean up the mess.

    In the meantime, however, I have a suggestion. If you’re truly worried about the tenor of the debate within the Republican party, might I suggest that the “occupy” movement change the location of where it “occupies”? Instead of occupying public parks, occupy Republican debates.

    In fact, join the Republican party. The “tea party” movement is entirely subsumed within the Republican party, and because it’s a voting block, it has real power. Those in the “occupy” movement who really want real change should look no further than that party. Join it, change it. Or at the very least provide a hefty counterweight to the rabidly religious right.

    The “tea party” people remade the Republican party in less than an election cycle. The “occupy” people could do likewise — if they have the guts to do some real engagement. (Hint: sitting in a park and chanting slogans doesn’t count.) It requires no more leadership and no more focus than the tea party people had.

    1. Incumbents don’t usually win by large margins with a poor economy.

      I’ll believe an Obama re-election victory when I see it.

      1. And who says that the economy will be poor at the end of 2012?

        I fully expect that in spite of Republican obstructionism, the economy will pick up in 2012. It already has to a certain degree.

        And I think Obama can quite rightly charge the Republicans with trying to stall the economy for their own selfish purposes. Not that I’m in line with all of his economic policies — but I think his approach to continually make the Republicans appear to be the bad guys is the politically correct one.

        I think the presidential debates will be incredibly interesting. And I think it’s very clear that of all of the candidates — Romney included — that Obama is by far the superior debater.

        BTW: None of the people on that dias are going to be the nominee. It’ll be Romney.

      2. Incumbents don’t usually win by large margins with a poor economy.

        If you look, though, you will see they DO typically still win.

        Americans do tend to like to re-elect the devil they know.

    2. What has happened is that the “tea party” minority has taken over the Republican Party ….

      I ran across an interesting and quite disconcerting cartoon illustrating that point in a recent Economist magazine (I think). It showed a little boy wearing blinders – the Tea Party – on a tricycle heading over a cliff while pulling along the Republican Party with a rope tied to a ring through the elephant’s nose which was, in turn, pulling along Uncle Sam with a rope and ring through his nose who was pulling along the World – a globe – with a rope and a ring through its nose. The caption, a comment by the World, IRC, was something along the line of “There’s something wrong with this picture”.

    3. The “tea party” people remade the Republican party in less than an election cycle.

      please tell me you don’t actually believe that?

      because it ain’t so.

      1. … in fact, the underpinnings of the more nutty parts of the GoP platform were established long before Clinton was even elected.

        Hell, McCain even warned the GoP about this stuff back during his campaign in 2000, and it was already obvious at the time.

        the entire Tea Party “uprising” was a complete and utter joke.

        In fact, 90% of the things they wanted were already written into the GoP platform.

        They were just not in the forefront so much.

        What happens is:

        -GoP candidates realize there is a large group of people they can easily organize via hotbutton issues.

        -GoP candidates then act to “motivate” this group to vote for them by bringing hotbutton issues to forefront, temporarily.

        -once elected, GoP candidate immediately proposes legislation to support hottbutton issue which then is either tabled in committee, has amendments added on the floor to make sure it will fail, or has amendments added before being passed to the OTHER house of Congress that will make sure it fails.

        This has been the pattern for almost 40 years now.

        The problem is, if you lie about something often enough, this tends to enable the people you are lying to to think they actually have some reasonable political position.

        This is what McCain warned about in 2000, and this is what is happening now.

        At some point, you become the whores of the grassroots base you have so enabled over generations.

        I’d add this isn’t limited to the republican side of the equation, but the problem is, pretty much ALL of the ideology that runs counter to the Constitution of the US finds itself on the right side of the grassroots base, instead of the left.

  27. Christian radicals are trying to co-op all Christians into their movement. Wake up rational Christians, just because they have a cross tattoo on their brains is not reason to vote republican/conservative/evangelical. Don’t let these idiots destroy your common sense. You are not voting for Christ by voting republican/conservative. They just want you to believe that.

  28. So far I have not been able to find Blackstone saying anything close to what Bachmann, but I did find this in the Library of Liberty, vol1, Blackstone Commentaries:

    “Our American plantations are principally of this latter sort, being obtained in the last century either by right of conquest and driving out the natives, (with what natural justice I shall not at present inquire,) * or by treaties. And therefore the common law of England, as such, has no allowance or authority there; they being no part of the mother-country, but distinct, though dependent, dominions. They are subject,however, to the control of the parliament; though (like Ireland, Man, and the rest) not bound by any acts of parliament, unless particularly named.11”

    If anyone found/finds something closer to what Bachmann said, I will appreciate the citation.

    These people are bloody dangerous!

  29. Few Americans will admit it. Their constitution cannot work if political (and religious) polarisation is acute. The many and severe crises between the English King and his Parliament progressively brought about piecewise modifications to the (largely unwritten) British constitution. Such modifications provided a way out of political deadlocks. It is time for Americans to stop fantasising about their sacrosanct constitution. This first step would pave the way to much needed changes. Once in place religious nutcases would be much easier to keep at bay.

    1. What you propose is a Constitutional Convention. Were that to happen today, the United States would overwhelmingly adopt a charter indistinguishable from the governing principles of the Taliban save for the names of the deities.

      It is true that the Constitution is profoundly weakened, to the point that it has become nearly irrelevant. Yet it is all that is left to bar the doors to far worse than you can imagine.

      I do not know that it is strong enough to stave off utter disaster. I fear it might not be. But I do know that cutting its last threads would herald Ragnarök.


      1. I would certainly not cut its last threads. As you say this would spell disaster. But a few modifications would bring much good. In the present circumstances the U.S. constitution looks like a document organizing a take no prisoner gladiatorial match between the legislative and the executive. Even the two houses of the legislative are involved in the same kind of destructive fight.

          1. “only wholesale gutting”

            This was exactly the attitude of many intellectuals in the Weimar Republic. When faced with the choice of salvaging the old wreck or scuttling it, they scuttled it: they opted for the Communists. The marginal advantage went to Hitler, and he seized it. The rest is known.

            I’m not comparing the Reps to the Nazis, of course. But, when one party is bunkered in a totalitarian mindframe and you are sabotaging all realistic alternatives, the juggernaut usually wins. Those who hope otherwise are either fooling themselves or ignoring history. Or both.

            1. they opted for the Communists.

              not exactly.

              the new constitution was pretty much based on the idea of a democratic republic, much much more than marxism.

              the communists of the KPD actually HATED the new Weimar government, even though at the time the KPD had the most members of any party.

              In fact, they needed a popular uprising to displace the government in Bavaria in 1919.

              an uprising, which, of course, was UTTERLY crushed (like to the point of not just killing the people directly involved, but their wives, children, dogs, cats, etc.) by the right wing elements of the SPD and other parties. Which is the first mention of any actions historically by Hitler, btw, as he was initially treated as in “cahoots” with the communists, until he convinced them otherwise.

              so, I’m unsure entirely what you mean by “opted for the communists”.

    2. Just proportional representation would do much good, without any further change. As it is, the American Congress system is about the worst possible in democratic countries.

  30. You are right about non-Americans being shocked at how religious America is. I am Canadian, and though our news is heavily influenced by the US, I had to move to the Boston for graduate school to really get the full effect.

    It almost feels like it splits the country in two. Scientists seem even more removed from the average person in this country because the information gap is so much wider. I have this vain hope that more communication between the two sides will stop the government’s attack on the sciences and science education, but my fear is that religion will always be a stumbling block.

  31. Overall, I think all of these Republicans are totally nuts. Like, what the heck happened to the separation of church and state? And, are we just going to pray for a solution to the economy? In that case, good luck. In any event, if a Republican wins, I want to move to another country.

  32. Apropos of which there’s a new book profiled on Richard Dawkins’ site titled Attack of the Theocrats which has this summary:

    At no time in American history has the United States had such a high percentage of theocratic members of Congress-those who expressly endorse religious bias in law. Just as ominously, at no other time have religious fundamentalists effectively had veto power over one of the country’s two major political parties. As Sean Faircloth argues, this has led to the crumbling of the country’s most cherished founding principle-the wall separating church and state-and presages yet even more crumbling. Faircloth, a former politician and current executive director of the Secular Coalition for America, moves beyond the symbolism to explore the many ways federal and state legal codes privilege religion in law. He goes on to demonstrate how religious bias in law harms all Americans-financially, militarily, physically, socially, and educationally. Sounding a much-needed alarm for all who care about the future direction of the country, Faircloth offers an inspiring vision for returning America to its secular roots.

  33. To illustrate the difference between right-wing parties, in complete contrast to this the Tories in Scotland just elected a (short-haired, ex-Army) lesbian as their leader.

    Any chance of the Republicans doing this?

    1. I’d say it’s roughly on par with the odds of Professor Coyne deciding to stop posting about cats, boots, and food.

  34. “non-Americans are continually astonished by the extreme degree of both religiosity and idiocy of Republicans in America.”

    I sincerely hope that’s what they’re thinking, but unfortunately, I’m afraid it may be more like “non-Americans are continually astonished by the extreme degree of both religiosity and idiocy of Americans.”

  35. I’m really starting to despise the term “Judeo-Christian”. More and more it is a term used by Evangelicals to paint a false brush of ecumenicalism used to either pretend they are not speaking exclusively of (evangelical) Christianity or to hood wink persons of Jewish faith into supporting their evangelical Christian agenda.

    It seems that these days, when someone uses the term “Judeo-Christian”, they really exclusively mean Christian.

    Also, Christians should really research the religious beliefs of Thomas Jefferson before citing his works in support of their religious beliefs and agenda.

  36. lol. maybe they had a high-tech christian-scanner technology at the door and romney wasn’t allowed in cuz he just wasn’t christian enough.

  37. I always called it the Prayer of Allegiance, seeing as how they added the “under God” stuff a few short years before I was born.

    As for the stuff about them being insane and wanting to establish a theocracy, yep. I knew that. I used to be stunned that it wasn’t obvious to everybody, but now I’ve come to accept it. But that doesn’t mean I have to like it. I’m an atheist with the patience of Job here. How’d that happen?

  38. We need a Reason and Equality party. The founders of America were free thinkers. If they’d been obedient Christians we would have been less excited about Will and Kate’s wedding because we’d all be British still. Good obedient Christians won’t have struck out and founded a new country on separation of church and state, on freedoms and the elevation of humanity. This is our country. If they want theocracy, they can go find it somewhere else.

  39. They all err—Moslems, Jews,
    Christians, and Zoroastrians:
    Humanity follows two world-wide sects:
    One, man intelligent without religion,
    The second, religious without intellect.

    Abul Ala al-Ma’arri C973-1058

  40. An excellent post but why are you all so mystified about the hold the God-squad has over the U.S.? In 1989 Sarah Diamond wrote SPIRITUAL WARFARE- POLITICS OF THE CHRISTIAN RIGHT (Pluto Press isbn: 9780745303741) which
    utterly exposed their plans and laid out exactly what Xtian fundamentalist movers and shakers would do and how they would do it. This 290 page book is a revelation, names names and points the finger of guilt going right back to Billy Graham’s involvement with the Whitehouse, yet this advance warning went unheeded and the book is now only read by academics.

    It’s probably too late now for democratists in the U.S. to do anything about it. Did you not realise that Iraq and Afghanistan was a Holy War?

    I have no connection with Diamond but anyone moved by this post MUST read her book or by default push American into a theocracy. It all started with the Satanic Ritual Child Abuse Myth which enabled the fundies to seize the moral high ground and re-invigorate their power bases within the Establishment. Did you believe all that twaddle? Then you also, by default, helped them to power.

    Bone up on what happened by whom and when by surfing the SAFF’s site because we’ve been tracking this conspiracy for decades. It makes all the other rubbish about New World Order Zionist Freemasonry look like what it is. A smokescreen to hide the new Ayatollah’s of the U.S. Think on.

    Tony Rhodes

  41. Having grown up in the Mennonite church, I continue to be amazed how a tradition established over 500 years ago on the premise of separation of church and state is excoriated by many fundamdental xians. Declining to say the Pledge, choosing an alternative service over military service, not having the US flag in churches or prominently displayed on college campuses, and not singing the National Anthem at sporting events does not sit well with the typical God and Country xian.

  42. All of the current batch of nutters running for president were voted into office, that says , as a country, America has some serious numbers of uneducated nutters.The realy scary thing to me is that you also have technology and nuclear weapons,If you didnt, we could ignore America, just like everyone ignores South American.I pity the Canadians , for being next door to you though its somewhere for the refugees to go when the inquisition starts.

  43. here we go again with America being founded on Judeio-Christian ideology. hasn’t anyone heard of The Treaty of Tripoli, Article 11? here’s a addy:

    This cannot be any clearer. Just recently I had a tea partier tell me that I am re-writing history because I quoted the Treaty of Tripoli. I said how can i be re-wrting history when it is in black and white. I never did hear back from the tea partier.

    1. I once had a tea partier tell me that the Northwest Ordinance of 1787 mandated public religious instruction. This person was referring to the opening of Article 3: “Religion, morality, and knowledge, being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged.”I pointed out that not only did Atricle 1 of that same document affirmed that “No person, demeaning himself in a peaceable and orderly manner, shall ever be molested on account of his mode of worship or religious sentiments, in the said territory.”, but that the Northwest Ordinance was written under the Articles of Confederation, and that the Constitution of 1789 and its amendments superseded all previous laws and treaties that had been drafted under the Articles and the Northwest Ordinance was revised in 1789 to reflect those changes.I never heard back from that teabagger either.

    2. Thanks wyocowboy [from a greenie] – this addy is a keeper. Even some xian scholars have debunked the Christian Nation claim, e.g. Richard Hughes and Myths America Lives By.

  44. My problem is not with thier religion but with thier inability to seperate religion from politics which is fundamental to American democracy. The mandates of a particular religion cannot become law unless one is trying to establish a theocracy. They forget that U.S is a land of immigrants and everyone has the right to practice and believe what they want. This is exactly why the anti-gay and anti-choice rhetoric is so bothersome. These are personal choices that should not be regulated by the govt.

    By the way, people supporting Ron Paul don’t know how crazy he is in many matters. His rhetoric on individual liberities and war has clouded people’s judgment about him. He does not believe in evolution, is anti-women’s rights, anti-civil rights, anti-gun control,anti-welfare and against health care inform. He believes government should stay out of people’s business which means if you falls sick and don’t have money to get health care, you will be left to die. People need to wake up and smell the coffee!!

    1. He talks a lot about how government shouldn’t interfere with the people, but that’s not what he means.

      What he really means is that government shouldn’t step in to stop businesses who want to make outrageous claims about their products that aren’t true, discriminate against minorities or women, or not bother observing workplace safety or pollution standards. He’s perfectly fine with the government preventing people from getting married, choosing their own birth control, or making it more difficult for some people to vote.

      The only coffee there is to smell comes from an Asian palm civet.

  45. “If you think you have God-given truth and morality, it’s almost imperative that you try to impose your values on everyone else, including those who disagree.”

    This is precisely why I don’t follow organized religion (as well as the incredible misogyny). If you have the answer you will stop at nothing to prove it. Religion always breeds fundamentalism and discord.

  46. Oh Gosh help me. I don’t understand the Republicans anymore. Overall I am a centrist. I understand why right values can be a good thing. However I think the Republicans have become so extreem, I can’t see eye to eye with them. I am even wondering whether these guys are insane.

    I always understood America to be a place of religious freedom. Sure that gives Christians a right to practice thier faith. It is fine if they keep it to themselves and thier church. Yet it also gives other people a right not to follow the religion, if they choose not to. To help preserve this right, the government is not allowed to be involved with religion. There are some things in the US Constitution and Bill of Rights that distinces government and religion.

    1. There shall be no religious test for anyone who enters office.

    2. The government should not promote a religion.

    3. There shall be freedom of religion.

    Some politicians take it step further and call for seperation of church and state. I think it is fine if it keeps religous quirrel out of government sponsered areas. It is very clear to me that the founders did not intend for the United States to be a theocracy. I think many of them were not really Christian to begin with.

    On the other hand there is the Ten Comandments. It is a set of rules God sopposedly given to the Hebrews. Apparently they really did have a theocracy back then. The Christians adopted much of Hebrew religious scripture including the Ten Commandments. Half of the Ten Commandments are about how to worship and honor God. It is totally inconsistint with the excplicitly secular guidlines of the US constitution.

    On the other hand, the Ten Commandments does forbid murder, theft and purgery. Those are good rules to follow, regardless of religion. The United States already has laws against these acts. It is darn well close enough. It is fine to uphold traditional values, and long as they are good. Theocracy does not count, because it is against American values. While they are at it, those Republicans should stop picking on the Muslims. Christianity and Islam actually have a lot in common, because they both follow the teachings of the prophet Abraham. A strict Muslim theocracy is wrong too. It is unfair and hypocritical for the Replublicans to value theocracy, and accuse the Muslims of doing the same. Thier attempt to distance themselves is very pathetic. Ironicly the first lesson I remember from Sunday school is “Judge not, lest he be judged.”

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