Run, Dick, Run; Religious Liberalism

The New York Times' Thomas Friedman has written an accutely aware diagnosis of the state of the Bush presidency. He writes in June 22nd's Times, "In part because President Bush has no heir apparent, his second term is drifting aimlessly." How right you are, Mr. Friedman. You can read the whole column HERE.

In other news, the coarseness of American political debate continues unabated. John Hostettler of Indiana is the latest idiot. On Monday, he had to withdraw words to avoid being censured by the House for saying that Democrats "denigrate and demonize" Christians. This man's only claim to fame is his zealot-like promotion of a ban on same-sex marriage and his promotion of public displays of the Ten Commandments. My only question is what kind of cracker elects someone like Hostettler to Congress? The people of the Eighth District of Indiana are apparently that type of cracker. People like Hostettler give a bad name to all Republicans and why the leadership gives him any time on the floor is absolutely amazing to me. I am absolutely sick of the religious conservatives in Congress playing to their base at the expense of good legislation. Terri Schiavo is the major case in point. If the Democrats had their act together, or had any ideas whatsoever, all the Republicans who went back and voted for that legislation would be strung up in '06. That was not a conservative thing to do, by the definition of the word. That was a religiously liberal thing to do, and they turned out to be completely wrong.

While we're on the subject, I think there ought to be a new political classification. The "religious liberal." Hostettler would be part of that group. These folks are not conservative, I'm afraid. A conservative, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, is "characterized by a tendency to preserve or keep intact or unchanged; preservative" and "implied disavowel of...reactionary tendencies." A liberal, by contrast, is someone "favourable to constitutional changes and legal or administrative reforms." So let's take a look at this. So-called "religious conservatives" have promoted a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage and flag burning. And they've had a special session to address one issue that intrudes on the rights of a family (Schiavo). These are liberal policies. When are we going to get back to the days of Barry Goldwater, who said -- albeit at the end of his career -- that government ought to stay out of people's pocket books and bedrooms? We need to balance our books and stay out of people's personal lives. I'm going to be writing a column about this phenomena in an upcoming Daily Iowan.

In the meantime, though, you can read my take on the level of political discourse this week at the DI.

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