Thursday, 8 November 2012
Where The Right Went Wrong
The American Evangelical Right, which has banged on for years that Obama was a Muslim, has just died. On no theological ground whatever, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association removed the Mormons (whose beliefs are further from mainstream Christianity that Islam is) from the list of cults on its website, because, well, the Republican Party had nominated a Mormon for President, so they must be all right, mustn't they? American Evangelical Protestantism is about to be started again by a rising generation which recognises quite how decadent that is.
As for the Tea Party, Angus King beat Charlie Summers in Maine. Not only did Elizabeth Warren win back Massachusetts from the man whom, oddly enough, the Tea Party put in, Scott Brown. But, far more strikingly, Richard Mourdock, its instrument for removing the valiant anti-nuclear activist Dick Lugar, lost Indiana to Joe Donnelly, whose victory was really the story of the night: a bit of a Blue Dog, but no Wall Street puppet, and a solidly pro-life, pro-union, immigration-controlling, Second Amendment Democrat.
The Republican Senators who held on against pro-life Democrats were two of the Tea Party's top targets, Orrin Hatch against Scott Howell in Utah, and Bob Corker against the spitefully reviled Mark Clayton in Tennessee. Neither of those Dems ought to give up. I am given to understand that neither of them is going to. Pennsylvania re-elected the splendid Bob Casey. West Virginia re-elected Joe Manchin, pro-life and pro-coal. In North Dakota, Heidi Heitkamp also won by taking the "all of the above" line on energy, and within that by preferring those sources which create employment while securing independence from the Middle East and elsewhere.
Montana re-elected Jon Tester, the pro-logging farmer, stalwart of the Wesleyan Holiness tradition as expressed through the nondenominational ecclesial polity of the Prairie West, defender of traditional marriage, scourge of corporate personhood and other big business scams, advocate of Patriot Act repeal, and opponent of amnesty for illegal immigrants.
And that is just the Senate.
Crude reports of the end of the culture wars, the end of white male America, and what have you, are vast, absurd exaggerations. Rather, one party has become a sect, in which only people who can hold to all fiscal conservatism (generally so called), social conservatism (of a sort), and foreign policy hawkishness are welcome. Those three are in any case logically incompatible with each other, and the failed Republican nominee for President was simply not a social conservative at all. On the contrary, he derived an income from the performance of abortion.
By contrast, the party that continues to accommodate a range of views has become the natural party of government. How could it be otherwise in so vast and diverse an entity as the American Empire?