The answer clearly is the former. Republicans have, at incredible volume, trumpeted themselves as the defenders of American family values and the champions of the Christian plurality for so long that their betrayal absolutely reeks of the worst kind of hypocracy.
Six months ago the idea of voting for a Democrat wouldn’t have entered my mind (unless Pat Robertson somehow got on the ballot; maybe, in that case). For myself it’s now a toss-up and I’m pretty sure that quite a few solid Red voters are questioning their allegiance as well.
Take, for a case in point, a Baptist Sunday school meeting in Texas. I was prepared to have to bite my tongue as the prayer request came up for “Iraq and our leaders in Washington”. But rather than the usual foolishness about submitting to the righteousness of Republican authority, the prayer was for wisdom and guidance to help them do the right thing. That may sound like a small thing but I think it means that the Republican voter base is shaking beneath the pachyderm party. This base has always been an uneasy alliance between fiscal and social conservatives and it could split along those lines. Somehow Hastert and his ilk have to do something to solidify it.
But what? This may seem like a novel suggestion, but how about remembering and returning to the platforms, beliefs, and actions that caused us to elect a Republican government in the first place?
The specific instance of Mark Foley’s perversions is a political chimera. It’s a waste of time to pursue it as an issue when it’s so much more interesting to think about how and why the Pubs failed to live up to their promises to implement a more moral, less intrusive, fiscally-restrained government.
(What there is to the Foley issue is being correctly investigated as “who knew what and when“, nothing more. This ought to be 10 times the scandal that Monica-Gate was. Let the heads roll…)
The Pubs failed on all three counts and it’s wishful thinking to blame it on a gay conspiracy or a determined, coherent opposition. Purging the party of gays won’t help; that horse is out of the barn. No, Republicans failed by becoming exactly what the Dems were before them – corpulent, hypocritical, self-entitled pigs rooting at the trough. It’s disgusting, really, how the Bush years have changed the party. Only by acknowledging that can they recover.
What’s even more disgusting is that they might still be the best alternative. If nothing else, the Foley scandal and its fallout will do Republican voters the favor of showing us a little bit more about who we’ve cast our lot with over the last decade. Hopefully they will stand up to the scrutiny. If not, we have the right to purge them with our votes.