Republicans Born Again
evangelicals unhappy with McCain take simplistic comfort in
Palin as VP candidate
By Eric Margolis
Sun" -- - PARIS - Trying to explain American
politics to my French friends and Paris media is not easy. They
are still struggling to understand how Barack Obama popped out
of nowhere to run for the world's most powerful office.
Now the French are even more stunned and confused by Sen. John
McCain's surprise vice-presidential choice of Gov. Sarah Palin
of Wasilla, Alaska, a hamlet just a snowball's throw from the
Frenchmen, being French, think she has nice legs. But no one
here can understand why Republicans picked a lady whose primary
experience was being mayor of a one-husky town and making moose
"Mon dieu," one Parisian told me. "Those crazy Republicans must
have the wish of death." No, no I explained. The party is being
Palin's emergence simply confirms the final dumbing down and
ruralization of the Republican Party, and its metamorphosis into
a right wing politico-religious movement.
The pistol-packing Sarah Palin is the party's new housewife
saint, a cross between Annie Oakley and Joan of Arc.
Two factors led McCain to his dramatic decision. First, 53% of
American voters are women. The choice of Palin clearly was an
attempt to grab disgruntled Democratic female voters who are
still fuming that their heroine, Hillary Clinton, was a woman
But McCain's clumsy ploy may insult more Democratic female
voters than it will attract. Palin, save for being a woman, is
against almost everything Hillary Clinton supports.
Far more important, McCain chose Palin as his running mate
because she is an in-your-face, born-again, evangelical
Christian. Some 44-50% of Republican voters now call themselves
Concentrated in America's deep heartland and southern Bible
Belt, these ultra conservative, fundamentalist white Protestants
provided the Bush administration's core support in a nation
where 63% believe every word in the Bible is true. Evangelical
TV ayatollahs have become major political figures on America's
Many evangelicals believe in the absolute literal nature of the
Scriptures, biblical prophecy, the Messiah's imminent return,
and mankind's destruction. They oppose evolution and ecology.
Evangelism has become the Republican Party's official religion,
and Mrs. Palin its new high priestess.
The evangelist's view of foreign policy is simple. Either wicked
France, Russia or the UN is the anti-Christ (take your pick).
Muslims are evil and a menace. Israel is the paramount foreign
policy issue. Support for Israel must be absolute and unlimited.
All Palestinians must be expelled from the biblical Holy Land,
the world's Jews gathered therein, and converted. Then the
Messiah will return, Armageddon will come and Earth will be
consumed by fire and brimstone.
Only born-again Christians will survive and be teleported up to
heaven. The rest of us will roast.
Evangelicals were very unhappy with the choice of McCain, an
East Coast Republican they viewed as theologically
untrustworthy, and far too liberal when it came to social issues
such as abortion and same-sex marriage.
Without a heavy turnout by evangelical voters, McCain would not
have a chance of winning. That's why his original favourite for
VP, the smarmy Joe Lieberman from Connecticut, was dumped in
favour of kill-a-polar-bear for Jesus Mrs. Palin.
The brainy Republican political analyst Kevin Phillips, who
forged Ronald Reagan's first electoral victory, makes a very
important point in his must-read book, American Theocracy.
We've all heard of hockey or soccer moms, but Phillips
identified an even more important voting group backing the Bush
administration: "National security moms."
These middle class mothers in the outer suburbs and rural areas
were petrified by the Bush administration's campaign over
terrorism and scared into believing their little Johnny's in
remotest Alabama and Kansas were about to become targets of al-Qaida.
So they voted in droves for Bush and Cheney, who promised to
wage war on "evil."
McCain vows to continue this crusade that appeals to fear and
ignorance, now led into battle by the new wilderness saint,
Sarah Palin, M-16 in one hand, Bible in the other.
© 2008 The Toronto Sun
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