The Evangelical- Conservative- Military- Industrial Complex
You really should go read this post by Scott Horton over at Harper's.
You know I find it fascinating to read all of these libertarian Republican types (Andrew Sullivan) who are suddenly astonished by the rise of the evangelical whackos and their power. "Where'd these folks come from?" they seem to be asking.
You know who empowered these people? You and your kind, Andy, that's who. It's like these folks haven't been paying attention the last twenty years. You guys enabled these people, in the 1980s and 1990s you avidly courted them. Did you not pay attention to the political history of the last twenty years?
Do you not remember that it was these same religious whackos (Buchanan's "religious war" ring any bells Andy?) who cost the Republicans the presidency in 1992? And contributed to Bob Dole's defeat in 1996 by putting together a platform that not even Dole could support?
You seem to forget, dear Andy, that these folks so frightened Americans that W and Unka Karl made them shut up in 2000 and acted like they had nothing to do with those religious nutjobs. And then, after they won, W and the boys governed as if Americans had voted for the evangelical vision of the world. I think that is one of the things that really irritates liberals is that George W. Bush lied to the American people in 2000 and was well on his way to becoming an undistinguished one-termer (just like his dad) and then 9/11 bailed him out.
In 2004, with the strong support of evangelicals -- and, more importantly, of the elections officials in Ohio -- W held on to the presidency in 2004. W and Unka Karl were also helped out by what has to have been one of the worst campaign jobs in the last 100 years by the Democratic nominee.
It is just these evangelical whackos who have enabled the rise to power of George W. Bush's burgeoning "national surveillance state." Because they believe that Bush has a divine right to govern they looked the other way as he fashioned his authoritarian state that now is listening in on everyone's phone conversations.
BTW, and I know it's a minor point really in the grand scheme of things, but do you think the NSA phone intercepts from the Kerry campaign were read daily by Unka Karl in 2004 or did he just read a weekly digest?
Anyway, I really think the best election pitch the Democratic Party's candidate can have is that they are for the return of Constitutional government. That's really what this is all about in 2008. It's a very important election.
And, of course, if a Democrat wins in 2008, ironically they'll have to pay for W's malfeasance. Suddenly and transparently the Republicans will rediscover their love of limited executive power and really stick it to the next Democratic president whenever possible. They'll raise a stink about everything and may even use it to regain one of the houses of Congress in 2010.
I'm reminded of Atrios's perceptive comment the other day:
We need a Democratic president so that the Republicans and their Blue Dog allies in Congress are finally inspired to take back the executive power grabs that they temporarily thought were necessary for the survival of the nation.
What this will mean in practice is that Democratic president will face a firestorm of "scandal" which will make Monica Madness pale in comparison. The powers that Bush claimed will be turned against a Democratic president and will likely be their undoing.
And this scenario is much better than the alternative.