I’d begun to write a post on Michael Gerson’s column in the Washington Post yesterday but had a headache and put it on hold. Once again, Gerson was doing what he always does…forwarding talking points and following the old Republican strategy of trying to set one group of americans against some other group for electoral gain. He’s a dependable boy. But I don’t have to complete it now because Joan Walsh did it. But I’ll add a couple of points here, first, on the founding of the Cardinal Neuman Society (from wikipedia)
It was founded in 1993 byFordham University alumnus Patrick Reilly, who first became active in supporting what he regarded as orthodoxy in response to the university’s consideration of permitting gay and lesbian students to form student associations on campus — a development he opposed in his role as editor of the campus newspaper. The society’s leadership includes prominent conservative commentator L. Brent Bozell III. It was Bozzell, founder and president of the conservative media-watchdog group Media Research Center, who suggested use of direct mail marketing to invigorate the organization at a time when it existed “primarily as letterhead.
So, we know where these guys are ideologically and how they link up in the rightwing propaganda world.
But it’s important to understand as well an on-going strategy the right has used to peel away traditional Dem voters. The “culture war” isn’t merely a ‘risen from circumstance’ conflict. It has been very purposefully promoted, particularly as regards abortion and homosexuality for Republican electoral advantage, or at least hoped for advantage. There was, of course, a function here of motivating their base of evangelicals. But that’s not the whole story.
Traditionally, blacks and Catholics have voted Dem. Using the homosexuality issue as a wedge, Republicans hoped to gain some greater percentage of the black Christian vote. With homosexuality and abortion, they were going after the Catholic vote (guess which other traditional Dem vote they were/are going after with the anti-Muslim thing). When elections are commonly settled within a few points, such inititatives can have real consequences and have had over the last few decades. That’s changed greatly now but the Republicans keep trying to get the old tools to work again. It’s really all they know now having divested themselves of moderates and of the attitudes and means by which reflection and serious introspection might be facilitated.
Here’s Joan’s piece…it’s very good: