Kathleen Parker has an interesting column in the Washington Post this morning. If we’re to grant her perspective and argument some credence (sometimes dicey…she pretty much epitomizes the Washington-bubble person) then what she points to may well be significant for the future of politics in the US and for the Republican Party and future elections.
Her thesis is that the Christian may be “finished as a political entity”. She notes Dobson’s recent admission that “the big cultural battles have all been lost”. And she suggests there is a growing disaffection on the religious right with the prior close ties to the Republican Party and the watering-down of principles to facilitate Repubican electoral goals:
Put another way, Christians may have no place in the political fray of dealmaking. That doesn’t mean one disengages from political life, but it might mean that the church shouldn’t be a branch of the Republican Party. It might mean trading fame and fortune (green rooms and fundraisers) for humility and charity.
Such an alteration in the political landscape will not be welcomed by the Republican Party because the Christian right has provided them with a dependable pool of voters and organized activists. Diminishment in either case will have electoral consequences. And if (Parker stays away from this possibility) the Christian right moves towards forming or supporting a third party, that clearly would be disastrous for Republicans. It’s hard to imagine that happening but if there might be any point in time when forces could push things that way, this could be it.
Regardless of the noise-level the right continues to produce, demographics and societal shift is working against them. The smarter ones understand and acknowledge this. But remedies are not apparent. They are without compelling leadership and without a coherent or promising political vision and, increasingly, without hope of any political deliverance on the horizon – thus the drift towards the reactionary and paranoid of Limbaugh, Beck, the Cardinal Newman Society, the NRA, Palin, Bachmann, etc, and the drift in the House into the defensive and knee-jerk obstructionism.
All the above is made even more problematic for the conservative movement by the arrival of an extrodinary political opponent and an extremly smart and effective organization around him. The future will tell us the tale but my intuition is that Obama is a once-in-a-lifetime political talent (and I mean that in the best sense).
Read Parker here