Thursday, September 07, 2006

The Chosen One

Like Andrew, I found this quote telling. Whenever I wonder what exactly it would take to change the minds of the many millions who still approve of Bush's performance, I have to remind myself that a broad swath of this country evaluates him on one issue only. I've said before (and history confirms it) that the "threat next door" can be just as dangerous and insidious as any external enemy. If you were jailed unjustly for something you said or believed, could you count on someone from the blind faith set to speak up on your behalf?

In the 1960 presidential election, one of the main issues was JFK's faith -- not whether he believed, but whether he believed too strongly. Nixon and the Republicans tried to convince voters that a Kennedy presidency would be a threat to the separation of church and state. That possibility resonated with people to such an extent that it forced Kennedy to defend himself constantly, as he did with this speech -- to a clerical audience in Texas, no less -- two months before the election:
Whatever issue may come before me as President--on birth control, divorce, censorship, gambling or any other subject--I will make my decision... in accordance with what my conscience tells me to be the national interest, and without regard to outside religious pressures or dictates. And no power or threat of punishment could cause me to decide otherwise.
Read the full text here. Would any candidate in the midterms or 2008 presidential election dare say those words today? If Bush did so, it might be the only way he'd lose that stalwart 35% for whom Iraq, Katrina, etc don't matter. I still have trouble understanding how we got to this point less than fifty years later.

If you lived in Iran and read this quote, and you heard Bush invoke God at least once in every prepared public speech he gives, and the U.S. currently occupied your neighbor which it invaded on a false pretense, how would you feel about protecting yourself with the ultimate deterrent?


Anonymous nyhmr said...

Chosen by God, so that makes him royalty. All bow down before your new monarch. Coronation proceedings to begin at 0800, Nov 8, 2006. Attendance by invitation only.

Long live the King (and I don't mean Elvis)!!

9/07/2006 10:05 PM  
Blogger Norman said...

You see, the 45 percent of the American population who support Bush, believe as I do, that he is making his decisions in the national interest. On the other hand not one Democrat is making decisions in the national interest, they are all putting politics before the country. And guess what? The 45 percent who support Bush are the smart people.

9/07/2006 10:07 PM  
Blogger OrganicGeorge said...

Ah such lies, 45% support for Bush, in his dreams.

Has it occured to these people that since Bush's right hand man is agnostic maybe Bush is the anti-christ.

9/07/2006 10:36 PM  
Anonymous nyhmr said...

Norman, I stand corrected.

The phasing out of the COPS program while crime is on the rise in major cities is in the national interest.

The war in Iraq to find WMDs is in the national interest.

The secret, warrantless wire taps and domestic spying is in the national interest.

The rapid and comprehensive response to the ravages of Hurricane Katrina is in the national interest.

Besmirching and belittling the 55% of Americans who feel that it is time to start winding down the war in Iraq is in the national interest.

The loss, theft and mismanagement of billions of dollars for the rebuilding of Iraq and New Orleans is in the national interest.

Cutting of VA benefits and closing off benefits to some veterans is in the national interest.

The successful capture of Bin Laden after years of intense search is in the national interest. (Sorry cannot give you that one since it hasn't happened.)

9/08/2006 12:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

man, have they been failing in the war for minds...that this should even be on blair broadcasting... they may have to kill off internet use in the as the 'islamofascist' tapes keep streaming in ...

9/08/2006 12:55 AM  
Anonymous Mike said...


Good points. I agree, and I said as much in my own post yesterday -- like you & Andy, I found Clydeen's quotation at the Chickamauga watermelon festival pretty shocking.

That said, you have to admit that JFK was forced to defend himself from Nixon's attacks not for being too religious . . . but for being Catholic. The implication, of course, wasn't that he might take orders from god, but from the Pope.

Either way, his speech from Texas is fantastic; I read it last autumn in a different context, and I was mighty impressed.

Anyhow, my intent here isn't to disagree with your concerns (I share them) or to argue that the line has shifted since 1960 (it probably has), but to dissuade you or your readers from thinking that Nixon, the GOP, or the social conservatives had some enlightened vision in 1960 that they most certainly didn't have.

In fact, one lesson to learn may be that Bush, like Nixon before him, will pull out every dirty drick in the bag to hold his power.

9/08/2006 6:54 AM  
Anonymous John Thullen said...

Andrew Sullivan knew all of this in 2000 and post-9/11. His mock surprise is highly mockable.

All that has happened is that Bush has failed to privatize Social Security and to cut the rest of the government to the bone. And he hasn't followed Sullivan's prescriptions in the GWOT and Iraq.

Had Bush done these things, Sullivan would have gotten down on his knees with Bush and the Bush acolytes and thanked the Lord, otherwise known as Andrew Sullivan, for his guidance.

Did Sullivan really believe he could get his tax cuts without also being demonized by Bush's gay-hating, religious, true believers.

Such innocence.

9/08/2006 10:15 AM  
Anonymous Thomas Daulton said...

Have to agree with John Thullen: any 2000/2004 Bush voters who did not seriously believe Bush was the Second Coming, voted for him in order to "stick it to the Libruls", cut their taxes, and generally treat them like the royalty they secretly believe they are. Now that it's impossible to deny that Bush's ineptitude has made the world much less safe for Americans, including at home less safe from disasters, wiretaps and gross discrimination/prejudice/class and race war... plus that he's screwed the economy so far down into a black hole that even the upper classes are about to feel the pinch... now they start realizing that maybe petulant spite wasn't a good basis for political strategy. This time. Come 2008, they will probably vote for McCain for the same reasons (although McCain has triangulated so much recently, that it's impossible to tell whether he'll fulfil their wishes or not at this point).

But back to the religious hardcore, the really interesting question is this: (And I'm not saying the country has reached this point yet, but it may be coming).

Those who believe in Bush for religious reasons, as well as those who have turned modern "movement" conservatism into a secular religion and believe the fate of civilization depends upon it... They may well be prepared to fight, to go outside the law, to preserve the power and rule of "their" leader, should something threaten it. For example, if Bush should declare open war on Iran, in such a manner that would clearly destroy our economy, military, and our world alliances, and legislators start calling for his impeachment... the hardcore base may well be prepared to take up arms and shut down our democratic institutions to prevent that. Because they clearly believe "our" safety and our very SALVATION depend on it.

The big question is, are those on the side of tolerance, and rule of law, (and basic logic, come to think of it) prepared to defend those things, should events come to that?

9/08/2006 11:41 AM  
Blogger Jimmy the Saint said...

Mr. Daulton:
Under your scenario, what would lead you to believe that the right-wingers would take up arms? They haven't yet. That is why they are called chickenhawks. That is what is so laughable about these people. They think they are doing God's work, yet aren't willing to back up their words with real action. If they do eventually pick up arms, are you really afraid of them?

9/08/2006 11:52 AM  
Anonymous Thomas Daulton said...

Ha! Excellent observation, St. Jimmy, thank you, it's been quite awhile since I really had a laugh at these people's expense. Millions of Americans would, I seriously think, be quite happy to see Democrats, Liberals, Atheists and Scientists loaded onto boxcars, but darn-it, those boxcars aren't going to load themselves.

I suppose there is some sort of silver lining to the fact that American culture has turned everyone (on both sides) into total couch potatoes by now.

I guess the question "Where is the outrage?" cuts both ways...

9/08/2006 12:22 PM  
Anonymous nyhmr said...

Anybody know the 2 other definitions of "chickenhawk"?

9/08/2006 2:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, one is that a chicken hawk is an actual hawk - a red-tail I think. Pretty aggressive if memory serves. The other I think is a sex harrassment term - a boss that pressures an employee into sex. (See, I did pay attention in that workshop!)

The first is actually pretty comlimentary in reality.

9/08/2006 4:38 PM  
Anonymous nyhmr said...

Yes, that is the actual term, but I was referring to the slang terms. One is an honorable term and the other is a despicable one.

The first comes from the Vietnam War and refers to the gutsy pilot that flew the choppers that brought back the wounded from the battlefield. Since it was important to have the chopper weigh the least as possible so it could carry more wounded there was not armor or door gunners. They had to come in with no weapons to provide cover and no armor to protect the pilots. Robert Mason, Huey pilot, wrote a book about it called "Chickenhawk". Definitely not take that name from those heroes and give it to the Neocons.

The other definition is a "short eyes" or child molester. Still not a definition to give them either.

9/08/2006 9:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lets face it; there will be no swaying people like the one quoted. I just try to draw encouragement from more sensible folk.

My brother-in-law is a decent guy. I don't normally talk politics with him as I know he's somewhat conservative. At the labor day barbeque though, he surprised me (pleasantly) when he went off on a rant about how much he now despises Bush (after voting for him twice). And you know what really pisses him off now? Anybody who continues to defend Bush, despite his deplorable performance.

My last hope for this country is that among all the Bush voters in the last two elections, there are many more people like my brother-in-law than like Norman above or the wackjob from the quote.

9/08/2006 10:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It would be great if people such as this brother-in-law were still registered (from 2004) and voted in the next election.

9/13/2006 10:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

this is a good way to settle/remove any doubt...the problem with the machines is that there will always be doubts...

9/14/2006 12:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

9/14/2006 12:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

9/15/2006 2:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You should read some of FDR's wartime speeches. Your head will explode.

Its been a while, but I recall one of JFK's SOTU's was a real humdinger of religion and neo-conism too.

9/21/2006 12:50 AM  

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