Friday, June 04, 2010

THE NEW WAVE IN REPUBLICAN SEX SCANDALS. I see that Michael Gerson has taken up the Republican sex-scandal defense championed by David Frum and others during the great imbroglios of 2006 -- that is, that hypocrisy is okay if you're a Jesus Republican, because Jesus.
Yet moral liberals have something to learn as well. The failure of human beings to meet their own ideals does not disprove or discredit those ideals... I would rather live among those who recognize standards and fail to meet them than among those who mock all standards as lies. In the end, hypocrisy is preferable to decadence.
The problem with making this argument to "moral liberals" (whatever the fuck he means by that -- since I'm a liberal with a mean streak, I'll take it to mean me) is that we have been watching Republicans and their co-conspirators in the evangelical Christian movement run their Moral Majority bullshit for years, and have coldly recognized it as bullshit from Day One. This is because we have some understanding of human nature, from the works of Shakespeare, Moliere, and Somerset Maugham, and from direct experience, and we know the randy preacher routine backwards.

When that scam devolved into a pile-up of naked and sometimes wet-suited or diapered Republicans a few years back, we did not mourn that these awful people had failed to live up to their "standards," because we knew that they never really had any standards, except "don't get caught" and "never give a sucker an even break."

At first I couldn't figure out why Gerson even bothered, except as a favor to his old friend Mark Souder. But then it occurred to me that he had been inspired by the Nikki Haley case.

In that case we have seen something remarkable but little remarked upon: a political sex scandal in which the controversy does not fit the Moral Majority template. Haley is either the victim of opponents' smears, or has had extramarital affairs, or both. Most of the reaction from the liberal side has been ha-ha, but as Haley is being man-handled, not by Democrats, but by her fellow Republicans, it is the GOP reaction that is most relevant, and so far I haven't seen many of them burbling on about the Sanctity of Marriage. Haley's opponents are mainly saying that she lied, and Haley is saying that her opponents are lying. It's a plain political media power struggle, with no hint of Jesus in it -- which may be why one SC Republican douchebag called her a raghead like President Obama: He was frustrated that the punters weren't going Biblical on her, and sought to stir their religious mania by other means.

But that doesn't seem to be working either. And how awful this must be to Christian types like Gerson, whose whole schtick depends upon people acting (and voting) like extras from Inherit the Wind.

UPDATE. In the Washington Times, Robert Knight helps prove my point. He is stung to the quick that George F. Will and Charles Krauthammer -- no one's idea of bleeding hearts -- have abandoned, on behalf of mainstream Republicans, the word of the Living God when it comes to gays in the military. Knight raves about the "Creator of the Universe" and "God's moral code that has undergirded Western society for more than 3,500 years." And he suggests at the end that they and all infidels will be sorry one day when they end up in the Lake of Fire:
Perhaps the answer lies in the Book that they now find quaint: "Professing to be wise, they became fools ... who exchanged the truth of God for a lie." (Romans 1:22, 25)

Someday, the smartest folks in America will wonder how they could have been so foolish.
Damnation -- the Hail Mary pass of all moral hucksters who have discovered that Bible-waving no longer has a hypnotic effect on their subjects.

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