Thursday, September 4, 2008

Palin and the Culture Wars

I don't like Froma Harrop, but I think -- or at least hope -- she's onto something here. I get the sense that the conservative base is at least as far from the mainstream on a lot of cultural issues as the liberal base; as long as one focuses on Palin's political views as opposed to the bogus "experience" argument (which is really about optics -- she's a she and not Hillary, hence unfit to be president -- and should work better if not mentioned), she's obviously very weird and far-right. The left seems to think cultural issues are losing issues by definition, but this isn't actually true; public opinion was distinctly with Schiavo's husband, and stem-cell research helped the Democrats win the MO senate race in 2006.

What a McCain presidency now promises is another four years of Terri Schiavo and other artifacts of the cultural right. You remember Schiavo's husband having to fight the Bush administration and Republican Congress to remove his wife -- in a vegetative state for 15 years -- from life support. It's four more years of national humiliation as our leadership undermines the teaching of evolutionary science, and if something happens to John McCain, opposes stem-cell research.

One tries to untangle McCain's political calculations. The Schiavo case, creationism and similar excesses appeal to a passionate but small slice of the electorate. They are one reason voters are booting Republicans out of power. So while some religious conservatives may be "energized" by the Palin pick, most everyone else is revolted.

No comments: