Sunday, December 16, 2007

Latter-Day Republicans vs. the Church of Oprah

Daddy Frank sounds off on Romney's cult, "The O Show", and the hugely undersung matter of race in the coming election. A 'recommended read'.

THIS campaign season has been in desperate need of its own reincarnation of Howard Beale from “Network”: a TV talking head who would get mad as hell and not take it anymore. Last weekend that prayer was answered when Lawrence O’Donnell, an excitable Democratic analyst, seized a YouTube moment (go see O'Donnell go off on the Mormon cult! - G) while appearing on one of the Beltway’s more repellent Sunday bloviathons, “The McLaughlin Group.”

I love 'The McLaughlin Group'! I call 'em 'The Shouters'. Usually it's Eleanor Clift (be still, my heart!) as the Voice of Sanity against the Forces of Darkness Buchanan and Blankley, moderated, if that's the right word, by curmudgeonly ex-priest McLaughlin. I've been missing it lately since both the PBS stations I get are kinda in a perma pledge drive and shine on this little show in favor of old rerun music from my youth. But I digress...

Pushed over the edge by his peers’ polite chatter about Mitt Romney’s sermon on “Faith in America,” Mr. O’Donnell branded the speech “the worst” of his lifetime. Then he went on a rampage about Mr. Romney’s Mormon religion, shouting (among other things) that until 1978 it was “an officially racist faith.”

That claim just happens to be true. [...]

The answer is simple. Mr. Romney didn’t fight his church’s institutionalized apartheid, whatever his private misgivings, because that’s his character. Though he is trying to sell himself as a leader, he is actually a follower and a panderer, as confirmed by his flip-flops on nearly every issue.

On to The big O:

But Washington is nothing if not consistent in misreading this election. Even as pundits overstated the significance of “Faith in America,” so they misunderstood and trivialized the other faith-based political show unfolding this holiday season, “Oprahpalooza.” And with the same faulty logic.

“Church free” is the key. This country has had its fill of often hypocritical family-values politicians dictating what is and is not acceptable religious and moral practice. Instead of handing down tablets of what constitutes faith in America, Romney-style, the Oprah-Obama movement practices an American form of ecumenicalism. It preaches a bit of heaven on earth in the form of a unified, live-and-let-live democracy that is greater than the sum of its countless disparate denominations. The pitch — or, to those who are not fans, the shtick — may be corny. “The audacity of hope” is corny too. But corn is preferable to holier-than-thou, and not just in Iowa.

No shit.

For those Americans looking for the most unambiguous way to repudiate politicians who are trying to divide the country by faith, ethnicity, sexuality and race, Mr. Obama is nothing if not the most direct shot. After hearing someone like Mitt Romney preach his narrow, exclusionist idea of “Faith in America,” some Americans may simply see a vote for Mr. Obama as a vote for faith in America itself.

My goodness! That was damn near an endorsement!

As much as I like Bill Richardson, it doesn't look like he's getting much traction. He might be better doing something else anyway. or veep.

I'm startin' to lean toward Edwards. Hillary wants business as usual with Big Corpora, Obama wants to chat pleasantly with them as if that'll work to change the role of Big Money in our country, but so far only Edwards wants to take them on for the evil they are and do by standing in the way of progress for Americans on a wide range of profit-generating issues.

Edwards is a lot nicer about it than I am. When I'm Benign Emperor Of All That's Good, I'd start with an air strike on K Street, followed by an infantry assault and a roundup of lobbyists, CEOs, etc., who would be treated to an unusual (for them) and well-deserved expenditure of taxpayers' money - plane rides to exotic places followed by motivational chats of my own devising which would be fully legal under present administration guidelines.

And God would be on my side, of course...

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