Thursday, September 29, 2005

Tom DeLay: The New Terri Schiavo?

I think Tom DeLay may be on the verge of becoming the new Terri Schiavo.

The only problem is, Democrats still have yet to understand, or implement, the lessons of the first Terri Schiavo.

The takeaway lesson of Terri Schiavo was not the zealotry, fanaticism and fetishism of the "culture of life," nor was it the hypocrisy of supposed states-rightsers trying to move heaven and earth (and all the government branches therein) to intervene on a state issue. The real takeaway lesson was that the GOP leadership refused to let the Schiavo issue (or the judicial heat it stoked) endanger its legislative agenda last spring, because that would have imperiled its pro-corporation goals.

Last year, Thomas Frank explored in "What's the Matter with Kansas?" the dichotomy of a Republican Party that sells itself to America's poor by trumpeting religious values, and then sells out those same voters by championing big business. It's always been a tenuous relationship, built on sleight-of-hand marketing and religious-based rhetoric. But it's worked because there are very few issues which pit the Christian right's interests against the interests of big business.

When Terri Schiavo and the ensuing anti-judicial fervor came into conflict with corporate interests, the Republican Party did something unusual: It blinked.

Now, Josh Marshall at Talking Points Memo speculates that DeLay's indictment may stem from his corporate donors: Donors who gave money to DeLay partly to protect their asses and partly to fatten their wallets, but with no interest in DeLay's Christian ideology.

Therefore, Marshall suggests, the corporations would have no moral qualms about betraying the cause by ratting on DeLay because there is no cause. There's merely a cost-benefit analysis.

If Marshall's right, DeLay might end up being undone because of the same schism that Schiavo exposed. And it's not just a schism between evangelical Protestantism and rampant capitalism, it's a schism between faith-based thinking and empirical materialism. Both have been perverted and twisted to satisfy the goals of corrupt leaders, but the lesson for Democrats -- if they want to win next year -- has to be that this schism is vulnerable, it can be penetrated, and it can be widened.

The problem for Democrats, however, is that first they'll have to decide which side of that schism they're on.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

How can you be writing about Tom DeLay? Don't you know about the big fires in Los Angeles? How can you NOT have blamed this on Bush yet??? Oh, well. I guess there's still time. Start Googling now so you can find a way to blame the Bush administration for the fires in some way. Oh, and don't forget about the whole Hitler holocost thing. I'm sure that, somehow, that was was fault of the Bush administration, too.

Anonymous said...

Of course you bring up Terri Schiavo. How could you not? Yes, always remember: no matter how horrible an event, no matter what kind of personal tragedy...death...suffering... ALWAYS find a way to use it to help the Democrats! You certainly do have a heart of gold. Hey! Don't forget about the twenry-odd elderly people who died in that bus fire trying to escape Rita. C'mon, dude. You HAVE to be able to find a way to spin THAT against the Bush administration, and thus help the Demoncrats win more elections.Don't start slacking!

ceej said...

Anonymous, you simply make an assertion that Jonathan blames too much on Bush, with no argument. How about a reasoned criticism of a particular claim of Bush responsibility?

Anonymous said...

<< Anonymous, you simply make an assertion that Jonathan blames too much on Bush, with no argument. How about a reasoned criticism of a particular claim of Bush responsibility? >>

Because, in a way, I kind of LIKE what he's doing. Year after year, left-wingers like this guy never get it... which is why Repubicans keep winning. Taking nasty pot shots at Repulicans hasn't worked for the Democrats (for the most part) in a long, long time. They keep trying it, and they keep LOSING. I've urged this guy to try to say some POSITIVE things - maybe express a few ideas about how to make things better in America, as opposed to continually being negative and slamming his opposition. But he won't listen, which I guess is good for me. Because he'll just keep whining, blaming, and making "clever" puns... and my boys'll keep on running the country. Works for me!

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