Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Win Locally, Fail Globally

Just when they figured out how to use the National Nutty Network locally to force Montgomery County to say uncle, it appears that things might be falling apart for the religious right at the national level. Listen to Chief Bigot James Dobson on yesterday's Senate compromise:
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo., May 23 /U.S. Newswire/ -- Focus on the Family Action Chairman Dr. James C. Dobson today issued the following statement, upon the announcement by members of the U.S. Senate that a "compromise" had been reached on the filibuster issue:

"This Senate agreement represents a complete bailout and betrayal by a cabal of Republicans and a great victory for united Democrats. Only three of President Bush’s nominees will be given the courtesy of an up-or-down vote, and it's business as usual for all the rest. The rules that blocked conservative nominees remain in effect, and nothing of significance has changed. Justice Clarence Thomas, Justice Antonin Scalia, and Chief Justice William Rehnquist would never have served on the U. S. Supreme Court if this agreement had been in place during their confirmations. The unconstitutional filibuster survives in the arsenal of Senate liberals.

"We are grateful to Majority Leader Frist for courageously fighting to defend the vital principle of basic fairness. That principle has now gone down to defeat. We share the disappointment, outrage and sense of abandonment felt by millions of conservative Americans who helped put Republicans in power last November. I am certain that these voters will remember both Democrats and Republicans who betrayed their trust." Dobson Blasts Filibuster 'Betrayal'

Yes, well, the Republicans were good friends when they needed your votes, weren't they? But dude, there's no election now, not for another few years, they don't need you now. You'll forget this by then ... they're counting on your following not being very smart.

This morning's Post led on the school-board decision story with this:
Montgomery County school board members voted last night to overhaul the system's disputed sex education curriculum and will begin by tossing out teacher resource materials that drew fire from two community groups and a federal court judge. Md. Board Starts Over on Sex-Ed Revisions

Get one thing straight: it was not, by any means, "two community groups." CRC, okay, that was a community group, they have members from Montgomery County. But, since we're talking about James Dobson here, the other group that complained in the lawsuit was PFOX -- a direct creation of Dobson's missionary empire. PFOX is a media fiction, a hoax organization set up by the Family Research Council to promote the illusion that there are tens of thousands of people running around who have just stopped being gay.

And the lawsuit would have been nothing if CRC's own lawyer, the local guy, had been managing it -- the plaintiffs were represented, without charge, by a Florida law firm associated with Jerry Falwell's Liberty University that travels all around the country fighting to eliminate the separation of church and state. They go from "helping" to count ballots in Florida in 2000 to the Ten Commandments case to the Terry Schiavo fiasco, to Montgomery County to jam their message down our throats. They were the ones with the bold idea of confusing the judge about the resources, and coming in at the last minute to make sure there was no discussion, no defense. (Even though CRC had planned the suit for nearly six months before it happened.)

"Community groups?" Hardly. The lawsuit was an instance of successful bullying by big bucks at the national level. The school district couldn't afford to fight them, with their free lawyers.

But what happens to local-level shennanigans if the national organizations fall apart? An awful lot of the religious right's hopes and dreams were predicated on the idea that government would function as their puppet in exchange for votes, that they could bring heavy pressure down from above to force people to do things their way locally. And largely that's worked, they've been able to erode nonfanatics' rights on every front. But James Dobson is not cheerful this morning, no. The Republicans have undermined him, have abandoned him, and no he is not a happy chappy.


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