One must assume that at least some of the Tea Party Republicans who defeated Rep. Eric Cantor at the polls in Virginia this week voted for him a time or two before the current midterms. He's been their rep for 13 years. Although Virginia cannot have a sizable Jewish population, one must suppose Cantor had a hurdle to clear just convincing voters there he was not going to out-Shariah the Muslims and see to it that the Constitution is interpreted according to the Torah. From personal experience of a red state in the south (my native Texas) I rather doubt mainstream Republicans would hold a politician's Jewish faith against him, but in the Virginia election that saw Cantor ousted and an unknown newcomer named David Brat taking the primary, I have other feelings.
Consider that Tea Party people, although diverse (well, Ann Coulter says so, having "worked the congregations" at megachurches), they tend to be white, middle-aged protestants (largely in the sense that they protest). The most troubling thing about the Virginia 7th District primaries is not that a Tea Partier won (it happened in my own district in Texas; we got Rep. Blake Farenthold, thrust upon us thanks to geographic disenfranchisement by the Gerrymandering Old Party). No, the most incredible thing to this Eisenhower Era independent is that Brat, coming on stage at the victory party, was heard to say loudly, proudly, and delusionally, "A miracle has happened! This is a miracle of God!"
Forget the unbridled ego in suggesting his personal Lard and Saveur had intervened in an election to see to it that another block in Dominionist dreams is put into place, ridding congress of the Israelite and replacing the Christ-killer with a follower of Rousas John Rushdoony. Forget that when you pray to God and a positive outcome is 50-50 in an election, all kinds of currents other than God's could be at play, giving your conclusion post hoc falsity. Forget that Brat has a nice smiling nucalar family (below). All those reading these comments on this site are well aware that where religion is concerned, the 1960s blues rock group Sly and the Family Stone told it straight up when they sang the refrain, "Smilin' faces...smilin' faces / Sometimes tell lies." By attributing his victory to Gawd, Brat informs us that if legislation he backs loses in the House, it is bad must have come about because Gawd works in mysterious ways. Or that Gawd has other plans for the subject matter of the law.
Isn't it interesting that Brat also assumed that all of his supporters and campaign workers are believers of a particular kind, those who do not, as we do, mince at the injection of a deity into political discourse, as in Louie Gohmert's asinine boasting being "saved" in his interrogation of the defense minister, a fellow Repulican. I worried about Brat's website section on "Protecting Values" where he promises to “protect the rights of the unborn and the sanctity of marriage, and will oppose any governmental intrusion upon the conscience of people of faith.”
In other words, he will push for coat-hanger abortions, second-class citizenship for the sexual minorities, and any attempt to stall the revisionist history positing that America was designed to be a Christian nation, that the doctrine of separation of church and state is a "myth." In other words, Brat is a cog in the wheel that is turning in the direction of a Dominionist theocracy. No matter that you and I know this delusional -- insanity, really. They want Judge Pat Robertson sending me to jail for failure to go to church on Sunday.
That's well said, James. Someone needs to tell Brat that the unborn have no rights. Why? It's because they are not born yet. If Brat is correct then we need to look at all the souls crying out to us from sheets, bath towels, and toilet bowls all over the world. Sometimes just from a tissue. Maybe the GOP is causing this.
So the Lard intervened to cause this guy to get elected. Why can't he just keep his delusions in church?
Their logic is flawed in the first instance. The whole point is, the fetus contains the soul of the human zygote that will ripen, once born, into a person. There is no person in a zygote. Persons are component of what went before and what is and what will become. If there is no soul (another reason I think their prophet went to India during the lost teen and young adult years: the soul is reincarnated, and there are passages in the bible that smack of transmigratory belief), then there is no person. The RCC teaching, of course, is that there is a soul when a male sperm is planted in a female ovum. Voila! A woman is carrying a person around for nine months, though it has no gender, it does want to nurse on mom, it doesn't go (and I am mimicking the great Jonathan Winters, "Ana-ne-no-na-ni-na-na-na." There are some good websites debunking the fetus = person myth, nothing but church dogma.
The SCOTUS in Wade said that after two trimesters, the fetus is viable and therefore alive for many purposes and that a woman's choice was limited in the final trimester, that laws restricting abortion during the last three months might pass constitutional muster. That was good enough for me, but then I have spent all those years wondering what sort of judge would become one of nine with such lack of compassion they would allow a mother to die or to be saddled with a deformed thing instead of a child, what kind of a criminal mind would put this wound onto a mother. It would eventually dawn on me that this is precisely what Scalia would do. This is not a digression: if the Roman Church and the evangelical movement have anything in common is that abortion is a "sin" (in quotes because nobody but their god says anything remotely like what they claim), and if not all Americans even believe in the concept of "sin" (I do not), that's our problem.
No, the fly in their dogmatic ointment is that women miscarry all the time. Miscarriage is far more common than abortion. Are those women who miscarry these souls to be punished for their "sin"? If so, mustn't we follow the Bible and stone these women to death? Will we have street monitors stopping you at the curb and asking if you have had a miscarriage today? Will Pat Robertson be ambassador to an African country where he can mine more gold and diamonds on tithes? Will Ralph Reed be the new Secretary of Religious Education? WAKE UP FOLKS, THE CHRISTIAN FUNDAMENTALISTS ARE COMING!
Coat hangers. You forgot the coat hangers.
Why can't [Brat] just keep his delusions in church?
Because his xian base needs to hear his pandering.
As the ancient Roman Seneca said, religion is useful to rulers.
Let's just hope that enough voters recognize and oppose Brat's extremism that he loses in the general election!
...that Brat, coming on stage at the victory party, was heard to say loudly, proudly, and delusionally, "A miracle has happened! This is a miracle of God!"
James, commit to long-term memory the observation (by Epicurus?) that concludes with something about politicians using religion.
Repubs started using it heavily after Pres. Reagan invited the evangelicals into the Party.
After two decades of expelling moderates, Repubs needed bodies so badly that no one first counted the invitees. They were so numerous that they took over the state parties.
Candidates have to be, or pretend to be, conservative to win nomination and moderate to win election.
I believe it was Seneca who said religion was true to the ignorant, false to the wise, and useful to rulers.
Religion is excellent stuff for keeping common people quiet. Napoleon Bonaparte.
James, thanks for fixing my glitch.
It's a well know political trick to have voters cross party lines in the primaries. Both sides do it frequently. Party #1 has an uncontested nominal candidate going against a strong incumbent in Party #2. In Party #2's primary, voters from Party #1 cross lines to vote out the incumbent. That leaves Party #1's candidate in a much stronger position. And, come November, all those in Party #1 who gave #2's incumbent the boot, vote for #1's candidate.
Just read an interesting article in the Daily Beast that I'm referring to as the Cooter Factor. Former actor Ben Jones (Cooter on the Dukes of Hazard), wrote an open letter to the voters of Virginia's 6th Congressional urging Democrats to cross party lines and vote Cantor out of office. His letter is here. Apparently, the thing went viral. Is this the sole reason, or even the primary reason Cantor lost? I don't know. But it certainly is a factor. Which means Mr. Brat may not have as easy a time in November as he hopes for. We'll see.
Is this the sole reason, or even the primary reason Cantor lost? I don't know.
Are VA primaries closed (only D's may vote in D primaries, etc) or open (any registered voter tend to vote in a party's primary)?
Another reason, which only activists know, conservative-backed candidates and propositions tend to win in primary and special elections because many liberals vote only in general elections.
This can lead to conservative success even in initiative or referendum elections.
When, for instance, election law requires elections to be held within X number of days after the signed petitions are turned in, conservatives start the signature gathering so that the X number of days period expires before the November general elections.
They did that in San Francisco - in a district election effort - and enough liberals didn't bother to vote that conservatives, who opposed district elections, won by fewer votes then the number of precincts.
If one more liberal had voted in each precinct, district elections would have won.
We won when we used their tactic and started a signature gathering period so that our issue would be on a November ballot.
In all, the issue took about six elections to settle.
Read the letter and the article that Pat linked; they nicely explain that these are open primaries, and that crossing lines to influence the primary isn't a new or unusual thing.
Thanks for the links, Pat. They were interesting reading for those of us who are close enough to US politics to know who Cantor is but not know all the ins and outs of how the sausage is made over there.