Hide the Children! The Republicans are in town!

Mocking the people behind the Values Voter Debate is low-hanging fruit, I realize, but it's a local event for me, so I feel I have a duty. Besides, it's been a little slow this week.

Anyway, in case you missed it, the Values Voter folks are having a debate down here in Fort Lauderdale tomorrow, and they've invited all the Republican candidates down. The big four--Giuliani, Romney, Thompson and McCain--all had something more important to do, like, umm, anything else, since the questions likely to be asked are the loaded types that would be gleefully replayed in any general election scenario. (Governor Romney, which of your previous positions do you most regret, your sanctioning of the murder of the unborn, overseeing the destruction of heterosexual marriage, or your continued failure to accept Jesus as your one true savior?) Janet Folger, one of our very own local wingnuts, is none too pleased about the no-shows.

One of the key players in Monday's debate, Janet Folger, president of Dania Beach-based Faith2Action and a member of the host committee, said the movement is thriving — and candidates ignore it at their peril. "Everybody who cares about our values will be there. If you care enough about our votes, you care enough about our values to be there."

As for the no-shows, Folger said, "I think they're going to be hurt substantially."

Somehow, I think Giuliani, et al, will survive the bounce Tancredo will get coming out of the debate.

But I wanted to see for myself just what the Values Voter folks want out of their candidates. I'm a glutton for pain--it's what we liberals are into, I hear. So I wandered over to the debate website and voila! (or, as some of my students have written in the past, to my pain, "wah-la!"). That's the short version. Frankly, I don't have the energy to fisk the entire thing, but trust me when I tell you that it's Christian Dominionism in all its insane glory. However, I would be remiss in my duties as an English teacher if I didn't point out this laughable bit.
We therefore seek the following:...

10. Judges who legislate from the bench subvert our republican form of government of the people, by the people, and for the people, and threaten all these legislative aims.

THEREFORE, WE URGENTLY CALL FOR Judicial Restraint, and an end to Judicial Activism.
For the other nine, they got the construction correct, but they were so wound up on the very notion of activist judges (herein defined as judges who rule against what they want) that they actually wound up demanding the opposite of the rest of their screed. They're giving us a moment of unintentional, but disturbing honesty.

That said, I'm not all that concerned with what's going to happen at this debate, though I'm sure it will make for a lot of laughs once it's over. These people are the extreme of the extreme in the Republican party--if they were as important as they think they are, they'd have been able to force the attendance of the Big 4, after all. But it is still a frightening glimpse into the minds of these extremists, those people who would think nothing of forcing their particular and peculiar brand of morality on the rest of us. Of course, they're also the kind of people who keep the rest of us from growing complacent--or at least they should be.

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