Political Animal

Blog

May 11, 2012 12:32 PM Cultural Antietam

By Ed Kilgore

The growing conservative take on the political impact of the president’s statement of support for same-sex marriage is one of cackling with glee (not to be confused, of course, with cackling at Glee). In one interview, they say, Obama accomplished what Mitt Romney would have taken many months to consummate: an unshakable marriage between his campaign and the Christian Right.

Maybe. I’ve always assumed these folks would get there anyway, sooner rather than later. While Mitt Romney may not have been their ideal candidate, their conquest of the GOP—and for that matter, of Romney—on all the issues that matter to them is too far advanced to let the identity of the nominee get in the way of ejecting the hated secular-socialist-Muslim from the White House and claiming the spoils of victory. Perhaps in some computer in Boston, Team Romney has calculated that the number of additional concessions they have to make to their ideological masters can now be taken down a few notches, not that they won’t keep demanding them.

But what seems to be eluding happy Republicans right now is the possibility that having a fresh grievance against Obama won’t necessarily convince culture warriors to quiet down and assume their position in the back of the Romney campaign bus, carefully avoiding any utterances that might frighten swing voters. Now that they are fully aroused, are they really going to go along with a message that treats this election as nothing more than a referendum on Obama’s economic record?

Check out this remark from Pat Buchanan, who may be a self-disgraced ex-pundit to most people but who remains firmly in the mainstream of Christian Right opinion:

Obama, by declaring that homosexual marriages should be on the same legal and moral plane as traditional marriage, just took command of the forces of anti-Christian secularism in America’s Kulturkampf. And Nov. 6, 2012, is shaping up as the Antietam of the culture war.

I’m sure Pat is aware that Antietam was not some one-sided Civil War battle, but a bloody nightmare that led to the end of the war only because the Yankees could better afford shocking casualities.

More to the immediate point, it’s not entirely clear to me that the self-proclaimed exclusive representatives of Christianity on the Right have the troops to win a culture war, determined as they are to wage it not just on the relatively strong (if lagging and ultimately doomed) ground of opposition to same-sex marriage, but on issues like banning abortion and restricting contraception where they are in a distinct minority. Matter of fact, even if they can keep themselves from campaigning against every social development of the last half-century, polls are showing that the level of intensity among supporters of same-sex marriage is as higher or higher than among those opposing it.

But what is entirely clear to me is that Kulturkampf ‘12 will play directly into the Obama strategy of making the election a choice between two directions for the country rather than a referendum on the last four years in which all Mitt Romney has to do is to bob and weave and make himself seem vaguely moderate. Anything that polarizes the electorate even further into a judgment on the ideology of the two parties is not likely to turn out well for the party of Pat Buchanan and Paul Ryan.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.

Comments

  • DAY on May 11, 2012 12:55 PM:

    I remember- vividly- the same societal "war" in the 1960's, only it wasn't about teh gay.
    And, here we are, half a century later, with one of them in the White House.

  • jjm on May 11, 2012 12:56 PM:

    The GOPers, dominated by a South that has harbored bitter resentment over its values being bested on the battlefield 150 years ago, is full of members spewing out angry, war-like and violent rhetoric.

    Will they take up actual arms again against the United States? The GOP is practically there: they want to starve normal people with mainstream values and build up the military even more. Did anyone ever stop to ask why?

    Because they assume they will be able to take over the military -- a process underway under Bush, where evangelicals were teaching their Southern values in the Air Force Academy, and discriminating against people of other religions.

    Then the United States will finally have to knuckle under to the Old South. Their dream, anyway.

  • Peter C on May 11, 2012 1:03 PM:

    American doesn't need 'Kampf's or more Antietams!

    'Kampf' is just German for 'Jihad' (struggle).

    Republicans love this $hit. It's time for them to sit down and shut up.

  • JMG on May 11, 2012 1:05 PM:

    Romney's limited, to be polite, control of his own party, formerly a completely top-down organization, is his primary practical weakness as a candidate. He can't tell them to shut up even if and when he wants to.

  • Breezeblock on May 11, 2012 1:07 PM:

    What is it with "It's Pat" and the Nazi imagery? Isn't the English term "culture war" good enough?

    Oh wait... nm.

  • K Wilson on May 11, 2012 1:10 PM:

    " . . itís not entirely clear to me that the self-proclaimed exclusive representatives of Christianity on the Right have the troops to win a culture war."

    Oh, it's clear enough. They don't, and their numbers are diminishing yearly. The ones they have are rapidly aging, and young people roll their eyes incredulously at their grandparents' weird problem with gay folks. In 20 years, objecting to same-sex marriage will be as unacceptable as objecting to interracial marriage today. In this election, it's probably nearly even odds whether this issue will help or hurt Obama. I think it will probably help, but this is the last election in which there will be any doubt. Our culture is indeed moving toward greater justice and decency, at least on this issue.

  • BJ smith on May 11, 2012 1:14 PM:

    I refuse to believe hatred,bigotry, greed & predjudice will win the day, that would mean this country voted the extreme choice. In the meantime we will need to work to make certain it does not happen.

  • RT on May 11, 2012 1:21 PM:

    I remember when Republicans made polarization work for them. I would love it if Obama can make it work for Democrats, but it remains to be seen.

  • stormskies on May 11, 2012 1:29 PM:

    I refuse to believe hatred,bigotry, greed & predjudice will win the day, that would mean this country voted the extreme choice. In the meantime we will need to work to make certain it does not happen.

    ***********

    The sad truth is that it already has in many of the states. A sad, tragic, and simple example is Kansas. Look what has taken place there. Their population is exactly what you have described. Their core delusion is symbolized in that old movie called "Plesantville" where absolute conformity was presented, in the film, as a black and white movie. Then, one day, a person began to question the absoluteness of the certainty in their 'values' equaling this conformity. That person was then turned into color in the sea of black and white. Soon, others began to question ...... and then chaos prevailed. Yet, that chaos, the created a reality that we could truly call 'humane'.

    Right now we have to many states like Kansas that is rooted in the 'values' of a twisted Christianity. As a result those states have become nothing but shit stain on the globe of our earth.

    We can only hope that someone of 'color' can bring forth the necessary chaos that realigns those delusional souls to a reality rooted in the actual values of being humane.

  • thebewilderness on May 11, 2012 1:34 PM:

    From time to time we are reminded of why it is necessary and right to separate religions power from state power.

    I don't know how much worse it is going to get. I know that it usually gets very very bad before it gets better.

  • Steve P on May 11, 2012 1:35 PM:

    It was AFTER Antietam that Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation--I think Buchanan's got his history wrong, as usual.

  • c u n d gulag on May 11, 2012 1:36 PM:

    "Anything that polarizes the electorate even further into a judgment on the ideology of the two parties..."

    NO, Ed!

    One party still has some sense of an ideology - the other is almost completely a PATHOLOGY!

    And on many cases, psychopath's and sociopaths make the best sales people!

    Because they don't give a sh*t about you, and your needs and wants - it's all about THEM, and THEIR needs and wants - and the rewards for selling you sh*t you don't want, don't need, and can actually do you and yours economic and physical harm!

  • c u n d gulag on May 11, 2012 1:39 PM:

    Dear Herr Buchanan,
    In all of your fevered little Nazi dreams, did it ever occur to you that this might be the R's Stalingrad?

    Or, for a non-Nazi example - their 'Wasser'loo?

  • Anonymous on May 11, 2012 1:44 PM:

    But what is entirely clear to me is that Kulturkampf Ď12 will play directly into the Obama strategy of making the election a choice between two directions

    And that couldn't have been illustrated more perfectly this week. Whether by design or accident, Biden's remarks put Obama on the record of personally supporting equality a mere day or so before the Romney bullying story broke. The optics are this week are staggering. In an age of teen suicides and rampant cyber bullying becoming a major problem in our society, we have a Presidential nominee who took part in that behavior as a child and now is primed to steer a major political party that has already put anti-harassment laws in their cross-hairs. The lame stream media needs to ask Romney if he supports anti-harassement legislation, and if not, why not. A clear choice between two directions indeed.

  • Simon on May 11, 2012 1:49 PM:

    Pat Buchanan is a seriously scary dude. You would think he would welcome our new latino Catholics citizens if he was so worried about the godless atheists dominating our culture. But he cant, because he's a white identity dominionist fascist.

  • T2 on May 11, 2012 2:06 PM:

    TEAGOP - exclusion
    Democrats - inclusion

  • SadOldVet on May 11, 2012 2:22 PM:

    Ed is correct, in a long winded way.

    To put it more succintly The theological sheeple will do whatever the power and money hungry reich wing theological leaders tell them to do!

  • hells littlest angel on May 11, 2012 2:41 PM:

    Can't wait to read Buchanan's forthcoming memoir, Mein Kulturkampf.

  • Veblen's dog on May 11, 2012 2:48 PM:

    I hope it's Antietam. Buchanan seems to be overlooking the fact that it was the beginning of the end for Dixie.

    But maybe this time, learning the lessons of Antietam I, we'll follow them across the Potomac and finish them off.

  • g on May 11, 2012 3:53 PM:

    Yep, sure was a big mistake Obama made, driving away all those anti-gay-marriage voters who would totally have voted for him.

    Both of them.

  • RT on May 11, 2012 3:54 PM:

    I love it that neo-Confederate Pat Buchanan, with his Antietam reference, identifies with the other (winning) side.

  • pjcamp on May 12, 2012 1:19 AM:

    Antietam was a clusterfuck.

    So is Buchanan.

  • iJSVxatbOg on November 01, 2012 3:38 AM:

    where to buy tramadol tramadol high 100mg - tramadol hcl for toothache