Bob Beckel writing about President Obama’s first 100 days declares the Culture War to be over… dead… a non issue.
In some respects he is right in that the economy has been the looming focus, but to declare it a non-issue is a mistake. He writes:
Anyone else notice the silence? Listen to what you don’t hear in the Age of Obama. Since Barack Obama has been sworn in as the 44th president the lack of rancor and angry debate on abortion, guns, and gays has been stunning. In fact the only news on the culture front has been losses by the right as Iowa and Vermont passed pro-gay marriage laws. Otherwise, the old right-wing wedge issues of years past are met with a deafening silence in the body politic of 2009. Let us all give thanks.
But to say there is silence? Is he deaf? Where is he holed up in Washington, D.C.? Probably the same place where President Obama was when he didn’t know about the tea parties going on. He certainly wasn’t in Iowa. I also find it interesting that these are just “old right wing wedge issues” and “not left-wing wedge issues,” please as if everybody agrees with the left on abortion and gay marriage. He drones on:
During the peak years of the little war (the late 80’s and 90’s) a few inexcusable crimes such as harassment and some murders of abortion doctors were perpetrated by radicals on the right. And what are now shallow shell organizations among the Christian Right, most specifically the Moral Majority and Christian Coalition, gamed the social agenda for contributions to keep their leadership in private jets. A few politicians won elections with outrageous cultural attacks on their opponents, and the nation was subjected to Tom DeLay and Senate Majority Leader (and doctor) Bill Frist’s exploitation of a brain-dead Terry Schaivo. But overall mainstream voters ignored the battles.
Linking those murders with “the radical right” is incorrigible. I mean really? He’s about as bad as the Department of Homeland Security. Any sane person would tell you that the murder of abortionists is in direct conflict with being pro-life. Then he sites the Moral Majority and the Christian Coalition as being shell organizations. Yes Bob, they are. They aren’t as needed anymore. No mention of the Family Research Council, Americans United for Life, National Right to Life Committee, and The Heritage Foundation (and many more). Not to mention numerous strong state organizations. There are simply more organizations representing conservative values than ever before. Also there are grassroots organizations popping up all the time. He drones on:
Certainly the horrors of the current recession have focused the attention of the public and the politicians with laser-like intensity. Debating social issues while you lose a job is a waste of energy (as if many people waste energy on cultural issues in good times). Enough problems are on the table already including two wars, unemployment heading toward 10%, huge deficits, and intense disagreement over bailing out banks.
Sure there are other things to deal with, and I bet he feels Democrats are approaching the economy in a bipartisan manner… snort. Calling wasting life for instance as a waste of time because of the economy just means you have no principles… not that you are more principled.
A “Culture War” requires a president to stir the social pot. President Obama has not and will not lend the prestige of his office to such a destructive agenda.
Really? That’s what he was doing when he signed numerous executive orders regarding ESCR, funding for abortion, etc. He’s not done yet. We still have the Freedom of Choice Act looming in the future, and with the Senate approaching a filibuster proof majority, that’ll be on the horizon I’m sure. Political payback for pro-choice money.
Beckel, stop drinking the kool-aid. Democrats won because Republicans in office didn’t live by conservative principles, not because of conservative principles.
HT: Lisa Graas for making me aware of this article.