Thursday, November 11, 2004

There was an interesting article in the New York Times today. In it, Arthur Finkelstein, a long-time GOP consultant who is a veteran political knife-fighter, states that the Bush campaign strategy of relying upon the Christian right to secure victory split the country and may have created long-term problems for the Republican party.
"The political center has disappeared, and the Republican Party has become the party of the Christian right more so than in any other period in modern history."
"Bush's strategy secures the power of the American Christian right not only for this term," Mr. Finkelstein said in the interview. "In fact, it secures its ability to choose the next Republican president."
Finkelstein's concern centers around the fact that this election became a referendum on the religious and cultural nature of the country.

Now if a operative like Finkelstein, who has worked for such moderate characters as Sen. Jesse Helms and Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, is concerned about the effect that Rove's strategy will have on the country, what does that say about this administration? James Dobson, head of the very conservative group Focus on the Family, has already intimated that he believes he and the other leading members of the Christian right will be calling the shots. Dobson recently said of Dem Sen. Patrick Lahey of Vermont
“Patrick Leahy is a ‘God’s people’ hater,” Dobson said.
“I don’t know if he hates God, but he hates God’s people.”

When George Stephanopolous asked Dobson on ABC's This Week if he felt he owed Sen. Lahey an apology for such a harsh criticism, Dobson emphatically said no, he didn't.

These are the characters who believe that they have the President's ear. They believe that they won the election for him (despite growing evidence that they turnout and participation was basically unchanged from 2000), and they intend to extract more than one pound of flesh from this administration.

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