Do you wonder why the Republicans tell such whopping lies about President Obama and his economic recovery plan ? Isn't one conservative value truth telling? Not when you are serving the "higher call" to save America for Jesus and/or perpetual war, as I explain in my book,Crazy for God: How I Grew Up as One of the Elect, Helped Found the Religious Right, and Lived to Take All (or Almost All) of It Back .
You see the Republican "base" is living in an alternative universe. These are the folks who believe that:
Guns make you safe,
The earth is 6000 years old,
Gays are evil and dangerous,
Iraq had something to do with 9/11
Obama is a Muslim,
Obama is a communist,
Obama is the Antichrist,
Lowering taxes for the super rich would help the economy,
Deregulating banks leads to prosperity.
Jesus is coming back soon to take all the evangelicals to heaven leaving anyone who can walk in a straight line and chew gum at the same time on earth,
Sara Palin's only problem is that the "elite media" was unfair to her,
Every word of the Bible is true -- literally,
We don't need trains that work, infrastructure that functions and new energy, just Jesus...
What I slowly realized (back in the 1980s before I fled the right) was that the religious right and Republican leadership that my dad and I were helping to gain power were not "conservatives" at all in the old sense of the word. They were anti-American religious revolutionaries.
The right had once been led by people like James Buckley and Senator Barry Goldwater who stood for the separation of church and state. The religious right, as it emerged in the late 1970s -- and consequently the Republican Party it took over -- was all about religiously-motivated "morality" which it used for nakedly political (and fund raising) purposes. This was a throwback to an earlier ugly time when 1930s fascist xenophobic hate-mongers like Father Charles Coughlin and his vicious anti-Roosevelt radio program were influential.
Father Coughlin would have loved today's congressional Republican leadership. He started a radio "ministry," moved it steadily to the populist right, then identified the "enemy"---in Coughlin's case Roosevelt, in today's Republican's case -- President Obama. Coughlin yesterday, Dobson and Limbaugh, Coulter today: new names, same hate.
In the 1970s and 80s the leaders of the religious right were gleefully betting on American moral failure in the way Limbaugh and the Republicans are now rooting for Obama's (and America's) economic failure in 2009. If secular, democratic, diverse gay-tolerant and pluralistic America survives, then wouldn't that prove that the Republicans are wrong about God only wanting to bless a "Christian" (white!) America of low taxes, and unregulated markets?
What began to bother me back in the 80s was that so many of my new "friends" on the religious right seemed to be rooting for one form of apocalypse or another. In the crudest form this was part of the evangelical fascination with the so-called End Times. The worse things got, the sooner Jesus would come back. But there was another component: the worse everything got the more it proved that America needed saving, by us!
And now the religious right infection (of wanting failure to score a moral/religious point) has become the the Republican illness: root for failure so "we" win ideologically!
Today the Republican Party is rooting for doom. And since the Republicans are now anti-American members of an Obama-must-fail insurgency, lies become a self-fulfilling prophecy: talk doom, and keep the economy in a panic and we may get what we wish for.
Don't conservative Republicans object to the lies? No, because the Republicans don't have any actual and traditional conservative followers left. The Republican base is now made up of religious and neoconservative ideologues, and the uneducated white underclass with a token person of color or two up front on TV to obscure the all-white, all reactionary all backward -- there-is-no-global-warming -- rube reality. Actual conservatives, let alone the educated classes, have long since fled.
The Republican religious nuts are rooting for Jesus to "rapture" them, not for America, and the neoconservatives are rooting for war and the Israeli hard liners, not for America. Truth (and sanity) are out the window.
So, what is the problem with lying to our faces, say, claiming that all American's taxes are going up when 95% of American's taxes are going to go down? Why not claim Obama is a socialist, even if he's not? Why not say anything at all to drive our country into a pit when losing is seen as winning? That, is all the Republicans have to offer America: more lies on a path to destruction from which the Republican "leadership" plans to resurrect themselves and "save" America from Obama.
Frank Schaeffer is author of Crazy for God: How I Grew Up as One of the Elect, Helped Found the Religious Right, and Lived to Take All (or Almost All) of It Back Now in paperback.