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Marty Kaplan

Marty Kaplan

Posted: October 10, 2006 12:19 AM

Out of the Mouths of Twits


If I had a gazillion dollars, which I don't, and if I had General Electric's permission, which I won't, I'd buy up all the political ad time still available on stations across the country to run this clip from the Chris Matthews show (via Atrios):

CARLSON: It goes deeper than that though. The deep truth is that the elites in the Republican Party have pure contempt for the evangelicals who put their party in power. Everybody in...

MATTHEWS: How do you know that? How do you know that?

CARLSON: Because I know them. Because I grew up with them. Because I live with them. They live on my street. Because I live in Washington, and I know that everybody in our world has contempt for the evangelicals. And the evangelicals know that, and they're beginning to learn that their own leaders sort of look askance at them and don't share their values.

MATTHEWS: So this gay marriage issue and other issues related to the gay lifestyle are simply tools to get elected?

CARLSON: That's exactly right. It's pandering to the base in the most cynical way, and the base is beginning to figure it out.

Every voter who's been fooled into voting against his or her own economic interest by Republican culture warriors should suck on that stick. Every pundit who's warned Democrats about their failure to connect with "values voters" should get a good deep whiff of that sulfurous hypocrisy.

I'm open to the notion that W is sincere in his identification with evangelicals. But from Rove and Frist on down, the Republican elite -- as Tucker testifies -- is connected to its base not by beliefs, but by contempt; is allied to its constituents not via core values, but by pure opportunism. The corporate party, the tax-cutting plutocracy, comes to power, and holds power, only by faith-based bamboozlement.

Foleygate, like the Woodward book, is a rent in that fabric, a piercing of the veil -- a sobering, irrefutable eyeful of the raw politics behind the phony piety.

I've spent a lot of time with Democratic politicians at their most candid. Whatever their failings, I have never heard one of them speak with anything remotely approaching the kind of contempt for their base that Tucker attributes to the courtiers of Cleveland Park. Criticize Democrats, if you want, for being blue-bloods: from patrician FDR to windsurfing Kerry, it's a familiar refrain. But progressives don't snigger behind the backs of their base; they don't secretly believe that people who struggle to make ends meet, and play by the rules, are chumps.

There's nothing wrong with Kansas that 10,000 gross ratings points of Tucker's confession can't cure. On the other hand, the scent emanating from Washington Republicans has been so bad these last couple of weeks that even the MSM's habitual cowardice hasn't prevented the news from conveying the stench of truth.

Update: Crooks and Liars has the video.

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