Attack of the PaleoSantorum
Intolerance and bigotry as the biggest threats to the GOP
By Rachel Marsden
While George W. Bush enjoys enormous post-war ratings in recent polls, and is doing wonders for the Republican Party's image, some members of the GOP have been undermining the President's "compassionate conservative" agenda simply by unleashing a few eye-rollers from their prehistoric brains. These guys make Cro-Magnon man look like George Jetson. The fact that they're capable of standing upright at all is truly amazing. And if they keep landing front- page headlines with their ignorant remarks, they're going to do more damage to the Party than they could ever have imagined. In fact, right now, these knuckle-dragging "Paleoconservatives" are the single biggest threat to the party itself.
Last week, GOP Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania--who holds the party's third highest leadership post--compared homosexuality to bigamy, polygamy, incest and adultery in an interview with the Associated Press. One would have to go a long way to find a better means by which this man could have showcased the truly astounding depth of his intolerance. To liken consentual sex between two adults--of any gender--to any of the aforementioned is nothing short of bigoted. It's as though gay-bashing has taken the place of race-bashing amongst the extreme-right Paleocons. These people--who are supposedly Christian--seemingly missed the passage in the Bible that reads, "Judge not, lest ye be judged." And just who are they to judge?
The common Paleocon explanation of why attacking people on the basis of sexual orientation isn't the same as doing so based on race: People can't control their skin color, but they can control their sexual orientation. This highly presumptuous reasoning assumes that people are never born gay. The fact that the prehistoric-thinking, mouth-breathing Paleos feel that they're in the position to make a definitive scientific determination on an issue that still remains a point of contention and debate among the world's best and brightest cutting-edge scientists is nothing short of astounding.
Another infamous Paleocon who suffered from foot-in-mouth disease is now-former Senator Trent Lott. The former Senate Majority Leader from Mississippi ignited a firestorm last year when he praised fellow paleo-Senator--100 year-old segregation cheerleader, Strom Thurmond--by saying the country "wouldn't have had all these [black people] problems" had Thurmond succeeded in his 1948 run for the presidency, which was underpinned by a segregationist platform. Moreover, in his Ole Miss college days, Lott helped lead a successful battle to prevent his college fraternity from admitting blacks to any of its chapters.
Lott and Santorum appear to be "buddies in bigotry," and unfortunately, they have a lot of like-minded supporters in the GOP. The eyebrow-raising White Citizens Council of the civil rights era has now adopted a more "subtle" name--the Council of Conservative Citizens. Also known as the "Uptown Klan," the group's members don dapper suits and ties to their meetings instead of white hoods and sheets. Now, the Council successfully masquerades as a mainstream conservative organization. Former Klan leader David Duke has showed up to the organization's meetings, and both Lott and Georgia GOP Senator Bob Barr have addressed the gatherings. As evidenced on the organization's website (www.cofcc.org), there appears to be a deep-seeded fear within the group that gays and minorities are destroying America, and that drastic measures should be taken to safeguard Western Culture and prevent the total decay of American life as we know it. It's an organization where Paleocons roam freely amongst their own kind, reveling in the signature Paleo belief that life in the 1940s and 1950s was the epitome of utopia, and that we, as a society, should be striving to return to that place in time.
Many Paleos are obsessed with the idea that a small group of German philosophers, known as the Frankfurt School, had devised a cultural form of “Marxism” that was aimed at subverting Western civilization. They feel the method involves manipulating the culture into supporting-- heaven forbid-- homosexuality, sex education, egalitarianism, and the like, to the point that traditional institutions and culture are ultimately wrecked.
Does it come as any surprise, then, that some uber-right wing, DC-based "political" organizations are currently employing convicted Nazi-sympathizers--some who have spent years in prison for their crimes against humanity? And, furthermore, that the Paleos welcome these individuals into the fray with open arms?
Of course, the Paleocons abhor the "new blood" in the GOP (otherwise known as the Neoconservatives, or Neocons). Many Paleocons are reeling over the fact that the Bush White House is overrun with Neocons. The notion of the Neocons calling the shots is terrifying to them. When George W. Bush announced his presidential candidacy and immediately identified himself as a "compassionate conservative," he was making it clear that he was a Neocon-- thereby clearly divorcing himself from the intolerant, bigoted Paleocons. That notion was further reinforced by Bush's selection of Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice--two amazing individuals who, quite frankly, wouldn't have been given the time of day by racist Paleocons--for key positions in his administration.
The White House appears to be doing what it can to distance itself from the remarks made by Paleocon GOP members in the Senate and elsewhere, while still trying to maintain the appearance party unity, but these ignoramusaurs seem to constantly working against their own party. It's as though they're trying to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. Who could blame America for not wanting to re-elect these guys after the things they have said? The Paleocons argue that they have a right to free speech--and to say anything they want to, no matter how hatemongering--but the flipside of this is that the public has a right to use those comments as a basis to throw them out of office in the next election. According to a Philadelphia Enquirer online poll, 56% of nearly 6000 respondents already feel that Santorum should resign for his remarks.
As a proud, compassionate conservative, I loathe that I may even be perceived to be associated with the Paleocons. Abraham Lincoln was not about bigotry and discrimination, neither is George W. Bush, and neither am I. The GOP is my party, too, and not just that of angry white men. I'd hate to see all of us colored with the same brush. Although rigor mortis will likely set in before the Paleocons ever release their desperate grasp on last remnants of power and credibility they have in the modern-day GOP, I truly hope that the Neocons can continue to rise above the last bastions of zealotry in the party and continue to promote the GOP as a party of strength, compassion, and inclusiveness.