Tuesday, July 29, 2008

McCain Finds (the Right) God: Forget the Baptism Pond--Where Do We Land Cindy's Plane?

Alternet brings us the brilliant Matt Taibbi riffing on John McCain, who's now in the spotlight finding his--or, at least, someone's--religion:

But here's how fucked that seemingly unstoppable coalition is this time around, now that the ticket is headed by an aging Goldwaterite named John McCain: The candidate has only recently come around to the idea that the Republican nominee in the age of Bush and the evangelical ayatollahs has to go to church regularly. When asked recently if he is an evangelical Christian, McCain answered, "I attend church." When asked how often, he said, "Not as often as I should."

So in recent weeks, to prove his piety, McCain has taken to dragging himself out of bed on Sunday mornings to attend services at North Phoenix Baptist, not-so-subtly announcing his devotions to his traveling press. ("Yeah, they started telling us he was going to church about a month ago," one McCain-beat reporter chuckled to me on the Straight Talk Express. "Like, Oh, by the way, he's going to church again. At this address, if you want to check. . . .") Originally baptized an Episcopalian, McCain claims that he's been attending this Southern Baptist church for some 15 years, despite the fact that his 2007 congressional biography lists his faith as Episcopalian. But in a touching display of his apparent unwillingness to do absolutely anything to get elected, McCain still hasn't been baptized in his new church -- he's not born-again, in other words. Dude is holding out for some reason. Like he's afraid to lie to God. A politician, afraid to lie!

The marriage of fundamentalist Christianity and the conservative movement has been a powerful force in world affairs. It has been the best smoke screen the archpriests of supply-side economics could possibly have had, giving Wall Street a populist in with the very people victimized the most by their union-busting, deregulatory policies. It turned out, for decades, that Bible-thumping Americans didn't mind having their jobs shipped to China, so long as someone was worrying about the air supply to Terri Schiavo's brain lump. As political cons go, this was the ultimate gift that kept on giving.

It all had to end sometime, though, and that sometime might be now. Nervous, white, sexually inhibited Protestants with fourth-grade educations are becoming a smaller and smaller share of the country's population, and the Christian right is increasingly frustrated with the Republican Party's failure to transform America into a fundamentalist caliphate. (Forget about abortion: After eight years of Republican rule, Christians can't even put up the Ten Commandments in Alabama without someone bitching about it.) But the last straw just might come down to one Republican politician's personal idiosyncrasies. All the party needed was one more pious, Scripture-quoting, hair-spray-soaked whore to hold this thing together for another four years, and instead they got John McCain. And John McCain may break up three decades of GOP Jesus-flogging simply because he is too afraid to get his forehead wet. Wouldn't that be something?

(Emphasis mine, by the way--DNT)

Oh, it would be something all right. But given what I know about a) fundies and b) the GOP, I think it's safe to say we would be treated to at least three or four thousand rationalizations and spinjobs within seconds of McCain's concession speech in November. The fundies--and the Gathering Of Plutocrats who love them--will come up with something, anything, in order to bubble-wrap their respective worldviews and, more disturbingly, to preserve the shared trajectory of their work to create an authoritarian state.

Will they say McCain was a Manchurian candidate after all? Will they concoct some Brobdingnagian conspiracy theory involving Obama's ex-pastor and Teh Clenis? It would be irresponsible not to speculate! Please do so in comments. (And of course, read the whole, well-written thing.)

(H/T oddjob)

Also at Cogitamus.

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