Ramesh Ponnuru takes a depressing look at the feuds that have broken out within the Republican party following the grim results of November 4. He calls them “an overlapping series of civil wars,” which I think is an apt description. As was to be expected, the civil wars are driven less by an effort to figure out what ails the Party than by the quest to use its ailing condition to trumpet one’s prejudices and purge one’s enemies.
Perhaps the worst example is this piece by Kathleen Parker for Washington Post.com, called “Giving Up on God.” Parker blames the Republican party’s current status on the religious right, an element that, she says, “used to be relegated to wooden crates on street corners.” Even assuming, as one must, that Parker is writing for effect and amusement, her piece is pretty disgusting.
I’m not a member of the religious right, and the social issues that preoccupy it are less important to me than economic and foreign policy/national security issues. But considering the public’s low regard in 2006 for key aspects of Republican foreign policy and its low regard in 2008 for Republican handling of the economy, no serious observer can claim in good faith that the religious right was our main problem in the past two elections. A pundit should be able to distinguish between (1) her own prejudices (even if they are shared by her friends, acquaintances, and readers) and (2) the nation’s pulse.
Fortunately, we Republicans have plenty of time to sort out our differences. It’s going to be a while before anyone cares much about what we have to say.
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