Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Falwell, women, and politics

Jerry Falwell hopes Hillary Clinton is the Democratic candidate in the 2008 Presidential campaign. According to a a report by the Los Angeles Times, this is because "nothing will energize my [constituency] like Hillary Clinton...If Lucifer ran, he wouldn't."

I went to college at a Jesuit university where many (but by no means all) of the students were Roman Catholics. (This is where I got to know a Muslim girl very well, though less well than I would have liked; whenever anyone goes on about "Muslims are..." or "All Muslims should...", she is the face I see.) There were a few Protestants thrown in, and even a small group of "Born-Agains" (or "Neo-Christians", as I called them), students who had converted to various Protestant sects fairly recently and generally walked around with just-been-lobotomized beatific looks on their faces. I was friends with more than a few of these.

One day a group of us was having dinner together in the upstairs dining hall, and there was at least one of the Born-Agains there - Dave F., a former drug addict who had nearly dropped out of college early on before finding Christ and becoming insufferably nice and clean-cut. I believe there were also two of the Born-Again girls with us there, too, as well as several of my other friends.

The year was probably 1988, the first semester of my Senior year, because talk had turned to elections. And very quickly we found ourselves discussing sex, politics, and religion over dinner - never a good idea.

One of the candidates running for some office at the time was a woman - not that unusual, even way back then. But Dave F. opined that he could never vote for a woman running for office, especially not for President. Women should not hold political office. The Bible told him so.

I couldn't accept this. "So if you had two candidates running for office, and one was a man, a Satanist who believed all Christians should be arrested and tortured to death, abortions should be mandatory, and all children should be made into sex slaves, and the other was a woman, which one would you vote for?"

"The man," he said, the calm, beatific, glassy look never slipping from his face. "Women should not hold public office."

The thing is, he wasn't joking. He was as earnest and serious and devout as ever.

Jerry Falwell is using the Ann Coulter "Chill out, I was just kidding" defense, whereby any statement, no matter how inflammatory or outrageous, can be retraoctively labeled a parody, satire, or joke, or made better with a hastily added smiley. (Example: "Hey, Ann, I hope somebody guts you with a rusty butter knife, ties you to Karl Rove's bloated corpse and leaves you to be eaten by maggots in the middle of a swamp. Ha-ha, just kidding. :)" ) Which means that any statement made by Falwell, Coulter, or anyone else who subscribes to that same philosophy can't be taken seriously, ever. Too bad their disciples don't know that.

But the statement Falwell made isn't simply a demonization of Hillary Clinton. It's an expression of a deep-seated misogyny inherent in certain Christian fundamentalist organizations that the Republican Hate Machine plans to exploit to its fullest. And that's no joke.


Lisa said...

I gotta tell ya, I'm a Democrat and I hate Bush but I'd vote for him again-and I know you can't...before I'd vote for Hilary.
I loved Bill though! He was sexy, I'd have done him!

Super G said...


What a deeply deeply disturbing comment (though I get the part about Bill).

D.B. Echo said...

Hilary is lacking in so many of the qualities that made her husband a popular and highly effective president (except among those who spent every second of both of his terms working to bring him down at any cost - and anyone who thinks that the Monica Lewinski thing was just a random encounter between a horny President and a horny intern should look into how she came to be an intern in the first place): charisma, eloquence, an ability to relate to the common people while still having a statesmanlike air. At best she has the name, some raw talent...and maybe an ability to change. Still, I can't help but wonder if maybe Rove & Co. are trying to manipulate opinion among Democrats to favor her as a candidate.

anne said...

I would personally vote for a wet sock over the Bush Monarchy.

I just read where his approval rate has been creeping back up since gas prices have gone down. Please, good people of Ameirca, WAKE UP!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

I hope SuperG isn't saying he understands doing Bill Clinton. Yuck.

I've never heard that Monica was some sort of mole (is that what you were implying?) designed to help bring down the president.

And I've said before, I think that the vast-right wing conspiracies' attitudes toward Bill Clinton were a horrific black mark and set a terrible precedent. (Specifically, Richard Mellon Scaife's endless investigations into Clinton.)

As far as Hillary for president, I think that she lacks the proper temperament ... I think she's authoritarian in nature, though not in politics, and lacks her husband's sense of humor.

I never got the total freaking out about presidents when there are term limits. Bush II is gone in two+ years. Everybody just relax.

I just want to see some decent candidates this time around (that means no senators and no southern governors.)

As far as the Falwell/Coulter comments, see your post about professional wrestling. I'm starting to think that's the future of political discourse. You may be prescient.

D.B. Echo said...

Anonymous, it's been a long time since I've read the pre-history of the scandal, but I seem to recall that the path to Washington for Monica Lewinsky (I spelled her name wrong before) consisted almost entirely of being sponsored and shepherded by one Republican after another, ending in the big-sisterly embrace of Republican operative Linda Tripp. Monica Lewinsky was clearly someone strongly attracted to men of power, and Bill Clinton was strongly attracted to women, especially ones who willingly fell on their knees before him. The two of them should never have been brought together; it would be like having an intern in the administration of Bush the Lesser who is an alcoholic coke dealer, and whose one ambition is to get drunk and do a few lines with the President of the United States...and then brag about it to his friends.

I'm not saying Monica Lewinsky was a mole; she was a dupe, a pawn, a tool who could be counted on to polish the knob of the President and then blab about it on the phone to her bestest and truest friend.

Anonymous said...

That was me, DB (Bill @ IB).

I didn't know that background. But you see, I didn't care about that scandal all that much, because the president can launch thermonuclear war if he wants. If he needs an intern to hum the Star Spangled Banner to take the edge off his day, well, that's none of my business.

Clinton, from all reports, was a bit of serial philanderer. If it wasn't this intern, it would've been another. We would have expected nothing less than him. And finding a woman in DC who was attracted to men of power and who would talk about it ... that must've been extraordinarily difficult to find.

I hadn't heard the "Monica Lewinsky as patsy" story before. Like so much of the byzantine actions of DC politics, there's really no way to confirm it one way or the other.