The Triumph of Home Grown Fundamentalism

Andrew Sullivan, the conservative heretic, sizes up the candidacies of the two GOP front-runners:

One launched his campaign in a revival meeting calling for God to solve our economic problems (having previously led mass prayers for the end of the Texas drought); the other emerges entirely out of Dominionist theology and built her entire career in the Christianist world of home-schooling, and anti-gay demonization. One reason Mitt Romney is not a shoo-in? Sectarianism, and his own previous deviations from binding orthodoxy. And it is this fundamentalist mindset – in which nothing doctrinal can be questioned, and the real world must be bent to the shape of a rigid theo-ideology – that defines these two candidates.

This is what the GOP has become, adds Sullivan:

a religious movement clothed in anti-government radicalism. It has nothing to do with the conservative temperament, conservative political thought or conservative ideas. It is hostile to most existing institutions, especially government, contemptuous of the courts, and seized of an ideology as rigid as any far-left liberalism, as utopian as any wide-eyed socialist, as fanatical as anything the left spawned in the 1960s.

And it has hijacked an entire political party; and recently held to ransom an entire country. I knew it would get worse before it gets better. But this bad?

There is an upside for Obama and Democrats, of course. If either Bachmann or Perry  goes on to become the 2012 Republican presidential nominee, Independents will run in terror from them.

21 Responses to “The Triumph of Home Grown Fundamentalism”

  1. harrywr2 says:

    Andrew Sullivan, the conservative heretic
    Sorry Keith…he might be conservative in the UK but I don’t know of any conservatives in the US that consider Andrew Sullivan to be anything other then a far left flaming liberal.
    If you want to look into ‘conservative thought’ you might want to listen to Anne Coulter.
    It’s also helpful to remember the Ames Straw Poll was won by Pat Robertson in 1987 and only 1 of last 3 Republican presidents won the Ames Straw poll.

  2. Keith Kloor says:


    In today’s GOP, Richard Nixon would be a far left flaming liberal, that’s how far to the right the party has gone.

    It’s also worth pointing out that today’s GOP bears no resemblance to conservative parties in the UK or the Europe. That’s how doctrinaire U.S Republicans have become.

  3. Tom Fuller says:

    I repeated my wager with my wife over Obama’s re-election, following my stunning triumph in the last one. Wager–one month of cooking vs. one month of washing dishes.

    Please let the GOP continue on their inexorable march to irrelevancy. 

  4. Ian says:

    Apart from the evangeclical Christians – who even as I type are no doubt combing Revelation for any indication that the election of a fundamentalist female to the US Presidency is another piece of their eschatalogical puzzle – I suspect most Australians, if they bother to keep up with whats what in US politics, are somewhat bemused (some no doubt horrified) with the direction of the GOP. I mean we have your run of the mill moralistic Catholic running for our highest office and he wouldn’t dare touch much of this mobs rhetoric with a barge pole.

  5. Ian says:

    oopsy…that should read ‘evangelical’

  6. Jarmo says:

    It is very hard to understand in Europe how religious issues seem to rule the debate in the US and how politicians must embrace the Bible in order to be elected.

       Over here even the church must step warily. Just to give an example, in Finland a TV panel where Christian Democrats (trying to emulate the Americans) denounced gay marriage led to 40 000 resignations from church within 3 weeks. The church actually declared that these Christian politicians do not represent the church.

  7. jeffn says:

    Jarmo, the religious question over here kind of works like this: The media says “yikes, there is a Republican getting attention for credibly questioning liberal orthodoxy so we must call them nuts and religion is the handiest weapon!”
    The fact to keep in mind is that Michele Bachman’s church is far, far more tolerant and less crazy that Barrack Obama’s church was but you will never, ever read that at Andrew Sullivan’s blog or here. Doesn’t fit the narrative.
    Meanwhile, remember that you are supposed to mock anyone who sees a “moral imperative” in anything as earth shattering as banning gay marriage while simultaneously believing we all have a “moral imperative” to ban coal.

  8. Keith Kloor says:


    The theocratic takeover of the GOP is plain for all to see. No one need to read any supposed narrative here or elsewhere in the media. All you have to do is listen to what comes out of Perry’s and Bachmann’s mouths. 

  9. jeffn says:

    Yes, the theocracy. As I understand, the latest is to mock Bachman for her alleged belief that women must be submissive- which you can plainly see in the fact that Michele Bachman stays home baking cookies instead of serving in Congress or traveling the nation running for president.
    The fact is the narrative is boring, intelligent Americans are well aware that the impending “theocracy” is about as real as the impending “communism.” But perhaps that’s part of the info deficit model. Do you seriously deny that Obama’s church was wacky or that it’s wackiness was downplayed because it wasn’t politically useful?

  10. Keith Kloor says:


    I’m not going to get into a rhetorical back and forth over such inanities as whose church is more tolerant.

    Perry has already been described as Bush on Steroids, and I think voters have a demonstrable 8-year record to judge the 2000-2008 period as an analog of what a Perry presidency might look like.

    Look, as Republican David Frum points out at his blog, the contest is now between Perry and Romney (notwithstanding Bachmann’s straw poll victory).

    If Romney prevails, he’ll probably give Obama a run for his money. If it’s Perry, like I said, Independents will flock to Obama and he wins in another landslide. Just my humble opinion, of course.

  11. thingsbreak says:

    Keith, if you look at the Obama administration’s “plans” to do something about the economy, I think it’s a little premature to write off someone even as extreme as Perry. When the economy founders, people understandably get desperate.

  12. jeffn says:

    KK- I honestly don’t know enough about Perry to say one way or the other, but I’m not ready to buy the instant-analysis that he’s an  extremist and I know true independents take such declarations with a giant grain of salt. I would agree that any mainstream Republican has a great chance in 2012 and any Tea partier will fall flat.
    I think the “crazy Christian” theme is also a losing proposition. Most independents are like me- the most judgmental (and often the most hypocritical) people we’ve ever met are hard core environmentalists so the idea that they try to make fun of Christians for those reasons is amusing.

  13. Keith Kloor says:


    If you think that the most judgmental people are hardcore environmentalists, then I wouldn’t consider you an Independent. It also sounds like you’re suffering from the same bias (towards enviros) that you accuse people of having towards Christians.

    TB- Maybe if the Bush Jr. presidency occurred 20 years ago, I might be inclined to agree about Perry. But it’s still pretty fresh in people’s minds and in polls Bush also gets a fair share of the blame for tanking the economy. But who knows…

  14. Sashka says:

    I’ll side with Keith on this one. I’d vote for Romney vs. Obama but I’d vote for Obama vs. Perry.

  15. jeffn says:

    KK I never said I was an independent, I said independents know that environmentalists are the most judgmental folks around. I’ve been going to church since I was a kid and I’ve never met anyone more willing to tell me that my car, house, and tithe (tax payments) are wrong, wrong, wrong than an in-law who both introduced me to global warming activism (by screaming at me in 2005 about the impending man-made train of hurricanes) and made fun of my mainline Christian church. Oh, and his house is twice the size of mine and sits twice as far from his job. 
    It could be worse though. I live near PETA’s home office. Try eating a burger near those folks!

  16. Keith Kloor says:

    Argument by anecdote, Jeffn. If you want to go there, I’m pretty sure I could find you a few Christians that might want to tell you a few things about gays…and so on….

  17. Jarmo says:

    I have not been to the US (California) for 20 years but my take back then was that economy rules politics. It was sort of funny to me that even some gay people said that they voted for Reagan because they thought he would get America back in track, despite Falwell and Moral Majority.

    Obama won the office in 2008 because Bush had wrecked the economy. If the economy does not recover by 2012, Obama is out.    

  18. Jon P says:


    Please point to things Perry has done in Texas to implement Theocracy.

    You cannot, because it is a Democrat Talking Point that the media glady runs with. The marriage between MSM and the Democrat party is far more dangerous to our country than someone leading a prayer.

    Once again for all to see when the Democrats are cornered out come  the Four Horsemen of attack: Racism, Religous persecution, anti-government radical, and crazy. Democrats and MSM working hand in hand to push one of the four horsemen stories.

  19. Jeff Norris says:

    Jarmo (6)
    Religions have been involved with American politics going back to non Church of England protestant ministers speaking against the Crown and in favor of revolution.  I wish I could say organized religions have always been a positive influence here but the best I can claim is usually for the good.
    Americans expect and are comforted if our leaders believe in a Power greater than themselves.   That they have a known and familiar set of guiding moral principles in which they follow.   Another way to look at it is we want some proof that our politicians have a conscience.   
    Couple of questions for you wrt to your link.  Where did those 10,000 former Lutherans go?  Did they start or join a new church or suddenly become Atheists and Agnostics?  What are your feelings or explanation on the growth that the True Finn party is having?  My thoughts on those that resigned is that their previous participation was based on tradition and social benefits more so than any strong convictions.    

  20. Jarmo says:


    Did they start or join a new church or suddenly become Atheists and Agnostics?  What are your feelings or explanation on the growth that the True Finn party is having?  My thoughts on those that resigned is that their previous participation was based on tradition and social benefits more so than any strong convictions.  

    Most Finns don’t go to church, whether they belong to it or not. For those who belong, it is mostly about ceremonies (getting married in a church etc.) So, if they feel the church somehow out of line on some issue, they leave. The church tries not to antagonize people in any way because members pay the parish tax. Non-members do not.

    Personally, I quit church years ago because I feel you should be a believer if you are a member. I felt like a hypocrite when I was a member. 

    The True Finn party is a protest movement against EU and PC (political correctness). I think the protest mood had been simmering for years before it was channeled into a True Finn victory. Recession and the way EU screwed up things certainly helped. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *