On Sunday, (now former) Evangelical Republican Peter Wehner penned an op-ed for the New York Times lamenting "Why I Can No Longer Call Myself an Evangelical Republican". In it, he's astonished at how how sick and diseased both Evangelical Christianity and the Republican Party Party have become:
There are of course a great many honorable individuals in the Republican Party and the evangelical movement. Those who hold different views than I do lead exemplary lives. Yet I cannot help believing that the events of the past few years — and the past few weeks — have shown us that the Republican Party and the evangelical movement (or large parts of them, at least), have become what I once would have thought of as liberal caricatures.
The key words there are "the events of the past few years". Like many on the right, Wehner is shocked, shocked I tell you!, to discover that Evangelical Christians are massive hypocrites filled with hatred, bigotry, and loathing for the message of Jesus if it's applied to anyone but themselves. He's equally stunned to realize that the Republican Party is so devoted to its agenda of tax cuts for billionaires it will tolerate literal treason in the Oval Office to get it.
He would very much like us to believe this is somehow all because of Donald Trump and Roy Moore:
Assume you were a person of the left and an atheist, and you decided to create a couple of people in a laboratory to discredit the Republican Party and white evangelical Christianity. You could hardly choose two more perfect men than Donald Trump and Roy Moore.
The fact that Trump and Moore even exist as leaders in the Republican Party and conservative Christianity means those "liberal caricatures" haven't actually been caricatures for a very very long time. Wehner is lying to himself if he thinks otherwise. Or maybe, as a member of a right wing think tank, Wehner has been isolated from the atmosphere his work has fostered over the years.
The highbrow greed, bigotry, and misinformation pimped by Wehner's billionaire funded propaganda outfit filters down through Fox News, AM Hate Radio and right wing hate sites into the increasingly paranoid, ignorant and terrified minds of the Republican base. They, in turn, elect ever more extreme politicians to "protect" them with tax cuts for billionaires and laws against Muslims and Transgender people.
Wehner helped create a base of angry, scared, stupid people that cling to their bibles and literally think Planned Parenthood sells baby parts for money. When he complains that, "a solid majority of Republicans and self-described evangelicals are firmly aboard the Trump train, which is doing its utmost to give a seat of privilege to Mr. Moore", he's forgetting to mention that he's one of the conductors that punched their tickets and yelled "All aboard!"
To be absolutely clear, no political party or religious movement openly embraces white nationalism and child molestation in the span of two years without something having already been seriously wrong. The moral compass of the right was already directionless long before they threw it in a wood chipper and then set the wood chipper on fire.
It's hard not to feel a little sympathy for Wehner. He seems so earnest in his anguish over the imminent destruction of his party and his religious sect. But as Driftglass and Blue Gal regularly discuss on their podcast The Professional Left (subscribe, you won't regret it), the right is hard at work frantically building a lifeboat for the coming collapse. And that's all Wehner's column is: Building a way out of the self-inflicted nightmare the right has inflicted on itself.
Just like Bush 43, the Trump administration is going to end in disaster. Roy Moore will be an embarrassment that contributing to the massive blue tidal wave coming in 2018 and 2020. The smoldering ruin left behind will make 2006 and 2008 look like the good ol' days to be a Republican. And just like Bush 43, 10 seconds after Trump is removed from office via impeachment, the 25th Amendment, resignation, a primary by his own party or replacement by President Elizabeth Warren, Republicans and conservatives are going to develop complete and total amnesia.
Trump? Trump who? We never voted for Trump! We didn't support him! He wasn't a real Republican/conservative anyway! It was all Trump's fault! We're innocent!
I'm sure Wehner is a perfectly nice person in real life but he's about 30-40 years too late with his outrage at how diseased and twisted the religious right and the Republican Party have become. They've been waging war on the word of Jesus for decades and the wages of those sins are Roy Moore and Donald Trump. They're not the cause of what suddenly repels Wehner, they're the inevitable result of his entire ideology.
He claims that institutional renewal and regeneration are possible for both the party and his religion but the only way that will happen is for both to be stripped of their power and sent out into the wilderness for a generation or two. Only by denying them the one thing that allows them to justify their constant atrocities will they have the slimmest of chances to regain a semblance of moral footing here in the real world. Wehner's movement has become an unsustainable cancer and it must be isolated before it kills the host. It's that simple.
There are 330 days left to the 2018 elections.
- This article kills fascists
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