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I do not know whom I find more frustrating - Fox hound Bill O'Reilly or the diarist here yesterday who equated Hillary Rodham Clinton's reference to scripture with political posturing, catering to the right and the like.

I'm frustrated because I expect at some point to have to stridently correct the religious right's assertion that it represents the mainstream of Christianity. Cal Thomas seems to have backed off from his injudicious attack at an olive-branch-waving Nik Kristof a year or so back, and he has actually written a few things I agree with about public policy and the faithful. At heart, though, the role he plays is one in which Kristof has a greater obligation to understand Christian conservatives than Thomas's obligation to understand Christian liberals. I expect, even when I hate hearing such a blasphemous lie, to hear Rush Limbaugh blather on about how liberals hate faith and hate God. O'Reilly talks stupid when he analyzes HRC's Christianity at the top of his show tonight, and again, I expect this.

I should not, Hillary should not, Nicholas Kristof should not, former President Carter should not have to endure the same kind of sniping from the left. This has to stop, guys. If you can't deal with people having religious convictions, how in God's name do you expect to participate in taking back the political system of a country that has many, many people of faith. These people are being sold snake oil by the Falwells, Dobsons, Robertsons, Roves, etc of the world.

What we need to do as liberals or progressives or partisan Democrats is to find common ground with persons of faith, expose the Rightist lie, and even when we disagree with them on key issues have the dignity to respectfully address their concerns with modern American life. We need to point out that the only downward turn in the abortion rate since january 1973 was during a Dem's administration, that the rate began climbing again when a Repub took the White House, and that reducing the abortion rate is a lot more complicated than gag rules and prohibitions.

For the record, HRC belongs to the United Methodist Church and takes it fairly seriously. Back in 1992, she got a little bit of ribbing because her bedtime reacing included a book of all the resolutions and the like passed at the most recent general conference for the church. The week of her husband's first presidential inaugural, the Arkansas UMC bishop was speaking at the church I attended at the time, was en route to the inaugural himself, and discussed for a few minutes in his guest sermon the experiences he had had with HRC as an active layperson at a church in Little rock.

Denigrate her if you like. (Not me. My taste for denigrating Dems pretty much begins and ends with Terry McAuliffe.) Knock her singing voice. Proclaim that Mojo Nixon got it wrong; Michael J Fox definitely has some Elvis in him, but Hillary does not. But hating her because she is serious about her religion is really not much better than hating her because she 1) she probably killed Vince Foster, 2) She's one of them Les-Be-Yuns who only got knocked up that one time to preserve hers and her husband's political viability, 3) everything she says is phony and contrive.

I would add that I've heard several on the right comment incredulously that W said he doesn't give the Apocalypse that much thought. They think that as a Christian, Bush likely has given much thought. Not necessarily. At one point when talking about the so-called End of Days, Jesus supposedly cautioned us against speculating about when it would occur.

HRC is right that immigration restrictions would fall heavily on the equivalent today of Samaritans. It was a good thing that she articulated this. Not because of irony, or exposing hypocrisy. It was also good because morality plays into most liberal positions. That morality sometimes runs in conflict with what are erroneously called traditional values, but it is suicide to not acknowledge proudly moral considerations in public policy.

And I'm seriously going to consider keying the next car I see with that idiot bumper sticker promising not to think in church. Kidding.

Originally posted to textus on Thu Mar 23, 2006 at 09:02 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Hillary is sabotaging the Democratic Party (0+ / 1-)
    Recommended by:
    Hidden by:

    This is serious. Either that, or she's a total incompetent as a politician...

    which is probably more likely the case. And it's sabotage either way in the end.

    Everyone knows that the idea of Hillary or Bill Clinton talking about religion at this point is absurd.

    And everyone can plainly see how Americans will take it when and if they do.

    Plenty of Democrats can and should talk about religion in certain scenarios, on certain issues, and to certain crowds. But not the Clintons. And it's the reason Hillary will never win in 08. My own very liberal mother can't stand them and would not vote for her because my mom is religious and she sees Hillary as a cynical bitch. And my mom's a rabid liberal on all the issues.

    Hatred for Hillary crosses party lines in our heartland, from my experience. People are really sick of Bush, Clinton, all of it. Which, sadly is why I also think Gore is a bad idea, no matter how much we like what he says. America wants fresh air.

    Hillary knows all of this, or frankly, she's dumber than we are. And we can't afford her either way. Her comments are either:

    1. Totally mind blowing political incompetence, or
    1. A concerted effort to make Democrats look foolish and hypocritical in order to stem the tide that would have given Dems the majority to impeach Bush.

    I have to be very honest here. I see the Cintons' role as complicit in all of this. I believe they are now trying to handicap the Democratic gains in 06 so that we (the Democratic base) cannot force Democrats to impeach Bush and change the direction of our Middle East policy.

    That in my view is what Hillary is doing. She's making Dems look totally absurd.

    •  Hil hatred is certainly rampant.... (0+ / 0-)

      ...and how easy it is to decide who is genuinely religious and who is quick to quick to put down a woman who has endured and transcended more than most of us will ever face...with dignity, forbearance and courage.  I wonder if the Democrats who have bought the R propaganda about the Clintons have any sense of decency at all.  So discouraging to read this claptrap.

      And people wonder why we can't get some folks to run for office.  It's not so much the attacks of the enemy but the viciousness of our so-called friends that drives good people from politics.

      Tell me how you spend your time and how you spend your money -- I'll tell you what your values are.

      by oldpro on Thu Mar 23, 2006 at 09:56:11 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Uh, (0+ / 0-)

        "... a woman who has endured and transcended more than most of us will ever face ..."  Could you enlighten me on the herculean burden she has had to bear, or exactly what it is that she has 'transcended', whatever that may mean in this context?

        Life is not a 'dress rehearsal'!

        by wgard on Fri Mar 24, 2006 at 12:23:59 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  No, sorry... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          ...but it would be a good idea (if you didn't live through the 1990 presidential campaign and all that transpired from the "Hilary had Foster killed' to her 'lesbian leanings' thru the womanizing by Bill and all the public questions (on TV) that she had to face about his behavior and the impeachment...the attacks on her healthcare proposals...etc. etc. it would be a good idea to read her book...and get a balanced view of this complex and capable woman...

          ...AFTER which she ran for senator in New York state and was elected!  Pretty damn amazing...and the take is that she's been a good senator for her state.  I was convinced that she shouldn't run for the senate...convinced that she couldn't win.  Boy, was I wrong.

          If you've ever run for office or run someone else's campaign, you will have an appreciation for what it takes to be a political person in this country at this particularly partisan and nasty time.  Even local races are now a nighmare of Republican lies and innuendo...and if you are female...doubly difficult in many cases, tho not all.

          Love your tag..."Life is not a dress rehearsal!"  Absolutely fact, it is an IQ test, revealing why the human species may not survive extinction by the insane choices we insist on making.   Pessimistic as I am about our future, still I get up every day and try to improve my community, my state, my country.  Whatever you may think of them do the Clintons.  There is ample evidence of that...

          Tell me how you spend your time and how you spend your money -- I'll tell you what your values are.

          by oldpro on Fri Mar 24, 2006 at 09:47:54 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  i never counted hillary (1+ / 0-)
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        democrats as my friends.

        there are many liberals like me who don't like corporatists. it's just the facts of life.

        i don't buy any of the claptrap that republican spew about the clintons.

        i just don't like their policies. i don't like globalization. i don't like her or him. they were good republicans as far as that goes, but piss poor democrats in my view.

        always was my view. but i do rather think you're stuck with those of us who feel that way, here in the progressive party.

        i'd settle for a clinton these days. it'd be refreshing as hell. but i'm not going to forget there were times not so long ago when i knew better than think a clinton democrat was the best i could hope for.

        he was a way of getting out of bush I. he was a stepping stone to something decent.

        let's not forget that on our way back to that place. hillary can be a stepping stone, but she isn't going to be president.

        •  You have my vote. (1+ / 0-)
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          I don't like the Clintons for the reason you state.  They are corporatists and opportunists.  These are the two main planks of the DLC platform.  Yep, Bill Clinton was the best Republicans we have had in office in years - probably since Eisenhower.  Reagan and Clinton are squarely to blame for outsourcing middle class Americans.  Hillary will support whatever will get her elected - just like bill.

          Sanders/Hackett 08

          by dkmich on Fri Mar 24, 2006 at 03:23:13 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Good... (0+ / 0-)

 seem to have a more practical view of politics than some progressives who cannot seem to tolerate the election of anyone who isn't exactly, perfectly, in line with them.

 don't 'like' the Clintons.  Fine.  As it happens, I don't 'like' Ted Kennedy. So what? Don't invite them to dinner.  Elections and campaigns and public officials aren't about who we personally like.  I have many friends who are dear to me but for whom I would never vote...and whom I would never hire.  They haven't the skills, the tenacity, the talent, the vision, the background or understanding or the forbearance to withstand the slings and arrows of campaigning.  What it takes isn't always what we like and admire most in our friends.

          I do not agree that the Clintons are "good Republicans and piss-poor Democrats."  They are products of their time and they got elected in the midst of a Republican sweep in the political life of our country.  That reality still pertains and we ignore it to our peril.

          The perfect candidate/elected official (that would be ME but at 69 I'm not available any more) hasn't yet been born unless it's YOU!  I tend to like your thinking (except for the 'corporatists' smear) so maybe you, too, should 'get in the game!'

          Tell me how you spend your time and how you spend your money -- I'll tell you what your values are.

          by oldpro on Fri Mar 24, 2006 at 10:34:41 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  thanks oldpro. (0+ / 0-)

            i like you too.

            i don't think calling the clintons corporatists is a smear though. but they do regret some of their selling out. i'll give them that.

            bill said the biggest mistake of his administration was allowing media monopolies to further monopolize. but he let it happen.

            and i believe that he's not quite a tom friedman democrat (ie, i don't think they quite believe the "world is flat" in a dogmatic way), but they're awfully close to that thinking unfortunately.

            i can understand that world view, that development/progress in the american way is the way forward for "3rd world" civilizations. my father has that view. i just think it's a pre-globalized corporatocracy world-view. it may have worked before globalization, but it's also an outlook based on globalization. so it's a catch-22.

            thanks for your views. for me, it's not just a personal distaste for them (in fact that really has little to do with it) but rather it's more about their outlook on globalization and economics. i don't mind their social views. i think any pandering there is mostly political. i quite believe hillary is a social liberal in most ways. to think otherwise would be silly given her past. and i appreciate that.

            but the income gap between blue collar workers and ceo's went from 1:80 when Clinton took office to 1:450 when he left. most of that was due to the republicans in congress. but a lot of it was clinton too.

            and my view is that it's why our country is where it's at these days, almost entirely.

            •  And, Bill said his biggest foreign policy mistake (0+ / 0-)

              was Rawanda.  We all make mistakes.  A little time and distance clarifies a lot of things.  In the heat of battle, in the middle of a legislative session, in the middle of a campaign,in the middle of a's all frantic and scary with few options and fewer clear ones.  The very human "What if I'm wrong?" questions tend to make us cautious.  That's not a bad thing.  Usually, it prevents disaster but too many people never seem to even ask themselves the question.  Like Bush, Rumsfeld, etc.  None of them can admit a mistake or even face the possiblity...and change.  Clinton can do that on a dime...and did.  Further, both Clintons are unthreatened by smart people and hire them for their talents...not just for their cronyism.  Oh, yes...there were a couple of those...but damn few.

              As for corporatism, salaries and income gap...yes, it's totally out of control...but not because of Clinton.  Congress and K St take the blame for this...the Republican Congress that Clinton had for 6 years who STILL won't raise the minimum wage.  (A president can't do that.  Jesus...stil $5.15...$2/hr LOWER than in my Democratic controlled state...the OTHER Washington!)  He handled them brilliantly but couldn't veto everything...still, he poured more red veto ink on their budgets and wacky bills than all former presidents put together!  THAT was his greatest a barrier between them and us.  Now we see the difference and it was simply Bill Clinton.  Now, there is no barrier.  None.  And we see the results.  I would give anything for a Democratic President now...Bill, Hil, anybody with a brain and a heart (in that order).  Anybody.  Any.  Body.

     for's here to stay, since we don't make any products except airplanes and software for export any more.  My state is the most trade-dependent in the country...we sell both of the forementioned...and apples, logs, etc.  So...we need agreements...negotiations...AND, we need some progressive legislation to make American corporations pay a premium for outsourcing and excess profits...and a tax raise...a BIG Clinton-sized one...on the pay the goddamn bills!

              THAT is an even bigger problem than corporatism...this country could be bankrupt thanks to the Bush economic plan.  A huge portion of our taxes go to pay the interest on debts to COMMUNIST China (!) and Japan rather than to homeland security or Katrina recovery, social security or healthcare.  INTEREST payments!  Who says the debt and deficits don't matter?  Good Gawd, it's 7th grade math!

              OKay....sorry!  End of a night person, I occasionally get wound up and you got the result!

              So...what does your handle signify, letterzee?  "Z?"
              Hang in there and vote Democratic!

              Tell me how you spend your time and how you spend your money -- I'll tell you what your values are.

              by oldpro on Fri Mar 24, 2006 at 11:31:51 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

    •  thats really just utterly nuts (1+ / 0-)
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      I mean I dont even know where to start. I understand not liking Hillary, but your post is no different than the rabid right wing talking heads who think Hillary doesnt take a dump without reading a poll, that she determines the number of times she chews her food based on what she thinks will get her to the presidency, and that she never sleeps, she just hangs upside down in her cabe trying to figure out how to take over her empire...I mean, the world.

      She's religious, so's Bill, they've always been, this is nothing new. She is not "trying to handicap the Democrats", now if you want to argue that whatever her actions or words are that you dont like are doing that, feel free.

      But more or less, I'M tired of the whole personal slime attacks on Hillary or some of the other democrats whom this person or that person doesnt like on this day or that day.

      I tell you what, let Feingold vote for something or express something a block of people here dont like, he'll go from Golden Boy to Bastard in 6 seconds. Sad but true.

      •  as he should be... (1+ / 0-)
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        i judge people by their actions, not by their golden color.

        i can understand that you don't think they have an agenda. i think that's naive. but it's a difference of opinion and that's fine.

        but she's a terrible politician regardless and she's going to really handicap this party if she refuses to stop pandering. that's my view. and i think it's the dlc/moderate neocon opinion that if the neocon mission is going to be scrapped by a dem majority, then they'd best avoid that.

        i think this sort of nonsense is really going to backfire on all of us. but i suppose it's something we'll have to struggle through. she's not going away.

        •  first of all (0+ / 0-)
          I didnt say they didnt have "an agenda", ALL politicians have an agenda. Feingold has one, Hillary has one, everyone has one.

          I said that they werent the cynical, twisted freaks that they get portrayed as for whom every statement they make is based not on any personal beliefs but on ambition alone.

  •  An important (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    point to make. Too often we show the same intolerance for the beliefs of others that we affect to despise in the right wing fundamentalists.

    Do we dems embrace diversity or do we not? Are we still the big tent party or are we not?

    One of my favorite convention speeches was the "quilt" speech given by Jesse Jackson. If one would judge by some of the posts on this blog, one
    would have to conclude that we have lost some of that feeling of unity, of a coming together of people from all walks of life, of all colors and creeds,
    working to promote the good of all.

    •  Even a quit has to come together to be a freakin (0+ / 0-)

      quilt.   Embrace diversity???  Depends, doesn't it.  Pedophiles bring their own unique view to the world, do I embrace them?  Hell no.  The Dems can't come together because the leadership is too busy kissing Republican ass.  They want to meld with them because THEY are main stream and WE are those loony lefties.  And if this vision leaves their base high and dry - too GD bad.  I have voted for Democrats for 30 years.  Today, they don't deserve it.

      Sanders/Hackett 08

      by dkmich on Fri Mar 24, 2006 at 03:27:31 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  thank you (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Methodist. Pedophile. I have to admit I missed that one. I guess it needs to go right up there with homosexual > pedophile, classroom teachere > pedophile and Catholic clergy > pedophile.

        You'll make a great guest on the 700 Club.

        The last time I voted Republican was when I wrote in Mitch McConnell for Louisville dogcatcher in 2002, and the time before that was when the Dem in my Albany NY state rep district accepted the Right to Life Party nomination in 1982.

        By your characterization, I should not admire George McGovern at the level I do because he "kissed Reublican ass" when he collaborated with Bob Dole on food-stamp legislation in the 1970s.

        The Republicans are in the middle of forefeiting their dubious claim of being a majority party. We can either make the Democratic Party a majority party or continue to allow them to run the country minus a majority.

        Have you heard? The vice president's gone mad. - Bob Dylan, 1966

        by textus on Fri Mar 24, 2006 at 05:33:10 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  No (0+ / 0-)

        Noooo... I did not suggest that we embrace pedophiles. You are overwrought..

        •  And I didn't suggest you suggested that (0+ / 0-)

          I suggested that bringing pedophiles into a discussion of Jackson's quilt to at all analogize that whatever Hillary is doesn't belong in the quilt of 2006-2008 is just plain smear stuff.

          I would remind you that Jackson addressed a bunch of specific groups within the Dem coalition and said, "You are right to do what you do. Your cause is just. But you can't do it alone. Your patch isn't big enough." He had something of a rough time extending his compliments to the Bentsen-Scoop Jackson wing of the party, but he did as much as he was capable. It has been 18 years, but I believe he specifically addressed feminists, environmentalists, nuclear freeze advocates, maybe trade unionists, and some group within the moderate/conservative wing of the party.

          Only in Karl Rove's wet dreams would Jackson have included groups that most of us would categorize as deviant in his quit. I guess I should say Lee Atwater's wet dreams as he was the Karl Rove of the time.

          Have you heard? The vice president's gone mad. - Bob Dylan, 1966

          by textus on Fri Mar 24, 2006 at 07:34:06 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  if she played to the base (0+ / 0-)

    the base wouldn't say she was posturing.

    when people tell you what you want to hear, it's not posturing.

    we all know if feingold quoted scripture it's cause he's a sincere great man filled to brim with absolute integrity.  a deeeply profoundly deep spiritual man with great and profound convictions.

    they'd say that about hillary too if she targetted the base.

  •  Agreed, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    although it would help if progressive Christians were more involved in getting the message across that being religious doesn't have to mean being right-wing.  

    Things seem to be changing, albeit slowly.  More Christian groups are becoming more outspoken about their progressive politics, probably because they're sick of being portrayed as part-and-parcel with the supermegauberchurch groups.  Street Prophets is a great website, if people are so inclined.  

    But, it's an uphill battle.  Every time the bass-ackwards congregations fight a battle against teaching evolution (pretending to pit faith against science), it hurts all the faithful.  

    Keep your chin up, and get involved!

    Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

    by pico on Thu Mar 23, 2006 at 10:25:13 PM PST

  •  Sympathies (2+ / 0-)
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    kpardue, Caldonia

    This problem has many dimensions, IMO.  

    One part is that the Religious Right tends to speak as if it were the religious (read, "Christian") perspective.  And so those of us who disagree are, rhetorically, squeezed into a non- or anti-religious posture.  That noted paragon of virtue, Bill "Falafel" O'Reilly, loves to play this game (he is after all the grinch who saved Christmas).

    Another part is that there are many people-- perhaps more who are politically on the left-- who are alienated from, or by, religious faith.  I will not try to say what or how they feel, as they can and will speak for themselves, but I have had any number of conversations with people in this situation, and know that there are a wide variety of reactions and attitudes.

    I too am aware of Hillary's (and Bill's) faith, and respect its sincerity.  But my own (Christian) faith has led me to what I think are somewhat more radical political stances than hers.  Like her, however, I find myself trying to walk a line between progressive Realpolitik and more radical ideals.  That part is a matter of degree, perhaps.  (And I am not defending her politics!)

    We need to keep on working at finding the common ground we can, and trying to treat each other's differences with respect.  

    (Shoot.  I really wanted to say something more profound than all that.  But I have typed too much now not to post this!)

  •  I am not anti-religion. (1+ / 0-)
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    I am ambivalent about religion. I am most concerned about a person's ethics, not his/her religion.  From my experienmce, relgious belief has little to do with whether or not a person behaves ethically. Christians, Mos;ems, Hindus, jews... all killing others in the name of their diety. If a person's religion helps him/her behave in an ethical manner, that is good. But I put little stock in a person's religious pronouncements, whether they are on the right or the left.

    Don't Panic - Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

    by slatsg on Thu Mar 23, 2006 at 11:10:49 PM PST

    •  Being 'anti-religious' may BE religious (0+ / 0-)

      As you probably know, both Jewish and Christian teaching agree with your concern for "a person's ethics, not his/her religion."  (I assume there are similar ideas in other faiths as well.)

      One can not deny that people kill "in the name of their deity."  Yet at the same time, I think it is often more complicated than that.  Slobodan Milosevic was presumably baptized a Serbian Orthodox Christian.  Was it that faith that led him to sponsor mass murders, or Serbian nationalism?  It is at least a chicken and egg thing (one expression of nationalism is usually adherence to a favored national religion), but I tend to think that the nationalism was the deeper motive for him, and often comes first in many other instances.  The real "deity" therefore is some romanticized version of "us".  

      Religion can be used as a cover for evil, and thus becomes evil.  For some, nothing more needs to be said.

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