BARNEY & STEVE
Saw Bill Maher's show about an hour ago. Barney Frank, Jason Alexander, and Stephen Moore were on the panel. Barney Frank kicked Stephen Moore's ass. I mean, up and down the line. It was thing of beauty.
One of the best parts was when Moore suggested that a lot of gays agreed with the Republican agenda, Frank pointed out how that is a load of bullshit. The hardcore, neocon, "Christians" would make homosexuality illegal if they could and Frank reminded everyone of that fact and recounted the time when a Texas court said sodomy shouldn't be illegal and Scalia lost his mind when dissenting in the Supreme Court affirmation of the Texas decision.
And David Kuo, the "Tempting Faith" author, was really good in talking about real Christianity. He pointed out how simple the Christian idea is--love God, love your neighbor as yourself, i.e., do unto others as you would have them do unto you. That's it! If the uber-Christians really practiced loving their neighbors as themselves, they wouldn't be trying to prevent gays from getting married, because presumably they don't want people trying to prevent them from getting married.
Kuo was agreeing with everything Maher said about Christianity and current Christian leaders, and Kuo made a good point about Christians and power. He said that power does seduce everyone, but it seemed to have a particularly perverting effect on Christians.
Kuo also copped to the fact that Republicans have sold Bush as basically an American Jesus--the Prince of War, I suppose--and that's why even now, after all that's gone on, i.e., Katrina, Iraq, Afghanistan, North Korea, Mark Foley, Military Commissions Act, etc., the Republicans still won't poor-mouth Bush. It's because they've set him up as the next best thing to having Jesus as President.
That's why they can't let go of their illusions and realize he's fucking everything up--they think Bush is like some Pope of politics, infallible and chosen by God. And if they let go of that comforting idea, then they have nothing except deficits, death, and scandal. And we all know everyone wants to have something to believe in that comforts them...
Why was Kuo a Republican in the first place?
I also liked that fact that Maher said "Jesus was a liberal" and would've been a hippie and Kuo did not disagree with him. I haven't read Kuo's book, but from all his TV appearances, he seems to indicate that he was very concerned about helping the poor and was seduced by Bush's promise to devote $8 billion/year to the faith-based thingy which Kuo thought would be a boon for the poor.
Which is great and everything, but it occurs to me now--why was Kuo a Republican to begin with? He doesn't come across this way in his TV spots, but was he just naive? To think that a post-Gingrich, post-Limbaugh conservative Republican president would actually help the poor?
Not that Democrats are a paragon of virtue by any means, but Jesus Christ, they did implement Social Security and Medicare and Medicaid over vehement conservative/Republican objections. The Democrats and Republicans are, as Maher said, two wings of the same party--the Greed Party. But if either one could be said to have historically done more for workers and the less fortunate and the poor--my God, the Democrats stand head and shoulders above the Republicans, especially pre-Clinton.
So why was Kuo a Republican? Not sure, but his Maher appearance made me want to read his book more than I already wanted to read it. Read it, as opposed to buy it...