But marriage, as we all know, is a sacred bond, and while some GOP politicos may regard this as a marriage of convenience, the religious right tends to focus on the " 'til death to us part" bit. Without the grassroots muscle of the Christian conservatives, George W. Bush doesn't get elected, not even once, and the Republicans probably don't control the House and Senate. And the more important GOTV becomes (and in a closely divided, media-saturated electorate, it's very important) the more indispensable is the party's alliance with the "End Times Conservatives."
So Danforth and the "mainstream" Republicans can whine all they want about intolerance and sectarian agendas and the need to get back to good old-fashioned conservative economic values. The reality is that the modern GOP and its business paymasters need the religious right the way Terri Schiavo needed her feeding tube.
Much of Billmon's rant is based on a N.Y. Times Op-Ed today by former senator (and U.N. Ambassador and Bush front-man) John Danforth. Danforth is shocked, shocked to find out that the fringe lunatics have squatted in the GOP house, and there's apparently no way to evict them.
Of course, a good GOP footsoldier like Danforth breaking ranks with his leadership could not go unanswered by the Rovians. In fact, I'm willing to bet that Karl was on the phone with Hugh Hewitt moments after the NYTimes early edition hit the newsstands. Had to be. That's the only way Hewitt could crank up his sliming of Danforth in the Weekly Standard so quickly:
So Danforth's essay is really a poorly-camouflaged complaint that his positions on stem-cell research, gay marriage, and Terri Schiavo are not the positions of the Republican party. It is fair for him to try and persuade people to endorse his positions but it is wrong and demagogic to attempt to question the right of people of faith to participate in politics...
Danforth is hardly a liberal wallflower, in fact, he was always one of the creepier, Straussian-neocons in the Senate during his time. So why the attack? What Sen. Danforth has apparently failed to recognize is that you're either with George Bush or against him. There's no middle ground. No room for criticism in the GOP. If you're not on message, you're off the reservation.
John McCain learned the hard way, and his stock has gone from high-flying former presidential candidate (and possible Kerry running mate) to Bush butt boy. John Danforth is about to learn - even in retirement, you don't fuck with the agenda of the boss. The incredible creepy slime machine, from Limbaugh to Hewitt, has now been set in motion to marginalize Danforth as a flaming, gay-loving liberal.
Try a Hartz flea collar next time, Sen. Danforth.