Republicanism: Choice or Fixed Orientation?

by Suzanne J. Crawford
Assistant Professor of Religion and Culture
Pacific Lutheran University

19 March 2004 - Tacoma, WA

The discovery that affiliation with the Republican Party is genetically determined was announced by scientists in the current issue of the journal Nurture, causing uproar among traditionalists who believe it is a chosen lifestyle. Reports of the gene coding for political conservatism, discovered after a decades-long study of quintuplets in Orange County, Calif., has sent shock waves through the medical, political, and golfing communities.

Psychologists and psychoanalysts have long believed that Republicans' unnatural disregard for the poor and frequently unconstitutional tendencies resulted from dysfunctional family dynamics -- a remarkably high percentage of Republicans do have authoritarian domineering fathers and emotionally distant mothers who didn't teach them how to be kind and gentle. Biologists have long suspected that conservatism is inherited. "After all," said one author of the Nurture article, "It's quite common for a Republican to have a brother or sister who is a Republican." The finding has been greeted with relief by Parents and Friends of Republicans (PFREP), who sometimes blame themselves for the political views of otherwise lovable children and family.

One mother, a longtime Democrat, wept and clapped her hands in ecstasy on hearing of the findings. "I just knew it was genetic," she said, seated with her two sons, both avowed Republicans. "My boys would never freely choose that lifestyle!" When asked what the Republican lifestyle was, she said, "You can just tell watching their conventions in San Diego and Philadelphia on TV: the flaming xenophobia, flamboyant demagogy, disdain for anyone not rich, you know." Both sons had suspected their Republicanism from an early age but did not confirm it until they were in college, when they became convinced it wasn't just a phase they were going through. The Nurture article offered no response to the suggestion that the high incidence of Republicanism among siblings could result from their sharing not only genes but also psychological and emotional attitude as products of the same parents and family dynamics.

A remaining mystery is why many Democrats admit to having voted Republican at least once -- or often dream or fantasize about doing so. Polls show that three out of five adult Democrats have had a Republican experience, although most outgrow teenage experimentation with Republicanism.

Some Republicans hail the findings as a step toward eliminating conservophobia. They argue that since Republicans didn't "choose" their lifestyle any more than someone "chooses" to have a ski-jump nose, they shouldn't be denied civil rights which other minorities enjoy. If conservatism is not the result of stinginess or orneriness (typical stereotypes attributed to Republicans) but is something Republicans can't help, there's no reason why society shouldn't tolerate Republicans in the military or even high elected office -- provided they don't flaunt their political beliefs. For many Americans, the discovery opens a window on a different future. In a few years, gene therapy might eradicate Republicanism altogether.

But the question is this: Should they be allowed to marry?



"Well, I've--I've tried to be precise..."

The new Donald Rumsfeld/Face the Nation ad from MoveOn.org is, in my opinion, quite powerful. In it's understated way, it brings home the argument that this administration is about as dishonest as any in American history.

Simply, the ad replays a brief portion of Rumsfeld's miserable appearance with Bob Scheiffer and Tom Friedman on Face the Nation last Sunday.

This is the type of ad that loses elections, my friends. Karl and Georgie Boy must be having fits!


The Crawford Liability

In his column in The Hill on Wednesday, Josh Marshall backs up the Kerry assertion that foreign leaders would like to see Bush defeated in November.

Today, Ivo Daalder brings the point home in the American Prospect.
"This (Spain) is the third election of a major ally in which the party running against George Bush won. Look at Germany in '02, South Korea in '03, and now Spain. The message is: If you want to get re-elected, don't go to Crawford. Bush is a political liability -- in Europe, in particular. His foreign policy has trampled on the European views and it's now resulting in the election of governments that do not support his approach."


Crystal Balling

In his latest Crystal Ball update, political analyst Larry Sabato, Jr. takes a look at the Electoral College map seven and a half months out. Even with slightly rising polling numbers, Sabato suggests President Bush has his work cut out for him.
"If the President has expanded his base, the Crystal Ball can't see it on the Electoral College map. Just as in 2000, Bush isn't even in the ballgame in the giant states of California, New York, and Illinois. (Do people in the White House really believe what they are saying about the Golden State? Are they really going to waste $10-20 million again on a hopeless cause?) Kerry landslides are coming in all three states, and in New Jersey, too. Kerry is likely to carry Michigan and Pennsylvania as well, just as Gore did easily in 2000. Once again, only New Hampshire looks competitive in the entire Northeast--and Bush could lose it this time. The two largest states which are currently highly competitive are both Bush's states from 2000: Florida and Ohio. Should Bush lose either one, our bet is that he loses reelection. Are there any Gore 2000 states within reach for Bush this time around? Just three: New Mexico, Oregon, and Wisconsin, with an outside shot at Iowa and Minnesota. Realistically, Bush will be very lucky to win even two of these five states--and they don't make up for the potential loss of an Ohio or a Florida. Then there are Nevada and West Virginia, Bush states in 2000 that are far from secure for 2004."
While acknowledging that it is early and Bush could still get lucky, Sabato seems to think the advantage is currently with John Kerry.
"...we've had enough of the talk about how 'Kerry has to run the table to win.' In the Crystal Ball's view, it is George W. Bush who has to run the table to win a second term.
And should Bush "run the table" in key states, Sabato leaves us with this nightmare scenario:
"...it is possible that, given likely Kerry landslides in California, Illinois, New York, New Jersey, and possibly all of New England, Bush could become the first President in American history to be elected twice without ever achieving a popular vote plurality."
A second popular vote loss/E.C. win? The chances of that happening are probably better than we think. Should it happen, the Democrats better show some cajones and force a second term President Bush to scale back on his facist-style conservatism. "The will of the people" and all.

Below is the 2000 map. A large state (like Ohio) or a combination of two medium states (Missouri and Nevada) would be enough for Kerry, assuming he keeps the 2000 Gore states. You can make your own predictions here.

Cross-posted at Daily Kos.



Ditz Eye for the Bush Guy

It seems America's favorite ditz has come up with another zinger.

Prior to a fundraising gala at the Ford Theatre in Washington Sunday night, pop-tart musical no-talent Jessica Simpson was invited to the White House for a reception. Simpson, whose verbal gaffes are legendary, pulled another when introduced to President Bush's Interior Secretary, Gale Norton.

Shaking the Secretary's hand, Ms. Simpson complimented the cabinet member.

"You've done a nice job decorating the White House," she gushed.

Anyone for a Bush/Simpson ticket?? As a team, the two villiage idiots might pull together a single I.Q. point.

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