Tuesday, March 21, 2006

More on theocracy

Amy Goodman has a very informative and at times tragi-comic interview with former Republican strategist Kevin Phillips on today's Democracy Now! She opens with a clip from George Bush's press conference yesterday in Cleveland in which he was directly asked about Phillips book.
My question is that author and former Nixon administration official Kevin Phillips, in his latest book, American Theocracy, discusses what has been called radical Christianity and its growing involvement into government and politics. He makes the point that members of your administration have reached out to prophetic Christians who see the war in Iraq and the rise of terrorism as signs of the apocalypse. Do you believe this, that the war in Iraq and the rise of terrorism are signs of the apocalypse? And if not, why not?
George's answer is sputtering incoherence, but the very fact that he was asked the question shows that the notion that he is pushing a theocratic agenda is gaining some mainstream legitimacy.

Once the interview gets going, it is clear that Goodman and Phillips have very nearly the same view of just how bad a president George Bush is and just how dangerous the current Republican hierarchy is for America's future. Phillips characterizes Bush as "a national embarrassment," and agrees with Sandra Day O'Connor that there is a radical attempt to take over the judiciary. And to top it all off, the music during the break in the interview was Phil Ochs' Cannons of Christianity.

Nonetheless, Phillips' own positive value commitments remain murky and he clearly has no plausible plan (a coalition government?) for fighting the move toward what he calls "apple pie authoritarianism" beyond trying to rally non-theocratic conservatives to oppose the regime.

He seems to think that a lot of conservatives are fed up with the current regime. However, it is not clear how much the people he is talking about are upset about the theocratic danger and how much they are just appalled at W's manifest incompetence. Perhaps this opposition will have some influence in the 2008 election, but I don't see any breakup of christian right's control of the Republican party in the current election cycle. They are just too keen on holding on to power.

Earlier: American Theocracy

UPDATE 3/22: You can now read a sample chapter of American Theocracy online and Red State Rabble has a discussion of how realistic a threat theocracy is.


At 4/14/2006 7:29 AM, Blogger Grant Miller said...

Nice blog. I'm dying to read the Phillips book. But one edit I'd make to your post. You state Bush's theocratic agenda is "gaining some mainstream legitimacy." Perhaps it should read "has gained mainstream legitimacy." Just a thought.

At 4/14/2006 7:48 AM, Blogger velid said...

Thanks for the nice comment. I have got the book and am looking forward to reading it soon too.

I totally agree that "Bush's theocratic agenda has gained mainstream legitimacy." Truely terrifying. However, my point in the sentence was that recognition of the theocratic nature of his agenda is growing. For a long time this kind of label was dismissed simply as the paranoia of the looney left. It is not so easily dismissed now, especially with the publication of Phillips' book.

I hope this will make resistance to this radical agenda easier.


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