Sunday, January 06, 2008

Is Rush Limbaugh Truely Pro-life?

COMMENTARY: The Huckabee Phenomenon and the fall of the old 'religious right'

By Deacon Keith Fournier


Catholic Online (

Many of these voters do not take kindly to being called “fundamentalist” Dr Sabato. And Rush, with all due respect, they simply do not care if they if they fit your definition of what constitutes a “true conservative.”

LOS ANGELES (Catholic Online) - First, it was Larry Sabato and then it was Rush Limbaugh.

Sabato is the Robert Kent Gooch Professor of Politics of the Center for Politics at the University of at the University of Virginia. I watched him on weekend television. He certainly established himself as a “talking head” favorite, showing up everywhere these days in what has become an ever increasing sea of media punditry.

He is also a former Rhodes Scholar and Danforth Fellow with an earned Doctorate in politics from Oxford. In other words, one would think he would speak more articulately and check his facts, right? No, he told the viewers, on a major news network being aired globally, that Huckabee’s support came from his “fundamentalist” Christian base.

Even within Huckabees support in the broader Christian community, one must consider the breadth of his appeal. This candidate has a growing base of Catholic support. Obviously, Catholic Christians cannot be called “fundamentalists.”

Additionally, he has a growing base of populist supporters, showing himself to be not unlike Democratic candidate John Edwards. The HUGE difference, among several, is that Huckabee hears the cry of the poorest of the poor, children in the first home of the whole human race, their mothers womb. Edwards has bought the Democratic frontrunners’ line of calling their intentional killing through procured abortion an exercise of “freedom.”

Next, it was Rush Limbaugh.

I listened to him on the radio Wednesday during the long drive between Hampton Roads and Richmond, Virginia. There is no doubt that Limbaugh is a highly informed and intelligent man.

He may be singularly responsible for the media phenomenon that is now called talk radio. On this particular day he was asked by an otherwise adulating listener if he saw a priority of importance which would place the issue of protecting children in the womb, opposing abortion and defending the right to life above ensuring that taxes stay low. He said he would not. That it must all be seen as one concern. He added that anyone who sets one above the other was not a true conservative.

He has also coined a new "rush-ism", referring to the support for Governor Huckabee as "identity politics". His logic for this new term goes like this: The 'religious right" is made up of all evangelical Protestants. Huckabee was a Baptist minister. So, they will all identify with him.

Apparently Rush sees conservative evangelical voters as lemmings of some sort who all group together. Well, he is wrong. Maybe they, like many others, are increasingly disillusioned with the coalition built around them which now fails to value what they even value the most. What else explains the Republicn party ever expecting them to accept a candidate like Rudy Guiliani?

Rush also neglects to consider that others, like Catholics, who are coming behind this candidate in increasing numbers, do not identify with the fact that the Governor was once a Southern Baptist Minister as necessarily a positive. They were concerned when he visited the mega-church of a certain anti-Catholic minister. Yet, increasingly they support him.

These two commentators reveal a growing concern over a tectonic plate shift lying beneath the emergence of Mike Huckabee. We may be seeing the end of the old "religious right".

Whether he takes the Republican nomination or not, Mike Huckabee may be an emerging leader of a new issue focused alliance of voters. These folks are not capable of being pidgeon holed and can exercise their prudential judgment, placing the multitude of political, economic, social and policy issues which form the backdrop for this campaign, within a hierarchy of importance.

These voters never felt comfortable being lumped under the assorted vacuous verbal political labels used by the media such as “religious right”, “conservative”, “right wing” or “neo-conservative”. Oh, do not get me wrong, these folks also do not fit the contemporary American use of the word “liberal” either.

They also never liked the effort to marginalize their intelligence or dismiss their deeply held religious convictions by using disparaging labels to lump them together such as “fundamentalist”, “evangelical”, or even “traditionalists” in a manner that is eerily reminiscent of past anti-religious bigotry such as the "no-name" anti-catholic party of America’s past.

These folks place the dignity of every human person and the right to life from conception to natural death at the head of every concern. It is not a “single issue” for them but a framework through which the entire race must be seen.

They argue that without the right to life there are no other rights and that persons must always take precedence. They will never accept the idea that a society should allow the killing of it’s young in ...
the womb and, worse yet, celebrate it as a “right” when it is wrong.

They value marriage and family as the first cell of society, the first school, first economy, first church and first mediating institution. They reject the misguided notion of “freedom” hidden behind the smiling mask of the new libertines who seek to redefine several aberrant chosen sexual lifestyles as the equivalent of marriage and then use the power of the State to enforce their new cultural revolution. Marriage is what it is to these folks and it serves the common good.

Nor will they be won over to a model of the market which forgets that it is a servant and not a master.

These folks care about those who have not experienced the benefits of the engine of freedom that is supposed to be the market economy; the poor, the marginalized, the forgotten. They see a proper role, limited though it may be, in the exercise of “good” government in accordance with the principle of subsidiarity.

They are not “anti-Government.” They believe that we are, in a real sense, “our brother’s keeper” and want to serve the common good by not only caring for their own families but reaching out in solidarity to the poor and the needy.

These folks are also concerned about a lot of other issues. However, they are able to order those issues in a hierarchy through the exercise of prudential judgment.

Many of these voters do not take kindly to being called “fundamentalist” Dr Sabato. And Rush, with all due respect, they simply do not care if they if they fit your definition of what constitutes a “true conservative.”

They are finding their voice and they may be the beginning of a new political phenomenon. This phenomenon may represent the fall of the old ‘religious right” and the emergence of a true populist movement which crosses the old, tired lines and labels.

They also may explain the Huckabee phenomenon.


Post a Comment

<< Home