James Dobson: why is this man happy with McCain now?
Tankwoman suggested in her recent post that Sarah Palin could be a more formidable asset for McCain than the initial impression she makes among Democrats might suggest. The Dems have to define her in their terms as much as possible before the press locks completely into her preferred image as a mavericky Wonder Woman.
Tanker apparently isn't the only one who sees more potential in her than initial coverage might suggest. Max "son-of-Sidney" Blumenthal in The Council For National Policy Meets In Minn, Vets Palin TalktoAction blog 09/01/08 makes it sound like Sarah Palin was the VP nominee that the Christian Right insisted upon. It looks like that bold Maverick Republican McCain let the hardline Christianists pick his Dick Cheney for him:
The members of the Council for National Policy are the hidden hand behind McCain's Palin pick. With her selection, the Republican nominee is suddenly -- and unexpectedly -- assured of the support of a movement that once opposed his candidacy with all its might. Case in point: while Dobson once said he could "never" vote for McCain, he issued a statement last week hailing Palin as an "outstanding" choice. If Dobson's enthusiasm for Palin is any indication, he may soon emerge from his bunker in Colorado Springs to endorse McCain, providing the Republican nominee with the grassroots support of the Christian right's single most influential figure. [my emphasis]
No, the CNP isn't some mythical conspiracy-theory group. Most people haven't heard much about it just because our press corps is as lazy as it is and almost obsessed with sex stories. Palin's daughters pregnancy should entertain them for a week or two.
Michelle Goldberg describes the CNP this way in Kingdom Coming: The Rise of Christian Nationalism (2006):
On 1981, a group of right-wing activists including Tim LaHaye, an orginal board member of the Moral Majority, formed the Council for National Policy (CNP), intended as the religious right's answer to the Council on Foreign Relations.
She notes, "The Council on Foreign Relations [CFR] sits at the center of many right-wing conspiracy theories." The CFR has long been a particular bogeyman of the John Birch Society, of which LaHaye was also once a member. Far-right groups often create groups as a mirror-image of their own paranoid ideas about the Great Jewish Conspiracy. The Birchers defined themselves in particular as anti-Communists in their early years. And founder Robert Welch tried to organize the JBS along the lines he believed the US Communist Party was organized.
The organization is the stuff of liberal nightmares - it meets thrice yearly in secret, bringing together powerful evangelical activists, Republican politicians, and wealthy donors to make plans to pull the country to the right. Over the years, its membership rolls have included James Dobson, Pat Robertson, Michael Farris, former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, and former Senator Jesse Helms, along with forthright theocrats like R.J. Rushdoony [founder of the ultra-reactionary Christian Reconstructionism]. The CNP still exists and remains powerful. George Bush has refused to release a copy of the speech he gave to the group in 1999, and during his presidency, both Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld have attended CNP meetings.
She also writes that the executive director of the CNP, Steve Baldwin, has endorsed the Holocaust-revisionist book The Pink Swastika, whose thesis she summarizes as an argument:
... that Nazism was a primarily homosexual movement, that today's gay rights movement is its direct descendant, and that claims to the contrary are simply part of the homosexual conspiracy. Being ruthless, those behind the 'homosexual agenda' must be treated ruthlessly.
Palin's got her a fine bunch of Christian white folks in her cheering section.
The best thing that I had been thinking about Palin was that, since she doesn't have decades of experience in bureaucratic infighting and links to the national security "community", at least she couldn't play a role like Dick Cheney has in Bush's administration. But when I read Blumenthal's piece about the CNP pushing her candidacy on McCain, I'm rethinking my assumption. Having an impulsive, hot-headed warmonger like McCain in the White House would be bad enough. But if they leave Cheney's Vice Presidential structure in place and staff it with hardline Christianists - it don't make a pretty picture.