Testing the President's Reach
September 17, 2009
McLEAN, Va.--Will the bitter, smoldering feelings let loose by Washington's health care fight ricochet across the Potomac River and decide Virginia's race for governor? Will a Republican be able to escape his right-wing record and his incendiary past writings to rebrand himself as a pragmatist? The battle for the Virginia statehouse always gets outsized national attention because of its unusual timing, just a year after a presidential election.
Should Pols Be Judged By Student Writings?
September 01, 2009
There's a front-pager in today's WaPo about the political storm that has erupted in the Virginia governor's race thanks to the paper's Sunday report on Republican candidate Robert McDonnell's 1989 master's thesis from his studies in public policy and law at Regent University. Little wonder the thesis has become a hot topic: Outlining beliefs that would have made Regent founder Pat Robertson swoon with ecstasy, McDonnell makes clear his disgust with (among many, many other things) gays, working women, and "fornicators." (McDonnell disapproved of the Supreme Court's 1972 decision legalizing bir
Robertson's Endorsement Of Giuliani: A Footnote
December 05, 2007
Many people thought it bizarre that the Rev. Pat Robertson, a Pentecostal televangelist not known for his tolerance of others faiths, would endorse Rudy Giuliani, who is Catholic and pro-choice. But here’s an odd footnote that I discovered while doing research at the Truman Library. In 1960, the Democratic nominee, Catholic John F. Kennedy, was greeted warily, if not hostily, by some American Protestants, particularly in the South, but Virginia Democratic Senator A. Willis Robertson, the father of Pat Robertson, was the first of that state’s officeholder to endorse him.
Rudy's Creepy Pals
June 27, 2007
Yesterday, Rudy Giuliani traveled to Regent University to kiss the ring of Pat Robertson. For those who don't recall, Robertson is not just a strong social conservative, he's a raving loon. Michael Lind demonstrated this quite thoroughly in a famous 1995 New York Review of Books essay, in which he studied Robertson's book, "The New World Order," and found that it's based on anti-Semitic conspiracy theories. Lind's essay is not available online, but it is discussed and excerpted at length here. Robertson's attempts to defend himself were hilariously lampooned by Michael Kinsley in 1995.
May 21, 2007
COLUMBIA, SOUTH CAROLINA WILLIAM “RUSTY” DEPASS named his dogs Goldwater, Reagan, and Bush. He is, needless to say, a conservative man, one who lives in a conservative state where the psychological scars of the Civil War still run deep. Six bronze stars on the west wall of the Capitol building here in Columbia mark the trajectory of Sherman’s 1865 cannon fire from across the Congaree River. A state senator points me to the deep gouges on the building’s banisters—gashes left, hesays, by the sabers of Union officers charging the stairs on horseback.
The Courting Of Pat Robertson
April 25, 2007
Today's WaPo story on the McCain campaign's (re)launch notes that while the candidate sucked up to Jerry Falwell, he stiffed Pat Robertson. If only other GOP presidential candidates were, as the Post put it, so "half-hearted" in their efforts to court two of the most objectionable figures on the right. From the New York Observer's article on the White House Correspondents dinner: Sometime between the pan-roasted filet of salmon and Rich Little's dusty impressions, Presidential candidate Mitt Romney strode over to Pat Robertson's table. "He's going to have to do what John F.
May 22, 2006
As both my husband and I scrambled to meet work deadlines last week--while simultaneously juggling multiple doctors' appointments and assuring our daughter's day care teachers that, yes, one of us would still be able to watch the class for an hour during the monthly staff meeting--it once again struck me: What most modern marriages really need is an extra wife. I've been thinking about this a lot lately in response to all the buzz surrounding HBO's new polygamy-themed hit, "Big Love." Conservatives have taken to brandishing the show as Exhibit A in the fight against gay marriage.
No Man's Land
April 18, 2006
For fans and critics alike, Brokeback Mountain will forever be known as the "gay cowboy" movie. Almost invariably, the emphasis will be placed on the first half of that label--and understandably so: The love, briefly indulged and long inhibited, between Ennis Del Mar and Jack Twist is the narrative and emotional core of the film and of the Annie Proulx short story on which it is based.
Not in the Heavens
February 20, 2006
WITNESSING THEIR FAITH: RELIGIOUS INFLUENCE ON SUPREME COURT JUSTICES AND THEIR OPINIONS By Jay Alan Sekulow(Rowman & Littlefield, 349 pp., $27.95) I. THE CONFIRMATION OF JUSTICE Samuel Alito brings to five the number of Catholics on the Supreme Court of the United States. All Americans can be proud of this fact, or more precisely, proud of the fact that Alito’s religious affiliation never became an issue during his confirmation process.
November 14, 2005
In 1994, the eminent evangelical historian Mark Noll wrote a scorching polemic about his own religion called The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind. The book lamented the "intellectual disaster of fundamentalism" and its toll on evangelical political and theological thought. All around him, Noll saw "a weakness for treating the verses of the Bible as pieces in a jigsaw puzzle that needed only to be sorted and then fit together to possess a finished picture of divine truth." While many evangelicals reacted angrily to Noll's description, they tacitly acknowledged his argument with their actions.