Bush on Theocracy: “Move along, nothing to see here—unless you like the idea, and then, uh, nudge nudge, wink wink, uh...”

Kevin Phillips, author of American Theocracy, a book which examines the influence religious extremists have over (and in) the White House, was a guest of Lou Dobbs' yesterday. Curiously, Phillips is a former Republican strategist who "helped design that party's Southern strategy, made his name with his 1969 book, 'The Emerging Republican Majority,' which predicted the coming ascendancy of the G.O.P.," but now spends his time as a populist social critic—and he's none too pleased with what he sees as the increasing stranglehold of religion on the Republican Party and American politics in general.

Crooks and Liars has the video and a partial transcript:

Phillips: …One of the reasons I think we have kind of screwed up economic politician in some ways is that a lot of Americans have stopped worrying about the economy because they're waiting for the second coming.

Dobbs: And you mean this quite literally?

Phillips: I mean it quite literally.
Yikes. Unfortunately, that's not as crazy as it sounds. There's an entire movement of people who not only don't care about decimating the economy, but are quite content to let the environment fall to ruin as well, for the same reason. They have a keen interest in theocratizing the American government, and although we often stumble over what we call them, causing all sorts of fusses when it appears all Christians are being lumped together, these folks have a name. They're called Dominionists. Anyway...

Phillips' book was referenced in the first question of yesterday's disastrous press conference I mentioned earlier. (Video and transcript.) Today at TPMCafe, Phillips comments:

Parenthetically, when Bush was at the City Club in Cleveland on Monday, someone in the audience cited my book and asked whether Bush would comment on how he felt about the relevance of the Apocalypse to the current-day Mideast. He spent five minutes evading the issue and the word. He has to. If he has to talk about these things, he'll lose a lot of people, and if he ducks, true-believers may start to wonder.
GOP presidential aspirants should take note, because they'll face the same conundrum. The Dominionists aren't going anywhere when Bush finally takes his leave at long last. In fact, (if you can believe it) they're disappointed that Bush has not managed to do more to accommodate their plethora of demands. These people may be lunatics, but they're patient—and any GOP hopeful will have to straddle the same intimidating fence if they want to tap into the not-insignificant Dominionist vote. That's why we're already seeing the so-called maverick McCain courting the god-vote by endorsing the teaching of intelligent design in schools, supporting an Arizona state ban on gay marriage, and giving hesitant but nonetheless positive feedback on the recent abortion pan passed in South Dakota.

The question about Phillips' book was not just another stumbling block for Bush, but a glance into our collective future come 2008. How does one manage to indulge the Dominionists without making the rest of us cringe in revulsion? That'll be fun.

(Crossposted at AlterNet PEEK.)

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