Saying is believing
When the Mark Foley scandal hit, the hypocrisy of the Republican Party finally became clear to many formerly firm believers. What was truly amazing was not that Mark Foley was gay, or that he was initiating inappropriate relationships with teenage boys or that his fellow Republicans attempted to cover it up. What surprised me the most was that he was leading a committee charged with protecting children while trying to have sex with exactly the underage boys he was supposed to be protecting. It seems like the low-hanging fruit for him would have been to at least resign this committee.
What I often find frustrating about the Republicans is that what they say and what they believe are often two different things. Only in the Republican Party will you find a gay man going against gay rights. This is not the case with the Democrats. You can even find straight Democrats who support gay rights because while not gay themselves, they believe in gay rights. I don't believe that all these Republicans are so against the gay community. I don't believe that all of them are as religious as they say they are. I can believe that most Republicans (like Democrats) think abortion is unfortunate and to be avoided if at all possible. But I don't believe that all these Republicans think abortion should be illegal knowing that many poor women would be forced to seek secret and often dangerous alternatives. And I wonder if all the Republicans who say they are religious believe that invading Iraq was the right thing to do now that over 600,000 Iraqis have been killed. Is it right to be a deeply religious person and still believe that all this killing is what God would want us to do?
It seems to me that a Republican will say whatever they need to say to win the vote. Not only are they good at this gaming of the political process but they are also good at uniting on which issues are key. Democrats seem to be on-the-whole, much truer to their beliefs. What they say matches what they really believe. You would think this would be an easy recipe for success... spawning passionate candidates who easily beat Republicans feigning their beliefs. But the inividual passions of all these Democrats results in a 1000 issues being raised against the 8 - 10 the Republicans consistently rally around.
In the last six months, many heartfelt Republican issues have finally been exposed as political strategies and not deeply held convictions. Issues like, "We're winning the Iraq War", Bush's true feelings about religious conservatives, Mark Foley's concern for the security of our youth, and the motivation behind the Healthy Forests Act. Hopefully this will be the undoing of several incumbant Republicans running for re-election. Then, all we have to worry about is getting the Democratic party to recognize that we can't take on all the issues at once. And we need to make it clear that when we take on an issue, we really believe in it. You don't have to be saying you are the morally superior party to be it... you just have to believe.