19 July 2006: Forked-tongued Conservatives

Beware forked-tongue conservatives

Hypocrisy can be defined as the insistence of having it both ways. Since Russell Kirk published The Conservative Mind in 1953, the conservative mind has evolved, or arguably devolved. Conservatism is not what it used to be, bringing to mind Jesus’ caution about hypocrites and false prophets.

One of the myths perpetuated by conservatives is that of “liberal activist judges” negating the will of the people. Ironically, if one defines an activist judge as one who frequently overturns laws, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas are among the most activist justices on the Supreme Court. An analysis in the NY Times in July 2005 by Paul Gewirtz, a professor at Yale Law School, and Chad Golder, a graduate from Yale Law School, shows that since 1994, Clarence Thomas voted to overturn laws nearly 66 percent of the time; Scalia was third with 55 percent. The “liberal block” voted likewise on average only 37 percent of the time, with “liberal” Justice Stephen Breyer the “least active” with 28 percent.

Two local religious leaders are now in pursuit of an activist judge in the mold of Scalia and Thomas who would be willing to overturn the will of the people of Idaho Springs and the constitutional ban on separation of church and state. It seems the Rev. Dave Barkey and Robert Bristol are seeking relief through court action to force the people’s legislature, city council, to award them the privilege of using a governmental building as a place of worship. Not only are they desirous of blending church with state, they are apparently doing so in a manner conservatives bang the drum about—judicial activism.

The Great Conservative once demanded, “Tear down this wall!” His heirs now bellow, “Put up this wall!” In Sunday’s Denver Post, Fred Brown quotes the grand lady of Colorado Republican politics former Senator Norma Anderson as saying, “Why didn’t they (the legislators) address the missile problem in North Korea?” For Anderson, the $75,000 of taxpayer money spent was a complete waste. I dunno—that works out to about two cents for every Coloradoan and for my two cents, it was well spent if it helps keep the Tancredo loonies from demagogueing the immigration issue up to the November election. It was a solution in search of a problem, but that didn’t stop Governor Owens from grandstanding on it all. Although he eventually signed the bill, Owens couldn’t resist showing up unannounced to a committee hearing and railing about the need for the issue to be placed on the November ballot.

Thanks to the competent guidance of Senator Joan Fitz-Gerald and Speaker Andrew Romanoff, a compromise was reached, legislation that satisfies both former Governor Richard D. Lamm of Defend Colorado Now and former Mayor Federico Pena of Keep Colorado Safe. The hypocrisy of the whole thing is that the demand for the immigration as well as the gay marriage issue be encoded onto our state constitution comes from the same folks who bark about the primacy of the legislature. But, when it comes to finding wedge issues to serve in their demagoguery, apparently being a democrat is a small price to pay for some to be a Republican.

After reading Robert Novak’s self-serving account covering his butt about his involvement in the outing of CIA Special Agent Valerie Plame, the truism “There is no honor among thieves” comes to mind. Karl Rove had admitted to being complicit in the outing; Novak has now confirmed that fact, albeit with a varied account of the affair. Vice-President Richard Cheney’s former chief-of-staff I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby has long been indicted. Novak admits he’s still hiding his primary source, apparently someone in the upper echelon of the administration. To add spice to it all, Plame last Thursday filed a civil suit against Shooter (Vice-President Cheney), Scooter, and Rover.

When this first broke in the fall of 2003, George Bush said, and his former press secretary Scott McClellan emphatically reinforced, that whoever was the source of the leak, the cause of the breach in national security, would be fired. One of the myths held by Bush’s defenders is that he is a man of his word but actions speak louder than words: Karl Rove, “Bush’s Brain,” is and will remain, no matter the crime, in his inner circle. Such is the word of the President of the United States.

Finally, President Bush, a self-proclaimed “compassionate conservative,” has sworn that he will exercise his first veto when the stem cell bill reaches his desk. Conservative he may be; compassionate he’s not.

In Matthew 7:16 Jesus says, “Ye shall know them by their fruits.” When listening to conservatives prattle on about whatever, “read their lips,” focusing not on the center of their mouths, but on the sides, for they speak from both and oftentimes with forked-tongue.

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