A View From The Handbasket

Thursday, March 02, 2006
As Bush falls, theocracy rises
Posted by neros_fiddle at 9:55 AM

In Tuesday's CBS News/NYT poll, the President's approval rating has fallen to a new all-time low of 34%. What's worse, the approval number for Bush's performance fighting terrorism, the lone issue on which he could get the support of a majority, rings up at 43% in this poll. Approval on his Iraq policy is a resounding 30%.

As a leaked video lays bare just how fast and loose the administration played with the truth in the aftermath of Katrina and the Dubai port deal continues to hammer away at its credibility on national security (rightly or wrongly), there's no sign that things are going to get better for George soon. Congressional Republicans up for re-election in the fall are terrified.

Unfortunately, it's far from clear that Bush's impressive lack of popularity means anything beyond the walls of the White House and the mid-term elections. Emboldened by the appointments of Roberts and Alito, state legislatures are eagerly shoveling red meat toward the conservative base, erecting the foundations of an American Taliban.

In South Dakota, the legislature has passed an abortion ban that even Bush finds excessive. (Naturally, Bush claims to not know much about it.) A similar bill is marching through the Mississippi government.

Meanwhile, in Utah, lawmakers explicitly refused to make an exception for incest in a parental consent bill, thus making it their position that a girl impregnated by her father needs her father's consent to have an abortion. A couple of charming opinions from Utah's finest:

West Jordan Republican Sen. Chris Buttars scoffed at McCoy's suggestion that the legislation might force teens to other states for abortions or into their bathrooms to attempt the procedure on themselves.

"Abortion isn't about women's rights. The rights they had were when they made the decision to have sex," Buttars said. "This is the consequences. The consequence is they should have to talk to their parents."

And Peterson said restricting access to abortion sends a message.

"I'm not sure we should run away from the morals we have," he said. "We're told we can't teach abstinence in our schools. We're told to keep our religion out of our schools. I'm not sure we shouldn't stand on our morals and yell them from the mountaintops."

And finally, in Kentucky, Republicans in the Senate are floating a constitutional amendment to explicitly prevent courts from ruling on the issues of gay-rights ordinances and Ten Commandments displays. If the pesky courts won't let the legislature pass unconstitutional laws, then take the courts out of the loop and let the majority rule. Unfettered democracy! Jefferson would weep.

So even if Bush has finally blundered his way into irrelevance, it's far too late. Time will tell if any of these nascent laws (at least some seem certain to pass) survive the newly remodeled Supreme Court, but the Kentucky amendment clearly indicates the theocrats' willingless to completely bypass judicial oversight, if that's what it takes to get "Christian"-friendly laws on abortion, gays and the First Amendment.

Bush has served his purpose. The right can now cast him aside.

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