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November 10, 2004

SHADLAC, But No Meshach Or Abednego

Jerry Falwell has decided the time has come to guide an "evangelical revolution" in America.

The 2006 elections just got harder for the Republican Party. Take some time out of your day to thank Jerry, ya'll.

Falwell evidently feels that the momentum in the culture wars has shifted far enough to the right that he can once again join the fray--even though there is no evidence that the religious right is any stronger today than it was in 2000.

The problem with all this is that, while comforting to many Kerry supporters and exhilarating for some social-conservative leaders, the notion that Bush won primarily because religious voters turned out for him does not seem to be backed up by any real evidence. Few reporters or commentators appear to have gone back to examine the 2000 exit polls, which would seem to be necessary if one wishes to assert a trend.

The reason Falwell's re-emergence is a problem is that for many Americans, he is at least as divisive a figure as Michael Moore. That's not good news for the Republicans, who benefited greatly in 2004 from the absence of Falwell and his like.

One of the reasons many people swallowed their gorge and voted for George Bush in 2004 was that come Wednesday, November 3rd, they couldn't stand the thought of Michael Moore waking up happy. Pat Buchanan had the same effect on people in 1992.

This year, there was no such hated figure on the Right. The Left tried its damndest to create one, alternately attacking John Ashcroft, Donald Rumsfeld and George Bush, but these were all political targets, not cultural ones like Moore, so those efforts never paid off in the world outside that of Yellow Dog Democrat.

The re-emergence of Jerry Falwell brings balance back to this equation. Now a vote to piss off Michael Moore has a potential downside, because that same vote might make the Reverend's Falwell's day. A significant number of 2004 Bush voters won't care for that at all, at which point they will become susceptible to Democratic pleas to send the fundamentalists a message--if Moore keeps his fat yap shut, that is.

At least, that's my theory. Call it the "Siflay Hraka 'Americans Don't Like Assholes' Conjecture," or SHADLAC.

Now, the nice thing about theories is that they're testable. The bad thing about theories is that they are sometimes wrong, and need refining, but that's how science progresses.

Therefore, in the interest of science, I'll make a number of predictions based on the assumptions underlying SHADLAC.

Prediction #1. If both Michael Moore and Jerry Falwell support a particular issue, then that issue will fail.

Prediction #2. Conversely, if both Michael Moore and Jerry Falwell oppose a particular issue, that issue will succeed.

Prediction #3. If, on a particular issue Jerry Falwell speaks out but Michael Moore remains silent, then the side taken by the Democrats will prove victorious.

Prediction #4. Conversely, if on a particular issue Michael Moore speaks out but Jerry Falwell remains silent, then the side taken by the Republicans will win out.

Prediction #5. On issues where Michael Moore and Jerry Falwell take opposite sides...we'll need a tiebreaker. In the interest of promoting blogger triumphalism, I'll predict that the side taken by a majority of the top blogs listed at the Ecosystem will triumph.

Not So Much a Prediction As It Is A Fervent Hope: National issues where neither Michael Moore nor Jerry Falwell speaks out will not occur, unless both men are dead, in which case their respective places will be taken by wannabes Ted Rall and Pat Robertson. If both Ted Rall and Pat Robertson are also dead, then America will have entered into a golden age the likes of which we've never seen.

Posted by Bigwig at November 10, 2004 01:35 PM | TrackBack
Postscript:
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Comments

In general, I agree, with this caveat: To suggest that Michael Moore and Ted Rall, annoying as they are, are anywhere near as big a pustule on the American body politic as are Falwell and Robertson is to be ... well, a tad disingenuous, shall we say. Moore and Rall are assholes, but Falwell and Robertson are assholes who should have gone to prison a long time ago.

Posted by: Lex at November 10, 2004 03:07 PM

Lex: Why should Robertson and Falwell be in prison? (Granted, they're gigantic Rall-level assholes.)

Anyway.

One difference between Moore and Falwell, election-wise, is that Moore was embraced by the Democrats, while I imagine Falwell will continue to be mostly ignored by the Republicans; he certainly won't sit by President Bush Sr. at the 2008 Convention.

Posted by: Sigivald at November 10, 2004 03:11 PM

I think the perceived size of the asshole is an inverse relationship related to one's political distance from said asshole, but that's just me.

Posted by: Bigwig at November 10, 2004 03:16 PM

Moore was embraced by the Democrats, while I imagine Falwell will continue to be mostly ignored by the Republicans.

I think the perceived size of the asshole is an inverse relationship related to one's political distance from said asshole...

Yes, and put these two quotes together and you see how ill the Democratic Party is at the moment: how close it is to its assholes.

Moore and Falwell are assholes of equal severity. They'll keep prattling on and the enormous mass of people equidistant from both of them will keep voting against their ideas. Moore got his clock cleaned last Tuesday. If Jerry wants a taste of what Moore got, he'll get his clock cleaned, too.

Good thing the GOP didn't listen to its assholes, or we'd have John Kerry in office next year. Without the non-religious voters that he got, Bush would have lost the election.

Posted by: Jim at November 10, 2004 06:07 PM

Posted by: Pasternak at March 8, 2005 04:30 PM
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