Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Whom the Gods Would Destroy, They First ...

Now, I know: many of us are thinking that Pat Robertson has simply gone 'round the bend, or that his flagship teevee program is going to change its title to "The 666 Club." But: did he say anything that many American evangelicals haven't already bought into?

He said it a little bluntly; a little crazily. He said it in an unusually graceless and ugly way. But the underlying thought -- that foreigners who are in the way of Imperial ambitions and appetites should be killed -- is quite mainstream among the car-antenna-flag and magnetic-ribbon masses in the U.S.

If he were just a trifle smoother, Mr. Robertson would have waited and helped build up a myth about the Venezuelan Weapons of Mass Destruction Program-Related Activities problem. He would have spread the word that Venezuelan Supervisor Hugo Chavez has sodomized, murdered, and cannibalized thousands of cute babies, puppy-dogs, and kitty-cats, every single day of every single week of every single year of his whole regrettable life. Oh, and he would have tossed in, just by the way, that Chavez must be an anti-Semite, too.

But he wasn't smooth ... and he showed the "oil" card right away, too.

It would be a mistake, though, to assume that Mr. Robertson is a painful embarrassment to the evangelical wing of the War Party. He serves a useful purpose for them. Mr. Robertson has voluntarily used himself to define the fringe, the extreme, the lunatic bleeding edge of the pro-war movement. Now all the rest of the neocon chorus can shelter in his lee, so to speak. Just by observing a few more of the proprieties, they can advocate substantially the same kinds of things, without being identified as crazies. We'll all know what a crazy is: that guy on "The 666 Club."

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