Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Corrections and Additions
Last weekend I wrote about the excellent excerpt from Michelle Goldberg's book Kingdom Coming: The Rise of Christian Nationalism that appeared at Salon. In that post, I was fuzzy on the distinction between Christian Reconstructionists, who'd like to reconfigure all of society on an Old Testament basis, and Dominionists, who don't go as far in advocating things like stoning sinners in the public square. My pal kn, who is reading Goldberg's book, reminded me of the distinction. David Neiwart discussed the distinction at Orcinus yesterday--just what should we call those people? He originally suggested "Christianists," derived from the word "Christianism":
Christianism is a theocratic form of Christianity which is anti-pluralistic, designed to impose conservative Christian beliefs on American society (and eventually the world) through the use of the political system (or sometimes outright force). Christianism is a domestic crusade designed to change the country from the inside into one in which (nominally) Christian beliefs are the guiding societal force.
Implicit in the term is Christianism's status as political ideology distinct from religious belief. But he also says "dominionist" is a good choice, and for an interesting reason: People don't know what it means, which requires us to explain it every time we use it. When Mr. and Mrs. All-Christians-Are-The-Same hear what Dominionists stand for, they sit up and say "Well, that's crazy." Which is exactly the reaction we want.

ITMFA: Last week, the Rude Pundit suggested that Democrats should run this fall on the platform that voting Democrat means getting rid of Bush. They ought to come right out and say that if elected, Democrats will impeach him. (And, I would add, see that the bastard is turned over to the International War Crimes Tribunal). This will never happen, of course. But Zachary Roth at Washington Monthly has a less inflammatory suggestion--Repugs are already telling their supporters that if the Democrats take Congress, they'll launch "politically motivated" investigations of everything. The frame is in place, so why not use it? Why not say, "If you vote Democratic, you'll get real Congressional oversight, the way the Constitution intends it?" As Roth notes, the case will have to be skillfully made--and more skillfully than you might imagine, given that the media has already accepted the Repug frame, and that any post-election investigations will be reported as political payback rather than the lawful reassertion of Congressional responsibility.

It can't be done in a timid bleat--but honesty compels me to report that since this is the Democratic Party we're talking about, timid bleating is what we'll probably get. Talking about impeachment, Washington insiders like to put on their frowny faces and say, "Oh, we just had the Clinton impeachment, and the country couldn't stand another one." Nonsense. The Clinton impeachment was a joke--a partisan circus that had very little support outside the Repug base. The crimes of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney make Nixon look like a shoplifter. A worse crime would be letting them get away with it.

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