Books, Pop Culture and Political Humor from J.D. Rhoades, best-selling author, attorney, and award-winning newspaper columnist.
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The Culture War is over. The Republicans lost. Hey, don't take my word for it. I found out when I read about an interview given last week by one Dave Kochel, a former adviser to the campaign of a guy named Mitt Romney. (Remember Mitt Romney? I hear he ran for President once.)
Kochel gave an interview on a TV station in his home state of Iowa, in which he mentioned, as many others have, the "demographic shift" in the country and how younger voters want to move away from "the arguments we've been having" on the culture wars, which "the Republicans largely lost."
He described a growing number of Republicans, including former RNC Chairman and George W. Bush adviser Ken Mehlman, who are openly advocating marriage equality for gays and lesbians. Kochel also mentioned that for his children's generation, issues such as abortion and birth control are "largely settled," and not in a way that would make Rick Santorum happy.
He wound up by observing that he hears "a lot of conversation off the record, people talking about how they'd like to move on past some of these old fights we've been having, and can't talk about it."
It should be remembered that Kochel, according to his company's website, is the guy who advised Lord Mitt, the Earl of Romney, in "Iowa, Colorado, Nevada, and nationally" - all arenas in which His Lordship lost.
But don't take just his word for it either. The Boy Scouts of America abruptly announced that they're reconsidering their ban on gay members and leaders; the Defense Department finally lifted the ban on women in combat; and right wing poster girl and Culture Warrior Queen Sarah Palin got ignominiously dropped by Faux News.
Oh, and Jim Nabors, Mayberry's very own Gomer Pyle, married his male partner after 38 years.
On other fronts as well, the storm troops of the far right have begun to abandon the redoubts they once vowed to defend.
Republican and Democratic leaders got together on an immigration reform proposal that included a "path to citizenship" for the undocumented, something that was once as unthinkable to a right wing Culture Warrior as surrender would have been to a World War II-era Japanese soldier.
The House, as noted last week, passed a bill raising the debt ceiling without the spending cuts the Teahadists once claimed were the hill they'd chosen to die on (and take the U.S. economy with them) rather than surrender. Across this great land of ours, there are signs that we may be seeing The Twilight of the Wingnuts.
Now, I don't expect the most fanatical Culture Warriors to throw down their arms and greet the victors with flowers. It would take a complete chump to believe a war would end like that. I expect that there'll be some diehards and dead-enders who'll take to the hills in a sort of insurgency.
They'll probably engage in a few acts of political hostage-taking and terrorism by threatening to blow things up if they don't get their way. Metaphorically speaking, of course. At least I hope so.
And I know that for the next few years, we'll be finding islands with holdouts who refuse to admit that the war is over. In fact, I suspect we may be living on one such island right now here in North Carolina.
But demographics are inexorable. In 1992, Pat Buchanan rose from the ashes of his own defeated presidential campaign and declared the Culture War - in a speech, it should be noted, that helped move me from a moderate seriously considering voting for Bush the Elder into a confirmed Clinton liberal. But Buchanan is 74 now and finding it harder to find a network who'll let him on.
His sister Bay, also once an ubiquitous right wing pundit, has reportedly given up the fight and gotten her real estate license.
Most of the formerly reliable foot soldiers of the Culture War are getting pretty long in the tooth. South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, who's only crazy about 85 percent of the time, called it while in a lucid interval: "We're not generating enough angry white guys to stay in business over the long term."
So the signs give me hope that the Teahadists of the Rabid Right will continue their long decline, their Wingnutdammerung, if you will, and the Republican Party can free itself from their tyranny. Then maybe we can start having some rational debates over issues in this country.
There won't be as much material for mockery, but it's a small price to pay.