Guest blogged by Frank Schaeffer
Sarah Palin's memoir is a perfect metaphor for what ails America and the Republican Party. Her book is published by the Zondervan publishing house, formerly an evangelical family-run religious publishing powerhouse now owned by Rupert Murdoch. (Back in the day my family's and many evangelical leader friend's books helped put Zondervan on the map, this was when I was a young religious nut activist in the 70s). Palin's book was ghostwritten by the editor of the far, far loony right fundamentalist World magazine founded by Marvin Olasky (of which more in a moment). The book will get a big boost from ratings-seeking Oprah. Murdoch... Oprah... far right politics... The advance was paid out of the huge profits Murdoch made off Rick-stop-gays-prop-8-Warren's Purpose Driven Life.
The chief characteristic of Palin's book is her trashing of the old cautious and respectable William F. Buckley-style Republican Party in general and John McCain and his campaign in particular, an act of backstabbing right up there with the "Et tu Brute" assassination of Caesar. I should say it is actually the second characteristic, that comes a distant second to the building of a Sarah Palin cult of personality, wherein Jesus and Sarah will "take America back for God."
As a former Republican, religious right activist who saw the light, re-registered as an independent voter and then, in the last election cycle, worked hard to get then Senator Obama elected, and having been one of the instigators of what is now becoming the bomb-throwing wing of the former Republican Party --- now a far right fundamentalist cult --- I understand better than most that Palin's book is her bid to take over the Republican Party, something like Oprah's positioning herself as the doyen of publishing.
It's personality cult time, personality cult with an agenda. The agenda isn't about politics at all. This is about naked power. Welcome to the world of our home grown very own Evita Perón. Welcome to Act II of the American "Reconstructionist" movement to establish a theocracy. The theocrats now have their Joan of Arc...
What is Sarah --- Evita --- Palin/Jesus about? Let's just call her the new face of Lipstick Fascism.
And who is standing between us and Sarah's burning desire to BE somebody? President Obama, that's who.
Problem is President Obama has "friends" who seem more like enemies every day: the impatient juvenile left is already trumpeting his "failure" because he hasn't fixed everything in one whole year!
But back to Palin: If the results in upstate New York are any indication she's all about eliminating the Republican Party to replace it with a disjointed hard right cult of personality/theocracy.
This is the "party" of "Obama must fail" ideology and "Jesus saves!" everyone but gays, blacks and other "Not Real Americans."
Here's a woman whose husband associated closely with the Alaska secessionist party, which itself associates with lunatic fringe secessionist groups and far right militias nationwide. Here's a woman who stabs John McCain in the back, the man who brought this small town mayor and one time Alaska Governor to national prominence. Here's a woman who quit the job of governor to become a full-time rabblerouser in the style of a Munich 1930s of beer hall putsch.
And what's her backing? The Rupert Murdoch/Reconstructionist Empire, the marriage of hard right capitalism with harder right Old Testament would-be theocracy.
Without Fox News she'd be nothing. Without the 5 million Murdoch paid her for her book she'd be stuck scraping by on $100,000 speaking fees. Without the millions of evangelicals who are Fox News' audience Fox would not exist. And who ghosted the book for her?
Lynn Vincent, the features editor of World, a fundamentalist flagship magazine. Vincent also ghost wrote the memoir of Lt. Gen. William G. "Jerry" Boykin, the former head of the Army's Special Forces Command, who believes that his job in the U.S. military was to defeat Satan for the Christian nation of America.
Of our enemies in Somalia, Boykin said, "I knew that my God was bigger than his. I knew that my God was a real God and his was an idol." And why does the world hate us? "We are hated because we are a nation of believers." And how do we defeat terrorism? "[W]e come against them in the name of Jesus."
Vincent has authored several columns bashing gay men and lesbians as "abnormal" and "devian[t]." Vincent laments the American Psychiatric Association's decision to declassify homosexuality as a mental disorder. Vincent also co-authored Donkey Cons: Sex, Crime, and Corruption in the Democratic Party (Nelson Current, 2006) with Robert Stacy McCain, a book that; "documents the tragic story of how the nation's oldest political party has inspired, then cruelly betrayed, the hopes of millions of Americans, including many of our friends and dear members of our own families --- as well as sincere and honest officials within the party itself."
On Page 100, Vincent and McCain wrote:
And what about the founder of World magazine? Marvin Olasky the editor in chief is a far right Reconstructionist who has been working to more or less turn America into a theocracy ever since the late 1980s and early 1990s. The 16-book Turning Point Christian Worldview series was largely funded by far right banker-fortune Howard Ahmanson, Jr.'s Fieldstead Institute, which champions the cause of "total integration of Biblical law into our lives." (Ahmanson once donated 150,000 to one of my far right projects in the early 80s).
Ahmanson funded four of Olasky's 30 books, and Michelle Goldberg, author of the book Kingdom Coming: The Rise of Christian Nationalism, places Olasky in a crucial role to Christian reconstructionism and dominionism, saying "I’m not sure whether he actually identifies himself as a Christian reconstructionist, but he’s very close to Christian reconstructionism."
Olasky --- someone who used to be a big fan of mine and my late father and quoted Dad and me often when I was a religious right leader --- was an adviser on Bush’s first Presidential campaign, influencing Bush and the Republican Party.
Christian Reconstructionism as a movement is something philosophically like Bible-inspired totalitarianism/theocratic neofascism. Karen Armstrong sees this potential for fascism in Christian Reconstructionism, as does Max Blumeanthal. The system of dominion envisaged by Christian Reconstructionist theologians R. J. Rushdoony and Gary North is totalitarian. Many others put my late father in the same camp, though I don't.
So now we have it: a far right operative who --- with the help of a ghost writer who believes that Roosevelt was a secret communist and that gays will burn in Hell --- trashes the Republican Party for her own personality cult agenda, was "blessed" by a preacher who cast out "witches" before she ran for governor, who claims in her book the "God's hand" has been on her "every step in the way", and that she's going to "fulfill" destiny. She's funded directly via the huge advance by Murdoch and is coached by the Olasky/reconstructonist wing of the hard right.
The circle of power, money, loony theology and greed closes. McCain is thrown to the dogs. Oprah cashes in. Welcome to America.
Frank Schaeffer is the author of Crazy for God: How I Grew Up as One of the Elect, Helped Found the Religious Right, and Lived to Take All (or Almost All) of It Back and the forthcoming Patience with God: Faith for People Who Don't Like Religion (or Atheism).