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The right is losing its grip

The bigger they are, the harder they fall. In the last few days before the midterm elections it would seem little else could go wrong for the “moral majority.”

The iron grip on Congress once enjoyed by social conservatives is crumbling before their eyes.

Ohio Republican Bob Ney finally resigned on Friday, seven weeks after pleading guilty to criminal conspiracy charges, prompting a four word response from Ohio Democratic chair Chris Redfern: “Well, it’s about time.”

Ney is the latest in a long line of Republicans leaving their jobs in disgrace.

Last year, Representative Randall “Duke” Cunningham was forced to resign and cried like a little girl while he related how he took bribes from defense contractors in a press conference.

Former majority leader Tom Delay of Texas announced his resignation in April amidst money-laundering charges, hoping his departure would keep his district in Republican hands.

If this weren’t enough, it turns out Republican Congressman Mark Foley was soliciting sex from underage male pages in the halls of Congress.

The Republican leadership is confident that his replacement, Michael “Jacko” Jackson, will restore voters’ confidence in the strong moral values considered central to their 2006 campaign.

Meanwhile, Democrats turn to the comedy stylings of John Kerry in an effort to perpetuate their tradition of losing elections they have all but won.

The scandals, corruption and hypocrisy are, however, not just limited to Republican politicians.

The latest, involving the head of the 35 million-member National Evangelical Association, threatens to destroy conservatism as we know it in the United States.

Reverend Ted Haggard, an outspoken opponent of gay marriage, has admitted to buying methamphetamines from a gay prostitute who claims Haggard used the drugs to enhance the sex they engaged in for three years.

This one has really got to sting for social conservatives everywhere (especially the ones who let Haggard teach their kids in Sunday school) and I am not above rubbing it in.

Amidst the Foley scandal, continuing allegations of priests abusing altar boys, and now this, one has to wonder: How many opponents of homosexual rights have to turn out to be gay before the Christian right decides their efforts are simply not worth the cost?

The forced outing of prominent social conservatives has provoked two very different responses.

On one hand, gay conservatives known as Log Cabin Republicans believe it is now time for “closeted gay conservatives to find the courage and personal strength to stand up and be counted.”

They believe that if the rest of the conservative homosexuals in positions of power make their sexual preferences public, they will finally be welcomed into the fold.

Unfortunately, the Christian right seems to be taking a different tack.

Prominent conservative windbag, Reverend James Dobson, has warned of a coming purge of gay Republican staffers and has questioned whether gays should be allowed in Congress at all.

Immediately after the Mark Foley scandal broke, some anti-Republican gay-rights activists composed a memo containing the names of closeted gay Republican Congressional staffers and sent it to leading Christian-right advocacy groups.

Don Wildmon, chairman of the American Family Association, hopes to use the list to pressure the Republican Party leadership into purging the “subversive” staffers who he believes constitute a secretive gay “clique” responsible for covering up Foley’s interest in underage male pages.

Desperately, the Christian right and their Republican political allies are now attempting to stave off a Democratic takeover of Congress.

Through their obsession with suppressing gay rights, they have planted the seeds of their own destruction.

As conservative control of government has resulted in little more than a catastrophic foreign policy and a crumbling domestic agenda, they are left only with wedge issues they hope will stir the bigots and reactionaries in their base.

Unfortunately for them, some of their most indignant gay-baiters have turned out be closeted homosexuals, and sometimes predatory ones.

While it may be too soon to herald the end of the bitter, divisive politics pursued by the so-called “moral majority,” American conservatism is in hot water.

Send comments to Jon Bosscher at [email protected].

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