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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

The Post-Holocaust Candidate

I have often written about the twisted religious roots, and the disturbing political implications, of the belief of many leaders of the Cultural Right that the United States of America is a fundamentally evil society thanks to the nefarious (and increasingly imaginary) power of godless, baby-killing, marriage-hating, Christian-persecuting liberals.Well, it looks like these folks may have themselves a candidate for president: Senator Sam Brownback of Kansas, said to be eying a 2008 run.I knew Brownback was a pretty strange dude, and popular on the Cultural Right, and did notice his comments during the stem cell research debate about the “killing of young human beings.” But not until I stumbled on George Will’s puff piece on the Kansan in a recent Newsweek did I know how fully he has internalized the America-as-Nazi-Germany logic of the most serious and extreme anti-abortion advocates.According to Will, Brownback believes the effort to extinguish abortion rights will succeed because:

[T]he youngest voters, ages 18 to 25, are the most pro-life cohort. They were born, he says, when abortion rates were highest, so “many of them feel they’re the survivors of a holocaust: one in four of their compatriots are not here.”

I don’t know where Brownback is getting his polling data on young voters. But aside from that, this little quote indicates exactly what the man thinks of the rest of us who have somehow managed to get through the years since Roe v. Wade without acknowledging we are NARAL’s Willing Executioners.(A footnote to Brownback’s use of Holocaust imagery is that his 1996 Senate campaign was accused, though never with any concrete evidence, of complicity in a whispering campaign about the Judaism of his Democratic opponent Jill Docking).The other thing I quickly learned about Brownback is that he’s a recent convert from Methodism (albeit the George W. Bush-style conservative wing of that denomination) to Catholicism–and not just any old Catholicism, but Opus Dei Catholicism. Yes, like columnist Robert Novak, he entered the Church via the hyper-conservative ministry of D.C.-based Opus Dei priest John McCloskey, a man who believes “liberals” have no place in Christianity, much less Catholicism.So it looks like Brownback is the perfect vehicle for those who believe Christians have a religious obligation to be politically conservative and activist Republicans.One thing is for certain sure: if Brownback emerges as the powerful candidate of the Cultural Right in 2008, two men in particular are going to become even bigger celebrities than they are now: Dan Brown, author of the Opus-Dei-centered novel The Da Vinci Code, and Thomas Frank, the preeminent analyst of the peculiarly virulent strain of Kansas Cultural Conservatism that lifted Brownback to the U.S. Senate.

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