It Was Obvious When You Think About It


From Palm Springs Life:

Rancho Mirage May Become Home to President Obama

Reports say Thunderbird Heights house is about to close escrow

The Palm Springs area may once again become the home of a U.S. president.

Reports from several media outlets, including the Los Angeles Times, have indicated President Barack Obama will soon close on a Rancho Mirage house in the exclusive Thunderbird Heights community.

Obama has been to the Palm Springs area three times in the past year, including two visits to Sunnylands. Their most recent stay was in Thunderbird Heights over Father’s Day weekend when the President played golf.


The house was listed in the magazine at $4.5 million and reports say the president will pay $4.25 million.

Thunderbird Heights is where Hollywood icons Bob Hope, Bing Crosby, and Frank Sinatra once owned homes.

The house is part of a 3.29-acre estate. The 6,100 square foot main home has four bedrooms and 4.5 baths, and there is an additional 2,000 square foot casita with three bedrooms, three baths.

It was obvious when you think about it. Barry and Mo weren’t going back to Chicago. They don’t even go back to visit that dreary place. Hawaii might be a nice place to visit, but it is too isolated.

Palm Springs has three of Barry’s four favorite things: golf courses, rich people and celebrities. He’ll have to get used to doing without adoring crowds after he leaves the White House, but that would be true no matter where he moves. Besides, he doesn’t really like mingling with the hoi polloi, he just likes hearing them chant his name.

In Palm Springs Barry can golf every single day. It’s close enough to Lost Angeles that his Hollywood pals can come visit, and if the stores in Palm Springs don’t have what Michelle wants she can pop over to Rodeo Drive for a little shopping spree.

I’m sure that Barry’s Greenie followers will be impressed with his new estate in a man-made oasis located in the middle of a desert.

The best part will be the little cottage out back where they can keep Michelle’s mom! The price seems kinda low, though. $4.25 million in California is practically a fixer-upper.

Check out the realtor’s ad:

Posted in Barack Obama, Worst President Ever! | Tagged , | 97 Comments

POTUS Is Too Big To Fail


Chris “Mad Bitch Beer” Sleaza at WaPo:

It’s virtually impossible to be a successful modern president

Being president is the most powerful job in the world. At which you will almost certainly fail.

Why? For lots of reasons up to and including:

* The decline of the bully pulpit as a persuasion mechanism

* The deep partisanship present not only in Congress but also in the electorate more broadly

* The splintering of the mainstream media/the rise of social media.

Take the last 96 hours (or so) of the Obama presidency as illustrative of the broader impossibility of being president.

On Thursday, in the immediate aftermath of the Malaysia Airlines plane being shot down over Ukraine, President Obama delivered a cautious statement mourning the tragedy and promising he would get to the bottom of the situation. Conservatives immediately criticized that statement as insufficiently strong, comparing it unfavorably to how President Reagan handled a similar situation in 1983. (As The Fix’s Philip Bump explains, the Obama critique is not entirely fair.) Seeking to counter that narrative, Obama delivered another statement on Friday — and took questions from the press. He was far more aggressive in his tone about the possibility of Russian involvement. Over the weekend, the story of Secretary of State John Kerry’s on mic but off camera comments before a Fox News Channel interview drove much of the chatter. On Monday, Obama was back on TV with an even more aggressive stance on Russia — “What exactly are they trying to hide?” he asked about Russian separatists reportedly limiting access to the crash site — while also juggling an executive order banning discrimination based on gender or sexual orientation among federal contractors, hosting a town hall aimed at pushing his “My Brother’s Keeper” initiative and trying to cajole Congress into helping him deal with the ongoing crisis of undocumented children at the country’s southern border. Oh, and he also was trying to walk a fine line between defending Israel’s right to defend itself with somewhat critical comments about the number of Palestinian civilian deaths occasioned by the military operation in Gaza. And, double oh, he and his staff will have to continue to fend off Republican criticism of a three day fundraising tour he leaves on tomorrow — a cash-collection trip that GOPers believe looks unseemly amid the various domestic and international crises happening at the moment.

It’s exhausting to write that paragraph — much less live it. And, it speaks to the impossibility of convincing partisans pre-disposed not to like you or your intentions/methods, the need to be ever-present on every issue and the difficulty of trying to drive home your preferred message of the day, week or year.

All of that is not to excuse President Obama. He has struggled to contain self-inflicted wounds — particularly in his second term — ranging from the IRS scandal to the problems of vets receiving adequate and timely care. His relations with Congress — Democrats included — have never been warm and, as a result, his ability to ask for the benefit of the doubt is non-existent. His underestimation of just how polarized the country and the Congress have become was entirely avoidable; senior members of his inner circle — many of whom came directly from the campaign(s) — were all too aware of that reality. His belief in his own powers of persuasion — to the Congress and the country — were also heavily overrated.

But, it’s hard to see how Obama could be considered “successful” even if he hadn’t made the various mistakes — in governance and the politics of politics — that he did. His presidency began at a time not only of unprecedented polarization in Congress and the country but also at a moment in which a president’s ability to bend the country to his will had reached a low ebb.

There are a number of ways I could respond to this. the first and most obvious is to say “WE TOLD YOU SO!” again. Because we did. The only thing we got wrong about Obama is that he turned out even worse than we predicted. His presidency has truly been epic and historic, but not in a good way.

I could also point to the media’s role in selling a heavily overrated candidate to the American people. If the media had given Obama half the scrutiny that they gave Sarah Palin, Obama would never have been awarded the Democratic nomination. He might not have even made it past Iowa.

On the other hand, Powerline has a pretty good reaction:


Whenever a Democratic president gets into trouble, the predictable chorus starts up: The job of President of the United States is just too difficult for anyone to master.


People stopped saying this about halfway through Reagan’s presidency. Maybe there’s a substantive reason for that. Notice how all the elite complaints about the problems of the presidency always abstract from the substantive views and actions of the occupant. The possibility that maybe we have a crappy president never seems to enter into consideration.

And remember this operating rule: Pay no attention to elite liberals when they trot out their complaints about the inadequacy of our constitutional republic, and their suggestions for reform that always, by some strange coincidence, would increase their influence in the corridors of power.

Modern liberalism’s remedy for any failure of government is always MORE government.

That brings us to the point that I really wanted to make, which is that POTUS has become Too Big To Fail®.

Eisenhower warned us about the military-industrial complex, and he was right. But we also have Big Brother (aka the “national security state”) and Big Sister (aka the “nanny state”) to worry about, along with the regulatory state and the bureaucratic state that is filled with civil service grandees.

But in reality they are one entity known as the Executive Branch. Worst of all, the Executive Branch is run by a single person: POTUS. Very few people are both capable and trustworthy enough to wield that much power and Obama is not one of them.

The American people are partly (if not mostly) to blame for the current situation. We expect POTUS to do way too much. Unfortunately we have also given him too much power. We need to take some of that power away from POTUS and give it back to Congress and the states. Some of it we should take back from government entirely.

We need to return to the concept of divided government, federalism and limited powers. The problem is that long ago we allowed the camel to stick its nose in our tent. Now we have a big smelly camel in the middle of our tent and he doesn’t want to leave.


Posted in Barack Obama, Klown Musings, Worst President Ever! | Tagged , , | 77 Comments

Are Secular Liberals Religious Fanatics?


WMCB has been talking about this:

How liberalism became an intolerant dogma

At the risk of sounding like Paul Krugman — who returns to a handful of cherished topics over and over again in his New York Times column — I want to revisit one of my hobby horses, which I most recently raised in my discussion of Hobby Lobby.

My own cherished topic is this: Liberalism’s decline from a political philosophy of pluralism into a rigidly intolerant dogma.

The decline is especially pronounced on a range of issues wrapped up with religion and sex. For a time, electoral self-interest kept these intolerant tendencies in check, since the strongly liberal position on social issues was clearly a minority view. But the cultural shift during the Obama years that has led a majority of Americans to support gay marriage seems to have opened the floodgates to an ugly triumphalism on the left.

The result is a dogmatic form of liberalism that threatens to poison American civic life for the foreseeable future. Conservative Reihan Salam describes it, only somewhat hyperbolically, as a form of “weaponized secularism.”


From the dawn of the modern age, religious thinkers have warned that, strictly speaking, secular politics is impossible — that without the transcendent foundation of Judeo-Christian monotheism to limit the political sphere, ostensibly secular citizens would begin to invest political ideas and ideologies with transcendent, theological meaning.

Put somewhat differently: Human beings will be religious one way or another. Either they will be religious about religious things, or they will be religious about political things.

With traditional faith in rapid retreat over the past decade, liberals have begun to grow increasingly religious about their own liberalism, which they are treating as a comprehensive view of reality and the human good.

They aren’t just getting religious, they are getting downright fanatical. As with all religions, the fundamental beliefs of modern liberalism look ridiculous to outsiders. But that doesn’t matter to liberals because THEY believe it.

Obamanism is just one sub-sect of liberalism, with Obama as prophet. His first campaign sure didn’t lack for religious imagery, did it?

“A confidence man knows he’s lying; that limits his scope. But a successful shaman believes what he says — and belief is contagious; there is no limit to his scope.” – Robert A. Heinlein, Stranger in a Strange Land

Obama messiah

Posted in Klown Musings, Koolaid is a Helluva Drug | Tagged , | 104 Comments

The Nutroots Troll Themselves

Apparently the past few days there was a meeting in Detroit. It was the annual gathering of the progressive blogosphere, also known as Nutroots Nation. (It started off as “YearlyKos” but they changed the name a few years ago.)

Conservative bloggers took the opportunity to put on a seminar in trolling. They trolled the hashtag #NN14 so well that many of the Nutroots didn’t even realize they were being mocked. The blogger known as redsteeze earned his greasepaint and horn with some epic clowning.

Not to be outdone, the Nutroots finished their three day event by trolling themselves at an afterparty:

These are apparently the rape culture lyrics they were referring to:

One thing I ask of you
Let me be the one you back that ass to
Go, from Malibu, to Paris, boo
Yeah, I had a bitch, but she ain’t bad as you
So hit me up when you pass through
I’ll give you something big enough to tear your ass in two
Swag on, even when you dress casual
I mean it’s almost unbearable
In a hundred years not dare, would I
Pull a Pharside let you pass me by
Nothing like your last guy, he too square for you
He don’t smack that ass and pull your hair like that
So I just watch and wait for you to salute
But you didn’t pick
Not many women can refuse this pimpin’
I’m a nice guy, but don’t get it if you get with me

The progressive puritans are now freaking out over the lyrics in naughty pop songs. It just doesn’t get any funnier than that.

Or maybe it does:

Now this is intentionally funny:

Posted in Nutroots Nation | Tagged | 124 Comments

Are You Ready for Warren?

Elizabeth Warren

On the weekends I like to do goofy and whimsical posts.

Elizabeth Warren’s 11 Commandments of Progressivism

Watch Elizabeth Warren give a speech to her fold, and you realize she’s one of the rare Democrats who can excite her base in the same way Ted Cruz or Dr. Ben Carson can excite their own. As Politico’s Katie Glueck wrote on Friday, liberals’ minds may be with Hillary Clinton, but their hearts lie with Warren.

Speaking on Friday at Netroots Nation, a convention for liberal bloggers and activists, Warren got the crowd more fired up than Vice President Joe Biden was able to do the day before. (To be fair, the crowd was in a solemn mood at the time in reaction to the news of the Malaysian passenger plane crash). In her speech, Warren outlined more clearly than other Democrats the social issues that galvanize progressives. Her performance was reminiscent of a certain other young senator in 2008.

“What are our values?” Warren asked the audience, some of whom held up “Run Liz Run” signs. “What does it mean to be a progressive?”

She went on to outline 11 tenets of progressivism:

- “We believe that Wall Street needs stronger rules and tougher enforcement, and we’re willing to fight for it.”

- “We believe in science, and that means that we have a responsibility to protect this Earth.”

- “We believe that the Internet shouldn’t be rigged to benefit big corporations, and that means real net neutrality.”

- “We believe that no one should work full-time and still live in poverty, and that means raising the minimum wage.”

- “We believe that fast-food workers deserve a livable wage, and that means that when they take to the picket line, we are proud to fight alongside them.”

- “We believe that students are entitled to get an education without being crushed by debt.”

- “We believe that after a lifetime of work, people are entitled to retire with dignity, and that means protecting Social Security, Medicare, and pensions.”

- “We believe—I can’t believe I have to say this in 2014—we believe in equal pay for equal work.”

- “We believe that equal means equal, and that’s true in marriage, it’s true in the workplace, it’s true in all of America.”

- “We believe that immigration has made this country strong and vibrant, and that means reform.”

- “And we believe that corporations are not people, that women have a right to their bodies. We will overturn Hobby Lobby and we will fight for it. We will fight for it!”

And the main tenet of conservatives’ philosophy, according to Warren? “I got mine. The rest of you are on your own.”

When I first saw the title of that article I clicked on it thinking I would see Elizabeth Warren layout the fundamentals of progressive ideology. All I found was some vague ideals and policy positions.

I agree with some of what she said. I believe that Wall Street needs stronger rules and tougher enforcement, and I believe in science too. I support equality. Is there anybody who doesn’t work on Wall Street who opposes regulating bankers and the stock market? Who is against science?

We need regulations that deter crooks without strangling honest bankers and brokers. We need scientists who don’t have a political agenda. We need to understand that you can’t legislate prosperity for everyone.

From what I’ve been reading, the Progs are eating this shit up with a spoon, just like they did six years ago. Well, not just like six years ago, but close. Elizabeth Warren doesn’t have the same cool image that Obama had. She’s more like John Edwards, without the mistress.

But she isn’t Hillary, and that’s important.

Have a super Caturday!


Posted in 2016 Elections, Elizabeth Warren, Hillary Clinton | Tagged , | 155 Comments

The Clothes Have No Emperor

Clint Eastwood talks to POTUS

Clint Eastwood talks to POTUS

The word that comes to mind is “surreal”:

President Barack Obama provoked fury in the U.S. on Thursday by casually devoting less than a minute to the deaths of 295 people aboard a Malaysian airliner, as he began an often jokey 16-minute speech about the need to expand America’s transportation infrastructure.


Obama declared in Wilmington, Delaware that ‘it looks like it may be a terrible tragedy,’ but not before enthusiastically declaring that ‘it is wonderful to be back in Delaware.’

‘Before I begin, obviously the world is watching reports of a downed passenger jet near the Russia-Ukraine border. And it looks like it may be a terrible tragedy. Right now we’re working to determine whether there were American citizens on board. That is our first priority.’

‘And I’ve directed my national security team to stay in close contact with the Ukrainian governemnt. The United States will offer any assistance we can to help determine what happened and why. And as a country, our thoughts and prayers are with all the families and passengers, wherever they call home.

Obama then jarringly quickly returned to his prepared remarks.

‘I want to thank Jeremie for that introduction’ he said. ‘Give Jeremie a big round of applause.’

‘It is great to be in the state that gave us Joe Biden. We’ve got actually some better-looking Bidens with us here today. We’ve got Beau and his wife, Hallie, are here. Give them a big round of applause. We love them.’

Obama also acknowledged the presence of Treasury Secretary Jack Lew with a joke.

‘Jack Lew’s signature is actually on your money,’ he said, ‘although it’s kind of illegible. We teased him when he first became treasury secretary that he was going to have to fix his signature a little bit because it looked just like a caterpillar running along the bottom.’

From there he launched into a 16-minute speech about transportation projects he wants Republicans to fund, complaining bitterly about their objections to his end-runs around the federal legislature.

‘When I have a chance to help communities like Wilmington, I’m going to do it,’ he said, as cable news networks focused on the lives lost in Eastern Ukraine.

‘That’s when my administration takes these executive actions, when Congress won’t act. And so far, the only response we’ve gotten from the Republicans is a lawsuit. They’re suing me for doing my job, instead of going ahead and doing their job.’

‘That’s disappointing,’ Obama said. ‘It’s a political stunt.’


Obama finished his speech by saying ‘Let’s build some bridges. Let’s build some roads. God bless America.’


The president’s next stop after Wilmington was New York City, where he headlines a Democratic Party fundraiser Thursday evening. Tickets for the cozy event go for as much as $32,400.

I don’t think that Obama provoked fury yesterday. The reactions I saw were incredulous and disgusted, but I don’t recall anyone being angry. From what I understand (I didn’t watch so I’m getting my information second-hand) the various news anchors on all the regular and news networks simply switched away from Obama’s speech when they realized he was just repeating some unimportant policy/campaign talking points.

“It looks like it may be a terrible tragedy.”

By the time Obama spoke it was beyond question that something terrible had taken place. A jetliner full of people had crashed with no survivors. Why it crashed and who (if anyone) was responsible was still undetermined.

“Right now we’re working to determine whether there were American citizens on board. That is our first priority.”

That statement kinda rankles me and I’m an American. If I was a citizen of some other country I probably would be insulted to hear an American president indicate that all that the Americans care about is other Americans. That may be equally true of all countries but it sure seems like a pretty insensitive thing to say at a time like that.

Before he gave that speech, Obama had a photo-op lunch at the Charcoal Pit in Wilmington, Delaware. He ordered the “Pit Special” which is a cheeseburger with fries. (He ordered it medium well.) With the media watching and waiting for a reaction to the plane crash in Ukraine, Obama’s only comment was “I’m starving” before he sat down to eat.

After the speech, Obama left for New York City where he attended not one but TWO fundraisers.

By the way – the plane crash in Ukraine was not the only crisis yesterday. The ground war in Gaza started too. On most days that would have been the big story, but it was pushed into second place behind the plane crash.

Some presidents might have interrupted their planned schedules in order to return to the White House, but not Barack Obama. So what big things does he have planned for tomorrow?

9:30 am || Receives the Presidential Daily Briefing
1:30 pm || Meets with Treasury Secretary Lew
1:45 pm || Meets with Lew and Secretary of State Kerry
4:20 pm || Meets with HHS Secretary Burwell
5:40 pm || Departs the White House for Camp David

It’s a safe bet will play at least one round of golf this weekend. Obama has a two week vacation scheduled next month that he needs to rest up for.

Seriously though, this is getting scary. I have never seen a president that was this deep in denial. He just goes about his daily routines as if the whole world was not on fire. He is Barack Obama – Queen of Denial.

The problem is we need somebody to be president for two and a half more years. I can’t believe I am saying this, but even Joe Biden is starting to look good by comparison.

bear is loose 4

Posted in Barack Obama, Worst President Ever! | Tagged , | 139 Comments

More Issues Than National Geographic


Checking in with an old friend:

Salvage is the story of Parastrata Ava, a “so-girl” on a deep space merchant ship who commits an unpardonable sin. A so-girl is something like an assistant manager but in this case, Ava can only manage other women. That’s because the deep space merchant ships have been in operation for so long that each one of them has become its own little polygamous tribe. Think of it like a cross between the Taliban and the FLDS church traveling the Silk Roads of the galaxy. Every now and again, two merchant ships will dock at a space station above Earth for some genetic swapping, er, marriages. This involves sending some young 16 year old girl as a bride to the other ship. She has no idea who she is going to marry or whether she will be a first, second or fifth wife of her husband. There’s no choice in the matter and she’s not supposed to ask questions. Virginity is highly prized and, as you can imagine, sometimes these weddings go disastrously wrong. Without giving too much of the plot away, this is what happens to Ava and she is forced to flee the space station or face an honor killing via the airlock.

In spite of the fact that Ava has never been on earth before and has no cardiovascular conditioning, she manages to survive her abrupt introduction to gravity. Ava’s story starts to resemble many hero narratives complete with a wise guide character who teaches her some basics and then dies tragically, leaving her to figure the rest out for herself. Ava has been raised in a fundamentalist religious society but it’s remarkable how quickly she manages to discard all of that indoctrination. I think it’s the fact that she is forced to survive on her own that makes it so easy for her to see how useless the religious dogma is to her new circumstances.

One such revelation occurs when she tells a young earth friend one of the foundation myths of her ship. It’s about a ship on a voyage that was trying to hide from a marauding ship in the vicinity. One of the women was singing and the men on the ship told her to shut up or she would attract the attention of the pirates. But the woman said that was nonsense and kept singing. Sure enough, the pirate ship found them and havoc ensued. And that’s why women on deep space vessels were forbidden from singing on penalty of death! Ava believes this story like it’s Eve’s curse until her young friend points out that her science book says that sound doesn’t carry in space. Then it dawns on Ava that the myth was just another clever way to blame women for everything and keep them in their place.

It also dawned on me that there are a lot of silly myths that women are supposed to swallow without question even today that are intended to keep them in their place. The Genesis creation story is just one. The biblical obsession with virginity is another. Maybe 3000 years ago it was important for inheritance rights, because, after all, you could only be sure of who your mother was back then and even up until blood typing, you could never be 100% sure who your father was. But in the 21st century, we have genetic testing to keep everyone honest. The notions that a woman must guard her virginity or be considered worthless coupled with all of the societal baggage that goes with being a female just seems antiquated in the light of new technology and contraceptives. It does make you wonder who it is that fundamentalism is trying to protect. It also makes me cringe when I see even women on the left who claim to be feminists consistently deferring to men, ignoring their own concerns. The indoctrination is very, very deep.

Anyway, I immediately thought of Jill Duggar, Duggar family valedictorian, now Jill Dillard, when I read this book. As many of you may know, she is the first of the Duggar girls to get married. She and her hubby tied the knot on that non-Christian holiday, Midsummer’s Night Eve, and they saved their first kiss for the altar. A lot of people think that’s correct and virginal and special but I think that saving such an intimate thing as a kiss for a spectacle in a church full of a 1000 people who all but “hubba-hubba!” and cat-call in the pews, is a bit on the obscene side and looks like a violation of their privacy. Rather than looking uber Christian and sacred, it reminds me of something pagan, barbaric and tribal.
Yeah, I think the so-called Christians out there should know what some of us see during these Quiverfull weddings. We have a completely different interpretation of what we are witnessing and it’s vaguely horrifying, not spiritual. What did we miss? The parading of the blood stained sheets the next morning? Was there a contract to return the bride to Jim-Bob if Jill’s hymen turned out to be too easily ruptured? Why not actually watch to make sure the marriage is consummated like royals did thousands of years ago? These people are way too involved in their children’s private lives. A Duggar wedding, while preceded by a chaste courtship that’s supposed to be all about getting to know your future spouse’s character, turns out to be focused almost entirely on sex and not companionship. It seems strange and the reverse of what most everyone we know does these days. We know that when it comes to relationships, the thrill is gone all too quickly and it’s only when you decide there are other things to keep you together that you get married. That’s the sacred that the Duggars seem to miss. And it’s not like the Quiverfull movement doesn’t have it’s share of miserable marriages and those that end in divorce. Vyckie Garrison of No Longer Quivering is a testament to the failure of these unions and the destruction they wreck on the young people forced into them.

This isn’t the first time that our old friend has mentioned the Duggar family. I know this is true because the first time I ever heard of the Duggars was in one of her posts way back when TC was one big happy dysfunctional family.

In case (like me) you didn’t know, the Duggars star in a reality television show on TLC:

19 Kids and Counting (formerly 17 Kids and Counting and 18 Kids and Counting), rendered graphically as 19 Kids & Counting in its onscreen logo, is an American reality television show on TLC. The show is about the Duggar family, which consists of parents Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar and their 19 children—nine girls and ten boys (including two sets of twins), all of whose names begin with the letter “J”. The series began on September 29, 2008.

I honestly can’t remember the last time I watched a show on TLC. But who would want to watch a silly show like that?

It’s no surprise that the Duggar family is critically important to TLC. The long-running hit show “19 Kids and Counting” attracts millions of viewers every week — and by extension, millions of ad dollars — and has already spawned one spin-off.

And as the series debuted a new special on Tuesday night (“A Duggar Leaves Home,” in which Amy Duggar goes to Nashville to pursue her singing dreams), it’s very clear: The Duggars — parents Jim Bob and Michelle and their dozens of kids, grandkids, aunts, uncles and cousins — have quietly become one of the most powerful families on reality TV.

We mean this in the “under-the-radar” sense of the word “quiet. (With 19 kids and multiple grandchildren, the Duggars don’t really do anything without a lot of noise.)

While the unusual family gets its fair share of tabloid coverage, it’s not nearly as much as, for example, the Robertsons on “Duck Dynasty.” Plus, the antics of the Arkansas-based Duggar clan can’t begin to compete with, say, the Kardashians. The Duggars are deeply conservative, religious people who don’t kiss before marriage. The Kardashians … do other things.

Still, “19 Kids and Counting” has developed an extremely devoted fan base over the many years on the air: It started in 2008 on TLC as “17 Kids and Counting.” The series was in the Top 15 of cable shows across television last week, regularly tapping into key demographics.

I think I’m beginning to understand why our old friend has a problem with the Duggars. She has more issues than National Geographic, and many of them have to do with a certain religion. Let’s see what someone who is a little less biased against religion thinks.

Take it away, Amanda Marcotte:

Sex Scandal Rocks the Duggars’ Christian Patriarchy Movement

The far-right Christian Patriarchy—brought to American audiences by the Duggar family—is on the verge of collapse after a series of alleged sex scandals involving the movement’s leaders.

Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar have put many years and a lot of work into putting a smiling, nearly normal-seeming face on the extreme Christian right. The couple adheres to a fringe strain of fundamentalist Christianity dubbed the “Christian patriarchy” or sometimes the “Quiverfull” movement, and while there is a lot of internal diversity to the movement, they generally preach a combination of beliefs that run counter to mainstream America: absolute female submission, a ban on dating, homeschooling, a rejection of higher education for women, and shunning of contraception in favor of trying to have as many children as humanly possible. The movement is controversial even within Christian right circles, but the Duggars have tried to counter that with their popular reality TV show 19 Kids & Counting, where they present themselves as a wholesome everyday family that just happens to be a little more fecund and conservative than average.

The strategy has been surprisingly effective, with Michelle Duggar being able to act like she’s just like any other reality TV star, giving sex tips and sharing recipes. Jim Bob has also been able to turn their fame into an opportunity to get political power, chumming around with presidential candidates and speaking at more mainstream conservative events. While many in the Christian right are still skeptical of Biblical patriarchy’s extremism, this charm offensive has clearly softened up resistance and is giving this fringe an ability to throw their political weight around. The fact that Republicans have started to step up the anti-contraception rhetoric lately appears, in part, to be the result of this tiny group of extremists Christians putting a smiley face on absolutist anti-contraception sentiments.

But right as the Duggars are beginning to cash in on all this hard propaganda work, it seems the world they come from—the tiny but growing world of strict Biblical patriarchy—is in real danger of collapsing. While adherents to this form of Christianity, like the Duggars, like to paint an uber-wholesome face on their families and beliefs, ugly truths are finally starting to leak out regarding the problems of infidelity and alleged sexual abuse in the community.

The latest scandal is a doozy. Back in November 2013, Doug Phillips, who, in his capacity as the president of Vision Forum Ministries, is probably the most important leader in the world of Biblical patriarchy, confessed to cheating on his wife and resigned as president of his ministry. “I engaged in a lengthy, inappropriate relationship with a woman,” he wrote. “While we did not ‘know’ each other in a Biblical sense, it was nevertheless inappropriately romantic and affectionate.” Shortly after his confession, Vision Forum Ministries closed up shop, unable to continue with the stink of sex scandal upon them.

It’s hard to underestimate the importance of Phillips in the small world of extreme fundamentalists. His father is one of the most critical founding fathers of the Christian right movement generally, and Doug extended his work by largely building this culture of the far Christian right as we know it, especially if you watch 19 Kids & Counting. The Duggar family are friends and acolytes of Phillips, and Vision Forum, in turn, has used Michelle Duggar in their efforts to demonize contraception, including giving her an award for “Mother of the Year” for having so many children.

Okay, I was making a funny when I said Amanda Marcotte is less biased against religion. Anybody who knows anything about her knows she foams at the mouth at the mere mention of Christianity.

There is a deep gulf between the progressive left and the religious right in this country. Having spent some time in both camps I have come to realize that the hysterical hatred for fundamentalist Christians is really misplaced. They are not evil.

The Duggars’ religious beliefs and lifestyle is not my cup of tea, but that doesn’t make them wrong. They don’t seem to be hurting anybody. They may seem weird to most of us, but they also appear to be happy and successful. Like the Romneys, they probably would make good neighbors.

Frankly, if I had to choose between nanny-state socialism and libertarian/capitalist Christianity I would take the latter. At least Christians understand forgiveness. If you want to go after an oppressive patriarchal religion that abuses women, start with Islam.

I had more I wanted to say but I’m running late so I’ll stop here.


Posted in Religion | Tagged | 123 Comments