and conversely, dictators are only bad if they’re hostile to your interests.
These basic principles of The Real Politik as we all know it, was confirmed again today when Pat Robertson, leader of the Christian Coalition of America said,
You know, I don’t know about this doctrine of assassination, but if [Chavez] thinks we’re trying to assassinate him, I think that we really ought to go ahead and do it.
“It’s a whole lot cheaper than starting a war … and I don’t think any oil shipments will stop.”
There you have it folks, proof in the most direct of ways that it’s not about democracy, it’s about influence and resources.
Of course, the US Government has forcefully distanced itself, from Mr. Robertsons’ comments.
But stupidity and running-off-at-the-mouth aside, what Robertsons’ words and his own position of power as founder of one of the largest grassroots political lobby groups in the country shows is just how much influence the Christian Right have in Washington.
From Right Wing Watch:
The coalition is credited with helping Bush win the South Carolina presidential primary through their strong get-out-the-vote activities. During the 2000 election Pat Robertson taped a telephone message criticizing presidential candidate John McCain on the eve of the February Michigan primary.
The Christian Coalition’s annual conference, “Road to Victory,” has been a veritable who’s who in right-wing and mainstream conservative circles, in 2000 their list of speakers included: Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott, House Majority Leader Dick Armey, House Speaker Dennis Hastert, Majority Whip Tom DeLay, Rev. Jerry Falwell, RNC chairman Jim Nicholson, and then-presidential candidate George W. Bush via videotape.
The Christian Coalition’s principal “contribution” to electoral politics is the distribution of election-eve voters guides. Nominally nonpartisan but plainly directive, the guides outline the candidates’ positions on a variety of issues. The Coalition’s descriptions, however, are often manipulative. They describe a supporter of the National Endowment for the Arts, for example, as an proponent of “tax-funded obscene art.” Many candidates refuse to respond to the questionnaires for fear of distortion, however the group filled it in for them by reviewing voting records. These “non-partisan” voter guides eventually led to the group losing its tax-exempt status. The Federal Election Commission’s charged that the Christian Coalition endorsed Republican candidates with its voter guides in the 1990 and 1992 elections and illegally coordinated its activities with the Bush reelection campaign.
So while Robertsons’ comments are obviously “out of line” and extreme it is clear that the Bush Administration wants, needs, and works hard for the support of this group and thus implicitly agrees with it’s stance on various issues.
The disturbing aspect of these comments then is not the comments itself but rather the fact that once the initial controversy goes away it will be business as usual and this Coalition will continue to exert its’ considerable influence on Congress and the Administration and these policies of influence before democracy will continue.
I will add, also that this is likely the end scenario that I see for Iraq. The war was, of course, not about bringing democracy to Iraq, if it were, then a plan would have been in place to secure that outcome, rather it was a resource grab. A neo-empirical march to the Middle East to grab the cheapest oil still available… and if Iraqis managed somehow to come out of it with a democracy than that’s great. But if they don’t, hopefully the US would have a few bases in-country to ensure a friendly regime and continued oil exports.
Unfortuantely for the US pretty much every aspect of that plan is going down the tubes in large part because it was so simplistic and half baked in the first place. And in that, Robertson is probably right, they should have just unofficially sent some terrorist (ie. CIA operative) in and assassinated Hussein and hoped for the best because at least then they wouldn’t be embroiled in a never ending insurgency… but dammit… those darn laws and Executive Orders get in the way. As did the incompetence of the CIA itself which apparently couldn’t tell the difference between Yellow Cake and their own mothers Bundt if they took a bite of it themselves.