Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Eric Ulrich, young, hip GOP douchebag

How not to build a coalition:
"You know, Republicans aren’t all religious fundamentalists from Alabama; some of us are just normal, working-class Catholics from Queens."
-- Eric Ulrich, New York GOP
And Democrats aren't all corrupt socialists from Chicago. (H/T: Clever S. Logan.)

Ulrich touches a sore spot with me. This goes back to Ryan Sager and his 2006 book, Elephant in the Room, which went on and on about a putative GOP rift between evangelical Christians and libertarians. It's a theme that Democrats love, and so Sager got lots of media love, including appearances on Tucker Carlson's MSNBC show and Glenn Beck's CNN show.

When you actually examined Sager's book, however, you discovered that his argument was like the Rio Grande, a mile wide and six inches deep. He tended to treat all pro-lifers and social conservatives as if they were evangelicals -- i.e., conservative Protestants.

In fact, Catholics have always been the backbone of the pro-life movement, as anyone familiar with the movement could tell you. And this was especially true with the Terry Schiavo case, which Sager (and many others) cited as evidence of the undue influence exercised by "the Religious Right" within the GOP. But it was Father Frank Pavone and Priests for Life who led the Schiavo crusade. Terry Schiavo was Catholic, her family was Catholic, and end-of-life issues are part of an elaborately developed Catholic doctrine on the sanctity of human life.

As with the Schiavo case, as with opposition to abortion, so also with opposition to the gay-rights agenda -- the Catholic Church has been firmly on the conservative side, and yet Sager (again, like many others) continue to single out evangelicals when they want to slam "the Religious Right." Why?

It is an appeal to prejudice. It is very easy to win applause from the urban elite by evoking the stereotypical image of the white Southern evangelical -- the bigoted, backwoods Bible-thumping hillbilly holy-roller -- as symbolic of conservative Christianity.

That this stereotype is not even valid for Southern Baptists (whose pastors are trained in seminaries that teach Greek, Hebrew, ancient history and moral philosophy) is beside the point. Pandering to disdain for Southern "rednecks" is always a handy way to ingratiate yourself with the elite, and this is what Sager did with his book.

Ulrich panders to the same prejudice by contrasting himself to "fundamentalists from Alabama." Does he actually know any fundamentalists from Alabama? They're some of the finest people in the world. Beyond the fact that many of my friends and family are Alabama fundamentalists, I spoke to more than 5,000 Alabamians -- fundamentalist and otherwise -- at Tax Day Tea Party rallies in Tuscaloosa and Hoover.

If Eric Ulrich and the New York GOP were half as organized and energized as folks down in Alabama, maybe they wouldn't have lost that NY-20 seat. But if they want to hang their heads shamefully and trash their own party -- "I'm a Republican, but we're really not all bad!" -- we can expect no help from them in the conservative resurgence.


  1. He appears to be "Catholic" by default. Stacy, you undoubtedly know more about Catholicism than he does.

  2. The shame is that Ulrich, perhaps unintentionally, sews division, when the Constitution makes a far better unification point.

  3. Your description of the misguided prejudice against evangelicals as uneducated brought to mind my own family's example. We've had many theological and political debates with a family member who is a "progressive" pastor. Where did he go to seminary? He didn't have to in his liberal denomination which allows pastors with only a bachelor's degree. That's only anecdotal evidence, but I wonder how liberal and conservative denominations compare in the education of their pastors and leaders.

  4. "And Democrats aren't all corrupt socialists from Chicago."

    Are you sure about that

  5. To follow up a a subject you have touched on before, how is it that people like Sager can get the pulpits they do to say the things they say? I read his book (can I get back those hours of my life please?) and I stll cannot believe that a publisher would run with such drivel from an unknown author.

  6. Scott,

    They can't all come from Chicago.

  7. Living in the suburbs of Philadelphia I run into this all the time. Small groups of self-proclaimed "Moderate" Republicans who speak of 3/4 of the party (pro-lifers) as Pennsyltuckians.

    They talk openly that if they could only get rid of the religious nuts the Republicans would never lose.

    I'm pretty sure I'll be seeing them soon pushing their "Arlen Specter" buttons. I'll politely decline. Or maybe not so politely.

  8. Spot on as usual R. S.! Oh, remember all we were promised here in California with Gov. Benedict Arnold. Yea, the GOP is really in a growth cycle here! Thanks for nothing Gov. Benedict Arnold!

  9. I have a modest proposal: social conservatives sit out the 2010 cycle, at least as far as fundraising and party support activities for the GOP.

    And let the hip moderate douchebags man the phone banks (like I did for McCain/Palin), canvas voters and drive people to the polls on election day.

    In the words of one of the overrated douchebag films of our time:

    "How do you like them apples?"

  10. These attempts to wedge various conservative and Republican factions apart and create imagined dichotomies are based on some serious falsehoods.

    While many Catholics have been suckered in on "social justice" issues and are in many ways fiscal liberals. They are staunchest on those issues for which evangelicals are deemed "intolerant." Marriage, right to life, contraception even, are rock solid Catholic issues. I suppose they get a pass on them for having so many redistributionists in the ranks.

    This is the usual liberal pack at work. Divide the opposition on liberal terms and then attack each independently. Because the pass that Catholics get for opposing the death penalty will disappear the moment they are separated from other Christian denominations.

    Christians must stick together, we have more in common than what divides us.

  11. This southern boy broke out his elephant gun to do some RINO hunting on Ulrich.

  12. Are Catholics only political props for you? Why do you slam them for shallow as and unbiblical in your attack on Bill Maher?

  13. Sydney, leave it alone. What Stacy doesn't get about transsubstantiation is that for Catholics, this physical world is a world of illusion where we see as through a glass, darkly, and that when Paul says that Christ emptied himself to become flesh, he points to the fact that the spiritual and true world is in fact not ethereal, but supersensual. In other words, this ontology that represents material as concretely extant is specious, and that only by virtue of the Divine irrupting into our world can we partake in Actual Being.

    Moreover, you'll notice that he employs smitty, who's pretty darned Catholic.

  14. Okay listen. As a 20 year old college student at a liberal elite university in New England as well as a conservative, I constantly find myself trying to account for the bad side of the Republican Party. The reason the GOP sucks is because it is affiliated with this whole morality and family values thing. It's a direct contradiction. We don't want gov't to interfere with us, yet we want it to tell us who we can marry and when we can cut someone off from life support?? This author needs to stop bashing Ulrich because the sooner the GOP gets away from the religious right, the better. Yes it's easy to pick on southern rednecks, but a lot of it is necessary. Get these bible thumpers some education, and explain to them what small gov't, libertarianism infused conservatism is and then close down their Jesus camps. Religion is an opiate for the masses. Stop forcing it on this party, this country, and this gov't.

  15. People like him irritate me. I am in my mid 30's. My home state is Illinois. I am a military wife and evangelical Christian. I don't fit into any of his "stereotypes." It is bad enough we have to deal with elitist scum categorizing us in the democratic party, but now we have to deal with these "young, celebrated up-in-comers" in our own party who sell out to get their name in the newspaper. Conservatives they are not.

  16. CJ has it right, many of the things espoused by the so-called religious right are anathema to conservative values of not only smaller government but hands-off government. Far too many conservatives are hypocrites who demand the government stay out of their lives except for their touchstone morality issues where they want government to not just be involved, but involved in ways and to an extent that fascists would be proud of.

  17. If there's one thing we need LESS of, it's "young and hip." We have a boy-president who's "remaking" the greatest nation in the world into his own vision of Communism done "the right way."

    We need a new Reagan, not another smarmy frat boy who thinks he's smarter than everyone else in the room.

  18. CJ,
    'close down their Jesus camps'...you sound pretty totalitarian there.

    I admit I'm not as formally educated as I'd like. Which means I'm equivalent to you, and I've gotten a ton of study as an autodidact, and I've probably forgotten more than you know.

    But I could send a close friend with three doctorates to say the same message to you.

    But you wouldn't listen because its not about the education you claim to respect. Its about you making up an insult to the message you don't like.

    This McCain is quite right, and the other McCain, the one that ran as a RINO for President just demonstrated as conclusively as such things can be shown that RINOism is Failure.

    I suspect you're a troll because I hate to think such cavalier disregard for reality was your default position.

  19. Cj:
    You said: when we can cut someone off from life support

    Tell me when did we give the goverment the power to decide who is worthy of life and who isn't? Dred Scott said that slaves weren't "persons". So does Roe v. Wade. Nothing to do with Religion- It has to do with the Constitution.
    Also, The family values crowd has been fighting against the tide and the slippery slope that everyone says isn't coming.

    After the woman in Florida was taken off of life support, a man in Oregon was told his medical care was too expensive, but that they would pay for his assisted suicide.

    After Lawrence v. Texas was taken by SCOTUS, everyone made fun of conservatives who said next came gay marriage. 3 months later Massachusetts legalized it THROUGH THE COURTS not the legislature. Then a father was arrested in a school meeting, because he didn't wanted his children taught about homosexual marriage. A court in Massachusetts ruled it was not his right as a parent to opt out of this teaching. The Catholic Church in Massachusetts got out of the business of adoption after over 100 year, because they refused to adopt to homosexual couples and the state was going to force them due to the new "marriage" laws. It is not the religious right who has been pushing their values on others. It is the religious right who has had their values threatened at every turn.

  20. Your values are dying, and along with them your party. Cling to them at your own risk.

  21. >Your values are dying, and along with them your party. Cling to them at your own risk.

    You see posts like this and it is supposed to be the religious right who is facist and devisive? Who is pushing who out of the Republican tent? I rest my case. It isn't the religious right attacking. They are being attacked.

  22. If there anyone who know the magic of make believe Catholic doctrine better than Father Dan Collins, I have yet to meet him/her. Only Laura Ingraham can wear the hair shirt better.

    Any other hocus pocus tips, Dan? Maybe you can walk on water?

  23. He has serious questions to answer 1- why was he fired from the board of elections 2- answer the rumor about the priest in the seminary 3-why did he give an interview to the Queens Chronicle and The Forum lying about the special election results and his certification