Friday, December 5, 2008

Dear Kathleen Parker . . .

Tempted as I am to write a short post ("bite me"), your dishonest attempt to walk back your "oogedy-boogedy" slur deserves more. Much more.

In seeking to evade responsibility for your studied insult to millions of Americans, you describe a "broad perception among centrists, moderates, conservative Democrats, renegade Republicans, etc. . . . that the GOP is the party of white Christians to the exclusion of others."

What you call a "broad perception," Ms. Parker, would more accurately be called a stereotype, and it is your lazy willingness to solicit favor from liberals by demonizing this stereotype of Republicans that has put you in such odium among conservatives.

It is an unfortunate fact that many conservative activists seem incapable of objectivity about the Republican Pary's image problems. Your "oogedy boogedy" slur obscures, rather than illuminates, the real sources of Republican brand damage. You are therefore part of the problem, not part of the solution.

The GOP's image problems are multifaceted. There is, for example, the broad perception of Republicans as the party of inherited wealth and privilege, a perception aggravated by having a scion of the Bush dynasty in the White House for the past eight years. There is also the broad perception of Republicans as the party of warmongering jingos . . . er, ditto.

Furthermore, there is the perception of Republicans as the party of grumpy old fuddy-duddies, a perception aggravated by the recent candidacy of a 72-year-old bald guy with a notoriously bad temper. A party that rejects the magnificently handsome millionaire Mitt Romney in favor of a grouchy geezer like Crazy Cousin John isn't really serious about trying to win elections in the TV age.

So, Ms. Parker, with all these image problems for Republicans to overcome, why your "oogedy boogedy" fixation on white Christians? Answer: Because it is easy -- as easy as reaching a "compromise" with Ted Kennedy on No Child Left Behind, as easy as deciding that the solution to illegal immigration is a "path to citizenship," as easy as selling out the GOP to Jack Abramoff's casino clients.

So much for the GOP's problems. Your biggest problem, Ms. Parker, is that you think you're so smart that no one who disagrees with you can ever catch on to what you're doing. Let's go back to your column of Nov. 19:
To be more specific, the evangelical, right-wing, oogedy-boogedy branch of the GOP is what ails the erstwhile conservative party and will continue to afflict and marginalize its constituents if reckoning doesn't soon cometh.
I call specific attention to your use of the term "evangelical," by which you actually mean, conservative Protestants. Do you not see this? And do you not see what is wrong with your analysis? You are not the first to do this, Ms. Parker -- you follow a path previously trod by Christopher Caldwell and Ryan Sager, among others.

It is an indisputable fact that conservative Catholics are the solid backbone of the Christian pro-life movement. (If you doubt this, come to Washington, DC, for the annual March for Life next month, and witness the crowds of Catholic students packed into the trains at Union Station.) Conservative Catholics also are staunch opponents of same-sex marriage and embryonic stem-cell research, and are the leading activists on the kind of end-of-life issues dramatized by the Terry Schiavo case. And yet you, Ms. Parker, say not a word about Catholics.

When critics of social conservatism single out "evangelicals" as the source of the GOP's woes, what they actually have in mind is TV preachers like Pat Robertson and the late Rev. Jerry Falwell, as well as (a demeaning stereotype of) their followers. "Poor, undereducated and easily led," as a Washington Post reporter once summed it up.

If your concern is about the Republican Party's stance on abortion and other social issues, Ms. Parker, why do you specify "evangelicals" and not conservative Catholics? Answer: Because smearing Catholics still carries the taint of prejudice, whereas conservative Protestants are a favorite target of ridicule among the enlightened elite whose esteem you covet. And when you narrow it down by specifying that you mean white conservative Protestants, this allows you to disguise your appeal to bigotry as a call for diversity! (Neat trick, that.)

We are not stupid, Ms. Parker. We know what you mean by "oogedy-boogedy." It's those hillbilly holy-rollers, the Bible-thumping hicks and their slick-hair preachers you mean to hold up for universal scorn as the source of the GOP's woe.

Your column today indicates you have not yet realized your error, Ms. Parker. The reason liberals single out "evangelicals" for particular scorn can be summed up in three words: Divide et impera. By identifying social issues with hayseed Baptists and Pentacostals, liberals mean to drive a wedge into the conservative coalition, to try to embarrass Catholics, Orthodox Jews and other non-evangelical conservatives by associating their issues with an unfashionable crowd of (supposed) troglodytes.

You, Ms. Parker, claim that your lazy emulation of this liberal tactic was motivated by sincere concern for the Republican Party. You will excuse the eye-rolling disbelief of conservatives, especially after your contemptuous dismissal of Sarah Palin's prayer that God would lead her to "an open door."

A woman earnestly seeking God's will for her life is what's wrong with the Republican Party?

I searched your latest column for any evidence of contrition for that remark, and found none. This absence of remorse on your part tempts me to make reference to a supernatural conception of the afterlife, Ms. Parker. But rather than tell you to go to hell, I'll stick to my Bible-thumping hayseed ways, and turn the other cheek. Or is that too "oogedy-boogedy" for you?

UPDATE: Linked at Conservative Grapevine. Linked at Ace of Spade HQ.

UPDATE II: Shannen Coffin takes a swing at the Parker pinata:
At bottom, the fundamental problem with Kathleen Parker's argument is that leaves to Kathleen Parker the decision as to what is too "oogedy-boogedy” for the public square. She even quotes the indecipherable legal standard proffered by Justice Potter Stewart for cases involving pornography: "I know it when I see it." . . .
Parker, like Stewart, has failed in intelligibly defining a standard. But she's failed even more in defending her characterization of the Religious Right as made up of "oogedy-boogedy" fundamentalists who put off moderates.
The problem with the term "moderate" in politics is that it posits some happy medium between equal extremes. Well, then, what's "extreme"? Planned Parenthood nurses acting as accomplices to statutory rape -- is that "extreme"? If so, then I make the "moderate" proposal that we prohibit federal funding of Planned Parenthood. It's Humpty Dumpty from Through the Looking Glass:
"When I use a word,' Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, 'it means just what I choose it to mean -- neither more nor less."
"The question is," said Alice, "whether you can make words mean so many different things."
"The question is," said Humpty Dumpty, "which is to be master -- that's all."
You either acknowledge Kathleen Parker's authority to declare what is disreputable "oogedy-boogedy" extremism or you don't. And I'd like to know where she derives that authority, other than being published by The Washington Post, by which standard E.J. Dionne and Richard Cohen can likewise boss us around at will.


  1. Ding, Ding, Ding! Couldn't have said it better.

  2. Whoa! Good one, Robert! No meat left on her bones at all.

  3. Crushed that one. Knocked the hide off it and sent the rest over the fence.

    What makes it effective is that it is deserved. It is deserved because of Parker's smarmy and arrogant play.

  4. That may be the single most effective and thorough evisceration of a brainless dimwit I have ever read! Bravo, and right on!

    This conservative, female, Republican, 66 year old Catholic applauds you!

  5. I read your excellent post twice to better appreciate your important points.

    Both the left and Kathleen Parker play the evangelical card as a convenient way to negatively define Republicans, and then use it as a reason for the election loss. Yet Catholics and others suport the same social issues without the mega-churches and TV preachers. But citing these groups would not serve their purpose.

    Here in California it is similar to the Prop 8 same sex marriage defeat. Its supporters included blacks and latinos, yet the activists are positioning the enemy as the same evangelicals (and Mormons). But we wont see them citing these minority groups any time soon.

  6. kudos..

    from a oggity boogity believer :)

  7. Rock on!

    I am so sick of seeing the liberal wing of the party- ya know, the same people that gave us John McCain who would have lost in a popular landslide if it weren't for Palin- telling us that we're the problem.

    If that were true, then socially conservative referendums around the country would go down in flames. Yet, amazingly they seem to pass with an overwhelming majority almost 100% of the time.

    That couldn't possibly be because people actually agree with the values those pesky evangelical, "oogedy boogedy", Bible thumping nuts are preaching, could it? Naaaaw.

  8. It really did hurt to read this post. To have another writer's column so thoroughly destroyed with logic was an absolute joy to behold.

    Remind me never to run afoul of you sir!!!!

  9. Dear Kathy,

    As a wannabee hillbilly, and a social conservative, I could explain to you the logic that demand's God's existence, and demands pro-life. I could, but first I need some evidence that you're smart enough and open-minded enough to understand it.


  10. Indeed, all she did was reiterate her distaste for certain elements within the Republican Party that she seems to feel are beneath her. She certainly didn't refute any of Ponnuru's points. Also, following her logic, wouldn't it be far more advantageous from the standpoint of gaining votes to jettison all that free market nonsense and start buying votes by handing out money to targeted constituencies while holding on to the conservative moral principles? Finally, how does she think all those conservative Democrats got themselves elected?

  11. This Irish Catholic NeoCon thanks you Mr. McCain.

    Too much religious bigotry goes unchallenged in America's public square. And it is long passed time for Libertarians and economic conservatives to wise up to the damage done to the conservative prospects when they callously ratify the bigotries and slanders of the Left.

  12. Thank you for saying in far better terms than I what needed to be said to Miss Parker and all of the other "moderate" Republicans out there who only know how to lose elections. How dare they lecture any of us on what ails our party. Here's an idea, look in the mirror.

  13. Excellent response to Parker.

    It's also worth noting her villification of "white" Christians on social issues. Yet support in the black community for Prop 8 was overwhelming.

    Parker and other pretentious liberals are being insensitive and unresponsive to the values of the minority community. The response to many of those running down "social issues" should be "how white of you".

  14. Came here from Ace, and have done so a few times recently. You've richly deserved the bookmark I'm giving you.

  15. You're correct, of course...

    But I think you should pick on someone who is roughly equal to you in intellectual capabilities.

    Bullying Parker is beneath you.

  16. Awww, Ms. Parker touched a raw nerve.
    Seeing as how your leader of choice( that would be GW Bush) is currently engaged in what is nothing less than the greatest Jedi mind trick of all time ( I am referring to the Bush Legacy Project aka "It Ain't my Fault") it's not hard to understand why so many of you seem to not want to take accountability for your party's problems.
    For no less than 8 years conservative media has trumpeted the power of the Evangelical vote. Yet when the ship goes down in flames Evangelicals are unfairly blamed for the ills plaguing your party.
    All I could gather from your post, Robert, is that it's no fair that Catholics were not thrown into Ms.Parker's mix. Right, that powerful constituency of Catholics that Conservatives have been touting for the last decade or so. It's kind of like when Conservatives tried to make people believe that Proposition 8 is really black peoples fault. Nice try.
    That Ms. Parker dully notes Sarah Palin's gall when she invoked God on behalf of her insatiable ambition is a credit to Ms.Parker.
    You see, it's easy to play along when you agree with a commentators opinions.All she was doing during Bush's presidency was validating your antique belief systems.That she has felt the winds of change and that she seeks to adjust to the changes is something to applaud.
    But then again, I get the funny feeling that if given the chance, most of you Cons would vote Bush for a third term. That in itself renders your opinions irrelevant...

  17. This is the best post anywhere in the blogosphere on this subject. I linked to my blog. You have put your finger right on how easy it is for Mrs. Oogedy Boogedy to slam the White evangelicals, but not traditional Roman Catholics. You forgot LDS people as well that people like Mrs. Oogedy Boogedy probably does not like either.

  18. Oggity boogity has always had the racial connotation in my neck of the woods. The term is used like, "more oggity boogity from them "N*****s. I cannot recall any other use of the term. It simply means illiterate ramblings from stupid people.

    So what's all that got to do with Wall Street ripping us off for three trillion that we don't have? Unless we believed the oogity boogity that them white brokers were telling us on the phone, which means the term means something more.

  19. From an evangelical, socially-conservative Protestant:

    Robert, a grand-slam! You cleared the bases. I am so disgusted with Republican sellouts like Ms. Parker - the arrogance and condescension sickens me.

    On another note, my thanks to our conservative catholic friends for leading the pro-life fight, long before many of the rest of us recognized the need. God bless every pro-life effort of yours. We will continue to disagree, agreeably, with some on non-abortefacient birth control. We can do that and still smile and be friends at the end of the day. And, MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL!!