When you lie down with dogmatics . . .
". . . if you choose to make common cause with religious extremists, you are accepting some responsibility for their extremism. By welcoming Mr. Falwell and people like him as members of their party, Republicans are saying that it's O.K. — not necessarily correct, but O.K. — to declare that 9/11 was America's punishment for its tolerance of abortion and homosexuality, that Islam is a terrorist religion, and that Jews can't go to heaven. And voters should judge the Republican Party accordingly."
The column describes John McCain's recent flip-flop on religious hardliners. In the 2000 campaign, Krugman reminds us, McCain denounced Falwell and Pat Robertson as "agents of intolerance." Now McCain (with 2008 firmly in his sights) has -- among other things -- signed on as this year's commencement speaker at Falwell-founded Liberty University (an American madrassa?).
Beyond demolishing McCain's claim to the label "moderate," this should remind us how the cynical right's unholy union with radical conservatives and religious hard-liners has altered public discourse. By standing by while their partners preach intolerance, bigotry and hatred in the name of Family Values, the strategists of the GOP seem to think they can bludgeon the body politic without dirtying their own hands.
This has to stop. Speak up. Hold the GOP accountable. Make them explain.