Better Dead than Red
29 April 2001
Three months into a second Bush presidency it is fair to say that the Christian Coalition has a friend in the White House. The Coalition has played a well-organized and active role in Republican politics despite Pat Robertson's failed presidential bid in 1988. George W. Bush has a debt to pay to Robertson, the Coalition's founder, and to its former Executive Director, Ralph Reed. Bush would not have won the presidency without them.
Reed, a Senior Consultant to the Bush campaign, was instrumental in counseling our new president on currying favor with Christian fundamentalists. When Pat Buchanan, the three-time Republican presidential candidate, bolted the party to join the Reform Party, Robertson fought to ensure that conservatives would desert Buchanan. Buchanan, exhibiting a political tin ear, dismissed Robertson's warnings and was not to be heard from again until the Palm Beach fiasco. When John McCain appeared ready to corral the Bush stampede to the presidency after beating him in New Hampshire, Robertson and Reed resurrected Bush in South Carolina. Most important, the negative fallout outside of South Carolina after Bush's foray into Bob Jones University did not stick in the general election.
Bush talked "compassion" during the campaign but relied on his "conservative" friends tied to the Christian Coalition to save him. The Texas Governor and GOP front-runner spoke to an assembly of the Coalition during the campaign and read from the campaign hymnal. However, where the script usually played to moderation by saying he wouldn't require an anti-abortion "litmus test" for Supreme Court nominees, Bush played to the crowd by stating that "every child, born or unborn, must be protected by law and welcomed to life." Gary Bauer followed Bush and made clear what Bush would only obfuscate on the campaign trail, that any judicial appointees in a Bauer administration would be anti-abortion: "I will not sacrifice one baby for political gain."
Bauer made those statements believing Robertson and the Christian Coalition stood with him. He didn't see Robertson take two steps back. Everything is open to sacrifice when it comes to a market with 1.2 billion people. Now, three months into the Bush presidency, political and economic pragmatism has taken hold. Robertson came clean when asked by CNN's Wolf Blitzer about China's "one child" policy that can result in state-ordered "forced abortions":
"I don't agree with it. But at the same time, they've got 1.2 billion people, and they don't know what to do. If every family over there was [sic] allowed to have three or four children, the population would be completely unsustainable . . . I think that right now they're doing what they have to do. I don't agree with the forced abortion, but I don't think the United States needs to interfere with what they're doing internally in this regard.
It appears that Robertson, like Reed who became a hired gun for Microsoft during its antitrust case, learned something from Bush and his operatives as well: "money talks and bullshit walks." Robertson's no Mother Teresa. Bush, Robertson, and the people they serve have business interests in China. Robertson has long been a vocal proponent of normalizing trade relations with China. Republicans appear to embracing open trade with China while hanging on to an old slogan: "Better Dead than Red."
Some on the far right are rabid. They're irate over Robertson's statements and the continued normalization of our relations with "Red China." The true believers don't know what Robertson knows. Capitalism co-opts ideology. So does greed. Conservatism can be continually redefined when ideology gets in the way of profit taking. Pat Robertson can make excuses for an act that he defines as murder. This shouldn't surprise anyone.
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