Sunday, October 04, 2009

LaHood and “The Family”

Some of you might remember my review of the book “The Family” a year ago.

”As far as Jeff Sharlet’s book The Family, I don’t know what to think. I did enjoy it but more than a week later I’m still pondering over it. I think it’s an important book. It’s certainly generating a lot of interest. I’m not sure if I was confused by Mr. Sharlet’s writing style or if I lack sufficient education about religion in America.“

Well, lo and behold, I was listening to The Rachel Maddow Show and, in covering the current Washington scandal, she brought in “The Family” author, Jeff Sharlet. In the course of the interview, whose name should pop up but our current Secretary of Transportation, Ray LaHood’s.

It’s an interesting clip. If you’re pressed for time, Mr. Sharlet appears at the 5:00 minute mark and Mr. Lahood becomes the topic of conversation at the 7:45 mark.

Just to be clear, I have no personal problems with Secretary LaHood. He’s actually well thought of in some circles of NATCA (despite being a Republican.) However, finding out he has a long history with “The Family” is disturbing.

The Republican Party has a real problem on its hands. The mixing of politics and religion -- I believe -- is disturbing to most Americans. The Republican Party has leaned heavily on the Evangelical/Fundamentalist movement for voters. The recent Values Voters Summit -- an offshoot of James Dobson’s organization, the Family Research Council -- is a case in point. John McCain failed to energize this group and it cost him the election. But catering to this group puts a national candidate in the untenable position of alienating other voters. There simply aren’t enough votes there to win.

George W. Bush was able to win by using using dog-whistle politics. But now that the voters know what to listen for, it won’t be as easy for the next candidate. I hope you’ll use this opportunity to learn what to listen for when it comes to “The Family” and their influence. Mr. Sharlet has convinced me that they’re a dangerous group that bears watching.

Don Brown
October 4, 2009

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