Frank Schaeffer, Author Of "Crazy For God" On What's Left Of The GOP: Today The Republican Party Is Rooting For Doom
D.L. Hughley talks to Crazy for God author Frank Schaeffer, whose father was one of the founders of the religious right. Schaeffer discusses his articles at the Huffington Post Why Obama Must Not Work With Republicans and Why Are the Republicans Such Anti-Obama Liars?. From the latter:
Today the Republican Party is rooting for doom. And since the Republicans are now anti-American members of an Obama-must-fail insurgency, lies become a self-fulfilling prophecy: talk doom, and keep the economy in a panic and we may get what we wish for.
Don't conservative Republicans object to the lies? No, because the Republicans don't have any actual and traditional conservative followers left. The Republican base is now made up of religious and neoconservative ideologues, and the uneducated white underclass with a token person of color or two up front on TV to obscure the all-white, all reactionary all backward -- there-is-no-global-warming -- rube reality. Actual conservatives, let alone the educated classes, have long since fled.
The Republican religious nuts are rooting for Jesus to "rapture" them, not for America, and the neoconservatives are rooting for war and the Israeli hard liners, not for America. Truth (and sanity) are out the window.
So, what is the problem with lying to our faces, say, claiming that all American's taxes are going up when 95% of American's taxes are going to go down? Why not claim Obama is a socialist, even if he's not? Why not say anything at all to drive our country into a pit when losing is seen as winning? That, is all the Republicans have to offer America: more lies on a path to destruction from which the Republican "leadership" plans to resurrect themselves and "save" America from Obama.
Updated: Full Transcript to follow.
HUGHLEY: James Dobson, a prominent voice of the evangelical movement recently stepped down as chairman of Focus on the Family. So who was left to lead the religious right? Joining me now is a former evangelist and author "Crazy for God," Frank Schaeffer. How are you doing, Frank?
It seems as if President Bush was the perfect candidate for the religious right. He was born-again, he was an evangelical, he was an End of Days believer. So the Republican, evangelical right got what they wanted. What went wrong?
FRANK SCHAEFFER, AUTHOR, "CRAZY FOR GOD": Well, first of all, he was unqualified to be president.
HUGHLEY: All he had to do was believe in Jesus, right?
SCHAEFFER: That's right. That's why he got elected. You saw this in the last election when Sarah Palin was introduced as the vice presidential candidate for McCain. The only reason he picked her is because she was another born-again Christian and he thought he would throw that sop to the religious right. So the game continued but this time it didn't work because people had it for voting for people just on the basis of their belief in kind of a fundamentalist Christianity.
HUGHLEY: But you -- you grew up that way?
HUGHLEY: Your father was instrumental in the evangelical movement.
SCHAEFFER: My father was someone who was key to the formation of the religious right. In the 1970s and '80s, for people who know about that little subculture in our country, Francis and Edith Schaeffer were very big names. And "Crazy for God," my book, talked about what it was like to grow up in that home. And later as we became involved, palling around with the Bush family, dad going to the Reagan White House a number of times and meeting with the president about pro-life issues and all of these other things, that's the world I grew up in.
And then as an adult, I really began to have second thoughts about where the religion right was going. Essentially, if I could put it this way, moved away from that background and politically changed sides. So, for instance, recently I have been one of the bloggers on Huffington Post and other places that have been supporting the Obama candidacy from the very beginning. And for ...
HUGHLEY: (inaudible) thing.
SCHAEFFER: And for me to be doing that, if you asked me 25 years ago would I be doing this, I would have thought you were crazy. That's how people can change. So I changed my mind.
HUGHLEY: But your father, who was so integral in starting the evangelical movement, what would he think of the new you? Of the more ...
SCHAEFFER: You know, in some ways, he would be pleased. Because my dad was very interested in the human life issue of abortion. But when it comes to things like gay bashing, political correctness on the right wing issues, starting the war in Iraq for bad reasons or no reasons, my father would not have been going along with that. So where the religious right went, which was to turn into this kind of hard-assed neo fascist kind of direction in America that has given us eight years of a bad presidency, a collapsed economy, two wars, one of which we shouldn't have been in.
By the way, my son was a United States Marine. So I talk with no apology about what I think about the war.
HUGHLEY: You saw what an apology can get you in trouble.
SCHAEFFER: He was out there getting shot at. So I can say what I think about it.
And the fact of the matter is, I think we have come through a very, very bad time and unfortunately, I'm sorry to say, my dad and I, when I was a young man and he in his career had a lot to do with it. Because we were the people, who along with others like James Dobson, Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell and the others, we put all of this crap in place. And now the reason I wrote "Crazy for God" is because the title is literally that if awe approach God in a certain way, it will drive you crazy. And this has been a period of craziness.
HUGHLEY: And you have said some -- you do blog for the Huffington Post. You have written some things and I have read you for a little while. You have written some things that I never heard anybody say out loud. You said the Republican base is now made up of religious and neoconservative ideologues and the uneducated white underclass was a token person of color or up two up in front of the "TV to obscure the all-white, all reactionary, all backward, and there is no global warming, rube reality. Actual conservatives, let alone the educated class have long since fled." You believe everybody in the Republican Party is a neocon or an ideologue.
SCHAEFFER: I'd put it differently. I'd say the Republican Party knows that's who that their base is. There are individuals, private citizens ...
HUGHLEY: You mean elected people.
SCHAEFFER: I'm talking either the elected people fall into one of those two categories. Either they are pandering to the religious right -- I don't know what they believe, of course. I can't get into their head. They are pandering to the religion out right or they are pandering to the neocons to whom every war is a good war. And there is very little room in between.
And the people, for instance like William F. Buckley, who was a friend of my dad's, or Barry Goldwater. You could have disagreed or agreed with them. But these were not crazy people. These were not Fruit Loops.
HUGHLEY: They wanted a separation of church and state.
SCHAEFFER: Right. They wanted a separation of church and state. They were not using politics to beat people over the head with a moral crusade. They were not looking to start wars for no reason. We moved from a period where the Republicans represented something you could agree or disagree with, to a period where it represents a kind of fundamentalist Christianity on one side and a view of the world, which sees everyone who is other, whether that is black, white, Arab, Muslim, a different country, gay, as the enemy. And basically that's a very dangerous position.
And so I think when you look at a guy like Rush Limbaugh today, what you're seeing is the lid off. This is the raw, naked true face of where Republicanism is. And be my guest, if people want to vote for that, fine. We just had eight years of this that drove us over the cliff and you want to keep going over the clip, fine. But as far as I'm concerned, the greatest miracle, speaking of God because I'm still a religious person what has happened happen ed in any lifetime, is the election of Barack Obama. Who I think is in a position to genuinely turn this country around. It's going to take a while but I'm tremendously optimistic about what he can do.
HUGHLEY: That's an amazing thing. In your letter. You wrote an open letter to President Obama. You asked him not to even count on Republican backing.
HUGHLEY: You say that they hate him.
SCHAEFFER: They do hate him.
HUGHLEY: They hate him.
SCHAEFFER: They do hate him.
HUGHLEY: That's pretty strong.
SCHAEFFER: Rush Limbaugh's telling the truth when he says he wants him to fail. These people are ideological enough that they would rather take our whole country down and be proven right than be patriotic Americans and stand up and do the thing that every American ought to do right now, which is support the president, whether you voted for him or not.
HUGHLEY: Why -- why then are men like Rush Limbaugh and a woman like Ann Coulter so tremendously popular? Why then? It makes me as an American go, this is how a large percentage of the country feels.
SCHAEFFER: No, don't think so. I think if people read my book, they're going to see that the religious right started with good intentions. And then was manipulated by very crass people who have taken it in a different direction for personal gain. Today you have about 20 million people who buy all of Ann Coulter's books, watch Rush Limbaugh. Send money into the televangelists. It's all the same people.
The fact of the matter is, there are 300 million of us. There's no 20 million of us. The truth is I failed every math class. But somebody in the audience will tell us what the percentage of 20 million of 300 million. It's not a big percentage. It's just a loud percentage. This is the drunk on the subway making trouble in the car for all of the people on the subway. There are 100 decent citizens on there, there is one ass in the front that's molesting women. That's the Republican Party now in terms of the loud car.
HUGHLEY: I'm going to get in trouble again, aren't I?
SCHAEFFER: The difference is, I'm not apologizing or kissing Rush Limbaugh's butt. Though there is quite a bit to kiss.
HUGHLEY: Thank you very much. Frank Schaffer, thank you so much. Thank you so much.