Saw the article on Friday in the Raleigh News & Observer headlined "Evangelical victory worries GOP strategist" and was treated to the spectacle of Jesse Helms' former political strategist, the man who helped build the North Carolina Republican Party, bemoaning that "Bush courted the evangelical vote and turned these elections, in fact, into a referendum on the religious and cultural nature of America. This is my problem."
Now it's his problem! We're getting a trifle weary of these Republicans (bless their hearts!) who are now confessing a small case of jitters over what they've helped achieve.
The speaker of those words was one Arthur Finkelstein. Yes, a right-wing Jew who was, according to the News & Observer, "one of former Sen. Jesse Helms' closest political advisers."
To be fair, perhaps he never intended his words to go public in this country, since he gave this interview to Maariv, a daily newspaper in Israel, and his comments had to be translated from the Hebrew, which, incidentally, the New York Post obliged us by doing and from whence the N&O got its story.
More? Finkelstein said, "From now on, anyone who belongs to the Republican Party will automatically find himself in the same group as the opponents of abortion, and anyone who supports abortion will automatically be labeled a Democrat. The political center has disappeared, and the Republican Party has become the party of the Christian right more so than in any other period in modern history. Bush's strategy secures the power of the American Christian right not only for this term. In fact, it secures its ability to choose the next president."
Right-wing Republican operatives crying in their schnapps over victory. That's one thing. Jesse Helms getting his sage political tactics from an American Jew ... that's another thing. But the biggest source of psychic racket in this little piece is the fact that Finkelstein is gay.
The American novelist Philip Roth has very recently dealt with the paradoxes inherent in any underclass of people actively participating in the triumph of the very people who would gas 'em out of existence ... in the novel "The Plot Against America," in which Roth does a "what if" on the notion that if American hero (and quiet anti-Semite) Charles A. Lindberg had run in 1940 against Roosevelt and beaten him, what would that alternative history have been like for American Jews. A major collaborator in the Nazi-fication of American under Lindberg, Roth imagines, is a Jewish Rabbi.
Make what you will of Finkelstein's alarm that the Religious Right has taken over the Republican Party. His homosexuality, along with his Jewishness, in service to Jesse Helms might keep a team of psychoanalysts hopping for weeks.