Sunday, July 17, 2005


Secret Decoder Rings and "Mainstream"

George Bush has stated in his radio address that his Supreme Court nominee to replace Sandra Day O'Conner will be "mainstream"; specifically, he said, "My nominee will be a fair-minded individual who represents the mainstream of American law and American values".

Texas Republicans can have a peculiar personal definitions of words. For example, Bush stated that he would be bipartisan when he ran for his first term, that he would be a "uniter, not a divider": his first term was anything but.

More recently, Texas Republicans have argued that checks aren't cash so they didn't really engage in money-laundering.

So it's worthwhile to get out the super secret decoder ring to figure out what "mainstream" means to some Texas Republicans.

How about Montgomery County's self-professed mainstream group, the Republican Leadership Council, which attempted to get Robie Harris' books _It's Perfectly Normal_ and _It's So Amazing_ banned from the the Montgomery County Library System by pressuring the commissioners court to ban them by fiat? (At the end of the day, a community panel decided that the books did indeed NOT violate community standards, and restored the books to the shelf.)

The Republican Leadership Council is also, incidentally, an extremely vocal opponent of presenting evolutionary biology in high school science curricula.

The Republican Party in Montgomery County officially dissociated themselves from the "mainstream" RLC.

Or take the Harris County arm of the battle against evolution, the Texans for Better Science Education. They put out voters guides criticizing groups of moderate republicans as "NOT MAINSTREAM CONSERVATIVE!"

So what's the point? Anyone can call himself mainstream. Where the rubber meets the road is what they actually do. George Bush thinks judges like Janice Brown and Pricilla Owens are acceptable ... perhaps ... mainstream?

RNC consultant and Texas Republican Party vice-chair David Barton states in his audio seminar, Thinking Biblically, Speaking Secularly that it's important to use liberals' terms against us. The example he gives is "censorship". The upshot of the discussion is that when we say, don't incorporate intelligent design in the biology curriculum because the ideas don't have currency with the scientific community, call us unfair and call that censorship.

I would submit that "mainstream" is used to the same effect. The label signifies positions held by most people; in this case by most practicing jurists. But just as in anything, pay careful attention to what's actually inside the package.

Crossposted to Come and Take It.
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