Howard Dean: Holy Roller?

Howard Dean comes across as quite the Holy Roller these days.

Somebody must have told him that when you go to the South, you’re supposed to pepper all your speeches with “Jesus talk.” Just look at some quotes from this column on a Tennessee fund raiser Dean attended:

“We don’t ever have to be ashamed of our values,” Dean said at Vanderbilt. He made a point of invoking Holy Writ, championing “paycheck-to-paycheck” working people against the predatory wealthy via the famous passage which says a rich man’s entrance into the Kingdom of Heaven is as difficult as a camel’s passing through the eye of a needle. He employed scripture to defend civil rights for gays: “When Jesus said ‘love thy neighbor’ he didn’t mean choose which one to love.” (Note: This is a funny quote for the guy who openly says he hates Republicans and everything they stand for to be tossing around, isn’t it?.)

…Dean then continued: “I think the role of churches in this country, the role of religions, is to make sure that as many of us as possible can enjoy God’s blessings. I think the role of churches is to intervene in social situations where life doesn’t seem to be fair. We can’t make life fair to everybody, but I won’t hold with a church, whether conservative or liberal or somewhere in between, that doesn’t believe that the teachings of Jesus call for us to reach out to people who are in need.”

The church’s refusal to allow a bike-path flouted the public good, Dean said. “A church that stood up and wouldn’t do that was not a church I wanted to belong to.” He said that he had gone on to become a member of the Congregational Church, one with “no central authority, where each parish chooses its own minister.” He nodded his head. “I enjoy that,” he said, and went on to compare the practice to that of fundamentalist denominations in the South.

…The values of America are much closer to the Democratic Party than the Republican Party. The Bible talks about Jesus reaching out to people who are different than He was, reaching out to sinners, reaching out to everybody and including everybody. I don’t see those values in the Republican Party. I see a party that can’t balance the budget. There is no moral virtue in leaving a debt to our children larger than the one we inherited.”

That last quote, the one where he talks about the Republican Party not sharing the values of Jesus, is my favorite part. If Bush were to say something similar about the Democrats, the press would be ranting about it for two weeks at a minimum. As a matter of fact, Democrats like Dean tend to get all huffy when Republicans mention God at all. Remember this quote from Dean’s failed primary campaign?

“We have got to stop having the campaigns run in this country based on abortion, guns, God and gays…”

But then when someone like Howard Dean concludes that it might be politically useful to start talking about God — and usually that’s right after the plane lands down South or immediately after walking into a black church — then starts the thumping on the Bible like there’s a drum solo.

So why don’t liberals get angry at Howard Dean for mixing religion with politics? Where are the shouts of “theocon, theocon, theocon?!?”

There’s a reason they’re not upset about it and it’s that libs understand that this is all part of a Howard Dean “strategery” designed to trick Americans into thinking that he shares their values and concerns. Check out this Dean quote from the same fund raiser and you’ll see what I mean:

“We have to acknowledge people’s fears. It’s not just about gay rights and abortion. It’s fear of what happens to their families. What they need is a signal from the Democratic Party that we’re going to make it easier for them to raise their kids. The mistake is to think we’re going to talk people out of their fears. These are not logical fears. Most kids will turn out fine, even in this era of bad stuff on television and things like that. You cannot sit down and logically explain to people why they have their fears.”

All this religious talk from Howard Dean? That’s part of the “signal” he’s talking about and it’s supposed to reassure middle-America that he’s on their side even though he admits that he thinks their fears for their families are illogical and groundless.

Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t think Dean is going to be able to sell that to the American people — especially if he keeps publicly giving away his gameplan.

Hat tip to Mickey Kaus for pointing out the Dean quotes.

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