DO YOU KNOW WHY I WRITE THIS COLUMN?

It’s so that once in a while I can say things like, ‘Symantec, publisher of the Norton software line, is just the worst company that ever incorporated. I hate these people so much I could cry.’ I may or may not elaborate – there are limits to even my self-indulgence – but just being able to shout it out the window this way makes me feel better. Thank you.

FORECLOSING ON YOUR HOME

Joel Grimes: ‘I thought I should point out that Glenn misses a crucial point with his Washington Mutual analysis. People who walk away from their homes are not necessarily on the hook for the balance of their mortgage. Anti-deficiency laws protect borrowers from lenders in the event of default. In short, you do not have to pay the ‘deficient’ part of your mortgage and there’s nothing the lender can do about it. Not all states have this protection, but California does, and I’d be surprised if California isn’t the biggest offender in their portfolio.’

☞ Also, in the states that don’t have the law, there is simply the practical reality that (unless the new bankruptcy law has changed this), it’s impractical for banks to go after you anyway, because most borrowers in foreclosure are not likely to have lots of other assets to go after, let alone sufficient to make the bank whole and cover the legal fees it would rack up trying to collect.

WELL-BEING RESEARCH

Would you rather be happy or rich? ‘Both,’ is the obvious answer; but if you could chose only one? This story explores ways policy wonks are trying to measure happiness and well-being.

OBIT OPTIMISTIC, PERHAPS, BUT ENCOURAGING ALL THE SAME

THE DEATH OF THE RELIGIOUS RIGHT
By Bill Press

No matter who becomes the next president of the United States, the American people have already won a great victory – with the total disintegration of the once all-powerful religious right.

Starting in 1979, when Jerry Falwell founded the Moral Majority, Christian conservatives have been the most powerful voting bloc in the Republican party. Ironically, they began by casting out of the White House a born-again Christian who continued, as president, his life-long practice of teaching Sunday school, and replacing him with a divorced and remarried man who seldom stepped inside a church.

But of course, Jimmy Carter was a Democrat and Ronald Reagan was a Republican. And by staying united, the religious right has been able ever since to exercise its veto power over Republican candidates and dictate the issues – abortion, same-sex marriage, stem cell research and school prayer – they would campaign on. Until, that is, the presidential campaign of 2008.

Today, the religious right has splintered into as many different factions as O. J. Simpson has alibis. Unable to find one candidate who fits the bill of being both true-blue on the issues and electable, America’s ayatollahs have divided their loyalties. Indeed, in some cases, they’ve even declared war against each other.

The National Right to Life League has endorsed Fred Thompson, even though he opposes a constitutional amendment to ban Roe vs. Wade and admits he only goes to church when visiting his mother – while James Dobson says he’s not even sure Thompson qualifies as a Christian. Sam Brownback has endorsed John McCain, who once called Jerry Falwell an “agent of intolerance.” And Bob Jones III and Moral Majority Co-Founder Paul Weyrich have even endorsed a Mormon, because they think Mitt Romney is the only one who can beat Hillary Clinton.

Meanwhile, Mike Huckabee, the only ordained Baptist minister in the race, is almost totally ignored by his fellow Christians because, even though Huckabee scores 100 percent on the issues, they don’t think he has a snowball’s chance in Hell of winning. Huckabee’s only evangelical endorsement comes from Tim LaHaye, co-author of the “Left Behind” novels – which may be the appropriate title for Huckabee’s campaign.

And, in one of the most bizarre pairings in politics, Pat Robertson, who blamed gays for Sept. 11 and prayed for a meteor to strike Disney World’s gay pride parade, has endorsed Rudy Giuliani – perhaps because he’s counting on Giuliani to assassinate Hugo Chavez. James Dobson has said he will never vote for Giuliani, even if it means staying home. But the fact remains that, with Robertson’s help, the Republican party could very well nominate for president a candidate who is twice-divorced, thrice-married, pro-choice, pro-gay rights and an occasional cross-dresser.

Merely entertaining Giuliani as a candidate demonstrates that, for many conservatives, political power counts more than Christian values. The religious right is dead. It will never again exercise the political clout it once had – which is bad news for Republicans, but good news for the republic. . . .

– – –

Bill Press is host of a nationally syndicated radio show and author of a new book, How the Republicans Stole Religion. You can hear “The Bill Press Show” at billpressshow.com. His Web site is: www.billpress.com.

© 2007 Tribune Media Services, Inc.

 

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