Webb's own little fantasy world
I'm not making this up. As a lead in to his tediously typical portrayal of the American right as religiously ensconced ignoramuses, Webb relates a personal anecdote about going to dinner at the house of the parents of one of his own child's classmates. He felt compelled to test the classmate, Meade, on the origins of the dinosaurs in order to satsify himself that the parents are not religious loons. As Webb himself tells us, the answer to his question will tell him "something about Meade's parents which will affect our relationship." Happily, after a pause which Webb finds to be "agonising", Meade manages to provide a satisfactory answer, much to Webb's immense relief.
I could have hugged him and his parents; we are, after all, inhabiting the same mental planet.Sharing Webb's "mental planet"? Poor Meade.
But, of course, Webb's purpose is not to fill us in on his interesting social life. It is, instead, to demonize Republicans, and his lengthy anecdote culminates with his relief about "inhabiting the same mental planet" simply in order to provide a suitable segue into his real topic:
Conveniently, Webb doesn't actually name any of these people in "positions of great power", so the insinuation is allowed to linger without the nuisance of actually having to provide any substantiating evidence. Indeed, the only actual person directly associated by Webb with these thoughts from another planet is Pat Robertson, who has no position of power within the US government whatsoever. But, Webb informs us, Robertson "is an important man" because "his views are sought on Supreme Court candidates and foreign affairs." Sought by who? Again, Webb doesn't say.
But many modern members of the Republican party, including some in positions
of great power, do not seem to be living on that planet.
Even when Webb is on solid ground, he stretches his analysis to the breaking point. Not content with simply pointing out that creationists are at odds with science, he tries to expand the realm of evangelical heresy to science by claiming that even their thoughts on homosexuality and abortion "place them...at odds with science campaigning." I was always under the impression that whether or not homosexuality and abortion were sins was a religious rather than a scientific matter. Webb knows differently, I guess.
The most laughable part of Webb's piece, however, is his justification for it. Displaying the journalistic acuity that regular Webb-watchers have come to expect of him, he tells us:
As the nation recovers this weekend from the worldly pleasures of the wonderfully inclusive festival of Thanksgiving, a festival which can appeal equally to atheist and Bible-basher, it seems to me that the central political question facing everyone here, far more important than any to do with Iraq or the deficit or Guantanamo Bay, is whether or not the Republican party, after decades of flirting, has finally got into bed with an irrational sect.The central political question? Facing everyone in the US? Far more important than any question to do with Iraq? Coming only sentences after having suggested that creationists inhabit a fantasy world, the irony is palpable.