Same Tune, Different Fiddle

Religious-right members of Congress are touting the Tom DeLay-conceived Values Action Team‘s House Values Agenda, a collection of bills they intend to file later in the year (right in time for the elections, no doubt). Far-right representatives like Joe Pitts, R-Penn., and Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, describe these bills as confronting important, groundbreaking new issues that will show the American people the differences between themselves, Democrats and moderate Republicans (which, in their estimation, likely includes Republican presidential nominee Sen. John McCain).

Michael Steel, a spokesman for Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio), said [the Values Action Team’s] agenda would help Republicans draw a bright line between their principles and those of their Democratic colleagues.

“Rep. Joe Pitts’s [head of the Values Action Team] values agenda is a terrific addition to the toolbox of policies that Republican members and candidates will use this year to draw sharp contrasts with the Democrats on issues that are important to the American people,” Steel said.

In fact, their agenda is nothing more than the usual wedge issues — abortion, gay marriage, etc. — the far right trots out each election year to demonize certain Americans in hopes of garnering votes from others.

Much of the legislation on the values agenda has been introduced in previous Congresses, but it highlights issues — such as abortion and gay marriage — that some social conservatives have felt have been ignored by Republicans this election year.

There may be reasons these issues haven’t been as prominent in this election cycle as those before: Recent polls show most Americans support a woman’s right to choose and even more believe gay marriage is a private matter not to be intruded upon by government.

Is it possible that the religious right is failing to recognize the change in tide and, thus, clinging to self-defeating policy ideas they’ve pushed for years without success?

It looks like it.