E.J. Dionne in the Washington Post:
This month’s offensive by President Bush and his allies in Congress against gay marriage and flag burning proves one thing: The Republican Party thinks its base of social conservatives is a nest of dummies who have no memories and respond like bulls whenever red flags are waved in their faces.
The people who should be angry this week are not liberals or gays or lesbians, but the president’s most loyal supporters. After using the gay-marriage issue shamelessly in the 2004 campaign, Bush and Republican leaders left opponents of gay marriage out in the cold as they concentrated on the party’s real priorities: privatizing Social Security and cutting taxes on rich people.
Social conservatives, who are a lot smarter than their leaders think, should watch the Senate closely this month. My bet is that their so-called champions will fight much harder on behalf of the interests of the affluent than for the “values” that conservative politicians proclaim with such pious urgency whenever they’re in danger of losing an election.
As a wise sage once noted, “Who’s the bigger fool; the fool or the foolish who follow the fool?”