Friday, May 30, 2008

Who's the Miserable Creature? A Tale of Two Latter-day Political Conversions

bob dole sun myung moon moonies In the wake of the too-little-too-late regrets by Scott McClellan over the Bush administration's pervasive mendacity, former senator Bob Dole ripped the Bush's former press secretary calling him a "miserable" creature. Dole blasted McClellan for his political conversion, accusing McClellan of betraying his ideals for a quick buck:
"There are miserable creatures like you in every administration who don’t have the guts to speak up or quit if there are disagreements with the boss or colleagues. No, your type soaks up the benefits of power, revels in the limelight for years, then quits, and spurred on by greed, cashes in with a scathing critique."
Projection, anyone? There are a valid criticism of McClellan's change of heart about the Bush administration (e.g., why did he wait so long). Betraying his ideals is not one of them. When McClellan was a mouthpiece for Bush, Rove, and company, he had no ideals: he was a soulless hack. McClellan's confessions, years after the fact, are far from heroic, but at least he is coming clean about his past.

The same can't be said about another political conversion--that of Bob Dole regarding Sun Myung Moon. In the mid-1970's, Dole was an ambitious member of the U.S. Senate who had eyes on the White House. He held informal congressional hearings in 1976 and 1979 on the subject of new religious movements. New religious movements were a hot topic in the 1970's because a small but significant number of mostly college-aged middle class Americans were joining groups such as ISKCON, the Children of God, Eckankar and, of course, Sun Myung Moon's Unification Church. The focus of the Dole's hearings was Sun Myung Moon and Dole was not a fan of the self-proclaimed Messiah. Dole used every opportunity in the hearing to slam Moon and allowed many of Moon's victims to speak out about their victimization. Carleton Sherwood, a Moon defender and harsh critic of the hearings, lagely credits Dole for being responsible for the later investigations of Moon that led to his conviction and imprisonment for tax fraud and conspiracy.

It doesn't take a cynic to suspect that Dole didn't give a flying fuck about Moon's victims. It didn't take a lot of political courage to stand against Moon. It wasn't as if there were a lot of Americans who supported the Unification movement. The findings of 1977 Gallup poll found that Moon "elicited one of the most overwhelmingly negative responses ever reported by a major poll."

Dole's recent thawing of hostility toward his former enemy also raises questions. Since Moon has become a major funder of Republican and reactionary causes, Dole hasn't said a word against Moon. Dole has even attended at least one Moon-sponsored event, a Washington prayer breakfast. Dole is the last one to scold anyone about cashing in on a political change of heart.


Kenneth Gordon Neufeld said...

Is this where the expression "on the dole" comes from?

In any case, even if Bob Dole is no longer criticizing Moon, the question I'd like answered is whether Dole has started attending Moon's events and is actively assisting him now. I'd like to see a blog post about whether Dole has been to one of Moon's many "coronations" or attended something equally odious.

David said...

I hate Moon & his cult, he ruined the lives of a family we knew
Good work mate, keep it up

JollyRoger said...

It is no surprise that Bob Dole would attack someone for speaking against the dogma, any more than it is a surprise that Dole has nothing bad to say about Moon these days. He is an opportunist of the worst order, and got what he deserved when he got sent packing in 1996. Taking Dole seriously would be about like taking Chimpy seriously.