"We're on a mission from God." That line is ironic in The Blues Brothers, but every Christian in some sense is, and some-like George W. Bush and James Dobson-more publicly than others. Both are gutsy guys willing to take on terrorists or those who terrorize American culture. That's why they have enemies among establishment mediacrats who work to take down those who stand up.
Since press opponents will twist anything they say if given the opportunity, both have to be extraordinarily careful whenever they make public statements. They can't let anyone overpromise: President Bush has been lambasted because a PR aide stuck a "Mission Accomplished" banner behind him in 2003 when the tougher Iraq war was not ending but beginning. They can't let down. The bashed brothers are always on stage.
President Bush has been careful in his statements specifically about Iraq to emphasize that we are on a long, winding, and sometimes deadly road. His comments last week about the Iraq election showed joy but not irrational exuberance. Many pundits have complained that the president overreached in his pro-democracy commitments on Jan. 20, but a president's reach often exceeds his grasp, or what's an inaugural address for?
Nevertheless, some full-court pressers persist in their claims that President Bush is dumb. First he didn't know the names of world leaders. Then he mispronounced them. Then he didn't grasp the complexities. Then he didn't understand sensitivities. Secular liberals who don't believe in right vs. wrong believe instead in smart vs. stupid, so rather than discuss values they prate about brains and look for opportunities to debase rather than debate.
The biggest twisting, unsurprisingly, comes when an evangelical like Dr. Dobson argues that we need strong families with a father and mother to train children to use freedom without abusing it. That's waving Red America before the lead bull of today's cultural left, the idea that people are normally polyamorous and that an emphasis on how God made us male and female leads to "compulsory heterosexuality."
Dr. Dobson mentioned a sensational fact during an inaugural-week speech in Washington: that a pro-gay group planned to use a video starring children's TV characters in schools nationwide during March to promote approval of homosexual conduct. When he referred to one of the characters in the video, SpongeBob SquarePants, the press frenzy began: Dobson the dope thinks SpongeBob is gay.
Of course he said nothing of the sort. Of course he was immediately Quaylized (as when Dan Quayle criticized the fictional TV character Murphy Brown for promoting single parenthood). And of course he will eventually be vindicated, as was VP Quayle (once safely removed from office) by an article titled, "Dan Quayle was right." But in the short range among those with short attention spans, the word went forth: Christian leaders are idiots.
Don't believe it. No matter how bad a story sounds-particularly if it sounds bad-recognize the pattern of defamation.