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Making Distinctions, Choosing Rhetoric

Sara Diamond is frustrated by the ideological blinders imposed by centrist/extremist theory, especially when it portrays the Christian Right as a "extremist" ally of the far right:

". . . . liberals organized against the Christian right can make hay by exploiting the 'radical right' paradigm.... Were liberal critics to analyze the Christian right as a natural ally of corporate Republicanism, they might find themselves labeled as "radicals." The New York Times and CNN would stop calling, and the foundation dollars would dry up. . . .It does no good, then, to see the Christian right through the blinders of a 'radical/extremist' paradigm. It is outrageous that the right wants to pad-lock gays in the closet, deprive women of reproductive freedoms, enforce antiquated and monolithic school curricula-the litany is well known. But in the coming season of local and statewide elections, the Christian right will hold the high ground as well-organized, well-heeled, and genuinely discontented opponents of the Clinton era status quo. To crudely blast politically active evangelicals as 'extremists' will only increase their claimed underdog status. The only way for opponents to beat back otherwise inevitable Christian right gains will be to disavow namecalling and instead-with cool heads-conduct grass-roots voter education on the true policy aims of the Republican/ Christian right alliance."

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