The Republican Convention in Houston was dominated by the so-called Christian Right. "Right" in the political sense cannot be argued with. "Christian," however, can. If the mark of the Christian is loving kindness, another defining adjective is needed.
The Republican assembly was not a joyous gathering of like-minded people. It was more of a punitive expedition against people the Christian Right considers reprehensible, a fairly sizable number, which includes gays, reporters, the "gridlocked Democratic Congress," single mothers, women who have abortions, and above all, Hillary Clinton.
The wife of the Democratic candidate was, rhetorically at least, a severely battered woman. Rev. Pat Robertson, leader of the Christian Right, who among the many angry speakers may have been the angriest--Marilyn Quayle ran him a close second--regards Mrs. Clinton as a kind of unindicted co-conspirator in her husband's "radical plan" to "destroy the traditional family and transfer many of its functions to the federal government."
Robertson's statement, "Ladies and gentlemen, the carrier of this plague ["a belief in higher taxes, crushing regulation, and centralized government"] is the Democratic Party," gives the perfervid flavor of the occasion as well as anything.
The nominal keynoter of the affair was Sen. Phil Gramm of Texas, a former Democrat. He compared the Democratic ticket to a gussied-up used car. "A lemon," he called it. But the first speaker, Patrick Buchanan, who was folded into the program in the interests of unity, really set the tone. He laid about him with great vigor, reading a kind of dishonor roll of voters who could expect no home in any party in his charge.