Righty blogger attention is mostly focused 9/18 on Islamic reaction to Pope Benedict XVI‘s 9/12 speech. Normally not a subject of interest to Hotline readers, conservative blogger reaction can be found here, here, here, here, here, here, and here (this is by no means a definitive list). Is this a distraction for righty efforts to maintain GOP majorities in Congress? Certainly not. As DailyKos‘ founder Markos Moulitsas points out in PBS’ NOW special “Blog the Vote,” blogs political value is all about exciting the base, and nothing, it seems, fires GOPers up more than a clash of civilizations. ~Hotline

This is an interesting hypothesis.  It will probably appeal to the loons who think that theocracy is on the march in this country and that Pope Benedict was actually using an elaborate code in his speech to support the neocons and encourage an attack on Iran.  It will probably make no sense to the people who are supposed to be fired up by “clash” rhetoric, since they cannot vote for Pope Benedict but are stuck with the witless GOP. 

This is the party that has mostly succeeded in politically neutering those who, like Franklin Graham, echoed Manuel II’s view of Islam (“evil”), while welcoming the ideas of the ridiculous Daniel Pipes and Stephen Schwartz, while also adopting preposterous neologisms such as Islamofascist designed to avoid talking about the specifically Islamic nature of the enemy and to continue to pretend that the problem is an extremist fringe governed by a political ideology comparable to other totalitarianisms and therefore not really religious in nature–it is not about faith, as Gaffney said, but about power.  While the Pope is drawing on relevant historical experience (Byzantine-Ottoman conflicts), these jokers are stuck on pause in 1938 and cannot get through a sentence without making some Axis-related reference. 

As Manuel II might have observed in response to Gaffney’s remark, their faith is dedicated to the acquisition of power for their faith.  Perhaps it is done for the glory of Allah, but nonetheless that is the goal.  If anything, all of the talk about Pope Benedict will not only distract the GOP bloggers from whipping up their folks into caring about the elections but it will also convince the voters that there is something far more important going on than midterm elections.  Only if the GOP can make the sale that they have the better answer to the jihadi threat and that they know how implement that answer without massive screw-ups do they benefit from all the chatter about the Pope’s speech.  Otherwise, it will create a lot of anxiety and excitement that will go nowhere.