Explaining the need for his “Stand Up for Christmas” resolution, Congressman Henry Brown of South Carolina released the following statement:
“I am troubled by the growing sentiment that the phrase ‘Merry Christmas’ is not appropriate and I am worried that attempts to celebrate a ‘politically correct’ holiday season may cause the loss of some of the traditions sacred to this widely celebrated holiday.”
For this stance, FOX News pundit Bill O’Reilly declared Brown a “patriot.”
Many have debated whether there actually exists a “war on Christmas,” with many conservatives answering in the affirmative and many liberals insisting that the whole thing is a manufactured seasonal ruse, exploited by opportunistic Republicans like Brown. While there is no doubt an increasing reluctance to use the word “Christmas” in public, especially within government and corporate institutions, liberals are right that the “war on Christmas” is often nothing more than an excuse to engage in cheap political opportunism and Brown’s “Stand Up for Christmas” legislation is a perfect example.
Brown is an archetype of the conventional Republican–a big spending, big government politician who constantly appeals to his base with ineffectual, conservative sounding rhetoric about peripheral social issues. It’s not that issues like abortion, gay marriage, and the 2nd amendment aren’t important–it’s just that most Republican politicians’ stances on these issues rarely produce anything that actually advances any conservative agenda. There is never a grand strategy–but always plenty of grandstanding.
For example, when Brown’s fellow South Carolinian, Lindsey Graham was attacked by his constituents for his big government record during a town hall meeting in October, the senator immediately touted his pro-life, pro-gun record instead, as if his position on those issues should excuse his support for spending trillions of taxpayer dollars. Likewise, Republicans like Brown supported every bit of President Bush’s spending, including the monstrous TARP, but by God, such Republicans want you to know those baby-killin’, gay-lovin’, gun-hatin’ liberals are going to hear “Merry Christmas” whether they like it or not!
For decades, such posturing on social issues has kept the biggest, big government Republicans in office and similarly, Brown’s supposed concern for the “traditions,” “sacred” to Christmas come off as grandstanding precisely because he is. Even many of those who agree with his sentiments concerning the loss of Christmas and its traditions, including this writer, can still see right through the opportunistic Brown.
And yet who can blame Henry? Grandstanding is often all it takes. When Brown’s fellow South Carolina Congressman Joe Wilson yelled “you lie!” at President Obama during his speech on healthcare in September, Wilson became an instant celebrity amongst conservatives, and Republicans across the country swelled his campaign coffers. Yet, few have stopped to recall that Wilson supported every bit of Bush’s spending, including TARP, making him little different from Brown and the rest of the usual suspects up on Capitol Hill. But still, say many conservatives, Joe Wilson sure told that Obama!
And now Brown wants to tell you “Merry Christmas.” Let’s face facts: social issues conservatism has been a tragedy since day one, never producing anything of value to social conservatives while at the same time giving cover to an entrenched Republican establishment hellbent on doing their fiscal worst. It’s hard to believe that most pro-life Republican politicians have ever had any real intention of overturning Roe v. Wade precisely because it is not in their interest to do so–simply opposing the law of the land on abortion has long served GOP politicians far better than if that particular Supreme Court decision had never been made.
If Congressman Brown or any of his Republican colleagues truly wanted to preserve “sacred traditions,” they could quit insulting their constituents intelligence with their feigned concern for life, marriage, guns and Christmas, and revisit the U.S. Constitution, something they took an oath to uphold upon entering office-and have taken a “happy holiday” from ever since.