Actually, Some of Us Do Need A Weatherman...
(Workin' the early-bird shift on the Blog...)
Just read a hilarious interview conducted this week by my homie Bankole Thompson over at the Michigan Chronicle, the region's leading black newspaper. Bankole sits down with local evangelical preacher/tax debtor Glenn Plummer in an attempt to get at where Plummer — who wants to run as a Dem for Rep. Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick's seat after years of being cozy with the GOP — actually stands in terms of his party affiliations.
I interviewed the right reverend Plummer a few years ago myself, and, in my opinion, his ideology seems to be more "crass opportunism" than anything else, a craven willingness to declare his allegiance to whichever side of the aisle will help him cash in. (Back when I used to do a TV show and caught him trying to downplay his right-wing ravings and connections, the best response he could muster was when he went back to his own show and began screaming that I was an atheist. Yeah, Glenn, card-carrying. But to this day, I still don't see what that has to do with why you just couldn't own up to having said, "The United States has been blessed by God Himself to have George W. Bush as President.")
I think the last part of Bankole's interview reveals quite plainly, and humorously, how Plummer gets down...
MC: You've always been a registered Democrat?
GP: Let me say it this way. The bigger question is, “Aren't you a Republican?”
MC: No I'll come to that. I'm asking you. Are you a registered Democrat?
GP: When you say registered Democrat, define that?
MC: Have you always been a Democrat because you are going to be running in a Democratic district?
GP: I don't know how….let me define it this way. I am a Democrat. I joined the party. I pay the dues. Now to some people that say they are Democrats, they don't pay the dues and are not part of the party. There are other people that say they are Democrats, pay the dues and vote as an independent. Since I started voting — I will be 55 next week — I voted for Democrats. I voted for President Obama, I voted for President Clinton. During the Bush time there was a shift in my thinking. First as a pastor and as a Christian. And I was really challenged with some real social issues. But there have been times where I voted for both Democrats and Republicans.
MC: So you voted for both Presidents George H. W. Bush and George W. Bush?
GP: Well no I didn't vote for the first Bush.
MC: But you voted for the son?
GP: I did the second time.
Look, I know I can be tough on religion in this blog, but really, I am more than happy to say that I know many Christians in Detroit who are sincere, humane and fundamentally wonderful people.
But then there're the Glenn Plummers of this town, narrow-minded and broadly pious. This dude has lambasted gays with Leviticus-like ferocity. He has referred to Islam as a "pagan religion." (Mind you, I'm not defending anybody's sky god, but I'm also not proposing to run for Congress in a region that has one of the densest Arab-American populations in the nation.) He's been name-checked in books like "American Fascists: The Christian Right and The War on America."
And as his veiled answers suggest, he certainly was all up in Bush's grill when the cash spigot for faith-based initiatives was flowing freely. But now he wants to play revisionist, to cast himself as an "independent" whose fawning over Bush shows a willingness to eschew ideology and side with both parties. Except, as he tells Bankole later in the piece, he now recognizes a "stigma" associated with the Republicans that he suddenly doesn't want to have anything to do with.
In short, he wants to roll with whoever seems popular at the moment.
That's not about leadership or seeing the worth of arguments on both left and right. That, to me, is just being a fair-weather follower.
(Oh, and when he was trying to avoid directly answering my questions about his political ties back when, Plummer did tell me, quite straightforwardly, that he was not a Democrat.)
Little wonder then that now it's, "When you say registered Democrat, define that?" and "During the Bush time there was a shift in my thinking." Yes, of course. And now we're to assume that he's "shifted" yet again, eh? But which direction this time? Right? Left?
Or does Glenn Plummer really just want to go both ways?
Actually, it shouldn't matter. Whichever way he chooses, Detroit voters would be wise to let him go...alone.