The Republicans share something with the Saudi royal family: Their shot at ruling depends on coddling religious extremists while doing the opposite of everything those extremists say they believe in, in other words perfecting the art of gross hypocrisy.
The Saudi royals have apartments in London, drink, cavort, live like the secularists they are, but rule a "conservative" country stuck in the Middle Ages that is willfully even proudly backward. Ditto the Republicans who are really all about big business and greed, but talk "family values" to easily duped traditionalists who are living in their hermetically sealed religious universe.
The House of Saud, and the House of Republicanism play the same game.
The "princes" of the House of Saud get away with living like Hugh Heffner's younger, dumber, hornier little cousins -- while residing anywhere but in Saudi Arabia -- while also presiding over the holy places of Islam and exporting funding for hard line Islam worldwide. They can do this because while they're at home they empower the extremist fringe of the Muslim world: the Wahhabist wing of fundamentalist Islam.
The Wahhabis advocate the mix of state power and religion through the reestablishment of the Caliphate, the form of government adopted by the Prophet Muhammad's successors during the age of Muslim expansion. What sets Wahhabism apart from other Sunni Islamist movements is its historical obsession with purging Sufis, Shiites, and other Muslims who do not conform to its twisted interpretation of Islamic scripture.
Let me re-word that description a la USA and the Republican Party in its Michelle Bachmann/Sarah Palin incarnation:
Like most Evangelical fundamentalist movements, the American Religious Right advocates the fusion of state power and religion through the reestablishment of the "Christian America" idea of "American Exceptionalism" (i.e., a nation chosen by God), the form of government adopted by the Puritan's successors during the age of early American colonialism. What sets the Evangelical Religious Right apart from other Christian movements is its historical obsession with purging other Americans who do not conform to its twisted interpretation of Christian scripture.
In the 1970s and early 80s my late father (Francis Schaeffer) and I (as I describe in my new book Sex, Mom, and God: How the Bible's Strange Take on Sex Led to Crazy Politics--and How I Learned to Love Women (and Jesus) Anyway ) were part of the leadership structure of the American version of the Wahhabis. We advocated the fusion of state power and religion. We were there inspiring Pat Robertson, James Dobson, Jerry Falwell and the others when the Republican Party gradually struck its "Saudi" compromise with the American Religious Right.
The unstated agreement goes like this: Republicans will pander to the Religious Right on the social issues - abortion, gay rights, prayer in schools, creationism in text books, etc., etc., as long as the Religious Right turns a blind eye to the fact that the Republican Party will A), do nothing substantive to change any of these things, and B) sell the soul of the country to corporate America, a place where one percent of the population grab as much wealth as the lower 50 percent... just like Saudi Arabia.
And just as the Wahhabists would spread terror through the world by being the major financial contributors to extremist Islam, the American Religious Right would also sign on to the export of endless wars (often motivated by so-called Christian Zionism), militarism without end, and direct violent action here at home, for instance in the killing of abortion providers and other acts of domestic terror.
The Wahhabist/Evangelical/Republican-type "understanding" goes like this: religious extremists rule the people under their thumbs, as if it's the year 1012, and in return they let our real rulers -- the corporations and their plutocratic masters -- live any way they want and rob the rest of America blind.
So a Newt Gingrich can run up his half a million dollar tab for jewelry, and a Donald Trump can own his casinos, and both men can have all the wives and women they want... as long as they say they are "pro-life" and will fight to restrict women's rights at home and support endless military expansion abroad.
This mode of operating: call it massive hypocrisy, won't work forever in Saudi Arabia or here in America. With the implosion of the Trump "presidential" "birther" run, the Gingrich debacle, the defund-Medicare fiasco, et al, we see just why the Republicans don't stand a chance in 2012.
You see they are up against a president who actually walks the walk on family values, national security, and the economy. President Obama lives the clean, sober, thoughtful, soft spoken reasonable kindly life the Evangelicals talk about, while supporting money-grubbing philandering cast of characters (from the C-Street adulterers club to people with big Tiffany accounts) and the Koch brothers et al.
The strain is showing.
The House of Saud is doomed in the long term. Picture the world when oil is gone and/or replaced with other energy sources. And the Republican Party is also doomed.
The marriage of moralistic rigidity with a total sell out to greed and Wall Street won't work here any more than the Wahhabis/Royals "deal" will work forever in Saudi Arabia.
Eventually the party that makes the Goldman Sachs rape of the world possible, but depends on voters who say they believe every word in the Bible, will have to come to terms with Bible verses like this one: "Jesus answered, 'If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.'" (Matthew 19:21).
As for the general public, the Republicans are wearing out their welcome. Most Americans don't want idiots who pander to creationists, global warming deniers, secessionists, birthers, believers in the right to life of stem cells etc., etc., running the country.
Frank Schaeffer is a writer and his new book is Sex, Mom, and God: How the Bible's Strange Take on Sex Led to Crazy Politics--and How I Learned to Love Women (and Jesus) Anyway.