Lakoff takes a quote about spanking from a book by James Dobson and then blows it out of context. You see, Dobson, and many other evangelists, advocate spanking during child-rearing. First, Lakoff equates spanking with child abuse — a questionable leap — and then basically says that conservative Christians are who they are because they're "beaten" as children and are maladjusted according to the attachment theory of psychology. This, apparently, explains why they grow up to be abusers, why they have blind faith in their leaders and, somehow, how they are better organized.
If I were a conservative Christian, I would be enraged at Lakoff's suggestion that we're a bunch of maladjusted abusers who believe what we do because we were surely beaten as children. It's simply shameful to suggest — as he does — that good parenting falls convincingly along partisan lines. His statement that child and spousal abuse is "rife" in conservative families (a "dirty little secret") is not supported by any research I could find. Even if it were, we'd be committing a crime against statistics if we suggested that people become abusers because they are conservative (here's the real truth, as best I can tell). And that's assuming we could even agree on what constitutes a "conservative family."
If the film has any credibility left, it's shot away by Sean Penn. Penn uses some juicy and sensational adjectives to describe conservatives — everything from "neo-Nazis" to "tyrants." In another unprompted rant, Penn refers to the fact that "neo-conservatives hate American ideals" (yeah, the pursuit of happiness really pisses them off). But here's his parting shot to end the film: "Our current Republican war on democracy is causing the most serious Constitutional crisis since the document went into effect," a remarkable feat of hyperbole that apparently dismisses the Civil War as an overhyped episode of Family Feud.
As a liberal Democrat — or rather, a radical leftist — I can only assume that this DVD was meant for me and people like me (it's billed as a "learning tool for progressives"). If so, it failed miserably in this particular case. Even if I agree in principle to much of what is said, I can't just ignore the fact that it's the product of extreme over-generalization and illogical flights of fancy. And I am not so hopelessly partisan as to accept a world "dominated" by an ill-defined cabal of Republican and conservative enemies, as if the Democrats were innocent bystanders. The fact that many Democrats were, in fact, collaborators and co-conspirators in the "crisis" Penn refers to is not mentioned once in the film.