Here We Go Again: The Futile Chase For "Values" Voters

I have tried to ignore Amy Sullivan's return to her rather inane fixation on Democrats and religious voters, but Kevin Drum wrote an annoying post so here I am again. Kevin wrote:

So let's get real: It's true that Democratic politicians are uniformly respectful toward religion, but it's equally true that the Democratic Party responds to liberal concerns, and that means it's more sympathetic than the Republican Party is to a whole raft of positions that even some moderate believers view as anti-religious. Maybe Democrats should do something about this, maybe they shouldn't. We all have our own take on that. But it's not as if the problem is just a figment of Amy Sullivan's imagination.

Do what Kevin? Because there is only one thing that will satisfy "values" voters enough to put them in play for Democrats -- he knows it, Amy Sullivan knows it, you know it. Abandon a woman's right to choose. And not only will Democrats not do that, it would boggle the mind if they even contemplated it. It would be political suicide. The Democratic Party would cease to exist. If the repeal of a woman's right to choose is your number one issue - then you should be a Republican really. And nothing is going to change that. So now, what is the correct political response to the Republican Party's marriage to the Religious Right? I'll tell you again on the flip.

Let's think now. Terri Schiavo. Stem cell research. The attack on science. How's that working out for the GOP this cycle? Does anyone see any political opportunities for Democrats here? Of course there are. Anyone who is not a fool knows what is there - like Lincoln and FDR, the Democrats need to negatively brand the GOP - now as a Party enslaved to the extremist, anti-science, anti-choice, anti-education Religious Right - the Party of Dobson.

Moderate voters disapprove of this aspect of the GOP. EVERY poll says so. Why then this contiued nonsense from Amy Sullivan, the DLC, Barack Obama and now, Kevin Drum? Frankly, I have no idea. These are smart people. I can not explain why they are so dumb on this. And yes, what they are on this is dumb.

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    xx (1.00 / 1) (#1)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Oct 31, 2006 at 07:07:29 AM EST
    Your problem is that, for some reason known only to God, you think that mouthing platitudes can erase the understanding that these people now have of you. It is similiar to Kerry going to that general store in Ohio and buying a duck hunting license. He fooled no one.

    Worse, these folks see this as condescending and hypocritical. They also know you don't mean it.
    It's like telling everybody, including the girl, that you don't respect her and you're going to get to go out with you and have sex.

    The Internet strikes again.

    Whether or not they will sit out this election, I don't know. Many did in '92 and elected Clinton. Some may do so now. But in the end, will they elect someone they think of as a secular progressive?

    We'll know shortly.

    Sheesh (1.00 / 1) (#15)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Oct 31, 2006 at 11:03:33 AM EST
    You really do not have good reading skills.

    What I wrote is those "values" voters will NEVER change their opinion of my Party unless my PArty embraces the anti-choice agenda.

    You have it backwards. I do not want to lift a finger to appeal to them.

    I want to use them and the GOP's enslavement to them to woo moderate voters.

    See Schiavo, stem cell, anti-science etc.

    I don't know about you Jim. I thought you were just a provocateur, but your offerings have been extremely weak of late.


    You just can't get no respect... (none / 0) (#2)
    by Edger on Tue Oct 31, 2006 at 07:25:39 AM EST
    Republicans and the right generally (to use one of their tactics: blanket condemnation of an entire group for the idiocy af some of them) I suppose only end up going out with girls they don't respect to get her to go out with them and have sex, because they don't respect her if they can, and because self respecting girls won't go out with them anyway.

    xx (1.00 / 0) (#7)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Oct 31, 2006 at 08:23:48 AM EST
    edger -I understand that what you thought you said made sense. What I don't understand is why you think that.

    And having what you, edger, condemn and attack the right because of the actions of some.....


    Went right past? (none / 0) (#9)
    by Edger on Tue Oct 31, 2006 at 08:38:08 AM EST
    You never did hear the whisting sound, did you?

    Anti religious (none / 0) (#3)
    by koshembos on Tue Oct 31, 2006 at 07:31:18 AM EST
    Before agreeing or disagreeing with Drum and Sullivan, one has to correctly identify Religious America and Value Voters. I, for one, believe that most religious American is at best religious-light. Furthermore, many conservatives call themselves religious, while in reality the major dictates of most religions, e.g. help the poor, support the weak, don't hate, and couldn't be further from their minds.

    Value Voters are, by and large, anti what have you: abortion, gays, Democrats, taxes, big government when Democrats are in power, deficits when D...

    Bottom line: for those actually anti religious Values Religious Voters, Liberals indeed are anti religious. As for TRUE believer, if they are not Democrats already, they should be.

    Drumbeat not in time with music (none / 0) (#4)
    by Lacy Wood on Tue Oct 31, 2006 at 07:39:42 AM EST
    You build an abortion straw man to beat up on Kevin Drum when he never mentioned that issue even by inference, much less your flight of fancy as to implications.

    Drum's remarks are better summed up by this quote and his response:
    "It's liberals who disparage the anti-evolution crowd as thickwitted neanderthals."
    "And you know what? I agree with all that."

    Tolerant or at least more polite consideration of others beliefs doesn't suggest stripping anyone of his/her rights, and your response was contrived.


    xx (1.00 / 1) (#8)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Oct 31, 2006 at 08:26:59 AM EST

    "And you know what? I agree with all that."

    Insulting people is a poor way of getting them to vote for your party.


    They will never vote for my Party (1.00 / 1) (#14)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Oct 31, 2006 at 10:51:17 AM EST
    The point of this post.

    Strawman? (1.00 / 1) (#13)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Oct 31, 2006 at 10:50:40 AM EST
    His NOT mentioning it is what I criticize.

    You make my point.


    Wow... (none / 0) (#5)
    by Deconstructionist on Tue Oct 31, 2006 at 07:57:22 AM EST
    ... just wow.

      The Democratic Party would "cease to exist" if it "[a]bandon[ed] a woman's right to choose."

      Were that true, I'd be toward the front of the long line saying then it deserves to cease to exist. If that is the true and defining emblem of being a Democrat and the last remaining raison d'etre for a once proud Party then it's time to fold this "Big Tent" and send away the clowns.

      If we no longer stand for respect for and advancement of the laboring class, for equitable taxation, for environmental protection, for minority civil rights, for restraint of militarism and a foreign policy premised on something greater than the corporate economic interests then we are justly doomed.

       This election is essentially a refernedum on a hugely unpopular President and an inarguably failed war but we still don't look to do much more than pull roughly even. Perhaps, it's the prevalence of people like Mr. Big Tent and this sort of thinking that is the problem.

      With apologies to Walt Kelly, I have seen the enemy and he is us.

    Well it is true (1.00 / 1) (#12)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Oct 31, 2006 at 10:50:00 AM EST
    so start your conga line.

    RE: (none / 0) (#16)
    by Deconstructionist on Tue Oct 31, 2006 at 11:03:49 AM EST
     I don't think it is true and hope it doesn't become true. If it does it will be the fault of foolish, immature, intolerant, zealots such as you who seem hellbent on enforcing ideological purity even if it does reduce the Party to a nullity in much of the country.

      The only thing that will destroy the the Democratic Party is Democrats like you.



    Good thing we will never find out (1.00 / 1) (#18)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Oct 31, 2006 at 11:08:04 AM EST
    since the Democrats are a darn sight smarter than that.

    You amaze me. Do you REALLY think that if the Democratic Party abandoned choice there would be an exodus from the PArty and the creation of a third party?

    I really don't care what your position is on this - I am asking you a question - not what you wish, what you think.

    Blame me and  my Communist ilk if you like, will it or will it not happen? You are truly an irrational person.

    BTW , if the GOP abandoned its antichoice stance, it too would disintegrate.

    You know, it great for you to demonstrate great umbrage, now try demonstrating some thinking skills.


    Clarification . . . (none / 0) (#25)
    by JefferyK on Tue Oct 31, 2006 at 06:27:57 PM EST
    Your point being that the only difference between the Republican Party and the Democratic Party is that one is anti-choice and one is pro?

    Wow! (none / 0) (#6)
    by swingvote on Tue Oct 31, 2006 at 07:59:38 AM EST
    So, according to the Big Tent Democrat(s), the sole, unique, and all consuming raison d'etre for the existence of the Democratic party is to support a woman's right to choose? And if you don't support that "right" wholeheartedly and unthinkingly, you are by default a Republican?

    Even to a supporter of such a right, that big tent of yours is looking pretty small right about now,  BTD. So much for the wonders of diversity, aye?

    Sole reason? (1.00 / 1) (#11)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Oct 31, 2006 at 10:49:35 AM EST
    Nice ridiculous response.

    I said that if the Dems abandon choice the PArty will disintegrate.

    Do you actually deny that? Please, don;t act foolish.

    To say that is NOT to say it is the sole reason. But play the fool is you insist.


    Read your own post BTD (none / 0) (#19)
    by swingvote on Tue Oct 31, 2006 at 11:25:26 AM EST
    You said that if the Democratic party ceased to support a woman's right to choose, "The party would cease to exist".

    Since you list no other issue which desertion thereof would be so disastrous for the party, it is perfectly logical to read this as indicating that, in your mind, the party stands for this and only this. Everything else is negotiable.

    Instead of taking weak potshots at those who point out your own fascist tendencies toward party discipline,  you would be better off spending a little  more time thinking about your posts before posting them. If the Democrats do worse than expected next week, it will be because people like you are turning off the less than rabidly idealogical.


    Perfectly logical? (1.00 / 1) (#20)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Oct 31, 2006 at 11:37:04 AM EST
    You need to go back to logic school.

    First, let's assume I think chiice is the oly issue that would cause such a break - and of course that is NOT what I wrote. For example, if Democrats decided that Brown v Board of Ed was wrongly decided and worth fighting to overturn, ine assumes that would break uo the Party to.  But I chose not to deal in ridiculous hypotheticals, but instead treat you as an intelligent adult.

    But let's assume that, how in your mind des tham amke it the ONLY reason the Dem Party exists? You mean it is impossible to have reason to exist that are not so important that their abandonment would cause a schism? Really? Do you actually believe that? Then you really need to learn a few things.

    My observation that if the Democratic Party were to abandon choice would cause a splitup of the Democratic Party is called FASCISTIC by you.

    I think it is clear that you do not know what the word means.

    Then you write "if the Democrats do worse than expected next week, it will be because people like you are turning off the less than rabidly idealogical. " Oh really? So when Harold Ford loses that will be MY fault? Look, you really are not very bright and I will not trim my writing to your intellectual capabities.

    It is people like Howard Dean and daily kos and mydd who are among the most important reasons why the Democratic Party learned to fight back.

    You preach the FLC line which led us to defeat after defeat. And like the DLC and TNR, youyr answer is to insult the rest of the Democratic Party.

    Frankly, it sounds li you will findyour way to the GOP soon because the FIghting Dems are going to win this election and the next. And you abhor us.


    hold on just one big, fat minute! (none / 0) (#10)
    by cpinva on Tue Oct 31, 2006 at 09:27:05 AM EST
    contrary to the arrogance of the republicans and the religious right, all of us are "values" voters. just not necessarily the same values.

    for example, i would say, in general, most progressive voters support a woman's right to choose; a livable minimum wage; equality for all; reasonable taxes; fiscally responsible government; foreign policy based not just on our own parochial interests, but taking into account the needs of other countries as well, etc, etc, etc. these too are "values".

    conservatives seem to have soprano family "values", for the most part. oddly enough, for a group historically desirous of minimal government intrusion into our personal lives, they are quick to legislate that intrusion. these are also "values", just not ones i share.

    this really goes back to an earlier BT post, positing that democrats, to be true to their party, should endorse the overall party platform, only a part of which involves reproductive choice. while we might dicker over how to get from A to B, we should all be agreed that B is where we want to go.

    "Vaules" in quotes (1.00 / 1) (#17)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Oct 31, 2006 at 11:04:35 AM EST
    The thing that has always bothered... (none / 0) (#21)
    by Bill Arnett on Tue Oct 31, 2006 at 11:55:05 AM EST
    ...me is this: If the Democrats relented, let the rethugs place a ban on abortion nationwide, THAT would be the end of the rethug party. MILLIONS of women and men who never voted in their life would turn out to destroy the party trying to enforce a permanent ban on abortions. It would, I believe, end the influence of the religious right, who seemingly have problems with abortions, but not with cutting funds for children's programs (after school, food stamp, medical insurance, education, college funds, and putting millions more in the poor house with their heartless reductions in benefits for children and indigent parents) while supporting eternal war, the death penalty, and fervent prayers for the apocalypse and the Rapture.

    I think we should have given them what they want twenty years ago. Their party would have self-destructed and America would be a much better, and safer, place to live today.

    I've debated that theory (1.00 / 1) (#22)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Oct 31, 2006 at 12:10:42 PM EST
    and while it may be true I dunno, the price is too high.

    Re: the price is too high (none / 0) (#29)
    by Edger on Tue Oct 31, 2006 at 07:59:06 PM EST
    Isn't the country and the world paying that price now?

    America would be a much better place . . . (none / 0) (#26)
    by JefferyK on Tue Oct 31, 2006 at 06:33:27 PM EST
    if abortion were illegal again?

    Yeah, things were so much better when poor women were killed by back-alley abortions while rich women were pampered in "clinics."


    what they want (none / 0) (#28)
    by Edger on Tue Oct 31, 2006 at 07:58:01 PM EST
    Bill, it seems to me that they have done just about all of that except a permanent ban on abortions in the past six years, and they are nearly if not completely self-destructing and about to be given the proverbial boot now because of it, no?

    RE: (none / 0) (#23)
    by Deconstructionist on Tue Oct 31, 2006 at 12:28:06 PM EST
      First of all overturning Roe v. Wade would not create a ban on abortions nationwide. It would merely eliminate the purported  federal constitutional right to abortion that prevents states from passing legislation either banning it or restricting to a greater degree than presently allowed by the Supreme Court.

      It's also a fair bet that many state legislatures  would place broad restrictions on abortion and a few might ban it outright. It's also a safe bet that many states would pass legislation making  abortion available pretty much as presently is the case. (One could envision such a development actually benefitting certain groups in certain regions as they would mobilize to succeed in state legislatures, likely invigorating their organizations.

      Indeed many people, including many abortion rights supporters and many other liberals,  feel that Roe v. Wade by imperially  preempting state power and imposing a rule by decree did more to strengthen and embolden the religious right than other event in our history.  

       MANY people who support abortion rights agree that it is a political question and that the issue should be decided politically through representative processes. The issue would not go away; it would simply be shifted to the state level.

      If you feel that the Democratic party cannot survive unless it slavishly  adheres to the position that abortion must be considered beyond the reach of political determination then you have an extremely low opinion of the Democratic Party and one must wonder why you choose to associate with it.

       I won't use the word "fascist" to describe you  but narrow-minded  authoritarian sure fits the bill. You're no different than those you oppose-- both you and the extreme right want to IMPOSE your version of "right" on everyone else through anti-democratic means.

      Most people have little use for any of you at either extreme  and recognize that extremists have far more in common with each other than with them.

      That the grown-ups recognize it is folly to mistake disgust with the Administration with broad support for the Far-Left agenda and are endeavoring to build the case that voting Democrat is not tantamount to acquiescing to it, merely indicates they have a grasp of the big picture.

    I don't know (none / 0) (#24)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Oct 31, 2006 at 04:02:37 PM EST
    if you have a limited intellect or are being willfully obtuse. In eithe case, you are a bore.

    Note that nothing you wrote bears any relation to what I wrote.


    That's not how I read it. (none / 0) (#27)
    by s5 on Tue Oct 31, 2006 at 07:55:53 PM EST
    Er, I think you've completely misunderstood Kevin Drum. Kevin is making a very mundane point: that secular ideas are the natural constituency of the Democratic party, and that the deeply religious will always consider this to be "anti-religious". Drum makes it clear that, in his opinion, this is a feature not a bug, but pretending that "we're the Jesus party too" isn't truthful.

    Which makes sense. No matter what we do, we're never going to be sufficiently "pro-religion" enough for the Bible thumpers, so why bother bending over backwards to appeal to them? It comes off as dishonest, because it is.

    I think Kevin's post was worded badly but that was the conclusion I walked away with.