Obama's Futile Chase For "Values" Voters

Amy Sullivan is at it again, urging, and in this case, cheering on, Obama's "reachout" to "values" voters. She thinks Obama has hit a home run. Strangely enough, an American Spectator writer agrees with her. But the funny thing is the data the Spectator writer relies upon simply does not support his assertions. For example, the Spectator writer states:

Polls still show that conservative Christians favor McCain, but Obama is faring better than Kerry did in 2004.

But the linked Pew poll does not say that at all. Indeed, Obama is faring worse with white evangelical and white non-hispanic Catholics than even John Kerry. More . .

Obama's outreach to "values" voters has been a total flop. Al Gore was getting 28% of white evangelicals in June 2000, according to Pew, Kerry got 26% in June 2004, according to Pew and Obama gets 25% according to Pew.

In terms of white Catholics, according to Pew, Kerry was receiving 47% of the vote in June 2004, Gore received 45% of the vote in 2000. Obama receives 40% now. Obama is running about even with Kerry (but well behind Gore) is so called white mainline voters (presumably non-Evangelical non-Catholics.)

The real story told by the Pew poll is that John McCain is not exciting the evangelical base the way George Bush did, running 8 points behind Bush's 2004 numbers. Conversely, McCain is doing better with white mainline voters than Bush did.

The bottom line is this - Obama's evangelical outreach has been a complete failure. His gains come from the mainstream, from Latinos and from increased African American support. Contrary to the tired propaganda from Amy Sullivan and the false histrionics from the American Spectator, the Evangelical "values" voters are not turning to Barack Obama at all. It is the non-Evangelical voter that is producing Barack Obama's lead in this election.

By Big Tent Democrat, speaking for me only

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    When Amy Sullivan is cheering your (5.00 / 3) (#1)
    by MarkL on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 12:45:22 PM EST
    candidate (and you're a Democrat), you should really worry. There is no stupider, wronger commenter on  religion and politics in America.

    Then she's the one... (5.00 / 3) (#3)
    by kredwyn on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 12:48:33 PM EST
    folks will listen to.

    Let's see how long that miniscule lead (5.00 / 2) (#2)
    by PssttCmere08 on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 12:46:19 PM EST
    lasts....too early people....take everything with a grain of salt.

    Of course he is doing worse (5.00 / 2) (#5)
    by CaptainAmerica08 on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 12:55:51 PM EST
    with white evangelicals. I applaud him for trying to maximize his support, but if he thinks he can exceed his predecessors in this area, then he is an idiot. The main reasons are these: 1)Rev. Wright 2)Obama's support for abortion and civil unions 3)he's black 4)Obama's muslim connections. The first two of these reasons are substantive, even though they are misguided and/or overblown.

    "Muslim connections". wow. (5.00 / 1) (#62)
    by beachmom on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 04:51:21 PM EST
    When is Talk Left going to be "left" again, as in supporting our candidate?  The primary is over folks, and such comments like the above are very unhelpful, if not downright despicable.  Obama is a Christian.  Why does that have to be said on a supposedly left wing blog?

    I Agree (5.00 / 1) (#71)
    by squeaky on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 11:05:02 PM EST
    It should come as no surprise that many on the left would act exactly as those the right when it comes to sliming Obama. The words are even the same.

    Hey, I have Jewish connectoins (2.00 / 0) (#66)
    by Cream City on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 09:20:02 PM EST
    and I'm not Jewish.  Obama has Muslim connections -- Muslim relatives.  It's for real, and it's a factor, and this discussion is about factors that may affect the voting of those who decide on such "values."

    That doing so may be wrong-headed -- or "despicable" -- does not change matters.  They do not read this blog.  Those who do read here appreciate reality-based discussion.  And they don't appreciate bashing for doing so.

    There are many blogs where you can have discussions that are not reality-based and be a cheerleader.


    That was not the intention of the commenter. (5.00 / 0) (#78)
    by beachmom on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 10:51:51 AM EST
    If that was the point he/she wanted to make, then they would have mentioned family members (although even that is quite tenuous as Obama's father did not practice Islam).  "Muslim connections" sounds too much like "terrorist connections".  I mean, it reinforces the Right's smear talking points.  Pile on all you want, that comment was really below the belt given the political atmosphere.

    By "political atmosphere" (none / 0) (#87)
    by Steve M on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 06:13:21 PM EST
    I assume you mean the atmosphere of hyper-touchiness where everyone is instantly presumed to be posting in bad faith.

    That commentor, as far as I know, has no history of smearing Obama whatsoever.  Yet you chose to jump down his throat.

    Every single person at this blog, even the haters, knows that Barack Obama is not a Muslim.  Isn't it unpleasant to go through life seeing Karl Rove lurking behind every bush?


    Oh for Christ's sake (none / 0) (#70)
    by Steve M on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 09:36:24 PM EST
    We can't even talk about the reasons why Obama has trouble with certain voters without being despicable and not supporting our candidate?  Fine.  Everyone loves Obama, he will win with 100% of the vote, the world is beautiful.  Am I left enough for you now?

    TalkLeft supports the Democratic candidate (none / 0) (#72)
    by Jeralyn on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 11:51:37 PM EST
    The commenters here don't represent the views of TalkLeft. It's stated on our homepage and been said many times. Don't spread falseshoods here.

    Our commenters are free to support whom they want.


    Good to know, Jeralyn. (none / 0) (#77)
    by beachmom on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 10:48:07 AM EST
    Your commenters (well, some of them) are lagging behind the site.  If it were not for my response, however, no one would have said anything.  

    futile chase (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by Capt Howdy on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 12:57:32 PM EST
    I completely agree.  the really interesting thing will be if he extends it to his VP choice.
    think Nunn or similar.

    Isn't it logical, based on how Obama (5.00 / 3) (#10)
    by MarkL on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 01:00:00 PM EST
    is campaigning, that the closer the race seems, the more likely he will choose a VP candidate to the right? He only thinks in terms of moving right to win votes.

    sadly, yes. (none / 0) (#16)
    by Capt Howdy on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 01:09:04 PM EST
    well (5.00 / 5) (#11)
    by Capt Howdy on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 01:01:13 PM EST
    no one hates the christian "right" more than me but I will again caution against to broad a brush.  I know for a fact that all evangelicals are not extremist, racist, environment raping nutcases.
    some are, in fact, progressive democrats.  but not many, I grant you.
    but I understand "reaching out" to them.  it needs to be done but Obama is not the one to do it IMO.
    hate to bring it up but Hillary would have been a pretty good candidate for reaching out to the ones who can be reached.

    I agree totally with (none / 0) (#14)
    by CaptainAmerica08 on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 01:05:09 PM EST
    your assessment.

    Sadly, you and Howdy are smarter ... (none / 0) (#20)
    by cymro on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 01:17:11 PM EST
    ... than the average democratic primary voter. I guess that's how you achieved your rank.

    actually (5.00 / 0) (#26)
    by Capt Howdy on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 01:23:17 PM EST
    I slept my way to the top

    lol (none / 0) (#31)
    by CaptainAmerica08 on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 01:25:41 PM EST
    On another blog site I read (none / 0) (#64)
    by hairspray on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 06:42:17 PM EST
    about Joe Wilson and the GOP's continuing attack on his credibility.  Apparently they are determined to destroy him and revise the history of the leadup to the Iraq war.  Getting Joe Wilson out of the picture would make it easier.  Of course Joe won't go quietly.  But the issue here is how determined the right wing is.  That is why Obama's "reaching out" is so dangerous.  As soon as he is in their trap they will spring the noose.  These guys are not to be trusted.

    That really angers me. He is a very good guy (5.00 / 1) (#67)
    by Cream City on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 09:23:37 PM EST
    in all he has done.  And in person, as I had the pleasure of meeting him in the Clinton campaign.

    And as if it were not sufficiently evident even before that, believe me, that is when I also saw that he is really brilliant, and incredibly experienced in foreign affairs -- and that we are denigrating such experts whom we need most is truly dispiriting.  Reminds me of reading Halberstram's The Best and the Brightest about how desperately ill-equipped we were in dealing with Vietnam, because of Joe McCarthy's purge of the State Dept.


    Joe Wilson is a hero! (none / 0) (#89)
    by suzieg on Wed Jul 30, 2008 at 08:01:55 AM EST
    Our closest friends are Brits who were working in Iraq for Bechtel London in 1991 and were taken as Sadam's hostages just before the 1st war.

    When they were released, the British Embassy would not help them get out of the country so they turned to the US Embassy where Joe Wilson took them in. Even gave his room to the wife because she was very ill from the ordeal. There are a lot of Brits and other foreign nationals who are extremely grateful to Joe Wilson who helped get them out of the country before the war began!


    It could be argued that the Evangelical (5.00 / 0) (#15)
    by tigercourse on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 01:07:49 PM EST
    base would be circling the wagons for McCain if Obama wasn't trying to court them. So, maybe his outreach worked in that fashion. If they don't believe Obama is a liberal devil, they'll be less likely to back the lesser of two evils.

    Dobson is now (5.00 / 2) (#17)
    by Capt Howdy on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 01:10:35 PM EST
    aparrently close to swallowing  hard and endorsing McCain.
    they have seen the devil.  and it is not McCain.

    Or... (5.00 / 1) (#18)
    by kredwyn on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 01:12:26 PM EST
    as they've gotten very good at dickering over the past few election cycles, they are holding their chips to make McCain jump through as many hoops as possible before finally placing them on his number.

    Yep - Dobson is playing hard-to-get (5.00 / 3) (#43)
    by ruffian on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 02:03:27 PM EST
    for McCain, and McCain is courting him actively, whereas too many progressives swooned immediately for Obama and are getting nothing to show for it.

    Dems Are Always At Least a Decade Behind (5.00 / 3) (#22)
    by BDB on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 01:18:14 PM EST
    Now they reach out to the religious right when polls show Americans are growing more secular.  Perfect.  Exactly what I'd expect from this crew.

    Outreach to Roman Catholics makes (5.00 / 1) (#23)
    by MarkL on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 01:22:13 PM EST
    more sense, with all the new Latin Americans here.
    Notably, Obama lags particularly with Catholics.

    White Catholics (5.00 / 1) (#25)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 01:23:10 PM EST
    Granted, but Obama is trying to (5.00 / 2) (#29)
    by MarkL on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 01:24:55 PM EST
    appeal to an overhyped, highly insular, small group, over the vast Catholic mainstream, right?

    Indeed (5.00 / 1) (#32)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 01:28:07 PM EST
    and he has been at it for years now.

    tben acts as if Obama just started his outreach a month ago.

    this is the fruit of all his work - a big nothing.

    Obama and his team clearly missed the boat on this poltical issue. they followed the DLc/ Amy Sullivan playbook and got nothing for it.

    I would argue it has hurt him a little.


    Actully Obama is ahead (none / 0) (#40)
    by Truth Sayer on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 01:50:49 PM EST
    of Kerry by a very small margin. The American Spectator author linked to Pew as evidence of that and in fact Obama is ahead of Kerry, just not with Whites, which the AS author did not separate out - you did. You erred in why he was linking to Pew.

    I see no evidence that Obama is only reaching out to a small sub-group of evangelicals as you suggest. If he is doing worse with Whites but better overall with both Affiliated and non-affiliated evangelicals then it means that he is doing better with people of color which is not surprising but that is not evidence he is not reaching out for the masses of evangelicals. There are probably numerous reasons he does not do better with Whites but lack of effort is probably not one of them.


    Not small (5.00 / 1) (#39)
    by MKS on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 01:50:25 PM EST
    Evangelicals are probably about 50 million in number....

    That is what is driving the discussion....Outreach may or may not work but it's no small potatoes....


    Right wing evangelicals? I don't buy (none / 0) (#50)
    by MarkL on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 02:42:38 PM EST

    Evangelicals as a whole, not (none / 0) (#55)
    by MKS on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 03:12:14 PM EST
    all of whom are right-wing.

    Wikipedia says:

    The 2004 survey of Religion and politics in the United States[11] identified the Evangelical percentage of the population at 26.3%; while Catholics are 22% and Mainline Protestants make up 16%. In the 2007 Statistical Abstract of the United States, the figures for these same groups are 28.6% (Evangelical), 24.5% (Catholics), and 13.9% (Mainline Protestant.)

    So, there are more Evangelicals than Catholics.  

    If you assume 26% of the U.S. population is Evangelical, and the total U.S. population is 300 million, you get 78 million Evangelicals.   Yes, not all are right-wing, and not all are all that "devout," but it is a large group....and many who self-identify as Evangelicals vote for Democrats....


    That has been discounted. Recent study (none / 0) (#68)
    by Cream City on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 09:26:52 PM EST
    I read in the last week or two explained why the methodology was flawed in that study.  And the new one puts their share of the population at about 7%, as I recall.

    It's like counting Catholics, also cited here.  First, define Catholic these days. . . .


    Many people self-identify as (none / 0) (#74)
    by MKS on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 12:27:50 AM EST
    Evangelicals--almost all Baptists do.....Yes, you can slice the Evangelical pie thin enough to create a very narrow definition.  But that is my point--not all Evangelicals fit within the narrow stereotype that many hold.....

    This CUNY study cited elsewhere in this thread (none / 0) (#85)
    by MKS on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 05:16:49 PM EST
    shows about the same result.  Here is a link.

    In Exhibit 1, you have 16.3% Baptist, 6.8% Christian-no denomination supplied (those are most likely the megachurches--look at the increase over 1990) and 2.1% Pentocostals (undoubtedly Evangelical).  That gives us 18.4 or 25.2% (if you include "Christians") Evangelicals....  


    Pew says 26.3% Evangelical (none / 0) (#86)
    by MKS on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 05:42:45 PM EST
    This Pew study was released earlier this year and was based on a telephone survey of more than 35,000 people in 2007.

    Where are (none / 0) (#81)
    by BackFromOhio on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 02:00:26 PM EST
    the other 30+ %??

    Wikipedia (none / 0) (#83)
    by MKS on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 04:49:34 PM EST
    quotes this source.  See page 3 for the entire breakdown....

    You also have Latino Protestants, Black Protestants, Jewish, other Christians, and unaffiliated believers.....


    And only 10.7% secular, agnostic or atheist (none / 0) (#59)
    by MKS on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 03:43:22 PM EST
    The Wikipedia article is based on this 2004 University of Akron study, which shows the breakdown on page 3.

    Congrats, BTD (none / 0) (#80)
    by BackFromOhio on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 01:46:58 PM EST
    On once again making the list of recommended blog posts at realclearpolitics.

    Comments are closed at Jeralyn's post on VP choice, so I just wanted to add that Rasmussen poll today also has McCain ahead, admittedly by 1 point.  And, I agree that lots of polls are useless, but if it were up to me, I would be taking a very serious look at HRC for VP to avert all the needless angst about prospects. Obama is, after all, down by 10 points in Ohio, last I looked.


    Today's Rasmussen poll has Obama ahead (none / 0) (#84)
    by MKS on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 04:53:18 PM EST
    Here is the site.  47-46, Obama over McCain.  Yes, a tight race, but McCain is not ahead.  

    Thanks - I Stand (5.00 / 0) (#88)
    by BackFromOhio on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 07:13:45 PM EST

    boy this would be great news (5.00 / 1) (#30)
    by Capt Howdy on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 01:25:08 PM EST
    but I have seen no evidence in the heartland that this is actually happening.

    LOL. That's my party baby! (none / 0) (#27)
    by CaptainAmerica08 on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 01:24:14 PM EST
    Can I just say that I truly hate (5.00 / 7) (#34)
    by Anne on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 01:29:27 PM EST
    the term "values voter?"  And that I wish I could figure out why Obama wants to buy into the meme that Democrats don't have any redeeming values, and so he must go in search of people to bring into the party who can help show us the light and the error of our valueless ways?

    I think Obama should spend less time courting people who want government to regulate and legislate the most personal areas of our lives, and more time courting people who care about the health and welfare of the democracy so we can do something about it before it erodes any further.  What about those values?  Do they not count?  We are, after all, electing a president, not a bishop - a head of state, not a head of religion.

    For the life of me, I do not understand why Democrats - and Obama in particular - are so afraid to talk about doing the right thing because it is the right thing; people of faith can recognize morality and values even when those things are not wrapped in a religious package - so why not appeal to people's sense of right and wrong - regardless of whether that sense comes from their church or their heart, instead of trying to speak in a kind of code that says "see, I'm really one of you?"

    Probably one of the most disappointing things for me is to see Democrats just shamelessly pandering to religious groups, and acting as if there's something wrong with the rest of us.

    the groups they are pandering to (5.00 / 3) (#35)
    by Capt Howdy on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 01:37:23 PM EST
    think there IS something wrong with the rest of us.

    I hate it too, it's a false term (none / 0) (#73)
    by Jeralyn on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 11:53:11 PM EST
    it means religious voters, voters who vote based on their faith. It's not values like home, family, community. It's religion.

    run away? (5.00 / 2) (#36)
    by Capt Howdy on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 01:41:04 PM EST

    Do you think.... (5.00 / 2) (#42)
    by cmugirl on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 01:59:40 PM EST
    That while Evangelicals aren't enthusiastic about McCain right now and are voicing their displeasure or apathy (when it doesn't matter), come November they will turn out like good soldiers and vote for him?  There's no way that James Dobson and other Evangelical leaders are going to roll over and let the Dems completely sweep the federal government.

    They are biding their time and will fall in line accordingly.

    Republicans appear to, (5.00 / 2) (#45)
    by ccpup on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 02:20:28 PM EST
    unlike Democrats, fall into line and Vote Straight Ticket without, apparently, a great deal of thought.  In other words, McCain doesn't necessarily have to give them an overriding reason to vote for him.  The (R) behind his name will be enough.

    But I don't know if the (D) behind Obama's name will be enough to surmount the deep divides in the Dem Party this year.  As for the Evangelical votes, Obama has to give them a really, REALLY good reason to even consider him and, in the end, they'll choose McCain only because there will be nothing in Obama's history that says he's "one of them".  

    McCain may NOT be, necessarily, "one of them" either.  But he's got that (R) and they're not quite sure who Obama is.


    There may be 50 million (5.00 / 2) (#46)
    by mmc9431 on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 02:21:27 PM EST
    But if the majority feel you should and will burn in h#ll because of your support for abortion, gay rights, evolution and the public school system  then what are you reaching for? By sticking to his position on FISA and ending the war he would gain more with Dem's and Ind's than he'll get trying to appease a group that the party can't appease with it's current platform.

    sigh............. (5.00 / 4) (#48)
    by cpinva on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 02:34:54 PM EST
    again, i must be the one to bust chops here. in spite of all the blathering, by the amy sullivans and american spectators of the world, we're all "values" voters.

    to assert that one particular group somehow has a monopoly on "values" is arrogance in the extreme. i have values (as well as "deeply held personal beliefs"), you have values, she has values, we all have values. while they might not necessarily be the same values, they are values nonetheless.

    therein lies the flaw in the plan to appeal to "values" voters: who's "values" are you going to appeal to, and who's are you going to ignore?
    i consider my values to be every bit as legitimate as the fundamentalist's down the street, and take some offense at the implication that sen. obama should think otherwise.

    i suspect i'm not alone, but i speak only for myself.

    "Whoa" yourself... (5.00 / 4) (#49)
    by Anne on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 02:35:50 PM EST
    Could you link to an example of Obama calling these people values voters? Or claiming that he is reaching out to them in order to raise the moral quotient of our party?

    Did I say it was Obama using the term "values voter?"  No, I did not.  The term is, however, in the title of the post, and I think I'm allowed to express my dislike of the term..  

    Now, you tell me what effect it has, what message it sends about Democrats, when Obama says that "the problem" with many pro-choice people is that they don't understand the wrenching moral choice that abortion presents.  Tell me that that kind of reaching out does not send a message that the "right kind" of voters could school the rest of us on moral issues.

    It is the media that refers to these people as "values voters", not Obama. And he is reaching out to them because they are a constituency that might be flipped, given that they have a lot of disappointment in the economic, administrative and war-prosectuing performance of the GOP.

    Then let him flip those voters on the basis of the policies and positions he holds on the economy and the war - not on the basis of religious dog-whistling.

    When you make an electoral appeal to people, you do so in the language they feel comfortable with, or else you probably shouldnt waste your time. I dont see what is wrong with him using references that are part of his own worldview anyway, and which facilitate getting his political message across to these people.

    Sorry, but you don't have to play rhetorical games like this to appeal to people.  I don't care what someone's religion is - people understand that gas and food and education are too expensive, they understand that torture is wrong, they understand that people should be able to count on the food they eat and the drugs they take being safe, they understand that we have rights and privileges that are supposed to prevent the government from invading their privacy unless they have the requisite authority to do so, they understand that we need to have fewer secrets, more transparency and accountability.  Why do we have to speak in code in order to gain the trust and support of the voters?

    I also have never had the sense that Obama feels there is anything wrong with non-religous people. Are you just assuming that when he speaks in religous terms, he is implicitly criticizing non-believers, or do you have some explicit diss in mind?

    Oh, the old "not that there's anything wrong with that" approach.  Swell - that always works.

    We are not electing a religious leader, we are electing a president, which is a non-sectarian position.  When he frames issues in religious terms - issues that don't have to be framed that way - he may think that what he is doing is relating to people, but what he is really doing is elevating the religious over the non-religious, and that, in my opinion, is wrong for someone to do who is running for a non-religious position.

    I know you love how Obama panders, but I wonder if you really have any clue what he really believes in, if anything, and how confident you are that those positions and beliefs you think he shares with you are not going to fall by the wayside when he decides he needs to shift to garner someone else's support.

    What are you quoting, and rsponding to? (none / 0) (#63)
    by cymro on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 06:24:49 PM EST
    A deleted message in this thread, or ...?

    a deleted item (none / 0) (#65)
    by waldenpond on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 08:49:10 PM EST
    Too bad because I wanted to read ... (5.00 / 1) (#75)
    by cymro on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 03:41:38 AM EST
    ... the other side of this argument. Judging only from the content of the responses, the original positions seemed to me to have at least as much merit. Too bad if reasonable arguments were stated in a way the got them deleted.

    No just the insult (none / 0) (#79)
    by waldenpond on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 11:55:45 AM EST
    and the actual poster had been banned under two other names.

    Rev Wright Fallout (5.00 / 2) (#51)
    by ruffian on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 02:43:48 PM EST
    He can't remind people that he is a churchgoing values oriented guy without reminding them of Rev. Wright.  I don't expect him to make much headway among the values voters.  It might have worked if he had a different church association.

    IMO the real key to the hearts of the (none / 0) (#4)
    by MarkL on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 12:53:20 PM EST
    "values voters" in question is to appeal to their racist, nativist impulses. These people love to talk about "ragheads" and nuking Saudi Arabia (in my  experience), and are fans of the Left Behind series.
    For obvious reasons, it is difficult for Obama's campaign to appeal to the anti-brown impulses of the religious right.

    Gosh (none / 0) (#6)
    by Steve M on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 12:56:48 PM EST
    I am not sure I can agree with my friend Amy's suggestion that only the silliest liberals see Bush's faith-based initiatives as a slush fund to funnel money in exchange for GOP votes.  I mean, she doesn't cite any evidence at all on the point, and I don't see why faith-based initiatives would be any different from any other aspect of the political machine the GOP has built.

    I think she can't quite accept the concept that political outreach to religion is about politics, not religion.  One might as well argue that the GOP began the K Street Project because they were just so pleased with all the great work being done on K Street and they wanted to support it.

    Your friend? (none / 0) (#8)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 12:58:24 PM EST
    do you mean that in a McCainesque way?

    Well (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by Steve M on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 01:02:47 PM EST
    She is more of an acquaintance, really, but I do try to stick up for her where I can.  She does make some interesting points in this article about the pre-Bush history.

    Heh (none / 0) (#13)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 01:04:35 PM EST
    Well good luck with that.

    I find her insipid at best.

    I have written so for years.


    Well now (5.00 / 1) (#19)
    by Steve M on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 01:12:35 PM EST
    Even the Rude Pundit is insipid compared to you, BTD!

    Not to venture too far OT, but I do think the netroots are guilty of unrealistic expectations when it comes to Obama and religion, in a couple of different ways.

    First, a lot of people in the netroots seem to have this idea that the Democratic Party has traditionally stood for a solid brick wall between church and state, which simply isn't the case.  There's nothing wrong with the absolutist position, and one can certainly argue that that's the position the Constitution requires, but a lot of people on the blogs don't even seem to realize that the absolutist position is anything other than mainstream.

    Second, once the GOP announced that as long as they're in power, there will be large piles of money handed out to all the religious groups, I'm not sure the Democrats had any alternative but to find a way to co-opt that program.  This is just raw machine politics at work.



    I do not care that Obama goes to Rick Warren's church or most of the other parts of his "outreach."

    the one part that worries me always - his commitment to the right to choose.

    Cass Sunstein is a BIG concern to me es I know he has the equal protection theory, but I do not trust him at all.


    I don't think (none / 0) (#82)
    by BackFromOhio on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 02:04:22 PM EST
    the net roots knows what "it" believes any more either.

    Another example ... (none / 0) (#37)
    by cymro on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 01:43:05 PM EST
    This is just raw machine politics at work.

    ... of Obama as the candidate for change?

    My reading of Obama is that in the area of religion he is just saying what he believes, as opposed to deliberately adjusting his message to appeal to any particular segment of the electorate.

    I agree with your observations about the perspective of many in the netroots. Obama's positions on religion seem to bother some bloggers, but I find them fairly mild. Unlike Bush, he does not come across as an advocate of Religious Right positions.


    Please link properly (none / 0) (#9)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 12:59:57 PM EST
    and also stay on topic. I deleted a comment that was off topic and also contained an off topic link to the Rassmussen tracking poll.

    Irish Catholic Dems? (none / 0) (#38)
    by Exeter on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 01:43:45 PM EST
    The "Catholics" doesn't really tell me much. I would be interested to see a breakdown between Irish Catholics, German Catholics, Hispanic Catholics, ect. Each of these groups have their own histories. My unproven hypothesis is that Irish Catholics do not like Obama or may falsely think that McCain is Irish-- as they thought Kerrey was Irish.

    And, as above, define "Catholic" (none / 0) (#69)
    by Cream City on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 09:34:02 PM EST
    these days.  Most I know whom pollsters might put in that category are really lapsed or "fallen away," as they say.  The liberal Catholics really were driven away by the current and previous pope and other matters, according to a friend of mine who is a priest.  He says that the practicing Catholics these days, the ones left, have made it a very different church these days -- very close to these Prot "values voters" in many ways.  And he says that the Latino/a Catholics are much more liberal now!

    So your point is on point.  The pollsters that keep trying to put so many voters into a lumpen proletariat are muddling more than clarifying here.


    It would be interesting (none / 0) (#76)
    by Exeter on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 10:13:32 AM EST
    to look at some of the "island ethnic communities" in the midwest and see how they vote this time around. And you're right, the Catholic filter is overly broad-- my family is mostly Catholic and has the full range of social conservative voters to very liberal voters.

    You are Missing Another Point (none / 0) (#47)
    by msaroff on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 02:31:34 PM EST
    That "Compassionate Conservatism" was a dog whistle to the religious right, which believes that true compassion is letting people fend for themselves.

    Heheh (5.00 / 1) (#54)
    by gyrfalcon on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 02:56:09 PM EST
    Remember how Bill Clinton characterized it?  "Compassionate conservative" means, "Gee, I feel so badly for you.  I wish I could help you.  But I can't."

    No kidding (none / 0) (#53)
    by gyrfalcon on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 02:54:16 PM EST
    jokes about brain tumors are just incredibly bad taste.  I doubt I'm the only one who finds them deeply offensive.  Please resist the urge.

    The move from GOP to undecided (none / 0) (#57)
    by stxabuela on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 03:30:05 PM EST
    is probably due to lack of enthusiasm. Half my family is Southern Baptist and I was reared in that denomination. The SBC has very effectively linked the Republican Party as the "Christian" party in the minds of its members.  I think it will be much more likely to see evangelicals sitting it out in November, or perhaps voting third party. It's still a net positive for Obama.

    You have got it twisted. (none / 0) (#58)
    by Not what you think on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 03:38:37 PM EST
    "values voters" in question is to appeal to their racist, nativist impulses. These people love to talk about "ragheads" and nuking Saudi Arabia (in my  experience), and are fans of the Left Behind series.
    For obvious reasons, it is difficult for Obama's campaign to appeal to the anti-brown impulses of the religious right.

    Since when do all people who read the Left Behind series want to bomb Saudi's. You came out of left field with that one bro. As a young white male who believes in God, I will not vote for Obama simply because I do not trust him, I do not want a goverment controlled everything and I do not agree with his stances morally.

    This does not mean I am "Far Right" or Value Voter or whatever heck I am categorized in.
    It simply means Obama and I don't see eye to eye.
    I am not racist, and I live in the South.

    If John McCain was Black I would still vote for him. This is not about Race to me. It is about Character, issues and morals. It saddens me that we will have a huge Black turn out simply because the man is Black. People are paying less attention to politics and more to speeches.

    McCain is certainly not the best but he is sits on the same issues as I. Define me now!!

    dude (none / 0) (#61)
    by Capt Howdy on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 04:05:15 PM EST
    you are white(I assume), from the south, religious and are NOT voting for the chosen one.
    you have already been categorized.
    (snark btw)

    Ah (none / 0) (#60)
    by Alien Abductee on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 03:51:51 PM EST
    but he does remove the Democrats are agin' religion arrow from the right-wing quiver with it.

    It's got to have some value to drive a wedge like this between the social-justice evangelicals (the "new evangelicals") and the family-values evangelicals. The Spectator sees it. Even the normally clueless Amy Sullivan has a few interesting observations on the position it puts McCain and the GOP into in her last section on the GOP response.

    If it isn't showing in the polling at this point, there is another major difference between Kerry and Gore on the one hand and Obama on the other that after all might be considered as starting his numbers among conservative white evangelicals lower from the start...