The liberal polling firm Democracy Corps has released the results of its latest research project. Titled, “The Culture Divide & the Challenge of Winning Back Rural & Red State Voters,” the memo encapsulating the results of a series of focus groups paints a grim picture for Democrats. “Most [focus group participants] referred to Democrats as ‘liberal’ on issues of morality, but some even go so far as to label them ‘immoral,’ ‘morally bankrupt,’ or even ‘anti-religious,’” report Karl Agne and Stan Greenberg from Democracy Corps.
Go figure. The same day Democracy Corps released its study, NARAL Pro-Choice America began airing a television ad that implies Supreme Court nominee Judge John G. Roberts supports abortion clinic bombers. Whether you call it “the God gap,” “the values gap,” or “the culture gap,” it has never been wider than it is now.
It’s been almost ten months since Democrats promised to take “moral values” voters seriously after the drubbing this important voting bloc gave them in the 2004 election. Back then, it seemed every aspiring Democrat politician in America was ready to enroll in the Rites of Catholic Initiation for Adults or start attending an Evangelical Megachurch. “Our moral values are closer to the American people than the Republicans’ are,” Howard Dean preached in his campaign to become the new chairman of the Democrat National Committee. Dean’s opponent Don Fowler went a step further saying, “I am a Democrat because I am a Christian, not in spite of it.”
It all came off as a bit solicitous and, frankly, futile. It’s hard to imagine anyone uttering the word “values” more frequently than altar boy John Kerry did during the 2004 campaign. And it’s not as if Americans of faith were a swing group. President George W. Bush beat Kerry among both Protestants (59%-40%) and Catholics (52%-47%). He won among those who attend church monthly, weekly, and more than once a week, which is to say people who enter a church for reasons other than to ask for directions (though Kerry slaughtered Bush among voters who never attend church). White Evangelicals supported Bush over Kerry by a greater margin than gays, lesbians, and bisexuals favored Kerry.
But then came the backlash. Despite exit polls showing a plurality of voters said “moral values” was their number one issue of concern on Election Day, liberals, libertarians, and even neocons managed to cover their ears and chant “there’s no such thing as a ‘moral values’ voter” long enough to convince themselves they were right.
It got worse. When her estranged husband and Florida state courts decided it was time for Terri Schiavo to go, Christian conservatives and some Republican politicians protested. Loudly. Congress passed a measure to grant the Supreme Court review of her case. President Bush signed it. All involved were accused of placating the Religious Right. Republicans left, right, and center were accused of being “theocrats.” All the polls said people had turned on the Religious Right. The “moral values” movement was as dead as that poor girl in Florida. It all ended badly for Christian conservatives (and not at all well for Ms. Schiavo).
It soon became so gauche to be a “moral values” American, Howard Dean called Republicans a “white, Christian party.” And he meant it as an epithet.
Except that someone forgot to tell Americans.
According to the Democracy Corps memo:
In short, “moral values” issues still trump everything else. And what’s more, “moral value” voters still resent the Democrats’ derision of their worldview. In the memo’s words:
The voters are right, of course, just as they were in 2004. But Americans should expect another round of insincere Democrat yawps of piety and “our values are better than your values” talk. And then when the next “moral value” issue strikes (the entire John Roberts confirmation applies) liberals will blame those damn Christians for anything they can imagine. Then they’ll lose some more elections until they say, Okay this time, we’re really going to pay attention to Americans of faith.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?