Democratic surge of piety
Posted: 07 February 2005 06:47 AM   [ Ignore ]  
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"In the aftermath of the 2004 election, it seems all but certain that we are destined to witness a sickening surge of piety among liberal Democrats."

There is probably some truth to this, but I am not sure that what will come of it will necessarily constitute a "sickening surge of piety."  Just read this recent qoute from a PBS Frontline interview of the Liberal Evangelist, Jim Sullivan, one of the founders of Sojourners magazine. He talks about the need for Democratic party to be more sensitive and conciliatory toward the religious of the country, but not at the expense of the seperation of Church and State:

"...I've said this to Democratic leaders—they often seem to be clueless about religion or faith, or [are] dismissive or disrespectful. There are religious fundamentalists that we all know of and speak of. There are also secular fundamentalists, people who have a disdain for religion, and many of those voices are in the Democratic Party.

So religious people often feel alienated or disrespected by Democrats. I think that's very sad. I think political leaders of both parties need to respect religious people and their values and the tradition in this country.

I believe in the separation of church and state, absolutely. But I don't believe in the separation of public life from our values, our basic values, and for many of us, our religious values. One of them for me is this deep concern about overcoming poverty. That is a religious value for me, not just a political one."

Read the whole interview here:
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/jesus/interviews/wallis.html

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Posted: 02 March 2005 06:32 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]  
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This stuff just keeps coming up - “oh, the democrats are so dismissive, oh, the democrats don’t like us, oh, the democrats need to be more sensitive to religious folks, oh, the democrats need to be more sensitive to southern folks” - sheesh, spare me.

Blue staters have shown a willingness to support a few southern candidates over the years like, oh - Johnson, Carter, Clinton, Gore. Cripes. But that’s not enough. Blue staters have to do more than say, “We’re happy to vote for a southern candidate.” They have to say, “We love everything about you southerners and we will stand for everything you stand for, even to the exclusion of our own beliefs.” Nothing less will satisfy.

And the same is true for a lot of these religious critics. Just who are these democrats that despise the religious? Who are they? Where are the quotes? See, there’s really not that much religion bashing going on out there. This is code language for abortion. These religious critics are saying that democrats need to change on abortion. And that is something democrats should never do…thekeez

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Posted: 03 March 2005 05:00 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]  
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The people to whom such a “surge of piety” is designed to appeal would never vote for Democrats, anyway. They’re more likely to see it as a cynical act of desperation, which is exacly what it is.

keez is right; most Republicans who make these complaints are talking in code. They think God is a Republican, or has anointed Republican policies. At the end of the day, what they’re calling for is a single-party state.

The assertion that religious people don’t vote for liberals or Democrats is absurd. Clinton, in both his elections, carried roughly half the evangelical Christian vote. Religion just isn’t as determinative to the electoral process as conservative religious Republicans want it to be, or think it is.

What tends to matter more are issues of economics and security. Even in this past presidential election, the number of people who voted for Bush on religious grounds was roughly the same as it was in 2000. The real change in ‘04 was on foreign policy. In 2000, only 12 percent of voters cited “world affairs” as their paramount issue; this year, 34 percent mentioned either Iraq or terrorism. (Combined, the two foreign policy categories dwarf moral values.) Voters who cited terrorism backed Bush even more strongly than those who cited moral values. And it was largely this new cohort—the same one that handed the GOP its Senate majority in 2002—that accounts for Bush’s improvement over 2000. As Paul Freedman recently calculated in Slate, if you control for Bush’s share of the vote from 2000, “a 10-point increase in the percentage of voters [in a given state] citing terrorism as the most important problem translates into a 3-point Bush gain. A 10-point increase in morality voters, on the other hand, has no effect.”

As a liberal Democrat, I happen to know that there are plenty of people in the Democratic foreign policy infrastructure who are better than Rumsfeld; and given that “regime change” and “spreading democracy” was considered detestable Clintonspeak by most conservatives prior to 9/11, it shouldn’t be too hard for the Dems to make up for lost ground.

But they have to focus on the right issue first. Religion ain’t it.

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Posted: 08 March 2005 04:33 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]  
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I was a child in Montgomery Alabama in the late 60s.

We had a cross burned on our front yard and my father had to defend the house with a shotgun cause my parents gave refuge and help to the black community.

I think this “south” is still alive and well and a big dumb elephant on the map.

Everytime Christians get mad about judges legislating from the bench, I figure they are still pissed off about civil rights, which was changed from the bench.

Meanwhile, back at your local senate hearings, GW Bush has put up all the failed judges from last term for reconsideration.  And guess what boys and girls, they aren’t anti-abortion, or pro-“family values” they are anti-enviroment and pro-big business.

Okay one two three, repeat after me, the religous right has sold us all down the river for a little spot in Heaven.

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Posted: 09 March 2005 10:34 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]  
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And yet, there’s a conundrum for liberals about George W. Bush. He has, in several significant ways, paved the road for a liberal Democratic majority in the near future , by adopting and selling formerly liberal Democratic policies to the mainstream.

Regime change in Iraq, liberalization of immigration laws, Social Security reform, making human rights and democracy rather than realpolitik the basis of U.S. foreign policy… all of that is liberal to the core, and has been for years.

Only knee-jerk partisanship prevents many liberals from seeing this as a victory for their politics. Time will tell whether they wake up and realize the opportunity Bush has created for them.

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Posted: 16 March 2005 05:14 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]  
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I don’t know, GVI. It seems to me that there is a big difference between using *language* that has been commonly associated with the Democratic Party, and an actual policy shift. Is it the policy of the Bush Administration to, say, encourage the citizens of Middle Eastern states to create independant democracies, or to open up free trade to benefit U.S. business interests (history tells us that they are not often compatible)?

You’d think that policy implementation, the actions that governments carry out, would be a primary factor in voting patterns. It’s what people end up complaining about between elections, anyway. It makes very little sense to me that people would vote for a party that carries out policy counter to their own interests, only because they have the appearance of being ____-friendly.

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Posted: 16 March 2005 08:58 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]  
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[quote author=“Alan Slipp”]I don’t know, GVI. It seems to me that there is a big difference between using *language* that has been commonly associated with the Democratic Party, and an actual policy shift. Is it the policy of the Bush Administration to, say, encourage the citizens of Middle Eastern states to create independant democracies, or to open up free trade to benefit U.S. business interests (history tells us that they are not often compatible)? I don’t think history shows this at all; I’ve posted about it on another thread . But in any event, it’s not relevant to the larger point here, which precisely the language you made reference to. Bush, for whatever reason, has adopted the language and policies of liberal Democrats. This helps legitimize such things to the mainstream, even if Bush himself isn’t sincere about it.

You’d think that policy implementation, the actions that governments carry out, would be a primary factor in voting patterns. It’s what people end up complaining about between elections, anyway. It makes very little sense to me that people would vote for a party that carries out policy counter to their own interests, only because they have the appearance of being ____-friendly.

Which, again, was my point. As the link I posted puts it:

Bush’s democratization initiatives clearly benefit Democrats, assuming they don’t find a way to screw it up. Here’s why: The Republican base consists primarily of Southern and lower-midwestern isolationist/realist types, Western libertarians, conservative evangelicals, and K-Street taxcutters. (As far as I can tell, no one ever lost a Republican primary by failing to win the neocon vote.) None of these groups gets particularly excited about democratizing foreign countries—either because they think it’s a utopian project doomed to fail, or because they think it’s likely to do more harm than good, or because they think we could put the money and effort we’d spend promoting democracy abroad to better use at home. Except for a small circle of neocons, the only reason most conservatives support Bush’s democratization rhetoric is partisanship—because, absent the democratization rhetoric, Bush’s entire foreign policy would look like one big disaster, which would be devastating for the party.

The Democratic base, by contrast, consists of a bunch of activist types who love spending time and money on idealistic causes, and who can be convinced to spend it abroad as long as you persuade them the motivation is pure. They believe in things like democracy, human rights, civil society, responsible governance, etc. with every fiber of their being. (If you don’t believe me, just ask yourself which party you think, say, most third world debt-relief activists cast their vote for, or members of the free-Tibet movement, or the groups who lobby for equal rights for women in the Muslim world. ...) Democrats, in other words, have principled reasons for supporting democratization abroad, which, in many cases, even outweigh their intensely partisan dislike for this administration.

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