BUILDING A TEAM
Tuesday in our Fantasy League, the Team called Chi-Town picked up Boof Bonser, a Minnesota pitcher that you probably don’t know if you don’t play fantasy baseball. Dude drafted Bonser back in March and sent him packing after a disappointing April. Now Bosner is doing better in May and Chi-Town took a gamble. Also this season, Chi-town picked up two of my relievers as I did some roster shifts to improve my pitching staff.
A shift in philosophy (I wanted better starters and sacrificed relievers) resulted in an absorption from elsewhere (Ah, those relievers are just what I need to fill out my roster). The same thing happens in politics especially in an age of sophisticated polling.
Much was made of the Religious Right’s behavior in the Terry Shaivo situation, mostly because it offended the media. Barely mentioned and scarcely remembered was that Jesse Jackson made an appearance near the end of the drama and he took the “Let her Live” side. Why would an overtly pro-choice Democrat do such a thing?
I didn’t hear a single pundit speculate on his actions, but it seemed obvious to me. The media puts down religious conservatives constantly, but applauds religious liberals. It’s not their views the media hates, it’s who they vote for. If religious conservatives had shifted to Kerry in 2004 it wouldn’t be their intolerance we’d hear about, but their compassion. The Left is perfectly happy with religion as long as it serves their own purpose and they would like nothing better than absorbing religious conservatives disillusioned with Republicans. Look at the pro-gun Democrats elected to Congress in 2006, only 12 years after the Democrats pushed for the Brady Bill to “save lives.”
I’ve long thought that the Religious Right was a good balance to the Religious Left in politics. There’s not a thing that Pat Robertson or Jerry Falwell could say that was more harmful than the indignant actions of Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton. I may wince when they say it, but the choice between the two groups was an easy one.
As an semi-urban non-churchgoer I’m less and less inclined to care about social issues. I figure sin is the problem of the sinner. I won’t be judged for other’s mistakes, but only my own. I come down as a libertarian mostly, but I don’t like Democrats that want Libertarian social policy only when it serves their interest groups. They don’t care about a “woman’s right to choose.” They care about that voting block. And since that voting block doesn’t want individual choice on the other libertarian things like schools, Social Security, taxes etc. they don’t either. They don't wring their hands over purity of purpose. Make no mistake the Democrats would shift their position on abortion or any number of things if it guaranteed electoral success. That’s why Jesse Jackson was hanging out with Shaivo. As soon as the media can convince Republicans to shed their allies in the Christian Right, the Left will gobble up whoever they can. That’s how you build a coalition.
Preposterous? Then how do you account for a party that enslaved blacks and spent 100 years enforcing Jim Crow only to redefine themselves as the party of affirmative action and race sensitivity? Woodrow Wilson was the President of Princeton University and a segregationist. Dwight Eisenhower enforced the integration in Little Rock.
And consider that all the new forms of Puritanism are leftwing in nature, political correctness, environmentalism, anti-smoking, etc. Modern liberalism is built on secular religion anyway, so why not make Christ a figurehead again if it gets you some votes. They’ve already tried it somewhat with slogans like “What would Jesus Drive?”
I was listening to Glenn Beck Tuesday and James Dobson called. I’ve heard of his group, Focus on the family, but this is only the second time I had heard or seen him in interviews. Dobson called because he says that he was misquoted by the media last week when they reported that he couldn’t support Fred Thompson for President because he wasn’t enough of a Christian. Dobson says that’s total hogwash, he likes Thompson, but hasn’t decided who to support. He also likes Mitt Romney. He could vote for either. Then he said plainly that he could not support Rudy Guiliani or John McCain.
I don’t know how influential Dobson is. I do know that Falwell is gone and Dobson is the only younger preacher I can name. Is he the barometer of the Christian Conservative vote? If so, then Guliani has handled himself poorly. He should have tackled the abortion issue with greater care. I think Rudy can win as a pro-choice candidate if he can find common ground with pro-life voters.
He should have said: Late term abortion is infanticide. Babies that can live outside the womb should be given the opportunity to do so. As President, I will do everything in my power to end the killing of those babies. Although I am personally pro-choice when it comes to early term abortions, Roe v. Wade is bad law and people deserve the right to have a vote on the issue. I think sensible people can disagree, but our system is democratic and judge-made law like Roe v. Wade is poison to democracy.
The Christian Right or gun owners or free market economists are not holding the Republican Party hostage they are members that are doing their own part to help create a big enough coalition to win elections. We can kick any of them out for some sort of purity of purpose, but we’ll be without them in clutch situations or worse, they will be picked up by the other team. Who is going to replace them? What block of voters in America can offset the loss of religious conservatives?
The reason the exit polls and pundits were wrong on Election Day 2004 is because the samples were wrong. In 2000, the evangelical vote was depressed after the weekend revelation that George W. Bush had a DUI. It was the difference in popular vote costing him about 2% and nearly the election. Using these same models in 2004, pollsters were unprepared for the re-entry of evangelicals and they called many states wrongly that afternoon and were surprised at the actual results. Horse Race Blog predicted this scenario a week earlier. He showed how 2004 was in Bush’s favor because the Democrats has gotten everyone out in 2000 and couldn’t do much better in 2004, while Bush had a lot more supporters to energize.
In short, the Democrats have no ideological purity. They do what it takes to win elections. Christian, gun-toting Health Schuler was elected to the House of Representative as a Democrat in 2006. It won’t take many switchovers to make the Democrats the majority party and those voters will be hard to get back. If the Republicans want to win elections and put forward any kind of conservative agenda then they can’t ignore this important block. The party of Lincoln gets no credit for freeing the slaves. What will be the legacy of the Party of Reagan?
Rudy Guliani is a fighter and I feel confident that he has the will to beat the terrorists. He doesn’t cower to the media and he explains himself much better than Bush. But if Dobson isn’t sold, I fear neither will a large group of voters. Maybe they will hold their breath and vote for Rudy anyway in the general election because they don’t want President Hilary or maybe just enough of them sit home that 2000 plays itself out again and this time we lose.
There’s a long way to go before November 2008, but my personal enthusiasm for Rudy is being overshadowed by a feeling that he can’t hold the coalition together. He needs to work hard on convincing religious conservatives that he’s their man or Bill Clinton is back to chasing skirts in the White House, my tax cuts expire, and terrorists feel comfort that nothing too bad will happen to them.