Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Excerpt from “God’s Politics” By Jim Wallis Chapter 6

After the 2002 midterm elections, I attended private dinner for the Harvard Fellows in Cambridge. Our speaker was a Republican political strategist who had just won all the major senatorial and gubernatorial election campaigns in which he was involved. Needless to say, he was full of his success and eager to tell us about it. This very smart political operative said that Republicans won middle-class and even working-class people on the "social"” issues, those moral and cultural issues that Democrats don't seem to understand or appreciate. He even suggested that passion on the social issues can cause people to vote against their economic self-interest. Since the rich are already with us, he said, we win elections.
I raised my hand and asked the following question:"What would you do if you faced a candidate who took a traditional moral stance on the social and cultural issues? They would not be mean-spirited and, for example, blame gay people for the breakdown of the family, nor would they criminalize the choices of desperate women backed into difficult and dangerous corners. But the candidate would decidedly be pro-family, pro-life (meaning really want to lower the abortion rate), strong on personal responsibility and moral values, and outspoken against the moral pollution throughout popular culture that makes raising children in America a countercultural activity. And what if that candidate was also and economic populist, pro-poor in social policy, tough on corporate corruption and power, clear in supporting middle- and working-class families in health care and education, an environmentalist, and committed to a foreign policy that emphasized international law and multilateral cooperation over preemptive and unilateral war? What would you do?" I asked. He paused for a long time and said, “"We would panic!"

Does this guy know his shit or what? I think that is the kind of moral platform that we all had hoped John Kerry would present to the American people. But he didn't that that is just one of the many reasons he lost. PLEASE, democrats read this book before 2008!

--Adam

In the book What's the Matter With Kansas, Thomas Frank takes the same position. He basically claims the same thing that the republicans mobilized and won the election on social issues. However, he makes the claim that democrats have allowed it by declining to talk about economic issues. His point is basically that by refusing to present themselves as the party of the working man on economic issues they have allowed the republicans an advantage in social issues. He also makes the excellent point that most of these issues are debating points in election times and nothing else. For all the talk about homosexuals and anti-evolution and everything else, nothing ever gets done. Also an excellent book for anyone interested in this stuff.

--Chuck

2 Comments:

Blogger FrankWit said...

These are both such great books. I just finished God's politics today.

10/11/2005 3:32 PM  
Blogger JB said...

I'm ordering these books off Amazon right away. Thanks for the recommendation.

I couldn't agree more about the Democrats, BTW. It feels as though they’ve given up, as though they don't know how to function in this new religious climate, and therefore just lie down in defeat.

10/13/2005 7:38 AM  

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