Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Obama Courting Evangelicals with "Faith-Based" Initiatives

As the general election begins in earnest, Obama appears to be moving to the center...or further... I am almost convinced that due to courting swing voters, the parties will eventually trade sides on a lot of issues...

So, in a recent AP article, Obama says that he had been "tagged" as being on the left, but these positions that he is now revealing to the public have been long-held. What are these positions? They have to do with guns (n.b. the recent Supreme Court decision on the 2nd Amendment), government surveillance, and capital punishment. If he was "tagged" as a liberal before and he is trying to move to the center, you can just guess what he is saying about these issues. Evidently, he's also taken to quoting Reagan. These are all "centrist" positions...or, perhaps, conservative, but what will help him with Evangelicals is that he is saying that he supports faith-based initiatives, taking a page out of G. W. Bush's playbook. Forgive me for quoting the article at length:

"On Tuesday, touring Presbyterian Church-based social services facility, the Democratic senator said he would get religious charities more involved in government anti-poverty efforts if elected.
"We need an all-hands-on-deck approach," he said at Eastside Community Ministry.

"The event was part of a series leading into Friday's Fourth of July holiday aimed at reassuring skeptical voters and shifting away from being stamped as part of the Democratic Party's most liberal wing.

"He said the connection of religion and public service was nothing new in his personal life.
Obama showed he was comfortable using the kind of language that is familiar in evangelical churches and Bible studies by calling his faith "a personal commitment to Christ." He said that his time as a community organizer in decimated Chicago neighborhoods, supported in part by a Catholic group, brought him to a deeper faith and also convinced him that faith is useless without works.

""While I could sit in church and pray all I want, I wouldn't be fulfilling God's will unless I went out and did the Lord's work," he declared.

"His talk on faith in the battleground state of Ohio came a day after a speech on patriotism in Missouri, another November election battleground. Wednesday, he travels to Colorado Springs, Colo., a hub of conservative Christian organizations, for a speech focused on service."

The rest of the article goes on to things I've already posted about: problems with his former pastor, his relationship to Islam, issues he supports that Evangelicals find hard to swallow (being pro-life and supporting gay marriage), but how environmental evangelicals may support him, etc. And then stating the obvious--by moving to center (on the aforementioned issues of gun control, capital punishment, government surveillance, and faith-based initiatives), he will upset much of his base. Nonetheless, I highly doubt they will abandon him for McCain--for Obama's sake, let's just hope a third-party candidate from the Green party doesn't move in. But, I think the U.S. electorate has learned its lesson on third-party spoilers.


James Pate said...

I know Nixon always had a strategy of running to the right in the primaries, then moving to the center for the general election. Obama's doing that, only he's moving from left to center.

But McCain doesn't seem to be doing that. He's still running on the right. I wonder why that is. Is he reading from Karl Rove's playbook: keep appealing to the base, and that will put you over the top?

James Pate said...

I'm just filling this out so I could check the "e-mail follow up comments" box.