Ruth Marcus in today’s WaPo worries in “The New Temptation of Democrats” that in reaching out to evangelical Christians, the Democratic Party might sell out some of it’s core beliefs (yes, I realize this means accepting that Democrats actually believe something). Nevertheless, she acknowledges that the exercise may be worthwhile:
To some extent, Democrats could help themselves with evangelicals simply by showing up — at the megachurches, on Christian radio and in other venues where Democrats have been scarce. Whether the Democrats are deploying the right messengers is more questionable: a liberal San Francisco Democrat and a civil union-signing Vermont governor may not be the party’s best bet with evangelicals. More important, occasional drop-bys and clunky dropping of biblical references aren’t going to do the trick. These voters weren’t born again yesterday.
This latter point is the real risk for the Dems — that they will look clumsy, opportunistic and foolish trying to woo evangelical voters. Keep sending Dean, Pelosi or any of the other tone-deaf party aparatchniks to be the messenger, and this risk becomes nearly a certainty.
Any appeal to religious voters must be based on a sincere belief that Christians and Democrats have important things to say and do together. The Gospels provide myriad examples of the overlap between Christian ethics and progressive policies intersect. The Dems would do well to identify one of their own with sincerely held beliefs, or at least a sincere respect for the beliefs of others, and send him/her/them on a non-stop outreach tour from now until November.