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Thursday, February 15, 2007
(10:04 AM) | Stephen:
More Consultants

Via Atrios, here's some more nonsense about Democrats and religion: "[T]he Democrats have allowed themselves to be associated with a contemptuous view toward "revealed" religion." Once again someone is taking a GOP smear as truth. The Democrats haven't fought back against that smear as strongly as they should have, but that's not the same thing. The Democrats have an unfortunately long history of not responding to GOP smears and attacks - Kerry's attempt to ignore the Swiftboat Veterans being a prime example.

More from Kleiman:

As someone who is not himself in any sense a conventional believer, and who is pleased by the rising proportion of Americans who tell pollsters that they have no religion, I tend to think that contempt is misplaced; "faith is believing what you know ain't so" is a clever one-liner, but it's not an especially penetrating piece of cultural criticism. Instead of making fun of ideas we don't share, we might instead learn something by inquiring what those ideas mean to the people who hold them.
And the Democratic leader, politician, influential person of any type who has done this is . . .? Kleiman's motto for his blog is "Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts." Where are the facts? Where is his evidence?

Here's some more:

But when Vanderslice says that she supports policies that make it easier for women to "choose life" — by which she means increasing wages at the bottom of the wage scale and strengthening social services such as child care and the social safety net — I think we ought to accept that as a (possibly successful) way of appealing to people whose votes we'd very much like to have. We don't need a majority of the evangelical vote. But it would be nice to get a little bit bigger share of it, as Vanderslice's candidates seem to have done.
Mara Vanderslice is not the person who came up with this. This is and has been a standard Democratic commitment for a very long time. Hillary Clinton proposed legislation that would do everything that Vanderslice and Kleiman want, and she even presented it as a way to reduce the number of abortions. It was of course never passed by the GOP-controlled Senate, and she has received exactly zero amounts of support from anti-abortion people or groups for this. I tried looking for moderate anti-abortion groups or people, but have yet to find anything. But Mara Vanderslice and Mark Kleiman tell me they're out there, so I'll keep looking.

For Kleiman and Vanderslice, this is all about an "appeal" to be made, a "frame" for Democrats to adopt. I understand the power of frames and support Democratic attempts to redefine the terms of the debate away from GOP-friendly frames. But as a progressive Christian, being in the Democratic Party isn't, for me, about them being friendly to me or not. It isn't about Democratic politicians using buzzwords or catchphrases. It's about choosing my political party based upon my faith - just as it is for the Religious Right.

That's why any "appeal" needs to be made from the currently growing and devloping grassroots of religious progressives, not from consultant-coached politicians. All major Democratic candidates profess faith; they should already know how to speak about their faith with conviction. If they don't, then they should shut up about it, because no amount of consultant-coaching is going to give their statements and speeches that peculiar ring of truth they need.

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