Saturday, March 18, 2006

Pandering Gets You Nowhere

George Bush won reelection largely due to motivating the religious right to come out to vote for him. Despite getting Roberts and Alito on the Supreme Court, seeing Row v. Wade come under challenge, and anti-gay marriage proposals in many states, the religious right is still not satisfied:

At a news conference in Washington, some of America’s most influential conservative leaders said the current perception among evangelical Christians was that the Republican majority was not doing enough for them.

Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, said that apart from confirming two conservative judges to the Supreme Court, “core values voters” did not feel that Congress was advancing their interests.

The leaders appear to be reflecting a growing sense of frustration among the Christian right, over what they see as a lack of legislative progress on issues such as banning same-sex marriages.

They helped the Republicans in 2004, but the Republicans cannot take their support for granted:

Exit polls suggested that more than three-quarters of white evangelical Christians voted for President Bush in 2004.

But according to a recent opinion poll, the number of them who want Republicans to retain their Congressional majority is not much above 50%.

Republicans appear to have two choices. They can either pander even more, ultimately losing what is left of their support among moderates, or they can risk having the religious right remain home. That permanent majority thing we heard about in November 2004 is looking rather difficult.


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