Evangelicals Looking for Walker to “Do Nothing” in 2016 Election

walker

When speaking to religious audiences, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker likes to remind people that he goes to church and knows his Bible. These reminders frequently come as Walker seeks to distinguish himself from political opponents in Wisconsin—the ones, he claims, who’ve sent his family death threats and harassed his kids on Facebook; the “literally thousands of protesters outside our family home” in Wauwatosa. Some of these protesters have, according to Walker, driven past the house and given him the finger as he and his family raked leaves on a Sunday afternoon after church and before the Packers game.

Speaking in 2012 to a teleconference with activists from Ralph Reed’s Faith and Freedom Coalition, Walker said his faith has enabled him to rise above the “vitriol, and the constant, ongoing hatred” during the recall election he faced in the wake of his anti-union legislation, which has crippled the state’s once-iconic labor movement. Along with the unmistakable contrast of his church-going family with the profane and progressive activists, Walker cited two Bible verses. He didn’t recite them, but for anyone who knows their Bible—as Walker, the son of a Baptist pastor, does—the meaning was clear. The verses that helped him withstand the hatred were Romans 16:20 (“The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you”) and Isaiah 54:17 (“no weapon forged against you will prevail, and you will refute every tongue that accuses you.”)

Should he run for president, Walker may very well turn out to be the 2016 cycle’s evangelical favorite—not because he ticks off a laundry list of culture war talking points, pledges fealty to a “Christian nation,” or because he’s made a show of praying publicly to curry political favor. Although by no means universal, some conservative evangelicals—those who eschew the fever swamps of talk radio, yet share the same political stances of the religious right—are weary of the old style of campaigning. They’re turned off by the culture war red meat, the dutiful but insincere orations of piety.

Emphasizing that ours is a “Christian nation” and pushing “hot button issues” as a style of campaigning has been detrimental to evangelicals, said Mary Jo Sharp, who teaches apologetics at Houston Baptist University and analyzes political campaigns as part of a class she teaches there. “It’s very difficult to hear” that kind of rhetoric, she said. “Christians are not supposed to be the dividers.”

Over the course of his political career in Wisconsin, Walker “hasn’t presented as any kind of culture warrior,” said Hunter Baker, Associate Professor of Political Science at Union University, a Southern Baptist school in Jackson, Tennessee. “One of the worst things that ever happened with conservative Christians,” said Baker, was that they “give in to a tribal impulse,” by questioning “are we getting the respect we perceive we once had, are we losing ground, we need to mobilize, we need to increase our force.” That, he added, “is a losing strategy. It gives people the sense you’re working from resentment.”

In an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal last month, Russell Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, wrote that in 2016 evangelicals won’t be looking to candidates to “know the words to hymns,” “repeat clichés about appointing Supreme Court justices who will ‘interpret the law, not make the law,’” or to use “‘God and country’ talk borrowed from a 1980s-era television evangelist.”

Moore “has a good feel of the pulse of evangelicals” and “represents a wide segment” of them, said Tobin Grant, a political scientist at Southern Illinois University and blogger on religion and politics for Religion News Service. Unlike his predecessor, Richard Land, known for inflaming the culture wars, Moore’s “focus is more on religious and social concerns than directly political ones” and has “less interest in changing DC and more interest in keeping DC out of the way of the church,” Grant said.

These evangelicals are listening for a candidate who can signal he is “one of us” without pandering. Both evangelical and Catholic candidates who have earned the culture warrior label for their strident pronouncements—Ted Cruz, Rick Santorum, or Mike Huckabee—are seen as embarrassing embodiments of stereotypes these conservative Christians would like to shed.

Instead, they are looking at a candidate like Walker, or even Jeb Bush (a Catholic), who is  personally religious and, crucially, “gets” evangelical culture. Bush’s Right to Rise PAC recently signed Jordan Sekulow, executive director of the American Center for Law and Justice, as a senior advisor—a move the Christian Broadcasting Network’s David Brody called the move “a big get” for courting the evangelical vote. While Sekulow has been at the forefront of the culture wars, the ACLJ is also one of several religious right legal firms who, for example, brought legal challenges to the Affordable Care Act’s contraception coverage requirement.

Walker hits the right evangelical notes without overplaying his hand—and that’s exactly the way they want him to keep it. John Mark Reynolds, professor of philosophy and provost at Houston Baptist University, said that Walker “would do well to do nothing to appeal to us. We get it. He’s one of us. He sounds like one of us. He leans forward like one of us. He answers questions like one of us.”

Evangelicals, said Reynolds, “will fall out of their chairs to vote for someone who would defend them in their cultural belonging but doesn’t embarrass them intellectually.”

For decades, the Republican presidential primaries have been marked by a now-predictable pattern: the candidates scramble over one another to present themselves as the most trusted ideologue, the most “authentic” Christian. In both 2008 and 2012, white evangelicals made up 26 percent of the electorate, according to exit polling data, and they overwhelmingly voted Republican. In 2012, 78 percent of them voted for Mitt Romney, while in 2008, 74 percent voted for John McCain. In two of the first three primary contests, they make up a majority of Republicans—56 percent of Iowa caucus-goers and 64 percent of South Carolina GOP primary voters in 2012.

As a result, despite no single figure emerging as the universal evangelical favorite in either primary election, the candidates competed to maximize their share of this crucial bloc. They tallied up endorsements from prominent pastors and religious figures and strained to be the candidate most vociferously opposed to abortion, same-sex marriage, and even, in 2012, contraception. They gave speeches at churches and evangelical universities and submitted to interviews by televangelists. To the extent that he fell short of those expectations, John McCain’s 2008 selection of Sarah Palin as his running mate served to assuage evangelical doubts.

In 2011, former Texas governor Rick Perry’s first campaign move was to host a massive prayer rally, The Response, in Houston’s Reliant Stadium, bankrolled by the sine qua non of the culture wars, the American Family Association. This year, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal replicated that strategy—even though for Perry it apparently reaped no real electoral benefits. For Huckabee, who may well reprise his 2008 run in 2016, it meant bringing a preacher’s style to the campaign trail, which he then parlayed into a lucrative deal with Fox News. In 2004, it meant preachers crisscrossing swing states like Ohio, campaigning simultaneously for George W. Bush’s reelection and the state’s ban on same-sex marriage.

But just three election cycles later, opposing same-sex marriage, particularly portraying it as catastrophic to the maintenance of “Christian values,” clashes profoundly with rapid and unprecedented changes in the law and cultural attitudes. Facing what many on both sides believe to be an inevitable Supreme Court decision invalidating those bans, the Republican presidential candidates are unlikely to talk about same-sex marriage directly. Ben Carson’s hasty apology for his claim that homosexuality is a choice (proven, he claimed, because people go into prison straight and come out gay) is just one sign that the campaign rhetoric on this issue will be subject to a new kind of scrutiny.

Instead of talking about opposition to marriage equality, evangelical activists say, religious freedom has become the new defining mantra. Unlike marriage equality, on which white evangelicals, particularly Millennials, are divided, religious freedom unifies them like no other issue but abortion.

“What will matter to evangelicals,” Moore wrote in his Wall Street Journal op-ed, “is how the candidate, if elected president, will articulate and defend religious-liberty rights.”

The religious liberty issue is, for evangelicals, a “four-alarm fire,” said Denny Burk, Professor of Biblical Studies at Boyce College, part of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. He said evangelicals expect the candidates “to have the courage of their convictions to persuade people about what’s going on.”

From the Hobby Lobby litigation to cases involving florists, bakers, and photographers refusing to provide services for same-sex ceremonies, the issue has been percolating in the evangelical community for years. In recent weeks, conservative Christians have talked and written prolifically about Barronelle Stutzman, a Washington state florist found liable under the state’s anti-discrimination laws for refusing to provide flowers for a long-time gay customer’s wedding, and Kelvin Cochran, the Atlanta fire chief fired after revelations about anti-gay comments he wrote in a book.

Congressional Republicans are listening, too; they have introduced the Child Welfare Provider Inclusion Act, which would exempt faith-based providers from having to place children for foster care or adoption with same-sex couples if that conflicts with “their sincerely held religious beliefs or moral convictions.”

Given the level of division over these issues, it’s not clear that voters who aren’t conservative Christians would view the change in emphasis as a tamping down of the culture wars. Legal exemptions to permit florists, caterers, social service providers, or other businesses to refuse service to LGBT people are hotly contested, both in legal circles and in the court of public opinion. In another context, the Hobby Lobby litigation, in which the Supreme Court ruled that the contraception coverage requirement under the Affordable Care Act violated a closely-held corporation’s rights under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, was one of the most scrutinized and debated religious freedom cases in recent memory.

Evangelicals insist that they don’t want special treatment in these instances; they just want “to be left alone,” said Reynolds. The government should “let people live their private lives, including their businesses, and let the market determine whether they survive.” (Reynolds noted, however, that he is opposed to proposed state laws, championed by many religious right advocacy groups, to permit businesses to refuse service to LGBT people based on religious objections, saying such laws would be “overreaching.”)

“I don’t want tropes or identity politics or blowing the dog whistle and hoping everyone gathers around,” said Burk. “I want to see a real vision for carrying this out.” That vision, said Burk, should include pledges about judicial nominees and promises not to appoint cabinet officials who will put “any person of faith, not just Christians, in a position that’s going to compromise their conscience.”

“Simply throwing out some family values rhetoric won’t be sufficient,” said Brian Mattson, a theologian and a principal at Dead Reckoning TV, a digital outlet that provides programming aimed at Millennials from a “distinctly Christian worldview.” Instead, he said, the Republican conversation about religious freedom should be (and, he predicted, will be) “more substantive” about the Free Exercise Clause, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, and other laws and policies.

But not all evangelicals are convinced by Moore’s call for a different sort of rhetoric. Moore, said Keith Miller, an attorney who works for Hillsdale College and contributes to the evangelical blog Mere Orthodoxy, “speaks for a good number of evangelicals who do want a new tone.” But, he added, “I don’t really think that despite the endless stories to this effect, I don’t think the evangelical bloc, to the extent it is a bloc, I don’t think it’s changed that much.”

Evangelicals likewise remain divided on immigration. While some evangelical leaders have advocated for immigration reform, including a path to citizenship, Miller said, “the evangelical on the street is closer to Rush Limbaugh on immigration.” While Perry’s record on immigration hurt him in 2012, his “oops” moment was probably more defining. And even though some evangelicals favor reform, they think it is unlikely that either Bush or Marco Rubio—both of whom have supported reform in the past—would make it a centerpiece of any campaign.

As for the other candidates, Chris Christie, even to conservatives, came across badly after “Bridgegate”; Reynolds described Christie as a “narcissist” who is “temperamentally unsuited to be in the White House.” Huckabee, said Reynolds, “embarrasses evangelicals by fitting cultural stereotypes.” Ben Carson is well-known through his 1996 book, popular with evangelicals, Gifted Hands, but is, said Reynolds, “running on the Newt Gingrich plan that this is really good for my career.” While Rand Paul’s libertarianism is appealing to some evangelicals, they said, his historic position on Israel is a dealbreaker while Ted Cruz, said Reynolds, is “acerbic” and “not a nice person.”

Cruz, like Walker, is the son of a Baptist pastor, but not all evangelicals admire his speaking style or cultural cues in the same way. “I’m not impressed” with Cruz, said Mattson, adding that he speaks in a way that is “decidedly phony to me.”

In contrast, Walker speaks the right language, “but not in a polarizing way,” said Mattson. “He doesn’t sound pandering like a Huckabee and doesn’t come across as strident and divisive like Santorum. He’s winsome.”

Still, though, Walker does play a good-versus-evil hand. At last month’s Conservative Political Action Conference, he drew criticism from both liberals and conservatives for comparing protestors to the Islamic State, saying “If I can take on 100,000 protesters, I can do the same across the globe,” a comment that could be seen as a salvo in Walker’s own brand of culture war (though he later said he didn’t mean to conflate the two).

Without calling much attention to it, Walker assures evangelicals that he emerges from the same subculture and speaks their language. After CPAC, Walker spoke at the National Religious Broadcasters Convention, where he reportedly talked about how to discern whether God is calling him to a presidential run.

For Reynolds, Walker speaks “in a biblical cadence” and uses “biblical expressions,” sending cues that others in a “biblically illiterate society” might not pick up on. Although of course no one is making early predictions, Reynolds said, “I could see Scott Walker pulling this off.”

  • Kimo

    It will be extremely important to put a Christian in the White House. I think most Christians understand that, given what has happened since 2008.

  • A Girl Named Sue

    Kimo, many Christians were of course very pleased when George w Bush became President, expressing the (unfounded) sentiment that “God’s” man was now in the White House, as distinct from Bill Clinton.
    Do you really think that John McCain was or is an exemplar of lived Christian morality, or that Sarah Palin was a suitable person to possibly become the President if John McCain has died during his term of office.
    So too with the cardboard cut-out caricature named Mitt Romney – the self-confessed vulture capitalist and advocate of massive tax avoidance.

    Meanwhile there is not a shred of evidence, past or present, that a Christian President would be a good thing for either the USA and the rest of the world too.
    Furthermore, both the USA and the rest of the world too are now essentially ungovernable. The USA now represents in very stark in your face terms a combination of the nightmare scenarios described and prophesized in both 1984 by George Orwell and Brave New World by Aldous Huxley.

  • Spuddie

    Been there did it twice. Two of the worst presidents in recent memory: Jimmy Carter and GW Bush.

    It was obvious from the GOP primaries from 2008 and 2012 that Christians nowadays were ridiculously bad candidates. Many of them show a disdain for 1st Amendment liberties as they apply to anyone but themselves, have way too many anti-science liars in the bunch and are prone to making really stupid remarks in public.

    Lets try something different.

  • Jim Reed

    When Obama was elected Rush Limbaugh said as long as Obama is president, he wants America to fail. Republicans seemed to be listening, and tried their best to make that happen. Under the circumstances, Obama has done a great job of making America succeed in spite of so many working to make it fail.

  • I strongly object to the unthinking and reflexive trope that Jimmy Carter was the “worst Presidents ever.” Bull! I was there at the time. Certainly Carter had major hills to climb, but these were of his time, not of his making. He inherited the economic collapse that happens when for more than a decade “prosperity” was pumped up by un-paid-for military spending and the piper finally demands to be paid (we don’t seem to have learned much from the experience, BTW…) The second piper that demanded payment was the pressure cooker in Iran, the wrath and finally the uprising of a people whose democratically elected government was overthrown and replaced by a CIA flack who ruled with a brutally iron fist for almost 3 decades. Carter’s ability to negotiate for the American “diplomats” taken hostage during this uprising was directly undermined by secret agreements made by the Reagan/Bush campaign with the new Iranian regime to hold the hostages until after Carter was defeated and out of office (this is all well documented and strikes me as VERY close to treason – at the least it shows how deeply the roots go of Republican willingness to manipulate foreign policy for nakedly partisan purposes.) Jimmy Carter warned us of many impending and difficult choices Americans would have to make, in areas of military power and spending, Middle east peace, energy policy, pollution and ecology, social spending and wealth equality, among other things. He tried to treat us like adults and demanded of us that we make adult decisions on adult issues. Americans, perpetual adolescents that we are, still revile him for it and quickly turned toward a Hollywood actor playing the role of the reassuring old uncle promising us that far from the need for making adult decisions on adult issues, why, it was Morning In American again! Carter, like all Presidents, made his share of mistakes. But all things considered, he was a great President and continues to be a great man, a veritable mensch among people. If we had listened to him then and followed his leadership, instead of sneering and sniping, though we would continue to wrestle with the issues he raised, we would certainly be in a much better place now. So let’s stop with the mindless “worst President” crap and instead raise a challenge to it whenever we hear it.

  • Jim Reed

    Reagan was able to negotiate with Iran, and get them to keep the Americans captive until the day that he took office.

  • Correct. His inauguration day announcement that the hostages were “on their way home” (implied: thanks to him, because unlike Carter, the Iranians feared and respected him) was orchestrated spectacle in much the same manner as Bush’s “Mission Accomplished” pageant. And about as much substance to it.

  • Jim Reed

    Republican voters were impressed.

  • Spuddie

    Not the he worst ever. That would be a toss up between Harding and Nixon. But one of the worst in recent memory.

    But he did try to learn the job as he went and failed miserably at it. A good strong moral figure in a position where such things can be a liability. His diplomacy in Iran came only after the half baked failure of Operation Eagle Claw.

    Either way history is not kind to our last 2 evangelical Christian presidents.

  • Husband of the Moonlight

    It is amazing that more people to not simply ask these Christians one simple question: “Do YOU really expect anyone to LEND YOU A-N-Y credit when you quote the BIBLE; a book that is a work of narrative fiction that even the ‘original authors’ are UNKNOWN?”

  • Husband of the Moonlight

    I can only reference this statement from the Native American experience MY OWN. My people were present in N. America as far back as 12,300 years ago—long before those Jews invented their “deity” —-and long before those Christians ‘invented their illegitimate son of that deity”—————and history will reveal EVEN WITH A SHORT REVIEW that EVERY WHERE THE CRISTIANS HAVE BEEN THEY HAVE LEFT DEATH AND DESTRUCTION IN THEIR WAKE………………….
    They have NO CREDIBILITY—-and their hands are STILL covered in blood.

  • Jim Reed

    So far history has been pretty kind to Bush, considering.

  • Jim ‘Prup’ Benton

    We did, twice. His name was Barack Obama. He may not fit your definition of ‘Christian’ — and you might not fit the definition of many Christians I know, even if your flouting of the Commandment against lying (at least by implication) doesn’t raise problems. But then there are many types of Christians, and probably most Catholics, ‘mainstream’ Protestants, and Mormons would be ‘questionable’ for you — if I am assuming that your statement defines you. (Admittedly, it may not and if you want to explain, I’m willing to listen.)

  • Jim ‘Prup’ Benton

    Every time we respond to this in this fashion, we merely confirm the false belief that Obama is not a Christian. He is.

  • Andre M

    I’m pretty critical of the Christian right, but summing up the bible as a “work of narrative fiction” is pretty historically & generically ignorant.

  • Jim Reed

    Actually summing up the bible as the word of God is probably more ignorant.

  • Papa Mincho

    Yeah, and Walker said he wouldn’t be going after firemen’s pensions, either. Then he did.

    How can we trust ANYTHING this guy says? Let Walker slide with the ‘no hot button issues’ plank, and he’ll reinstate criminalization of homosexuality before you know it.

  • You should get the democratic candidate to ask the republican candidate that question and see what it does to the election. I’ll give you a hint: it wouldn’t turn out well for the democrat.

  • Everywhere people have been they have left death in their wake, regardless of religion. Stalin, Mao, and Pol Pot are the Crusaders and Spanish Inquisition of atheism.

  • Excellent, well thought out article. I think the effort to make religious voters self-conscious has been too successful. Religious people should realize that they have just as much of a right to vote according to their values as they have to vote according to their bank accounts. People understand it when people vote according to their economic interests, they should also get that some people prefer to vote according to their religious interests.

    Also, I was surprised to learn that a higher percentage of evangelicals voted for Mitt Romney than John McCain.

  • Jim Reed

    some people prefer to vote according to their religious interests.

    What are those interests?

  • GeniusPhx

    Republican politicians are talking out both sides of there mouths. They know it turns voters off to talk about legislating their religion on the whole country thru social issues, so they don’t talk about it but they still try to legislate their beliefs on all of us. In this congress there wasn’t much talk on the legal issue of abortion but it was first on their list once they took office. Nothing will change this time.

    However the evangelicals are a shrinking group, religious americans is a shrinking group, so republicans are going to half to become a more secular party to survive.

  • Jim Reed

    Republicans know they can change at any time, and then their record of the last few decades won’t matter. The issue for them is how long is it at an advantage to continue to string along the evangelicals, and at what point does it become better to drop them? It is different on the evangelical side. Once they make a commitment, the most important thing is to never admit a mistake because they have an illusion to uphold.

  • not_guilty

    The most recent evangelical Christian president is Bill Clinton, a Southern Baptist. His history is a mixed bag. George W. Bush was and is a Methodist who was reared Episcopal.

  • not_guilty

    The most pious president of my lifetime is one not generally regarded as effective or successful — Jimmy Carter. Nor is he held in high esteem by those who think of themselves as “values voters.”

    If I were pleading at the bar of eternal justice, however, I would much rather represent President Carter than any of his contemporaries.

  • GeniusPhx

    They are not stringing along evangelicals, evangelicals have the republicans believing they cant win an election without them. In fact only 27% of christians believe the bible is true and 38% have never been inside a church. I think they will find out again in 16 how their message is being laughed at by younger generations.

  • Jim Reed

    Hopefully so. By Republicans I didn’t mean the politicians. I meant the rich guys behind the scenes who ultimately pull the strings for the Republican party. I think they know exactly what they are doing, and have to plan out control of their voting block. They are loyal only to their money, and will direct the politicians to say whatever they think will get votes.

  • Spuddie

    Bill Clinton is evangelical by way of being born in the “Bible belt”. It was never much of a selling point the way it was touted with Carter and Bush the Lesser.

  • Barry_D

    “Not the he worst ever. That would be a toss up between Harding and Nixon. But one of the worst in recent memory.”

    If you had given even one bit of rebuttal to the post to which you were replying, you’d have far more credibility.

  • red-diaper-baby 1942

    It’s a work of Near-Eastern and Middle-Eastern mythology. As such, it’s quite interesting, just as mythology in general is interesting: how human beings at various times and in various places have accounted for the origin of the world we see around us, and have formulated various ethical principles suitable to their own time and place. That all it is — but that’s a lot.
    In addition, at least in the English King James version, it’s marvellous poetry. Ecclesiastes, for example, or Isaiah, are a joy to read for the sheer beauty of the language.

  • red-diaper-baby 1942

    I don’t care whether he is or isn’t. I don’t care about anyone’s religion, I care about their actions. I care bout whether Obama has been a good President. (Which he has been, to a very great extent.)

  • Spuddie

    Had you not strawman’ed my prior statement, I might have taken your post more seriously and bothered to respond to it.

  • Jim ‘Prup’ Benton

    I’m sorry, but you SHOULD care, sadly. Not that ‘being a Christian’ is the important factor. In fact, like almost all Presidents in our lifetime — and your list is mine, plus FDR (I could call myself ‘Grouchy Curmudgeon 1946’ if I wanted to) — he is most likely basically secular. His actions may, at their roots, conform to his Christianity as he sees it, but they also are much more strongly influenced by his love for America and the Constitution, and his basic humanism — humanists can also be believers after all.) In fact, the only truly strongly religious Presidents we have had since Rutherford B. Hayes are probably GWB and Carter.
    /
    But why you SHOULD care — if we agree that he has been at least a ‘good’ President and I might rank him higher — is because, ever since August 2008 there has been a consistent effort by his opponents to treat him as, in various ways, an outsider, not ‘really one of us.’ And denying his Christianity has been a good part of that.
    /
    Sure, some of this is disguised racism, but by no means all of it, and one of the traps we fall into is dismissing the wilder stories as nothing but the ravings of aging, dying racists. No, it isn’t just that he is black that allow the Republicans to paint him as an alien.
    /
    And once he is painted as, in some way, not ‘truly American’ — as too many people define “American’ — it is easy to spread the most incredible rumors and stories about him, stories that wouldn’t even be believed about an Al Sharpton — as much as he is a ‘hate object’ to the Right.
    /
    I don’t think — perhaps unfairly — that most of you realize what is going on, not just in the cesspool of the crazy extremists, but (because the ‘not one of us’ meme has spread) in the entire right. The wall that once existed that kept the contents of that cesspool isolated (with Birchers, NeoNazis, neo-secessionists, and the Klan swimming in the filth) has broken down — and the ‘not one of us’ and ‘not REALLY a Christian’ has been a major reason why. I’m going to include some of the insanity from the past week in a further reply, but a better way to convince you is to ask all of you to read PFAW’s Right Wing Watch over the next week. I don’t know what madness will pop up, but there’ll be a lot of it, as there is every week.
    /
    We know this is nonsense, and we do an exceptionally good job of telling each other that it is. Unfortunately, our voices never reach, too often we don’t even try to get them to reach, the average voter out there, the man or woman who doesn’t spend much time on politics, doesn’t ever think it’s worth spending time to research what he hears, and who only hears the voices that are trying to reach him, the Rushes and Preachers and FOXes. What they hear is absurd, we know, but it is uncontradicted in their hearing.
    /
    And finally, even if they dismiss the most absurd ideas, they frequently come with ‘barbs’ that stick in their minds. If you hear fourteen different people arguing about ‘why Obama has done practically nothing in fighting ISIS’ you may decide that all the answers — ranging from ‘hatred of America’ to ‘he’s simply helping his fellow Muslims’ — are idiotic. But the repetition of the ‘base lie’ that he has been unwilling or inefficient or slow to respond to ISIS — in fact Obama has led the world against ISIS, created the anti-ISIS coalition, and America has made approximately 80%of the strikes against ISIS — is likely to stick.
    /
    (The same can be said about most of the claims. They are absurd, vile and false — but they are uncontradicted in the hearing of the average voter, while we are too comfortable just talking among ourselves to emerge from what has become an Internet Salon of only the ‘best and wisest.’

  • Craptacular

    “Evangelicals…will fall out of their chairs to vote for someone who would defend them in their cultural belonging but doesn’t embarrass them intellectually.” – John Mark Reynolds

    When will evangelicals realize it’s their backward ideas that “embarrass them intellectually,” not the delivery?

  • This Southern Baptist professor says “evangelicals won’t be looking to candidates to ….repeat clichés about appointing Supreme Court justices who will ‘interpret the law, not make the law,’”

    Of course they won’t.

    The want more creative, imaginative, aggressive and unfettered legal innovators like the bunch they have up there destroying the country right now.

    -dlj.

  • Husband,

    The authors are unknown, but the people who put the whole thing together are pretty much on the record.

    The Evangelicals have two problems with their Bible(s).

    First they’re stuck with the contradiction that they want churches “true to the Bible” despite the fact that Christianity, or at least its Paulist version, is three or four hundred years older than their Bible.

    Second they are pulled in different directions. They tend to be faithful to the King James Version, though even on that they are of two voices, wondering whether it’s a turtle or a revised standard dove cooing out there in the garden. On the other hand many of them are enthusiasts for new (“dynamic,” “understandable,” “realistic”…) translations in keeping with the current fashions of Tulsa and Dallas.

    The only thing they can agree on, it seems, is they like the politicians with the most money.
    -dlj.

  • In the days before the Great Terror in Russia, politics in Wales tended to be a fight between Labour and the Communists, with the Liberals buying the occasional riding with food baskets.

    Hence we have the famous saying of V.I. Lenin, “Thank God for the Methodists.”

    Can’t wait for the Republicans to try and put it on Hillary…

    -dlj.

  • FranktheMc

    More important is to elect a Christian who isn’t afraid to act like one. (Note: Lying the country into a war is not Christian to me.)