Innocent as Doves---but Wise as Serpents

Tuesday, October 17, 2006
The achilles heel of the Republican Party may be its unsophisticated and absolutist “value voters.” It’s obvious that the Democrats play them for fools---and unfortunately seem to be getting away with it. How do we inoculate the evangelical Protestants and conservative Catholics before the inevitable “October Surprise” of each and every election cycle? A few years ago, it was George W. Bush’s drunk driving conviction some twenty years earlier. This year it is the Mark Foley mess. What will it be the next time? And there will definitely be a next time! All human beings are sinners and some Republican is going to goof up. Democrat activists like George Soros are doubtlessly funding the spying on any Republicans not completely living up to their stated ideals. Only one incident seems sufficient to cause enormous damage.

What ever happened to the concept that Christian believers should be innocent as doves while also being wise as serpents? Both Thomas Aquinas and Reinhold Niebuhr taught that politics is often an acceptance of the lesser of evils. We elect imperfect politicians to implement the policies that adequately underpin a viable society. Are we to settle only for saints? If so, we are deep trouble.


terrye said...


Acdording to Rasmussen the Foley incident has had no impact on Christian voters at all.

I think it has been overblown myself. I am not sure the people who reacted cared one way or the other about Foley's sexuality.

Maybe we are all over reacting to it.

nomdeblog said...

Good observations. It makes me think we have a bit of a utopian right problem in Canada because some conservatives want Harper to immediately turn us into a right wing school for the Chicago Boyz after 50 years of the ravages of Liberal programs.

Utopians by definition are unrealistic and they exist on the right too.

Rick Ballard said...


You should include some examples of simple minded Christianist horror concerning Foley - you know, threats to never again vote Republican. It would strengthen your assertion to the point where it might be believable to someone other than an AP reporter.

truepeers said...


we have more of a utopian right problem precisely because of those fifty years. How many concrete and practical models of conservatism do we have in this country that don't take a good deal of historical research or lucky acquaintance to uncover? Inevitably the initial reaction to a centre of attraction takes on many of the attributes of that to which it reacts and that still attracts [;

David Thomson said...

I don't think the "values voters" will vote for the Democrats. But I'm afraid that many are inclined to stay home on election day. By the way, who are the voters that are so upset over the Mark Foley scandal?

Dick Morris said that George W. Bush's drunk driving conviction caused many "value voters" to stay home. Does Morris know what he is talking about?

terrye said...


I don't really know if I believe Dick Morris and I think the thing that bothered people about that was the idea that Bush had not been upfront with the extent of his drinking problem.

I think the people who got upset with the Foley thing were swing voters who just thought of this as one more time the GOP screwed up. And it was so overblown. I have not watched the news on TV for a week I got so sick of hearing it.

David Thomson said...

Read the following regarding one Evangelical leader:

“David Kuo's recommendation that conservative Christians take a two-year "fast" from political activity strikes me as the answer he came up with knowing he would inevitably be asked "What's an evangelical to do given the disappointments, setbacks and temptations when involved in politics and policy disputes?"

Rick Ballard said...

"Does Morris know what he is talking about?"

If the subject is toe sucking prostitutes, heck yeah. If it's the general thinking of the "values voter, hell no.

I won't presume to speak for all values voters but I seem to recall that the SCOTUS is one seat shy of being dependable. DeWine's membership in the "Gang of Nitwits" is more likely to cost him his seat than Foley's Frolics. If the Reps had stood up for Foley like the Dems did for the boy rapist Studds, Morris would have a point.

The DUI bit isn't relevnat because the person involved isn't on the ticket anywhere. The guy who is being clobbered at the moment is Weldon. That's one of the cheapest political stunts I've ever seen - worse than Foley by a bunch. FL-16 may still be in play - I noted that the RNC bought another survey down there on Friday. The only seat that the Reps have apparently ceded is AZ-08 and that was after a decent survey effort showed that Graf didn't have the chops - no matter what the Tancretins say. Shoot, the Reps are still putting a little money into DeLay's district, although that really seems a lost cause.

David Kuo is doing a little ax grinding combined with book selling - check out what the major sites are saying:

Christian Coalition

Alliance for Marriage

Concerned Women For America

Focus on the Family

Southern Baptist Convention

Family Research Council

Christianity Today

There is no "stay home and show 'em" advice being offered whatsoever.

terrye said...


Do you thinkthe Weldon thing will stick or is it just a flash in the pan?

Rick Ballard said...


I'd like to know substantially more about the circumstances of the warrants. Who the judge was that issued them and who in the FBI requested them. CREW is a political operation with a 501 (c)3 gauze veil and I don't particularly care for the FBI timing on this at all.

Where the hell is the indictment on Jefferson? The straight bribery charge is not dependent upon the documents taken from Jefferson's office.

There is nothing that the Dems won't do this time around. Absolutely nothing.

Syl said...

The polls were moving in the Rep direction then the Foley thing broke. At that very point, the polls plummeted.

I know, I know, but CNN sent a reporter to interview various republicans in a suburb of Chicago. Now I know they can cherry pick the people they showed on camera but they did have a mix. One voter said, it's not the Foley thing, it's Iraq. Another said it won't have an effect.

But one said he can hardly call the Republicans the party of morals anymore so he wasn't going to vote. And another said that now that they've found pedophilia and homosexuality in the Republican party there's no point any more.

Nobody was blaming Hastert. I doubt they even knew who he was.

I know that even though there is little homophobia in the party and that people shouldn't equate being against gay marriage with homophobia, there certainly are some people who are homophobic. We just don't know how many. But those polls certainly started moving.

We cannot deny it.

But remember Rove won't be pulling the strings in 2008.

loner said...

I doubt Weldon has many friends at either Justice or Defense. Party affiliation will only get you so far before you go too far.

The Times publishes a Nagourney article on Monday morning which the pros and semi-pros question and on Tuesday where it wasn't already the Ohio Senate race (on the basis of polls) goes from Toss-Up to Leans Democrat and the Virginia Senate race (on the basis of polls) goes from Leans Republican to Toss-Up and—What's this?—there's some evidence that Nagourney knew of what he was writing of.

World of wonders.

Rick Ballard said...

That was the article that had the Reps pulling advertising on DeWine in Ohio, wasn't it? They bought another $700K this morning. Nagourney's really knows his stuff. For a major league Clymer, that is.

loner said...


What choice did they have?

vnjagvet said...

I think Dick Morris probably understands the yuppie, secular progressive POV as well as anyone.

I don't think he has a clue about anyone over the age of sixty three, the typical VN Vet, the Heartland Churchgoer, or the pragmatic, sophisticated middle of the roader;in other words the heartbeat of the Bush/Republican constituency.

I think this group, regular commenters on JOM, Captains Corner and other mid-right, or center-libertarian blogs is a more representative sample and a better picture into the psyche of the Republican voter in this election.

To this group, I think the idea of Nancy Pelosi, Charles Rangle, Alcee Hastings, John Conyer, John Murtha, et al running the House, and Dingy Harry, Levin, Kennedy, Schumer, Boxer and that gang running the Senate is enough to scare them to the polls in droves.

I hope I am right.

Rick Ballard said...

"What choice did they have?"

Right. Like they need to spend $700K to make an idiot look like a bigger idiot.


Morris is working from incorrect template wrt a lot more than those over 63. Midterms are not his strong suit. I'm not sure that blog commenters are more representative accross the board but they are a lot closer to reality than his fantasy.

loner said...


You're better than this. Nagourney isn't.

Think it through. Who told him they were bailing on DeWine and why? That's the story and the wonder.

You may not remember (and I'm not going to go look,) but, if memory serves, you complimented me on a 2004 post-mortem over at Roger's place before asking me about the indebtedness of the House Democrat Campaign Committee and I, if memory serves, responded that the difference between then and before is that they weren't concerned as to whether or not they could raise the money. In the era of campaign finance reform, money is not a problem. Perceptions? Well that's another matter.

It's been less than a month...

Returning to yard signs and the effectiveness of advertising in relationship to incumbency, Brown's lead over DeWine in Ohio has disappeared. The RNC has put about $1.5M into advertising in Ohio since the 1st of September and they're getting their money's worth.


Rick Ballard said...


You need to add one more sentence to your shorter comments. I'll work harder on getting figuring them out so I don't continue to make errors.

Setting up Nagourney is too easy though. Laying a trap for a mole though...

terrye said...


yes the polls changed, but will it last. Remember at first we were hearing that Foley was sending sexually explicit email to choldren. By the time people had a better idea of what was going on the damage was done. Even if people did not still think that Foley was bothering children they still resented the fact that it was even an issue.

The question being is that permanent.

But the thing on Weldon right now is a dirty trick. Whatever is going on there could have been dealt with a long time ago if there was really anything to it.

terrye said...


The biggest problem with Ohio is that the state Republicans have screwed up badly enough they are just kind of taking a lot of people with them.

vnjagvet said...

Rick, I need to write more clearly. I meant "...the typical VN Vet, the Heartland Churchgoer, or the pragmatic, sophisticated middle of the roader..." each to be a demographic, not to modify folks over 63.

I agree with you that he hasn't a clue on mid-terms.

Peaking early is not helpful in midterms or any other elections. In addition, most of the polls which are made public tend to be sponsored by news outlets, and have been historically somewhat skewed to the Democrats.

For example, in 2004 Bush ended up nearly five points higher on election day from where he was in the mid October polls. He seldom if ever broke 50% prior to election day IIRC.

If one extrapolates that five points to the "contested" seats, how does it look?

loner said...


Point taken.

The other possibility is that there is disagreement in the highest circles and someone (who can't be named) wanted to make sure that Ohio wasn't written off. Nagourney is a passable, if mediocre, messenger.

loner said...


See for yourself.

vnjagvet said...


Looks like the totals are not quite what I remembered. Both Kerry and Bush picked up some ground, but the spread narrowed for Bush.

Back to the drawing boards.

Rick Ballard said...


This one may reflect the problem at state levels a little better. The Florida Senate race is the best example of the Rep GOTV effort in action. Martinez won by a little less than 2% with the polls in the prior month showing everything from Castor up 6 to Martinez up 6.

House races are somewhat more difficult than state races due to the very nice gerrymandering that goes on. Each district has its own distinctive mix and there are some pretty wild swings occurring in polls a week apart in more than a few districts.

An example of a district that's swinging is OH-02. Both candidates are unappealing, nothing much is happening - and there's an 11 point swing in 7 days.

Schmidt should cruise - she's got more than a 5/1 money advantage and the district has a huge Rep plurality yet RCP shows the seat as in the top 25 competitive races.

It's going to be an interesting three weeks - especially since the Dems ad extravaganza won't start until Saturday or so.

Rick Ballard said...


Here is a good summary of the top twenty - it's actually better than the RCP stuff. I advise skipping the comments - very low value.

vnjagvet said...

Thanks, Rick.

David Thomson said...

Will the Republicans show up on election day? That is ultimately the real question. Victory is assured if they do. Every other question is of secondary importance.