by Max Brantley
Ruth Marcus of the Washington Post talks about opportunities for Democrats to reach evangelicals, about a quarter of the vote. Just showing up and seeking their friendship in their churches and other gatherings is a start. But issues do count, she says. (Needless to say, this topic is worth studying by Arkansas politicians.)
Rather, the Democrats' discussion with evangelicals has to get beyond linguistic "reframing" to substantive areas where the Democrats and evangelicals can find common ground: poverty, the environment, Darfur.
The question is whether differences on the much hotter-button issues of abortion and gay rights are nonetheless deal-breakers. For the traditionalist evangelicals, almost certainly they are. But some centrists may be reachable; they may be opposed to same-sex marriage, for example, but more supportive of other equal rights measures for gays.
"They don't want to be mean to gay people," Green said. Likewise, "while the centrist evangelicals tend to be pro-life, they don't tend to hold their opinions as intensely as the traditionals. There is some room to maneuver there."
The risk is that, in the process of maneuvering, Democrats' reframing and rebranding could edge into retreating on core principles.