Democrats, with the unsolicited aid of some Republicans, have put on a full court press for "values voters" in their bid to regain control of Congress.
Through various tactics, like tarring the entire GOP with the Foley scandal, and capitalizing on defections by some Christians from the GOP, they hope to suppress the Christian conservative voter turnout. At the same time, they are courting the votes of those they can't discourage enough to stay home.
Democrats have been agonizing since Election Day 2004 over how to repackage their message to deceive values voters into believing they truly represent their interests. Never mind their promotion of same-sex marriage, abortion on demand and partial birth abortion. Never mind their ridiculing of Christian conservatives, their comparisons of Christian "fundamentalists" to Islamic fundamentalists or their institutional sneering at Boy Scouts.
Then, serendipitously, as if by divine intervention, Foley fell into their laps. Next, with the pre-election timing that conspiracy theorists couldn't possibly countenance as coincidence, a number of Republican "insiders" released books recommending a downscaling of influence by Christian conservatives on the Republican Party.
Former Sen. John Danforth's book laments the Christian right's apparent hold on the GOP. Former White House Faith-Based Initiative Deputy Director David Kuo charges that while President Bush is sincere about his faith, "he is a politician and is ultimately no different from any other politician, content to use religion for electoral gain more than for good works."
With friends like these on the right, it's no wonder Democrats are feeling so cocky about their November election prospects. While I believe Danforth is a good and honorable man, I couldn't disagree with him more -- assuming I understand his position correctly -- about the involvement of Christian conservatives in politics and, in particular, the Republican Party. They have as much right -- indeed an obligation -- to influence policy consistent with their worldview as any other group. If not Christian conservatives, who will stand up for the unborn? Who will stand up for traditional marriage? Who will better stand up for originalist judges and religious liberty?
Conservative Christians, I might add, didn't start this fight. They didn't issue the unconstitutional federal judicial edict severely restricting state regulation of abortions. They didn't try to change the thousands-year-old institution of traditional marriage. They aren't leading the assault on religious freedoms.