John McCain has spent a good deal of time and resources attempting to convince faith-based conservatives that he is the real deal in recent months. Hiring an evangelical blogger to argue his case, appearing at Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University, and seeking audiences with other evangelicals, McCain has attempted to say to the GOP’s most valued voting block that he is one of us.
It is interesting that the one statement reveals consistency in McCain’s character in two ways – yet neither of them helpful.
If McCain were serious in his efforts to reach the faith-based voter, taking God’s name in vain is a stupid thing to do. Evangelicals, Catholics, even serious Jews all believe that God’s name is sacred and combining it with the idea of hellish damnation is in fact defamation to the Creator.
It may come as a shock to McCain, but some people are actually, truly offended by such a muff.
But in using this style of communication he heaps mountains of contempt upon that same base that is rightfully worried about who, what, and why people are crossing our borders without us knowing anything about them, why they are coming, and what they are bringing with them.
At one point in the Vanity Fair piece the author observes that McCain is not good at talking about social conservatism, and that he is even worse at faking it.
Both aspects of that statement are not only readily obvious but ripe with an aroma that has already caused most faith-based voters to look elsewhere for the GOP candidate of choice in 2008.
McCain of course is only one of the problematic three that are all facing tremendous uphill battles in aspiring to be the party’s mantle bearer. Guiliani fiscally strong and far more consistent in his politics day to day – but is firmly entrenched on the wrong side of the abortion and marriage debates to win any or all of the bible-belt states. Romney is right on the issues, yet his own faith of Mormonism is scary, strange, and apostate to the same block of voters that McCain and Guiliani have also spurned.
John McCain’s voting record could have helped him in the outreach to pro-life voters. But his denseness, arrogance, and lack of discipline have all but done in him in the election before the election.
It didn’t have to be that way. There may even be time to correct course.
It seems terribly unlikely though that a man who has earned the bulk of his praise through being so far removed from the base of his party’s voters, will now suddenly see the light and embrace them sincerely.
I guess however, one can always hope….