Mary Katharine Ham

Byron York reports on the peddling of "The List," which I mentioned last week.

He's tracking down the source, which appears to be a small non-profit AIDS education group in California. But what interests me is this part:

As it turned out, at least two organizations apparently deleted the e-mail, either as part of routine file upkeep or because they weren’t interested in its contents. Others didn’t open the attachment — the list was included as a separate file — fearing that it contained a virus. And some opened it up and didn’t see much that was new. “We work on the Hill,” says one conservative activist. “There weren’t a lot of surprises on the list.” So far, the much hoped-for civil war doesn’t seem to be happening.

But the campaign to spread The List is accomplishing something. It is offering clues about who is behind it.

I got this from Bruce at GayPatriot, who has more thoughts on it.

In Bruce's comments, I found a reference to this interesting conversation between Robert Wright and Mickey Kaus on the sexual politics of all this. Kaus notes that at least one of the people on the list is a friend of his and is not gay, so that causes a whole lotta problems for the distributors of such a list and, potentially, for anyone--liberal or conservative-- who would wish to publicize it.

This is high-stakes, here, messing with people's lives. You better have good intel, David Corn.

Anecdotally, I was in North Carolina this weekend hanging out with a group of quintessential evangelical Republican voters after services at a little Baptist Church I sometimes attend. It was the week of the Foley scandal, before the NorK news broke, so that was all that was on the news radar at the time. We went out to lunch and we talked about politics a little, but we didn't talk about Foley. We talked about the relative superiority of Fox News, the Iranian threat, and the quiet moderates of Islam.

I never brought politics up, by the way, in case y'all are worried I was push-polling or guiding the conversation. I was just listening.

No one made gay jokes. No one blamed the gays for the ills of all the country. No one seemed at all interested in the scandal. I think liberals seriously overestimate how much the average evangelical cares about homosexuality. It is not something that consumes his daily thoughts. 

Sure, evangelicals are more likely to pray for gays than to participate in parades, but these people have had gay neighbors and cousins and friends, just like everyone else in the nation, for a long time. They're not as provincial as the Michael Rogerses of the world hope they are. And, they're not even close to as hateful as Rogers would have you believe.

The only allusion I heard to Foley around the table was,

"So, you work in politics, huh?"

Me: Yes, ma'am.

"Rough week?"

Me: Yes, ma'am, it was.

"Well, I guess you know that's coming every October. It's all planned."

She didn't mean the Foley scandal was a conspiracy or anything, just that all the uncharacteristic hype surrounding it is a symptom of October. And, no one's fooling her. As for the sample size of my unscientific observations, I ate lunch with about 15 Baptists, just fyi.

I also asked another Christian voter, who was seated on the plane next to me, about the scandal. I had already established that he was a conservative Republican, just in conversation about my job.

Me: Professionally, I'm interested in this. Do you vote?

"I vote every election."

Me: Do you know about the Mark Foley scandal, the sexual messages with young pages?

"Yes."

Me: What's your take on that. Will it make you less likely to vote or volunteer this year? That's what a lot of people are saying it will do to Christian voters like yourself.

"Oh, no. I don't think any Christian worth his salt is going to blame the entire party for the failings of one man. Plus, I think we face real danger in the War on Terror, so that's my main issue. We've got to worry about Iran and North Korea and everyone."

Looks like he was right. I know I'm kinda the outlier here because everyone's predicting disaster, and the polls seem to portend it at this point, but I thought the non-reaction to Foley that I got from Christians and committed voters this weekend was telling.

It also backed up my gut feeling on how Christian voters would react to this, but this kind of thing shows my gut may have nothing to do with the outcome of the election. Of course, you gotta note that most of this polling came before the North Korea story broke, so folks' proirities may shift dramatically.

You also gotta note that even the NYT noticed the non-reaction among evangelicals in Virginia. Where are all these angry evangelicals? Or, are the angry folks non-Christian Republicans?


Mary Katharine Ham

Mary Katharine Ham is editor-at-large of HotAir.com, a contributor to Townhall Magazine.

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