Tuesday, July 10, 2007

My questions

Andrew Sullivan passes on the following two questions from David Boaz for "Republican Christianists"

1. Would you support a presidential candidate who is divorced, has estranged relations with his children, never sees his grandchildren, rarely attends church, strongly opposes a law to ban gays from teaching school, and as governor signed the nation’s most liberal abortion law?

2. Would you support him if you knew his name was Ronald Reagan?

According to the apparent script, we're supposed to answer "No" to the first question, "Yes" to the second question, and then Boaz and Sullivan can shout "Gotcha!" because they've proven.... well, I'm not sure what they think they proved.

That "Christianists" are willing to look past personal sins to achieve their policy goals? Sure. I'm not sure why that's a sin. That "Christianists" are willing to forgive past sins and policy disagreements if they feel the candidate has had a change of heart? Again, I'm not sure that's such a terrible thing.

If we were in the middle of the Clinton impeachment, when people were saying that Clinton's private sins should disqualify him from the presidency, Sullivan and Boaz might have a point.

But we're not. We're a year out from the conventions, and we're looking for a candidate. A candidate like Reagan, circa 1979, might not be our first choice. But if he were the nominee, he would enjoy tremendous support. But right now, the idea is to nominate a candidate who we beleive will support our causes as much as possible. That desire is not incompatible with general election support for a candidate like the 1980 Ronald Reagan, and I don't think Reagan did anything in office to demonstrate that supporting him was a mistake.

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Of course, Sullivan isn't interested in having a debate; he's interested in gotcha games. If "Christianists" support a candidate like Fred Thompson in spite of his womanizing past, that just demonstrates how unprincipled we are. If we don't, then we're prudes. If we reject Romney for being a Mormon, then we're imposing religious tests and are bigoted. If we don't, then we're again unprincipled, and willing to accept a non-Christian for crass policy gains.

Go ahead and have your fun; we'll be busy actually trying to get stuff done.

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Incidentally, I should note that I could also be described as one who "strongly opposes a law to ban gays from teaching school" So this would be far from a disqualifying trait for me.