Friday, August 03, 2007

Yearly Kos - "No Pandering, Please"

One of the workshops I attended today was "Is the Religious Right Really Dead?" The panelists were Chip Berlet, Frederick Clarkson and Susan Thistlethwaite. Chip gave some background on the Religious Right, and how it became such a powerful force within the Republican party. But more than the background, I really liked what he had to say about the current state of the Democratic party -- and his perception that it is "pandering" to evangelicals. I think he has a valid point.

Do we want the Democratic party to become "Republican Lite?" OR, do we want the Democrats to reach out to progressive people of faith, and redefine the word "values."

Had someone asked me in an exit poll whether or not I cast my vote in the last election based on "values" I probably would have said yes. But MY definition of the word is vastly different from the definition presented by political pundits and Sunday morning talking heads.

I think poverty is a "values" issue, as is universal health care, and ending the war in Iraq.

The Religious Right is clearly not dead, but I do think they are in the process of re framing themselves. The new leaders are less likely to make comments as over the top as Pat Robertson or Jerry Falwell. (No more Tinky Winky stories!) And I think part of their challenge is that they don't have a clearly defined candidate on the Republican side they can support. They are certainly not going to support Rudy!

Here is a portion of Chip's comments that addresses the fear some of us have about the current state of the Democratic party:

Chip Berlet is senior analyst at Political Research Associates, near Boston. He has studied the Religious Right for more than 25 years. Chip is a journalist by trade, and his byline has appeared in the New York Times and the Boston Globe.

One more thing: Chip did point out that YearlyKos didn't invite Mara Vanderslice to present, but he and Frederick had three workshops at the conference. Hopefully Howard Dean and the Dems are paying attension.


DCup said...

Thank you for sharing some of Yearly Kos with us!

BAC said...

Hi dcup ... I want to write more about this, and I have other clips to upload, but the connection here is SOOOOO SLOWWWWW that I'm going to wait until I get back home. I think it's system overload, with all the bloggers in the building!