Thursday, June 12, 2008

The Mote in God's Eye

So that is why they went after Doug Kmiec and refused him communion?

Steve Benen reports:

On “The Daily Show,” Jon Stewart was chatting with Ralph Reed about a variety of election-related news regarding people of faith (Reed was the former head of the Christian Coalition, before destroying his reputation by hooking up with disgraced GOP lobbyist Jack Abramoff.)

Stewart noted, “There’s talk that 40% of evangelicals will go with the Democrat [on Election Day]. When did the evangelicals lose their values?” More... Reed responded, “I don’t think that’s supported by the polling data. I think if you look at most of the general-election polls, McCain’s getting about 60 to 65 percent of the evangelical vote.”

This, of course, struck me as rather amusing. If McCain is getting about 60% of the evangelical vote, unless Reed thinks evangelicals are going to flock to Nader and Barr is large numbers, Obama’s on track to get about 40% of the vote. One doesn’t need polling data to reach this conclusion, just arithmetic.

Nevertheless, on the broader point of Stewart’s question, Obama is moving forward with various aggressive outreach. It was Mark DeMoss who brought up the 40% figure last week, but it’s the Obama campaign that’s committed to making it happen.

A spokesperson said the meeting of some 30 people will include leaders from several denominations including Evangelical, Catholic and Protestant members of the faith community. Among those taking part are Bishop Phillip Cousin, the Rev. Stephen Thurston and Dr. T. Dewitt Smith.

“Reaching out to the faith community is a priority for Barack Obama and will be a priority under an Obama Administration. This is one of several meetings he will have over the coming months with religious leaders,” Jen Psaki told reporters on the campaign plane.

There are some serious heavy hitters in this meeting, whose names may not be familiar to a secular audience, but who are pretty major players in the religious community, including T.D. Jakes, law professor Doug Kmiec, Phillip Cousin, and the National Association of Evangelicals’ Rich Cizik.