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Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Kaine the Crusader?

There are two major problems with this Christina Nuckols penned piece which appeared in the Virginian-Pilot on Monday. First, I don't think we should call one sentence of spin from DNC Chair Howard Dean "national attention" as much as it is "a national mention." Second, the difference between everyone praising Kaine's brilliant handling of faith and the derisive laughter that typically plagues a liberal who tries to play the "faith card," is that Kaine won. And the piece doesn't provide voice to anyone who is arguing that it made a major difference besides Mo Elleithee, who doesn't argue that Kaine was able to attract the "religious right," but only helps us understand Kaine's faith as a bulwark against the awful Kilgore negative attack.

I've heard anecdotal evidence from a few (including SST's own Lighthorse Harry) that Kaine's missionary credentials made an impact in the evangelical community, but the DNC should wait for a decent survey and maybe some number we can point at before they turn Kaine's election into some sort of heaven-sent sign.

8 Comments:

Blogger Will Vehrs said...

Nobody gave a hoot about Mark Earley's missionary work--heck, it was a part of the attack on him in 2001 as being part of the religious right.

9:02 AM

 
Blogger Lighthorse Harry said...

It wasn't Mark Earley's missionary work alone, but his old history of Christian work and his clear and sincere alignmente with the Christian right. He appealed to that segment of the voting population who votes Republican solely on the life issue (a lot of Catholics who voted against Kerry). Kaine did a good job of negating that issue and not losing that swing constitutency. And yes, Mark Earley's resume did matter to the evangelical churches, which came out in mass for him. I guess you never saw him speak at one of the mega churches and rouse a crowd. And for all his being associated with the religious right, Earley got 47% of the vote with only $12 million against a much better candidate in a year in which a Republican general assembly and a Republican governor couldn't even pass a budget for the first time in Virginia history.

12:32 PM

 
Blogger Will Vehrs said...

All true, of course. My point was that Democrats who are so "moved" by Kaine's faith and his missionary work didn't have a similar reaction to Earley; in fact, a lot of them saw it as a negative.

The difference is that Republicans expect their candidate to act in accordance with his/her faith; Democrats just want their candidate to get elected.

1:42 PM

 
Anonymous Yellow Dog said...

Always interesting when Mr. Vehrs says what Democrats think(?). It's rather like listening to Pat Robertson interpret the Devil--or the Scripture, for that matter-- How the heck would either of them know?

2:19 PM

 
Blogger Will Vehrs said...

How, indeed. Tell me why I'm wrong. I'll grant you Pat Robertson.

8:45 PM

 
Blogger Howling Latina said...

From a left/center, former Catholic, born-again Southern Baptist, here is what I saw in Kaine.

It's called authenticity. Someone who not only talks the talk but walks the walk.

And his ease in talking about his faith is unsual for a Democratic candidate; but when they can do so, it's very powerful.

Witness Clinton and his "covent" message that reeked with religious overtones.

And the good thing about Tim is that when he gave a speech at mini-rallies, he could slip in a Bible verse and only those who are of the faith caught on. For others, it was just a poignant universal message that hit home.

Thus, Kaine won because he was at ease in his own skin and came across that way.

Kilgore's fatal error was in airing the ad with a grieving father decrying Tim Kaine for having the audacity of defending the person who had killed his son.

Virginians understood that EVERY CITIZEN is entitled to legal counsel. As polls showed, voters were totally turned off.

Unfortunately for Kilgore, the ad came at the heels of the just aired debate where political guru Larry Sabato had asked the candidates if they would promise to limit negative ads to no more than 50 percent of air time.

The timing of the ad, right after the debate was a stroke of bad luck. Kaine was able to frame Kilgore as just a big meanie; and any Kilgore attack ad, losing its potency, fell on mostly deaf ears.

Just more of mean old Jerry being his old nasty self again. You know that Jerry!

And of course it sure didn't help Kilgore that Kaine was able to morph the death penalty assaults as attacks on his personal faith.

...not just any faith, but his personal devout Catholic faith; the same one as the two Bush Supreme Court nominees who were nominated in 2005.

Wrong faith to attack. Wrong timing. Wrong message. And bad result. Reaping what one sows.

You could almost say that Kaine found favor with the universe, karma, whatever depending on your faith.

Indeed the timing of Kilgore's unfortunate ad, together with Kaine's rapid effective response, could certainly be attributed to a good dose of good fortune, fate, or luck. Or just maybe...dare we say it...?

The Good Lord.

2:26 AM

 
Blogger Howling Latina said...

Oops, that's "covenant."

Sorry!

2:28 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"All true, of course. My point was that Democrats who are so "moved" by Kaine's faith and his missionary work didn't have a similar reaction to Earley; in fact, a lot of them saw it as a negative. The difference is that Republicans expect their candidate to act in accordance with his/her faith; Democrats just want their candidate to get elected."

That's a low blow, so here's another: there's faith and then there's faith. There's faith that makes you a simplistic ideolouge: the bearer of creed that exists mostly to slap other people around with, and then there's faith that deepens your experience as a person: gives you something that undergirds who you are and why you do what you do. Kaine's was the latter.

The reality, most people of faith are not zealots. They aren't activists. They are quiet and sincere in their beliefs. Kaine and talking about his faith was MUCH closer to this silent majority than the screechy minority that most on religious right come from. That's why voters were unmoved by Earley and thought Kaine was a decent guy.

2:15 AM

 

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