Saturday, May 13, 2006

McCain's Tin Ear

Senator John McCain was the commencement speaker at Liberty University today. Liberty's founder is the Reverend Jerry Falwell, whom McCain had less than kind words during the 2000 Republican primaries.

Why did McCain go to Liberty? It's possible that he went to mend some fences with Falwell (which would be a good thing). It's also possible that he went in order to win the hearts and votes of evangelicals (probably more likely).

The problem with the second reason is not necessarily the intent (that's politics), but the result. I'm an evangelical and I vote (that might look good on a bumpersticker), but McCain making the "pilgrimmage" to Lynchburg, Virginia doesn't do anything to convince me to vote for him in the 2008 presidential primaries. Why? Because Jerry Falwell doesn't speak for or represent me as an evangelical follower of Christ. Neither does Pat Robertson, for that matter. There are other high-profile leaders who would have more of an influence on me than either of these two. There was a point in time (1980's maybe) when Falwell and Robertson did represent a large number of evangelicals, but that isn't the case anymore. In my opinion, McCain and his advisors are about 20-25 years behind the curve of current evangelical thinking and activity (so are most Democrats and most of the media, too). This kind of thinking and strategy is 8-Track in an iPod world.


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