Friday, November 21, 2008

Kathleen Parker's "God" article

There has been much blogosphere discussion of Kathleen Parker's "Giving Up on God" article in the Washington Post. Here's my take. Parker's argument is weak and counterproductive. It's weak because the religious right had little to do with the GOP defeat. Parker is so obsessed with Palin that she's blinded herself to the main reasons Republicans got crushed by Obama. This election was about change and the economy. Republicans lost because their candidate was tied to a horribly unpopular president, who, along with Republicans in general, got the blame for the current state of the country. When most people think the country is going in the wrong direction, being associated with that direction is a political loser.

Did Palin cost Republicans votes among moderates and independents? Of course. But so what?McCain would have lost with Tom Ridge (my personal favorite for vp) or any other moderate candidate. Along with all the other things that were stacked against the GOP this year, McCain ran an erratic campaign with no clear message, in contrast to Obama's clear message of change. McCain's fumbling response to the fiscal crisis sealed his doom, not Sarah Palin.

Parker's argument is counterproductive in attempting to alienate a signficant portion of the GOP base. I'm no fan of the religious right, but from a Republican perspective, her attitude is every bit as stupid and shortsighted as those of social conservatives who want to excommunicate moderates.  The Republican party is and should be a big tent organization focused on a range of issues where Republicans agree.  Blaming people on either wing for defeat is completely unhelpful. 

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