Anti-Obama but pro-Hillary

President Obama’s approval ratings are plummeting, and Democrats’ prospects for the House and Senate look bleak.  And yet in presidential polls, Hillary Clinton still beats all Republican candidates by far.  So a substantial demographic does not like President Obama but does like Hillary Clinton.  These are mostly blue collar workers and white Southerners, including many who do not describe themselves as liberal and quite a few evangelicals.  In other words, the old Democratic constituency that had been taken away by Ronald Reagan.  See a sample of E. J. Dionne’s discussion of this phenomenon after the jump. [Read more…]

Funding weaker opponents

In some creative campaign finance shenanigans, some Democratic candidates have been giving financial and advertising support to Republicans whom they think would be easier to defeat than their primary opponents.  This includes funding attack ads casting doubt on whether the frontrunner is conservative enough, all in a ploy to get the more conservative and easier-to-beat candidate on the ticket. [Read more…]

Bringing back the religious left?

A Brookings Institution study says that today’s Democrats are less interested in even liberal Christianity, but that it still might be possible to bring back the religious left.  I would think this is true.  Pope Francis seems to be bringing liberal Catholicism back into power.  Many ostensible evangelicals are reconfiguring their teachings to promote liberal, rather than conservative,  politics.  And of course there are the mainline liberal Protestants who are still around in significant, though reduced, numbers.   (Do notice that I am not referring to people who are liberal politically though conservative theologically, which used to be commonplace and is still evident in many congregations and on this blog.  I’m referring to new iterations of the social gospel.) [Read more…]

Back to the social gospel

Hillary Clinton cited her commitment to the “social gospel” in a speech to United Methodists.   That goes back to the 19th century when many Protestants said that instead of emphasizing the gospel of eternal salvation in Heaven through Christ, they should emphasize a gospel of building the Kingdom of Heaven on earth.

The social gospel, which inspired all kinds of social reforms and progressive political activism,  became the hallmark of liberal theology.   After World War II, even in liberal theological circles, neo-orthodoxy reacted against the utopianism of the social gospel, though in the 1960s it came back with liberation theology.  Conservative theologies, of course, rejected the social gospel, but today there is arguably a social gospel of the right. [Read more…]

Sarah Palin’s blasphemy

Sarah Palin, in a speech to the NRA, said that “waterboarding is how we baptize terrorists.”  Lutheran journalist Mollie Hemingway calls that blasphemy.  Her article in the Federalist includes a shoutout to the Cranach Institute, a quote from my daughter, and a critique of civil religion. [Read more…]

Adolescent Arguments

In the context of an article criticizing President Obama, George Will says that the president continually uses “the four basic teenage tropes” that characterize the way adolescents argue.   I give them after the jump, with my emphases in bold.  I don’t really want to discuss what Will says about the president.  And I don’t want to cast aspersions on Adolescent Americans.  But just consider these as logical fallacies. [Read more…]