By chance today, I watched a segment on CNN’s In the Money. Host Jack Cafferty shifted from discussing Social Security to discussing the Terri Schiavo case like so:
“Meantime, the battle over Terri Schiavo may have been fought in the courts, but the real noise was on the sidelines. Some Republicans picked up an issue galvanizing the Christian right and ran with it all the way to the federal courts. But how good an idea was that? Like gay marriage and the conflict over abortion, the Schiavo case has some politicians taking a fundamentalist position and making it their own.”
His guest Susan Jacoby, author of Freethinkers: A History of American Secularism, chirped right in. She said Republicans thought they owned the “the values issue” but that this case demonstrates “there are a lot of values in this country” and they don’t necessarily line up with the “religious right,” which has “not only demonized the secular but it’s hijacked the word ‘religious.’”
Cafferty asked if this case provided an opening for the Democrats. Jacoby said it may, but she claimed to be “very discouraged” about the politics of the case thus far.
She was “truly shocked that not a single Democratic senator had the courage to stand up and in fact speak the language of values and say, my values, my religion, my beliefs, don’t allow us to intervene in this kind of family affair.”
Jacoby said this was “a situation in which Democrats have been absolutely terrified by this idea that George Bush won because he owned the, quote, ‘values issue.’”
There was a quick detour into states’ rights and then Cafferty returned to the point:
“The right wing of the Republican party will never vote for a Democrat either, ever, ever, ever, ever. From where I sit, it seems to me the Democrats are missing a golden opportunity here.
“If you were advising the Democratic party on this whole issue — the discussion of the intrusion of religion into government, et cetera, et cetera — what would you be telling them to do here?”
“I would tell them . . . exactly what you said, that you are never going to get people who believe that the world was created in seven days, literally to vote for you. You are never going to get the far religious right to vote for you.”
Glad we cleared that up.