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For Obama, Little Progress with Evangelicals

By Jacqueline L. Salmon and Michelle Boorstein
Despite an unprecedented ramped-up faith outreach campaign in the last few years that many see as unprecedented for Democrats, Barack Obama has so far made few inroads with one of the main groups the Democratic Party has been hoping to budge -- white evangelical Protestants -- according to a poll released today.

The poll was done by the University of Akron, which has been tracking the presidential preferences of voters by faith for the last five presidential elections. It was conducted between June and August of 2008 and involved a random sample of 4,017 adult Americans. Overall, it showed Obama leading McCain, 42 to 37 percent.

It found that the party preferences of white evangelical voters are almost exactly the same in 2008 as they were at the same point in the Bush-Kerry race in 2004, said John Green, the political scientist who conducted the poll.

However, the poll found movement toward the Democratic presidential candidate since 2004 among traditional Catholics, Latinos and the religiously unaffiliated. Green also found a "substantial" shift in the priorities of American voters, the accompanying report said, with people ranking concern about the economy higher than foreign policy and social issues, which were atop the list of many in 2004.

Green, a veteran analyst, said the results about white evangelicals were surprising, given the intense appeals the Obama campaign and other national Democrats have been making to white evangelicals, compared with what some saw as Democratic aloofness toward this group in the past.

Shaun Casey, the Obama campaign's evangelical outreach coordinator, was skeptical of the results because he believed the sample size for evangelicals was too small. "It changes nothing," he said.

According to the poll, white evangelical Protestants favored McCain over Obama 57 to 20 percent, with 22 percent undecided. At the same point in the 2004 campaign, white evangelicals preferred Bush over Kerry 60 to 20, with 20 percent undecided.

Democratic faith advisors have never predicted they would win white evangelicals, but feel they can capture the presidency by attracting a few percentage points within this group, as well as among Catholic voters who went for Bush in 2000 and 2004. At the national and state level, Democrats have begun building a concerted faith outreach infrastructure and the Obama campaign has a team of faith advisers and talks often about his Christian identity.

Even more theologically liberal white evangelicals have proven resistant to Obama's overtures. Like Kerry, Obama drew support from one-third of what Green calls "modernist" evangelicals -- those with less traditional beliefs and practices.

Green speculated that Obama has been unable to overcome the divide over social issues -- such as abortion and same-sex marriage -- that resonate with white evangelical voters. It's also possible, he said, that Obama's outreach will yet bear fruit. He noted that the poll was carried out over the summer, before both parties' conventions and before McCain named Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate.

In the latest Washington Post-ABC News poll, conducted Sept. 5-7 following the Republican convention, white evangelical Protestants split 72 percent for McCain and Palin, 22 percent for Obama and Biden. The Pew Research Center survey out yesterday found a similar split, 71 percent McCain to 21 percent Obama.

By Web Politics Editor  |  September 19, 2008; 7:25 PM ET
Categories:  Barack Obama , Religion  
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God bless you CTMAN. You start out with a juvenile insult, then you blame a nun for your lack of knowledge of the truth. Your declaration of a generic god that is universal to the mono-theistic faiths is exactly the line of thinking that the Bible refers to as Apostate Religion. This is exactly what the book of Revelation says that the Anti-Christ will decieve the people of the world into believing. Through your ignorance you have managed to re-iterate that Obama has characteristics of the Anti-Christ.
I guess that you are decieved to believe that there will be peace in the middle east if your messiah, BO, were to be elected as POTUS.

You can put Kool-Aid in a wine bottle, but it is still Kool-Aid.

Posted by: Jeff G | September 21, 2008 3:26 PM | Report abuse

Joe Biden the VP candidate WITH 30+ Years of Washington Experience says "Iran poses no Nuclear Threat"- The rest of the world disagrees-

Iran Says “No”—Now What?

By George Perkovich
Publisher: Carnegie Endowment
Policy Brief No. 63 September 2008
Full Text (PDF)

A new IAEA report says that Iran continues to defy UN Security Council resolutions and enrich uranium while refusing to answer IAEA questions regarding possible weaponization activities. If the United States is to induce Iran to halt enrichment activities, both the costs of defiance and the benefits of cooperation must be greater, warns George Perkovich in a new policy brief.

Perkovich argues that the United States should pursue a revised strategy showing Iran’s leaders that the more they advance enrichment capabilities, the less valuable cessation of those activities becomes for negotiating incentives packages.

A three-step approach for the next U.S. president:

• Give Iran one last, time-limited chance to negotiate suspension of its fuel-cycle-related activities. The European Union, Russia, China, and the United States have consistently increased offers of incentives to Iran without signs that Iran is willing to negotiate at all. Interlocutors should set a date to stop bidding unless Iran clarifies that there are conditions under which it would suspend.

• If Iran rejects the opportunity, break off negotiations and focus on developing a consensus to maintain international sanctions as long as Iran remains in violation of Security Council and IAEA resolutions. Rather than defending a redline Iran already crossed, the United States should build resolve within the UN Security Council and among allies for continued sanctions and robust consequences should evidence emerge of new Iranian weaponization activities.

• Finally, clarify the international redline. Even if Iran is able to weather sanctions, it may be persuaded to accept stringent safeguards and verifications inspections to prevent weaponization. Iran insists it has the right to enrich uranium for peaceful purposes, but the international community could define its redline for Iran as weaponization, further violation of nonproliferation obligations, or withdrawal from the NPT. The United States and the Security Council should insist on an understanding that the use of military force would be authorized should evidence of ongoing weaponization activities emerge. However, military force must be limited to enforcement of nonproliferation obligations and not encompass a wider campaign to weaken or destroy the Iranian government.

Anticipating the September IAEA Report, Perkovich notes:

“An underappreciated factor in Tehran’s unwillingness to answer the IAEA’s questions is that Iranian leaders must wonder what would happen if they did ‘come clean,’ perhaps acknowledging that past nuclear activities were related to acquiring at least the option to produce nuclear weapons. The fact that neither the United States nor the Security Council has told Iran how it would react if Iran admitted to past nuclear weaponization violations may pose a genuine quandary in Iran. The UN Security Council could clarify that Iranian admission of past weaponization activities, coupled with willingness to accept that the NPT violation required ‘restitution,’ would not necessarily lead to further sanctions or punitive sanctions.”

George Perkovich is vice president for studies–global security and economic development and director of the Nonproliferation Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

Posted by: Scott | September 21, 2008 6:28 AM | Report abuse

New Threats to Israel from the country Obama called a "tiny" threat and Biden called "no nuclear threat"-

LA Times-
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei says Iran, Israel on 'collision course'

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said his country's hostility to Israel extended beyond the government to the Israeli people as well.
Iran's supreme leader brushes aside recent overtures by top Iranian officials to Israeli citizens with statements that could inflame tensions.
By Ramin Mostaghim and Borzou Daragahi, Special to The Times
September 20, 2008

TEHRAN -- Iran's highest authority lashed out against Israel on Friday with some of his harshest comments in recent memory about the Jewish state.

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who is Iran's top political and military figure, said his country's hostility to Israel extended beyond the government to the Israeli people as well. In saying so, he was brushing aside recent overtures by top Iranian officials to the Israeli public.

World A-Z: Ayatollah Ali KhameneiU.N. watchdog reports growing frustration with Iran's nuclear push
Nobel laureate from Iran urges against military action
Babylon & Beyond blog: More on Iran
Khamenei said Iran and Israel were on a "collision course," a statement that could further increase tensions in a Middle East already fearful of a conflict between the two countries.

"Who are Israelis?" Khamenei told thousands of worshipers gathered for Friday prayers in downtown Tehran. "They are responsible for usurping houses, territory, farmlands and businesses. They are combatants at the disposal of Zionist operatives. A Muslim nation cannot remain indifferent vis-a-vis such people who are stooges at the service of the arch-foes of the Muslim world."

Iran and Israel are locked in a war of words. Israel accuses Iran of seeking nuclear weapons under the guise of a peaceful energy program and supporting anti-Israeli militant groups in Lebanon and the Palestinian territories. Iran's leaders have repeatedly denied the legitimacy of the Jewish state, which they consider a Western colonial outpost.

The comments came amid a controversy in Iran over remarks attributed to an Iranian official close to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei, a vice president in charge of tourism, was quoted in a July interview as saying that Iranians were friends with the Israeli people, despite the conflict between the governments.

"Today, Iran is friends with the American and Israeli people," he said, according to the semi-official Fars News Agency. "No nation in the world is our enemy."

Hard-liners close to the government pounced on Mashaei's remarks. But Thursday night Ahmadinejad appeared to back up Mashaei, voicing sympathy for the Israeli people, even as he predicted Israel's demise.

"The Iranian nation never recognized Israel and will never ever recognize it," he said at a news conference. "But we feel pity for those who have been deceived or smuggled into Israel to be oppressed citizens in Israel."

Ahmadinejad is scheduled to arrive in New York within days for the opening session of the United Nations General Assembly, which probably will take up the issue of Iran's nuclear program.

Khamenei left little doubt about Iran's position on relations with Israel, saying he was raising the issue "to spell an end to any debates" on it.

"It is incorrect, irrational, pointless and nonsense to say that we are friends of Israeli people," said Khamenei, who delivers prayer sermons only on special occasions.

Iranian officials typically increase anti-Israeli and pro-Palestinian rhetoric in the week before the last Friday in the holy month of Ramadan, which is called Jerusalem Day in Iran. This year, it falls on Sept. 26.

Khamenei said Iran has no problem with Judaism or other religions. "But we are on a collision course with the occupiers of Palestine and the occupiers are the Zionist regime," he said. "This is the position of our regime, our revolution and our people."

Special correspondent Mostaghim reported from Tehran and Times staff writer Daragahi from Beirut.

Posted by: Scott | September 21, 2008 6:19 AM | Report abuse

Wow, is that a troll or does that commenter really think that way. Is said commenter a product of American schooling?

As someone taught both religion and science by a nun, taught both theology and evolution within an 80-minute period, I'm saddened.

What does our God, the same God of Islam and Judaism by the way, think of economic injustice and the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis by our country?

I think He thinks it's time for Obama '08!

Posted by: Ctman | September 21, 2008 3:57 AM | Report abuse

We, the Evangelicals, are truely only concerned with the abortion issue. Some one has to stop the murder of infants and we will allow this country to be run into the ground if we have to in order to stop this senseless, selfish murder of these babies.

I'll give you a hint on theological politics. God is our provider not the US Government. We prosper during famine and we help those in need during famine. The nations economic condition is not our priority. I'll always have gas money even if gas is $100/gal, God is my provider. I'll always have a roof over my head and plenty of food to eat, God is my provider. There are plenty of issues that we are concerned about but until the abortion issue is resolved they are not our priority.

Here's another tid-bit for you. Most of us were liberals (I certainly was)that were sold on the lies of this world. Then we came to the knowledge of the Truth and Grace of Jesus Christ, becoming " Born Again" Christians.
You can count on this. We will, as a majority, vote republican across the board. We will put a republican in office unless it is God's will for Obama to win. If BO wins then you all should get familiar with the number 666 on an up close and personal level because he and Oprah bear a striking resembelance to the Anti-Christ and the False Profit.

God gave you the freedom to choose. Be wise and choose Truth. The lies will hold you captive.

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These comments stated here are all about abortion.
This issue seems to predominate in the choice about candidates.
Is this a religious election?
With our country almost bankrupt and people losing their homes and investments, with the high price of food and gas,we are talking about this one issue.
If the evangelicals manage to get laws in their favor will this take care of what is wrong with our economy?
This one issue divides our country and now We are in a sort of holylier than thou contest.
No one is in favor of abortion: the issue is a very personal one.
It is between the women, God and the family. It is like the church trying to legislate moralty.
We need meaninful solutions not punishment and jail time. This issue has become a political one and it is relentless.
It means to some, if you do not agree, they will not chose a candidate unless this one issue is agreed upon first: enter Palin, a pick by the Republicans. Why because she is pro life.
Have they forgotten this is how Bush got in office they thought his Pro life belief would do the job. In fact it started with Reagan.
That is about 12 years of their being pro active and inbedded with our political system

All this focus again on the abortion.
Just put it on a ballot and let it go.
Stop using this issue to influence our law makers, candidates, and elections.
We have more worries them abortion.
Our country is in trouble.
Focus is what is needed.
This is not an ABORTION election.
This is a presidential election.

I can tell you when one of these candidates get in office they will be dealing with serious debt, bailouts, wars, energy and a budget that is out of control.
The issue of abortion should be a state to state issue: placed on a ballot and taken to the voters.
Tell us how to stop children from having babies. Start with Sarah.

Oh wait! I know it is a family matter.
That is what she said to us.

Posted by: | September 20, 2008 10:11 PM | Report abuse

I'm an Obama supporter--even so,it pains me to see BS used to malign McCain. Doctor G says " He then fell head over heels for a 17 year old kid named Cindy Hemsley and married her, applying for his marriage certificate before his divorce was even finalized. He was 36, she was 17... just wonderful... talk about robbing the cradle."
Problem is, she (Cindy HeNsley) was born in 1954 and didn't meet McCain until 1979...shortly before her 25th birthday, after she had completed college and was working as a teacher. The facts (like, that he dumped his wife for not being as cute as when she was younger)are plenty bad enough-- there is no need to make up lies.
I don't have time to fact check the rest of your screed, but I'm sure there are a few more whoppers in there.

Posted by: Be Fair | September 20, 2008 8:39 PM | Report abuse

I am white, born in the south, married to one woman for 21 years, four kids, go to church regurlarly, love Jesus and have a high income. I am voting for Obama. McCain and Palin nauseate me with their hypocrisy. Modern day evangelicls have very little to do with Jesus of the New Testament, which SAYS NOT ONE WORD ABOUT ABORTION BUT IS FILLED WITH CONDEMNATION ABOUT HYPOCRISY!!!

Posted by: christian dad | September 20, 2008 7:38 PM | Report abuse

What does the Holy Bible and the Lord say about LIES?

"Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor."

Seems relevant to true Christians. We've had 8 years of costly lies. Three Trillion Dollar lies...

We are seeing lies on the campaign trail today and the bearing of false witness against Barack Obama by the evil doers.

Posted by: LIARS | September 20, 2008 7:32 PM | Report abuse

We cant let the American Taliban keep control of OUR COUNTRY! I wouldnt vote for Barack Obama if these fools wanted to vote for him...That would mean that he was a creationist, anti-choice, corporate pawn...and Barack Obama is too smart to be any of the above.

Posted by: Becky | September 20, 2008 5:40 PM | Report abuse

Hey. Maybe Obama needs to learn to speak in tongues.
Evangelicals have truly brought the US down with their support of Bush. We can thank them for Republican economic policies and an unholy war against Iraq.

Posted by: Norwood | September 20, 2008 3:23 PM | Report abuse

Foxborough, is that kind of name calling that really has this country in a mess. Maybe you should look up the definitions of the words you are hurling about. You're not making any sense. Try to discuss thing without the hyperbole(look it up).

Posted by: reasonablediscussion | September 20, 2008 2:53 PM | Report abuse

If neither party is addressing a main issue for evangelicals (abortion) then evangelicals need to look at other important issues that their faith teachings address such as looking after those who can't look after themselves (ie the sick, mentally challenged, the poor, refugees) or don't vote.

Posted by: pastor345 | September 20, 2008 2:33 PM | Report abuse

Well said Doctor G. I don't understand why many conservative Christians continue to put pro-life and same sex marriage as an issue when in all the years that Ronald Reagan, George H. Bush and George W. Bush have been in power they have done nothing about the issue. It's my sense that most evangelicals are duped by the Republican party when they make a few promises around election time then ignore th issue during their term. They also do nothing to try and reduce abortions while they're in government.
Barack Obamais pro-choice but he does agree to put in programs that will help reduce the amount of abortions. He also would like to put in place programs that reduce poverty and change our dependence on foriegn oil. Shouldn't poverty and the enviornment also be concerns for evangelicals. I'm glad to see not all evangelicals are for Republicans(37%). Maybe some realise that there are more than two issues to an election.

Posted by: reasonablediscussion | September 20, 2008 2:14 PM | Report abuse

There are people all over my neihbor hood that want nothing to do with either of these candidates. I live in a neihborhood that has mostly conservative christians. Alot are saying they are staying home in November. Even Huckabee and Hillary 2012 yard signs popping up in my suburb I get the feeling that most evangelicals are not that excited about either candidate.

Posted by: pastor123 | September 20, 2008 1:50 PM | Report abuse

There will be more McCain Democrats this time than Reagan Democrats. You realize that George Bush got over 6 million Democrats to vote for him 4 years ago?

Posted by: JakeD | September 20, 2008 11:09 AM | Report abuse

Democrats for John McCain and Sarah Palin in 2008.

Posted by: Heather | September 20, 2008 10:42 AM | Report abuse

"McCain makes the now-famous dumb statement that the economy is fundamentally sound over and over"

When a Dem has to purposefully distort what McCain says in order to make a cheap point it's no wonder the Evangelicals reject their agenda. Who wants to stand next to people so careless with the truth.

Posted by: Jack Burton | September 20, 2008 10:12 AM | Report abuse

Ever notice that the only time left wingers say anything derogatory about Muslim fundamentalists is when they're in the process of insulting Christian fundamentalists?

Liberals hate the conservative half of America with every fiber of their being, yet are ambivalent about Muslim terrorists and brutal dictators. This is why they rightfully earn the title of "America haters".

Posted by: The Fop | September 20, 2008 10:10 AM | Report abuse

Doctor G:

Ronald Reagan was actually the first divorced President. Nancy has endorsed McCain.

Posted by: JakeD | September 20, 2008 9:48 AM | Report abuse

I wonder what percentage of evangelicals are looking at John McCain's past and are saying its not that important? They should wonder about a man who takes the vows of marriage and is then disloyal to the one person in his life he should put on a pedestal. His wife not only suffered while he was a POW for 5 years, but when she had a car accident that disfigured her and also left her a cripple... she told the Navy not to convey that to McCain because he was going through enough in prison. McCain came home and for the next six years he cheated repeatedly on Carol McCain and his child. He then fell head over heels for a 17 year old kid named Cindy Hemsley and married her, applying for his marriage certificate before his divorce was even finalized. He was 36, she was 17... just wonderful... talk about robbing the cradle.

His early political career showed him as a person who would explore any means to get a result, and the involvement in the Keating Five scandal reinforces his bad judgement. His temper in congress has been out of control and without any decorum as everyone knows. And fast forward to the present, and you see his metamorphism into an old-school politician who will say anything or do anything to get attention. This past week shows how little he grasps the concept of a global economy and the hurt this country's middle class is undergoing. McCain makes the now-famous dumb statement that the economy is fundamentally sound over and over while he ignored the fact that nearly 700,000 people have lost their jobs since the 1st of the year, unemployment is up over 6%, and of course... Wall Street is crumbling right in front of us mainly because of deregulation introduced by then Senator Phil Gramm with John McCain's support and blessing.

Over 80% of American voters agree that this country is going in the WRONG direction, spending $600 billion in Iraq for 7 years on a war that was wrong from day one. Who is paying for this? We Are. Yet McCain always refused to denounce the war as foolish or a mistake... he just talked about winning it... at whatever cost and however long it took. So meanwhile we drain this country's resources to support a bottomless pit of a war that we'll never win in the traditional sense, and we've alienated millions of Arab and Muslim people giving Bin Ladden even more credence. We've helped end the lives of 100,000 (probably more) civilian because we never had a plan and we were wrong from the get-go.

John McCain is a old dinosaur who would be the worse possible fit as a president in this generation. I actually think he'd be worse than Bush!

Posted by: Doctor G | September 20, 2008 9:07 AM | Report abuse

The Atlantic
September 18, 2008
An economist explains why he thinks McCain's economic policies make more sense
by Steven Landsburg

(Steven E. Landsburg (born 1954) is an American professor of economics at the University of Rochester in Rochester, New York. From 1989 to 1995, he taught at Colorado State University.)

Betting on John McCain

My whole life I've been mystified by the concept of the "undecided voter." I've never had any problem choosing my candidates and didn't see how anyone else could either. But this year, I've been genuinely on the fence, partly because I haven't been paying close attention, and partly because there seemed ample reason to dislike all of the options.
But over the past few days, as McCain and Obama have ratcheted up their rhetoric over each others' "disastrous" economic policies, I decided to do a little research. Along the way, I had a few surprises about John McCain's voting record, some but not all of them pleasant. Now I don't think I'm undecided anymore.
Here are some of the things that made my decision easy, and some that made it hard:
1. Free trade and immigration are my top issues, and McCain wins on both.
These are my top issues for several reasons. First, trade is the engine of prosperity not just for the United States but also for the poorest of the world's poor. Nothing matters more than that. Second, the instinct to care about the national origin of your trading partner (or employer, or employee, or landlord, or tenant) is an ugly one, and the instinct to care about the national origin of other people's trading partners—and on that basis to interfere forcibly with other people's voluntary transactions—is even uglier.
Finally, protectionism, like creationism, requires an extraordinary level of willful ignorance. The consensus for free trade among economists is approximately as solid as the consensus for evolution among biologists, and it is a consensus supported by a solid body of both theory and observation. To ignore that consensus betrays a degree of anti-intellectualism that frightens me.
McCain is quite good on this issue, not just in terms of rhetoric (which I've known for a while) but in terms of voting record (which I've just recently researched). Obama, by contrast, promises to be our first explicitly protectionist president since Herbert Hoover. Some intervening presidents (Reagan, Bush I, and to a lesser extent Bush II) have been weak in their commitments to free trade, but none between Hoover and Obama has so explicitly rejected it.
2. McCain is not Bush. This came as a surprise to me. I'd been assuming, in my ill-read, uneducated way, that McCain had been complicit in most of the great travesties of the Bush administration and the execrable Republican Senate. I've learned that's largely untrue. He voted (to my great surprise!) against the prescription drug entitlement, against the Farm Security Bill, against milk subsidies, against Amtrak subsidies, and against highway subsidies.
Obama, by contrast, is in many ways a continuation of Bush. Like Bush (only far more so ), Obama is fine with tariffs and subsidies. Like Bush, he wants to send jackbooted thugs into every meatpacking plant in America to rid the American workplace of anyone who happens to have been born on the wrong side of an imaginary line. Like Bush, he wants a more progressive tax code. (It is one of the great myths of 21st century that the Bush tax cuts made the tax code less progressive; the opposite is true. If you are in the bottom 38% of taxpayers, you now pay zero income tax—and therefore have an incentive to support any spending bill that comes down the pike.) Like Bush, he wants more regulation, not less.

3. But there's a lot about economics that McCain just doesn't get. This shows up most significantly in his energy policies. Every economist knows that the best way to discourage carbon emissions (or anything else for that matter) is to tax them. But McCain rejects a carbon tax in favor of one slightly inferior policy (cap and trade) and one grossly inferior policy (direct regulation, such as the CAFE standards for fuel efficiency).
In a world of perfect capital markets and perfect information, a cap-and-trade system (provided the government auctions off the permits rather than giving them away) is exactly equivalent to a carbon tax – same effect on everything down to and including the prices of consumer goods. In the real world we live in, it's inferior for two reasons: First, small firms might find it difficult=2 0to raise the necessary capital to buy a permit; this gives an inappropriate advantage to big firms over small ones. Second, I believe it will be harder (for technical reasons I won't go into here) to calculate the efficient number of cap-and-trade permits than to calculate the efficient per-ton carbon tax. Aside from that, the two policies are equivalent in every way. McCain presumably doesn't get this, or he wouldn't have such a strong preference for cap-and-trade.
Worse, he endorses the CAFE standards, which are just a terrible way to control carbon emissions. While a carbon tax gets incentives right at every decision point, fuel efficiency standards give people no incentive, for example, to bike to work instead of drive (in fact, they flip the incentive in the wrong direction). Worse yet, they concentrate brainpower on improving fuel efficiency when there might be far more effective ways to control carbon emissions; with a tax, all innovations are rewarded.
In his support of CAFE standards over carbon taxes, McCain betrays a serious failure to understand how incentives work. The same problem shows up when he thinks you can simply mandate campaign finance limits, as if people who are competing for control of a $15 trillion economy won't be creative enough to find some way to spend hundreds of millions in the effort, no matter how you write your laws.
4. McCain gets health care right. The reason poor Americans get too little health care is that rich Am ericans get too much. The reason rich Americans get too much is that they're overinsured, and therefore run to the doctor for minor problems. The reason they're overinsured is that employer-provided health benefits aren't taxed, so employers overprovide them.
It has been clear for decades that the single most effective way to control health care costs is to eliminate the tax break for employer-provided health care. According to one careful study by my colleague Charles Phelps (admittedly several years old, but I'm not sure anything relevant has changed), this single reform could reduce health care costs by 40% with essentially no effect on health care outcomes.
Essential as this reform may be, I'd always assumed it was a political non-starter. I was therefore astonished to learn that it's the essence of McCain's health care reform. (At the same time, he would give each individual $2500, and each family $5000, to use for health care.)
I am astonished that I hadn't heard about this, and particularly astonished that Barack Obama hasn't thrust it in my face with a negative spin. Possibly he has and I just wasn't paying attention. In any case, this is just what the doctor ordered, and I am delighted that McCain has put it on the table.
Obama, by contrast, wants poor people to get more medical care without addressing the problem of overuse by rich people. Where is that extra medical care going to come from? If the answer is "nowhere," then a primary effect of the Obama plan must be to raise prices, making doctors and hospitals the big beneficiaries.
Of course, there are other things that matter. Foreign and defense policy might matter more than anything, and if I were sure that one or the other candidate were far wiser about these issues, that might be enough to win my vote. But I have no expertise on these matters and no particular reason to trust my own judgment.
I'm sure I'm right about trade and pretty sure I'm right about taxes and health care, but that's because I've thought long and hard about these issues for decades. It seems to me that we ought to be humble about the things we haven't thought hard about, and for me that includes foreign policy. The best I can do is bet that whoever's getting most of the other stuff right is getting this right too.
The bottom line is that I support John McCain. With trepidation.

Posted by: Scott | September 20, 2008 8:29 AM | Report abuse

Charles Manson-

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Born November 12, 1934 (1934-11-12) (age 73)
Cincinnati, Ohio, United States
Charles Milles Manson (born November 12, 1934) is an American criminal who led the "Manson Family," a quasi-commune that arose in the U.S. state of California in the later 1960s.[1][2][3] -

Charles Manson started out as a Community Organizer!

Posted by: Sharon | September 20, 2008 6:12 AM | Report abuse

Hmmm...a candidate who guys on national TV and talks about 'his Muslim faith' isn't making inroads with evangelicals. Shocking!

Posted by: Robert | September 20, 2008 4:49 AM | Report abuse

Hey Chasemonster, who fed you this nonsense and what would possess you to believe it?

I would be hesitant to call anyone else a kook my friend.

Posted by: SaudiAmerica | September 20, 2008 3:29 AM | Report abuse

Christians=Bible wackos? Who needs the votes? Quite frankly, the USA IS a Christian nation like it or not.

I guarantee you anti-Christians one thing, your ignorance and blatant incomprehension of Jesus Christ whether you accept him as the son of God or not makes you obviously illiterate, uneducated and to assume you understand whom any "Evangelical" would vote for is presumptuous at best.

I assume you also consider the Jewish culture "haters" and "hypocrites" as well - true, or do you even know the difference...

Haters and hypocrites of what? My God is Love, and Hate comes from an absence of understanding those of us of who are actually Biblically literate, highly educated and represent REAL ambassadors of Christ so spiritually advanced that passing judgement blanketly over what you perceive as "wackos" make YOU appear to be an individual who needs to reassess where your views, opinions and inaccuracies came from - or would that be so totally beyond your comprehension that perhaps you should consider entertaining an in-depth study of the subject matter before appearing as a total fool for the entire internet community to see - LOL!!

Respond with FACTS and not assumptions please if you are intellectually able.

Posted by: Dr. Laura Bullard | September 20, 2008 3:08 AM | Report abuse

John McSleaze and Sarah "I-Lie-4Jesus" Palin can have all the bible-wackos.
The evangelicals are the biggest bunch of haters out there. And they're ALL hypocrites!

Stay away! Do not come anywhere near our Democratic ticket!

Posted by: chasemonster | September 20, 2008 1:33 AM | Report abuse

Who the hell needs the support from a bunch of ideological zombies who believe if we murder enough people in the Middle East, that Jesus will finally deem us worthy and return.

Keep those kooks as far away from contaminating the Democratic ticket As Possible!!!

Posted by: chasemonster | September 20, 2008 1:29 AM | Report abuse

If the poll was 57 - 20 before Palin was added to the ticket, you can assume it's more like 75-10 now.

I'm a moderate and was interested in Obama in the beginning, but

Saul Alinksy
ACORN voter fraud
Chicago ward politics
Michelle's $600 earrings sneer

was enough to make decide to vote anti-Obama.

I think the WH is way above Obama's paygrade.

Posted by: Karen S | September 20, 2008 1:25 AM | Report abuse

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Posted by: latin sex | September 20, 2008 12:57 AM | Report abuse

Show us some deeds!!! We have some problems with Obama quoting us Bible verses about caring for the least of them, when he feels that the need to support a woman's choice to kill her own offspring in the womb is more important than that very offspring, even if the child makes it out of the womb before it is destroyed. (And why is it that we women are supposed to see this --the opportunity to abort-- as our primary political interest? The Bible calls children a reward, yet we are supposed to rally around the right to dispose of inconvenient ones? And I have personally seen many "inconvenient" babies become blessings.) And how are we to view a man who's so verbally passionate about helping the least of them when he gives away only a pittance of his own money to charities? Is he only interested in giving away OUR money? John and Cindy McCain put him to shame. Margaret Thatcher once said that the problem with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people's money to give away. Integrity issues: Todd Palin quit his job when his wife became governor in order to avoid a conflict of interest situation. Michelle Obama keeps her hospital job, where her salary balloons, and her husband delivers a million dollars to the hospital after he is elected a Senator. It's nice to see people helping each other! Perhaps that's what Obama meant by his Bible verse. I guess Obama forgets that God might be interested in giving His followers some discernment. (BELIEVERS FOR BARACK- what an obvious market ploy)

Posted by: DBrugs | September 20, 2008 12:45 AM | Report abuse

Little Progress

You mean NO PROGRSS.

Wright's religion - Obama can keep it.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 19, 2008 11:58 PM | Report abuse

Most americans are pro choice, but the vast majority do so out of respect for the woman's right to choose, however very few support 3rd trimester abortions, and aborting live births are certainly at the extreme end that almost noone can accept.

If the question was posed to evangelicals, it's pretty clear that they are proLife and will accept abortion in extreme cases where the mother's life is at risk.

I would even guess that many more evangelicals can accept other exeptions in the 1st 3 months after conception.

But after the 4th month, that enters the morally reprehensible stage, and 8th month is murder to most people --- even to vast majority of people who identify themselves as pro choice.

So Senator Obama's position on choice of abortion with no limits is at the extreme end of that view, it is no wonder many find that position intolerable, even if many agree more with his other positions, it is this shade of proChoice that will raise questions to many.

Posted by: NoAbsolutes | September 19, 2008 11:36 PM | Report abuse


I went there in 1961.

Posted by: JakeD | September 19, 2008 10:52 PM | Report abuse

"Jesus was a community organizer!"

Keep repeating that over and over and I'm sure the evangelicals will come. Seriously. Lol.

Posted by: paul54 | September 19, 2008 10:51 PM | Report abuse

"I graduated at the top of my Stanford Law School class. Keep up the personal attacks, please!!!...JakeD"

Yeh...Right! Probably the "Sanford and Son Law School".

Posted by: Foxborough | September 19, 2008 9:49 PM | Report abuse

Barry O'Bama is:
Pro Choice.
For late term abortions (infanticide).
Teaching sex education in kindergarten.
Pro Communist
Pro Marxist
Supports Rev Wright
Support Bill Ayers
Supports Saul Alynsky
Supports Acorn
Supports Franklin Raines
Sees every action and reaction as racist (except his own).

Is it any surprise Evangelicals don't like him??? I know I don't and I'm not even an Evangelical!

Posted by: foxborough | September 19, 2008 9:44 PM | Report abuse

"Who cares about evangelicals? The lowest as far as education, income, ... Why does anyone cater to these people? Frankly, this is the reason our country is going down the tubes. ... Why don't they crawl into a hole somewhere with their 50 point IQ, their bible, a photo of Palin, and get out of everybody's way."

Yeppers... ~this~ is the way to win over the independents. This attitude is worth more to the pubbies than a dozen McCain commercials airing in key states. Thanks for the helping hand. :-)

Posted by: Jack Burton | September 19, 2008 9:33 PM | Report abuse

"And the recorded words and actions of Jesus—mostly devoid of political commentary—certainly support the idea of equality and care for the poor."

I don't recall any of Jesus' words giving government the authority to take money from one family to give to another to make us all "equal."

Posted by: jack burton | September 19, 2008 9:30 PM | Report abuse


You remember that Stanford vs. Notre Dame game where the Stanford band made fun of the 3 million Irish who died in the Great Famine? I was at the game.

If my father had not stopped me that day, I would have killed a few band members, and I'm only 3/16 Irish. Stanford is so messed up with the leftist ideology.

Good luck trying to survive on that selfish, stuckup campus. My Dad had to teach those spoiled kids of the those Stanford professors at Gunn High School in Palo Alto.

Posted by: Tom | September 19, 2008 9:05 PM | Report abuse

The reason why Obama cannot make inroads to the Evangelical and Catholic (practicing) voter is that he believes in killing babies who survive abortion.

It's that simple. Obama is an extremist on the issue and therefore moderates on the abortion issue tend to add that into the equation when determining who to vote for.

By the way, that means Obama is for infanticide.

Do people here understand what infanticide is?

Posted by: Tom | September 19, 2008 9:00 PM | Report abuse

As a former neo-conservative evangelical who maintains a (horrified) interest in the trends of evangelical culture and politics, I can say that it is absolutely not surprising that Evangelical voters are unmoved by Obama's campaign. For my past self and for all of the evangelicals I've known, Obama's use of scriptural language borders on offensive.

It's a waste of money for Democrats to try to woo Evangelical voters unless Dems are willing to put forward an anti-choice / pro-life candidate (and thank goodness they are true enough to their principles not to adopt this expedient).

If—-as Evangelicals believe--fetuses are in fact human beings with all the rights of any other baby, how disingenuous and transparently, vilely hypocritical would it sound for a candidate to talk about caring for "the least of these" on the one hand while supporting the murder of babies on the other? The abortion issue is an intractable deal breaker for mainstream Evangelicals in the US.

As a side note, there are several important differences between "Evangelicals" and "Protestants," both historically and culturally. These terms should not be used interchangeably except in the context of pure theology.

The protestant reformation began in Germany in the 16th century. The evangelical movement was a working class, English movement that arose against the entrenched/elitist dons of the Anglican (protestant) church in the 18th century. In terms of doctrine, there are many similarities between protestant sects and evangelical churches, but the latter tend to carry forward the anti-intellectual roots of the early evangelical movement (which is not to say that they don't believe in their own "common sense" and "reason"; they just tend to eschew secular knowledge and scholarship more dogmatically).

Today, Evangelicals in the US tend to be more dogmatic, more wary of liberals, more conservative than those in the traditionally “protestant” sects. And sadly, Evangelicals are an enormous voting bloc, thanks in part to the work of such leaders as James Dobson, who have successfully consolidated what was previously a dispersed, highly independent, anti-institutional lot.

The Dems might be able to make some inroads with Lutherans, Presbyterians, Anglicans, but NOT Pentecostals, so-called "Independents," and Southern Baptists. Although few of James Dobson's followers would admit to flaws in the Republican platform, abortion--and abortion alone--is really the one thing that will keep every orthodox, mainstream Evangelical from ever voting for a Democrat.

So while it’s true that most Evangelicals find the Republican emphasis on small government, ahistorical individualism, and an unregulated free market appealing, I think this is primarily a case of them slowly internalizing the Republican platform over time because of an alliance that was initially formed over the abortion issue.

In fact the New Testament itself contains an example of a community that adopted a model that looks a lot like socialism (Acts, chapter 4). And the recorded words and actions of Jesus—mostly devoid of political commentary—certainly support the idea of equality and care for the poor. So while Evangelical Christians may sometimes sound like red-baiting McCarthyites, I think it would actually be possible to sway some Evangelical opinions towards a wee bit more government spending on issues of social justice and public health were it not for the abortion issue.

In fact, the abortion issue is powerful enough so that I think most Christians would not blink at the idea of running this country into the ground if that’s what was necessary to protect “unborn children.” It’s a clear matter of moral principle for them: non-negotiable.

Posted by: JeffL | September 19, 2008 8:47 PM | Report abuse


I graduated at the top of my Stanford Law School class. Keep up the personal attacks, please!!!

Posted by: JakeD | September 19, 2008 7:59 PM | Report abuse

Who is JakeD?

So JakeD, if all things with wings can fly, and a pig has wings, can pigs fly?

Maybe I should rephrase this. If pigs with lipstick could ....

Posted by: Who is JakeD? | September 19, 2008 7:58 PM | Report abuse

That depends on how the Supreme Court "chooses" to overturn Roe v. Wade

; )

Posted by: JakeD | September 19, 2008 7:58 PM | Report abuse

Who cares about evangelicals? The lowest as far as education, income, ... Why does anyone cater to these people? Frankly, this is the reason our country is going down the tubes. They bought & choked down what Bush/Cheney were selling & now we are having a heck of a crisis, to put it mildly. I'm over evangelicals. Why don't they crawl into a hole somewhere with their 50 point IQ, their bible, a photo of Palin, and get out of everybody's way.

Posted by: swannee | September 19, 2008 7:57 PM | Report abuse

Abortion is not every evangelical's number one issue. (Obama does not support same-sex marriges.) Even on Abortion, getting the 5th vote on the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v Wade won't change much. California, NewYork Illinois will still have legal abortions and desperate women will cross state lines to take advantage. What would be more effective is if women knew they had the health coverage for the baby when it is born and child care when they have to go back to work. While Pro-life activists will never support Obama, other evangelicals who don't near at the idea of a more compassionate society feel less excitement about McCain.

Posted by: bgjd1979 | September 19, 2008 7:55 PM | Report abuse


Partial-birth abortion ban, Laci and Connor's law, Roberts and Alito on the Supreme Court.

8 More Years!

Then we can finally get rid of Roe v. Wade!!!

Posted by: JakeD | September 19, 2008 7:52 PM | Report abuse

JakeD, you seem a little rattled lately. Everything OK?

Posted by: zukermand | September 19, 2008 7:49 PM | Report abuse

Conservative evangelical voters sure are easily satisfied. I wonder if they'll ever catch on. I suspect their spiritual leaders are working furiously to postpone that day. Have you seen that tax policy comparison table?

Posted by: zukermand | September 19, 2008 7:47 PM | Report abuse

What percentage of evangelicals approve of GW Bush? You can be sure that they're happy as can be about the current state of the world. After all they were instrumental in bringing it to pass. Yup, they're certainly going to be energized to vote for McCain, a guy who called evangelicals dangerous (one of the few times I had any respect for John McCain, one of his 'maverick' moments). Or maybe they've realized that they were conned by Rove into believing that Bush was a real evangelical. All those things Bush promised in this world....still unfulfilled promises. I believe that they'll stay home this time and pray for forgiveness. we can only hope.

No More Years!

Posted by: thebob.bob | September 19, 2008 7:44 PM | Report abuse

Oh, yeah -- on issues like abortion and same-sex marriage, Obama and McCain are almost IDENTICAL -- if you believe that, I hear that Sarah Palin's got a bridge she's trying to sell ; )

Posted by: JakeD | September 19, 2008 7:39 PM | Report abuse

The Obama campaign is less concerned about racking up big evangelical votes as they are keeping evangelicals from getting energized to come out and vote. Evangelicals have very up and down voter turn out numbers. If they feel there is not that great a difference between the candidates on their core issues, they will not turn out the way they did in 2004.

Posted by: bgjd1979 | September 19, 2008 7:34 PM | Report abuse

And, what's up with Sen. Biden poking a reporter's chest, telling him, "you need to work on your pecs"?!

Posted by: JakeD | September 19, 2008 7:24 PM | Report abuse

Thank God!! I read somewhere that his polling numbers among Catholics have dropped ever since he named Biden as VP. Ouch!

Posted by: JakeD | September 19, 2008 7:21 PM | Report abuse

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