Wednesday, August 24, 2005

MyDD :: How Do White Christians Feel About Foreign Policy and National Security --
Something I posted to MyDD:

The following data is taken from the 2004 National Election Study. White means respondents who self-identify as white. Conservative Protestants are those from denominations that tend to support biblical literalism and liberal Protestants are from deonominations that do not subscribe to biblical literalism regardless of the actual feelings of the respondent on the matter. Eastern Orthodox Christians are grouped with Catholics. The totals don't always add up to 100% because some reply that they don't know or refuse to answer and I did not suppress those numbers or because of rounding.

KEY: WC=White Catholics, WLP=White Liberal Protestants, WCP=White Conservative Protestants, WNC=White non-Christian, NW=non-whites of any religion

Should preventing the spread of nuclear weapons be avery important foreign policy goal, a somewhat important foreign policy goal, or not an important foreign policy goal at all? Promoting and defending human rights in other countries? Strengthening the United Nations (and other international organizations)? Combatting world hunger? Protecting the jobs of American workers? Helping to bring a democratic form of government to other nations? Controlling and reducing illegal immigration? Promoting market economies abroad? Combatting international terrorism?

Nuclear Spread Human Rights Strengthen UN
Very Some Not Very Some Not Very Some Not
WCP 86% 13% 0.4% 36% 56% 8% 41% 39% 20%
WLP 90% 10% 0% 40% 53% 7% 45% 43% 12%
WC 90% 9% 1% 41% 55% 4% 45% 42% 12%
WNC 86% 12% 2% 45% 46% 8% 47% 34% 19%
NW 85% 11% 4% 48% 39% 12% 54% 37% 7%

World Hunger Protect US jobs Promote Democracy
Very Some Not Very Some Not Very Some Not
WCP 56% 39% 5% 82% 17% 1% 22% 62% 16%
WLP 63% 34% 3% 86% 12% 1% 24% 57% 18%
WC 56% 41% 3% 86% 11% 3% 19% 60% 20%
WNC 52% 42% 6% 79% 18% 3% 17% 56% 28%
NW 70% 26% 4% 90% 8% 2% 24% 53% 20%

Illegal immigration Promote market Combat terrorism
Very Some Not Very Some Not Very Some Not
WCP 68% 30% 2% 24% 58% 15% 85% 13% 1%
WLP 65% 31% 3% 22% 63% 13% 84% 15% 1%
WC 60% 36% 4% 23% 64% 11% 88% 12% 1%
WNC 49% 45% 6% 20% 57% 21% 80% 19% 2%
NW 49% 42% 9% 24% 59% 12% 75% 20% 4%

Notice how most groups are pretty much the similar across the board except for world hunger and illegal immigration issue. Also notice how, by and far, preventing the spread of nuclear weapons, combatting terrorism, and protecting U.S. jobs (it's the economy, stupid) are the biggest issues. Promoting democracy or protecting human rights aren't particularly strong points to make. Note also that most people want the UN to be strengthened.

Which party do you think would do a better job of handling the war on terrorism?
Dem Rep
WCP 14% 55%
WLP 15% 47%
WC 24% 42%
WNC 42% 34%
NW 35% 24%

Looking ahead, do you think the problem of keeping out of war would be handled better in the next
four years by?
Dem Rep
WCP 30% 26%
WLP 36% 17%
WC 41% 16%
WNC 53% 11%
NW 49% 8%

However, it is noticeable that the Democrats have a credibility problem on terrorism. The Democrats win if Iraq is framed as just another war and not linked to terrorism. It is for this reason that I advocate calling for U.S. troops to be moved from Iraq to Afghanistan, to highlight the administration's miserable failure in capturing Osama bin Ladin and leaving a legitimate, terrorism-related military effort unfinished in order to galivanting toward Baghdad.

I point you toward the result

Taking everything into account, do you think the U.S. war against the Taliban government in
Afghanistan was WORTH THE COST or NOT?
Worth ItNot Worth It
WCP 79% 20%
WLP 71% 28%
WC 77% 20%
WNC 73% 25%
NW 51% 46%

Democrats need to make the case that the criteria for war were met by Afghanistan, but not by Iraq.

On the other hand, merely calling for withdrawal of troops comes across as weak unless you place it within another context.

This country would be better off if we just stayed home and did not concern ourselves with problems
in other parts of the world.
Agree Disagree
WCP 13% 87%
WLP 21% 77%
WC 19% 80%
WNC 19% 81%
NW 23% 76%

It is incumbent upon Democrats calling for withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq to make sure they don't come across as advocating an isolationist, "take care of things at home first" approach.

The public generally wants us to have a strong military.

Should federal spending on the WAR ON TERRORISM be INCREASED, DECREASED, or kept ABOUT THE SAME?
Inc. Decr. Same
WCP 47% 14% 40%
WLP 48% 13% 37%
WC 41% 15% 43%
WNC 51% 12% 37%
NW 55% 12% 32%

How important is it for the U.S. to have a strong military force in order to be effective in
dealing with our enemies?
Extremely Very Some Not at All
WCP 67% 27% 6% 0%
WLP 52% 37% 10% 1%
WC 59% 32% 8% 1%
WNC 44% 39% 15% 3%
NW 55% 32% 12% 1%

(As an aside, each demographic segment seems to be keeping up its fair share of the military service burden.

Have you ever served or are you currently serving in the US military, the National Guard, or
military reserves? Has [another/a] member of your family ever served or is currently serving in the
US military, the National Guard, or military reserves?

Served Family Member Served
WCP 12% 73%
WLP 18% 67%
WC 15% 66%
WNC 17% 61%
NW 11% 61%

The numbers are pretty much the same.)

Voters evaluated how the war in Iraq has affected things:

Do you approve/disapprove strongly/not strongly of Bush's handling of the war in Iraq?
Approve Approve Disapp. Disapp.
Strong Weak Weak Strong
WCP 42% 21% 9% 28%
WLP 31% 18% 11% 40%
WC 25% 20% 8% 47%
WNC 17% 18% 8% 57%
NW 16% 6% 7% 71%

Taking everything into account, do you think the war in Iraq has been WORTH THE COST or NOT?

WorthIt Not Worth
WCP 56% 41%
WLP 40% 58%
WC 39% 58%
WNC 32% 65%
NW 26% 71%

During the past year, would you say that the United States' position in the world has grown weaker,
stayed about the same, or has it grown stronger?
Weaker Same Stronger
WCP 35% 30% 34%
WLP 42% 30% 26%
WC 48% 28% 25%
WNC 60% 23% 17%
NW 53% 27% 18%

As a result of the United States military action in Iraq, do you think the threat of terrorism
against the United States has INCREASED, DECREASED, or stayed ABOUT THE SAME?

Incr. Decr. Same
WCP 30% 33% 37%
WLP 35% 26% 37%
WC 35% 24% 41%
WNC 55% 19% 26%
NW 49% 14% 34%

On Iraq, your swing constituencies are going to be white Catholics and liberal Protestants. This has historically been the case. Public opinion swinging against the Vietnam War was driven by a shift in the opinions of Catholics. The President's position would be severely weakened if the case can be made that he wants to fight future 200 billion doillar wars.


Some people believe the United States should solve international problems by using diplomacy and
other forms of international pressure and use military force only if absolutely necessary. Suppose
these people are at one end of a scale, at point 1. Others believe diplomacy and pressure often
fail and the U.S. must be ready to use military force. Suppose these people are
at the other end, at point 7.

Self-Placement Bush Kerry
1-2 3-5 6-7 1-2 3-5 6-7 1-2 3-5 6-7
WCP 15% 46% 24% 4% 24% 69% 49% 38% 6%
WLP 21% 57% 17% 2% 24% 71% 40% 48% 3%
WC 22% 59% 17% 2% 25% 72% 43% 47% 4%
WNC 39% 46% 12% 3% 22% 75% 46% 49% 3%
NW 27% 47% 13% 5% 16% 75% 29% 57% 8%

Democratic Party Republican Party
1-2 3-5 6-7 1-2 3-5 6-7
WCP 34% 52% 5% 3% 48% 43%
WLP 32% 58% 2% 2% 38% 55%
WC 37% 56% 3% 2% 46% 50%
WNC 34% 59% 4% 2% 39% 56%
NW 23% 64% 6% 4% 37% 55%

John Kerry came across as someone less willing to use force than the rest of his party or the average voter. Voter seem more willing to accept overzealousness than extremism in the other direction.


A Democrat needs to (rightfully) repudiate the extreme pacifistic position on war. One way in which that can be done while opposing the current debacle in Iraq is to stress support for the war in Afghanistan while pointing out how that effort has been mismanaged in the rush to war in Iraq, how George W. Bush bears personal responsibility for letting Osama bin Ladin elude capture at Tora Bora, living to plan future terrorist actions, because he wanted to nail Saddam Hussein instead.

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Saturday, August 20, 2005 :: What's your theological worldview? --
You scored as Roman Catholic. You are Roman Catholic. Church tradition and ecclesial authority are hugely important, and the most important part of worship for you is mass. As the Mother of God, Mary is important in your theology, and as the communion of saints includes the living and the dead, you can also ask the saints to intercede for you.

Roman Catholic




Neo orthodox


Evangelical Holiness/Wesleyan


Classical Liberal


Modern Liberal




Reformed Evangelical




What's your theological worldview?
created with
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Thursday, August 18, 2005

Daily Kos: How to Be Pro-Withdrawal in Iraq Without Looking Like A Weak Dove --
Something I posted at Daily Kos

Inspired by an earlier post by Armando

Here is a reasonable position.

Support withdrawing American troops from Iraq, but not to send them back home. We need to send at least some of those troops to Afghanistan instead. (I presume that not all of them are needed in Afghanistan and some would, of course, be sent home.)

The purpose is twofold:

1) It provides cover for Democratic politicians queasy over the prospect of being painted as weak on national security.

2) It highlights the miserable failure of the Bush administration in Afghanistan, how they let Osama bin Ladin slip away because they chose to take resources away to try and build a specious case for war in Iraq.

Both Iraq and Afghanistan are missions that have been severely under-manned. My general position has been that I am not against a war in Iraq per se, I am against an ill-planned war waged by incompetents when there are other more pressing issues. I might have been talked into tolerating an Iraq war if it had been advocated by someone I respect who would have avoided the preventable current debacle.

I believe that there was a legitimate reason to go into Afghanistan and I only tolerate the most rampant of pacifists who claim no war under any circumstances because Democrats need their votes (in the same way that an honest conservative, if there is such a thing, knows that he or she must tolerate religious wingnuts).
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Sunday, August 14, 2005

Now That's What I Call a Burn --
Roger Ebert on Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo
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Wednesday, August 10, 2005

News and Religion --
This GetReligion post uses the recent death of Peter Jennings to talk about religion and the news media.

I think that his understanding of the nature of spirituality shows why he was better able to connect with the general public as a national media figure and secularist liberal politicians often don't connect with the populace.
(5:07 PM) 0 comments

Some Jews Are Smart, They Say --
Via Kuro5hin, a story about how Ashkenazi Jews are smarter than any other ethnic group.

I can't wait for people to argue that it's only because the Holocaust claimed the lives of a disproportionate number of stupid Ashkenazim.
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Thursday, August 04, 2005

On Identity Politics --
A comment I posted to this MyDD thread.

I think it is fairly obvious that one strong component in why race is such a factor is how blacks who regularly attend theologically conservative Protestant congregations generally choose to be Democrats.

On the other hand, I think that it is as accurate to characterize the Republicans as white and the Democrats as non-white as it is to characterize the Republicans as heterosexual and the Democrats as non-heterosexual (which is to say that I think either characterization is foolishness). Run the numbers and tell me what % of people who voted for John Kerry in 2004 were white Christians.

Identity politics will always work against the Democrats so long as you paint Democrats as everything not white, Christian, and straight. One tactic which I advocate is to narrow the field currently filled by "Christian." We should try to peel off Catholic and mainline Protestant and leave only conservative evangelical Protestants as the religious component of the Republican Party. The tendency of the secular, the unchurch, and the non-Christian to lump all of Christianity together in a monolithic entity is as flawed as those fans of racial/religious profiling who want to believe that all Arabs and Muslims are inherently predisposed to hate America.
(8:05 PM) 1 comments