Now there's a phrase that leaps out of a New York Times story -- "churchgoing Democrats." In a strange sort of way, President Bush is taking a major political risk by backing the efforts to pass an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to define marriage. His base is with him. It would seem that an overwhelming majority of Americans are with him -- according to the polls run by the movement's supporters.
So what is to lose? Well he lives in a town -- D.C., not Crawford, Texas -- where every single car radio is tuned to NPR. His staff knows that this is an issue that, for most mainstream media professionals, is more important than Iraq. His staff knows that the law of gravity for the blue-state media elites is this -- the Religious Right must lose.
But he also knows the numbers are on his side in a lot of unusual places, such as the pews of African American churches. He knows the Democrats are not comfortable being pro-same-sex-marriage. Thus, they must manage to be anti-anti-same-sex-marriage.
And even the New York Times will say this:
. . . Republican strategists say that the same-sex marriage amendment, while essential to conservatives, has much broader appeal. "This gets you Reagan Democrats, pro-life Democrats, churchgoing Democrats," said a House Republican leadership aide. "This gets you a lot of Democrats who are not happy with Bush on economic policy but not happy with Kerry on being from Massachusetts."
Glen Bolger, a Republican pollster whose firm does some work for the Bush campaign, said, "We've tested this issue six ways to Sunday, and given that the president is seen as compassionate, I don't think there's going to be the kind of backlash as there was with Dan Quayle and Murphy Brown, for instance."
Ah yes, Murphy Brown and the power of the stand-up comics. Can any politico defeat them?