Religious Wrong?

Ryan Lizza, writing on his blog for the New Republic, returns from a conference on religion and politics with some interesting findings: It looks like Karl Rove’s “evangelical strategy” may not be all it’s cracked up to be. According to Lizza, Rove has said that there are 4 million evangelicals who didn’t vote in 2000, and he’s made turning them out this year a priority. But Lizza reports that a professor of political science, who conducted a poll designed to measure the connection between religious affiliation and political views, found no evidence that Rove’s 4 million evangelicals even exist. And even if there are a few of them, they don’t live in swing states.

Earlier this week, David Adesnik of Oxblog gave fans a tantalizing glimpse into his fast-paced lifestyle: “Bachelor party in Vegas. Drive to LA. Rehearsal dinner. Wedding mass. Wedding party. Flight back to Boston. Arabic final the next morning.” Thankfully, Adesnik assures us that, “Although deprived of sleep, I am quite well-rested intellectually,” and now he proves it: He questions the developing conventional wisdom that the pressure is now on Kerry to prove he has a plan for Iraq, too. “[I]f almost 60 percent of Americans believe that Bush has no plan for Iraq and that he is doing a bad job of handling the situation, why should Kerry feel any pressure?”

Meanwhile, Mickey Kaus thinks he’s on to a brilliant (or perhaps nefarious) scheme by John Kerry. The senator’s suggestion that he might delay accepting the Democratic nomination until after the convention, writes Kaus, is genius. He cites research showing that Kerry drops a few points in the polls every time the spotlight focuses on him. By not accepting the nomination at the convention, Kerry gives the press an excuse not to cover it — which they’ve been looking for anyway, he says. That keeps Kerry off the evening news, thus boosting his standing with voters.

Finally, Ann Althouse thinks she’s found another way to use the delaying-the-nomination idea to attack the Massachusetts senator. Kerry told the Boston Globe that “it used to be that the convention, after nomination, traveled to the home or the state of the nominee to inform them they’ve been nominated … Harry Truman was in Independence [Mo].” Althouse, citing David McCullough’s biography, says Truman was clearly at the 1948 convention, and delivered a speech. But that doesn’t necessarily mean the convention didn’t then travel to Independence to nominate him, as Kerry said. We eagerly await comment from historians of the presidential nomination process.

Zachary Roth

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Zachary Roth is a contributing editor to The Washington Monthly. He also has written for The Los Angeles Times, The New Republic, Slate, Salon, The Daily Beast, and Talking Points Memo, among other outlets.