In my post below, I chastised Kevin Woster for asking candidates how old the earth is. I thought it was a stupid question. I still do.
I had a faint hope in this election that pandering to the radical religious right would not become a factor. Chief among their concerns is how people stand on abortion. But other concerns include gay marriage and a desire to have our Congress packed with true believer Christians.
First there was Woster's post on the age of the earth, an attempt (in my opinion) to get one of the Republican candidates to declare that the earth is 6000 years old, just like the Bible says it is. (The Bible doesn't say that, by the way.) Then there was the News on the Right Side, showing up in my Rapid City Journal, a quasi-news magazine produced by Gordon Howie, encouraging voters to vote for the Christians, like any good Christian would. (Of course, he means like any good literal interpreter would.) And now a phone call to my home from the Rev. James Dobson urging me to seek council from my pastor about how I should cast my vote in the upcoming election.
No doubt about it, they have a machine and they have cranked it up in an effort to empty the church pews and get out the vote on Nov. 2.
I believe that Republicans are foolishly pandering to these voters. They already have them. Few of these voters will vote for Stephanie Herseth Sandlin under any circumstance. Everyone knows she is pro choice, a surefire suicidal position for any Democrat wanting the "values voters" approval at the polls.
The risk in such pandering is that it will alienate voters who are just plum sick of the abortion and gay rights issues. Republicans started this process of pandering back in the Reagan Administration and it followed through George H.W. and George W's administration, with H.W. seemingly being the most repulsed by it while his son was the most enamored with it.
It is my understanding now that Noem has a pro life ad running on the AM talk radio stations. I haven't heard it. But, it occurs to me that if it is so, she is preaching to the confirmed or converted. Her money would be better spent elsewhere hammering Stephanie with her 91% ties to Pelosi. Her pro life stance is well-known. Why bother reinforcing votes you already have? Where's the value?
I believe that few of the undecided voters will be swayed by a candidate's position on abortion. And, those who are swayed, if abortion voting in the state is an example, will be swayed toward Stephanie.
Abortion is a red-hot issue where nobody changes their mind. Noem would have been wise to try to sway those undecideds based upon her economic agenda. That is where she can attract new voters.