Eleanor Clift has an interesting article in Newsweek, discussing how Gov. Romney is forcing a measure onto the Massachusetts ballot in ’08 to ban gay marriage–as is required by law after 170,000 Massachusetts citizens signed a petition. She complains, in a line worthy of an episode of Scooby Doo:
The issue would be settled in Massachusetts if not for Romney’s meddling.
She then accuses him of playing to religious conservatives for political gain. But what about McCain, who says he’s against gay marriage? She writes, tellingly,
McCain gets more latitude on this subject because we sense that in his heart, he’s a Goldwater libertarian. Social issues are not what drive him in public life. He’s playing to his party’s conservative base as newly defined by the religious right, but if elected president, he’s not going to be beholden to them the way Bush has been.
Whoa. Now, that’s incisive, although it doesn’t require Shaggy and the rest of the Mystery Gang to figure out that McCain’s heart isn’t quite in it. He’s been subtly dropping clues: describing Christian leaders as “agents of intolerance,” the Federal Marriage Amendment as a “distraction,” some DC pro-lifers as money-centered, and other Christian leaders as “corrupting influences on religion and politics.”
In other words, his new rhetoric about sharing evangelical values is being eclipsed by his obvious disdain for all this religion. But rest assured: if McCain can’t convince his buddies in the media that he’s really dedicated to these social issues, he won’t be able to convince our friends in the pews of it either.