The Family Research Council is getting fed up with suggestions within the Republican Party that its best hope for winning future elections is to jettison the Religious Right base of the party and are warning that efforts to actually do so will all but spell doom for the GOP :
To those of us in the pro-family movement, the Establishment’s diatribe is a familiar one. When the GOP succeeds because of social conservatives, our importance is ignored. When the party fails for overlooking us, values voters are somehow to blame. With the exception of Gov. Sarah Palin and some hollow overtures by the Democratic Party, the 20 percent of voters who cited “moral values” as their first or second priority in this election had no real horse in this race. Maybe that explains why believers were less active in this election cycle. More than four million Americans who go to church more than once a week and voted in 2004 stayed home on November 4. Those voters would have made up half the difference between McCain and Obama. As the members of the Republican party jockey for position in this brave new Congress and sort out their internal leadership, a commitment to life and marriage is non-negotiable. Without it, the prospects of a Republican revival are bleak.
It is interesting that FRC focuses on the decline among voters who attend church more than once a week as evidence that it was the demoralization among “values voters” that doomed McCain because, while exit polls from 2004 and 2008 do show such a decline, they also show that the number of voters who attend church “weekly” actually increased by nearly half a million (though as an overall percentage of the voting population such voter were down slightly from 2004, there was an increase in actual numbers due to greater turnout.) And among those voters, Barack Obama did substantially better than did John Kerry.
So one way to interpret that is to say that, despite all their talk, the Religious Right and the GOP cannot claim to be the sole political representatives of religiously active voters. Of course, that would only end up undermining the very case that FRC is trying to make which is why they chose to highlight this specific subgroup as “proof” that the GOP needs to wed itself to the so-called “values voters” if it wants to win elections.