Values Voter Summit: Media Coverage Hones in on November

While The New York Times took note of Connie Marshner’s workshop on turning out churchgoers to the polls using deceptive tactics and The Los Angeles Times revealed that Jerry Falwell joked to a pastors’ breakfast that the Religious Right base would be more riled up about Hillary Clinton’s nomination for president in 2008 than Satan’s, the theme that reporters covering the Values Voter Summit latched on to was whether a disillusioned Right Wing would come through for Republicans facing daunting mid-term elections.

  • Christian Conservatives Look to Re-energize Base, New York Times. “Openly anxious about grass-roots disaffection from the Republican Party, conservative Christian organizers are reaching for ways to turn out voters this November, including arguing that recognizing same-sex marriage could also limit religious freedom.”
  • Conservatives Confident Base Will Vote, Associated Press. “Critical to the Republican base, conservatives expressed confidence Friday that their rank-and-file will vote Nov. 7 even though the GOP-controlled Congress hasn’t delivered this year on their core issues.”
  • Tactic Uses Pulpits to Power the GOP, Los Angeles Times. “[T]op evangelical leaders pleaded with their followers Friday to put aside frustrations and turn out for GOP candidates.” As a side note, Televangelist Jerry Falwell – who confided that God will save the Republican majority this November –
  • Dobson: Rallying family values voters, Rocky Mountain News. Despite disappointment, Dobson is committed to helping the GOP this year – holding rallies in battleground states Pennsylvania, Minnesota, and Tennessee.

And while the Religious Right activists on the podium, at least, were sure of their commitment to the Republicans this election cycle, they still want to push through a few more items on their “values agenda.” At the conference, Family Research Council President Tony Perkins said that House Republican action on some of the items in their wish list this summer “brought some trust and confidence back”; now, FRC is asking its supporters to pray for a few more.

The conference was also an opportunity for Republicans looking to solidify their credentials with the far Right. The right-wing Washington Times called speeches by Newt Gingrich, Sens. George Allen (R-Virginia), Sam Brownback (R-Kansas), and Rick Santorum (R-Pennsylvania) as well as Govs. Mitt Romney (R-Massachusetts) and Mike Huckabee (R-Arkansas) “auditions” for potential Republican presidential candidates – and noted that the Family Research Council says it invited Sens. Bill Frist (R-Tennessee), John McCain (R-Arizona), Hillary Clinton (D-New York), and John Kerry (D-Massachusetts) as well. Maggie Gallagher, a speaker on the marriage panel, concluded, “I believe Mitt Romney may be the only hope social conservatives have in 2008.”