gerson.jpgThe key one-two punch from Michael Gerson’s Washington Post op-ed today faulting Obama for looking down his nose at small town, churchgoing Americans:

[T]he setback is more than political. One of Obama’s genuine contributions had been a renewed, liberal appreciation of the role of religious motivations in politics.

In Gerson’s view, Obama’s San Francisco comments put that contribution in jeopardy, which would mean that Democrats are again in danger of alienating religious Americans and paying at the polls because of it, as they have for the last 30 years. While God-o-Meter acknowledges the threat, it’s skeptical that Obama’s remarks will cause the kind of damage to the Democratic cause of winning over the faithful that Gerson seems to suggest (and perhaps hopes for).
Obama stood by his longtime preacher at a time when he was causing the senator the biggest political crisis of his career. One of Obama’s first hires when he launched his campaign last year was a former Assemblies of God pastor to direct religious outreach. The Obama camp has sponsored full blown “faith tours” and handed out full-color literature explaining why its candidate is a “Committed Christian.” His campaign has been a bulwark against the charges of secularism and hostility to religion that Republicans have thrown at Democrats for decades.
Can much of that work be undone by a few unwise remarks about disgruntled Americans clinging to their faith? Some can. But the Obama camp has prepared for moments like this. It’s not nearly as defenseless as John Kerry’s campaign was in 2004, when he came under attack for being insufficiently Catholic.


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