Dole’s “Godless” Ad and McCain’s Reluctance to Attack on Faith

The “Godless” ad that U.S. Senator Elizabeth Dole is running against her Democratic challenger in North Carolina is a stark reminder that faith-based attacks have been kept to a relative minimum in the presidential race. It’s also a reminder, to GOM at least, that the McCain campaign has thus far refrained from running ads against Obama based on Jeremiah Wright, his longtime pastor. That kind of attack would be the opposite of Dole’s in North Carolina; rather than paint Obama as “Godless,” it would skewer him for cozying up to a man of the cloth.To God-o-Meter, there’s a pattern here: faith-based attacks tend to come from Republicans who are religious and who’ve incorporated their faith into their political personas, e.g. Dole and Palin. And McCain, a Republican who’s famously uncomfortable incorporating faith into his political persona is refraining from such attacks.So if Palin, Mike Huckabee, or another social conservative gets the nod in 2012, due to a post-McCain religious right uprising, we could be looking at more faith-based attacks at the presidential level. By then, though, Rev. Wright would be old news7

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posted October 30, 2008 at 4:36 pm

there’s a pattern here: faith-based attacks tend to come from Republicans who are religious and who’ve incorporated their faith into their political personas, e.g. Dole and Palin.
A very interesting observation. It makes a lot of sense to me.
I remember thinking, after the choice of Gov. Palin for VP, that we (ostensibly a Christian nation?) pushed them to announce their Christianity, as though it were a prerequisite to qualify to run for President. Poor John McCain, he never wanted to talk about it, for him it was personal. He is an Episcopalian attending a Baptist church with his wife, give the man a break. Remember, the Constitution says that to qualify to run for President, one must be at least 35 years of age and be born in the US.
I didn’t mean to digress and I guess that 2012 will be even worse than 2008.

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Mark G

posted October 30, 2008 at 5:31 pm

What warrant is there to say that Dole has “incorporated [her] faith into [her] political persona”? She’s a Methodist for goodness sake. If there really is a God Gap, Dole is on the establishment side, not the Huckabee side. She had to be dragged into declaring herself “pro-life” when she ran for president (and even then with an asterisk for rape and incest) — unlike true religious righters who wave the issue as a flag.
I hasten to add, I’m not from North Carolina — apart from the latest ad, has she really crossed over the God gap and become a public bible thumper?

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Robert Morwell

posted October 30, 2008 at 6:05 pm

I never thought that Elizabeth Dole was be so utterly classless and demagogic. This is beyond shameful.
I happen to be an Obama backer who still hopes that the Democrats do not get a veto-proof majority, because I prefer a divided government that has to find bipartisan solutions and doesn’t give one part carte blanche.
I am also a Christian and a pastor (I’m even a United Methodist, as is Mrs. Dole) but I sincerely hope she goes down in flames for this shameful tactic. It is beyond disgusting.

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Pete in NC

posted October 30, 2008 at 7:06 pm

I’m stupefied that Senator Dole would sink to this level. After watching this ad, it wouldn’t surprise me in the least if Liddy’s next campaign tactic is to personally attend a Hagan rally and fling her own feces.

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posted October 30, 2008 at 8:18 pm

You do what you can to stay alive. In North Carolina the shoe has always been on the other foot and at a safe distance.
Also Elizabeth Dole’s storybook career from Red Cross head to Reagan cabinet official has always been appointments-much like Robert Kennedy- which is why Lyndon Johnson always hated him, because Kennedy could get the cushy jobs, while he had to struggle in elections against really good opponents, but I digress-so Dole, is up for her first reelection, and she’s just using what works and what has worked for other politicians. When you think of that way, instead of sinking to new lows, it becomes very reasonable. Especially when its a monster Democratic year.

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Charles Cosimano

posted October 30, 2008 at 9:17 pm

If they try a stupid ad campaign like this in a Presidential race it will assure the other candidate gets elected.

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Edward Virtually

posted October 30, 2008 at 10:58 pm

As an agnostic, I treat the views of atheists as I do any other faith. It might be true there is no God, it might be true there is. I think beyond the falsehood of claiming Ms Hagen is an atheist when she is obviously not one, the more distasteful aspect of Dole’s ad is the implication that not believing in (her) God and/or believing in the separation of church and state somehow make one a bad person. This country was founded on the freedom of religion — in my opinion that includes the religion (faith-based belief) of atheism — and the separation of church and state. The latter expressly because the government endorsing a specific religion is contrary to that freedom. Dole’s ad indicates her lack of respect for the freedom of others and lack of suitability to hold a position of power over them.

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posted October 31, 2008 at 12:34 pm

The GOP has Prostituted Religion. Before you disagree, take a look:
I call it McChapter 7 – Morally Bankrupt

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posted October 31, 2008 at 12:46 pm

Dole learned dirty campaign tactics from a master–her husband. This does not surprise me one bit.

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Charles Laster

posted October 31, 2008 at 4:24 pm

In this case, religion seems to the a refuge for the scoundrel!
‘There shall be no religious test for the holding of public office’–U.S.Constitution.

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Mark G

posted November 1, 2008 at 10:37 am

Article VI says only that the state cannot bar a candidate from running based on her religious views; it does not say that voters cannot take a candidate’s religious views into account, or that voters cannot be urged to do so.
This is a good thing. I will be very hesitant to vote for a candidate who believes in voodoo magic or snake handling as a religious practice, and would not object to an ad alerting me to such beliefs. Where do we disagree?

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Mark G

posted November 1, 2008 at 7:04 pm

I hasten to add, Dole’s ad turns me off too.

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posted November 1, 2008 at 10:43 pm

Nothing unamerican about being an atheist. We are free to believe or not believe in this country and all should be treated equally. The biggest and least discussed part of this story is that open bigotry against atheists shouldn’t be tolerated. It is unamerican and unchristian.

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posted November 1, 2008 at 10:53 pm

Also, beware of unamerican censorship. My earlier comments (nothing rude or vulgar) were deleted. Was this because I am not christian???

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posted November 2, 2008 at 12:16 am


posted November 3, 2008 at 7:26 pm

“[T]he feminist movement today is throwing off authority in rebellion against God’s pattern for the family.” [“Bible Positions on Political Issues,” John Hagee]
Just want to also point out McCain’s endorser besides calling
the Catholic Church the Mother Whore; also doesn’t hold women
in high regard.
Why does McCain fund this guy’s foundation?

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