Friday, August 17, 2012

Do I Owe the GOP Voters a Round of Applause? Nah.

I feel like I should give the GOP some credit here. Kinda. Sorta. Maybe.

The GOP is the party that questioned Obama's religion in 2008. And 2009, and 10, and 11, and today. For some reason, the possibility that Obama might even maybe be Muslim, despite all evidence otherwise, seemed to be a topic of much concern to the members of the Grand Ole Party.

Sure, they been concerned about Obama's birth certificate, too. More so, even. But the amount of concern over his religion has not been slight.

Now, though, the Republicans have selected a 100% non-protestant presidential ticket. Mitt Romney is Mormon.  Paul Ryan is Catholic. A surprise from this party in many ways.

My initial reaction is to wish to applaud the GOP. After spending the last few years concerned about the potential non-Christian beliefs of Obama, they seem to have finally set those religious concerns aside. They have, themselves, chosen a presidential candidate that isn't Christian. And his Veep choice, although Christian, isn't Protestant.

It feels like a huge leap.

But I'm skeptical. I'm sorry, but I just have my doubts about how "accepting" the traditionally Christian Right Republicans have become with other religions.  My concern is this: just how accepting would the Republicans be if the Mormon candidate wasn't one of their own? I'm afraid the answer is, "not very."

I'd bet a paycheck that if the GOP ticket was Protestant-Protestant that the GOP voters wouldn't be near as cool with a pair of candidates that weren't the same. I have little doubt that there would be a thousand memes floating around on Facebook that make fun of Mormonism and Catholicism (especially Mormonism), and indicating that the candidates were unworthy of your votes because of it.

The Republicans simply don't have a history of religious tolerance. Quite the opposite. Year after year, candidate after candidate, issue after issue, the Republicans seem to find fault in those that are not Protestant, or at least Christian.

Because of that history, I just don't buy what is currently going on. I feel like there are probably tons of Republicans out there right now that are offended by the religious choices of Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan. I feel like if it were Obama or another Democrat that all sorts of hell would be being made of this. (All unofficially, of course, which is why I'm speaking of GOP voters instead of the official Party.) But since it's a pair of Republicans, they are turning a blind eye.

If you're a member of a non-Protestant religion and you have political aspirations, don't expect the same respect for you in the future. Unless you're a Republican, of course. Then you get a pass.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Email from Dems on Recent Polls Conspicuously Misleading

I received a bulk email today from State Democratic Party Chair Dan Parker. In it, Parker discussed some recent polling results and interpreted them. The polls was conducted by the Indiana Chamber, and can be found here and here.

Don't get me wrong, I don't expect an email I receive from any political party to be without bias.  The logic in this particular email seemed so flawed, though, that I felt it worth pointing out.

From the email (emphasis mine):

Just like two prior polls, the surveys conducted by the Indiana Chamber and MajorityPAC show Joe Donnelly and Richard Mourdock within the margin of error -- just a couple points apart!
These numbers prove what we've known all along: Hoosiers don't want a Tea Party candidate who hides everything from public records about his failed auto worker lawsuit to the billionaires backing his campaign.

Here's where I get confused.  Parker seems to believe that polling that shows Two of the three candidates within the margin of error indicates that Hoosiers don't want Mourdock in office.  But if you are going to apply that math to Mourdock, doesn't it apply to Donnelly as well? I mean, if such a tight race is an indicator that we don't want one candidate, doesn't it also mean we don't want either?

Parker also fails to mention something else: the poll also asked about Indiana's Gubernatorial race.  In the results from that section of the poll, Republican Mike Pence is absolutely obliterating Democrat John Gregg 50-32%.  I'm curious what that kind of spread means about whether Hoosiers want Gregg of not, based on Parker's logic from above.

As for the poll, I also find the lack of Libertarian questions interesting.  While the polls did choose to include Libertarians Andy Horning and Rupert Boneham in their "if the election were held today" questions, they were left out of all other questions in the poll.  Also, the Libertarian party was left out of the question about party identification.  I guess this partial inclusion is better than the many polls that exclude Libertarian candidates altogether.  I wish, though, that Libertarians would get included in all questions, not just a couple here and there.