An op ed in the Wall Street Journal on Nov. 26,2012
The media trope that the Grand Old Party resembles a Star Wars bar scene of theocrats and religious zealots has by now become a cliché. A Huffington Post columnist recently alleged that the Republican Party is "a rump parliament of Caucasian traditionalism: white, married, churchgoing—to oversimplify only slightly." New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd claimed that Republicans lost in 2012 because they "tried to force chastity belts on women and made Hispanics, blacks and gays feel like the help," leading voters to "give white male domination the boot." Juan Williams of Fox News concluded that demography is destiny and "the cycles of history have turned against the GOP."
We've seen this movie before. In 1992, when George H.W. Bush lost the White House, the political cognoscenti blamed the convention speeches of Patrick Buchanan and Pat Robertson and what one commentator called the "hate-fest in Houston." A similar pattern prevailed after losses in 1996 and 2008. When Republicans lose, the chattering class always blames religious folk.
Conservative evangelicals are arguably the largest single constituency in the electorate. According to a postelection survey by Public Opinion Strategies, self-identified conservative evangelicals made up 27% of voters in 2012, voting 80% for Mitt Romney compared with 19% for Barack Obama. This represented a net swing of 14 points toward the GOP ticket since 2008 and made up 48% of the entire Romney vote. Mr. Romney, a lifelong Mormon, actually received more evangelical votes than George W. Bush did in 2004.
White Catholic voters, meanwhile, went to Mr. Romney by 19 points, the largest margin among that constituency for a GOP presidential candidate since Richard Nixon in 1972. This was no doubt due in part to their revulsion over the Obama administration's harsh mandate on religious charities to pay for health services, such as contraception, that assault their conscience and compel them to violate their faith. Catholics who frequently attend Mass (about one in 10 voters) broke two-to-one for Romney.
Is it possible that the Republican "experts" making the talk show rounds recently, and dishing the anti-religion line are simply Rockefeller Republicans?