"Social Conservatives" = "Political Christians."
There. Having in one fell swoop decrypted 50% of current political newspeak, let me expand my remarks
Which, while largely true, is still wrong. Perhaps he is indulging in an exaggeration because it is largely true. Not being a man prone to much exaggeration, I am more inclined to think he is making the fallacy which is pervasive these days and reinforced by the contexts given by those which engage in "political newsspeak". He identifies three large social conservative blocs: Catholics, African American Christians, and Evangelicals. He misses socially conservative libertarians.
Personally conservative, this group views governmental regulation of behavior as detrimental to the health of the nation. While conservative libertarians may include Christians, it is the niche of the conservative atheist, the agnostic, conservative Jew and the perfunctory religious. Please do not think because I lump in conservative Jews in this group that I consider their religious beliefs perfunctory, rather that like atheist and agnostic they can not be lumped in with Christians.
The problem in fact, arises in what you mean by social conservative. It is handy to use Evangelical or Catholic views as a rule of thumb but only by the broadest strokes. Take a defining issue of social conservatism, abortion. There are many attitudes about the acception of abortion that may still be considered conservative: from never, to in cases of rape, to the first boundaries of fetal pain, ect. Other life issues are as complex if not more so and we have yet to touch on the state's fingers dabbling in the pool of parental rights and child rearing.
This is why the paranoid leftist fantasy of a Republican Evangelical Theocratic Nation, herding gays into concentration camps and moulding children into Ned Flanders clones, is so laughable. Conservatives and conservative Christians could never come to a consensus.
Whidbey Islander ends his post this way:
Evangelicals have been Republican's most stalwart base, sticking with the party even when they were marginalized. Since 1984 every Republican presidential candidate has had to have a "born again" story to include in their stump speech. GWB quite frankly has a stem-winder.
Wither "Social Conservatives?" What will 2006 and 2008 bring? I think that rank-and-file social conservatives will vote for a McCain or a Guliani, if they feel that they have a conservative Supreme Court to guard the legacy of their gains of the last 20 years.Will Democrats be able to tell a convincing narrative to Evangelicals? Perhaps. Gov. Mark R. Warner of Virginia might be able to do so. But to do so he will have to Square the Circle and Untie the Gordian's Knot
I think he over estimate's McCain appeal and I stand by my earlier comment:
"Social conservatives" will be split down big vs. small government lines in '06, but will ultimately back a tough Hawk in '08 as Western Europe slides deeper into dhimmitude.