Posner dismisses Joel Hunter’s efforts to broaden the evangelical agenda by pointing out that he still opposes same-sex marriage, and she writes off Jim Wallis’ work to promote common ground on abortion by noting that he remains opposed to abortion rights. This criticism ignores the point of common ground and the significance of their efforts. Upon the release of "Come Let Us Reason Together," E.J. Dionne, noting Hunter’s opposition to gay marriage and belief that the rights of gay and lesbian couples should be protected, wrote: "That doesn’t settle the gay-marriage issue, but it would lead to a more—dare one use the word?—Christian approach to a matter that has bred so much anger.
E.J. Dionne is a nice guy, and I'm glad that he thinks Joel Hunter's approach is Christian. But let's face it: Dionne's an insider who places a premium on bipartisan comity. Citing his support is tautological: you should like the way we do things because people who do things the way we do like it.Exactly. This pie in the sky notion that "separate but equal" for gays is some kind of reasonable compromise and that if only we hand out enough birth control we will eliminate the need for abortion and there fore a woman's right to have one are nonsense. This is about fundamental questions of civil rights and civil liberties and those are not subject, under our system, to splitting the difference.
The FiPL response also misses Posner's point. Some of us happen to believe that the ability to control one's own body and to make a life-long commitment to the partner of our choice are core Democratic values. Finding common ground on particular issues with people opposed to those values is one thing. It's quite another to strive to bring them into the party.
To put it bluntly, evangelizing among social conservatives who can't bring themselves to be called "Democrats" doesn't build common ground. It undermines core beliefs and core identity. And in that the swing-voter approach lays the groundwork for social conservatives becoming as indispensable to Democrats as they are to Republicans, it cuts off the freedom of progressives to maneuver on social issues.