March 6, 2009
Atheism and Politics
In a piece entitled, “Our Hail Mary Pass,” Elizabeth Dole’s 2008 campaign manager, Marty Ryall, defends and explains his campaign strategy, including the “Godless Americans” attack ad ran late in the cycle insinuating that Democrat Kay Hagan was an atheist.
This is the money quote:
We were on a losing trajectory and we had to change the topic of discussion. The only option we had that could accomplish that was an ad on the Godless Americans PAC issue.
We had polled the issue in mid-September and found that it tested very well among the key groups that we needed to win. We needed to raise intensity among Republican voters, as well as shift the focus of Independents and conservative Democrats from our negatives to Kay Hagan in an unfavorable way. We needed something that had some shock value and would also generate an earned media component—and that was the “Godless” issue.
Hagan’s response, of course, was to vociferously deny that she was an atheist (and she’s not; she’s a Sunday school teacher), and not to defend those “Godless Americans.” Like me.
HT: Hemant Mehta.