Last summer, McCain appeared at an Aspen Institute discussion, where he tripped over himself trying to explain his position on science in science classes, saying intelligent design creationism does and does not belong in public schools. A former McCain aide acknowledged, “[H]is heart isn’t in this stuff…. But he has to pretend [that it is], and he’s not a good enough actor to pull it off. He just can’t fake it well enough.”
Apparently, it’s still a problem for Team McCain.
Two former aides hired to spearhead religious outreach for presidential candidate John McCain say that they were virtually ignored by the campaign and that McCain’s top campaign strategists are intent on winning votes of religious voters without having to develop serious ties to faith communities. The aides, who were fired in early April after roughly three months on the job, said the campaign staff declined to return scores of their phone calls and E-mail messages, denied them access to leaders of the McCain campaign, and pressed them to collect church directories — a controversial tactic — as the centerpiece of a strategy to woo “values” voters.
“In the end, you came away with the strong sense that they had contempt for the faith-based community,” says Marlene Elwell, one of those fired staffers. Elwell, a prominent Christian-right activist, was hired by McCain in December 2005 to be national director of his “Americans of Faith” coalition. “The way we were being treated it was as if we had leprosy.”
I don’t imagine skeptical religious right voters are going to care for this.