HolyCoast: Obama 2012: The Churchgoing President

Monday, January 16, 2012

Obama 2012: The Churchgoing President

Politics or a sudden burst of piousness?
President Obama and his family headed out to church this morning for the third time in a month, the latest sign that the president may be using religion to boost his image as the campaign heats up.

Obama has rarely gone to church since becoming president. But last month he and his family walked across Lafayette Park in front of the White House to attend services at St. John’s Church. They attended Christmas services at a Marine Base in Hawaii and today were at Zion Baptist Church in DC.

While it’s possible the trips to church a part of some kind of renewed personal religious commitment, they are also consistent with Obama’s increased use of religious imagery as part of his public profile.

During two recent annual events – the televised Christmas in Washington gala and the lighting of the National Christmas Tree, Obama invoked specifically Christian themes he had shunned in the past.

The Christian narrative is appealing to a key demographic that fled Democrats en masse during the 2010 midterm election – white working class voters. Obama will need to bring as many members of this group back into the fold if he hopes to prevail in critical swing states like Indiana, Ohio, North Carolina, and other must-win states in the Midwest and the South.
Everything Obama does this year...EVERYTHING...will have been focus-tested and will be part of his reelection strategy. If he buys a burger at Five Guys it's because someone on his campaign team said it would be a good thing to do. If Michelle smiles and says she's proud of America, it's a campaign ploy. All of it. Every day. Count on it.

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