There is no way that Lafayette Parish in south central Louisiana is blue. Believe me, I dearly wish that it were, but that's not what i see on the ground. The wingers here may no be all that happy with Bush right now, but they are not ready to embrace liberal ideology.
"But she is reachable. We just need to make it real to her."
You are exactly correct. There are plenty of people out there, probably a majority of the middle/working class "morals" crowd, who are either uncomfortable with homosexuality and abortion or simply feel that the left doesn't speak to their fears and so vote with the hardcore religious right. These people are reachable. The beauty of the situation is that the hardcore right has picked up all the support it can. They aren't going to convince anyone else to vote with them. And once they overplay their hand, as they surely will, and expose the more radical tenets of their philosophy, folks like your coworker will think twice about voting with them. This creates an excellent opportunity for us. SO fight them hard we must.
I think a lot of people in this thread get it. This is politics. This is democracy. If we want people to vote for us we have to give them a reason to do so. There is nothing inherenly unchristian about modernity or liberalism. There is nothing immoral about protecting the environment, fighting poverty, or respecting the rights of others. Most of my progressive "values" are derived from my Catholic upbringing. We don't have to change what we stand for to reach these people. We only have to show that we understand them and try to address their concerns. We just have to speak to these folks.
Unfortunately, we have ceded the battlefied to the Falwells and the Robertsons. We have let them frame the debate and make all the arguments. If the barbarians are strorming the gates at is only because the Romans have stopped fighting out on the plain.
I live in Louisiana, about as red a state as any. But we have a long history of populism and with moments of socialism and social tolerance thrown in. Progressivism can win in a state like this. We just have to make the right arguments and reach out to everyone. For the good of my state I need to make those arguments. For the good of our country we all need to make those arguments.