You have to use the \”c\” word when speaking of Senator Clinton.
So no one should be surprised that religion will be a part of the Clinton presidential package.
If you\’re a candidate running in \’08 you\’d better have religion, too.
It\’s already shaping up to be a
real battle for Bible voters, as everyone from Clinton to Obama to John
Kerry reach out to religious leaders in the hopes of tapping the evangelical
vote. While John Edwards talks about poverty and his support for unions puts his own faith, whatever that might be, into action through policies for the poor, making his religiosity appear in a practical way.
Obviously, there are many other faiths besides evangelical born again Christians in this mix as well, including
Jewish, Buddhists, Muslims, Mormons, you name it. But the point isn\’t to be religiously
pure. It\’s to be able to talk about what faith means to you, but more importantly, to telegraph the respect you have for others who make religion a large part of their lives and those of their family. After all, America is still
a very religious nation. Too religious some might say, but post-Bush, everyone will feel compelled to define their religiosity. That puts the secular Senator John McCain in a tough spot. Watching him pander will paint quite a picture. In fact, with Rudy also in this mix, it\’s almost as if the religious coin has flipped Democratic this time around.
In the end, it will be up to the voters to make sure a candidate\’s religion doesn\’t end up shaping government policy in a way that inhibits America\’s natural libertarianism. Mr. Bush gave us enough of that to last a lifetime, while being totally and completely hypocritical in his dealings and policies towards the poor. We also saw how harmful Bush\’s religious philosophy can be in political practice when Bush backed Israel\’s over the top attacks on Lebanon, once again shedding any hope of being an honest broker in the Middle East. That\’s where all this faith talk worries me, as we look to rehabilitating our foreign policy, especially with regard to brokering an Israeli – Palestinian deal of some sort.
As for Democrats wooing the religious, we\’ve been through this before. The first time was with John F. Kennedy. Now we\’re on to a whole \’nother track.
It\’s good that Barack Obama is so comfortable talking about his faith. It\’s
bad he feels the need to lecture others of us on the supposed hurdle we have
talking about our faith.
The least surprising element to the story today is that Senator Hillary Clinton
is going after the faithful. I\’ve done a lot of research and reading about Clinton
over many, many years, so if there is one thing I know it\’s that her faith is
real. She\’s been religious since she was a kid. It\’s a significant element of
her life. How do you think she made it through Monica? So today\’s story didn\’t shock me in the least. It\’s just one of the
reasons some of the Republicans I\’ve talked to off the record think she can
win. All the Fox \”News\” – Bill O\’Reilly rambling about her being on
the \”far left\” is just bunk. Senator Clinton\’s faith runs deep. She plans to make it work for her as she gets ready to make the run of her life.
Burns Strider, one of the Democratic Party’s leading strategists on
winning over evangelicals and other values-driven voters, will join Sen. Hillary
Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) as she prepares to launch her 2008 presidential campaign.
Strider now heads religious outreach for the House Democratic Caucus, and
is the lead staffer for the Democrats’ Faith Working Group, headed by
incoming Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.).
But Clinton is not the only 2008 Democratic hopeful in position to appeal
to religious voters. Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) joined conservative Sen. Sam
Brownback (R-Kan.) to speak about AIDS two weeks ago before the congregation
of the evangelical Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif. Last week Congress
passed legislation sponsored by Obama that would allow people in bankruptcy
to give to charitable and religious organizations.
Josh Dubois, an aide in his Senate office, is heading Obama’s religious
Sen. John Kerry (Mass.), who is also contemplating running for the 2008 Democratic
nomination, has been active, too. In September, he gave a speech on “service
and faith” at the conservative Pepperdine University. He has tapped
Shaun Casey, an associate professor of Christian Ethics at Wesley Theological
Seminary, to advise him on religious outreach.
Kerry also recently held a dinner at his D.C. home with evangelical leaders
and traveled out to California for a four-hour meeting with Rick Warren, pastor
of Saddleback Church, who wrote the bestseller, “The Purpose-Driven
That three of the top contenders for the Democratic nomination will have
aides or advisers specializing in religious outreach is a dramatic change
from 2004, when Democratic presidential candidates viewed reaching out to
values-voters as a low priority. …
Last week, Center for American Progress convened a meeting of “center-left”
religious leaders to discuss ways to improve the collaboration of progressive