Sunday, December 16, 2007

Magical Politics

James Wolcott on the magic dolphin effect:

Peggy Noonan, Charles Krauthammer, and some of the honkers at NRO's Corner are issuing distress calls about the overegging of religion in the Republican primaries.


The Republican race looks--at the moment--to be determined primarily by one thing, the question of religious faith. In my lifetime faith has been a significant issue in presidential politics, but not the sole determinative one. Is that changing? If it is, it is not progress.


This campaign is knee-deep in religion, and it's only going to get worse. I'd thought that the limits of professed public piety had already been achieved during the Republican CNN/YouTube debate when some squirrelly looking guy held up a Bible and asked, "Do you believe every word of this book?"--and not one candidate dared reply: None of your damn business.

Back in 2000, when Noonan endorsed George Bush for president, his muscular Christianity reduced her to rhetorical mush:

George Bush is a compassionate conservative. He sees the needs other, older conservatives did not always see, or did not always think they must or could address. But he applies conservative solutions to these needs: more freedom, more choice, the inclusion in the public sphere of faith-based approaches. All the money in the world, he knows, cannot and will not turn around a troubled child’s heart. But God can, and his workers are eager. Bush does not fear faith as an opposing power center to the state. He likes it as an opposing power center to the state. After all, faith freed Poland; perhaps it can free a tough 16-year-old in inner-city Detroit too. that Mike Huckabee has flapped his arms and scattered the pigeons, jeopardizing the candidacies of expensive empty suits such as Romney and Fred Thompson, not to mention Giuliani's big-state gameplan, the media's collective bobblehead brain trust has rediscovered the virtues of secular firewalls and tucking faith in the vest pocket rather than draping yourself in velvet yards of it.
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