The Democrats' Leap of Faith -- By Ruth Marcus
The Washington Post:
You know it's a different kind of candidate forum when Hillary Clinton allows that she sometimes prays (no doubt, she says, to some divine eye-rolling) "Oh, Lord, why can't you help me lose weight?" and describes how "prayer warriors" sustained her through the public dissection of her husband's infidelity.
When Barack Obama muses on the nature of good vs. evil. When John Edwards recounts that he "strayed away from the Lord" in adulthood, only to find that "my faith came roaring back" after the death of his 16-year-old son.
This is not Michael Dukakis's Democratic Party. Instead, as was shown by Monday night's forum on faith, sponsored by CNN and the liberal evangelical group Sojourners, it is a party on a mission: to make inroads into Republicans' ability to attract and, more important, turn out religious voters.
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All this teeth-gnashing over gleaning religious voters is beyond me when there's one sure-fire method to getting votes that has been shown to be effective and will sweep Democrats into office in vast numbers if they'll only demonstrate the courage to undertake it: it's called, 'Doing The Right Thing.'
Note to ALL candidates--not just the Democrats. Do you want to be President? Or any other elected official from your local school board to U.S. Senate? Look around you for what needs cleaning up in this country. Then clean it up.
Look at poverty, for instance. Recognize that children in this country go to school and go to bed hungry in vast numbers. Do whatever it takes to see to it that they get nutritious meals. Don't try to get by by labeling ketchup a vegetable. Do The Right Thing.
Look at crime. Start with yourselves. See to it that corporations from Libby's prescription medicine conglomerate to Lockheed Martin to Exxon Mobile don't get more than their fair share of tax breaks at the expense of the individual tax payer. And stop them from price gouging. Do The Right Thing.
Look at education. Don't throw slogans at it. Fund meaningful methods for increasing teacher competence -- even among our poor schools. Help college students get the moneys they need to go to school. Help the STUDENTS not the college deans. Do The Right Thing.
Look at the environment. Don't just talk the schtick in an effort to attract voters. Actually DO something about global warming. DO something about making air and water cleaner. Do The Right Thing.
Look at the infrastructure of this country. Don't build bicycle paths -- unless they're truly necessary where they are proposed. Don't build nuclear power plants on the San Andreas Fault. Fix roads where they need fixing. Don't use infrastructure as a part of the Pork Barrel Buffet. Do The Right Thing.
I could go on and on -- but you get the gist. Do The Right Thing, the votes will follow.
One upside is that you'll get to stop with all the talking about prayer and faith. You'll get to stop pandering which, let's face it, MUST be getting old by now, even to you-- it certainly is to us.
The biggest upside for anyone who tries it is: you'll steal a march on those who don't get it and who keep going after the voters while doing business as usual. Come November of next year, you'll have the American people in your pocket. And you'll like what you see in the mirror, too.