Faith In Government

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Obama takes the Christianist route, citing religion as the base for his old-school liberalism:

Obama attacked leaders of the "Christian Right" who he accused of exploiting issues like abortion and gay marriage to divide Evangelical Christians from those who attend so-called "mainline" churches. "Of course, it goes a little further than that. There was a period of time when the Christian Coalition determined that its number one legislative priority was tax cuts for the rich...I don't know what Bible they are reading," Obama said, as the crowd applauded. "Didn't jive with my version."

Obama said "in the public square" politicians must speak of their faith in "universal terms, so that everybody can understand." ...

Later, during a stop in Webster City, Obama returned briefly to the theme of religion. "There are some things that we all agree to, some common values that we share and we've got to express those not just in our churches or our families, but we've also got to express them through our government," Obama told a crowd of about 300 who turned out for a potluck picnic.

What Obama might represent is a twist on Bush's "compassionate conservatism." That label was always a way to disguise well-meaning big government liberalism. Obama, unlike Bush, need not pretend otherwise. He can raise taxes on the successful as a Biblical injunction. He can increase even further the reach of the welfare state because Jesus is calling him to. It may be that history records the Bush presidency as the breakthrough for a revival of domestic liberalism - because Bush conceded that "when someone's hurt, government has got to move." I'm not surprised many Democrats are now exploiting that concession.

(Photo: Obama by Jeff Haynes/AFP/Getty.)