Faith-Off, Ctd.

A reader writes:

I must say, watching the Democrats up there really clarified my vote: I won’t vote for any of them. I am dedicated to voting only for a candidate who refuses to grovel before the religious crowds on the right or the left. Indeed, the whole thing seemed to reveal how much the Democrats have become Republican-light: they never set their own agenda or stand diametrically opposed to the right. Instead, they merely stake out the center-left (at most) position on whatever the Republicans care to bring up. Rather than suggest that these vulgar mashes of religion and policy don’t belong in our election process, they have grown terrified of Republican morals-bashing and give in. I have to say, it is a startling indictment of the entire electoral system. 

But, an equally frightening thing occurred to me as I watched – why were only Edwards, Obama, and Clinton participating? Who gets to decide who the candidates are?  Last time I checked, there were other Democrats running. Don't they get the same air time to humiliate themselves with talk of the 'prayer warriors'?  This exercise, to me, said more about how much corporate media gets to dictate our choices than it did about religion. If CNN were to argue that these three lead in the polls, I would simply ask if that is not exactly the problem. They lead in the polls because the media has declared them the 'first tier' before people even have a chance to consider, say, Chris Dodd (I am not, I stress, a Chris Dodd supporter!). This comes on the heels of the vastly disproportionate speaking time in Wolf Blitzer’s disastrously moderated debate, I might add, in which Obama spoke 3 times as much as Gravel. Why not just let the press pick the candidates and save us the dog-and-pony show?