Catholic Swingers

Recent polls show voters deeply dissatisfied with Congress and the president, a situation that has Republican Party strategists scrambling to retain control in Washington, especially in the House of Representatives. Even in the aftermath of the administration’s criminal failures in Iraq, however, it is unclear whether the Democrats will be able to turn righteous indignation and dissatisfaction into votes. Why? Religion-or the Democrats’ lack thereof-may be the answer.

This November’s congressional elections are a warm-up for the 2008 presidential race, and whether the Democratic Party will be able to nominate a candidate capable of wresting the White House from a discredited GOP is also in question. One reason, as philosopher and political activist William A. Galston observed in a recent symposium for the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life (, is that the Democratic Party is deeply divided itself. Many of the party’s more liberal voices are convinced that Democrats need to sharpen their response to the Republicans, not just about the disastrous war in Iraq, but also on “culture war” issues such as abortion, stem-cell research, and same-sex marriage. Galston, who served as deputy director of domestic policy to President Bill Clinton, notes that many within his own party remain deeply resentful of Clinton’s efforts to move the Democrats toward the middle on values-laden issues like welfare...

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