John Leo

Summers also urged the elites to show respect for people in uniform, the military, police officers, and firefighters. He complained that Harvard?s John F. Kennedy School of Government was not giving awards to anyone in uniform. (In the three years since 9/11, the Kennedy school gave one such award.) John Kerry?s impressive service in Vietnam inoculates the Democrats against the charge of indifference and hostility toward the military, at least for this election cycle. But largely Democratic cohorts keep military recruiters and ROTC units off many campuses, usually without a peep of protest from those who staged last week?s military pageant and the ?night of the generals? display in Boston. Applause for retired officers, evidently, is perfectly compatible with policies that keep the military from recruiting.

Perhaps the most jarring of the ?values? themes in Boston was the convention?s attempt to identify with religious voters. Come to the Democratic convention and sing ?Amazing Grace.? Many religious people, of course, are Democrats. But the secular elites who control the party have worked long and hard to marginalize religion in America and to banish it from the public square. Two political scientists, in a 2001 study published in the Public Interest, concluded that the origins of the culture war can be traced to ?the increased prominence of secularists within the Democratic Party and the party?s resulting antagonism toward traditional values.? The authors, Louis Bolce and Gerald De Maio, describe a ?secularist putsch? among the Democrats, explaining that it made the Republicans the traditionalist party ?by default more than by overt action.? According to Bolce and De Maio, the secularist constituency is as important to Democrats today as organized labor. Under these circumstances, invoking God (seven mentions in the Democratic platform) drags marketing to the point of hypocrisy. Get used to it. The Demo­crats will be strongly religious -- right up till November 2.

John Leo

John Leo is editor of and a former contributing editor at U.S. News and World Report.

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