John Leo

 On all three of these issues, Clinton is bucking the Democratic elites and the base of her party, less so on abortion than on immigration and the public expression of religion. She is also answering the big question currently bothering Democratic headscratchers: what do we have to do to win nationwide elections? Hillary?s sensible answer seems to be: stop trying to overcome and stigmatize huge majorities of voters. The number of Americans who want to seal our borders is in the 70 percent range. So is opposition to the anything goes abortion regime introduced by Roe v. Wade. Three-quarters of Americans believe abortion should be restricted. Under 25 percent would allow it in all cases. And America is lop-sidedly religious, with believers in the 90 percent range. Yet the Democratic elites are conducting a relentless and escalating campaign against any public expression of faith.  I have never seen a level of anti-religious fanaticism like the one we have now. Read the hostile press releases of Democratic hit groups like People for the American Way and the Anti-Defamation League and you wonder if their leaders are secretly being bribed by Republicans to shrink the number of believers willing to vote Democratic.

 The Hollywood left can?t resist pumping its contempt for religion into show after show. The other night in a re-run of Law and Order, Sam Waterston, the prosecutor character, said a white-supremacist group that had just killed two lawyers is something like the Christian right. Only in Hollywood would anyone casually compare conservative Christians to an organization of racist killers. This kind of stupidity delights the Democratic base, but it creates an enormous dilemma for Democratic politicians who actually want to win.

 So far Hillary Clinton seems to be one of the few to recognize the scope of the problem. Besides, unlike John Kerry, a nominal Catholic who seems lost when the topic of religion comes up, Hillary Clinton is actually a religious person who can talk convincingly about faith without sounding like a hypocrite or a panderer. On church and state, she says, ?There is no contradiction between support for faith-based initiatives and upholding our constitutional principles.? Rather, she said believers must be allowed ?to live out their faith in the public square.? Clinton?s newfound moderation seems abrupt. Just a year ago she said that opponents of abortion ?are counting on the vast majority of fair-minded Americans to be ignorant, to be unaware? They think they can accomplish their goals as Americans sleep.? This is the standard view of opponents to abortion as sinister and sneaky. You don?t have to be overwhelmed by Hillary Clinton?s sincerity to conclude that she is making some smart moves now. She is beginning to distance herself from Democratic dogma.

John Leo

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

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