Amy Sullivan: Ha! That'll Be The Day! Erm...

By Amy Sullivan 10-30-2006

I promise to limit the number of times I link to my boyfriend (or myself) on this blog, but since he's a writer, a fellow journalist, and an astute political observer, it's going to happen from time to time. My apologies in advance.

With that over with, I'd like to direct your attention to this observation by Noam Scheiber, of The New Republic. A paragraph at the end of a New York Times story today caught his attention with this quote: "There's going to be a moderate party for Joe Blow, and whether that party is the Republican Party or the Democratic Party, that's the battle we're seeing," Mr. Yelton [a lifelong North Carolina Democrat who recently switched parties] said. "I expect to see Hillary Clinton quoting Scripture before it's over with."

As Scheiber points out, Clinton does quote scripture. She goes to church, too. And she's a devoted member - with Sam Brownback - of a Senate Bible study group.

The fact that most Americans, whether liberal or conservative, "know" that these things can't possibly be true is a problem I've long thought was undervalued by those who assess Senator Clinton's presidential chances. Americans believe she is liberal and faithless. So when Clinton speaks as her true self, as a politically moderate woman of faith, one of two things happen: People either don't hear her because they can't process contradictory information, or they think she's faking it, positioning herself for a White House run.

If Clinton was just an unknown Senate candidate who was appearing on the political stage this fall, her moderate politics and sensible approach to cultural issues would make her a perfect Democratic candidate. But she isn't. And, frankly, if Hillary Clinton wasn't Hillary Clinton, she wouldn't be the presumptive Democratic nominee either.

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