Jim Wallis: A Defeat for the Religious Right and the Secular Left

In this election, both the Religious Right and the secular Left were defeated, and the voice of the moral center was heard. A significant number of candidates elected are social conservatives on issues of life and family, economic populists, and committed to a new direction in Iraq. This is the way forward: a grand new alliance between liberals and conservatives, Democrats and Republicans, one that can end partisan gridlock and involves working together for real solutions to pressing problems.

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I agree with this take on where the country is at right now. I balk at Mr. Wallis’s title, though. I guess it makes for provocative copy, but I’m not sure it’s the religious right vs. the secular left so much as the warmongering, corporate-greed-pandering right vs. the leveling-to-the-lowest-common-denominator, social-engineering, boring-sameness-desiring left. Both extremes are characterised by cynicism, lying, tunnel vision, willingness to let the ends justify the means, and attempts to manipulate the transcendant values of religion towards a narrow political agenda. Perusing the comments, it’s interesting to see how many lefties were offended by the piece.


  1. Big Jon, Bully says

    Wallis is a partisan fraud.

    Sorry. Could be wrong. Calling it like I see it.

  2. Jonathan Webb says

    I’m sorry, Rufus, but I think your analysis is a bit overnuanced.

    The percieved lack of success in Iraq was the biggest issue, followed by corruption in the Republican leadership.

    This corruption was exemplified by not only the Foley and Abrimoff scandals, but also by ear-marks and the absence of conservative principles in action to limit the size of government.Many Republicans stayed home this time and I am suprised they didn’t lose more seats.

    Is splitting the difference a cogent political philosophy? What if one party isn’t acting in good faith? In 1934 would we view Hitler and Adenauer as two extremes BOTH needing to be reigned in?

    In fact, I do have some pressing problems for Mr. Wallis to address. Staring with the issue of a Supreme Court which finds the right to partial birth abortion in the constitution? Or finds in the same document the right of government to seize your property and sell it to private developers? Would he insist on conservative judges?

    And perhaps The Reverend can tell us how to pay for Social Security and Medicare without turning our children into wage slaves.

    As for warmongering, that’s a pretty serious charge and I guess it applies to me because I supported the war and still do. Of course, it’s one of those words which really doesn’t mean anything because it’s been emptied by overuse.

    My unsolicited advice to Rev. Wallis and Inmate McCain is to develop core convictions and apply them to a world which exists in a location other than their own minds.

  3. Rufus McCain says

    Mr. Webb:

    First of all, I’m no longer a resident of the state pen. Didn’t Potter tell you? My sentence got reversed and my case thrown out due to reexamination of the DNA evidence. I can vote now and everything. So I need to update my profile.

    Secondly, I guess you’re right, warmongering is a pretty serious charge. But let’s take the word at face value. A warmonger, as defined by The American Heritage Dictionary is “one who advocates or attempts to stir up war.” After 9/11 we did what needed to be done in Afghanistan, but then, let’s face it, there were warmongers in the current administration who pushed for taking the ball and running with it in Iraq. They distorted the evidence for WMDs and they failed to count the cost of blundering in. And the costs have been enormous: loss of American lives, even greater loss of Iraqi civilian lives, loss of the political and moral capital we had in our favor after 9/11, and an equal and opposite increase in Arab sympathy for the extremists who can now more easily paint themselves as David in the face of the U.S. Goliath.

    And hand in hand with warmongering is the fearmongering, stirring up paranoia and fear for political advantage. The republicans tried to play that card in the recent election, but people aren’t buying it anymore.

    It’s not a question of “splitting the difference” but of playing by a different set of rules than what the two-party system is offering us right now.

  4. Jonathan Webb says

    In fact I do see potential for a grand alliance, but not liberal and conservative. Rather, between conservative Republicans and “Blue Dog” Democrats.

    And, I think the good reverend might be right in saying the election was a good thing for the country. Perhaps Democrats will rejoin the mainstream.

    A healthy two party system (all we’ve had and probably all we will have) is alot better for America.

    And Rufus, welcome to the outside.
    We’ve missed you.

  5. Jonathan Webb says

    And I apologize for my spelling on these entries.

    Blogging on the fly.

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