God's Politics

The latest news on presidential politics, State of the Union, Iraq, Democrats, Abortion, Iran, Darfur, Baptists, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, religion and politics, and select feature articles.

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Presidential politics. Rush of Entries Gives ’08 Race Early Intensity– “Two years before the next president is inaugurated and a full year before the first vote is cast, the contest for the White House is off to a breathtakingly fast start, exposing an ever-growing field of candidates to longer, more intensive scrutiny and increasing the amount of money they need to remain viable.” Conservative core seeks a contender – “But as conservatives survey the 2008 field – and, particularly, the early Republican front-runners – many are despairing. Sen. John McCain of Arizona, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former New York City Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani have all broken with conservative orthodoxy at one time or another. Many activists have neither forgiven nor forgotten.” On the Electronic Campaign Trail – “If last year was the year of the rogue videographers, the already-underway 2008 presidential campaign is likely to be remembered as the point where Web video became central to the communications strategy of every serious presidential candidate.

More announcements. Brownback Announces Presidential Bid – “Sen. Sam Brownback, the son of a rural Kansas farmer who has become a leader among religious conservatives in Congress, formally launched his 2008 bid for president at a rally in Topeka yesterday.”

Hillary Clinton Opens Presidential Bid– “New York Democratic Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton launched a long-anticipated 2008 presidential campaign that could make her the first female president in the nation’s history and the only former first lady to follow her husband in the White House.”
N.M. Governor Joins Presidential Race – “New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson began a run for the Democratic presidential nomination, betting that his long résumé and Hispanic heritage will boost his chances in a field already stocked with better-known candidates.”

Democrats. Emerging Grievances Within Party Likely to Test Pelosi – “Beneath the resounding Democratic victories of the past two weeks, tensions have been growing between House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and many new committee chairmen and other members over her aggressive management style and her approach to the war, according to lawmakers and advisers.” GOP seizes on dissent in majority – “House Republicans have been quoting some unlikely allies when complaining about the methods used by the new Democratic majority — Democratic leaders.”

State of the Union. Bush set to tackle global warming – “President Bush this week is prepared to unveil what his aides have billed as a bold new national strategy to confront global climate change and work toward energy independence, even as Democrats push their own, more aggressive approach to the issue.” Bush to Urge New Tax Plan for Health Care Coverage– “President Bush intends to use his State of the Union address Tuesday to tackle the rising cost of health care with a one-two punch: tax breaks to help low-income people buy health insurance and tax increases for some workers whose health plans cost significantly more than the national average.” Universal Health Coverage Attracts New Support – “this time, advocates hope, the political climate is right for the best ideas to grow, in large part because many business groups that opposed earlier efforts now agree that rising health-care costs and increasingly tougher access to insurance are unsustainable trends.”

Abortion. Democrats Seek to Avert Abortion Clashes – “Democrats are seeking to reach these “abortion grays” through their own legislative proposals, all focused on preventing unwanted pregnancies. The initiatives, including several in development for more than a year, represent an attempt to broaden the discussion beyond the traditional framework of whether abortion should be legal.”

Iraq. U.S. Toll in Iraq Is 27 for Deadly Weekend – “The United States military said that two marines died Sunday in western Iraq and that an additional seven service members died Saturday. The deaths brought the weekend toll to 27 and made Saturday the third-deadliest day for United States forces since the war here began.” U.S. troops’ deadly weekend– “The bulk of the U.S. deaths Saturday came in the crash of a Black Hawk helicopter northeast of Baghdad. Twelve soldiers were killed. U.S. officials have not announced the cause of the crash.”

Iran. Leading Senator Assails President Over Iran Stance– “The new chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee on Friday sharply criticized the Bush administration’s increasingly combative stance toward Iran, saying that White House efforts to portray it as a growing threat are uncomfortably reminiscent of rhetoric about Iraq before the American invasion of 2003.” Iran president defiant in face of critical MPs – ”
The Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, defied his domestic critics yesterday by vowing not to retreat from his nuclear and economic policies despite growing pressure.”

Darfur. Aid groups pull out of Darfur refugee camp after rape – “Aid groups have suspended operations in Darfur and may pull out of the Sudanese province after a French relief worker was raped, another sexually assaulted and an Oxfam employee was severely beaten at the world’s largest refugee camp.”

Baptists. Carter, Clinton Seek To Bring Together Moderate Baptists– “Former presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton are leading an effort to forge dozens of small and medium-size, black and white Baptist organizations into a robust coalition that would serve as a counterweight to the conservative Southern Baptist Convention.”

Rev. Jeremiah Wright. Pastor’s message inspires Obama’s ‘audacity to hope’– “During his 34 years in the pulpit of Trinity United Church of Christ, Rev. Jeremiah Wright Jr. has inspired rap lyrics, a presidential hopeful and an entire South Side congregation.”

Religion and politics. The religious test – “The Constitution forbids it, but political reality is another thing. John F. Kennedy, a Catholic, passed it. Mitt Romney, who is Mormon, will have to as well. Polls show that even today, a candidate’s faith matters. How the prospective presidential contender handles it, however, is what counts.”

Feature. Uncommon bonds | Can the glue of economic populism hold the Democrats’ unlikely new majority together? – “As the business of Congress moves into more divisive territory, it will be up to the Democratic leadership to find out what really unites them. One answer that’s been offered by commentators across the political spectrum — especially in reference to the new crop of Democrats in Congress — is so-called “economic populism,” or what New York Times columnist David Brooks has called “factory-floor populism.”

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