Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton certainly seems to think she knows which way the wind is blowing. Last week, she spoke in Boston at a dinner organized by the Ella J. Baker House, an inner city faith-based organization. I havent been able to get my hands on the text of her speech, but you can see the news reports here and here. Heres what she had to say:
Clinton said there has been a "false division" between faith-based approaches to social problems and respect for the separation of church of state.
"There is no contradiction between support for faith-based initiatives and upholding our constitutional principles," said Clinton, a New York Democrat who often is mentioned as a possible presidential candidate in 2008.
Addressing a crowd of more than 500, including many religious leaders, at Bostons Fairmont Copley Plaza, Clinton invoked God more than half a dozen times, at one point declaring, "Ive always been a praying person."
She said there must be room for religious people to "live out their faith in the public square."
Yesterday, she told "abortion rights supporters" they they should seek common ground with "opponents of legalized abortion" in supporting abstinence programs. You can read the whole story
here. A taste:
Mrs. Clinton, widely seen as a possible candidate for the Democratic Partys presidential nomination in 2008, appeared to be reaching out beyond traditional core Democrats who support abortion rights. She did so not by changing her political stands, but by underscoring her views in preventing unplanned pregnancies, promoting adoption, recognizing the influence of religion in abstinence and championing what she has long called "teenage celibacy."
Powerline, Hindrocket had this to say:
This moderation of tone is politically smart, I think. Many on the right blasted Mrs. Clinton for being insincere or hypocritical in her comments. Well, sure. But the reality is that few politicians on either side of the fence are doing anything practical about the abortion issue. Anti-abortion politicians denounce the current legal regime to win the anti-abortion vote, but such posturing means nothing unless either 1) a Constitutional amendment is adopted, or 2) judges who will overturn Roe v. Wade are appointed to the Supreme Court. A Constitutional amendment simply isnt going to happen, and there is no sign that the Bush administration has any intention of appointing judges who will vote to reverse Roe. So politicians on both sides are only posturing, and in that context, it is smart for Clinton to position herself toward the "middle" on the issue.
HRC has clearly decided that the lesson of the last election is that a Democrat must be seem to be authentically open to people of faith. The folks in the Bush Administration should call on her to walk the walk, not just talk the talk, serving as a principal Senate co-sponsor (with Rick Santorum, perhaps?) of any new faith-based legislation this term. I would love to see the Democrats find some sanity on this issue, but Im not yet convinced that even a Clinton can lead them that far.