- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 9, 2008

An open letter

“Dear Hillary, Where are you? We haven’t heard from you since your strong and eloquent speech at the Democratic National Convention. … We need your voice to speak for all the women (and there are many of us) who are angry at the assumption that, just because Sarah Palin is female, we will fall in line behind her.

“We need you to make clear that women do not automatically judge someone because of gender; we are more concerned with the quality of their character and the depth and breadth of their experience. …

“We respect the right of other women to raise and educate their children the way they see fit. We also respect their right to make their own child-bearing decisions with no interference from the rest of us. We ask for that same respect in return. We don’t want the government in our homes or our wombs. It is, in the simplest sense, a respect for privacy, a word vehemently used by the Republican Party in reference to Sarah Palin’s family. But it’s not just families in the public eye who deserve privacy; we all do. …

“Certainly, those of us who watched the Republican convention saw a woman who knows how to throw zingers. But few of us, if any, were encouraged by that. America is in trouble. We need hope, we need solutions, we need dignified, compassionate leadership. If we want zingers we’ll turn on Comedy Central.”

Patti Davis, writing in “What Hillary Should Say Now” in Newsweek.com on Sept. 5

On religion

“As the presidential race enters its final phase, where do things stand on the religion front?

“The Democrats in general and the Obama campaign in particular have made a fair showing that they are not the anti-faith party. Given that Americans have grown a bit leery of mixing religion and politics, the party of Jefferson, Jackson, and Obama is pretty well attuned to the country’s current mood: faith by all means, but nothing too intrusive. On the constituency front, African Americans, Latino Catholics, non-Judeo-Christians, and Seculars are fully locked up, while Jews are a less iffy proposition than they seemed to be a week ago. The big question mark has to do with Mainline Protestants.

“As for the Republicans in general and the McCain campaign in particular, the evangelical base of the party now seems locked and loaded …

“As [the New York Times’] David Kirkpatrick points out … on NPR’s “Fresh Air” [Sept. 4], McCain and company have been hard at work since June cultivating evangelical leaders; in this regard, the choice of Palin is the culmination of an ongoing effort than a bolt from the blue. And, as Kirkpatrick very importantly points out, McCain has never been the opponent of the religious right that the main narrative - based as it is on his ‘agents of intolerance’ remark in South Carolina, holds. Otherwise, the Palin appointment weakens McCain’s ability to peel off Jewish voters …

“What about non-Latino Catholics? My sense is not so much that they are up for grabs as that they will simply mirror the electorate as a whole. The ordinary Americans.”

Mark Silk, writing in “The Home Stretch” in Spiritual Politics on Sept. 5

Hockey vs. soccer

“How do hockey moms compare with soccer moms?

“They probably have to pay a good deal more to get their kids on the ice; for example, [an] Anchorage-based team charges preteen players $1,850 a year in fees. … They may also have to wake up earlier, too; because ice time is limited, many teams are forced to have practice hours before school starts. Hockey partisans on the Internet … also claim that hockey moms are a bit more intense than their soccer counterparts, both in terms of the commitments they make to the sport and the intensity with which they cheer their kids. …

“The soccer moms have the hockey moms outnumbered by a wide margin nationwide. U.S. Youth Soccer, which covers a smaller percentage of youth teams than USA Hockey, claims a total membership of more than 3.1 million players. In swing states like Florida, Ohio, Colorado, and Pennsylvania, the figures aren’t even close, with anywhere between seven and 20 times as many soccer players as hockey players.

“But there are two competitive states where hockey moms may rival soccer moms for political importance: Minnesota and Michigan. [Sarah] Palin should expect a favorable reception to her hockey bona fides in the North Star state, home to 44,500 youth hockey players and one of the nation’s largest concentrations of hockey-playing girls.”

Jacob Leibenluft, writing in “Hockey Moms vs. Soccer Moms” on Slate.com on Sept. 4.

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