The end of war, culture war, that is

At The Daily Beast, Peter Beinart sees the possibility of an end to the culture wars:

When it comes to culture, Obama doesn’t have a public agenda; he has a public anti-agenda. He wants to remove culture from the political debate.

A black politician running in the midst of a racial culture war is virtually doomed. But amidst a religious culture war, being black is less of a handicap since blacks are the least secular element of the Democratic coalition. Barack Obama was more successful than John Kerry in reaching out to moderate white evangelicals in part because he struck them as more authentically Christian.

That’s the foundation on which Obama now seeks to build. He seems to think there are large numbers of conservative white Protestants and Catholics who will look beyond culture when they enter the voting booth as long as he and other Democrats don’t ram cultural liberalism down their throats.

Obama’s effort could fail. After all, he’s not offering to split the difference with cultural conservatives, only to make his cultural liberalism less conspicuous.

Read it all.

Some reaction:

Commentary: “Muddles don’t end wars. They draw them out. … Americans want a recess from ugliness, but that’s not how history works.” (Abe Greenwald)

The New Republic: “If he fulfills [his promise to sign the Freedom of Chose Act], Obama will not only have failed to end the culture war. He will have ensured its survival for another generation.” (Damon Linker)

When the culture war gets in the way of larger issues, Obama appears willing to concede — as to the Republicans on the family planning money House Democrats want in the stimulus bill.

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