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Category: Politics
Posted by: an okie gardener
Most American evangelicals today are "premillennialists." That is, they believe that the return of Jesus will usher in a time of peace and harmony on earth. ("pre" Jesus must return before the "millennium" the 1000 year period of righteousness.) It has not always been so. In the mid-nineteenth century most American evangelicals were "postmillennialists." That is, they believed that the spread of the gospel under the power of the Holy Spirit would usher in an age of peace and righteousness prior to the return of Jesus. ("post" Jesus would return after the "millennium") Most of these nineteenth-century postmillennialists believed that the founding and growth of the United States was a God-ordained event as part of God's plan to establish the millenium. As American influence and freedoms (and the gospel) spread around the world, peace and harmony would prevail. Twentieth-century events such as the evangelical loss of influence over American culture, development of atomic weapons, and secularization of Europe helped shift American evangelicals from a postmillennial to a premillennial position.

Listening to President Bush's speeches, especially his most recent State of the Union address, leads me to conclude that the president is a postmillennialist, whether he realizes it or not. In his view, we (the United States) are at work doing God's will to bring liberty to the oppresed of earth. Once the world is democratized, we will have peace and safety (the millennium). The recent electoral victory of Hamas in the PA does not seem to have dented his enthusiasm for democracy as a cure-all.

What does this mean? Well, for one thing, it means that GW is out of step with a big part of his evangelical base. It will be interesting to see if American evangelicals will follow his lead on the establishment of peace on earth through the spread of democracy. For another thing, it means that GW probably does have a sense of being a part of God's plan for the world. Not that there is anything wrong with that. Many of our leaders have felt something like that. Of course, it is harder to compromise when you see the world as the arena of conflict between God and the devil.

15/04: More McCain

Category: Politics
Posted by: A Waco Farmer
Two columns this morning discuss the appeal of John McCain as an opponent to Hillary. One is from Charlie Cook, the election guru, and the other from veteran Iowa political analyst, David Yepsen. Both of these pieces reinforce my contention that McCain is likely "the one" (I have once again included my "Why McCain" piece from last month here for review).

Yepsen, writing in the Des Moines Register today, asserts that the conventional wisdom that McCain cannot win in Iowa is off base:

"As with much conventional wisdom, it's wrong. John McCain could easily win the Iowa caucuses and the 2008 Republican presidential nomination for one reason: Hillary Clinton.

"He may be the only Republican who can both win a GOP presidential nomination and then defeat the New York senator, who is anathema to Republican activists. That fact won't be lost on them as they trudge out on a cold January night to pass an early judgment on their party's presidential candidates."

"Here's how it could work: Republicans are likely to take a bath in the 2006 elections. Strategists differ over just how bad, but if it happens, it will spook the GOP and give Democrats the momentum in the race for the White House in 2008. Right now, Clinton leads in polls of the Democratic contest. Many general-election matchups show there are only two Republicans who can defeat her McCain and Rudy Giuliani, the former mayor of New York.

"But Giuliani can't win the GOP nomination. Too liberal. He might not even run. That leaves McCain, who is actually a lot more conservative than his image.

"Whatever quibble the party's right may have with him over old issues and slights will melt in comparison to their fears of President Hillary Clinton picking Supreme Court justices."

Cook makes a similar point and, like Yepsen, also notes that important GOP power brokers are starting to move in the direction of McCain:

"McCain isn't the only one doing the moving. The Republican establishment is showing unmistakable signs of edging his way. When you see Sen. Trent Lott of Mississippi taking McCain down to the Gulf Coast to look at hurricane damage and fawning over him at the Southern Republican Leadership Conference in Memphis, while vying with Mississippi Gov.Haley Barbour to see who could suck up to McCain more, you know something is up."

Of course, the reality is that McCain has much to overcome with the GOP base. I continue to hear much more anti-McCain commentary than positive statements among Republican stalwarts. These columns today make a good point: McCain needs Hillary to emerge as the presumptive nominee. Only then will the GOP feel desperate enough to bury the hatchet and embrace the "maverick" senator out of necessity.
Category: Politics
Posted by: A Waco Farmer
Howard Kurtz has a compelling piece on McCain and his erstwhile supporters today in the Washington Post. I say "compelling" because it is in agreement with something I wrote here a few weeks ago, and it has been a long wait for someone to write something remotely friendly to my position.

Thanks to my good friend, Tocqueville, for calling my attention to this article.