This movement has its own religious tone. References to faith abound in Mr. Obama’s writings and speeches, as they do in Oprah’s language on her TV show and at his rallies. Five years ago, Christianity Today, the evangelical journal founded by Billy Graham, approvingly described Oprah as “an icon of church-free spirituality” whose convictions “cannot simply be dismissed as superficial civil religion or so much New Age psychobabble.”A majority of Americans remain religious/spiritual but after seven years they don't like the march to theocracy they have witnessed. Church free religion and a church free government is what many want - again.
“Church free” is the key. This country has had its fill of often hypocritical family-values politicians dictating what is and is not acceptable religious and moral practice. Instead of handing down tablets of what constitutes faith in America, Romney-style, the Oprah-Obama movement practices an American form of ecumenicalism. It preaches a bit of heaven on earth in the form of a unified, live-and-let-live democracy that is greater than the sum of its countless disparate denominations. The pitch — or, to those who are not fans, the shtick — may be corny. “The audacity of hope” is corny too. But corn is preferable to holier-than-thou, and not just in Iowa.
Now I still see Obama as an empty suit. George W. Bush was an empty suit who surrounded himself with the craziest of the crazies - the neocons and the theocons. An Obama presidency would be determined by who and where he choose to get advice and policy. That at the moment remains an unknown.
So what to do? The most important thing to do is make sure that the House and the Senate are not full of members who will be little but sycophants for the President regardless of who that might be. Here in Oregon we need to make sure that we have a new Senator in 2008. One who will be independent of the President regardless of party. I see Jeff Merkley as the one most likely to make that happen.