Centrist Democrats call on party to recast "moral issues"
Nov 30, 2004
When it comes to the Democratic Party’s on-again, off-again search for a message that would appeal to religious voters, any metaphor will do: asleep at the wheel, stumbling in a darkened room, a code-blue emergency.
Clergyman and ex-Congressman Bob Edgar prefers a comparison to the Israelites wandering the Sinai Desert. “Look, it took Moses 40 years to get his people out of the wilderness, and we’ve been in the wilderness for 25 years,” said Edgar, a United Methodist who heads the National Council of Churches. “And we’re not there yet, but we can see the Promised Land.”
As Democrats collected themselves following Senator John Kerry’s defeat this month, many said their biggest challenge would be narrowing the “values gap” that sent many voters into President Bush’s column. It could also signal a policy battle for the heart and soul of the party.
A. M. Stroud III, a former prosecutor in Louisiana, expresses regret for the role he played in sending Glenn Ford to death row in 1984. “I was 33 years old. I was arrogant, judgmental, narcissistic and very full of myself. I was not as interested in justice as I was in winning.” Stroud says he presented dubious evidence from a forensic pathologist, precluded black jurors from the trial (Ford, since exonerated, is black), and ignored the fact that the appointed defense attorney had never before tried a criminal or capital case. “I . . . hope that providence will have more mercy for me than I showed Glenn Ford,” Stroud said in a letter to the editor of the Times of Shreveport. “But, I’m also sobered by the realization that I certainly am not deserving of it” (ABA Journal, March 25).