Hillary's Faith

Keying off her recent hiring of evangelical outreach expert Burns Strider, Hotline has an interesting mini-analysis of Hillary Clinton’s faith, calling it “the only part of her life that hasn’t undergone rigorous scrutiny.”

“Though Strider, as a onetime staff member for Nancy Pelosi, is squarely in the liberal camp, Clinton is part of not one, but two, prayers groups with distinctly conservative bents: an exclusive Senate prayer group that meets on Wednesday mornings, and a women’s prayer group that she’s been a part of since her early White House days. The women’s group is run by Holly Leachman, a layperson at the McLean Bible Church in Virginia, itself magnet for prominent conservatives, including former independent counsel Kenneth Starr, Republican senators John Thune and James Inhofe, as well as several Bush staffers and their families.

“Leach’s prayer group includes many prominent Republican wives, among them Susan Baker, wife of Iraq Study Group co-chairman James Baker, who along with Leachman ministered to Hillary Clinton in the wake of the Monica Lewinsky scandal. (Leachman, mentioned briefly in Clinton’s memoir, Living History, is the wife of Washington Redskins chaplain Jerry Leachman).”

I can’t see how it would be anything but good for Hillary’s presidential hopes if this storyline were to become more prominent. Just look at the centrality of Barack Obama’s public embrace of faith-based themes in the media’s glowing assessment of his presidential chances.

The science of evangelical outreach, such as it is, may be a mystery to lots of Democratic voters, particularly those who live in New York. But if the early fence-sitters can be convinced that Hillary is the candidate who can do it — and that’s a fairly big if — the whole “can’t win” thing starts to make a lot less sense.

– Azi Paybarah