The Audacity of Hope

When John Kerry reported for podium duty last Thursday night at the Democratic Convention, he faced a deceptively simple rhetorical decision: One America or two? This has been an essential Democratic fault line for more than a century. The populist temptation--to frame a campaign as a contest between the "people" and the "powerful"--has never had much success because it is rooted in resentment, even when it is camouflaged with a smile, as it was by John Edwards last Wednesday night and, less felicitously, by Al Gore in the 2000 campaign. The idea of an expansive, inclusive United States of America--a vision...

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