In today's pages: Culture wars — abortion, gay marriage, and the French smoking ban
Columnist Tim Rutten notes the return of single-issue politics, heralded by the right's emphasis on abortion:
For the GOP's hard cultural right, abortion was the centerpiece of a grand strategy to link traditionally minded Roman Catholics and socially conservative evangelical Protestants in a great coalition of the religious right that would paint the electoral map ruby red, cementing the Rust Belt and the Sun Belt into a permanent Republican majority.
Now, because of Sen. Barack Obama's perceived problems with blue-collar Catholic voters in the late Democratic primaries, some on the right think they see an opportunity to hammer once more on the abortion wedge.
Yossi Klein Halevi, of the Jerusalem-based Adelson Institute for Strategic Studies, argues that Israel has no reason to trust Syria in strategic talks on the Golan Heights. And writer Stephen Clarke says France's anti-smoking law has enough loopholes that Parisians have kept right on smoking.
The editorial board notes Congress' progress on defining how the government can eavesdrop on alleged terrorists, and says public employees shouldn't be able to opt out of performing same-sex marriages in California. Finally, the board urges Democrats to put aside their objections to a trade deal with Colombia.
On the letters page, readers react to Hillary Clinton's infamous RFK remark. Del Mar's Anne Farrell says, "I was 18 and in L.A. the night Bobby Kennedy was shot. It capped five years of horror from which our country still has not recovered. How dare Clinton use that watershed moment to suggest she could 'come to the rescue' and become the Democratic candidate in 2008?"
*Cartoon by Jimmy Margulies