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Schigolch

Effect Of Paul Ryan

48 posts in this topic

Paul Ryan's nomination is good news for the Democrats. They're dancing in the streets.

Now here's the bad news. After they win the White House (and possibly Congress as well, thanks to Paul Ryan), the Democrats will split. Their split will be permanent, and it may render their electoral victory meaningless.

The split I'm referring to is the split between pragmatists and ideologues. The Democratic ideologues (such as Valerie Jarrett, the President's confidante) will say in 2012 what George Bush said in 2004 -- "We have some political capital, and we intend to spend it." They will seek to spend it on some grand new socialist vision, perhaps a national pension system or a "reform" of the tax code in a progressive direction.

The pragmatists will say what they're already saying sotto voce: "Unfortunately, some of what the Republicans are saying is true. Our deficits are too big. Our entitlements are unsustainable. Our government is hostile to job creation. If we want our country to have a future, we need to fix these things."

All out war will break out between these two factions. It will be war to the death. It will be war for control of this administration, and war for control of the next administration.

Edited by Schigolch

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Here's a tip of the hat to Schigolch who, while seemingly sympathetic to the Republican cause, believes his party is headed for overwhelming defeat this fall. I'd like to agree with S on that, but I'm not as certain.

I do disagree with most of the rest of S's post, however.

Their split will be permanent, and it may render their electoral victory meaningless.

The split I'm referring to is the split between pragmatists and ideologues.

It seems to me the normally fractious Dems are more united than they've been since the Clinton impreachment fight -- and perhaps since the pre-Vietnam Sixties. There are two key reasons. One, Obama is an exceptional uniter of moderate conservatives, moderates and liberals. Two, the GOP, thanks to its energized base, has become so radical that even nominal Dems have little trouble uniting to do battle against them

It's the GOP that's split nowadays, not the Dems. And when the Repubs lose, the zealots and the pragmatists will proceed to blame one another.

I think the best thing that could have happened to the GOP would have been to nominate a Tea Party zealot, watch him go down in flames, and then see the wisdom in tacking back to the center, as the Dems have done (right-wing echo chamber demagoguery notwtihstanding).

The Democratic ideologues (such as Valerie Jarrett, the President's confidante) will say in 2012 what George Bush said in 2004 -- "We have some political capital, and we intend to spend it." They will seek to spend it on some grand new socialist vision, perhaps a national pension system or a "reform" of the tax code in a progressive direction.

Where's the evidence that Jarrett is a crazy socialist and that she can bend Obama to her will? Where's the evidence that Obama, an incrementalist, moderately progressive reformer, will suddenly change the stripes he's displayed his entire political career and implement a grand new socialist vision?

Don't we already have a national pension system, called Social Security? Doesn't Obama's plan to raise the highest marginal rate about four points to Clinton-era levels, which fall far short of the 91 percent top marginal rate under that raging socialist, Dwight Eisenhower?

The pragmatists will say what they're already saying sotto voce: "Unfortunately, some of what the Republicans are saying is true. Our deficits are too big. Our entitlements are unsustainable. Our government is hostile to job creation. If we want our country to have a future, we need to fix these things."

All out war will break out between these two factions. It will be war to the death. It will be war for control of this administration, and war for control of the next administration.

Except for the job hostility thing, Obama has been saying everything in the first paragraph since he came on the national scene. And he has amassed so many chips with all factions of his party, he'll have room to maneuver -- if the GOP decides to start dealing in good faith in his second term.

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Unlike Schigolch, I don't think Paul Ryan is a negative: Romney did manage to find a VP candidate who is actually lively and attractive but wasn't a shockfest like Palin. Most conservatives had given up hope he could do that.

I assume Romney will still lose; this is a classic "sacrificial lamb" election like Reagan/Mondale, in which the out party just goes through the motions. The A-Team didn't run in the primaries because they are professional politicians and they know this. The First Black President cannot be defeated of a second term without a world catastrophe such as war with Iran or Europe and the financial system collapsing, or at least large-scale street rioting in our cities: it wouldn't be PC.

Ryan is young and not robotic as Romney unfortunately is. He may be a math geek (but that's good: quants are in now) but he's very emotionally available so far on the campaign. It will help, not hurt, IMO.

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I pretty much agree with Phebe, and I've got some thoughts on the following.

I assume Romney will still lose; this is a classic "sacrificial lamb" election like Reagan/Mondale, in which the out party just goes through the motions. The A-Team didn't run in the primaries because they are professional politicians and they know this. The First Black President cannot be defeated of a second term without a world catastrophe such as war with Iran or Europe and the financial system collapsing, or at least large-scale street rioting in our cities: it wouldn't be PC.

I've been saying since election night, 2008, that Obama would win re-election handily because...Who's gonna beat him?

The A-Teamers know Obama has done an admirable job under absolutely brutal political and economic conditions. How likely is it that the first black president, who happens also to be a likeable and worthy occupant of the office, will be turned out? It's not PC. It's just common sense.

I'm also not sure a calamity works against Barack. He has shown himself to be rock-solid in tough times.

What I didn't count on in 2008 was Citizens United and the immediate impact it would have. If Romney's forces outspend BO 2-to-1 this fall in swing states, the low-information undecided voter (who couldn't pick Paul Ryan out of a line-up) might flock to the GOP in the closing days.

I also expect Romney, who was clearly the only president on the stage during the GOP debates, to help his cause with solid performances against the perfesser, whose answers in that format are rarely the punchy soundbites that low-info voters lap up.

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Hello! I have not visited the site for, I think, two years, for a variety of reasons, but am glad to see it back and to see some of the familiar contributors! I am still figuring out the new format so I'm not sure what I'm doing, technically. Anyway, quick comment on the Ryan selection: most of my Democratic friends and family members are gleeful; they think this is a toxic pick for the Republicans. But Joe points out that the low-information voters could be susceptible to simplistic ads financed by wealthy Romney backers, and I agree. One should never underestimate the obliviousness of the low-information voters. They fill me with despair no matter which way they vote, or more accurately, which "team" they root for, because the "thinking" behind their votes seems to have about as much depth as pressing the "Like" button for their favorite sports franchise.

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Once the low-information voters find out that Ryan's hero is Ayn Rand, the game is over....oh, wait. Was this Ayn Rand of whom I speak one of those Olympiads, or did I see her on a "Hoarders" episode?

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True, still_waiting, "low-information" voters are not going worry about somebody named Ayn Rand who wrote a book a long time ago; that's just not going to be on the menu. NJR, you surprise me that Dems you know think Ryan is a toxic pick --- I don't see why they think that, and Ryan does help Romney on the right; Romney is so far left that the main trend in voting that I see this year is the amazing number of people who simply aren't going to vote. "They're both the same" is the main cry, and so they are. Ryan might get a few people to pull the lever for Romney who only expected to show up to vote for a judge they know or Gary Johnson.

It will be interesting to see whether Ryan gives Romney a bounce in his declining polls.

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A 42-year-old Ayn Rand fetishist (Ryan actually makes his staffers read that stuff!) would be a deal-breaker for me. But I admit I'm an unusual case: I actually plowed through her miserable novels during a hair-shirt phase I put myself through decades ago, so I have a special appreciation of the nonsense contained therein. One irony is that devout Catholic Ryan's hero was a sexually promiscuous atheist who would have found his social conservatism -- and many other positions -- the height of apostasy. But irony is in short supply among Ayn's zealots...

I think what NJR's getting at is that the Ryan pick excites Dems as much as it does GOPers, because his views are so extreme they don't even require caricaturization in the political mosh pit. Because Romney stands for little but his own ambition, he's a blank slate upon which Ryan's weirdness can be splattered to great effect.

Actually, I've long thought that if Romney won, Ryan would be president anyway, because Mitt's amoeba-like shape shifting seems to react to the bluntest exterior forces it encounters. Ryan and the Tea Partiers are nothing if not blunt.

Gotta disagree that Romney is "so far left." Instead, he's prostrating himself before a GOP that nowadays would hoot Ronald Reagan off the stage for being a compromising, tax-raising, abortion-tolerating moderate. "They're both the same" might be a cry heard at Ayn Rand Objectivist Jamborees, but it's seldom uttered in the real world. This is the most stark difference between presidential nominees since LBJ/Goldwater.

It's true that Ryan might siphon away a fraction of the Gary Johnson vote. But only masters of nuclear microscopy are able to locate that constituency. Cut your losses on that one, Barack, and move on...

A final thought: I don't buy the old saw that veeps don't matter because everyone votes for the top of the ticket. Believe it or not, Bill Clinton's selection of Al Gore was the decisive moment of the 1992 race. It confirmed Bubba was a moderate and caused a hefty spike in the polls. As a consequence, Ross Perot withdrew (temporarily) from the race, noting that the Dems finally seemed to be getting their act together.

In a similar way, Dick Cheney's ascension in 2000 assured queasy swing voters there would be an adult in the room with Deke Towelsnapper.

What's more, disastrous veep choices like Quayle and Palin have enough of an effect -- at least a point or two -- to be decisive in close elections.

Mama Grizzly was a special case, indeed, and her impact might never be equaled. While many attributed Obama's strong finish in '08 to his superior reaction to the financial crisis, I think the oddly self-confident Alaska governor who couldn't name the Axis powers in World War II started the avalanche.

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NJR, you surprise me that Dems you know think Ryan is a toxic pick --- I don't see why they think that, and Ryan does help Romney on the right; Romney is so far left that the main trend in voting that I see this year is the amazing number of people who simply aren't going to vote. "They're both the same" is the main cry, and so they are. Ryan might get a few people to pull the lever for Romney who only expected to show up to vote for a judge they know or Gary Johnson.

It will be interesting to see whether Ryan gives Romney a bounce in his declining polls.

My parents and my in-laws are in their seventies, and they're all liberal Democrats. They think that Ryan's positions on Social Security and Medicare will do him in with the large contingent of older voters. I think they give these voters too much credit. As "Still Waiting" points out, most people have no idea who Ayn Rand is (or how to pronounce "Ayn"). By the way (spoiler alert), Godot never comes.

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Here's an easy way to remember how to pronounce Ms. Rand's name. Ayn rhymes with "mine."

It's true the GOP has made a nice living persuading the masses to vote against their economic interests. But Social Security and Medicare are special institutions that even Tea Partiers hold dear. (Remember, "Keep your grubby government hands off my Medicare!"?) If the image of Paul and Willard Mitt rolling Granny's wheelchair of a cliff isn't etched in voters' minds this fall, Obama's team should sued for malpractice (while that's still legal), and Obama doesn't deserve a second term.

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I always thought it was Ayn rhymes with "main," but Joe is correct: I just looked it up in a pronouncing dictionary, Dictionary.com. [:-) The novels really are pretty awful. I read Atlas Shrugged quite recently -- it's too thick to make a good print book, the type has to be too small, so I insisted on reading it as an ebook, but the Rand Foundation was stonewalling Amazon on price; I ended up getting it on the Internet free from Bulgaria or somewhere and shocking my family -- I argued she would have approved, however.

I'm impressed at the youthful charm and great photogenic qualities Ryan has. Of course it's not enough, and interestingly, Reuters immediately ran a poll and the results were ------- no bounce. I agree truly disastrous Veep selections have a disastrous effect, the worst on record being Thomas Eagleton, in the McGovern race, poor man. Lost 49 states. I don't think Ryan is at all disastrous; the coverage seems generally positive, so far. But we'll see. It's not enough to change anything, I don't think.

a GOP that nowadays would hoot Ronald Reagan off the stage for being a compromising, tax-raising, abortion-tolerating moderate.

Very likely, and that's why many of us loved him so much....I had to re-register as an Independent in 2006, things just got so weird.

Of all the conservatives I meet on the Internet and in real life, I know nobody who thinks Romney is in any sense a conservative; just a Massachusetts liberal who will bend to any wind. Consequently, many won't vote and those who will vote are unhappy. Does anyone else believe there is any particular difference between Obama and Romney? I can't think what it would be. Certainly there is a difference between the Tea Party and Romney and Obama, but the Tea Party lost, or rather weren't presented with anything but clowns climbing one after the other out of a small car during the primaries.

This isn't a real election. It's a foregone conclusion; it always was.

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Whoopsey Daisy!

It turns out that as he gets closer to the brass ring, Paulie is moving farther and farther away from his Ayn romance. Twenty years of devotion to his principles, then poof! All gone! No wonder Willard Mitt likes him so much. It's like looking in an "epistemological" mirror.

Ryan Shrugs off Ayn Rand

By Gregory J. Krieg, ABC Otus News, today

Wisconsin's First District has voted him into Congress seven times over the past 14 years, but popular as Paul Ryan is at home there may be another constituency that holds the Republican vice presidential candidate in even higher regard.

Ryan, you see, is the country's most powerful Randian. At least, he used to be. More on that in a moment. First, a look at his adoring relationship with the work of Russian emigre novelist Ayn Rand, author of "Atlas Shrugged" and "The Fountainhead."

It began, according to a 2005 speech Ryan gave to The Atlas Society, when he was still a student. And it guided his thinking on monetary policy decades later:

"I grew up reading Ayn Rand and it taught me quite a bit about who I am and what my value systems are," he told the group. "It's inspired me so much that it's required reading in my office for all my interns and my staff."

Ryan has since denied making his staff read the books.

He continued: "But the reason I got involved in public service, by and large, if I had to credit one thinker, one person, it would be Ayn Rand. And the fight we are in here, make no mistake about it, is a fight of individualism versus collectivism."

Rand's literary inner circle was called, ironically perhaps, "The Collective."

Individualism, or objectivism in some cases, provides the philosophical underpinnings for most of Rand's narratives. The novelist and literary critic Harriet Rubin wrote bluntly in the New York Times that "Atlas Shrugged" is a "glorification of the right of individuals to live entirely for their own interest."

It also celebrates atheism, treating religion with a degree of scorn.

"If devotion to truth is the hallmark of morality, then there is no greater, nobler, more heroic form of devotion than the act of a man who assumes the responsibility of thinking," one of Rand's characters says in the novel, the "alleged short-cut to knowledge, which is faith, is only a short-circuit destroying the mind."

This is where politicians and business leaders tend to pull up.

Ryan has, as noted above, taken a step back from his avid Rand-regard in the past few years. And in an interview with the National Review this April, he did a pretty firm about-face:

"I reject her philosophy," Ryan says firmly. "It's an atheist philosophy. It reduces human interactions down to mere contracts and it is antithetical to my worldview. If somebody is going to try to paste a person's view on epistemology to me, then give me Thomas Aquinas," who believed that man needs divine help in the pursuit of knowledge. "Don't give me Ayn Rand," he says.

So after all that, Paul Ryan, it seems, has shrugged off Ayn Rand.

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I'm sure you've all heard the one Ayn (love "mine") Rand joke, but what the hell:

There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year-old's life: "The Lord of the Rings" and "Atlas Shrugged." One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.

So if I understand Ryan's about-face here, it seems that she would have continued to be the perfect embodiment of his worldview that glorifies the mythical INDIVIDUAL, if only she had prayed to his God -- you know, the one I'm still waiting for, NJR.

My wait will be as interminable in that regard as it will be for a candidate who will state unequivocally that he he or she has no allegiance to any god or any religion.

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My wait will be as interminable in that regard as it will be for a candidate who will state unequivocally that he he or she has no allegiance to any god or any religion.

I'm an Obama fan through-and-through, but I think this is one of his failings. I simply can't believe this brilliant, hyper-introspective man suddenly accepted the divinity of Jesus, soon before he launched his public career, after a lifetime of atheism.

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I'm an Obama fan through-and-through, but I think this is one of his failings. I simply can't believe this brilliant, hyper-introspective man suddenly accepted the divinity of Jesus, soon before he launched his public career, after a lifetime of atheism.

I did not know that he was an atheist. I do recall his "You know, my faith is one that admits some doubt," and of course, who could forget his clinging to their guns and religion line? (only wish it had been set to "Dueling Banjos.")

I'll have to check this out. If you're right, Joe, I'm more impressed with him than ever, despite his weakness in doing what's absolutely necessary to get elected to the presidency of this secularly Christian nation.

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I did not know that he was an atheist. I do recall his "You know, my faith is one that admits some doubt," and of course, who could forget his clinging to their guns and religion line? (only wish it had been set to "Dueling Banjos.")

I'll have to check this out. If you're right, Joe, I'm more impressed with him than ever, despite his weakness in doing what's absolutely necessary to get elected to the presidency of this secularly Christian nation.

It's been a while since I read Dreams from My Father, but we can be sure he worded his description of his early years more carefully than I have. I can say with little doubt that his mother, who had a Ph.D in anthropology, was a committed atheist. The Dunham grandparents were irreligious, and young Barack's interest in religion was as a student, not a believer.

My recollection of his conversion experience (in his 20s) is quite vivid. Implicit in his description of it is that he had never before believed in a personal god. I came away with the sense that his newfound "faith" was motivated as much by a desired to embrace his identity as a black American as by a belief that Jesus is the Son of God.

I suspect the only "scandal" in the Jeremiah Wright saga is that the Obamas dropped by occasionally to be seen by constituents, not to worship. He hasn't exactly been hitting the pews in D.C. since he took office.

You'll find an interesting discussion here: http://atheism.about...amaReligion.htm

This site is more circumspect about Ann's beliefs. But the superb David Maraniss, Obama's most recent biographer, shares my conclusion about her. I haven't finished that book yet, but I'll update this point if he becomes more deflinitive about Barack's early views.

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Thanks for the link, Joe. Very informative.

BTW, I had misread your "soon before launching his public career" and thought you meant his decision to run for President; hence my reference to his doing what has to be done to accomplish that feat. But I see that you are talking about him at a much younger age.

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Yes. Obama, frustrated by the community service job, went to Harvard primarily for the purpose of launching a political career, and he's pretty much been in the public eye ever since.

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I'm not disputing anything said, but I suspect Obama is not disengenous regarding his belief. It's not just "Black liberation theology," but also people like James Crossan who write of an historical Jesus whose existance was codified and clarified by the first council of nicea. "That Jesus" was a bit closer to what Obama seems to have been about in Chicago. And, I don't mean to diss that either

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I assume he's Muslim. Obama was born Muslim and raised Muslim in Indonesia, so there it is. Certainly he counts as Muslim in Islam, and isn't supposed to backslide into apostasy.

And his so-called "church" in Chicago financially supported Louis Farrakhan's Black Muslims, but why? Racist stuff, presumably.

He was just there to build his political career anyway. I totally believe he didn't hear the sermons; because they didn't matter to him. Pressing the flesh and being seen was what mattered.

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I assume he's Muslim. Obama was born Muslim and raised Muslim in Indonesia, so there it is. Certainly he counts as Muslim in Islam, and isn't supposed to backslide into apostasy.

And his so-called "church" in Chicago financially supported Louis Farrakhan's Black Muslims, but why? Racist stuff, presumably.

He was just there to build his political career anyway. I totally believe he didn't hear the sermons; because they didn't matter to him. Pressing the flesh and being seen was what mattered.

We're wandering far afield from this topic, but what the hey...

I'm already on record as a skeptic about Obama's professed Christianity. But where is the evidence that he is a Muslim, that he was born Muslim, and that he was raised Muslim? I've read several biographies and many profiles of the man, and I haven't seen a scintilla of such evidence yet.

Yes, he attended a Muslim school for two years in Indonesia, just as he spent two years in a Christian school there. Neither dogma seemed to find purchase in his mind until decades later, when he says he began believing in the divinity of Jesus. The evidence strongly suggests both of his birth parents were atheists, and the grandparents who raised him were, at most, in-name-only Christians who never went to church.

I'm no fan of Jeremiah Wright, either, but where's the evidence he financially supported Farrakhan's Black Muslims? This is a new one for me.

We agree on your final point.

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Yes, apparently that Wright church did indeed support the Farrakhan group. I remember reading it at the time of the scandal, and remembered it because it was so bizarre. They had organized support of the Black Muslims, contributions. I don't remember where I read that at the time, but it was in the reporting going on then, when that strange church went under a microscope.

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Yes, apparently that Wright church did indeed support the Farrakhan group. I remember reading it at the time of the scandal, and remembered it because it was so bizarre. They had organized support of the Black Muslims, contributions. I don't remember where I read that at the time, but it was in the reporting going on then, when that strange church went under a microscope.

Forgive me, but I don't think this qualifies as proof. I tried to Google the subject myself, without success. It also appears all the claims in Post #20 about Obama and Islam remain unsupported by evidence.

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Aaaarrrrrgh, you're making me work: try this search term, "Did Wright's church support Louis Farrakhan?"

There were a lot of hits. One starting article said Wright used to be a black Muslim himself.

'So the question is, why hasn’t anyone mentioned the fact that he’s a former Muslim? Could this be why Obama’s church posted a Hamas manifesto in the Trinity Church program last year? It obviously explains Wright’s affinity with Louis Farrakhan. It also explains more why Rev. Wright got his Masters degree in “Islam in West Africa”'

What I remember, however, was that Wright's church actually supported Farrakhan with money, so I searched on "Did Wright's church give Louis Farrakhan money?".

Apparently he got at least one award from the church, there are a lot of hits on that. Also, there was this strange report:

"But Wright’s relationship with the controversial Farrakhan extended far beyond an award. In 1984, Wright personally accompanied Farrakhan to Libya to meet with Muammar Gaddafi in Tripoli. In 2008, Wright even predicted his association with Farrakhan and Gaddafi may cause political headaches for Obama’s presidential aspirations: “When [Obama's] enemies find out that in 1984 I went to Tripoli to visit [Gadhafi] with Farrakhan, a lot of his Jewish support will dry up quicker than a snowball in hell,” he said." http://www.theblaze.com/stories/flashback-louis-farrakhan-jeremiah-wright-foster-gaddafi-alliance/

Anyway, it was reported at the time that Wright was connected with Farrakhan, and the evidence is still all over the Internet. It's nasty, but a lot of things about the Wright connection are. I'm not especially surprised about any of it. Religion clearly didn't matter: race did.

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Thanks for taking the time to try. I hit some of your links, and I hope you'll agree the claim that Wright (for whom I do not care) financially supported Farrakhan (for whom I care even less) remains evidence-free -- unless unsubstantiated Internet innuendo qualifies as proof. I don't doubt that Jerry and Louie did some interdenominational projects and field trips together. But I expect there were priests and Baptist ministers involved in those, too.

And, as we also presumably agree, this rabbit trail tells us absolutely nothing about Barack Obama's religious faith.

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