Can Obama bridge the red-state, blue-state divide?


Mike Miliard takes up the question in this week's Phoenix:

"A military base is like the most successful flowering of socialism in the world," says Kathy Roth-Douquet, co-author, with Frank Schaeffer, of, How Free People Move Mountains: A Male Christian Conservative and a Female Jewish Liberal on a Quest for Common Purpose and Meaning (Collins). "It's where the incomes are the most even. Day care is 'from each, to each,' and could cost as little as $5. Housing is free. Health care is free. It's actually kind of nice."

Roth-Douquet was an Obama campaign advisor, held a job in the Clinton White House, and has been a long-time Democratic foot soldier. Schaeffer campaigned for McCain in 2000, and his father, Francis Schaeffer, was an evangelical theologian, credited by many with influencing the political rise of the religious right.

All very neat, but each of the co-authors also confounds the left/right stereotypes. Roth-Douquet is married to a Marine, and lives on a military base in Parris Island, South Carolina. Schaeffer, whose formative years were spent at L'Abri, his parents' mission in Switzerland, lives in Salisbury, on Boston's North Shore, by the blue waters of the bluest state. And he voted for Obama.

The two first collaborated on the 2006 book AWOL: The Unexcused Absence of America's Upper Classes from Military Service — and How It Hurts Our Country (Collins), and since then, says Schaeffer, "our relationship as friends has changed the way we see people we disagree with."

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