The quest for the “vital center” of American politics is admirable. It is also a quixotic endeavor, and one vulnerable to slipping into just another form of partisanship. Proceeding from a sound conviction—that underlying the contentious wrangling of day-to-day politics are deeper, unifying commitments—it goes astray by encouraging its adepts to identify their partisan preferences with the sturdy foundations of the American constitutional tradition, and to dismiss those who think differently as knaves, fools, or thugs.
The Illusory Quest for a Vital American Center
What a new history of American civil religion gets wrong.