grain of truth in it. He is a ferocious criticrnof globalization and its faceless corporaternculture, and a staunch opponent ofrnNAFIA, the Wl’O, the IMF, and thernWorld Bank. Nader argues that the greatestrnthreat toda’ to “traditional values”rndocs not come from Marxism or evenrncountercultural leftism; rather, he insistsrnthe most revolutionary force is that ofrnglobal capitalism, which undermines nationalrnsovereignt}’, communitv’, and thernfamih. Like traditional conservativesrnsuch as Richard Weaver and RussellrnKirk, Nader laments the “commercializahon”rnof culture and the emphasis onrnindividual gratification.rnAs part of the unending campaign tornsmear Pat Buchanan, David Brooksrn(among others) has tried to raise thernalarm that Nader’s message could signalrnan alliance between the populist left andrnthe Buchananite right. Brooks is wrongrn(as usual). Despite Nader’s opposition torneconomic globalizahon, he and Buchananrnhave little in common: Nader is notrna populist but an elifist leftfst who championsrnthe rcgulatoiy state. His solution tornthe problems of corporate plutocracy andrngovernment corruption is to embracernWestern European-stle socialism: Hernwants public financing of elections; uni-rnersal health care and daycare; the nationalizationrnof leading corporations; confiscatoryrntaxation of “the rich”; and an increasernin the minimum wage to $12.SOrnan hour (if the Greens want to end economicrngrov’th, that is the surest wav to dornit). Like all leftists, he has never met arngovernment spending program he didn’trnlike.rnThen there is the Green Part}’. Composedrnprimarily of environmental extremists,rnanimal-rights zealots, and burntoutrnhippies who want to legalizernmarijuana, the Greens are a bizarre collectionrnof moral anarchists and vegetarians,rnculturally to the left of the Democratsrn(if that is possible) on issues such asrnabortion, gav rights, and feminism.rnDespite their similar positions on tradernand the need to restrain corporate power,rnNader and Buchanan will never form arncoalition for one reason: Culture, notrneconomics, is the driving force of politics.rnFor most leftist populists, the choice isrnnot between Nader or Buchanan, but betweenrnNader or Gore, because abortion,rnwomen’s rights, and gay and sexual liberationrnis ultimately more important tornthese voters than national identity andrnstate sovereignt)’.rnNader’s workK’iew can be distilled tornone simple idea: Business is evil. Althoughrnhis message resonates with whiternmiddle-class students on college campuses,rnit is too narrow and superficial to servernas the foundation of an enduring politicalrnmovement.rnNonetheless, the Democrats are makingrna strategic error by ignoring him.rnThey believe that, as election day approaches,rnNader’s supporters will loserntheir nerve and vote for Gore, histead,rnNader niav do to the Vice President whatrnRoss Perot did to George Bush in 1992:rnappeal to enough disaffected voters torndamage —perhaps fatally—Al Gore’s bidrnfor the presidency.rn—Jeffrey Thomas KuhnerrnPRESIDENT CLINTON slid to thernedge of his chair and clasped his handsrntogether. “Polls can be tricky,” he said,rnan eager glint in his eye. Finallv, the otherrnB i l l – t h e Rev. Bill Hybels-hadrnstopped asking those “tough” questionsrnabout Clinton’s “current spiritual condition”rnand addressed the real reason forrnthe interview: leadership skills.rnThis, of course, was the media-toutedrn”confession” b President Clinton at thernWillow Creek Community ChurchrnLeadership Summit, the week before thernDemocratic National Convention. BillrnHybels, pastor of Willow Creek Communih’rn(mega-)Church in Harrington, Illinois,rnasked the President to submit to arn”no-holds-barred” interview on techniquesrnof effective leadership. Sincern1992, Hybels has flown regularly tornWashington to act as the President’srn”spiritual advisor.”rnClinton’s “confession” —in reality,rnnothing more than an attempt to grantrnpolitical absolution to Al Gore for his passivit)’rnduring the Lewinsky scandal-wasrnthe icing on the matzo cake of Joe “toughrnon Clinton” Lieberman. The local pressrnfocused on protests by pro-life evangelicalsrnwho were stunned that Bill Hybelsrnhad inited the man who vetoed the banrnon partial-birth abortion to speak to arncrowd of 4,500 pastors (and a satellite audiencernof 11,000) on how to lead theirrnflocks. Hybels claimed that he “receivedrna fax last night indicating unapologetic,rnintense hatred for the President, and itrnwas signed, ‘Reverend.’ When I readrnthat, the unashamed admission that hernwas carrying hate in his heart, thernthought came to my mind, ‘WHien did Jesusrnchange the hate rule? Did this guyrnget an addendum to his Bible that Irnmissed?'” In the v’orld of Willow Creek,rnleadership is more about style than substance.rn”I don’t use polls to decide what mvrnconviction is,” said the President, “butrnrather, how I can convince you that whatrnI already believe is right.” Got that?rnClinton is not concerned about makingrnan argument; he is talking about manipulation,rnspin, or “packaging” (as it is calledrnat Willow Creek). You might think tiiatrnthis sort of duplicit)’ would be offensive tornChristians —another example of Clinton’srninabilit}’ to tell the truth. On therncontrar)’, it endeared him to the crowd ofrnWillow Creek disciples because they realizedrn—some, perhaps for the firstrntime —that his stvle is a reflection of theirrnown. In fact, Clinton seemed to intimaternthat he learned this approach from nonernother than Bill Hybels.rnSome 25,000 “visitors” pass throughrnthe doors of Willow Creek Communit’rnChurch every weekend. This “success”rnis the result of years of “programming,”rnall of which began with . . . a poll. Ftybels,rna seminar)’ dropout, started a youthrnministry at the local Willow Creek Theaterrnin 1972. He was convinced that tspiealrnchurch youth groups were not successfulrnbecause thev lacked “excellence”:rnrock ‘n’ roll and high-tech theatrics. .Alterrna few years of moderate success with arnweekly show, new challenges arose: Therncore teenagers were becoming adults.rnHybels and his colleagues, eager to convertrntheir rollicking youth ministry- into arnchurch for young adults, decided to pollrnthe residents of the affluent Chicago suburbrnof South Barrington about why babyrnboomers don’t go to church.rnThe poll showed that boomers don’trnwant to be asked to contribute money;rnthey want to remain anonymous; theyrndon’t like “irrelevant” sermons; they likernrock ‘n’ roll, not pipe organs and choirs.rnThus, Willow Creek was born. Today, atrntheir sprawling, $100-million campus,rnthey hae “seeker services” on weekendsrndesigned to “package” the Gospel basedrnon poll results. There is no sanctuaiy atrnWillow Creek—only a large modern theaterrnwith professionally designed sets forrnthe weekly dramas (mini-plays with tidesrnsucli as “What Would Jesus Say tornMadonna,” “Sex, Money, and Power,”rnand “The God You’re Looking For”). Arnband jams on popular Christian rockrnsongs and Top 40 tunes that are vaguernenough to fit the da)’s theme. (I oncernheard “Cat’s In the Cradle” and “In flicrnLiving Years” on the same occasion.) Hv-rnOCTOBER 2000/7rnrnrn