ence Required!” (Garrison Keillorncalls ministers who have gone intonselling “spooks,” and claims theirnmouths are self-winding.)nOne terrifying card offered to listnrecent new residents to any neighborhoodnin the country. Think about it.nInterested in travel? Sign up fournmembers of your congregation to go tonChina ($2,095 each) and you go free.nOr this may interest you: “You arenpersonally and cordially invited to becomena unitholder/part owner in annexclusive non-denominational, ecumenical,nreligious, non-profit, taxexempt,nlegal corporation.”nChurches have come into the computernage with a vengeance. Ministersnand priests can now “Get Results WithnProven Church Software,” keep those .ntithes coming in with “Computer SoftwarenEspecially for Churches,” andnput their faith in “The Pioneer innChurch Software Since 1978.” Theyncan “Put the Bible in [Their] Computer.”nAnd there’s no telling wherenthey’ll stop when they boot up ton”Power Church Plus: . . . The MostnPowerful Church Computer SoftwarenEver!”nThere was one card whose offer I’mnfinding it nearly impossible to pass up:nMeditrend International’s skin patch,nwhich enables you to “Control YournAppetite — Help Others — MakenMoney.” Hey, if that’s not heaven,nwhat is?nJane Greer edits Plains Poetry Journal.nLetter FromnWashingtonnby Samuel FrancisnA Zeitgeist of Another ColornAmong the many questions about thennew presidency of George. Bush withnwhich the lips of Washington werenafroth this spring was whether LeenAtwater is for real. The thirty-sevenyear-oldnhead of the Republican NationalnCommittee who made the namenof Willie Horton as familiar to Americannhouseholds as the Domino’s Pizzangremlin is one of the few genuinelyninteresting people in an administrationn38/CHRONICLESnthat seems chiefly notable for its skills innpaper shuffling. Mr. Atwater is a giftednamateur guitar player, an assiduous studentnof the political thought of Aristotlenand Machiavelli, and an utteriy pitilessnpolitical consigliere whose genius atndesigning electoral landslides for thenaspirants wise enough to hire him derivesnfrom his understanding that citizensnusually vote against, rather thannfor, a candidate. But the question thatnWashington pundits were ponderingnthis year had less to do with Mr.nAtwater’s musical talents, his philosophy,nor his skills as a campaign Svengali,nthan with the honesty of his announcedncommitment to lead black voters out ofntheir bondage in a Democratic Egyptntoward the promised land of the GrandnOle Party.nMr. Atwater would seem to be annunlikely Moses. The native South Caroliniannbegan his political career as annintern for Sen. Strom Thurmond, andnmany of the clients whom he hasnfavored with his professional counselnover the years have probably wonderednif Mr. Thurmond, in his later career,nhad not gone a bit soft on the civil rightsnissue. In the 1970’s Mr. Atwater was annenthusiast for a conservative-Republicannstrategy that sought the votes ofnwhat he called “the populists . . .nlower- and working-class whites” whosen”chosen leaders were hard-core segregationists.”nHaving done his part innmaking this strategy a success throughnthe solidification of formerly Democraticnwhite Southern or ethnic workingclassnvoters in the Republican presidentialnconstituency, Mr. Atwater wouldnappear to be entirely at sea in anynserious effort to sway the political heartsnand minds of black citizens.nNevertheless, Mr. Atwater embarkednon his mission manfully. He denouncednex-Klansman David Duke in Louisiananand eagerly accepted an invitation tonjoin the board of trustees at historicallynblack Howard University. But whennHoward students exploded in protest ofnMr. Atwater’s appointment (as well asnof the crumbling walls of Howard’sndormitories), the shadows of reality begannto creep across his vision of ancolor-blind Republican Party.nMr. Atwater, of course, did not inventnthe idea of “luring” (as Republicannstrategists often put it) blacks into GOPnranks. Back in the 1970’s his predecessornat the RNC, Bill Brock, also talkednnnabout it, and more recently the idea hasnbecome a staple of the Republicannbanquet oratory of George Bush,nRonald Reagan, Newt Gingrich, JacknKemp, and Bill Bennett, among othernstalwarts of the party.nTheir strategy is simple and appealing.nAs Mr. Atwater himself puts it, “wenhave entered into a post-civil rights era,ncivil rights are not the driving force,”nand a growing black middle class willnfind a party that appeals to its economicninterests, long thwarted by liberal paternalism,nattractive. With few memoriesnof segregation and with fundamentallynconservative values on the family,ncrime, schools, and neighborhoods,nmiddle-class blacks ought to recognizenthat the future belongs to the party ofnLincoln. Whatever the errors of thenRepublican past, such as some verynstrenuous and unpleasant opposition toncivil rights legislation, American blacksnshould see that only the Republicansncan realize Martin Luther King’s dreamnof judging people by the content ofntheir character rather than by the colornof their skins.nThe exponents of this strategy cannadduce an impressive string of blackncommunity leaders and intellectuals tonsupport it. But there are a few inconvenientntruths about blacks in contemporarynAmerica that ought to cool Republicannand conservative enthusiasmnfor the strategy. The insurgency againstnMr. Atwater at Howard University thisnspring suggests some of them.nThe students who seized buildings atnHoward, prevented Mr. Atwater fromnspeaking, and refused to shut up or sitndown or go away until he resigned fromnthe board were about as middle class inntheir backgrounds as blacks in the UnitednStates today can be. They also werenintensely aware of the racial ambiguitiesnof Mr. Atwater’s political biography.nThey knew all about the Willie Hortonnbusiness and showed no appreciationnfor the lame line that Horton’s race wasnnot explicitly mentioned in the originalnTV ads. Mr. Atwater is anything but anfool. He knew he had walked into a trapnand that if he hung around trying tonexplain himself, he would be strung upnby his heels and exposed. His wholenstrategy and plans for the next severalnyears would be washed away in the nextnfew days. He therefore did what anynastute disciple of Machiavelli would do;nhe resigned and thereby defused then