Thursday, January 26, 2006
Hallelujah, Our Very Own Prairie Populist
"He wants to be president," Bredesen tells the congregation. "He is marvelously qualified to be president." But, he adds, there is something Brownback wants even more: "And that is, on the last day of your earthly life, to be able to say, 'Father, the work you gave me to do, I have accomplished!'"
Bredesen, shrunken with age, leans forward and glares at Brownback. "Is that true?" he demands.
"Yes," Brownback says softly.
"Friends!" The old man's voice is suddenly a trumpet. "Sam . . . says . . . yes!"
The crowd roars. Those occupying the front rows lay hands on the contender. Brownback takes the stage. He begins to pace. In front of secular audiences he's a politician, stiff and wonky. Here, he's a preacher, not sweaty but smooth, working a call-and-response with the back rows. "I used to run on Sam power," he says.
"Uh-uh," someone shouts.
To quiet his ambition, Brownback continues, he used to take sleeping pills.
Now he runs on God power.