End of the culture wars?

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True, David Letterman’s awkward joke about a daughter of Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska prompted denunciations of the “media elite” (though it also boosted Mr. Letterman’s ratings).

But the admissions of extramarital adventures by two Republican stalwarts, Gov. Mark Sanford of South Carolina on Wednesday and Senator John Ensign of Nevada the week before, did not help their party’s cause and stood in dim contrast to President Obama’s recent success in co-opting parts of the conservatives’ cultural agenda — whether voicing his opposition to gay marriage, or delivering Father’s Day homilies on parenting.

Still another instance of what may be an emerging politics of accommodation, with both parties seeing the benefits of the center, came earlier this month when Mr. Obama announced his selection of Jim Leach, a former congressman, to head the National Endowment for the Humanities. Mr. Leach’s credentials are impressive: degrees from Princeton and Johns Hopkins; a recent stint as interim director of the Institute of Politics at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

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