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All this may be jackassery of a rarified strain, yet it serves its political purpose. If you are a recently re-elected president with a strong conservative Christian base, and some elements of that base are throwing hissy fits over a sponge and a bunny or what's on a university library shelf, it takes unwanted attention away from larger, more politically challenging matters relating to same-sex marriage bans, or free-marketing Social Security, or strengthening the anti-abortion movement -- a movement that, as President Bush vowed on Jan. 24, "will not fail." The culture wars aren't won on the battlefield. They're won by playing a good shell game.

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