Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The Selection of Rick Warren
Mike Rappaport

With all of the hand wringing among Obama supporters about the selection of Rick Warren, I believe the commentators have missed something important.  One thing we know about Obama -- he strongly believes in symbolic actions to make people who oppose his policy positions feel included and respected.  That, I believe, is what the selection of Rick Warren is all about. 

This shows two things about Obama.  First, he is willing, on a symbolic level, to go where other liberals are unwilling.  Obviously, the critics would never have invited anyone like Rick Warren. 

Second, Obama may be able politically to build a broader coalition than traditional liberals could.  Evangelicals, who have been used to being treated with extreme disrespect by liberals, may come to embrace Obama for this purely symbolic treatment.  This may expand his support, taking voters who are naturally supporters of the Republicans.

In the end, I doubt that Obama will compromise his political principles to such considerations.  Thus, Obama will, despite his claims to the contrary, support gay marriage.  But he will claim to respect its opponents and they may feel respected.  


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Mike Rappaport


I think you have hit the nail on the head with your analysis. It is admirable to accord others respect for their opinions, even though we may disagree with them. It is also smart politics to do so, generally speaking.

I wonder, however, if this is just part of who Obama is? He's a good listener. He nods his head at appropriate times, indicating that he is sympathetic to the speaker. But how can one do this with two different people who hold diametrically opposing views? He seems to have done this with pro-Palestinians and with Jewish spokesmen that oppose Palestinian demands.

He seems to want to be liked by everyone, somewhat like Bill Clinton. Is he capable of actually making a diificult decision when required to do so? Can he actually choose between two unappealing courses of action, as Presidents must do sometimes? Voting "present" is not an option as President.

Posted by: [email protected] | Dec 23, 2008 2:18:55 PM

So far, Obama is shaping up much more like Clinton II rather than Carter II. This is a good thing.

The getting lots of diverse groups with fundamentally and inheerntly conflicting belief systems to wirk together figures to prove tricky - but I am pleased that he is trying to pander to all now, instead of ruling from a hard left angle.

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