Whose administration is it anyway?

On one hand, it’s easy to say “a chi se ne fregga” about the whole kerfuffle with Rick Warren.  The media has been desperate for months to write stories about how Obama has pissed off the left and now that Obama has done something that merits criticism from the left they can’t help but shoot their collective wad.  The thing is, people who pay attention and have more critical thinking skills than a fern are already aware that Obama is not and never has been part of the progressive wing, is not and never has been the far left extremist the opposition claimed in the election.  It’s not particularly noteworthy, other than it comes a bit early in the season to already be sending upraised middle fingers toward his base.

Unfortunately, reality is what it is and there’s nothing magical about Obama that will generate consensus where there isn’t consensus.  Courting the religious wrong, who by and large won’t vote for him anyway, is just going to cost him credibility within his own caucus.  And realistically, they’re stuck with him.  Certainly most know they are better off with an imperfect Obama than with four or eight more years of Republican judicial appointments.

I think it’s interesting that Warren is under fire for his homophobia – yes, people’s nerves are still a bit raw after Prop8, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg.  One wouid think his views on women’s issues, for example, would have NOW rioting in the streets.

A couple of interesting comments:

TIME’s John Cloud has an interesting piece up right now as well.  He observes:

Obama reminds me a little bit of Richard Russell Jr., the longtime senator from Georgia who — as historian Robert Caro has noted — cultivated a reputation as a thoughtful, tolerant politician even as he defended inequality and segregation for decades. Obama gave a wonderfully Russellian defense of Warren Thursday at a press conference. Americans, he said, need to “come together” even when they disagree on social issues. “That dialogue is part of what my campaign is all about,” he said. Russell would often use the same tactic to deflect criticism of his civil rights record. It was a distraction, Russell said, from the important business of the day uniting all Americans. Obama also said today that he is a “fierce advocate for equality” for gays, which is — given his opposition to equal marriage rights — simply a lie. It recalls the time Russell said, “I’m as interested in the Negro people of my state as anyone in the Senate. I love them.”

Also, John Aravosis cites David Corn:

David Corn weighs in on the Rick Warren brouhaha. David makes an excellent point. The problem isn’t that Obama talks to Rick Warren, or even meets with Rick Warren. Hell, if Obama wants to meet with Ahmadinejad, more power to him. But I don’t see him inviting the Iranian leader to the inauguration dais. There’s a difference between reaching out to bad guys and legitimizing them.

By all means, Obama should work with Rick Warren when there is common cause. For political reasons, he should not eschew Warren because of his anti-gay views. Warren can be a powerful ally when it comes time to persuade the public to support climate change legislation. Success in governing often depends on forging coalitions with those with whom you disagree.

But Warren’s opposition to gay rights is more than a mere policy dispute. It is an act of bigotry. Sure, Warren does not believe he is being discriminatory. But that’s what it is. He is denying rights to certain Americans because he disapproves of how they love. By handing Warren this prime slot at the inauguration, Obama is saying that he recognizes Warren as a spiritual leader and is reaffirming Warren’s position as such. This is an insult to gay Americans and those who support equal rights in this nation.

Simple question: would Obama allow a minister who opposed granting equal rights to interracial couples to deliver the invocation at his inauguration?


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