Monday, December 22, 2008

Comment cross-posting

From the comment thread of this post, my very good friend Broadway Carl wrote the following:
Hey Joe,

What you doin' with that gun in your hand? (Sorry I couldn't resist.) I understand the frustration with the Warren crap, but ultimately will it matter? He chose Warren to give an invocation, not to become his new Senior Policy Advisor. I know it seems like a slap in the face to us now, but who's really gonna give a shit a month from now? That's how I'm looking at it. Obama is not all of a sudden going to become pro-life.

This is why I disagree with the Greenwald quote in your post - because his decision to include Warren in his inauguration for a 3 minute prayer (something that shouldn't be a part of the ceremony to begin with, IMHO) isn't going to change his mind on pro-choice, or closing Gitmo, or troop withdrawal from Iraq, or suddenly make him think conservative judges are what we need in the Supreme Court.

Sure, I'm disappointed that he chose Warren for all the same reasons everyone else is, but I don't find the invocation so important that I believe it's the beginning of the end for the Obama administration. Unemployment, health care, getting out of the Middle East, vets care, the economy - these are the things that are important to me, not who says what prayer when.

Which is why I don't agree with Hitchens either. Yes, Obama can be inclusive - that's what he campaigned on - but not on Inauguration day. Either Obama is going to believe what he says every day, or he's going to be politically manuevering every day. I hope it's the former, but it has to be every day.

And look at it another way. Warren's acceptance of the invitation is not sitting well with his base. I would say the evangelical right is freaking out about Warren's attendance more than the liberal left is. So, although I doubt this is the reason, Warren's power and influence is possibly being compromised on Obama's first day in office. That can only be a good thing.

And finally, "Meet the new boss, same as the old boss."? Seriously?
To which I replied:
New boss? Well, yeah.

New Boss Obama is triangulating his little heart out with all the mighty force of Old Boss Clinton. Up to now, it has been part of some master plan and I was (and still am) willing to sign on because, as you say, in the long run we trust that we will still get what we want on choice, Gitmo, Iraq, environmental policy, etc... Note that I said "trust." Signs are good, sure, but I realize that Washington politics is like making sausage and I'm not going to like a lot of what comes out of the Obama Administration over the next four years. That not-liking starts today.

The Warren choice smacks of wishful thinking to me. Why waste such a valuable moral commodity as the invocation at one's own historic inauguration? Such a bully pulpit for declaring and demonstrating a new direction, wasted on a bigot with a top-shelf PR team.

If Obama understands just how odious Warren (a liar & a bigot) is and thinks throwing these ravenous wolves a bone will quiet them, I point to Bill Clinton's impeachment as counter-evidence. If he understands how odious Warren is and doesn't care, then he needs to be made to show respect to this portion of his coalition. If he understands how odious Warren is and actually agrees with him, god help us, then he isn't the person we've supported all this time and should be called out loudly and often.

I don't think saying to such an important component of the Obama coalition "get over it" is really honest or fair, since that's what the whole political left in this country has heard since BushCo. stole the election in 2000. Warren equates homosexuality with incest and bestiality and loudly and publicly declares that Jews are going to hell. Lending him the weight of the Office of the President legitimizes his bigotry and spits in the face of the people who put him there. It fails to honor their blood, sweat, toil and tears.
The last paragraph of my response, ultimately, gets to the heart of how I read Carl's critique of my post, and his take on the whole Warren thing altogether, which is to say: "get over it," which misses the point. Warren is free to spew his hate all he wants. Sure, he's not quite the hellfire-and-brimstone Old Time Religion bigot that Fallwell was and Robertson still is, with his Hawaiian shirts and Van Dyke beard, but he still thinks homosexuality equates to incest, child rape and bestiality. He still thinks Jews are going to hell. And while to hold and express out loud those beliefs is still perfectly legal in an America where free speech is supposedly allowed, that still doesn't mean that it is altogether fitting and proper that Obama should give such a person a platform on the day of his inauguration.

On the other hand, it is Obama's Big Day and he can invite whoever the fuck he wants. I can have an opinion about it, though, and I think it is an insult.

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