Friday, December 19, 2008

Obama, Warren, and Civic Inclusion

Many are complaining that by reaching out to Rick Warren, Obama is offering a slap in the face to progressives. This is silly. Yes, Warren has badly screwed up views on social issues. Most Americans do. That doesn't mean they must be shunned or demonized; it means that we need to do more to engage with them and bring them to their senses.

No matter the strength of our first-order disagreements, we should be able to 'detach' from these and treat each other with respect. That was kind of the whole point of Obama's "new politics". For those culture warriors who are shocked, just shocked, that Obama can bear to associate with evangelical conservatives, or who see such expressions of respect as somehow undermining his first-order commitment to liberalism, I can only ask: weren't you paying attention? This is exactly what we want: a president who will advance solidly liberal policies, without demonizing or alienating conservative-leaning people. If we can leave off the tribalistic hating for just a moment, maybe some of 'Them' can even be brought around to our side.

32 comments:

  1. But inviting someone to give a prominent, public address at your inauguration goes beyond engaging with them, and being opposed to elevating Warren to this prestigious role is not the same as shunning or demonizing him. Warren has said and done a variety of anti-progressive (and otherwise troubling) things, and it does not seem silly to criticize Obama for doing something that is likely to increase his status and power. There are some good arguments in favor of having Warren speak, but it's not a simple matter where one side is obviously right.

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  2. Right, there's a tactical question that remains wide open (at least for all I've said here). But I think it is silly to criticize Obama here on purely emotional / symbolic grounds, as per the following quote (from the linked story): "By inviting Rick Warren to your inauguration, you have tarnished the view that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Americans have a place at your table." Civic respect and recognition are not so zero-sum.

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  3. I've been a little surprised at the criticism myself; if he's going to be criticized this sharply for something this relatively minor, politically speaking, he's going to be in for a rocky Presidency, because even his supporters won't be giving him enough room to maneuver. Besides, this is a pretty simple and non-committing thing (it's an invocation at a ceremony, not a political office!) that Obama can do to thank Warren for the fact that Warren more than once put his reputation among evangelicals at risk to ensure that Obama got a fair hearing.

    What seems to be lacking in just about every criticism I've seen is a genuinely viable alternative. After all, most of the groups criticizing Obama on this weren't the ones to whom he owes his office: a hefty portion of the people who voted for him are precisely the Rick Warrens of America: uncomfortable with the ideas of gay marriage, abortion, and the like, but willing to give him a chance if he handles such matters diplomatically. Black evangelicals, Latino evangelicals, politically moderate Catholics: Obama was their candidate, too. And it's difficult to think of anyone who would be more acceptable to the critics who would not be seen by a lot of these supporters as a slap in the face to them.

    Obama's inevitably going to be facing a lot of these damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don't scenarios; if people, liberals and conservatives alike, aren't willing to cut him at least some slack, it's going to be a miserable four years for everyone.

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  4. Obama has said from the beginning that he is an engager, a compromiser, someone who will reach out to those who have fundamental disagreements with him. So, in one sense, this isn't a surprising development. But now that he's actually doing what he said all along he was going to do, people are coming unglued. And he hasn't even taken office yet, as Brandon says.

    Give the man a chance, I say. Before he's even taken his office he's already bested his predecessor when it comes to tolerance.

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  5. I disagree. There's a difference between willingness to compromise and weakness. Compromise comes after negotiation; anyone who knows anything about adversarial negotiation knows that if you start willing to give up half the cake, you'll end up losing 3/4.

    There's also the matter of good faith. You can't negotiate at all with people who lack good faith, who won't keep their agreements. You can't compromise and negotiate everything; sometimes you have to stand and fight.

    I've watch for almost 40 years as the Democratic party has given in the religious right, to the Republicans, to the neo-conservatives, to the Randians and Libertarians who not only would tolerate but demand the impoverishment of a hundred million people and the deaths of millions of "unproductive" people.

    I watched as a supine Democratic congress simply failed to fight against the war in Iraq between 2006 and 2008.

    Obama is not going to implement even one item of the progressive agenda unless people push. If we keep giving him a pass, if we refuse to challenge his decisions, he will simply implement the Republican agenda in a slight more sensible and aesthetically appealing manner.

    The amount of denial is staggering: The Rick Warren action is symbolic, and if we've learned anything about American politics in the last 40 years, it's that symbolism is just as — if not more — important as substance.

    And, as a symbol, asking Warren to give the invocation is an insult, a big bold fuck you, to women, to gay people, to atheists and secularists, and even to religious moderates.

    Yes. Obama will compromise. And if his actions, substantive or symbolic are any guide, we can be confident he will compromise between batshit-crazy conservatism, and slightly less batshit-crazy conservatism.

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  6. The proper way for a consequentialist to see these things is in tactical terms, and on those grounds I'm with Blar. Having the religious component of the inauguration be Joe Lowery all the time would have been a much better tactical play. Use this opportunity to give prominence to left-wing religious figures.

    Two silver linings arising from the righteous outrage of the left:
    (1) It's possible that Rick Warren will be seen as more controversial after this than before.
    (2) If Obama wants to cultivate a reputation as a centrist with lots of high-profile slights of liberals, and then use that reputation to make boldly liberal proposals look centrist, awesome. Way too early to tell on this, but it's a plausible direction given what we've seen. I took this as the between-the-lines message of the Hildebrand post -- see the penultimate line.

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  7. Neil - I suspect it's a good tactical play (see Publius' 'the Warren wedge'), but it doesn't really interest me here.

    (On the "proper" use of consequentialism, see: indirect utilitarianism.)

    Barefoot Bum - "as a symbol, asking Warren to give the invocation is an insult, a big bold fuck you, to women, to gay people, to atheists and secularists, and even to religious moderates."

    Well that's just exactly what I'm denying. Respecting X's political opponent is not thereby to disrespect X.

    And the whole point is that politics doesn't have to be purely a matter of "adversarial negotiation". There are plenty of people out there whose minds aren't set in stone, and who could be won over. But this won't happen if you're so quick to generalize the bad faith of recent GOP operatives to the entire conservative-leaning citizenry. There are a lot of well-meaning (if often misguided) evangelicals out there, and by reaching out to one of their most popular (and not hyper-partisan) pastors, Obama is creating the possibility that a lot of these folks might actually open their eyes, unblock their ears, and give him (and liberals more generally) a chance.

    There's more I could say here, but if you're suffering from Battered Democrat Syndrome then there's probably not much point. Suffice it to say that I don't think Obama is eagerly awaiting the opportunity to "compromise" on policy. Everything I've seen of him so far supports something more like Neil's hypothesis #2 (see also Matt Yglesias on 'The New Moderate') -- Obama is pushing a very liberal agenda while gaining mainstream support for his moderate tone.

    But this is getting too far off-topic. (I don't want to rehash the whole 'netroots' debate here.) Time will tell. In the meantime, let's focus on the respect question: why, exactly, is civically honouring Warren an insult to those who disagree with him on policy matters?

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  8. Richard,

    Do you agree that "civically honouring" some persons might be an insult? Excuse my lack of imagination but don't you think "civically honouring" Hitler would be an insult to Jews?

    Now I don't know about Warren or what he has done in the past. But given that what he's done is "bad" enough, I think it could be construed as an insult to some groups.

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  9. To put things in Mackie's language, Richard, I think that in-depth engagement in politics requires us to approach applying utilitarianism as a practical working morality.

    But I'm inclined to agree with Adam. Let me put the general point this way. If you argue, for bigoted reasons, that a large group of people's civil rights should be violated, that's often taken as a disqualifier for various civic honors. Why? Because the group's civil rights are obviously valuable and people who fail to recognize this are morally deficient and thus undeserving of great public honors.

    Obama isn't treating Warren's bigoted political acts as a disqualifier. This does show a disrespect for the people whose rights Warren proposed denying.

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  10. Sorry, that should have read 'Anlam', not 'Adam'. Don't know how I messed that up.

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  11. Bravo, Richard!

    Sometimes I think Progressives are obsessed with symbolic gestures, particularly when it comes to "lifestyle issues," because symbolic victories are cheap and easy. It's much cheaper and easier to style departmental secretaries "executive assistants" than to fix things so that the smart, capable women who do this job can get better jobs. It's cheaper, easier and more conducive to the warm fuzzies to celebrate multiculturalism and support ethnic dance troops than to stop ongoing discrimination against minorities and immigrants.

    In the US, with separation between Church and State on the books and the largest community of fundamentalists in the civilized world, it's especially crazy. You can't legally put up a creche in a public park for Christmas and, in my neck of the woods, there's been agitation and litigation for years over a hilltop cross on public land. Who the hell cares? Sometimes I think that all most "evangelicals"--not the few political activists--really want are just the symbolic gestures: creches in the park, hilltop crosses, prayers or moments of silence in the public schools, and guys like Warren giving invocations at civic events. Big deal. Let them have it.

    Of course it's an empirical question whether these symbolic gestures of friendship to the religious right will send us down the slippery slope to substantive concessions or satisfy religious folk so that they won't push for substantive accommodations. And that has to be decided on a case-by-case basis.

    But for consequentialists like me it's a question of strategy. Suppose you don't want X. Do you build a fence around X with lots of room to spare so that your opponents can't get anywhere near X or do you give them everything they want short of X, draw the line in the sand and then fight for all you're worth when it comes to X? Suppose you want your kid to obey you so that he won't do really bad or dangerous things. Do you train him to be obedient by imposing a whole range of trivial restrictions and punishing him if he disobeys or do you minimize rules and restrictions, draw the line just short of behavior that's really bad or dangerous, and then exert maximum firepower?

    It's a strategic question, and an empirical one, but I've made my bets. I'm curious about empirical evidence about how these strategies pan out.

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  12. Warren doesn't argue that a lot of people's civil rights should be violated, whether one considers his position to be based on bigoted reasons or not; he's in support of legal recognition civil unions and has gone on record saying they should have the same rights as marriage (just not be called marriage). The quote that got him into trouble over this whole issue, in fact, occurred in a context where he explicitly stated this; when pushed to clarify he said that he thought 'marriage' should mean traditional marriage, and when on to list things that didn't count as such -- incest, pedophilia, polygamy, and gay marriage. That is the whole case for Warren's anti-gay bigotry; there are people who will argue, and perhaps reasonably, that this is damning enough, and that the position is not really consistent; but perhaps we should be making an effort to be a little accurate. As far as what Warren advocates as to law, he quite literally advocates exactly what Obama and Clinton both advocated during their campaigns.

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  13. Do you have a link to Warren supporting civil unions, Brandon? Wikipedia currently says he opposes them, but the link is down.

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  14. Wikipedia doesn't say he opposes civil unions; it says he denies they are a civil right. This is its source (currently #14):

    "No American should ever be discriminated against because of their beliefs. Period. But a civil union is not a civil right. Nowhere in the constitution can you find the 'right' to claim that any loving relationship [is] identical to marriage. It's just not there."

    He doesn't have a problem with domestic partnership benefits. In the interview online I mentioned above, Warren explicitly says "Why not?" and "Not a problem to me" to the question about domestic partnership benefits (although from elsewhere I think his view is that insofar as marriage legally allows for benefits, you should be able to grant those benefits to anyone you please, whether spouse or partner or not). My claim about Warren on civil unions in particular is admittedly secondhand; I keep an eye on conservative evangelical views and he's regularly attacked for it. But, of course, on further thought, it could be that they are reading as much into his claims as liberal non-evangelicals, and you're right to question it.(With the one interview I'd found where he seemed explicitly to support civil unions, I find that, since I last looked at it a few days ago, he added a clarification that makes it more ambiguous.)

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  15. Anlam - "Do you agree that "civically honouring" some persons might be an insult? Excuse my lack of imagination but don't you think "civically honouring" Hitler would be an insult to Jews?"

    Sure, but see my post (and comments) on 'civic respect'. If someone has forsaken good-faith civil discourse (implementing genocide would be an extreme example), then they have no place in our public sphere. [Shunning is entirely appropriate in some - rare - circumstances!]

    But there's nothing like that going on in this case. The disagreement is purely first-order: we think Warren has substantively bad views (in certain respects); I haven't heard complaints at the procedural level. (Compare the vitriolic tone of past evangelical leaders like Jerry Falwell.)

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  16. Hey Richard,

    See this link:
    http://scienceblogs.com/dispatches/2008/12/rick_warrens_bill_buckingham_m.php

    If you still think that Warren has not "forsaken good-faith civil discourse", then I don't have anything to add.

    Thanks.

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  17. What's procedural to pastors is essentially different than what we see with politicians. We have to take ourselves out of the context of the non-religious (my assumption), and into how the religious function. Rick Warren's policy is that which he uses to govern his church and congregation. What is procedural to Rick Warren has to apply across the board.

    He does not believe you can just pick and choose your way into Christianity. In fact, he specifically excludes certain communities from joining his Church congregation. So when he is praying to his congregation - he is purposefully excluding homosexuals, among others.

    Can we assume that he prays differently when addressing different crowds, with different people? I should think not.

    So Obama's CHOICE of Rick Warren and using Christianity as the foundation for his inauguration (The use of the Bible and pastors are not mandatory in the Constitution) is to accept that his inauguration prayer will be purposefully alienating to a good chunk of his constituency. Well-intentioned or not.

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  18. My response was too long to post in comments, so I've posted it on my blog.

    Happy new year!

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  19. Gag:This is exactly what we want: a president who will advance solidly liberal policies...

    But I can not disagree: Obama is certainly "solidly" liberal of the American kind. Gag again.

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  20. "That doesn't mean they must be shunned or demonized; it means that we need to do more to engage with them and bring them to their senses."

    Richard, you are assuming that to not have selected Warren would have been to shun or demonize the right. You're worried about the presumed reaction of conservatives to liberal anger over Warren after the fact when the reaction of conservatives to the non-selection of Warren would likely have been one of ambivalence.

    So I'm curious what made the selection of Warren and the message it supposedly carries a "liberal policy" in need of execution right away? And how you equate that with "engaging" or negotiating with them is beyond me.

    As for bringing them around, Warren described his opposition to abortion rights, gay rights, stem-cell research, and euthanasia as "nonnegotiable" and "not even debatable."

    Boycott is an extremely worthwhile, effective and non-coercive method of dissent as is leading by example. As Melissa McEwans said, "There are, literally, thousands of other religious leaders from multiple religions and Christian denominations, who aren't anti-choice, anti-gay, and anti-science, whose presence at the inauguration wouldn't be a sharp stick in the eye to progressive women and GBTQ men..."

    This was an option open to Obama that would demonstrate the compatibility (to those who care) of religion/spirituality and liberal policy.

    "This is exactly what we want: a president who will advance solidly liberal policies, without demonizing or alienating conservative-leaning people."

    It's odd that you completely don't seem to acknowledge the feelings of those on the left who feel demonized and alienated by this. In fact, it's your whole argument that we shouldn't feel that way, yet you turn right around an defend the same feelings in conservatives (which I've already explained would be likely non-existent if someone else had been selected).

    "who see such expressions of respect as somehow undermining his first-order commitment to liberalism"

    Liberalism is concerned first and foremost with individual liberty.

    "If you still think that Warren has not "forsaken good-faith civil discourse", then I don't have anything to add."

    Well said.

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  21. I'm not "defend[ing] the same feelings in conservatives", but simply taking them as given. I expect better of my fellow liberals.

    (Your complaint is like the conservative complaint that liberals condemn U.S. atrocities more than they do terrorists. The response, in that case too, is that we expect more of "our own side" -- both that we have higher standards for them, and that we have higher hopes that our suggestions will be listened to. One can always complain about outside groups too, I suppose, but it's rather a waste of breath.)

    The selection of Warren is not itself a "policy", of course. (I trust that Obama has real policies, independent of all this.) Bringing Warren into the fold merely serves to make evangelicals feel 'included' (recognized, acknowledged, respected as fellow citizens) in a way that they otherwise would not. Selecting one of the "thousands" of other religious leaders would not have had this effect.

    Claims that Warren has "forsaken good-faith civil discourse" strike me as utterly ridiculous hyperbole. So I don't have anything to add, either.

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  22. "I'm not "defend[ing] the same feelings in conservatives", but simply taking them as given. I expect better of my fellow liberals."

    Yes, but at the expense of liberal feelings (that frankly were entirely foreseeable). As my first point made clear, this completely ignores the scenario where no "feelings" needed to be involved at all and works from the view that conservatives would have felt bad if Warren had not been selected. How would they even know he was a consideration? Your argument is based on the fallacious idea that to not have selected him would be seen as "shunning" him or them.

    "Bringing Warren into the fold merely serves to make evangelicals feel 'included'"

    But why is this important when taking all aspects of the selection into account? This is the question you ignore in your analysis. Did his election somehow serve as an injury in need of restitution? Are evangelicals now an oppressed minority?

    "Selecting one of the "thousands" of other religious leaders would not have had this effect."

    This also assumes that this effect is of primary concern and that there are no other ways to engage the religious right. Why?

    "Claims that Warren has "forsaken good-faith civil discourse" strike me as utterly ridiculous hyperbole."

    Well, I disagree. In reading your post on civic respect, you say that a "dogmatic sectarian majority that seeks to oppress" serves as "forsaken civic cooperation". But moving on, I don't see how it answers Anlam's question. Engaging Warren is a very different thing from honoring Warren. Not selecting him is not a "coercive imposition of one’s moral views" or a lack of "commitment to civil society".

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  23. On the last point, I never claimed otherwise. It certainly would have been permissible for Obama to choose someone else. But I take it there were good reasons for the decision nonetheless, namely that the gesture is an "invitation" to evangelicals more generally to consider co-operating with Obama rather than considering him a sworn "enemy". (I don't think evangelicals are owed anything here, and I can't imagine why you'd try to cast my position in those terms. My stance is ultimately pragmatic. We can do more good when people don't hate us, or believe that we hate them. Given that bad blood and mutual distrust is now the status quo, after the viciousness of the 'culture wars', steps to restore good faith and bridge the partisan divide -- sentimentally, not policy-wise -- are desirable.)

    And my point in the original post was purely defensive, explaining why a particular objection to the Warren pick (namely, that it is a symbolic "slap" or sign of disrespect to liberals) is mistaken.

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  24. I think a lot of the comments here are so viciously attacking Richard and Obama's choice because the people making the attacks are ultimately too close-minded to understand that perhaps there are good, non-bigotted arguments for why there should not be gay marriage (After all, if you did think that you could possibly be wrong and that the other side could be right, you would agree with Richard and I) I expected more of you communist hippies (teehee I'm conservative).

    All Obama has done is publicly acknowledged that the views of a certain group of people will be respected, namely evangelical christians and, more generally, anyone who doesn't believe in gay marriage. It is absurd to expect someone to respect your arguments for gay marriage if you do not respect their arguments against gay marriage. Golden rule after all right...? Plus, if more people actually engaged the real arguments, instead of making straw men (which is rampant in this issue), there is at least a better chance that they will change their mind.

    While it doesn't matter what I personally believe, I find it incredibly frustrating that both sides are so close-minded...

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  25. Oh, and the only people to who Obama has given a big fuck you are the close-minded liberals, and, thus, to anyone, that want their party politics to override rational discourse and careful decision-making at the federal level.

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  26. Actually, I'm not aware of any good arguments against gay marriage. And it's not "close-minded" to call bad arguments for what they are.

    (I certainly wouldn't see the Warren pick as any kind of honoring of his views on gay marriage in particular. Obama actually explicitly stated that he strongly disagreed with Warren there -- rather, he's tried to highlight other areas of Warren's work -- aiding the poor, etc.)

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  27. Richard,

    Yes, Yes, of course, I agree with everything you say, so that leads me to believe that I did not put my thoughts into words well enough. Let me at it again.

    By good, I meant, "not invalid and the person holding the views worthy of respect because they aren't bigoted" arguments.

    It's close-minded to think that a person who holds views that differ from you (even if they are unreasonable) shouldn't be regarded and whose arguments shouldn't be engaged (especially if they have the kind of reputation that Warren has in other fields -- aiding the poor, etc). Of course it's not close-minded to call bad arguments bad, that's how we can hope to learn truth, by recognizing good arguments.

    As for arguments for gay marriage, I don't want to get off topic so I'll refrain from writing any particular arguments, but I agree with you that the arguments you challenged in your two posts are not reasonable. Again, my personal beliefs are of no importance, but it is worth noting that Robert P. George has some of the most compelling papers regarding marriage. I'm sure you've heard, but his The Clash of Orthodoxies is a fantastic read, I would recommend it purely because the man is so incredibly intelligent. These I consider to be quite reasonable and may cause trouble for a lot of what you bring up in your first post.

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  28. Richard,

    Many of your statements make it clear that your position rests on a view that Obama is reaching across some divide to Warren; you feel that Warren represents a group of people that are somehow outside of the "solidly liberal policies" of Obama. From this starting point, you believe that the invitation means we are doing more to "engage with them and bring them to their senses".

    This is a delusion and all your analysis stems from it.

    Rick Warren doesn't represent some vast "enemy". He doesn't need to be brought to the table in a show of non-partisan civic respect. His views already have a place at the table. That is why Obama's solidly liberal supporters are vocally disillusioned. It is because they can see it more clearly now. They can't take it back with votes so they are doing what they can: protest. If anything, I think the protest stems from them feeling angry for not being shown the very civic respect that you are afraid we might deny the conservatives. I think an argument can be made that the LGBT community is the outsider needing the extended hand more than Warren's constituency. It's that double-standard, built on a faulty view that they are already included to a large enough extent to warrant the label "progressive" for Obama's administration, with which I have a problem.

    Now, I'm perfectly willing to agree with you that they shouldn't have been surprised but not because of "new politics"; It's because Obama should never have been expected to be "new" on much of anything. I asked many people who were misguided enough to vote for him after obvious clues that he wasn't as progressive as they thought, "How exactly do you expect to hold his feet to the fire once he wins?" I think now they are starting to feel how ineffective their voices alone are.

    As for your views about the "emotional" response itself being "silly", I find it overly dismissive and privileged. There is a real fear that it is more than "symbolic" because there is little evidence from Obama that it's not more. And to the degree that it is a sign of threat, Warren's selection does not threaten everyone equally. It ignores the "vulnerability" that some "disparaged social groups" experience in non-white-heterosexual-male society.

    I just ask that you check your premises and, while your at it, check your privilege.

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  29. Erm, you really think that conservative evangelicals feel more of an affinity for Obama than progressives do? "Delusion", indeed.

    If you don't think Obama is actually progressive, then I've nothing more to say (besides what I've already said in response to 'barefoot bum' upthread). Time will tell.

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  30. "Erm, you really think that conservative evangelicals feel more of an affinity for Obama than progressives do? "Delusion", indeed."

    Well that's not actually what I said. I said that Warren's beliefs aren't so far from Obama's. Sure there is some "calming factor" that comes from the move. The gesture is going to reassure them that their policy concerns need not be concerns. I think that gives real progressive supporters of Obama a pretty valid reason to complain. Obama is demonstrating not a bold move of open discussion but an underscoring of the fact that he is not that different from them. To the degree that that is civic respect, fine. But it's not this progressively directed persuasion gig that you make it out to be. There is a big difference.

    Yes, obviously the right doesn't "like" Obama yet but what Obama is saying with this gesture is not, as you claim, "Consider our POV" but rather "Don't worry about your POV being threatened. I'm not so different from you on this."

    "If you don't think Obama is actually progressive, then I've nothing more to say (besides what I've already said in response to 'barefoot bum' upthread). Time will tell."

    Of course he's not. Don't be silly.

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  31. You haven't given any reason to suggest that the gesture is to communicate policy agreement. You've just asserted it. And your assertion is flatly contradicted by the fact that Obama quite explicitly stated his policy disagreement with Warren on the particular issue of gay rights. A better interpretation of the gesture, I claim, is that it's not about policy at all. It's about getting over the culture wars, and showing that he can get along with conservative evangelicals. That the message of the gesture. The consequence of this message is that evangelicals will be more likely to consider our POV.

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  32. "You haven't given any reason to suggest that the gesture is to communicate policy agreement. You've just asserted it."

    I didn't just assert it. Obama said it many times. He doesn't support gay marriage. He doesn't support full choice for women.

    Remember him saying, "I know there are differences on same-sex marriage, but surely we can agree that our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters deserve to visit the person they love in the hospital and to live lives free of discrimination."

    He is clearly saying that he is looking for common policy ground, something akin to civil unions, the lowest common denominator. Trying to imagine it's going to be a progressive legislative fest followed by persuasive arguments to bring others around is naive.

    "And your assertion is flatly contradicted by the fact that Obama quite explicitly stated his policy disagreement with Warren on the particular issue of gay rights."

    He didn't state any policy disagreements. He made vague innuendos about how his views are "entirely contrary to" Warren's but that would contradict his own statements and he only started saying that when the shit hit the fan over Warren. He has been willfully obtuse about the differences. Calling yourself "fierce" and "consistent" on advocacy doesn't tell you about what and is not a statement of rights.

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