Barack Obama’s courting of the Gay Community is over. He won. They Gays are out.  The hateful Rick Warren is in.

For more than two years, cozying up to Rick Warren has been one of Barack Obama’s favorite ways of showing evangelical Christians that he might not be so scary, after all — and for just as long, palling around with Obama every once in a while has been Warren’s way of trying to show more secular-minded people that he’s not so bad, either.

So about the only thing less surprising than the outrage that news of Warren’s selection to give the invocation at Obama’s inauguration is prompting among gay activists, liberals and Obama supporters generally is probably Warren’s appearance on the program in the first place. Obama and Warren have often used each other to demonstrate that they’ll be willing to listen to people they disagree with — and yes, also to let everyone know that they’ll be willing to anger their friends. This isn’t one of those political controversies that pop up out of nowhere without warning; whether they want to admit it or not, it seems Obama’s advisors brought on this fight with his own supporters knowing full well what was coming.

Obama is risking being a politician of convenience and not conscience by giving Rick Warren such a wide, public, steeple from which to preach his intolerance, inconsideration and idol worship. 

I am not Gay, and so I have not suffered as they have suffered in a society that condemns before understanding, but I felt the sting of an Obama reversal betrayal as well after he decided to support the FISA bill after previously promising to filibuster the invasion of privacy:

Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) today announced his support for a sweeping intelligence surveillance law that has been heavily denounced by the liberal activists who have fueled the financial engines of his presidential campaign.

In his most substantive break with the Democratic Party’s base since becoming the presumptive nominee, Obama declared he will support the bill when it comes to a Senate vote, likely next week, despite misgivings about legal provisions for telecommunications corporations that cooperated with the Bush administration’s warrantless surveillance program of suspected terrorists.

I may not want to marry a man, but I defend the want for love without repercussion, and I fight for the inalienable right to live free in a non-Panopticonic society.

I believe these Obama wafflings on what he previously vowed to support will only be the beginning of a misguided want to govern from the middle-right. 

He’ll assume he has the radical liberals on his side no matter what he decides because they have nowhere else to go — and so he will talk a good liberal game while pandering to the middle-right, and he’ll never please them, but he’ll never stop trying to convince them he’s a great guy that deserves a chance.  If he takes the road of a middling, milquetoast, presidency, Obama will be no better than his Dubya predecessor.

10 Comments

  1. You’re right about, that Gordon! I’m so disappointed that he won such a big, liberal, mandate and he’s drifting to the center so he won’t have any enemies. That sort of governing only makes enemies and loses core support. The fact that he’s letting the Republicans take their time on vetting Eric Holder is another bad omen: They will eat Holder alive.

  2. I don’t think Obama wants to be different, Katha. I think he wants to stay in the middle and “bring us together” by not having cultural wars — but his very invitation to have Warren play such a fat fiddle in the middle of his inauguration is direct testimony that the culture war is still strong and still in political play.

  3. Hi David,
    Do Rick Warren and other social conservative, religious leaders and their followers form a significant portion of the population?
    In any case, I’m curious to see just how many of his stated liberal stands he is able to turn into policy.
    His handling of the Blagojevich affair as well as this don’t seem like very good indicators.

  4. Hi Dananjay —
    The Christian fundamentalists are not a big bunch, but they can be politically powerful. The Warren pick is an attempt to get those Palin supporters to like Obama because he’s fair and accommodating. The problem is, none of those people will ever support Obama, and they’re set against his failure and defeat. Why bother pandering to them when it causes you to lose base support?
    I hope there’s nothing strange going on with Blago and Rham, but the longer we wait, the more life is given to the dark rumors.

  5. It will be interesting to watch how an Obama presidency plays out, Nicola. I think his first two years will be a disaster as the economy tanks and he’ll get the blame for it and lose his majority in the House and Senate in the 2010 elections and be forced to play from behind for the rest of his service. I think he has about 30 days to push through all his greatest ideas and after that, nothing of any importance will be considered by a fanatical conservative wing.

  6. Well said, Nicola! The Republicans will not help him a single bit. In fact, they will constantly tear at his ankles, as is their want, in order to damage him for the 2010 elections. He will have zero friends on either side if he doesn’t start choosing his supporters over his enemies.