A Purpose-Driven Uproar

So let me get this straight — did everyone on both sides of the political spectrum in America think that Barack Obama was going to invite the Rev. Jeremiah Wright to give the invocation at his historic nomination?

Father Michael Pfleger? Oh, that would have been good.

Heck, why not just invite the Rev. James David Manning? (Rev. Manning was absolutely a gracious man when I met him about a fortnight ago, but I must say that it been too long since my last foray into the merits of the “white womb,” and the inauguration could be the perfect time for a rehash!)

With Obama’s selection of Rick Warren, evangelical pastor and author extraordinaire, the president-elect managed to anger people on the right and the left. The gay rights activists on the left are angry because of Warren’s vocal dissent as to the recently shot down Proposition 8, and the pro-life contingent on the right is upset that Warren would accept the invitation from Obama, who famously argued against the Born Alive Infant Protection Act, which would have provided life-saving medical treatment to infants born alive after botched abortions.

So he made the GLBT folks angry. He made the pro-life folks angry. Shoot, unless Obama insists that Warren travel to Washington, D.C. in a solar-powered vehicle, he’ll probably end up on the wrong side of the environmentalists as well.

What I’ve continued to find amazing about Barack Obama, both in the lead-up to the election and the aftermath, is the extent to which everyone seems to project their own expectations onto the guy. Everyone, left and right. On the left, the aforementioned environmentalists assume that he is the second-coming of Al Gore, ready at the drop of a hat to drop oil executives like Dick Cheney with a quail gun; the pro-choice groups no doubt picture him in a long white lab coat, ready to accept the Get-Out-of-Pregnancy-Free cards his administration would undoubtedly give to inner city victims of parenthood (on that one, they might be right); the Brady anti-gunners think of him like Superman, bending barrels on so-called “assault rifles” like plastic drinking straws. On the right, many assume that he will personally fire rockets into Israel, invite Al Qaeda leaders to stay in the Lincoln Bedroom like Bill Clinton and Yasser Arafat, and drop “Mission Accomplished” leaflets on Iraq and Afghanistan as he pulled out every remaining soldier on January 21st.

Nobody seems to want to admit that the man is a politician. On the war front, he has kept Defense Secretary Gates. On the economic front, he has loaded his stable of advisors with believers in a free market. On the national security front, he has chosen Gov. Janet Napolit–no, wait a minute, that pick was awful.

Mostly, Obama has been pragmatic. His selection of Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State, for example, was a brilliant political move for both himself and for Clinton, immediately establishing [perceived] legitimacy across the globe while simultaneously removing his most serious competition for 2012. The choice of Warren for something as innocuous as giving an invocation as his inauguration is no different.

Warren is respected on the right, and reviled on the left. Still, he gave Obama a seat more than once at his Saddleback megachurch, and Obama is looking to return the favor. Warren may be reviled by those in the gay rights movement, but his work for AIDS victims in Africa is fantastic. Obama is still left of Planned Parenthood and NARAL on the abortion issue — no pastor will change that.

Above all else, we need to stop projecting good and bad on President-Elect Barack Obama and accept him for what he is–a politician–knowing full well that not-so-deep below the pragmatic surface is a guy who desperately wants to govern from the far, far left. So long as he is pragmatic, however, we need to praise him on the rare occasion when he does well, and loudly criticize him when he does otherwise. Regardless, the whole time, as conservatives we need to be getting faster, smarter, quicker, sleeker and more efficient in order to fight him in 2012.

Remember, we need Apollo Creed.

In the meantime, let’s not cry wolf and be ready to jump on the president-elect wholeheartedly when he truly deserves it. The Fairness Doctrine. Comprehensive Immigration Reform. Cap-and-trade. These are issues that matter, these are issues for which Obama will likely surrender that pragmatism. Let’s be ready.

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Comments

  1. Richard says:

    Jeff,

    Brilliant article. I too find myself hoping (hope and change), that BO will embrace the historical significance of his election and govern as a pragmatist and not an idealogue. This hope may quickly be shattered but like all politicians, he becomes the vessel onto which all people project their hopes, dreams, ideas, etc. This conservative is willing to give him a chance, praise him when he does good and chastise or fight him when he does bad.

  2. kris says:

    Oh no! I can’t believe it. More are being snookerd by this shell game artist – even here. In order to carry forth his plan of using the present chaos to steer more and more to his one world concept of surrendering our ideals to the UN types, he merely co-opts more and more trusting souls to dance to his tunes, and then later when the subverting begins and they try to escape from appearing to be included, he’ll point to their good words – on tape now – for a sweet revenge for making him look valueless on national TV! Perhaps too cynical? So, I’m like those from the “show me” state!

  3. BerlinBerlin says:

    What I want to say is this:
    Obama uses people, he does not belong to any side, he is only out there to gain power.
    Thinking in DNC and RNC, left and right, redneck and AA, green and oil money terms is going nowhere.
    Obama is there for himself.
    He used his brown skin for his purposes, he used the left, he used the media.
    Think different for a moment.
    Don’t judge him with past measures.
    Obama is the AC!
    That’s a whole new chapter.
    And since You are thinking now: tin foil hat.
    That is part of the game.
    Wake up!
    You are not dealing with an average corrupt politician.
    This is waaaaaay different.
    Thanks.

  4. sonicninjakitty says:

    Dear Jeff, With all due respect, are you drinking the kool-aid, too? Please! Obama is nothing more than a lying, cheating, selfish opportunist. I’m a PUMA (which stands for party unity my ***) and I will never respect this fraud because he’s done nothing to earn it! Have you googled the term ‘astroturfing’ yet? Try it–take special note of the word “misinformation” in the Wiki definition. Then try goolgling ‘astroturfing’ + ‘David Axelrod’. This entire country has been shanghaied, and Obama is laughing at this very moment about it. He has no respect for America, its people, or its Constitution. Do not let your guard down for one second. It’s exactly what he wants.

  5. Puddleglum says:

    Right on the money once again Jeff.

    My fear is a pragmatist on the surface and a radical behind the scenes.

  6. I Beam says:

    Looks like you in the water, Jeff.

  7. ksledgemoore says:

    Jeff,

    I have been an Obama supporter this entire time as you know (since 2004, really, and throughout the primaries) and all I can say is THANK YOU for this article! It’s downright depressing when my liberal friends are all, “Obama has betrayed us” with the occasional reach-across-the-aisle that he has already done, including with the Warren pick. I am adamantly pro-gay rights and gay marriage, so I have to admit I feel a bit conflicted with the Warren choice. But for some reason it is actually quite easy for me to see how people can disagree with someone on most issues, but still want to work together with them on the things they have in common (like fighting poverty and AIDS, for example!) Also, the way I see it, choosing a speaker isn’t giving anyone any power. If Obama truly is pro-gay (debatable), he can make changes when it matters, like with laws, etc. Does it REALLY matter who speaks at the inauguration?

    I happen to agree with Obama on most issues, but I am GLAD when he makes efforts to work with people he disagrees with. I want him to be a good president who represents all (most?), not just the left. There are some things we fundamentally disagree with, but I believe that on the VAST majority of issues (like the economy), republicans and democrats measure success in just about the exact same way. We have the same goals. So it makes sense to work together to achieve them.

    –Katherine

  8. Janet says:

    Obama: The Naked Emporer

    Please read all the way to the end and let us know what you think:

    http://www.davidicke.com/obama

  9. tanarg says:

    Sometimes I think the Internet is exacerbating the already considerable difficulties in political communication in this country. Conservatives read conservative sites, and liberals read liberal sites. True, some venture to the other camp’s sites, but by and large, when they do, if they comment they are mocking and rude.

    Before the Internet, we had maybe two local newspapers, and we had national magazines. That situation exposed each political camp to the thought of the other camp. And that was a time when journalists actually reported news objectively, or at least far more objectively than they do today.

    And today there is no sober hearing-out of the other’s point of view. The preacher is always talking to his own choir. We are stuck. I know there are terrific benefits of the Internet, but in the area of political discourse, I think its record is abysmal.

    The forums that allow comments on articles are frequently inhabited by near-illiterates who apparently have little knowledge of how government works and think nothing of displaying their ignorance by their inane pontifications and conjectures. I’m getting close to the point of abandoning the Internet as a source of political news altogether. I am very discouraged.

    What has led me to this point has been the absence of any serious discussion of an issue that has been relegated to the “fringe,” though it is a reasonable issue to raise. “What issue might that be?” you ask. “I hope you don’t mean that silly “natural born citizen” issue. Please grow up.”

    Yes, that’s it. And that’s the response, even from some otherwise sober conservatives, that leads me to think the Internet is killing rational discourse.

  10. Jeff Schreiber says:

    Looks like you in the water, Jeff.

    Yes, except nobody is mistaking Rick Warren for a manatee.

    Dear Jeff, With all due respect, are you drinking the kool-aid, too?

    Not at all, ma’am. I said he’s a politican, didn’t I? That’s about as bad a criticism as you can get!

    Listen, I don’t care for the guy’s ideology. You know that. However, he HAS been pragmatic. Now, just because I’m willing to recognize pragmatism and good POLITICAL moves, doesn’t mean that I don’t think that there’s a radical hiding in there just below the surface.

  11. Puddleglum says:

    tanarg,
    The Internet is not killing rational discourse. People are killing it. It is kind of like the gun argument — guns don’t kill, people kill.

    The root of the problem, IMO, can be traced directly to education. Government group-think schools have turned out several generations incapable of original thought. Do you think there is any rational discourse in public education? None. Nada. Zip. If you don’t think like the herd, then you are considered an idiot. This is no accident, mind you.

    The other problem is our sound-bite conditioning. Read Neil Postman’s Amusing Ourselves to Death

    If you have school-aged children, pray over where they should be lest we perpetuate the problem. Homeschooling is much easier than it seems.

  12. RatTrader says:

    Not to get off message here, but Obama & Gores green initiative is way off base and will cost Americans bundles of money. Senator James M. Inhofe has a report on the website epw.senate.gov

  13. rikker says:

    Jeff,

    This is a brilliant article. Even though you were the first to put Berg on the map, you seem to realize how weak and untenable his case before the SCOTUS is, even though the NBC issue is valid.

    I am an Obama supporter but not an Obot. I worry that his attempt to cross the aisle will put him in a position where he is trying to please everyone, which will lead to analysis paralysis.

    But I agree with you. He HAS been pragmatic and vastly political so far. But I predict his attempt at being inclusionary will cause his presidency to wander eventually.

  14. hokiedokie24 says:

    Jeff so far everything you have written I have agreed with. Keep up the good work!!

  15. bigal says:

    We have no choice but to watch this guy play out his hand. But we must remember that he is as slick, maybe slicker, than Bill Clinton in his use of language to mislead and misdirect.

    When he speaks from a teleprompter or from a prepared statement (one wonders prepared by who) virtually all of his words can have a double meaning, depending on what the listener wants to hear. How many times has he said, "as I have repeatedly stated", or "as I have always stated", when he is actually reversing himself.

    Right now he is playing all of us, trying to sound middle of the road, or centrist, but below the radar is the radical George Soros, et al, infiltrating the political process. Don't look at the Cabinet level appointees, but look at who will be actually implementing policy in middle management positions.

    As he lulls us to sleep, we will suddenly wake up and wonder how did we suddenly get here>

  16. ksledgemoore says:

    tanarg: completely agreed.

    This is what I have found during this election season. I read one news source consistently — bbc news (in my view pretty unbiased.) But when I randomly read other articles here and there, they were usually linked to from people I knew. Most people I know are liberals (especially the ones willing to send me an article to read.) While it was fun to read things that I agreed with and highlighted democrats’ accomplishments and interesting life stories while revealing republicans’ corruption and stupidity, it was also irritating to know that my news was unbalanced because it was filtered through my liberal friends and family. I tried to seek out more news from major American sources, but they were all biased and/or inclined to report on unimportant gossip-like entertainment-value-only topics (like Palin’s daughter’s pregnancy.)

    When I went to blogs and other sites with comments, republicans and democrats fought, usually in an unintelligent manner (“YOUR STUPID!!!”) Basically, I felt like we were tearing ourselves apart. Meanwhile, when I have had the occasional IN PERSON conversation with a republican, I’ve found it quite easy to civilly discuss the issues. I’ve also found that we always have a LOT in common!

    All people are people. All people care about the well-being of others and feel good about volunteering and charity, not just democrats. All people have strong family values, not just republicans. Everyone wants there to be lower unemployment, higher wages, and a better economy, even if people disagree on how to get there. Everyone wants peaceful relations with the rest of the world, even if we disagree on how to handle conflicts. Everyone wants there to be fewer abortions, even if some think that abortion itself should still be legal, and others believe it is immoral to teach about contraception as part of sex-ed. No one wants gay people to suffer, even if some people think that they should not be allowed to marry. We all want the earth to be a clean place and full of natural resources, even if we disagree to what extent it is in danger, if at all. Everyone wants criminals to pay for their crimes and to be off the streets, even if some people believe they should never be killed as punishment. Everyone wants a level playing field, even though some think that affirmative action creates that level field and others think that it causes the field to be uneven. Regardless of religion (or lack thereof), everyone believes thou shall not kill, cheat, lie, steal, etc. We all have roughly the same values ultimately. (btw, when I say “all people” and “everyone” and “no one”, I really mean most people from both parties. Not every single person wants all of these things.)

    I don’t know if it’s the internet’s fault or what, but it would be nice if we could remember how to come together, especially while this country is in trouble as it is right now. Maybe the holiday season will help us do this? I see togetherness as Obama’s message and goal, but as Jeff said I could be “projecting.” ;-)

  17. Site Information says:

    I don’t agree with the pick of Hillary Clinton as Sec of State, she knows absolutely nothing about foreign affairs, she doesn’t understand the Middle East, or Russia. She doesn’t even speak a foreign language. She is no diplomat by any stretch of the imagination.

    When OBama says to go talk to Ahmamidgeman , with no strings, what is she going to do? Go against her principles or stand up to Obama?

    This is an awful pick. The only good thing about it is sending her out of the nation frequently.

    The Arizona govenor pick of Napolitano was EVEN WORSE, this person DID NOTHING for Arizona. By Sheriff of Phoenix own admission the state “is infected with illegal vermin”. She is a do nothing on border control. The worst possible pick, a VERY BAD pick for upholding our Constitution.

    Two F’s as far as I am concerned, failures.

  18. kris says:

    Great article with sobering and realistic view of this Obama/Warren “togetherness”:

    http://www.thenewamerican.com/usnews/election/612-rick-warren-the-cfr-and-barack-obama

    “Obama, meanwhile, has defended his choice, saying, “dialogue is part of what my campaign is all about,” while noting that in his opinion Warren is a “fierce advocate for equality” for gays and lesbians, and will remain so. The president-elect also said a “wide range of viewpoints” will be presented during the inaugural ceremonies. In fact, he enlisted a gay marching band for the parade — The Gay and Lesbian Band Association. He says he and vice-president elect Biden are proud and honored to have them.”

    So, we can gain from this – “stand for nothing and you can stand for everything”. How convenient!

    I thought that “that Book” said something like – “you’re either hot or cold or you get vomited out of the mouth of God”!!

    “Schlueter offers more saying that Warren’s message is that one can now “claim to be pro-life while aiding and abetting someone fully committed to continuing the bloodshed of innocents.” Warren, she says, believes that contradictory opposites don’t have to drive each other apart:

    “This is an irreconcilable difference–being pro-life and pro-death. Rick Warren wants us to believe that out of the two opposing sides, out of the struggle, there can be eventual unity and progress. That there can emerge a synthesis.

    …..“Human beings cannot look into the soul of man but there are indications that Warren may not be what he seems and that Obama, once again, is getting his marching orders from the New World Order crowd.

    “In America, the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) is the primary promoter of the the “New World Order” internationalism once praised by the first President Bush and is linked with several other similar organizations around the world to promote a one world government under a form of socialism. It is an elitist organization. One cannot be a member of the CFR and not realize that their policies lead to the abrogation of the Constitution, sovereignty, and independence of the United States. David Rockefeller, who has admitted in his biography that he is part of a cabal to bring about a one world government, was the chairman for 15 years.

    “Rick Warren is a member of the CFR.

    “Obama has surrounded himself, just as Bush did, with members of the CFR. In addition, Obama has shown a propensity to also surround himself with people who came out of the radical and terrorist movement of the 1960s and 1970s, and, in the process the CFR controlled media has made it appear as if it is all centrist politics.”

    Read more: http://www.thenewamerican.com/usnews/election/612-rick-warren-the-cfr-and-barack-obama

  19. toto says:

    Okay, so, I can see why the left would be upset, because he tells it like it is. As for the right being upset for their reasons, I don’t quite follow the logic. If we are to change people, or in other words, “save them”, then how can that be done without showing love? By that, I mean christian love, and I do believe thats Pastor Warrens goal. I may be wrong on that, but I hope not. As for the gays being upset, well too bad, in Warrens world, gays are an abomination, and if he is trully a good pastor, how could he allow that. Think about it.

  20. Jorge says:

    This year, taxpayers will receive an Economic Stimulus Payment. This is a very exciting new program that I will explain using the Q and A format:

    Q. What is an Economic Stimulus Payment?
    A. It is money that the federal government will send to taxpayers.

    Q. Where will the government get this money?
    A. From taxpayers.

    Q. So the government is giving me back my own money?
    A. Only a smidgen.

    Q. What is the purpose of this payment?
    A. The plan is that you will use the money to purchase a high-definition TV set or a new computer thus stimulating the economy.

    Q. But isn’t that stimulating the economy of China ?
    A. Shut up.

  21. Jeff Schreiber says:

    Blogger RatTrader said…

    Not to get off message here, but Obama & Gores green initiative is way off base and will cost Americans bundles of money. Senator James M. Inhofe has a report on the website epw.senate.gov

    RatTrader,

    I love Jim Inhofe on this issue. I also plan to write something fairly comprehensive on Global Warming once I have a few hours to devote to it. I’m getting tired, recently, of the propaganda aimed at our nation’s children.

  22. Puddleglum says:

    Kris,
    Great article about Warren. I’ve always had a check in my spirit about him and the Seeker movement. This connects some dots.

    Check out this article on American Thinker today.

    http://www.americanthinker.com/2008/12/bahais_the_new_jews.html

    Then go do your own research and see that this is one of the fastest growing religions, and who has embraced it but the UN!!

    http://info.bahai.org/article-1-6-0-1.html

  23. Puddleglum says:
  24. Author says:

    Hey Jeff;

    Once you get caught up some well deserved rest and relaxation and go after the Global Warming subject, make susre that you credit good ole Mother Nature.

    Words of wisdom from a retired GEOTECHNICAL ENGINEERING TECHNICIAN. This global warming is nothing more than ma mature doing her thing.

    Now lets see — 9 degrees F this morning — looks like a heat wave to me. Wonder if Al Gore didn’t get the word?
    Course Al Gore wouldn’t realize the warm liquid running down his leg didn’t come from Star Bucks — but then it could of!

  25. bigal says:

    Jeff,

    When you do your Global Warming thing, no doubt you will expose the nonsense that the Earth is getting warmer.

    The problem I have is that “Global Warming” and “greenhouse gas” are always mentioned in the same sentence, like the existence of one proves the existence of the other. No one has explained how a colorless gas can have a greenhouse effect, i.e., prevent the upward movement of warm air.

    If the CO2 in the atmosphere is increasing, the the O2 in the atmosphere must be decreasing. I’ve heard of no such studies. Nor have I heard of laboratories showing how CO2 traps heat and prevents it from being radiated into space.

    The whole subject of CO2 as a greenhouse gas is nothing but a socialist scheme for massive wealth transfer from the “wealthy nations” (read that as USA) to the underdeveloped nations through an international cap and trade system. Not to mention the carbon tax to be imposed by the UN under Obama’s global poverty initiative.

    We need a group of established (preferably retired) scientists who have tenure, who don’t need funding or grants to support research, and don’t need to be published, in other words immune from political pressure, to tell the truth about this massive fraud.

    Science is the search for truth, whatever the truth turns out to be, and no matter how inconvenient. We don’t need politically correct science.

  26. gailbullock says:

    Re: Puddleglum’s comment”
    “Right on the money once again Jeff.

    “My fear is a pragmatist on the surface and a radical behind the scenes.”

    Stated as on target as can be said! The more I read about Obama, and the more I learn, the tighter the knot in my stomach becomes.

    Another thing that’s infuriating is the lack of action on anybody’s part to protect our borders. In fact, the government seems to have made Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean examples for doing just that! The question begs an answer to WHY? Thank you for standing up for them, Jeff. I found an address for each on the Internet and sent them a Christmas card.

    And, if you don’t announce your candidacy in eight years, I’m writing your name in!

  27. kris says:

    Another interesting “timely topic” article referencing a Wall Street Journal article:

    http://www.newswithviews.com/PaulProctor/proctor169.htm

    “If that doesn’t peg your spiritual discernment meter, you may want to go have it checked.
    What I find fascinating is that this Maitreya fellow seems to have a strangely similar “share and save the world” agenda to that of Purpose Driven Pastor Rick Warren with his Global P.E.A.C.E. Plan and also President-elect Barack Obama with his Global Poverty Act and Universal Service Plan – men who apparently have no aversion to working with any or all of the world religions or non-religions to save the planet – which may explain, at least in part, why Warren is scheduled to lead the invocation at Obama’s upcoming inauguration.
    Could this be another not-so-subtle sign of solidarity?
    But what was really entertaining was seeing Warren recently proclaim the social gospel as “Marxism in Christian clothing” in the Christian Post.”

    more to that article:

    http://www.newswithviews.com/PaulProctor/proctor169.htm

  28. Jan says:

    Unfortunately I see both men more concerned about their own power and influence than they are for the agendas they claim. Obama, as POTUS, should be concerned about the good of the whole country. I don’t see many of our elected officials who put that as their number one priority. As just another seemingly corrupt politician I don’t have a lot of faith in his promises or rhetoric. As far as Warren goes, well…..there’s a lot more to that man than meets the eye. While I am willing to give anyone the benefit of a doubt I have already used up my cache with Obama.

  29. kris says:

    Why not let's just make ourselves God:

    http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id=D956V2H00&show_article=1

    And if the hand or eye or brain or feelings cause you to be co-opted, instead of cutting them off, just allow them to remain without remedy or even acknowledgment of their real danger, and rot the whole body!

  30. MUJERLATINA says:

    As a Roman Catholic I see Rick Warren more as a motivational speaker than a preacher of the Gospel. He’s what I would call ‘Gospel Lite’, and I am not at all surprised that Obama chose him for the invocation. While Warren’s works are to be commended, he really does not represent mainstream denomination Christianity — hence, to me he’s another piece in the Obama chess game.

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