The Warren report: Obama and McCain at Saddleback
Observations on Obama and McCain at Rick Warren's anti-establishment-clause summit...
Led off by citing Matthew about "the least of us." If you're going to play the religion card, this is the better sort of framing. Slippery slope, though, ain't it?
Says Bill Clinton was right about workfare. Over the course of the hour, Obama lists several things that Bill did right, such as Bosnia. Funny, when his wife was still in the race, you'd never hear that the Clinton era was so good! Also, he pops in "sexism" now and again as an issue. Just in time to repudiate all that misogynistic press against Hillary, right?
Feeds the bullshit idea that voting against war appropriations bills meant soldiers would suddenly run out of ammo and armor.
"I believe in, that Jesus Christ died for my sins and that I am redeemed through him, that is a source of strength and sustenance on a daily basis. I know that I don't walk alone, and I know if I can get myself out of the way that I can maybe carry out in some small way what he intends. And it means that those sins that I have on a fairly regular basis hopefully will be washed away." I know all major American politicos are Christ-y, but "Jesus Christ died for my sins and that I am redeemed through him"? OMFG.
Re: "At what point does a baby get human rights, in your view," answers: "I think that whether you're looking it from a theological perspective of a scientific perspective, answering that question with specificity is above my pay grade." Too cute by more than half, IMHO.
Decent answer on Roe v. Wade but starts with the ol' "consultation with their pastors." Reaffirm his agenda of limiting late-term abortion to mother's health (no discussion of whether this includes mental health).
"I believe that marriage is the union between a man and a woman [big applause], now for me as a Christian, it's also a sacred union, now God's in the mix [applause]. I'm not somebody who promotes same-sex marriage, but I do believe in civil unions.... I think my faith is strong enough and my marriage is strong enough that I can afford those civil rights to others if I have a different perspective or a different view [applause]." Doesn't support a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage (state's rightsish angle). Same old shit. So nice of him to "afford" watered down civil rights to others.
Warren: "Recent polls says 80% of Americans think faith-based organizations do a better job with community services than the government [applause]. Good thing Obama has been making such a great case about good government.
Obama: "What we do want to make sure of is that, as a general, we're not using federal funding to discriminate, but that is only when it comes to the narrow program that is being funded by the federal government, that does not affect any of the other ministries that are taking place." So, it's totally cool for churches to discriminate outside of those "narrow program(s)."
"I'm not suggesting that everybody who's making over $250,000 is living on easy street." As S.E. Hinton once wrote, "things are tough all over."
Empathy is why he wants to be president. Haw!
"Washington is so broken that we can't seem to bring together people of good will to solve these common problems." Just breaks my heart thinking about all that good will from the Republican Party that we've failed to cultivate.
"If you're a person of faith like me, I believe that things (garbled) work out, and we'll get the president that we need." Hey, Jesus, thanks for the president you gave us these last two elections -- exactly what we needed!
Dodged question about people who aren't happy about this kind of forum.
Admires Petraeus (seems teary-eyed talking about him), who, he says "took us from defeat to victory in Iraq." We win, we win, we win! So the troops are coming home now?
Also cited John Lewis and Meg Whitman. Is he specifically trying to appeal to Hillary supporters, with shoutouts to a civil rights leader who was bullied by the Obama camp and a female CEO (if a right-leaning one).
Says he's against torture! What was the Military Commissions Act, sport, a youthful indiscretion?
Pushes offshore drilling, nukes, and all forms of alternative energy
Man, that "my friends" thing is insufferable! Obama will win by a landslide if he runs ads that feature nothing but McCain saying it, asking if we want to spend the next four to eight years listening that smarmy tagline.
Says a person is entitled to human rights "at the moment of conception.... I will be a pro-life president, and this presidency will have pro-life policies."
Marriage is "a union between man and woman, between one man and one woman."
Wants to make sure there's time to discuss judges and abortion. Gawrsh he's such a maverick moderate, isn't he?
He's enjoying the question on evil, describing an "Al Qaeda" (now how was it, exactly that an AQ franchise opened up in Iraq?) suicide bombing "now if that isn't evil, you have to tell me what is?" OK, evil is selling your soul to start a needless and ill-planned war; evil is claiming the high road on torture, based on your own horrible experience with it, and then single-handedly legalizing torture. Does that help?
"The central battleground according to David Petraeus and Osama Bin Laden is the battles, is, a, is a, is Baghdad, Mosul, Basra, and Iraq." Hey, a self-fulfilling prophecy is still a prophecy, right? He's really pushing the "victory in Iraq" card and evil, defeatable Islamic terrorists everywhere.
Could not be doing a better job selling the Obama camp's, "it's the Supreme Court, stupid" argument, listing every decent justice as the ones he'd like to get rid of. I wish Obama could do a comparable job of demonstrating that he'll do right if/when the time comes.
Hmm, now that no-name poll that Warren cites has it that only 70% of Americans think faith-based programs are better than government programs. Aw, people can come up with statistics to prove anything; forty percent of all people know that.
McCain lurves faith-based organizations. Maybe he and Obama can run on a unity ticket.
Pushing vouchers, charter schools, home schooling, etc. Calls it a civil rights issue.
"I don't want to take any money from the rich, I want everybody to get rich. [Applause] I don't believe in class warfare or redistribution of the wealth."
"Let's not have the government take over the healthcare system in America. [Applause]
Defines "rich" as $5,000,000... "... but seriously..."
Mr. Iraq War says that spending, not taxes, have been our biggest problem in recent years. You don't say!
Using lots of anecdotes, often to good (evil) effect. The usual themes: pork, government sux, low/no taxes, and of course his POW experiences.
"We cannot raise taxes in tough economic times." How did we get out of the Depression, again?
Probably best if your voice doesn't quiver when you say "I can lead."
He wants a secret ballot for union organizers. Apparently I'm not the only one who was a little confused by where he's coming from on that. Is the idea to make it easier for employees to vote against organizing, because their peers won't know that they did?
After a perfunctory statement in favor of the right to privacy, "It's remarkable the ability that our enemies have to communicate, so we have to keep up with that capability. I mean, there's too many ways, through cyberspace and through other ways that people are able to communicate with one another, so we're going to have to step up our capabilities to monitor those."
Pushes the post-partisan agenda, plays it every which way -- acts like partisanship is making us less secure. Not fully satisfied, apparently that Obama helped him shred the 4th Amendment.
Warren: "We are without a doubt the most blessed nation in the world, we are blessed to be a blessing." Damn, where is that bucket?
"The women are taking charge of the future of Rwanda, because they're saying 'never again,' and they're doing an incredible job."
Reagan-won-the-Cold-War is a big one for him. He's ready, willing, and able to pump up the Georgian crisis as Cold War II. OMFG, he's leveraging that Georgia was "one of the earliest Christian nations." It's "a great little nation... it's a beautiful little country, they're wonderful people" He lurves him some Saakashvili. Got mixed up for a second: "We must respect the entire integ-- territory of Russia, excuse me, of, the Russians must respect the entire territorial integrity of Georgia."
The penultimate question about adoption is a winner for him, as he tells the story of adopting a dying baby from Mother Teresa's orphanage.
His concluding framing is identical to Obama's: hope, reaching across the aisle, etc.
"When I go to Gee's Bend Alabama and meet the African-American women there who are so wonderful and lovely...." Echoes of his Rwanda line, pushing himself as the sensitive guy who admires impoverished black women. If only we had some tax dollars for good social programs to help pull people out of poverty....
Warren closes it out with a call for "civility" and not "demonizing each other." Good thing we're in a blessed country, so that evil that he asked both candidates about just couldn't happen here.
This forum probably helps McCain more than it helps Obama. With his nomination presumed eons ago, this is his first real national exposure in a long time, and kind of an exhibition game ahead of the post-convention frenzy.
Both accomplished their goals: Obama was likable enough, McCain had a good command of his "be afraid unless I'm your daddy" game, and his anecdotes provided a lot more memorable moments.
PUMAs who might vote for McCain got a lot to think about. Obama didn't seem to have signature issues; he more-or-less stood up for Roe v. Wade, didn't stand up for gay rights, and pandered on his Christianity (IMHO, a little more creepily than McCain did). McCain is on the attack re: abortion rights -- gay rights and UHC fuggedaboutit -- and he still hearts the Iraq War.
All told, if you had any illusions that McCain was going to be an attractive option for a progressive, he didn't give you much hope. So Will Bowers can stuff his McCain/Hillary joke of an idea.
Finally, it's interesting to note that both candidates seem to think female voters are in play, and it will be interesting to see if that becomes a substantial campaign theme for either or both (and whether any actual policy promises come out of it). Rumors of a pro-choice VP candidate notwithstanding, it's hard to see how McCain could bring home the bacon for feminists, given his aggressive anti-abortion position that he loudly touted here.