“This should be a fight over the official prayer itself”

by matttbastard

Steve Benen puts the Rick Warren controversy in broader perspective:

The real problem isn’t with who will give the invocation, but rather, the fact that there’s going to be an invocation in the first place. We had 144 years of presidential inaugurations, dating back to George Washington, in which there was no invocation and no benediction. This shouldn’t be a fight over which pastor delivers the prayer; this should be a fight over the official prayer itself.

If anyone needed an indication of how the contemporary Evangelical movement has drastically shifted the intellectual landscape of the public commons, the manner in which this debate has been framed–the existence an inaugural invocation accepted as a given, rather than challenged as an ahistorical anomaly–certainly provides a stark illustration.

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How to Make Friends and Manipulate Irrational Voters

by matttbastard

Are Americans irrational when it comes to politics — voting against their own interests? Or is this phenomenon a function of the interaction between mind, politics and society?

George Lakoff is a New York Times bestselling author and his new book, The Political Mind: Why You Can’t Understand 21st Century American Politics with an 18th Century Mind, [was] released May 2008.

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Quote of the Day: A Movement of Hearts and Souls

by matttbastard

2261498075_560acb549f.jpg

(Originally uploaded by Barack Obama)

What’s going on is that we’ve finally got a Democratic candidate who understands exactly how the Republicans did it. As I pointed out my very first week on this blog, the GOP didn’t come to power by talking about plans and policies; they did it by using strongly emotional appeals that grabbed people by the gut and didn’t let them go. Theirs was never a movement based on reason. It was, from the very beginning, a movement of hearts and souls. And it was that deep, emotionally sustaining commitment that drew people in so deeply that they were willing to give 25 years of their lives to bringing about the New World Order their leaders promised them. We may hate what they’ve accomplished — but we’re never going to be able to do better until we can inspire that same kind of passion for change.

And Obama’s doing just that. He’s tapped into a deeply pressurized seam of repressed fury within the American electorate, and he’s giving it voice, a focus, and an outlet. Are the results scary? You bet: these people want change on a scale that much of the status quo should find terrifying. Are they unreasoning? The followers may be — but as long as their leader keeps a cool head, that’s not as much of a problem right now as we might think; and the heat will dissipate naturally in time. Is this kind of devotion even appropriate? You bet. You don’t get the kind of deep-level change we need without first exposing and channeling people’s deep discontent. Obama’s change talk may be too vague for most people’s tastes (including mine); but the fact is that if we’re serious about enacting a progressive agenda, rousing people’s deepest dreams and desires and mobilizing that energy is exactly how it’s going to happen. And Obama’s the first candidate we’ve had in a generation who really, truly gets this.

The energy of Obama’s rallies scares the hell out of reason-bound, well-educated liberals; but it’s nothing new to anyone who’s spent time in the overheated revival-meeting atmosphere that conservative politicians have used to rouse their voters for decades. Stirring up their base in exactly this same way is how they won. Our chronic inability to move people like that is why we’ve continued to lose.

– Sara Robinson, The Cult of Obama (h/t Oliver Willis)

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Quote Of The Day: Unreliable Narrators

by matttbastard

To a New Yorker, the idea of Rudy as a liberal or even a moderate is unreal, topsy-turvy — like describing George McGovern as a hawk or Pat Buchanan as a Zionist. The case for Giuliani’s moderation rests mainly on three overblown issues — guns, gay rights and abortion — and even in those cases, his deviation from conservative orthodoxy is far milder than is usually suggested.The “social” and “cultural” issues that divide Americans encompass much more than guns, gay rights and abortion. They include state support of religion; the legitimacy of dissenting speech; the president’s right to keep information secret; the place of fair procedures in dispensing justice. The Bush administration’s hard-line stands on these matters have polarized the nation as much as the Iraq war has. And on these issues, Giuliani is just as hard-line as the man he’d like to succeed.

If you’ve managed to keep liking President Bush, you’d have no trouble loving President Giuliani.

– David Greenberg, Rudy a Lefty? Yeah, Right.

More from Lower Manhattanite on just how much some New Yorkers with personal ties to Rudy absolutely adore America’s Mayor™:

…Rudy Giuliani is that rare beast that engenders ill-will at every stop in his climb to lord it over the last bunch of people he worked with. And in so doing, his list of fucked-over folk who hold a grudge against him is as long as his now-defunct combover was once wide.

Related: McClatchy – GOP candidates run hard to the right.

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