More on Barack Obama, Post-Partisanship and Billy Graham 2.0

by matttbastard

Via Sully, Erica Barnett has compiled some of the many not-so-inclusive views held by Obama’s new spiritual BFF, required reading for those who still don’t get why including Rick Warren in the Inauguration ceremony has provoked such an outcry from the left side of the aisle. Yes, by now I fully realize that the President-elect doesn’t give a rat’s ass about progressive and LGBT objections to his upcoming public indulgence in post-partisan political symbolism. But that’s precisely the point: Obama apparently feels that cementing his political philosophy into the general consciousness at the expense of a marginalized group (ie, citizens who identify as LGBT) is of greater import than symbolically challenging entrenched bigotry.

Unless Obama truly believes that progressive “intolerance” of social conservative hobbyhorses trumps the institutional denial of agency to 10% of the US public–in which case we should all just fucking give up and hand Amy Sullivan the gold medal for finally winning the Oppression Olympics.

Once again we have been presented with evidence that establishment figures within the Democratic Party–including, and, especially, Barack Obama and his 1337 team of advisers–really do believe that Sister Souljahing must be a standard operating principle if a ‘liberal’ politician is to be seen as a consensus-builder. Judging by his latest message to progressives, social conservatives, and the Beltway, Obama seems bound and determined to establish himself as the ultimate High Broderist POTUS–which is fine, if the immediate desired outcome is to receive kudos from the Sunday bobblehead brigade. Such a too-clever-by-half strategy could, however, become a long-term political liability when the time comes for Obama to court his perpetually spurned base.

Perhaps I’m a political dinosaur, desperately clinging to the vestiges of a nakedly partisan era, unprepared to navigate the terrain of today’s pragmatic political landscape. Regardless, I really don’t appreciate always being used as a goddamn prop in a broad Kabuki performance established solely for the purview of the chattering classes. There must be a (*cough*) less-divisive way for Obama to broadcast his message of inclusiveness, one that doesn’t require making a blood sacrifice on the altar of centrist credibility–especially one where he, as a straight person, has no personal stake.

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“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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Rick Warren: The Wrong Choice

by matttbastard

Is he serious? Rick “politicians have to believe in God” Warren? Rick “cone of silence” Warren? Rick “Prop 8 is great” Warren? Rick “take out the evildoers” Warren? Rick “Dobson-lite” Warren? That’s the kinder, gentler hatemonger who the President-elect The Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies (see update below edit: and second update) has selected to give the Inaugural Invocation?

I’m with Libby Spencer:

If there was ever a time to reach out to the side of the fence that didn’t oppose him tooth and nail all the way to the White House, this is it. I would suggest people might want to leave a suggestion at change.gov and ask him to rethink this choice. Frankly, I don’t know who to suggest as an alternative, but there has to be someone more neutral than Warren.

Thunderbird is go, kiddies — remember, keep it civil (edit: and make sure to read the update below before crafting a response).

Update: Mike Madden at The War Room reports that Obama wasn’t [edit: solely–see Update 2] responsible for Warren’s selection:

[T]he decision to get involved with Saddleback was actually not Obama’s. The Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies, run by the House and Senate, put together the program for the swearing-in ceremony. Congress, not Obama, invited Warren… .

Still, I’m sure the Committee could be convinced to reconsider their decision, were Obama to sic Rahmbo on them. So keep those suggestions coming.

Update 2: Well, so much for the Committee dodge (h/t Greg Sargent):

The program participants were invited by the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies and chosen by the Chairman, the Presidential-elect and the Vice President-elect.

So whether or not Warren was directly selected by Obama, the President-elect obviously had a big say regarding Warren’s inclusion in the program.  Wonderful.  BarbinMD is exactly right:

What a spit in the eye to the GBLT community in particular, and to anyone who supports equality, dignity and justice under the law.

Todd Beeton @ MyDD has more info on who else to contact regarding the decision to include Warren in the inauguration ceremony:

If you’d like to register your displeasure with the pick, calling Dianne Feinstein’s office might be a good place to start. As the Chair of the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies, Feinstein announced the line-up — including Warren — today, calling it “superb.”

LA: (310) 914-7300
SF: (415) 393-0707
DC: (202) 224-3841

Click here to contact Feinstein via email.  Again, keep it civil.  Rather difficult, I realize, when one sees the following brand of shiny happy hatred being rewarded by a nominal ally:

(h/t Todd for the Warren Prop 8 vid, by way of Teddy Partridge)

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Dear Murdoch Times

…ahh, fuggeddaboutit.  Y’all are beyond redemption– making shit up is standard operating procedure for many in the UK press, ethics and standards be damned.   At least folks in the Mother Country readily acknowledge this fact, making its impact far less potent (at least domestically–there are those here in NA, many of whom should know better, who actually treat the Daily Mail as something resembling a legitimate source, rather than discount bird cage liner.  No, seriously!)

Just keep this in mind: according to CNN, Rahmbo “has been notified that he is not a target of the investigation.”  That means that, despite the sordid innuendo of James Bone’s copy, the future CoS wasn’t caught on tape  saying things to Gov. Blagojevich (or Blago’s staff) that could “prove an acute embarrassment to the incoming Obama Administration, even if no illegal deals were discussed”–which obviously weren’t, or else Rahmbo would likely be a target of the investigation–“and could even force Mr Emanuel’s resignation”. Yes, and it could also force winged simians to emerge flapping from Mr. Emanuel’s backside.

Hey, anything’s possible in the Murdoch Times (Drudge siren!!11one)

Here’s the thing: It is all too apparent that  Obama (and the Village) is already quite aware of Rahmbo’s, ah, colourful reputation.  That’s likely why he’s CoS, not Secretary of State.   So you’d think it would take a whole lot of, ah, colour to embarrass the incoming White House, acutely or otherwise.
Or, as fakerahmemanuel colourfully puts it:

In a word: NOTAFUCKINGCHANCE.

with bemusement and resignation,

matttbastard

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Dear Ron Fournier

hillary-clinton-devil

This may come as a shock to you, but despite conventional wisdom and what Hollywood might have you believe, women–especially professional women–actually get along with each other. So, until you come up with some actual, y’know, proof of acrimony between Susan Rice and Hillary Clinton, as opposed to speculation and conjecture, tell your staff to stop phoning in lazy Page Six-style hit pieces in lieu of purportedly ‘serious’ political reporting. Also, please go see somebody about the ongoing Clinton Derangement Syndrome festering within the ranks of AP’s Washington Bureau; at this point, it’s borderline pathological.

love and napalm,

matttbastard

h/t Ta-Nehisi Coates

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Feigned Disbelief and Political Theatre

by matttbastard

Steve Hildebrand responds to critics in an interview with Greg Sargent:

“I don’t regret any of it,” Hildebrand told me when I asked him a few minutes ago by phone whether he regretted the tone of his piece, which many found condescending and finger-wagging.

“My intent was exactly what I wrote,” Hildebrand said, adding that the criticism had “surprised” him.

Hildebrand also confirmed that the Obama team had had no hand in writing or approving the piece. “This was not collaborated with anybody in the Obama camp,” he said, and a source close to the transition confirms this.

Perhaps Marc Ambinder and Ezra Klein are correct, and this was all just a Machiavellian attempt on the part of the Obama team (does anyone really buy Hildebrand’s hard-to-swallow contention that he called an audible with this play?) to shift the Overton Window via political theatre. Sure would be nice to finally see imperative policy endeavors like withdrawal from Iraq, health care reform, and climate change firmly established as mainstream pursuits in the US public interest, rather than planks in a narrow communist socialist Marxist anti-American ‘liberal’ platform.

Still, even if this is, in Klein’s words, “a calculated messaging strategy,” I don’t believe Hildebrand should expect much online backup from the (unnamed) angry “left-wing” boo-bears unwittingly cast as foils in his Kabuki production if and when he makes a behind-the-scenes play for the (operational) DNC chair.

And maybe that was also taken into careful consideration.

h/t Ta-Nehisi Coates

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How Not to Stem Criticism From Obama’s Left Flank

by matttbastard

Memo to Deputy Transition Director Steve Hildebrand: poking a beehive with a sharp STFU stick isn’t gonna stop the buzzing. It’s just gonna get your dumb ass stung.

David Sirota patiently explains why muzzling progressives isn’t the answer:

The reason the Republican Party and conservative movement were so successful [up until recently] was because they developed a symbiotic relationship. Specifically, the party apparatus knew that sustained conservative movement pressure on the party was good for the party in keeping it disciplined and on message. By contrast, the culture of the Democratic Party since the McGovern debacle in 1972 has been to bash the progressive movement – to triangulate against it as proof of “independence” and “centrism.” We saw where that got the Democratic Party for the last 30 years – but by the looks at the public post-election attacks on “the left” from Democrats, it seems like the party higher-ups still haven’t learned the simple lesson that pressure from a strong movement strengthens the party as a whole.

In other words, internal criticism from individuals and organizations who share your goals serves as a self-correcting ideological quality control mechanism.  Such good-faith criticism is a benefit, not an impediment.  Stifle it and you risk weakening your mandate.

Look, like Sirota, I’m not ready to give up on Obama just yet.  Every new administration will stumble at times, and I’ve been vocal (if perhaps a bit too impolitic) when I believe the criticism has been impatient and unfair.  But pat-patting progressive critics on teh heads with smug condescension and smarmy dismissiveness , as Hildebrand did, is just plain idiotic.

As Bob Cesca put it:

The better approach here would’ve been to underscore President-elect Obama’s progressive appointments and to remind us that even though the Republicans are on the run, we still have a lot of work to do together. “Together” is the appropriate word here. If the goal is to be all-inclusive, and then to write a piece that doesn’t reach out to the netroots, what are we supposed to take away from the message?

Couple this boneheaded online PR maneuver with Jon Favreau’s recent Facebook follies, and one can’t help wonder if the Obama team should perhaps rethink its wicked awesome new media strategy.

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