Trevor Timm, editor of Blast’s PSA Blog, gives this perspective:

Did Barack Obama just trick every single person in the country?

It would seem on the surface that President-elect Obama stirred up his first controversy with his supporters this week, after announcing that Rick Warren, pastor of the Sattleback Church and arch-villain of gay marriage in California, will be giving the opening prayer at Obama’s inauguration on January 20th. Criticism ranged from Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) calling the move a “mistake” to a Time Magazine columnist stating, “Obama has proved himself repeatedly to be a very tolerant, very rational-sounding sort of bigot.”

But let’s take a step back for a minute and take everyone’s strong opinions about Warren out of the equation. Policy-wise, his prayer before the swearing-in is meaningless . He is not part of the Obama administration in any capacity, and in fact, Obama is stridently against Warren’s views on gays. Not to mention, Warren certainly will not being saying anything even coming close to the subject at the inauguration.

Selecting Warren was simply, in Vice President-elect Joe Biden’s words, “a showing of unity,” further inoculating Obama from any criticism from Republicans that he never bucks the party line. Liberals might be frustrated, but they aren’t going anywhere, and as a bonus, every conservative evangelical in the country will smile and nod when hearing all this, not realizing Obama never actually changed his position at all. As a pure political move, it makes perfect sense.

Much more critical, though, is the fact that the criticism leveled at Obama is only vaguely directed at him. The real venom and sting has been reserved for Warren’s words and deeds over the last few years, from which the preacher has avoided taking any flack for at all. The beating Warren is taking in the national news this past week is much larger than it would have been had he been left out of the January 20th‚ lineup, regardless of his infamy in California. For the past week, the press has been digging up all the ridiculous things he’s said over the years, such as comparing gays and lesbians to pedophiles. As a consequence, he is now forced to go on TV and give interviews and press conferences emphasizing how he “loves gay people,” and “has many gay friends,” effectively killing the message of the most famous anti- gay marriage messenger in the country.

Essentially, Obama’s imaginary insult to the Left caused Rick Warren to completely change his tone about the issue, thereby advancing the Left’s cause, while making sure to pick up some Conservative votes along the way and never actually changing his position on anything.

And to think “" he’s not even president yet.

About The Author

Trevor Francis is a Blast Magazine staff writer. He manages the Politics, Sports, Anything Blog

2 Responses

  1. Mirriam

    First of all it’s “Saddleback Church,” try nice doing some research and editing. It does not matter who Obama picks, he always be critizied. If it was a caucasian President, things would be different
    we need to move away from that. Instead of looking forward to positive change, people just look for things to be discontent with.

  2. Jackson

    to Trevor:
    You’ve got a point, but in the context of Obama’s picks for the cabinet, it looks like he’s giving himself more than just political cover. Obama is frustrating the left on a number of issues currently as well– Gaza, anyone? I think it makes sense to play it safe with public opinion before he’s president, but I’m also pretty sure that once the cards are on the table, he’s a moderate. One could also ask, why is he looking for a criticism-shield from the get-go from the right when he’s got 59/100 in the senate?

    to Mirriam:
    I think the frustration with Obama from the left is more rooted in making a break with Bush. I think that leftists who voted Democrat feel a little cheated that he’s not catering to them. Cabinet picks, for example. I also think that Bush wasn’t criticized because he chose a ‘non-political’ person to swear him in– the Chief Justice… who has sworn in every president since 1988.


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