Thursday, December 18, 2008

Obama's Big Bus

I don't have anything especially original to say about the Rick Warren thing, except that Obama seems to have a deep-seated need for spiritual leaders with screwy political views. Ezra Klein's view that that Obama was wrong to elevate the homophobic Warren seems correct. So my contribution to the discussion will be to link you to this darkly humorous graphic at OpenLeft.


corvus said...

I was like everyone disappointed, and even a little hurt, when I first heard about this. I don't really see the point of reaching out to the evangelical crowd, or legitimizing one of their leaders, because I think leaving them to stew off on their own is the way to go. Wait for them to leave politics and their children to leave the church until they are irrelevant.

But then I read that Joesph Lowery will be giving the benediction. And as Coates points out, Lowery is supportive of gay marriage, speaks truth to power, and is awesome. I think that changes the calculus. It's not so much that Obama is elevating a member of the religious right as giving the religious right and left equal representation, and that's fine. (I am not religious, so I have no idea what an invocation and a benediction are, so maybe there is some weight here to the choice of whose performing what that I'm missing) It's the swearing in of a president; everyone deserves to feel welcome.

So if I'm not working that day, I will get a beer on the invocation and watch the benediction. Besides, if I had to guess whose performance will be remembered after the fact between the two, I would go with Lowery. There's a kind of beatific mischievousness in his presence and delivery that really represents the best spirit of Christianity, and that is memorable whenever I see it. Also, I think he's much more likely to go off book.

By the way, I love how the word verifications in blogger always look like actual words, even though they are actually nonsense. This time, my word is actually "logins."

corvus said...

Also, fuck OpenLeft. Stoller and Bowers are douchenozzles.


Neil Sinhababu said...

Good catch on the Lowery thing.

I feel like I have a lot in common with Chris Bowers, in part because he's a former grad student like me with big dreams of having a positive impact. Not that I agree with him all the time, but I identify with him and like him a lot.

corvus said...

But it's not much of a catch Neil. I read it on an Atlantic blog. That's the thing. I mean, there are all these bytes and ink being eaten up about the Warren choice, but the Warren choice is really only half the story, and is can be read quite differently in that context. But you have the media, both old and new focusing only on Warren. Why is that? Well, the old media approach it as an excuse to drive continue the Obama vs. progressives narrative. And the blogs follow it up by acting all betrayed, and don't actually bother to check the rest of the context. And if you are someone who is doing this as a job, like Stoller, I expect you to be better informed on this than I am after surfing ten blogs. And thus not posting images showing Obama rolling over everyone in his bus. If you are, I start assuming maybe you aren't actually informed enough to be doing this professionally, or maybe you are just a hack looking for whatever angle will further your stance, and thus I shouldn't trust you. I am starting to feel like there are way to many untrustworthy hacks in the progressive blogosphere, and it's pissing me off. We're the left, people. We should be better than that.

"redimpro." God I love these fake words!

Neil Sinhababu said...

As I said when the Hildebrand thing happened, I'm happy enough to see my lefty buddies make a big show of pissing and moaning about how Obama isn't left enough. Whining him into centrist positioning is a fine thing to do. If that Obama bus graphic makes it onto some right-wing blogs, all the better.

corvus said...

I don't know, Neil. Its sounds like you are advocating being disingenuous. Since I see the goal of Liberalism is to convince people that such positions, such a stance, is the truth one, having your loudest voices engage in misrepresentation seems like a bad approach to me.


Neil Sinhababu said...

Yeah, I guess my position does support some disingenuousness. But as far as I'm concerned, liberal politics is about setting things up so people can live better lives and captcha checks can look sort of like words. Sometimes that requires you to do weird shit.

corvus said...

I want people to live better lives too, but I think that that just isn't going to happen unless the people decide to live a better life. If you engage in lies when making your case to the people, you are in a sense setting yourself up as "outside the people," an exterior influence trying to influence the body politic, because you are not representing yourself as yourself. But I want to be me.

I am a leftist. I am a leftist because in what I have learned and experienced and read I have come to the conclusion that left-wing views are right. They are correct. They are how things should be. If I didn't think that, I wouldn't be a leftist, I would be something else. So, really, I should be able to win this argument simply by stating the truth. And if I can't do that, it's because I deserve to lose. Because it means I probably wasn't right in the first place.

Now, just because an idea loses out doesn't mean it was wrong. Because sometimes the people who are wrong are lying, and their lies convince the people, and the people make the wrong choices. But you can't fight lies with lies, you can only fight them with truth.

When I see leftwingers engaging in disingenuousness, and see people who don't have the courage in their convictions. And when people no my side lie, it makes me afraid that some of my convictions might be based on lies I was told, which makes me question my own convictions.

Disingenuousness is bad, especially for the left. Because people will always reflexively go for the known before the unknown. In order for people to move to the left, they need to feel that it is honest, and open. Liberal. If it seems murky, they will stay away.

...A weedu is a small, gnome-like fairy known for planting and looking after marijuana crops for people. They appreciate a bowl of whiskey for their troubles, or perhaps a blunt made from their efforts, but don't offer them money. That totally harshes their mellow.

Neil Sinhababu said...

I think you and I come at this from different ends of the spectrum, corvus.

Many centuries ago, politics was about shooting people with arrows and cutting people's heads off. If you wanted to, say, free Ireland from the depredations of the English, that's what you'd have to do.

Now, it's about getting people to vote a certain way. There are lots of ways to do this. Some of them involve rational argument. Others involve doing weird bullshit to shape media coverage of stuff. If the consequences are large enough, I do the bullshit, and do it with the full courage of my convictions that this bullshit needs to be done.

Now, being disingenuous can make you look bad and lose you votes. In those circumstances, don't do it! But if you're a good actor (I have no idea if this is part of what Stoller and Bowers are doing, but I wouldn't put it past them) it may be the thing to do.

Michael said...

Let's not get mad, let's get even.

What about organizing a series of alternative events to happen Inauguration day? Since gays, lesbians, progressives have been dis-invited from the official event we should hold our own. It could be somber over what could have been or just a plain old fuck Obama party for playing footsie with the creep Warren.

corvus said...

Neil, I somehow missed it the first time through, but the first sentence of your post is hilarious.

Stinving: In Germanic Legend, the poisoned sword that the half-elf Hagen used to kill the hero Sigfried.