Saturday, August 16, 2008

Saddleback and forth

So Barack Obama and John McCain decided to sit down with Pastor Rick Warren at the Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, CA. It is certainly brave of Obama to venture into an obviously conservative evangelical setting where many of the questions are going to be directed at him from an evangelical viewpoint. That said, Obama probably knows his Scripture better than McCain. I don't see McCain as a regular church goer by any stretch of the imagination. He's a lot quicker to go for the four letter word than most politicians and his treatment of his first wife is less than moral.
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One of the first questions Warren asks Obama "Who are the three wisest people you know in your life and who are you going to rely on heavily in your administration?" After excluding Warren, he mentioned his wife and Grandmother, but I have to wonder howpeople who think of Obama as ultra liberal will react to learn that two of his choices were Indiana Republican Senator Richard Lugar and Oklahoma conservative Tom Coburn in addition to Sam Nunn and Ted Kennedy. He added, "What I've found is very helpful to me is to have a table where a lot of different points of view are represented and where I can sit and poke and prod and ask them questions...so that any blind spots I have or predispositions that I have that my assumptions are challenged."
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On the question of the definition of marriage, Obama is still playing it too safe by mentioning civil unions instead of supporting gay marriage. I suppose this is to be expected considering the fact that he has to woo many evangelicals to ensure a victory in the fall, but he is falling into the trap of politics as usual. Then again, he did get applause from the group inside the church with his definition of marriage.
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I did like that Obama attempted to show that Jesus would probably be a Democrat if he lived in the United States today when he quoted the New Testament and Jesus from the Book of Matthew in answer to a question about America's moral failings, "whatever you do for the least of my brothers, you do for me." Not exactly where most conservatives stand. He added, "We still don’t abide by that basic precept. That basic principal applies to poverty, it applies to racism, to sexism, it applies to not providing ladders of opportunity for people to get into the middle class."
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One of the biggest differences in answers between the two men came after Warren asked for their definition of wealthy. Obama first joked and said, "You know if you’ve got book sales of 25 million …" This was an obvious reference to Warren's book "The Purpose Driven Life" which is purported to be the biggest selling non-fiction book in history. The audience laughed and Warren proceeded to high-five Obama over his answer. Obama then settled down and said $250,000. McCain's answer? Five Million dollars. Well, that explains why McCain thinks Obama's plan to raise taxes on people making more than $250,000 a year is taxing the "poor". I would LOVE to make $250,000 a year.
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I like the fact that Warren obviously has a grasp on pop culture. He referred to the sound-proof room where McCain stayed during Obama's portion of the forum as "the cone of silence". Any "Get Smart" fan worth their while knows all about that reference.
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During the midpoint, after McCain was introduced, Obama not only shook the Arizona Senator's hand, he also embraced him. I wonder if Dubya got jealous.
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Many of McCain's answers were clearly playing to the Conservatives in the audience. When Warren asked him what point a baby is entitled to Human Rights, McCain quickly answered, "at the moment of conception. I have a 25 year pro-life record in congress, in the senate. This presidency will have pro-life policies. That’s my commitment to you."
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This may be the fundamental - no pun intended - issue evangelicals will vote on. As odd as it may seem, most evangelicals would rather vote for a candidate who would make their lives and living conditions worse so long as they were pro-life.
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Considering the audience and the questions, I think Obama did remarkably well. Perhaps his candor moved a few evangelicals to his side. We can only hope.
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5 Comments:

Blogger kent.. said...

I am an Obama supporter, but I sure was disappointed with his answer on the abortion question. It seemed like he wasn't prepared to answer this. The best he could come up with was that this decision was somehow above his rank? I don't know exactly how I would answer this either, but he's in the middle of an important race, and he needs to nail down an appropriate answer. I think I might have said something along the lines of, life begins at conception, but this isn't really the issue. The real question should be, who's decision is it to carry this new being into the world? Is it the government's business? Not really. Is it the business of the church? Not hardly. It's the right and duty of the mother (and the father has some responsibility as well). I don't like abortion, nobody does. I mean nobody is "for abortion". It is the duty of all of us in society to help convince this new mother that the life she carries within her is important, that she should understand the role she has now assumed. That we will be there to help her. But if she can't be convinced, or if for some reason such as health of the mother,or health of the fetus, genetics, rape, economics, the list could be large, she decides she isn't going to continue the pregnancy, then she should have the right to end that pregnancy. That is the position of the current Supreme Court. And that is the position that we as a democratic society should take. I'm sure my answer could use some tidying up, but I'm not running for president, Barack is.

5:07 PM, August 20, 2008  
Blogger tps360 said...

I expected the worst when it came to faith-based organizations, but Obama did very well. However, in response to the straw worry about religious groups being forced to employ people who don't believe the same, Obama should have asked, "If the focus is helping people, why does it matter what a person believes?" Volunteers, of course, are not covered under any of this. Perhaps parachurch organizations could focus on getting Christians to give of their time and effort rather than receiving money

5:01 AM, August 21, 2008  
Blogger Denise Michaels said...

If you're a Democrat you already know this election season is historic on many levels. What may not be clear to many Americans is that Hillary Clinton and her supporters have not gone away graciously or united the party even though Barack Obama clearly has more delegates and super delegates for the Democratic nomination when Clinton "suspended" her campaign June 3rd.

It may surprise you to learn Clinton supporters have mounted a nasty fight - complete with lies and manufactured conspiracy theories to create havoc at the Democratic Convention which begins in Denver this Monday, August 25th. Clinton could've have told these supporters emphatically to get behind the candidacy of Obama - but she failed to do that - so great is her ambition to be President no matter what the American people say they want.

After fighting and pushing - as of Friday 8-22, both Senator Obama and Senator Clinton will be placed in nomination in Denver and a roll call vote will take place on the convention floor. Some Clinton supporters don't seem ready to deal with the fact that their candidate simply didn't get enough votes. So they fought on - putting the election of a Democrat in the White House at serious risk.

The Super Delagate vote at the convention and will choose who becomes the nominee of the Democatic Party. Super Delegates are mostly elected officials and party operatives obliged to consider the opinions of their constituents.

If you don't want the convention next week hijacked by the candidate who did not get the greatest number of votes and delegates tell them what you think and how to vote. They're supposed to vote in accordance with their constituents - so be sure to tell the delegates in your state.

Click on this link and let your Super Delegate hear from you. This spring's primaries were hard-fought to bring Barack Obama so far. We actually have to chance to have a president who will make positive changes in the way politics are played.
Here's the link.

http://lobbydelegates.com/

11:29 AM, August 24, 2008  
Blogger Tim Miller said...

I realize this may not be posted, but here goes.

I am a McCain supporter who thought Obama did not do well in the Saddleback forum, although I had supposed he would.

I have read books by Jim Wallis and frequent blogs and writings by politically-liberal evangelicals, although I do not class myself as one. I expected Obama to be in this group, and as such to at least have a strong personal distaste for abortion and some allowance for restrictions.

Instead, he came across as a radically pro-abortion Democrat. I personally would support a Democrat who was pro-life. If the Democrats want to break into the GOP monopoly on evangelicals, then run a pro-life Democrat. Many of us are in harmony with Democratic positions on other issues, but cannot fathom supporting a pro-abortion candidate for any reason.

6:52 PM, September 16, 2008  
Blogger Faheem said...

Mccan is trying to be stylish in the photo with the post but sorry to say he is not looking cool. Obama is looking handsome. In a newspaper article about obama i read that he practices for hours in front of mirrors to improve his style and looks.

2:28 AM, October 16, 2008  

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