Monday, December 29, 2008

New York Times: Rich Vs. Kristol

Interesting tug of war in the New York Times editorial/op-ed section, as there has been in the Washington Post: Frank Rich scorned Obama for his decision to invite Rick Warren to do the invocation, and Bill Kristol scorned liberals for scorning Obama for the Rick Warren invitation.

In Rich's piece, "You're Likable Enough, Gay People," Obama tends to overestimate his ability to bring different people with different points of view together:

"As we saw during primary season, our president-elect is not free of his own brand of hubris and arrogance, and sometimes it comes before a fall: “You’re likable enough, Hillary” was the prelude to his defeat in New Hampshire. He has hit this same note again by assigning the invocation at his inauguration to the Rev. Rick Warren, the Orange County, Calif., megachurch preacher who has likened committed gay relationships to incest, polygamy and “an older guy marrying a child.” Bestowing this honor on Warren was a conscious — and glib — decision by Obama to spend political capital. It was made with the certitude that a leader with a mandate can do no wrong."

My colleagues believe that Obama and his team are tone-deaf to the situation faced by people who are LBTGQ in this are so many others. As I've written recently, there are many people who keep on being amazed at how growingly intolerant people in the Chapel Hill-Carrboro area are of LGBTQ people. We are no longer the liberal bastion of the South: we are becoming more homogenized and less diverse.

Click here for more.

Meanwhile, Billy Kristol scorns those of us who are liberal-progressives, basically telling us to grow up:

For one thing, there will be the invocation, delivered by Rick Warren. I suspect he’ll be careful to say nothing pro-life or pro-traditional-marriage — but we conservatives have already gotten more than enough pleasure from the hysterical reaction to his selection by the tribunes of the intolerant left. And having Warren there will, in fact, be a welcome reminder of the strides the evangelical movement and religious conservatives (broadly speaking) have made in recent decades.

Click here for more.

So what should Obama do next?

I like Frank Rich's idea myself: move quickly on issues pertaining to LBGTQ people:

McCarthy added that it’s also time “for President-elect Obama to start acting on the promises he made to the LGBT community during his campaign so that he doesn’t go down in history as another Bill Clinton, a sweet-talking swindler who would throw us under the bus for the sake of political expediency.” And “for LGBT folks to choose their battles wisely, to judge Obama on the content of his policy-making, not on the character of his ministers.”

It is time to change!




manxxman said...

Somehow I don't think that our "community" is very high up on Obama's priority list. After all "Shrub" did leave a rather empty closet and a very ugly situation nationwide and worldwide.

Brett Webb-Mitchell said...

I think that the attention kept on the Warren invitation--an attention that seems to have lasted longer than most news cycles--is a surprise, even to the Obama administration.

May we, as a "community," have a long memory and not have a short-term memory problem!?