Tuesday, December 05, 2006


Dionne swoons for Obama

E. J. Dionne is on the Obama bandwagon. Today he writes up the Senator’s well-received appearance at an AIDS Conference at Rick Warren’s (“The Purpose Driven Life”) church. He opens:

“When Rick Warren, one of the nation's most popular evangelical pastors, faced down right-wing pressure and invited Sen. Barack Obama to speak at a gathering at his Saddleback Valley Community Church about the AIDS crisis, he sent a signal: A significant group of theologically conservative Christians no longer wants to be treated as a cog in the Republican political machine” Message From a Megachurch

Well, I don’t think anyone wants to be treated as a cog in any political machine but for those whose identity is as a theologically conservative Christian, the Republican Party has lately been a more welcoming place. And I will welcome the day when Mr. Dionne writes that a significant group of Blacks or union members no longer want to be treated as a cog in the Democratic political machine…and that he considers that a positive.

He concludes:

That Obama received a standing ovation suggests that Warren is right to sense that growing numbers of Christians are tired of narrowly partisan politics and share his interest in "the whole bird." In their different spheres, Warren and Obama are both in the business of retailing hope.”

Now the other person speaking at the conference has also expressed an interest in running for president – as recent as yesterday. Mr. Dionne mentions Senator Brownback’s presence but doesn’t explain why he didn’t include the Republican Senator among those in the business of “retailing hope.”

Of course it wouldn’t have helped the story to point out that Republicans, particularly this Administration and outgoing Congressional majorities, have been on the AIDS matter from even before Senator Obama got all the love for doing just that. To his credit, though, Senator Obama did:

“In his speech at Saddleback's cavernous worship center in the foothills of the Santa Ana Mountains, Obama applauded the Bush administration for spending billions on AIDS programs abroad."I don't do that that often," he said to laughter, "and sometimes unfairly so, because this is an area where I think the Bush administration has not gotten enough credit. The administration and this Congress have been serious about putting resources in contributing to the fight against HIV and AIDS." AIDS fight needs churches, Obama says - Los Angeles Times

Mr. Dionne throws in "one more thing" so I will too:

"One more thing: If you read Obama's speech, you'll realize he demonstrates a much truer Christian spirit than the GOP masterminds who have recently tried to push people away from Obama by pointing out that his middle name is Hussein."

It would help if Mr. Dionne would get the facts right. The apparent GOP masterminds is Ed Rogers, who was a White House official in the Reagan and first Bush administration but has been a lobbyist since 1991. Bryon York has a good synopsis over at The Corner on National Review Online. He makes a good point within:

“Of course, all this might generate a little more sympathy had not some Democrats in recent months become so fond of the name "George Felix Allen, Jr." During the campaign, winning Senate candidate James Webb routinely referred to his opponent as George Felix Allen, Jr. (just search for the name at webbforsenate.com.) Although it wasn't even correct — Allen, whose father's middle name was Herbert, wasn't a junior — the use of Allen's full name was clearly a campaign strategy, first, to diminish Allen, and then, after news of Allen's Jewish ancestry emerged, to make an oblique reference to that.”

Actually, I think both are much ado about nothing. Didn't some Democrats once get upset that certain Republicans (Marlin Fitzwater?) kept referring to Mario Cuomo as "Mario"? I thought we were supposed to celebrate such examples of our multicultural landscape.

good points re: Felix/Hussein.
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