Thursday, December 18, 2008

Not the Change They Were Expecting

*See update at bottom of post.

Why is the gay community so upset that Pastor Rick Warren set to speak at Obama's inauguration? It might have something to do with this letter he sent out in support of Prop 8:

"For 5,000 years, EVERY culture and EVERY religion -- not just Christianity -- has defined marriage as a contract between men and women. There is no reason to change the universal, historical definition of marriage to appease 2% of our population. This is one issue that both Democrats and Republicans can agree on. Both Barack Obama and John McCain have publicly opposed the redefinition of marriage to include so-called 'gay marriage.' Even some gay leaders, like Al Rantel of KABC oppose watering down the definition of marriage...Of course, my longtime opposition is well known. This is not a political issue, it is a moral issue that God has spoken clearly about. There is no doubt where we should stand on this issue...This will be a close contest, maybe even decided by a few thousand votes. I urge you to VOTE YES on Proposition 8 -- to preserve the biblical definition of marriage. Don't forget to vote!"

Now, one might point out that Obama has always said he was against gay marriage, so what's the surprise?

The surprise is that the liberal and gay community thought he was just saying that to get elected. The Democrats have always had a "wink, wink" thing with their Presidential candidates. They may denounce the "religious right," but have no problem with the Clintons, Pelosi, and Obama talking about God and faith. Why? Because they know they don't mean it. It's that simple. Their attitude always has been, "Say what you need to to get elected and be perceived as moderate, but we know you are on our side."

It seems Obama is disappointing the liberals over and over and he hasn't even taken office yet:

Millions of us stood up and shouted, handed out fliers, talked to our neighbors, donated hard-earned money, and drove people to the polls for Change. We screamed, hugged, kissed, and cried when we learned Change had come to America. We knew Change wouldn't come overnight, that it would take time, but we were excited that we had elected a man who was open to Change, who said he wanted to consider real people's needs while in the Oval Office. We eagerly awaited the first hints of Change, as the president-elect's transition developed.

And now, we have reason to worry that Change is not coming to America after all.

A politician being a politician. Did they really expect unicorns and rainbows? Seriously?

What has Obama done so far that has them riled? His appointments:

...there's Hillary Clinton herself, our soon-to-be secretary of state, who voted to authorize the invasion of Iraq, who has been called "a hawk among hawks," who pointed approvingly at humanitarian interventionist actions like the one her husband initiated in Kosovo in 1999. Obama's team of advisors includes several other returnees from the Clinton administration, such as Michele Flournoy, Susan Rice (recently named US ambassador to the UN), Richard Holbrooke, Anthony Lake, and Madeleine Albright, all of whom have been neoliberal hawks to one degree or other.

While a return to Clinton-era foreign relations is a certainly a change from destructive Bush-era policies, it is not Change writ large. Not to mention the fact that another segment of Obama's national-security squad is rounded out by center-righties with firm Bush-era roots, such as Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, who will stay on as a holdover from the Bush administration, and national-security advisor-designate Jim Jones, a former advisor to John McCain.


On the economy, as well, Obama has made some critical missteps. It's not just that Lawrence Summers, Obama's pick for head of the incoming White House National Economic Council, is a Clinton-era economist who oversaw the same policies that got us into the financial mess we're in today (or that his record on gender equality is iffy-at-best). Two of Obama's largest policy backpedals have been economic.

First, he adopted a more cautious stance on rolling back tax cuts for people making more than $250,000 a year — rather than taking the bold step of repealing those, he now says he'll just let them expire as scheduled at the end of 2010. Then, citing the sharp decrease in oil prices from this summer's record levels, he shelved his plan to tax oil-company windfall profits.

While anything that slows the "progression" of the "the progressives," we should not get our hopes up. Obama's past (such as we know) is very far left, which is why the far left loved him so much. From abortion rights to gun control he has voted to the extreme. But what Obama always understood is that we live in a time of perception. Obama desperately wants to be perceived as someone who brings us together.

I think that Obama will soon discover that being President in this day and time requires more than the image of being a leader. It will take actual leading. Leading does not mean that decisions will be popular.

As I see Obama now, my biggest worry isn't about appointments or even promoting and implementing leftist ideas. My biggest worry is that he will discover that he is in way over his head and bad decisions will come from that.

While Obama making leftists mad may make conservatives feel a bit better, it doesn't overcome his inexperience and his basic belief that government can solve our problems.

Obama has been showered with love and affection from his supporters and from the press for over 2 years now. It will be interesting to see how he handles the criticisms that comes with simply being a leader.

*Update: Whoa, RWN has the reaction to Pastor Warren from the netroots. I think they are a bit upset. I love how anyone who disagrees with them is "a preacher of hate." It's such a joke. You can like or dislike Rick Warren (I'm not particularly fond of him) and you can agree or disagree with him, but no reasonable person could call anything he says or does hateful. It's absurd. Being against gay marriage doesn't make you a hater. It makes you one who disagrees. That's it. Over the top rhetoric diminishs any point one is trying to make. The netroots should keep that in mind.