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Warring over Warren

December 19, 2008

What does it mean that President-elect Obama has chosen Rick Warren to give the invocation at his inauguration ceremony? The Left is – predictably – furious while the Right can’t help themselves but to chuckle – with a certain degree of relief – over the commotion among their left-wing counterparts as they try to process the information about the decidedly unlefty choice by The Agent of Change.

But, with the benefit of hindsight, is this move that surprising? The French Cowboy would argue that it fits a pattern. It is true that M Obama has roots with some way-out-there-left creatures – who would probably rather throw rotten tomatoes at M Warren than shake his hand – and that this, including his famous/notorious (depending on where you stand) association with Jeremiah Wright, wouldn’t make you guess that the President-elect would choose to embrace Rick Warren – and practically the entire evangelical Right with him. But this is until you come to realise that, for M Obama, religious associations are political associations and that – as we have learned during the presidential campaign – while the to-gun-and-Bible-clinging xenophobes in flyover country are not the types that M Obama would choose to play hoops with, he certainly wanted them to vote for him.

It was noticed by many that M Obama’s résumé speaks of a man who combines passivity with ambition. A contradiction you say? Not so much if you consider that he has become a politician. He has shown passivity when it came to making decisions (think about the famous/ notorious (depending on where you stand) “present” votes in the Illinois Senate) and managed to be on both sides of almost every issue while campaigning for the presidency. This strategy helped to satisfy his ambition to climb higher up the political power ladder. He stayed hardly two years within a job before he felt the urge to move on to the next level. But while he was in a job he moved little and minimised the number of enemies you necessarily make whenever you take a stand.

Does this mean that M Obama’s background made of characters like Wright, Ayers, Alinski disciples etc. doesn’t mean anything?, you ask. The French Cowboy believes that those connections show where M Obama’s true sympathies lie. After all, this is the social environment that he has chosen for himself. He tried to cut the ties only when they began to threaten his chances of winning the presidency – usually after a period of reluctance of a few days. And his spontaneous left-wing comments on issues like taxes, guns, abortion, you name it probably were more than a mere habit formed after years of socialising with lefties but betrayals of actual opinion.

The question that remains is what will ultimately be of greater importance to M Obama. The political and social values of the people he surrounded himself with in Chicago or the satisfaction of his ego through high approval ratings among the general population?

The Warren pick is merely a symbolical one – at least for someone like M Obama who can throw his pastor and mentor over 20 years under the bus because he might cost him too many votes. So here is a soothing message to the outraged Left: having Warren give the invocation doesn’t make the President-elect one bit more pro-life or anti-gay.

It doesn’t make him less politically opportunistic either, though.

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