Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Trading Principles

[L]iberals...need to come to terms with what it means to build a durable majority...On balance inviting Warren opens more doors than it closes."

E.J. Dionne, Jr., "A Gamble for Obama...And a Risk for Rick Warren, Too," Washington Post, December 23, 2008.

I think the invite was a mistake. Three points. First, lots of opportunities exist for building, displaying, and cementing unlikely partnerships. Why the inaugural? How about inviting Warren to speak at the White House summit on faith and action? Plenty of opportunities exist for building a durable majority, paying back the Warren invite, and upsetting conservatives.

Second, try a little thought experiment. Substitute various subgroups that Saddleback Church could have barred from entry and membership. Would Obama's invite of Rick Warren still seem politically clever? Where would you draw the line and conclude that basic principles (and laws) about civil and human rights had been crossed? Blacks, Hispanics, women, Catholics, Jews, Muslims, illegal immigrants,felons, the blind, or the elderly. Add your own groups. Would you trade on the exclusion of any of these groups in order to build a durable majority?

Third, why is civil rights a left or right issue?

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