I can understand Obama's desire to embrace constituencies that have rejected him. Evangelicals are in that category and Warren is an important evangelical leader with whom, Obama said, "we're not going to agree on every single issue." He went on to say, "We can disagree without being disagreeable and then focus on those things that we hold in common as Americans." Sounds nice.
But what we do not "hold in common" is the dehumanization of homosexuals. What we do not hold in common is the belief that gays are perverts who have chosen their sexual orientation on some sort of whim. What we do not hold in common is the exaltation of ignorance that has led and will lead to discrimination and violence.
Finally, what we do not hold in common is the categorization of a civil rights issue -- the rights of gays to be treated equally -- as some sort of cranky cultural difference. For that we need moral leadership, which, on this occasion, Obama has failed to provide. For some people, that's nothing to celebrate.
Richard Cohen, The Washington Post
I've now read plenty about the whole "Rick Warren getting a prime slot at the inauguration" from all sides—hard-left liberals who are incensed and/or devastated, and others who make valiant, and at times even convincing, rationalizations for the move. But none summed it up a well as that Cohen column—go read the whole thing.
Ultimately, I still come down where I did a couple weeks ago: This sucks, and Obama fucked up.
No, not because this bigoted asshat getting a mic for two minutes during an event that will outshine anything he might possibly say, and this will hardly derail Obama's Presidency before it even gets started. Hell, most people—even Obama supporters—will be unaware of this whole behind-the-scenes drama, and blissfully unaware of the coded bullshit Warren will lace into his remarks.
It's the decision itself that reveals something to me: Obama has shown either a horrible and shocking tone-deafness, a calculated political callousness, or an immense ego that has him believing his own hype that he can heal any wound or close any rift.
Or some disturbing combination of all three.
His decision to offend a very real segment of his most avid supporters to appeal to a mythical segment of his detractors—or at the very least, skeptics—is a poor attempt at playing both ends against the middle. It's Clintonian triangulation and I hate that shit.
I know I've been proven wrong EVERY time I've doubted him, but I think Obama miscalculated here. Obama's detractors and skeptics will need much more than the token affirmation that Warren's presence provides to become his supporters—but even among Obama's strongest supporters, he has revealed a flaw that has justifiably made many of them skeptics.