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Doing It Wrong? Moi?

Tim Fernholz at Tapped doesn't like this post very much. The core of his criticism can be found in this sentence:

But liberals aren't angry about Obama picking Warren because it's reaching out to someone on the other side of the cultural/religious divide; they're angry because Obama has reached out to someone who compares gay marriage to polygamy and incest, who equates pro-choice people with Nazis, who enables torture and who has called for the assassination of a foreign leader on religious grounds.

But the fact that Warren holds these views is precisely what places him on "other side of the cultural/religious divide." So liberals are in fact angry about Obama's choice because it's reaching out to someone on the other side. Conversely, if he had picked a pro-choice, pro-gay-marriage preacher to give the invocation, then this would have been someone from the liberal side of the culture war and so liberals would have cheered it. (Someone like Joseph Lowery, perhaps? The only problem is: Lowery isn't a one-man publishing phenomenon like Warren, and so he wouldn't have been as useful. And that, my friends, is politics.)

Then there is Fernholz's claim that my post smacks of High Broderism: I apparently condemn "a conflict of ideas -- be it 'partisanship' or 'the culture war' -- without taking time to understand what the fight means to those participating in it." But despite my "temper tantrum" remark, that's not true at all. I wrote the post because I know exactly what the fight means to those participating in it, on both sides. What bothers me is when liberals claim the culture war is over when what they really mean is that they wish the other side would go away and stop making such a fuss. By picking Warren, Obama shows that he recoginzes that the other side isn't going anywhere -- and that the surest way for the liberal side to make gains is to persuade a few of those on the other side to change their party affiliation. That strikes me as politically shrewd--far shrewder than putting out indignant press releases. (Unless of course liberal outrage at Obama helps further convince Warren's evangelical admirers that he isn't so scary. In that case, I heartily endorse liberal temper tantrums!)