How should we decide who to vote for? Paul Root Wolpe thinks a candidate's personal ethics should be at the top of the list: When we care about a candidate’s character, we are really asking, Is this person authentic? Are their positions a true reflection of their inner values, or are they politically expedient? Is a change of opinion on an issue a result of the candidate listening to others, learning and making a principled decision, or is it a response to pressure, polls and popularity? . . . . It is in the American character to care about our leader’s values. We should be proud of that. I don't exactly disagree, but I don't find this all that helpful, either.
Obama's tax proposal is good short-term policy and smart politics. But it irks me every time I hear him define the middle class so expansively.
This new ad from the Obama campaign claims that if Romney wins he'll be an "outsourcer-in-chief." And here I thought we already had one of those.
So a pro-Romney Super PAC planned to focus on Jeremiah Wright--you know, because those decontextualized clips of a black pastor sounding angry didn't get played on the news enough last time around--but quickly changed its tune based on Romney's unenthusiastic response. Then a pro-Obama Super PAC clarified that it won't be going after Mormonism, and David Axelrod agreed. I'm certainly glad to be spared a barrage of prime-time crap about how black liberationists hate America (and even say "damn" about it!) on the one hand and about polygamy and special underwear on the other. But note this news story's assumptions.
Early this week, the same video kept popping up on my Facebook wall. It's from a press conference in Greensboro, at which North Carolina NAACP president William Barber (whom the Century profiled here) made a crucial point: "How do you feel, personally, about same-sex marriage?" is the wrong question. The right question is about equal rights under the U.S. Constitution and federal law. By midweek, my Facebook wall was overwhelmed with comments (and links) about President Obama's decision to give the right answer to the wrong question.
The new Century editorial offers that if the Republicans nominate Rick Santorum for president, his regular rhetoric about poverty might challenge President Obama to engage him on it--giving voters a chance to hear two different analyses of the problem instead of, you know, not hearing about it all. Somewhat more quixotically, I've found myself wondering whether there's an opportunity as well in Santorum's recent claim that environmentalism amounts to a "phony theology." Stephen Prothero's reaction is to challenge Santorum's desire to draw who's-a-real-Christian lines; Rachel Tabachnick's is to trace the "phony theology" line to the influence of the Cornwall Alliance. Good points both, but what interests me here is that Santorum's comments point to one of the basic theological questions for Christian eco-engagement: Is the emphasis on human membership in the wider creation or on human responsibility for it?
Tuesday's speech was the most fired up and the readiest to go that we've seen Obama in a good long while.