Sunday, December 17, 2006

Obama Etc.

Responding to this post and the rather long comments thread which was ALL ABOUT ME ME ME here's what I put in comments over there. If you actually care to know everything I'm responding to you'll have to read through the entire comments thread over there.

Wow, wondered why my ears were burning.

Anyway, to clarify - Obama's triangulation is more rhetorical than real. One can triangulate by picking a Third Way position, or one can triangulate by picking a position and calling it the Third Way and that's what Obama tends to do. See Tomasky's review of his book in the NYRB. It may be dishonest or he may genuinely mean it, and I don't much care. Dishonesty has an honorable place in politics. My problem with triangulation has nothing to do with dishonesty or personal affront - I don't expect politicians to cater to me in their speeches. My problem with triangulation is that it's a way for a man to win an election, but not a way to build a party's brand. It's a short term strategy to benefit an individual, not a long term strategy to increase the size of the tribe.

As for me hating religion, I really don't. I'd certainly say so if I did. Either as belief systems or institutions religions in general terms don't bother me. I'm sure my contempt for the Christian conservative political movement at times comes across as being anti-religious, but the fact is I'm really not. I don't know why my failure to aggressively promote or link to explicitly religious bloggers should surprise anybody. I'm a secular person, it's not my role to pick the "right Christians" over the "wrong" ones. That's a theological debate they can have with each other. If religious people support a policy agenda which I agree with, great, but I'm not interested in reading religious justifications for those positions. Amazingly, good things on the internets can find an audience even if I don't link to them.