Saturday, August 16, 2008

Obama & McCain at Saddleback Church

To give an idea of where this pair of conversations took place, it’s a church of over 20,000, which amazes me. Further, Pastor Rick Warren, the interviewer, during the question asking the candidates to “define rich” mentioned that in that area if you made $150,000.00 or less per year you would be considered “poor.” That from a pastor that sold some 25 million of his quite good books.

I did a bit of a transcript as it went, noting the question and answer, thinking the comparison might prove interesting. Not so much. With a couple of exceptions it was all about the style used to carry the conversation. Both candidates showed well, with McCain perhaps coming across better than expected.

Barack Obama spoke well as usual. Comfortable, considered and candid, his thoughtful responses delivered with some smiles and a few chuckles. McCain, with many stories, several I’ve heard before, getting to answers quickly and concisely, decisively. One man thinks before answering, the other doesn’t need to consider much. Both styles work in some circumstances, not in others.

I transcribed thoughts more than exact language, forgive me if I miss a bit but my quotes should be close. I’ll look at two specific questions and responses here, the first being about faith. “What does your trust in Christ mean to you on a daily basis?” asked Rick Warren to both candidates.

Obama gave a greater statement of faith. He mentioned Jesus, which to Christians might be important, and he also expressed humility before God and a recognition that he needed to get out of the way so that he could perhaps serve the higher purpose.

McCain never mentioned Jesus. Very simply he said “It means I’m saved and forgiven.” That is all. Then he went into the story of being a prisoner of war in Viet Nam at Christmas and told it well, with an additional touch at the end I hadn’t heard before.

Both candidates expressed Christian faith, both humbly with Obama speaking it in a sense that I relate to better than McCain. I think we should be humble in calling out our faith, being willing to say “I don’t know, I just believe” in more cases than we do. Humility is key and in that, McCain’s lack of proclaiming I find OK. I would think, however, that being a Baptist he might proclaim a bit more.

The other question I thought important was: “Does evil exist and if so, should we ignore it, contain it, or defeat it?”

Obama said (and I am paraphrasing here but use quotes to show the gist of what he says and separate it from my comments) “yes, it does exist. We see it in Darfur, on the streets of our cities, in parents that abuse their children. It has to be confronted. I strongly believe we are not going to, as individuals, erase evil from the world, that is God’s task, but we can do our part. Humility is important, much evil has been done in the name of good.”

Great Christian theology by my book. Well spoken. Recognition of God as greater than man and also the ability of man to try to perceive God’s will and act as God’s hands when perhaps getting it wrong.

McCain jumped on the answer before the question was done, “Defeat it.” And immediately jumped into “I will get Osama Bin Laden.” He then gave a big play on the war in Iraq as the battleground against terrorism, all of Islamic fundamentalist jihad.

I’ll admit up front I’ve got a favorite, but I am trying to see the good in both of these guys. Truly, either could be our president at this point and I want to have a sense of the person.

Barack Obama, called an elitist, comes across as humble before God, accepting that there is a greater purpose than anything self-driven, but also accepting that self has to get it done.

John McCain, a war hero and man who has served well since, comes across as a man that sees himself as the leader, driven by a man’s desire to win a war.

Neither man mentioned prayer even once. That may be a bow to the secularists in our society that they still want to appeal to. Non-faithful get weirded out by the concept of prayer. They think us crazy. This is politics after all.

There were other interesting points – what Supreme Court justices either candidate wouldn’t have voted to the bench probably being the most important of them. It reflects heavily upon what the legacy of the next president really will be. In office for at most 8 years, the probable 3 justices they will nominate will alter American politics for decades to come.

McCain, bowing to the Evangelicals, called out against Ginsberg, Bryer, Souter and Stevens, saying they legislate from the bench. He noted Alito and Roberts as two of his most recent favorites. Obama pretty quickly went out against Clarence Thomas, saying he wasn’t a strong jurist or much of a legal thinker. Scalia was his second pick not to pick. He actually came out somewhat appreciative of John Roberts as a well considered well spoken mind he didn’t agree with much but could at least converse with.

There is much at stake for the future of America in the coming election. Supreme Court justice nominations have great carry. So does the economy. One of the last questions speaks volumes, and was only given to Obama, tho John McCain answered it as part of another:

“What would you tell the American public if you knew there wouldn’t be any repercussions?”

Obama said, “Solving big problems, like energy, isn’t going to be easy. If we pretend that everything is free then we are betraying the traditions of America. When I look at the struggles of some of our previous generations I see that if we don’t make similar steps then we are betraying the next generation.

McCain, as part of his response to “define rich” said words along these lines: “Keep taxes low. $7000 tax credit per child. $5000 per family to reimburse for healthcare costs. OK, for dollars, rich is $5 million. The point I’m trying to make is that we want to keep peoples’ taxes low and increase revenues. We cannot raise taxes in tough economic times. We’ve got to give those losing jobs and homes, hope and inspiration for the future.

Man, talk about promises that can’t be kept. Oh, this is politics after all.

May the Lord’s peace be with us all. Which, by the way, I found easier to sense by turning on this show at it's start and turning it off immediately afterward. I need to watch less of the pundits.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

you mention that neither candidate mention prayer at all, even once. Not true or you were not listening. When asked his most wrenching decision and how he arrived at it, John McCain mentioned his decision to turn down early release from the Hanoi Hilton (offered because of his father's fame) and said it (his decision) was arrived at THROUGH MUCH PRAYER - then he repeated - MUCH PRAYER. Don't report without being factual. thank you

8/16/2008 10:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Excuse me for asking this, but I believe the American public MIGHT
have been duped by Pastor Rick, who looks silly in that goatee of his,
and he could lose some weight too......but what I am talking about is
this: you didn't mention it and nobody else, but I have a very strong
suspicion that the questions that Pastor Rick asked the two candidates
were GIVEN to both Obama and McCain in advance of the
"show"........why do I suspect this? because at one point Obama said
"I cheated here and did some research before hand.....I actually
looked at this idea ahead of time...."

he said this in response at first to one of Rick's question around the
45 minute time....

and CNN made a major gaffe: on the news scrawl below the screen, the
news editor who is obviosuly illiterate wrote for all the world to see
on CNN: "What is the greatest moral failure in your LIVE?

shoulda been LIFE? it was never corrected during Obama's half......way
to go, CNN!

but the main questuon here, sir, is WHERE THE QUESTIONS GIVEN TO THE
TWO MEN BEFORE THE SO CALLED FORUM? I believe they were. I am going to
ask Rick right now and see what he says....

when Rick also said "we are the most blessed nation on earth"...again
he is so full of it. Other nations are also blessed, sir Rick,
American is not NUMBER ONE in BLESSEDness, this is a huge mistkae of
arrogant overweight ammericans like Pastor Rick, who is a brainwashed
mindcontrolled robot of an ancient religion that is completely based
on myth and legend, there is NO JESUS at all, and yet he gets away
with this crap.....sad in this day and age..but that's America for
you, LIVE!

8/17/2008 4:33 AM  
Blogger Christian Democrat said...

I'll respond to both anonymous comments above, thinking them from different people.

To the first, an apology. I do recall McCain saying that now, but hadn't noted it at the time. I made a mistake.

To the second comment above, less of an attack would make your comments more worthy of consideration. Shall I assume you to be model-perfect in your looks and dress? And if so, of what importance is it? That all said, yes, it bugs me greatly when people consider our little country to be so darned blessed compared to the rest of the world.

FWIW, my sense is that Obama seeks God more often than does McCain. No evidence of this whatsoever, just my sense of it.

Also, I would vastly prefer a president that thinks before and while speaking, not one that goes to oft-told stories to illustrate points.

Finally, and this is what came back to me several times during the night and this morning - McCain is going to continue the war, keep the tax cuts for the rich in place, give large chunks of money to families with kids as well as medical insurance companies and get all this money from ... where? He is intent on buying this election and it just might work. Heck, $7K per kid might buy my vote if I believed it could actually happen, but it won't.

The Democrats are the party of fiscal responsibility and candor about tough times ahead while offering genuine hope that there is a road ahead, a plan to get the people of this country working again while solving the energy-driven flood of money from us.

The GOP wants to sell this nation down the river, which is a good place as the top players will have the mansions on the beach overlooking it all as it spills out to sea.

8/17/2008 9:23 AM  
Anonymous M said...

I have heard a lot of commotion over comments made regarding abortion: the right to life/ when human rights are applicable to a human life in this interview. Obama is catching a lot of press from the conservative side who have said that he will not even agree that babies have human rights once they are born. I did not get this picture at all after reading the trascript. I am so frustrated with my christian friends who circulate emails taking quotes like these out of context, and also only seem to care about abortion and gay marriage. It seems like many think that these are the only issues that matter in our country, and the only issues that concern God.

What did you garner from the interview with regard to these issues? How is it that the conservative press are so good at convincing people that their outrageous deductions from out-of-context quotes are true?

8/20/2008 1:29 PM  
Blogger Christian Democrat said...

Some very carefully phrased questions from m need to be answered.

First, apologies for my "transcript." please don't consider this one. If you like you can easily go to YouTube and find the complete show. For some reason YouTube isn't posting to this blog as well as it used to. Might be my server, I don't know. I loved that function and need to figure out what's wrong, but anyway...

Perhaps it is the proper transcript you speak of, in which case I think you correct. I got from Barack's statement quite clearly that he wasn't sure at what point a fetus was to be considered given human rights. I do not believe Obama to have said anything along the lines of what is represented in your statement about babies not having human rights. That is idiocy. Babies are humans. As I recall, he did give great value to life of the baby in later stages of pregnancy.

To your two questions with one mostly answered above:

The GOP pundits and spokespersons don't just take quotes out of context, they purposely mis-speak those quotes, take THAT out of context and then add a spin of deceit to it. Your repeating the purported statement about babies not having human rights is a perfect example. Although I haven't heard this previously, it falls perfectly into their format. It is due to your passing this on that my suspicions of your intent are raised. There is no basis to it.

That all said, the GOP press is so good at this simply because they have no morals about bending the truth, which is the same as speaking lies. If you know the truth and alter a statement of it to your own benefit you are a liar. Their only desire is to win at any cost, damn the truth, damn the people, damn the country.

In proof-reading this before posting, and accepting that I am beholden to a higher power simply by the name of this blog, I have to ask - Where is the power of the Holy Spirit in these people? Where is the good in them? I have no sense of good in Bush. In McCain, only a sense of self righteousness, of "I can solve this myself." I consider Karl Rove simply evil.

I will not call them conservative. Democrats are fiscally conservative.

The GOP would like to be called social conservative but fall short of that themselves while trying to legislate morality into mans' law. That doesn't work any better than when Moses gave us God's law. If you want to be morally conservative in your own life, seek God and ask for the Holy Spirit to guide you. Laws for the faithless, and the ruthless, are like ... words of wisdom to a fool.

(I'd love to know the origin of the word "ruthless" if anyone knows it)

The GOP, being the party of huge business and incredibly wealth, singing to those that aspire to those positions, robs from the future to fill their pockets today. What they get from us today isn't enough, they want our grandkids money now, too.

McCain, whether he wants to or not but being a part of that party, will only continue that abomination.

8/21/2008 9:31 PM  

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