Sunday, December 28, 2008

"Change" Has Arrived: NYT's Frank Rich Criticizes Obama For the First Time!

Will wonders ever cease (I like that phrase). New York Times columnist Frank Rich, possibly under the influence of some mind-altering drug, has actually criticized Barack Obama. I am stunned.

Rich, along with Maureen Dowd, led a chorus of anti-Clinton/pro-Obama writers at the New York Times during the Democratic primaries (see this essay for example). Rich's and Dowd's persistent anti-Clinton diatribes and a deeply scathing New York Times editorial led me to write this essay: On Low Roads and Hypocrisy: The Media, Sexism and Hillary Clinton. Together with writers such as E.J. Dionne and Eugene Robinson at the Washington Post, Rich contributed to the perception of media imbalance related to election coverage.

In his newly released column, Rich takes Obama to task over the Rick Warren invitation. Although his criticism is tepid compared with others, it is unequivocal. Congratulations, Rich, for doing the improbable. Here's a snippet:

[T]here’s a difference between including Warren among the cacophony of voices weighing in on policy and anointing him as the inaugural’s de facto pope. You can’t blame V. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire, the first openly gay Episcopal bishop and an early Obama booster, for feeling as if he’d been slapped in the face. “I’m all for Rick Warren being at the table,” he told The Times, but “we’re talking about putting someone up front and center at what will be the most-watched inauguration in history, and asking his blessing on the nation. And the God that he’s praying to is not the God that I know.”

Warren, whose ego is no less than Obama’s, likes to advertise his “commitment to model civility in America.” But as Rachel Maddow of MSNBC reminded her audience, “comparing gay relationships to child abuse” is a “strange model of civility.” Less strange but equally hard to take is Warren’s defensive insistence that some of his best friends are the gays: His boasts of having “eaten dinner in gay homes” and loving Melissa Etheridge records will not protect any gay families’ civil rights.

Equally lame is the argument mounted by an Obama spokeswoman, Linda Douglass, who talks of how Warren has fought for “people who have H.I.V./AIDS.” Shouldn’t that be the default position of any religious leader? Fighting AIDS is not a get-out-of-homophobia-free card. . . . [Editor's Note: Great line!]

Related Readings on Dissenting Justice:

Rick Warren Stories

Sorry, Adam and Steve: If You Get Married, We Must Allow the Smith Triplets to Wed Each Other As Well!

Rick Warren versus Don Imus: Obama's Inconsistent Positions

The Fallacy of Obama's "Diversity" Defense: Rick Warren's Views Already Have a Place at the Table

Embracing Uncle Good-But-Homophobic: Why "Reaching Across the Aisle" to Rick Warren Does Not Feel Safe to Everyone

New Obama Drama: GLBT Groups Upset That Rev. Rick Warren Speaking at Inauguration

Reactions to Reverend Rick Warren from My Blogger Buddies

GLBT Rights, Generally

Don't Ask, Don't Tell, Don't Hold Your Breath

Stonewalling on Don't Ask, Don't Tell? No Action Until 2010

Robert Gates as Obama's Secretary of Defense: "More of the Same" for Gay Rights?

Would Obama Have Won If He Were Black...and Gay?

Anti-Gay Group Thanks Obama, Seeks to Exploit Black Homophobia to Constitutionalize Bigotry

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