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August 18, 2008

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Pug

Third, don't the media powers-that-be grasp that most Americans don't give a damn what any religious leader says about politics? Seriously.

That statement is clearly not true. Millions of Americans care about what their religious leaders say about politics. Evangelical Christians have been a major force in American politics for decades now. Some religious institutions, such as Focus on the Family, have become thinly veiled political operations.

Deb Cupples

Hi Pug,

You're right about James Dobson and that millions of Americans care about religious leaders' opinions.

I just think that those millions are not an actual majority: more of a very raucous minority (kind of like the so-called "Moral Majority" in the '80s).

Of course, I could be wrong.

Adam

It was actually a pretty good forum. Warren asked plenty of good questions. Clearly he was coming from a religious angle, but they talked about plenty of real and meaningful issues. And the answers provided some clear and stark contrasts. From the "give me a number - what constitutes rich" question, to the frank discussion of abortion policy and supreme court justices, you saw some fairly clear and distinct answers on issues a lot of people care about.

Bottom line - it would be a very good thing if people made their choice about the president based on events like that one. You need a few more to cover more issues, but Saturday night was a good night for the mainstream media.

Adam

"Cone of silence" was actually a line from Warren himself. It was just meant as a humorous way to describe the sequestrization. I don't think he anticipated cone-gate and the continuous repeating of the term.

How can you say with such confidence that people don't care about the "cone of silence" issue? You're slipping into Cokie Roberts territory, where you assume to speak for the American people without any actual backing for it. If Obama was speaking off the cuff, while McCain was giving prepped answers from his staff, that's absolutely a meaningful thing for voters to consider when they weigh the sincerity or thoughtfulness of the candidates.

The evidence that McCain knew at least some of the early questions in advance is pretty compelling. The most obvious one was when he interrupted Warren and answered his three part question with three rapid-fire responses. The only problem - Warren hadn't even asked the FIRST part yet; all he had done was set up the question. His answer only makes sense in the context of the questions that HADN'T BEEN ASKED YET.

http://www.dailykos.com/hotlist/add/2008/8/17/02247/6361/displaystory//

Arthur Mellman

I believe the "Cone of Silence" lie perpetuated by Pastor Warren was not the Pastor's fault. It is my opinion that someone forced his hand. That is just my opinion though.
The other possibility is that he meant to say, "Mr. McCain is currently taking a little nap in the Cone of Ignorance, and someone will wake him shortly so he can start spinning his Web of Lies.”

Gina

These false accusations of cheating by the Obama camp just shows what a lack of character these sore losers have. Obama has been getting a free pass from the beginning of the primaries. Obama looked like the rank inexperienced amateur that he is in the Saddleback debate ... while McCain looked decisive and competent. The election is only about 70 days from now, and if Obama hasn't already come up with positions on these crucial questions by now, he is certainly not qualified to be President of the United States. Crying and accusations of cheating because Obama lost the debate, only makes Obama look smaller and less deserving of the office.

Deb Cupples

Hi Adam,

You're RIGHT! I really don't know what percentage of Americans care about whether McCain cheated the "Cone."

I don't know what percentage takes such forums seriously (given that both candidates likely anticipated some of the bigger questions and prepared for them -- kinda like preparing for trial).

And I don't know what percentage of Americans are so into their religion and emotional issues like abortion that they would consistently vote for politicians who tend to have a deleterious effect on their pocketbooks.

I was exaggerating to make a point.

I look around and see issues like these:

- a severely threatened national economy,

-an internationally significant conflict in Russia/Georgia,

-numerous private contractors making our govt's business cost way more than it needs to,

- a health care crisis (to which contractors contribute), and

- a piss-poor education system that perpetuates the cycle of poverty (thus, it perpetuates crime and ends up costing us taxpayers more in the long run).

In light of issues like that, I can't help thinking that whether a politician cheated at a forum -- or even whether the forum happened at all -- is simply not important in the grand scheme and does not deserve much media attention.

But that's just me.

Adam

The forum touched on more than one of the issues you bring up there. Like I said, it was a good day for the MSM. Warren spent more time on moral issues than I care for, but the bottom line is that viewers got fairly straightforward answers from the candidates on a wide range of issues, and there was a clear contrast in positions. It was the sort of thing that voters should get more of, not less of.

I agree that the "cone of silence" issue is not earth-shattering, but it's certainly fair game to mention it, particularly with the McCain campaign backing away from any clear denials. It's pretty clear that McCain had at least a handful of rehearsed answers to Warren's questions. How meaningful a piece of information that is is up to each voter to decide.

Deb Cupples

Adam,

Yes, it is fair to bring up if McCain cheated. That's not really my point.

I agree with Damozel: religious groups have been playing too much of a role in our national politics (and govt) over the last 8 years -- and the media's making a big deal out of their forums only adds to the perception of legitimacy.

As someone who agrees wholeheartedly with Jefferson and Paine, I don't like it.

And look at what the Catholic League is trying to do now re the convention. Slippery slope.

(I was raised Catholic, btw).

I think religion is religion and needs to be relegated to its own realm. Similarly, I think govt is govt, and should NOT interfere with religion.

Adam

Fair enough. Personally, I was fine with this event because Warren was a fair host and covered a lot of ground. At the same time, I agree that it says something about our society if this guy had the juice to put together an event like this, while environmental or civil liberty or healthcare advocacy groups are on the sideline. Of course, many more groups had their say in the early goings of the Democratic primaries, but that's not the same.

Deb Cupples

Hi Adam,

I hear ya. I'm just on a tear recently about the religion-and-politics thing.

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