Obama Will Be “Democrats’ Ronald Reagan” If Re-Elected

So says Andrew Sullivan in this article. I tend to agree.

“If Obama wins, to put it bluntly, he will become the Democrats’ Reagan. The narrative writes itself. He will emerge as an iconic figure who struggled through a recession and a terrorized world, reshaping the economy within it, passing universal health care, strafing the ranks of al -Qaeda, presiding over a civil-rights revolution, and then enjoying the fruits of the recovery. To be sure, the Obama recovery isn’t likely to have the same oomph as the one associated with Reagan—who benefited from a once-in-a-century cut of top income tax rates (from 70 percent to, at first, 50 percent, and then to 28 percent) as well as a huge jump in defense spending at a time when the national debt was much, much less of a burden. But Obama’s potential for Reagan status (maybe minus the airport-naming) is real. Yes, Bill Clinton won two terms and is a brilliant pol bar none, as he showed in Charlotte in the best speech of both conventions. But the crisis Obama faced on his first day—like the one Reagan faced—was far deeper than anything Clinton confronted, and the future upside therefore is much greater. And unlike Clinton’s constant triangulating improvisation, Obama has been playing a long, strategic game from the very start—a long game that will only truly pay off if he gets eight full years to see it through. That game is not only changing America. It may also bring his opposition, the GOP, back to the center, just as Reagan indelibly moved the Democrats away from the far left.”

Read it all for yourself here.

Coming Out

Here’s to Anderson Cooper, who so eloquently came out as a gay man yesterday.

Anderson Cooper at Qualcomm Stadium during the...

“…I’ve begun to consider whether the unintended outcomes of maintaining my privacy outweigh personal and professional principle. It’s become clear to me that by remaining silent on certain aspects of my personal life for so long, I have given some the mistaken impression that I am trying to hide something – something that makes me uncomfortable, ashamed or even afraid. This is distressing because it is simply not true.

I’ve also been reminded recently that while as a society we are moving toward greater inclusion and equality for all people, the tide of history only advances when people make themselves fully visible. There continue to be far too many incidences of bullying of young people, as well as discrimination and violence against people of all ages, based on their sexual orientation, and I believe there is value in making clear where I stand.

The fact is, I’m gay, always have been, always will be, and I couldn’t be any more happy, comfortable with myself, and proud.”

Being who you are is never a reason for shame. It can be, however, a reason for caution. It’s not always safe to be who you are- and everyone gets to make that call for themselves. For all the kids out there who may not yet be fully able to be themselves: Be patient, be gentle with yourselves and quietly gather supportive and loving people around you. Your day will come.

Sullivan In Newsweek:

If you haven’t read Andrew Sullivan’s cover story in this week’s Newsweek, you must. It’s an authoritative synopsis of Obama’s civil rights policy evolution on behalf of the gays. Excerpt:

This, by any measure, is an astonishing pace of change in one presidential term. In four years Obama went from being JFK on civil rights to being LBJ: from giving uplifting speeches to acting in ways to make the inspiring words a reality. And he did so by co-opting the forces of resistance—like the military leadership. He fooled most of us much of the time, our outbursts often intemperate—I went on CNN at one point to say that the president had betrayed the gay community on the military ban. We snarked about the “fierce urgency of whenever.” Our anger built. And sometimes I wonder if he goaded us into “making him do it.” If he did, it worked.

Click the cover for the full essay.

Sullivan: “The Hierarchy Versus The Future”

In one of the most concise analyses I’ve read on the issues created and faced by the Roman Catholic Church, Andrew Sullivan offers some articulate insight:

Stained glass at St John the Baptist's Anglica...

Image via Wikipedia

Here in America, we see a Catholic hierarchy all but joining forces with the Republican party to insist on their right to control what is offered as healthcare to their employees in religiously-affiliated schools and hospitals and public services. In Britain, we see a furious campaign to prevent gay couples from having civil marriage licenses, a reform backed by the Conservative prime minister, and both opposition parties. And for much of the moment, this will be what the Church presents to the world: an attempt to control the medical care for women in its employ and its determination to keep homosexuals out of the word “marriage” and, thereby, “family.”

There is a spiritual and religious cost to this. And I do not mean that the Church should always “keep up with the times.” There are moments when a Church’s role is precisely to abandon the contemporary world in order to uphold what it takes to be eternal truths. But the narrowness of the current crusades – against a pill used by 98 percent of Catholic women, whose consciences are their own, and against people of a different sexual orientation that the Church acknowledges is unchosen – damages Christianity in the culture, and, in my view, misses the forest for the trees.

Christianity is not about the control of others; it is about the liberation Christ brings to each of us, and how we can learn to trust that incarnated love in escaping our daily failures, sins, weakness, cruelties – in order to bring love into being in the world.

Exactly what I’ve been saying (although not as eloquently). The alignment with a particular party is dangerous precisely because politics and religion are partners of convenience, not of allegiance or ideology. Those shift much more often than does dogma.

Andrew further quotes Fr Ceirion Gilbert, a Welsh priest who sums up the situation in The Tablet thus:

As a priest who deals daily with young people, teachers and catechists, I fear that yet again the Catholic Church is aligning herself with the wrong side, portraying herself as the “defender” of a position and an interpretation of society and humanity at odds with that of younger generations and almost incomprehensible to them in its rigidity and – to use an admittedly “loaded” term, bigotry.

Is it possible, also taking into account Bishop Robinson’s public comments last week, that some people are actually getting it?  When will the bishops get it?

The church is going to have a tough row to hoe if it believes it can play offense on sexuality while simultaneously playing defense on clerical sexual misconduct and abuse. That kind of ridiculousness is what is seriously undermining her credibility today.

Read Fr Gilbert’s full essay here. It’s fantastic. 

The Nail On The Head

He’s talking about the contraception dustup, but he really clarifies something beautifully. Andrew Sullivan in Newsweek:

Debate between Catholics and Oriental Christia...

Image via Wikipedia

“There was a time not so long ago when Catholics and other Christians weighed various moral claims to find a balance. Sometimes, the lesser of two evils was preferable. For centuries, for example, Catholic theologians, including the greatest, Thomas Aquinas, argued that human life begins not at conception but at some point in the second trimester. For centuries the Catholic Church allowed married priests. For centuries Catholics believed that extending the end of life by extreme measures like feeding tubes was a violation of natural death, which Christians of all people should not be afraid of. But this ancient, moderate, pragmatic reasoning has been rejected by the last two popes, who have increasingly become rigid, fundamentalist, and hostile to prudential balancing acts in the real, modern world we live in. Their radical fundamentalism—so alien to the spirit of the Second Vatican Council and to so many lay Catholics—has discredited the core priorities of Christianity, failed to persuade their own flock, and led to increasing politicization. And the obsession among Catholic and evangelical leaders with an issue like contraception stands in stark contrast to their indifference to, for example, the torture in which the last administration engaged, the growing social inequality fostered by unfettered capitalism, the Christian moral imperative of universal health care, and the unjust use of the death penalty. That’s why younger evangelicals are also alienated. They want to refocus on issues of the poor, prison rape, human trafficking, and the kind of injustices Jesus emphasized, rather than on these sexual sideshows the older generation seems so obsessed with.”

America’s Cold Civil War

Andrew Sullivan calls it.
Money quote:

Now that Nixon’s dream has come true and the GOP is fundamentally the party of the Confederacy, it was perhaps naive to think they could ever accept the legitimacy of this president, or treat him with respect or act as adults in the governing process.

This coming from a thoughtful conservative. Just more evidence that the thoughtful conservatives are not in charge in The House.
Full essay here.

I Am Part Virus

dopamine receptor

 

It’s something that I’ve said time and again, but this short piece from Andrew Sullivan is well worth reading.