Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Can Obama win this election with such a "postpartisan" fetish?

In itself, this incident isn't likely to have an effect on the election. But it's very symptomatic of how uncomfortable President Obama seems to feel at being a Democrat.

He's inviting a priest that has been publicly critical of his position on LGBT rights to give the closing prayer at the Democratic Convention, as reported by Chris Geidner, Cardinal Dolan, Who Prayed For Obama On Marriage, To Close Democratic National Convention Buzzfeed 08/28/2012:

On May 10, the day after Obama announced his personal support for the right of same-sex couples to marry, Dolan said that he prays for President Obama "every day" and would "continue to pray that he and his Administration act justly to uphold and protect marriage as the union of one man and one woman."

Earlier, Dolan raised his "grave concerns" about Obama's actions relating to marriage in a letter to Obama in Dolan's role as president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

In the 2011 letter, Dolan wrote about his "growing sense of urgency" regarding "recent actions taken by your Administration that both escalate the threat to marriage and imperil the religious freedom of those who promote and defend marriage." The actions discussed were the administration's decision — made by Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder — to stop defending the Defense of Marriage Act in court challenges to the law defining marriage for federal purposes as only consisting of one man and one woman.

When New York was debating its marriage equality legislation earlier in 2011, Dolan had called the prospect of the bill an "ominous threat."
There are bizillions of pastors available to give what the Democrats are saying will be a non-partisan prayer. So why pick a Catholic cardinal who has been explicitly critical of one of Obama's few distinctively liberal policy stands?

If Obama could point to any meaningful gains for Democratic priorities as a result of this compulsive postpartisanship, it wouldn't raise a question. In this case, he's just validating one of his critics who will likely use the validation to criticize him more. He may even embarrass Obama in his closing prayer and raise his own profile at the Democrats' expense.

Personally, I don't think political party conventions should be having a closing prayer ritual as though they were having a church service. But if you're going to do it, at least get a minister that hasn't openly opposed you on the grounds of his religious doctrine!

As I finish typing this, I see that Digby is posting about the same thing in Genuflecting to the ones who hate you Hullabaloo 08/28/2012.

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