Saddleback Smackdown

Pastor Rick Warren, author of “A purpose driven life,” heads up Saddleback Church in Orange County, California. Orange County is approximately the midpoint between Los Angeles and San Diego. Although known as a white, republican, Christian bastion, Orange County is changing and diversifying, as is America itself.

Before getting to the Saddleback Candidates’ Forum, a quick piece of good news is in order. I was published in the Washington Times a few days ago.

Returning to Saddleback, Barack Obama and John McCain both spoke at this church about religious and other issues in separate remarks. Rather than provide complete transcriptions, I will present the red meat along with analysis.

Speaking of red meat, I was hoping the debate would be at Saddleback Ranch, a well renowned steakhouse.

With that, below is the best of the Saddleback Smackdown.

Obama said America’s greatest moral failure is not taking care of the weakest among us. We don’t think about those with least.

When asked when he bucked his party, he spoke of working on campaign finance reform with McCain. This is false. It was McCain that bucked his party. The democrats supported it. Obama also mentioned opposing the Iraq War, but again, most democrats were fine with that.

When asked what he changed his mind about, he admitted that Bill Clinton’s welfare reform law worked better than he expected.

His most gut wrenching decision was opposing Iraq. He conceded that Saddam Hussein was a bad guy.

The abortion question of when life begins left Obama like a deer in the headlights. The answer was “above his pay grade.” He copped out on gay marriage, arguing a states rights position.

He supported the Bush position on stem cell research.

Evil exists. Obama cited Darfur, abusive parents, and inner cities. We cannot erase evil from the world. That is God’s task. We should have humility. We have committed evil in the name of defeating evil.

Obama would not have nominated Scalia or Thomas, but thinks Scalia is qualified.

He meandered about faith based programs.

On merit pay for teachers, a careful observer could see puppet strings being pulled by the teachers unions.

When asked to define “rich,” he stated that a family making under 150k was middle class or poor. More than 250k was rich. He left those inbetween undefined.

When asked what is worth dying for, he replied “American freedom and interests.” He stated that we should act if we can act “in concert with the world community.” Internationalism is important to him.

He praised President Bush for working to combat AIDS in Africa.

When asked why he wanted to be President because he believes the American dream is slipping away. He can build bridges.

McCain then had his turn. While Barack Obama would seek advice from Michelle Obama, McCain brought up General David Petraeus. That alone should distinguish the candidates. McCain also showed bipartisanship by praising Representative John Lewis.

His greatest moral failure was the failure of his first marriage. America’s greatest moral failure was not always doing what is right in terms of serving a cause greater than our self interest, although we are better than other nations.

When asked how he bucked his party, he cited climate change, spending, and torture. McCain is wrong on these issues, but unlike Obama, does reach out. That is called compromise, when republicans act like democrats.

A position he reversed from 10 years ago was offshore drilling. McCain was emphatic. One does not have to agree with stands, but at least he has them. On this issue he is completely right.

His most gut wrenching decision was to refuse to accept early release from a Vietnam prison ahead of his friends who had been there longer.

He believes life begins at conception. He is against gay marriage, but also supports a states rights position. He supports stem cell research but has hope that skin cell research will make the embryonic issue moot.

We should defeat evil. He will follow Osama Bin Laden and “bring him to justice if he has to follow him to the gates of Hell.” Islamic extremism is the evil of the 21st of the century. Iraq is the central front of the War on Terror.”

His answer should be placed side by side with Obama’s in campaign ads right now. Radical Islam is the primary evil, not Darfur or bad schools. This is why McCain should win. He is an adult.

McCain would not have nominated Justices Ginsburg, Breyer, Stevens, or Souter. He will only hire strict constructionists who will not legislate from the bench.

He unequivocally supports federal funds for faith based organizations. He pointed out that faith based organizations came through after Katrina.

He would absolutely have merit pay for teachers and “find bad teachers another line of work.” McCain pointed out that Obama sent his kids to the school of their choice.

When asked to define “rich,” he defined it as “a home, a good job, an education, and a better future.” He does not want to “take money form the rich.” He wants “everybody to get rich.” He did not need to provide an actual number since he is not the one attacking the rich. He also pointed out that the issue is spending, not taxes. “We spent 3 million to study the DNA of bears. That was either a paternity issue or a nature issue.”

When asked how to decide between privacy and security, McCain immediately brought up the right of union members to have a secret ballot.

When asked what is worth dying for, he gave the same answer as Obama. He cited freedom and American interests. Yet he diverged by not babbling about internationalism.

McCain spoke eloquently about the crisis between Russia and Georgia.

With regards to human rights, the President should use the Bully Pulpit. McCain at least did not advocate activism on the issue. Speeches are fine. It is not our job to deal with human rights.

On the issue of orphanages, McCain mentioned that we must make it easier for Americans to adopt children so that they do not have to go overseas. McCain has an adopted daughter himself.

He wants to inspire a generations to serve a cause greater than their own self interest. That is why he wants to be President. In his case, you can see he means it because he has lived that life. “I have always put my country first.”

Pastor Warren did an excellent job asking tough but fair questions in an unassuming manner. He made it clear to the crowd that he wants a more civilized debate.

He is right. Both of these candidates are good and decent men. Obama is not a bad guy. He is just wrong, and hopelessly naive.

Evil is Al Queda, not inner city issues.

Obama is calculated, focus tested, and poll created. McCain is an American hero that truly understands the dynamics of the War on Terror.

When Obama speaks about committing evil to stop evil, he makes the moral equivalence argument that sickens me. There is nothing America today that comes close to the evil of Islamofacism.

Obama is also slick. In an entire conversation about religious issues in a church, Obama never mentioned his own church of 20 years, with such beautiful lunatics as Pastors Wright and Flegler.

McCain is an adult, and this debate was one of his finest performances.

Obama looked like a deer in the headlights on several occasions because he had to carefully calibrate answers to offend nobody and please everybody. McCain is not interested in being warm and fuzzy. There is work to be done, and he is prepared to do it.


16 Responses to “Saddleback Smackdown”

  1. I notice you mentioned this:

    “When asked how to decide between privacy and security, McCain immediately brought up the right of union members to have a secret ballot.”

    I forgot to mention that in my synopsis of the forum “Saddleback “Civil” Silliness.”

    The crowd cheered when they heard that one. It just goes to show, conservative Repubicans truly care about organized labor and the rights of workers! LOL!!!

    The scam here is plain to the educated eye: For the most part, employers, especially large employers, are not stupid. They are well aware of who is organizing and who is not, who is “with them” and who is “against them.” The trouble for these employers is that American labor law forbids them from taking relatiatory action against organizers as long as those organizers pursue organization and their employee responsibilities legally. So what employers need is plausable deniablity in order to retaliate against organizers so as to make it look like they’re not retaliating for organizing. With the “card check” system the organizers openly affirm that they are organizing, thuis shielding them, at least somewhat, from retaliation. The employer has no plausible deniability to retaliate because the employers activities are known to the employer. With a “secret ballot,” the employers have that plausible deniability and so if they discover an organizer they have a better chance of retaliating while making it appear that the retaliation is in fact some unrelated action against the employee, say for breaking a company personal email rule or some such thing. The Democrats have proposed that the law should offer organizers a choice – either organize with the “card check” or the “secret ballot.” This seems like a fair approach as one could imagine there may be timess when a secret ballot may be preferable to the card-check, such as when inter-employee hostility is running high. But the cons want “secret ballot” only and have the unmitigated gall to claim this is for the beneefit of workers and their right to organize – and if you believe that, boy, oh, boy do I have a bridge for you!

    As for that crowd cheering that comment, let me just say, I’m an atheist and I’m a thousand times more “Christian” than every single one of those clapping combined.


  2. Micky 2 says:

    “As for that crowd cheering that comment, let me just say, I’m an atheist and I’m a thousand times more “Christian” than every single one of those clapping combined.”

    With all due respect that is one of the dumbest things I’ve ever heard.
    You cant possibly know what each individuals driving conviction is for their position.

    Christians are allowed their preferences without having their beliefs mocked by you.

    Stop buying those bridges and you wont have such a hard time getting rid of them.

  3. Micky, that whole “secret ballot” issue is so sleazy, so phony, such a steaming pile of rhetorical diarrhea, for any self-proclaimed “Christian” to endorse this is the height of hypocrisy. Jesus would urinate on that bill.


  4. infidel308 says:

    So.. you don’t believe in secret ballots for any elections?

  5. What’s that supposed to mean? Of course I “believe” in secret ballots! What kind of silly question is that? That’s why I agree with the Democrats that organizers should have a choice. Didn’t you read what I wrote?

    “The Democrats have proposed that the law should offer organizers a choice – either organize with the “card check” or the “secret ballot.” This seems like a fair approach as one could imagine there may be timess when a secret ballot may be preferable to the card-check, such as when inter-employee hostility is running high.”

    What I want is for organizers to have a choice. If the to-be-organized feel that the organizers are pushing too hard and some of the employees are uncomfortable with that, and/or they feel the employer is not going to or can not use plausible deniability to retaliate against organizers, then they may prefer a secret ballot. If the employees are civil with each other with regards to organizing but they fear the employer intends to retaliate, or has retaliated, then card check might be a better choice. This isn’t some simplistic question of whether or not one “believes” in secret ballots.

    Besides, there’s a time and place for everything. In our republic, for example, we use a secret ballot to elect our officials, but our officials vote for almost all matters publicly. Public corporations sometimes employ secret ballots for various initiatives, and sometimes they do it openly. Even in everyday life, be it on an amateur sports team or in a book club, sometimes people choose to vote secretly and sometimes not.

    You gettin’ me here?


  6. infidel308 says:

    I have never been union so have never voted with a card check. Now I understand what you intended, but the first time you mentioned it I saw “that whole “secret ballot” issue is so sleazy, so phony”.
    I also never plan on being in a union, working for a union, or believing in unions for workers. So I could really care less about the issue. It will never affect me whether there is secret or card check ballots for unions.
    But thanks for the ejdumacashun.

  7. Oh, well, then you’re question wasn’t silly at all, Infidel. Sorry about that. What I meant about “that whole “secret ballot” issue is so sleazy, so phony” referred to the GOP effort to push the secret ballot-only legislation in the ostensible name of “labor rights.” Since when does the GOP care about the rights of labor??? I mean, c’mon! Say whatever you want about the GOP over the years, but pro-labor was NEVER a part of their agenda!


  8. Micky 2 says:

    I dont see what business it is of anyones who I vote for.
    Whether its the class clown or a union vote.

    I could care less about unions also.
    As an Iron worker and working in many hotels I got to see just how they inflated the cost of labor and goods.
    At that time in y life standing on a moral or principle was not relevant.

    But on moral and ethical standards I see absolutley no reason in the world that my vote should not be secret.
    You would think a dem would be in favor of a majority vote that speaks for the people, regardless of being identified.

    Aint nothing sleazy about privacy at all. As a matter of fact its pretty damn sleazy to have it any other way

  9. infidel308 says:

    I am wondering if the GOP is bringing it up (secret ballots) as a backdoor to some sort of national system to ensure all votes are counted-one vote only-by living people-type of legislation. I think it was they (GOP) several years ago that brought up votes by dead people in Chicago or Seattle.

    And as a side note; you sure bring up religion a lot for someone who is atheist. Being a ‘person of the book’ I have no problems with atheism. In fact if you are right, it doesn’t matter to either one of us, but if you are wrong it only matters to you. If it is the religious nutcases, then we both have problems with them.

    But just like I will never care what any candidate ever says about card check ballots vs. secret, why do you care so much about religion if you don’t believe? Or is it jusk the kooks?

  10. Well, Micky, you obviously chose to simply completely ignore everything I wrote about this proposal, so I just don’t know what else to say to you about it.

    And no, Infidel, I’m absolutely sure the GOP wants this for their corporate buddies to make union-busting easier. I’m quite read on the subject – and I’ve seen this in action, for whatever the anecdotal worth.

    Religion is a powerful cultural force in America and the world. It is a motivator (or is it opiate?) of the masses. Given that the forum was religious in nature, I thought it apropos to bring it up. That, and for whatever reason, I’ve always been fascinated by religion.


  11. parrothead says:

    Jersey, I love your portrayal of this as being solely about union busting all the while ignoring the union history of using violence against employees who were not with them. One need only look at some of the recent incidents on picket lines in two California strikes (the longshoreman and the grocery workers) to know that intimidation is just as prevalent among union organizers as management. It got so bad the grocery stores took anything flammable off the shelves (including sterno) for fear of what might be done. Are there cases where management goes to excess and needs something to keep them in check, of course, although there are many state laws on the books to deal with that. But lets not forget there are lots of excesses on the union side which has caused many companies to fail and many employees to be abused by those who claim to be looking out for them. I have seen good and bad in unions but get real. It is not a game of good versus evil where the unions are all good and management is all bad.

  12. Parrothead, in the history of the labor movement throughout the world, such incidents are barely footnotes. You’ve got it all backwards. If you think union intimidation “is just as prevanlent among union organizers as management,” then I will no longer engage you in this topic.


  13. Micky 2 says:

    Yea Jersey, I stopped at the part where you said sleazey.
    It gets old

  14. ajmontana says:

    Eric, just e mailed you the latest “excuse” have fun with it if you want I sure did. lol…. a faux news alert on how ridicules the Odimbo camp is.

    welcome home

    aj montana.

  15. parrothead says:

    Jersey, I wasn’t talking about “the history of the labor movement throughout the world.” Nor would I. I was only talking about the history of the labor movement in this country. You cannot compare the two. There are many more protections for the non-unionized workers in this country than in many others. Even you cannot deny the historical links between organized crime and the teamsters or deny the tactics used over the years by organized labor in this country. Just ask Jimmy Hoffa.

  16. ajmontana says:

    “Faux News Alert”

    This just in!!!!! Odumbo camp now claiming

    Poor performance on “shrinkage factor “

    From swimming in the ocean in Hawaii for a week!!

    Odimblubs wee wee is only this big ==)
    and made him lose all concentration.

    Film at 11:00

    “I’m blaming my Penis”

    Note: I had a picture of obama holding his thumd and fore finger 1″ apart but cant link it)

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