Thoughts on Saddleback
If Obama hadn't shown up, it would have been a minor blip of a story: Christian Right never really embraced McCain, he's reaching out to this important part of the GOP base, etc.
But because Obama DID show up, it was a Major Event. Sure, McCain got the better reaction from the CROWD. He had home field advantage and he played to it perfectly. But because Obama showed up, McCain had to talk to the rest of us while he was doing it.
If I'm Obama's people, I make an ad out of McCain's "At conception," answer and run it on Lifetime and Oxygen and We and get my pal Oprah to talk about it a whole lot.
Obama had to talk to the rest of us as well, and other than selling out on gay marriage -- which every Democratic presidential candidate except Dennis Kucinich did -- he managed to talk about faith in a way that didn't make secular types cringe.
Part of Rick Warren's point in doing this was to show that the fundamentalists are interested in other issues besides fetus worship and homophobia. Sure, Obama's not going to win the megachurch vote. But he cared enough to show up, and if he takes a sliver of it, that makes Johnny Mac's job harder. And there's a lot of undecided independents in the basements of the old fashioned mainline churches,
Obama also dropped the name "Christ" a lot more tham McCain did. Nothing's ever going to kill the Muslim rumor; "Muslim" is just a way of saying "black." But Obama pushed it further to the fringe.
McCain hit all the right Right notes in simple soundbite form. That's supposed to give him the win -- but isn't that what Bush has been doing for eight years? Obama was supposedly too long, too gray, too thoughtful. How awful; a president who thinks.