McCain’s Clarity vs. Obama’s Nuance

When I was little, I had a recurrent dream that there was a terrible earthquake. My father, his body a … Continued

When I was little, I had a recurrent dream that there was a terrible
earthquake. My father, his body a horse with wings, swooped down from the
sky, kneeled so I could jump on his back and flew away just as the earth
cracked open beneath me. It was my most comforting dream. I want to live in
that world again. I want to live in John McCain’s world. My father was a
military man. My parents were friends of McCain’s parents and lived in the
same apartment building. My father’s closest friend was Barry Goldwater,
McCain’s mentor. Those were the days when men were men, when the
differences between good and evil were clear, when they knew where they
stood on every issue, when life was less complicated, when there was an air
of insouciance, no matter how difficult the issues.

I want to live in a world where Gen. David Petraeus and Meg Whitman,
former chief executive of eBay, are the wisest people I know, where
offshore drilling will help ease our energy crisis, where a guy stays in a
Vietnamese prison camp even when told he could get out, and has great
stories to tell. I want to live in a world where I was absolutely certain
that life begins at conception, where a man is a maverick and stands up
against his Senate colleagues when he disagrees with them, where the only
thing to do with evil is defeat it, where a guy will follow Osama bin Laden
to the gates of Hell to capture him.

I want to believe that our biggest enemy is radical Islamist terrorists. I
want to be part of a world that doesn’t have to raise taxes; where America
is a beacon, a shining city on a hill; where our values are simply
Judeo-Christian values; and where a man always puts his country first. I
want to be one of “my friends.”

By the time McCain finished his interview with pastor Rick Warren at the
Saddleback Church in Orange County, California, Saturday night, part of a
forum that also featured Barack Obama, I was curled up in a fetal position
in my chair, wrapped in a mohair throw, practically sucking my thumb.
McCain did a great job of making me feel confident. He was clearly in his
element at Saddleback, among supportive evangelical Christians, and he went
a long way toward alleviating their fears about his inability to
communicate with them in their own language.

Obama came first, and he handled himself well in front of an audience
that clearly disagrees with him on many issues. He also managed to put to
rest the notion that he is a Muslim, which 12 percent of Americans still
believe he is. He talked directly to Rick Warren as though they were having
a real conversation, whereas McCain played to the audience, rarely looking
at Warren. He was low-key, thoughtful and nuanced.

That kind of nuance is hard to understand sometimes — it’s unclear,
complicated. Obama’s world can be scarier. It’s multicultural. It’s
realistic (yes, there is evil on the streets of this country as well as in
other places, and a lot of evil has been perpetrated in the name of good).
It’s honest. When does life begin? Only the antiabortionists are clear on
that. For the majority of Americans (who are pro-choice), it is “above my
pay grade,” in Obama’s words, where there is no hard and fast line to draw
on what’s worth dying for, and where people of all faiths have to be
respected.

I would rather live in McCain’s world than Obama’s. But I believe that we
live in Obama’s world.

Afterward, the commentators talked abut how Obama needs to have better
stories, to be more accessible and less aloof, and to have sharper,
shorter, simpler answers rather than be so cerebral. But Obama is
authentic. He is who he is. To try to change would be a mistake. Al Gore’s
handlers decided he was too stiff and tried to loosen him up. What they did
was rob him of his authenticity instead.

This was not a debate. There was not a winner or a loser. The one sure
winner was Rick Warren, who overnight changed the face of evangelicals in
this country from the cartoon caricature of rigid, right-wing
fundamentalists to one of open-minded, intelligent, concerned citizens.
There were grumblings that the forum should not have been held in a church.
But Warren managed to keep the religious aspect of the event to a minimum,
including in his questions. And he followed his own advice, the lead
sentence of his best-selling book “The Purpose-Driven Life.” It wasn’t all
about him.

Now, can we have more of these events in Catholic churches, mosques,
synagogues and ethical society meeting halls? Or would that be too much
Obama’s world?

Sally Quinn
Written by

  • VICTORIA

    Ineresting comment Mr. Rick- “John McCain knows where he stands on the issues. Obama struggled often on just where he stands or what he believes. Some call his answers thougtful, but I saw it as more a struggle to articulate just what he believes or where he stands on a lot of issues.” Notwithstanding that the forum was home field for McCain- playing to his own base (always an advantage, wouldn’t you agree?), or that he got to be the last speaker- (also, always an advantage)- It also gave McCain the opportunity to hear the questions beforehand. The thought first occurred to me that his ‘cone of silence’ had a leak- was when he caqme out with rapid fire , seemingly preplanned answers- The commentators are FOX, after the venue- kept crowing about the “clarity and decisiveness” of his answers. Also noting that he answered before Mr. Warren had even finishd asking the questions! Now, Ive seen McCain speaking extemporaneoulsy on many an occasion- and he has his ums and uhs and pauses- but not this time. While Obama had to actually consider, and think, and ponder his answers- which is what one does when one has to really answer an unknown question. I’ve never been to an Obama website, so I don’t really have any idea what they are saying- however- on Face the Nation, and Meet the Press- the possibility that McCain had ready answers because he knew thew questions, was speculated on by minds greater than my own. We got a few snips of Cindy in the first row- but no Michelle. Yes, McCain was undoubtedly ‘preaching to the choir’, but his sermon seemed just a wee bit TOO preprared for my credibility sniff test.

  • Spiritual Mongrel

    I usually try to take a “high consciousness” approach to these discussions but today it will be “low consciousness” because frustration is a low consciousness attribute and that is where I sit today.McCain is going to “follow Bin Laden to the gates of Hell” and take America along with him for the ride.His party has failed to find Bin Laden fort he last 7 years so why would four more of the same work any better? Definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different results.Republicans don’t want to raise taxes but how do we want to pay for a war running at $12 Billion a month? How about the ballooning national debt? Going back to 1980 the republicans have run up the national debt and the Dems have brought it down. I don’t know about you but in the real world I need to pay for things I buy. Where do I sign up for the free ride?I’m not sure which show the McCain crowd was watching but McCain didn’t answer half the questions. Help told a story that if we were lucky semi related to the question.W and his crownies had the world in the palm of his hand on September 12, 2001. The world was ready to help us. The tragedy of 9-11 could have brought the world together but instead W and company has flushed that away but acting out of fear and greed. He has dragged the US name through the mud internationally and trampled on both human rights and privacy rights while managing to let the economy tank under his watch. And we would like to reelect this party because… Beuller… Beuller… Beuller.

  • LiberalConservative

    I am a Chistian with a liberal conservative leaning – I want people to repect my faith but at the same time I show respect and tolerance for other faiths and don’t want my government legislating bliefs or canons of my faith. I like Obama pratical and thoughful approach rather than McCain’s my way or the highway or an extention of Double’s warpped world view of you are either with us or agaisnt us.

  • Bob Riley

    Thank you for that article, Ms Quinn. I believe that each participant did well in his own way, and I believe that John McCain played well to that audience. But like you, I believe it is time to leave behind the black and white, nationalistic, “good guy – bad guy” mentality that, along with mutual paranoia, fueled the wasteful Cold War for decades. The War that cost so many lives (mostly of our respective surrogates in Africa, Asia and elsewhere) and so much of our industrial capacity.From another point of view, a more nuanced and universal religious point of view, Obama I think realizes more than McCain that “we are ALL ‘God’s Children,'” not just the Christians (Evangelicals or not),the Jewish people, and the “righteous,”and as such must begin to relate to one another globally from that perspective. This is not to be naive about our human potential for harmfulness, but to continue, to be willing to mature in our outlook, to realize that the hope for wholeness lies in every human heart, no matter how it may be obscured by fear, hurt, greed, power, nationalism, rage. And that universal hope must become the basis for all of our relationships at every level. There is no simple, “black and white” viewpoint which will succeed in the long run, even if it may win votes among some.

  • Mr Mark

    Even at On Faith, the handwriting is on the wall for a major defeat for McCain this fall.The evidence: too many posters who fit squarely in what should be McCain’s core group are defecting to Obama. On the other hand, there is no defection to McCain from Obama’s base, which is also much more energized than id McCain’s base.

  • Anonymous

    “Also, where was Michelle?”Michelle is under the bus in the “Cone of Silence” making a plan to re-decorate the White House after they move in.

  • Lyn Knapp

    Sally Quinn “nailed it” in her column in today’s Washington Post, and I thank her for her writing. Of course, who wouldn’t want to live in John McCain’s world as he described it at Staurday evening’s Rick Warren program? But that is not the world we live in and probably never will be again. At least it won’t be for this 79 year old, white woman. And that is why I will write another check to the Barack Obama campaign and pray, yes pray, that he will win the election. We need a thoughtful, concerned president, who can look at the world the way it is.

  • Bigsky007

    Michael, if McCain shined at the Saddleback forum than I say that Kruschev’s slamming his shoe on the desk at the UN years ago was a thing of beauty. What I saw was what I thought to be a man, with a temper, having POW/torture flashbacks and who would love to get his finger on the nuclear hair trigger. Which is the real McCain? The one out on the campaign trail touting his extreme distaste for war or the one on TV at Saddleback answering virtually every question put to him with an, in effect, “I’ll kill em”? He showed absolutely no ability to reflect upon ramifications. As I watched him, I reflected upon his vote to race into Iraq and a black hole from which no one can escape except our allies. From the Saddleback forum, I can see that McCain gave no serious thought to what the ramifications of his vote meant. My search showed that he, belying his touted experience and hatred for war, paid little attention to the intelligence as he didn’t ask any really probative questions which may well have led to the acute faults in that intelligence. One, of his elder statesman’s status, would be expected to caution against hasty ill-conceived action without irrefutable evidence justifying the same. He too readily joined the mad dash into Iraq, thereby permitting bin Laden and his folks to flee out the back door of Afghanistan, retreat, regroup and fight again as they are doing today. A charge of dereliction of duty should be tossed at McCain for each American, who is killed in Afghanistan by the re-invigorated Taliban forces. McCain thinks nothing of the 4000 plus Americans, who have lost their lives chasing after non existent WMDs in Iraq. He thinks nothing of all the children, who, thanks to him and his vote, are now living their lives with only one parent. Perhaps the most contradictory spectacle of all is that McCain felt compelled and at home doing his war mongering in front of born again Christians, who applauded his every statement of his ready willingness to commit murder, mayhem and untold levels of destruction upon others without hesitation or justification. Sunday they went to Church, no doubt, many of them. I was shocked to hear McCain state that his greatest failing was his first marriage. As I understand it, everyone survived the failure of that marriage fairly well. However, McCain’s vote to race into Iraq, unjustifiably, has led to the deaths, misery and destruction affecting untold millions of people, a trillion dollar tax burden upon Americans for an unnecessary war and obviously the exaggeration of all the problems currently besetting this country today. In this instance alone, it is seen that McCain’s Christian values are in great and grave contrast to his war mongering responses to many of the questions posed to him.

  • KJ

    You’re full of crap, Sally. You just want to see another Republican in the White House. McCain 1, Nuance (aka Obama) 0: horse feathers–like those belonging to your father, in that silly, stupid dream you had centuries ago.

  • Jeff Zelinsky

    Yeah, I agree with you, KJ. The Right-Wing, Ultra-Conservative, Evangelical, Born-Again Hoodlums strike again. Go Obama 2008!

  • Mr Mark

    I wonder why Pastor Warren felt it was A-OK to start the forum off with a bald-faced LIE, ie: that he had McCain sequestered in a cone of silence backstage to keep him from hearing the questions he was about to answer Obama.Surely, the good Rev knew that McCain had not yet reached the church, yet knowing this, he went ahead and lied anyway. He could have said “we had HOPED to have had McCain in a cone of silence, but he’s stuck in traffic,” but he didn’t.I also wonder what the Rev considered to be that cone? A sunless room? An sound-proof office? Does it matter as McCain wasn’t in it to begin with?Has Warren offered an explanation for this lie?It’s sad that Christian leaders feel that they can openly lie to their flock, as did Rev Warren. It’s comical that they think they’ll be able to dupe the rest of us with their transparent falsehoods in this 24/7 YouTube world.

  • Hillman

    “You make the choice that women should make the choice on abortion, without looking at the pschological consequences to them and the ramifications to a society that devalues life (not mention the dead child).”Really? Sortof like the religious right has been devaluing the value of the lives that millions of gay Americans have? You know, literally denying us health care coverage, stability, loving relationships, etc?How is that not ‘devaluing life’?

  • ericmiami

    Haven’t we seen the “cross in the sand” in the movie “Ben-Hur” and also written about by Alexander Solzhenytzin? A man who would break his word about being in a “cone of silence” might also make up a story about a prison guard.

  • michael

    what kinda statement is that about what world you want to live in, what are you smoking.?

  • Claire Solt PhD

    I do not want to live in Obama’s world. When does a baby get human rights is a legal question that someone who calls himself a civil rights lawyer should have an answer for. Sally is surely wrong about that. Many others may be fuzzy about a lot of things we have not thought through. but we are not lawmakers.

  • linda kelly

    The “event” was ALL about Warren, his congregation, his brand of Christianity, his projects. The preselected audience roared with approval when McCain declared life to begin at conception and that “evil” everywhere must be defeated.

  • Noreen in Alabama

    Regarding Sally Quinn’s comment about living in McCain’s “black and white world”…I believe GOD made the world in COLOR for a reason. The thing WE ALL need to do right now is come together, no matter WHO your choice is, and STOP THE HATE! America has no use for all of the hatemongering…whether it be on the news or online. Just STOP IT!

  • Thomas

    Somehow I doubt you’ll be having many debates in any mosques.

  • GS

    The same one that conceived me snipped me to pieces – on abortion

  • abby0802

    I appreciates Warren’s efforts but Warren didn’t press McCain when McCain was less than forthright in his answer on his moral failings. Why doesn’t anyone (the media, pastors, etc.) bring up how McCain treated his first wife? It seems like everyone is quick to bring out Edwards affair, but no one — I mean I have heard no one — mention that McCain treated his first wife terribly. She remained faithful all the time he was a pow, and then when he comes back, he’s unfaithful to her more than once, took up with Cindy (his current wife), and then dumped his first wife after she had an accident and ended up with a limp. While the media is so ready to pounce on Edwards who is no longer running for office, McCain’s infidelities are not even mentioned.

  • Jeanette

    TO Delores and the rest of you who seem to be so “down” on Evangelicals – I attend an Evangelical church that has members of every race and nationality. We are black, white, latino, asian… in a small city in ARKANSAS! We all come together to worship GOD. We are concerned about the political environment of this country because it is going to hell in a hurry. The same holds true for our states and cities. We need Godly leaders to set this country back on the right path.

  • veebee

    I thought the debate was a joke. I suspected that McCain was given an opportunity to prepare for the interview after listening to Obama’s interview with the evengelist.

  • Oriole

    Why should anyone challenge the media with their bottle of tainted ink…..its genuinely ridiculous for media such as The Washington Post to actually ask anyone to waste time answering their statements. No wonder the print media is struggling filnancially.

  • Linda Rollins

    Rick Warren was supposed to run an unbiased forum–He didn’t. I believed the ad and his words. I noticed that when Obama was answering Rick’s question, he was timed–John McCain was not. Rick Warren even stated to Obama “ not a campaign speech”. From the time McCain got the first answer to the very last, he did a campaign speech and the so call liar of a preacher Rick Warren just sit and listened. It was so obvious what Rick Warren was doing. I got so mad I couldn’t watch it because it was so hard to believe this so called man of God would pull something like that on national TV. I guess the people of US and other nations are so stupid that we wouldn’t notice the big difference. My puppies saw the difference and started raising hell when McCain took the stage. That was the most sickening sight I’ve ever seen considering Rick Warren was suppose to be different. Rick Warren also lied about the questions and the fact that McCain couldn’t ‘t hear Obama’s answer. I read today that McCain wasn’t even in the building when Obama was talking. Rick Warren lied and so did McCain. Rick told the world where McCain was and McCain lied about trying to hear through the wall considering reports that he wasn’t in the building—A LIAR SUPPORTING A LIAR. It was amazing to me and others that McCain was too quick with his answers and ready for to answer other questions before Rick even asked them. Normally I would call it a Holy Ghost set-up but in this case it was a Satanic set-up and the Devil’s Disciple is Rick Warren.

  • PinkKnight

    OK, talk about “evil” both these candidates are “evil”. In a “nuanced world” I wouldn’t vote for either of these knuckleheads. Unfortunately, when I get back to reality one of them unfortunately will be leading this great nation. While yes, this is a complex world, and we all know that. Do we want someone leading us that is just as confused about what is going on, or do we want someone that has a sense of direction (weather I totally agree with it or not)?

  • Ward MacCready

    Obama and McClain demonstrate the classic differences between popular American political mentalities. Moderan Liberalism is sorely lacking in conviction, but Conservative conviction too often leads to simplistic plans of action. For example, when the US military knocked over the Iraqi forces with ease, it seemed to convince Bush and crew that they had “won.” Tragically and unfortunately for America, which loyally and in bi-partisan fashion followed Bush into battle, Bush & crew hadn’t really weighed all the elements in play (despite expert warnings from ignored voices) and they didn’t grasp that the real battle came afterward, was in control, not in whacking a second-rate dictator. Strong conviction leads to decisive action, which is something Bush had right about Iraq, Iran, North Korea, right from the start. However, SMUG conviction led to his mis-management of the war in Iraq and in other areas. On the other hand, Clinton’s and Albright’s “diplomacy” strategy with North Korea is a good example of Liberalism’s lack of fortitude to insist on real solutions and unpleasant price they demand. I prefer the conviction of Bush over window-dressing “diplomacy” of Clinton any day. However, conviction and decisiveness must be applied intelligently and an accounting of the cost true cost must be accepted ahead of time.

  • Dr. Aly Hemdan

    I agree with Sally. McCain used the narrative, the story, and the simple. Obama was honest enough to discuss the complicated, the unpredictable, and the unknown. We are done with leaders who are stubborn, closed-minded and do not practice introspection. Closed mindedness is ok when you are in the comfort of you own simple friendly environment. It can be dangerous in our complicated world. It is lethal when you lead the most powerful nation on earth!

  • Suzanne Gentling

    Well, whatever we do, America, let’s not get too cerebral.As long as we maintain our thumb-sucking fetal position, we won’t have to go through the painful process of growing up, now will we?God help us.Suzanne Gentling

  • Lee

    Sally, Your comments were thoughtful and intelligent and “on-target.” As a christian, former senior Naval Officer (who proudly served with Senator McCain and under his father) a parent proud of a US Marine officer (recently returned from Iraq) and now an even prouder grand parent, I too want to be in McCains world where things are simply and decisions are balck and white. But my life experience have led me to understand that the world is much more complicated and we need a leadership who thinks things through and acts accordingly. Thank you for you coments.

  • Caleb

    Perhaps too much nuance in the article for KJ?

  • Joe C

    I agree that we live in Obama’s world. Our problems are too nuanced and complicated to be adequately addressed with simple answers, despite the fact that we like simple answers. For example, McCain received heavy applause after stating that life begins at conception, but did nothing to address the complications of solving the real issues behind why women get abortions, which Obama did. The true problem is “How do we decrease abortions?” and not

  • Mark Nelson

    I guess one person’s nuance is another person’s obfuscation. It just goes to show that we all see what we want to see.

  • Mr Mark

    As neither of the major parties has fielded an atheist to run for president, it isn’t possible for an atheist to have the equal opportunity of appearing at Rev Rick’s forum. Ergo, it’s a hollow defense of this religious litmus test to aver that, “atheists were welcome to participate as well.”However, it IS possible for our two major-party candidates to appear at a forum moderated by an avowed atheist, and to be asked questions that are informed by the humanist/atheistic perspective.Christopher Hitchens could moderate the forum, but as he’s had bad things to say about both candidates, they may not agree to have him. Perhaps Daniel Dennett or Sam Harris could act as moderator.The candidates have no problem attending Jewish forums or black forums, even though they represent small minorities in this country (2.3% of Americans are Jews; 13% are black). Non-believers constitute 20% of the American electorate. Is it too much to ask that they be given a platform in this campaign as was given Rev Warren, and that the major candidates accept an invitation to face the non-believing music with the same readiness that they face the Xian music?

  • Mr Mark

    Mark Nelson writes:”I guess one person’s nuance is another person’s obfuscation. It just goes to show that we all see what we want to see.”Hear, hear! Just as one candidate’s black-n-white, bush-regurgitated view of the world passes for strength to some; the frighteningly out-of-touch, Rove-directed fear mongering of a doddering empty suit to others.

  • Gordon Jones

    Let’s see now, Obama nuanced? Hmmm? Only in the perceptions of the intellectually challenged. Is it any wonder that these challenged folks would perceive McCain as the winner? I think not! After all, they love the clarity of the knee jerk responses that are so prevelant among today’s right wing celebrities, i.e., George W. Bush and John McCain.

  • Al

    Those who share McCain’s simple values and priorities, and are comfortable with more of the same, will clearly vote for such. Destiny is after all the compulsion to sin again.Those who value a different way will of course vote for Obama.I personally find it a bit frightening, however, that in all likelihood come voting time, something on the order of 49% of this country will probably want more of the same. I pray we can hold that 1 or 2 point advantage for a fresh, wiser and more insightful way of doing things.

  • DEM now IND

    Obama, as always, cannot answer a question. He only reads from teleprompters and borrows words from Kodak Cameras like “this is your moment.” Then, when he cannot answer a question or do well in a debate, he accuses everyone of cheating, or the race card, or same old politics, when it is his own failure and inexperience. He did poorly in this forum so now he blames John McCain for his poor performance. He accuses McCain of cheating. Here we go again! Just like he did to Hillary to beat her! Accuse and blame everone else for his own failures! Same Whinny, Inexperienced Obama.

  • Mark Nelson

    Why is it that comments by liberals or humanists reek of anger and lack any humor. Or, dare I say, any true sense of nuance. Have you ever heard of irony? Maybe Obama can give us a nuanced answer to this, or is that above his pay grade?

  • pontificator

    So then, McCain wins and the USA loses – and continues to sink into a mindless morass of religion among the clueless and under-educated. We used to be a country to be reckoned with – now we’ve got a small collective of uber-rich capitalists that laugh all the way to the bank while the masses remain mired up to the elbows with ‘religious’ issues. Science?? Who cares – we want TV and religion. The truth is painful – our time has come and gone, and nobody is talking about it, nobody notices – it’s just not a popular theme with the media. We’ve gots bombs, guns and money, but the dumbing down of the culture continues apace. No society survives long with this kind of downward spiral into willful stupidity. The McCainites are emblematic of this widespread deterioration of our ability to think clearly as a nation. These people want more of Bush? That tells the story – suicide on the half-shell.

  • Mark Nelson

    Nuanced or nonsense?How can you take an oath to protect life, as you do when you take the oath for the Office of the President, if you do not know when life begins and when you need to start protecting it? Do you actually need to answer this question, regardless of the answer, in order to be truthful to your word?

  • Mr Mark

    Oops. looks like Sally needs to re-title her column to:Rick’s Ruse: McCain’s Cheats/Obama’s Ambushed

  • Henry James

    SallyBut, your post here was wise and compassionate and balanced and, as you usually are, truly human.WOULD INDEED be wonderful to believe McCain’s simplicities. It MAY have been politically wise for him to keep it simple.BUT, the world is NOT simple. The question is: can we afford a President who admits that to the American People.???I don’t know the answer. It’s above my pay grade. But Sally, you posed it well, and I thank you.

  • Brambleton

    Al,I’m curious. How exactly is Mr. Obama “wiser and more insightful?”Barack Obama has been part of Congress since 2005. I’m no math major, but that seems to be about three years. John McCain served from 1982-2000, or about 18 years.Now, maybe it’s different in the political sphere, but in the Fortune 100 company that I work for, the partners and senior leadership of the firm tend to have the mileage that McCain has, not Obama.

  • Posted on John Mark Reynold’s blog

    Anonymous:Be not naive. Rev Rick Warren arranged a carefully controlled public forum in the attendance of a national and international media to present both the presidential candidates in their best light along with useful information about their personal views both religious and otherwise. He called them both his friends. Why would he, as a Christian pastor, want either of them to look foolish or not be at their best?Both candidates said their prepared answers. The questions needed far too much careful reflection to answer, that it could not have been thought out on the spot. Just because Senator Obama paused longer doesn’t mean he didn’t prepare his answers in advance. He is the better orator and well known for it. Pausing for effect is part of oratory skill. It is simplistic to think his longer pauses had any special significance compared to Senator McCain’s immediate quick answers.What matters is what both candidates actually said, their authenticity as persons and how their policy stand resonates.Senator McCain comes from a family of soldiers used to thinking in terms of a group, self-sacrifice and working for a cause higher than themselves.Senator Obama is relatively young and has worked as a community organizer and lawyer, but not without political ambitions.Military training and training as a lawyer are two different things. Both have their unique set of merits and disadvantages.Compare policies and decide what is best for the country.August 18, 2008 1:42 AM

  • Danny Collins

    1. McCain brought a stump speech to a forum about faith…it has already been exposed that McCain was not in a “bubble of silence,” and McCain made it obvious that he knew what questions were coming.2. McCain stole the “Cross in the Dirt” story from Solzhenitsyn(updated) by rickrocket. 3. The adultery/divorce issue is not going away…it will comeMoral of the story: Be careful when you send someone who does not understand the full spectrum of christian sensibilities into a forum under the guise that he is a christian. McCain is tone deaf and is obviously an underbeleiver who was trying to fill a square with a key constituency within his party.As a debate, McCain won.Note: Poll Christians about the adultery/divorce issue and see how it comes out regarding the character to lead. God does not speak explicitly about abortion. He does speaks explicitly about divorce as a disqualifying factor for leaders. In God’s eyes, this issue eclipses everthing McCain did as POW. It has also become apparent that McCain used this status for personal and political gain, which was on full display Saturday night.

  • Scott Meseck

    Dear Ms. Quinn,Your comments on the thoughtfulness of Obama are correct. I am still undecided like many voters. And I can empathize with the gravitation that people like you must feel to a more nuanced candidate. I was trained as an attorney, so believe me, I understand nuance.However, the thing that scares me is that we have had plenty of nuanced guys in the White House. Jimmy Carter and Mr. Define What Is Is, come to mind. I am not sure thoughtful and effective are necessarily synonymous. The world has always been one with shades of grey, even during the days of Goldwater. And as much as I love thoughtfulness, I am also enough of a sceptic to know that there is alot to be said for someone who can actually see the world in terms that are a bit more black and white and make a decision. This makes me feel a bit cozier. However, I think the thing that make both of us feel “uncozy” is that we have a black and white, shoot first ask questions later, guy in the White House. But, I don’t think being decisive or black and white is necessarily bad. It just depends on who the “decider” is.

  • Jenny

    Ms. Quinn, Regarding your previous column on “enabling immoral behavior”, I have a question. Have you smacked yourself, or your husband, Ben Bradley across the face as yet? Because if memory serves, you were his bit of adultery when he was married to another woman. Has hypocrisy come into fashion in your narrow little world, or are we supposed to just pretend that it’s acceptable when you, like Hillary Clinton is guilty of it?I believe that the only reason so much hay is being made of this, is because John Edwards was and IS the only candidate who spoke out against the real harm that is being done to working poor and struggling middle class American citizens by the corporate and foreign interests. He and Elizabeth Edwards sacrificed much to run their campaign in the interests of the American people.. not just the top 2% you choose to consider being important enough to matter, but all of us.Elizabeth Edwards, despite being critically ill, and trying to make the most of the time she has left with her family, is also fighting for the rights of less affluent Americans who desperately need access to health care. Instead of cavalierly walking around as you seem to, this courageous woman actually cares about others, unlike a certain parasite I don’t feel I have to name here. You owe Elizabeth Edwards an apology. You attempted to drag her down into the gutter you inhabit. Unfortunately for you, she is a lady, and a decent and compassionate human being. You ought to be ashamed of yourself.. especially as you consider yourself a person capable of writing a column on faith. It seems to me that faith is something you’re lacking in, as well as the compassion the truly faithful are supposed to have for others.You are an embarassment.

  • Bobby Plews Laka

    I too had a dream after following closing the US election. I know I am not a citizen of a country, my father highly talked about her; nor have I lived in that “greatest country on earth” in the words of my father. When I asked why, he said, Empathy. Generally Americans a empathatic and upholders of freedom of humanity. Never was I interested in America the way I am now because of one man called Barack Obama. I followed the interview at the Saddleback Church with Pastor Rick Warren. What brought me into tears was the story of McCains’ Vietnam Christmas experience when another prisoner draw a cross on the sand that day when they stood outside and from that moment, Senator McCain, knew that his Christian faith has kept him going. This man (McCain) I hold high respect of him, but what I cannot understand about the citizens of the great nation my father admires is when they keep on painting a raising hero of our times with negative pictures.I dream that Obama does not have a world of his own, rather SHARE the world you and I live. No matter how many times Obama says he IS A CHRISTIAN, people like you Sally cannot go beyond believing what a person has to say. Is that a question of not trusting someone who is honest enough to say who he when he says he is a Christian? What language do you expect him to use to declare his faith in the Lord Jesus, that he is a Christian?When can America, (Sally’s 12% who think he is a Moslem) learn to compromise the words of someone authentic with his Christian Faith? In other words, does America does not thrust the intergrity of someone’s authentic faith? If so, why do America talk alot about China’s choice of religious intolerance? “Clean your backyard first before commenting on mine” is the what wise people say. I think those 12% Americans let go this Moslem attitude towards Obama and reflect on what he can do as a president of the GREAT NATION, USA.

  • DontTypeLies

    Nuance turns to doublespeak turns to confusion turns to hypocracy turns to chaos.There are bottom lines and fundamental truths in this world.

  • Elizabeth

    Best article/analysis/opinion of Obama and McCain I’ve yet seen. It articulates exactly why I’m going to vote for Obama.

  • Elizabeth

    my goodness, so many of these comments are completely whacko and incomprehensible. I don’t know what half of them are saying.

  • Fred

    Yes, we should have these events in mosques. Then people like Sally can explain why poverty and lack of health care are less of a concern than radical islamists or the 40,000 Americans injured or killed by gun violence. Perhaps we could even discuss when the conservatives will start tracking when women are pregnant and fail to give birth, becasue that is a human being who died, and don’t we want to know why?

  • VICTORIA

    I watched the political forum twice, and the pundits on CNN, and FOX. Not only did Sally not curl up fetal style watching this- she completely lifted every comment from the pundits- down tho the mistaken rephrasing- “(yes, there is evil on the streets of this country as well as in Sally didn’t hear this in the speech- she saw it on the scroll at the bootm of the screen- Obama said- in his answer- we do evil in the name of FIGHTING EVIL (not good, as Warrien and one commentator later rephrased it.) McCain said- Defeat it-and he would follow Bin Laden to the gates of hell blah blah blah- although he has forgotten Bin Laden for 7 years. I could go on- but why bother? Danny Collins- Interesting catch on- “Cross in the Dirt” story from Solzhenitsyn

  • VICTORIA

    Fred- great idea! “Perhaps we could even discuss when the conservatives will start tracking when women are pregnant and fail to give birth, becasue that is a human being who died, and don’t we want to know why?” And then we can imprint them with an invisible tatto and maybe a microchip with a GPS like we do our pets- Maybe we can also give them a little electric {{SHOCK}} if they are late for their monthly pregancy screening- OOO- but then we would have to provide UNIVERSAL HEALTH CARE for them- wouldn’t we? who would pay for THAT? Maybe we can borrow the money from China. O- we’re already doing that. ok, that part is a bad idea- We poor, uninsured and sick people apologize for intruding on your all important feeling of safety with our petty realities and needs… But we have to leave the house to get those service jobs to ensure your continued comfort-

  • VICTORIA

    Anon- You won’t have to look that far- just glance over at the Blackwater ops who are making upwards of 100K a year with better armor, equipment, and protection too.

  • Anonymous

    “Danny Collins- Interesting catch on- “Cross in the Dirt” story from Solzhenitsyn”Yeah Danny is so clever- its on every Obama site on the internet. And what a sad talking point for the Obama crowd to choose. Christians have been drawing a cross to identify themselves to each other since before the Roman catacombs. I guess you have to actually BE CHRISTIAN to know this.

  • George King IIII

    I like this article, because it spoke about the kind of people who support Mr. McCain, and those who support Mr. Obama. Some voers like to be addressed as if they were children, while some prefer to be addressed like adults. So pardon my lack of nuance, but that’s why I’m going to vote for Barack Obama. Suffer the little children to come to John McCain.

  • elcura

    Right on! I doubt, however,that Obama’s thoughtful approach will EVER be accepted by a great many who insist they are evangelical Christians (whether they are or not aside.) There is that SENSE of security in “black-and-white” approaches to our life that emotions just will not set aside for so many. It MAY be that it has to do with what one reads day-by-day — and what one does not read. In any case, the event at Saddleback was revealing about both gentlemen and confirmed my own preference.

  • IH2008

    How about if we get our politicians out of church and focused on issues of government so we can all maintain our religious freedom–the foundation of this entire country. Or is that too much to ask?

  • Mr Mark

    Dear Sally -Thanks for the column.You fail to mention that in general, the religious tend to see life in black-and-white terms. Thus, they were predisposed to McCain’s empty rhetoric, the same way they were pre-disposed to embracing bush’s “plan” for Iraq. God has a plan for their lives and so did bush! Amazing!All of us – the religious included – need to wake up to the fact that just having a plan isn’t good enough. The plan itself must be reality based, as is Obama’s, which – as you point out – takes into account the REAL world in all its nuanced splendor.Like bush, McCain has his plan: forget hope, embrace fear, USA, USA! I’m reminded of Thelma and Louise, who also had a plan, and who stuck with their plan even as it took them over the cliff. McCain’s plan embraces the bush plan, which is already 3/4 of the way to the bottom of the ravine.Unless McCain has a secret plan for a flying convertible, I would advise against hoping into the back seat of the McBush plan. Same old isn’t what’s needed, and that’s all McBush has to offer.

  • Don Rickman

    Sally, Excellent article. John McCain knows where he stands on the issues. Obama struggled often on just where he stands or what he believes. Some call his answers thougtful, but I saw it as more a struggle to articulate just what he believes or where he stands on a lot of issues.Heaven help us, if he is president and can’t decide where he stands or what actions to take.OR, in Obama’s case, trying to have it both ways. Articulate his views in a way that may make him look better to conservatives, but not anger his base…the liberal left and move-on.org crowd. Even as tall and agile as Obama is, it’s hard to “straddle the fence”. Candidates can’t do what Carter did because the media today is much more sophisticated and everything a candidate says is so much more scrutinized today.You’re probably right, we’re appear to be living in an “Obama world”. But, I hope you are wrong. But, just look at the comments you’ve already gotten.Have you ever noticed the contrast in the liberal left vs the evangelical right made up of people in that audience? Just compare their civil attitude to some of the comments you have already received.Finally, I didn’t turn into “A tingle running down my leg, Chris Mathews” as Mr. Hardball did over Obama. OR even curl up the way you did, but I was on the edge of my seat as McCain hit just about every pitch out of the ole’ ballpark. He easily won the home run derby and gained, I’m sure, even more fans.And as for me, I’m sure I have probably earned you more comments on this. I wonder what names the people who relish the “Obama World” will call me??? But they’ll be “words, just words”. SMILE

  • gullapalli

    We balanced and VERY thoughtful analysis of the forum. I always felt that McCain and Clinton come with a lot of firm view and my way or highway attitude. Wher as Obama exhibited a talent to think through issues and seek opinions and advice from others. Like you I would like some one as president who listens and think for himself …

  • FREEDOM to choose?

    Why does Ralph Nader have to fight uphill in every state to be on the ballot.WHO ARE THE PEOPLE who oppose having a 3rd cadidate??Who are YOU????…Greg

  • Paganplace

    I just wanna know why the media stages these things, and says there’s some doubt about who’s the better president… says people are concerned about ‘Character and Judgment,’ and then goes to ask the people who blindly-supported *Bush* *twice* about the subject. Seriously. I see no great pool of wisdom in electoral judgments *there.*

  • JoeT

    Obama gave the sound answers from a biblical point of view, while McCain gave us sound bites that are in fact on the wrong side of the Bible. “We are the best at helping our brothers” sounds a lot like the Pharisee who prayed “Thank you Lord that I am not like them.” “We have failed to help the least of them” sounds more like “Lord have mercy on me, a sinner.”We defeat evil? Only God has the power to defeat evil if it is His will to do so for those who confront it in His name (as Obama correctly recognized our role).Life begins at conception? (that’s not only above Obama’s pay grade, it’s above Warren’s – the saints were unable to resolve the question). McCain thinks he’s God. At least Obama only thinks he’s president.And it wasn’t as responsive to the question as Obama’s response was. Defining the beginning of life won’t do a thing to end abortion. The question is whether we believe that a woman who has one should be sentenced for murder. If not, then it’s legal. (There is no such thing as a law that has no penalty). Does anything less make sense? 90 days for a misdemeanor? if it’s a felony at all, our daughters will be deprived of their civil rights and unable to get jobs for the rest of their lives. I would like a politician to say that it hardly matters when life begins, because it is morally reprehensible to terminate a pregnancy at any stage (whether the soul has arrived, or is about to arrive hardly matters), and that there is only one goal, to make it absolutely unnecessary for any woman to ever consider abortion to be the better choice. That requires pastors who do not judge, parishioners who do not shun, parents who do not disown, friends who do not ridicule, and a society that makes adoption or keeping the child feasible. If we succeed in that, then in fact punishing a woman who has an abortion anyway is more defensible than it is now. But not until.An abortion is the failure of all of the above, not the absence of strict constructionists on the Supreme Court. I think the pro life crowd should shut up about the moment of conception and the Supreme Court, and get off their butts and do something to stop abortion.

  • Alexandria

    Sally Quinn,This is the best depiction of what happened on Saturday that I’ve heard so far. First off, I am an Obama supporter but I am critical of him enough to not just defend him for no reason. Saturday wasn’t a win or a loss for either candidate. It was a window that we all got to peek into at each one’s approach to life and politics. Like you said, Obama was nuanced and McCain was clear. Obama was hammered for this by a lot of the media. The media being the media couldn’t resist crowning a winner. So congratulations Mr. McCain! But in reality Obama did nothing more than commit the crime of being honest, real, truthful, (I like your word…authentic). The problem is his approach…his style of delivery can be slow. He tends to stutter sometimes. He says “uh”…too much because he’s thinking. His style can be interpreted in so many different ways that it leaves him vulnerable to attacks by those who have been conditioned in this election to hate him. Obama’s supporters saw what they wanted to see. They love him no matter what and will defend him to the ends of the earth. And those same people saw McCain as a shoot from the hip pandering war-monger. They were terrified by his focus on war, war, war throughout his part of the forum. Those who support McCain saw a direct, honorable, strong, clear thinking leader with the balls to lead us to victory. (Whatever victory means is a question no one can answer-not even Republicans). And those same people saw Obama as the empty snake salesman who shouldn’t even be the Democratic nominee because of all of his “terrorist friends” and his “angry” black wife. They didn’t see Obama as real and authentic, they saw him as a stupid blubbering idiot who can’t answer a question without hemming and hawing. To them he is scary and hiding something.See, I don’t see things as black and white like this. I, like you, believe we live in Obama’s world. And I’m not sure McCain will be able to convince the majority of us that his leadership is the right one for these times. I came away from that forum actually having more respect for John McCain than I ever thought I could because he was damn good that night. Damn good! But…I felt like I wanted to honor him for his service. I believe in his love for this country. I believe he deserves the Noble Peace Prize and a statue in his honor for everything he has fought for in his life and career. But I was not moved to change my vote. Our country and our world cannot continue to move in the direction it is moving in. It cannot sustain itself with the kind of simplistic leadership we have been cheating ourselves with lately. This is not the simple world we thought it was. It is complicated and it isn’t going to improve with unrealistic grandios judgement. This isn’t a John Wayne movie where the hero kicks everybody’s butt and the people cheer when “The End” scrolls up on the screen. More importantly not every solution for this country’s problems needs a military or a militant answer. We are in trouble! Obama’s nuance during his part of the forum was fascinating. It was different. It was realistic. It spoke to where we stand now. Our problems need to be solved by a deep thinking visionary who can inspire a nation to believe in itself again. We need a leader to let us know that we are all in this together. We cannot continue to do things separately and think we can get to the same place. To actually change this country we have to start walking the talk and do the tough stuff to save our own butts. And it isn’t going to be easy. Look at the push back already. People actually thought Obama’s change was going to magical by some kind of osmosis. Obama’s change is real and tough and unlike anything we’ve ever done before. No wonder people are afraid of him. He actually means he’s going to change things! Oh my God! But guess what. If we don’t take this opportunity now we are going to hurt miserably. We cannot continue doing what we are doing. We will end up being a third world country if we keep picking leaders who are too afraid to tell us the truth.

  • JoeT

    Obama gave the sound answers from a biblical point of view, McCain gave us sound bites that are in fact on the wrong side of the Bible. “We are the best at helping our brothers” sounds a lot like the Pharisee who prayed “Thank you Lord that I am not like them.” “We have failed to help the least of them” sounds more like “Lord have mercy on me, a sinner.”We defeat evil? Only God has the power to defeat evil if it is His will to do so for those who confront it in His name (as Obama correctly recognized our role).Life begins at conception? (that’s not only above Obama’s pay grade, it’s above Warren’s – the saints were unable to resolve the question). McCain thinks he’s God. At least Obama only thinks he’s president.And it wasn’t as responsive to the question as Obama’s response was. Defining the beginning of life won’t do a thing to end abortion. The question is whether we believe that a woman who has one should be sentenced for murder. If not, then it’s legal. (There is no such thing as a law that has no penalty). Does anything less make sense? 90 days for a misdemeanor? if it’s a felony at all, our daughters will be deprived of their civil rights and unable to get jobs for the rest of their lives. I would like a politician to say that it hardly matters when life begins, because it is morally reprehensible to terminate a pregnancy at any stage (whether the soul has arrived, or is about to arrive hardly matters), and that there is only one goal, to make it absolutely unnecessary for any woman to ever consider abortion to be the better choice. That requires pastors who do not judge, parishioners who do not shun, parents who do not disown, friends who do not ridicule, and a society that makes adoption or keeping the child feasible. If we succeed in that, then in fact punishing a woman who has an abortion anyway is more defensible than it is now. But not until.An abortion is the failure of all of the above, not the absence of strict constructionists on the Supreme Court. I think the pro life crowd should shut up about the moment of conception and the Supreme Court, and get off their butts and do something to stop abortion.

  • harold

    “let his prayer become sin”Hold not thy peace, O God of my praise;“Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples”And it came to pass, that, as he was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.“For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever.”“But there is a God in heaven that revealeth secrets, and maketh known to the king Nebuchadnezzar what shall be in the latter days. Thy dream, and the visions of thy head upon thy bed, are these;”Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven.

  • Paul in Phoenix

    I get it, if you subscribe to the McCain world view you are a little girl wishing for a fantasy savior. But if you subscribe to the Obama world view, you are in the “real,” world. If you have no absolute values, no objective reality, no morality beyond fad, or expediency, you finally have a world that thinks it is “nuance,” and “sophisticated,” to decry war (but just war made by the U.S.), but ignore the rights of the most unrepresented, the most fragile. Those still in the womb that have no protest to the surgeon’s knife. This sort of world has given us Holocausts, Ethnic-Cleansing, Genocide, Mao, Stalin, Hitler, Pol Pot, Saddam, and all the evils of States that have man-made philosophies, and man-made (yet nuanced) morality. Man invented morality is as bad as false religion. It is obvious that only Judaism and Christianity has ever elevated mankind beyond being brutes. Anyone want to put their multicultural bets on the table? Then go live in any other culture NOT based on the Judeo Christian ethic. God forbid you be a woman, in most lands, or a fetus in lands succumbing to secular humanism.

  • Paul in Phoenix

    By all means lets have these debates in Mosques and I would like to see a Jewish woman ask the questions. And yet it is the McCain world that is the fantasy?

  • zqll

    Nuance, shmuance! Obama is a fuzzy-headed thinker at best, a dissimulator at worst.As someone said “He whose wisdom (in Obama’s case a ‘supposed’ wisdom)takes precedence over his fear of sin, (evil) his wisdom will not endure.”

  • harold

    MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.My son, if thou be surety for thy friend, if thou hast stricken thy hand with a stranger,He that soweth iniquity shall reap vanity: and the rod of his anger shall fail.What is thy beloved more than another beloved, O thou fairest among women? what is thy beloved more than another beloved, that thou dost so charge us?“My beloved is white and ruddy”Howbeit the high places were not taken away: as yet the people did sacrifice and burnt incense on the high places.“in the valley of salt ten thousand”But the men of Sodom were wicked and sinners before the Lord exceedingly.And the king of Sodom said unto Abram, Give me the persons, and take the goods to thyself.“Abram said to the king of Sodom”MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast.“These have one mind”Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.“I send you forth as sheep”John answered them, saying, I baptize with water: but there standeth one among you, whom ye know not;“Behold the Lamb of God”Therefore the Son of man is Lord also of the SabbathThe Son of man came eating and drinking, and they say, Behold a man gluttonous, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners. But wisdom is justified of her children.“The Son of man” “a friend of publicans and sinners”Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.“man lay down his life for his friend”And came down to Capernaum, a city of Galilee, and taught them on the sabbath days.“they were astonished at his doctrine”But there is a God in heaven that revealeth secrets, and maketh known to the king Nebuchadnezzar what shall be in the latter days. Thy dream, and the visions of thy head upon thy bed, are these;”“Thou, O king, art a king of kings: for the God of heaven hath given thee a kingdom, power, and strength, and glory.”“These have one mind”

  • BGone

    I couldn’t agree more. Obama just stammered and at best beat around the bush while McCain took the bull by the horns. For example, Obama will confront evil while McCain will destroy evil.Then there’s the matter of defining rich. Neither candidate gave us anything close to a definitive answer. Obama hummed and hawed and said he was going to give tax breaks to one group, those making less than 150 thousand a year and just the slightest increase to those making 250 thou or more. That’s in spite of his inability to say what being rich is.McCain pointed out the fact that the country is in crisis state already and on the brink of disaster. People with tons of money, enough to say they “might” be rich, those with more than 5 million dollars as a cut off since that’s not rich, those unfortunate Americans are unhappy. There are so many unhappy rich people the sun may well decide not to rise.To make that calamity even more deadly we can’t say what rich is. Nobody knows what rich is except senator McCain says whoever they are they are unhappy. Since we cannot identify those “poor at heart” unfortunates on the verge of disaster we can’t help them without God’s help. There is hope in faith for them that will turn the tide for sure.That would be “faith based initiatives” on which both candidates agree are the greatest thing since double bladed razors. Through that instrument the president can identify the rich and just give them more money, kinda in a “fast track” mode without the need to even notify congress. To avoid the prying eyes of the press ministries are used in a middle man role since they have no legal accounting or reporting requirements keeping private financial transactions between the state and church private. Faith based initiatives are calculated, sure fire method guaranteed to make rich folks happy and end crisis in America.Only elite leftist liberal pinko socialists communists would say such things establish religion. Everybody knows that religion is already established. Faith based initiatives cannot establish that which is already established. What faith based initiatives have already done with great success is make the rich even richer. Now we must get down on our knees and pray to God that the rich will be happy. Otherwise we’ll need to turn over the keys to Ft Knox to the rich.That’s politics fer ya. They’re going to lather people they can’t even identify in money.

  • Chis Free

    judaism and christianity”Without centuries of Christian antisemitism,

  • Mark

    The article was a total false dichotomy. Both candidates are well aware of nuance in the world. Presenting McCain as a knee-jerk rube who lives in a world with no nuance (a major conceit to think that nuacne in the world is something new – I would expect this type of analysis from a teenager). When doid a non-nuanced world ever exist? The candidates differ in style of leadership. McCann is more opt to look at the options and promote a clear cause of action. Obama would be less decisive and try to split the differences. We have had both types as President with mixed results in either case.

  • on the journey

    wouldn’t we all want to live in the safe nest of your McCain world…but the reality is we don’t we live in such a world and therefore Obama is the better choice to lead us and inspire us to make it better.I am puzzled that this dialog came about within the walls of a onservitive church or movement. Faith works in strange ways.

  • Nobama

    “He talked directly to Rick Warren as though they were having a real conversation, whereas McCain played to the audience, rarely lookingHmm…that’s not what I saw. Obama looked like he had his eyes shut most of the time as he stared down at the floor struggling to find words he thought would win over the evangelical vote.At one point Obama almost said Clarence Thomas didn’t have the “experience” to be a Supreme Court Justice, but after saying “ex” he changed the word quickly, realizing that it wouldn’t be wise for him, the most inexperienced presidential candidate, to talk about “experience.” That’s how calculating Obama is and that’s why we heard a lot of “uh’s” and “umms” coming out of his mouth. If only someone could have had a tele-prompter there for the guy.

  • Wanted = Baby ; Unwanted = Fetus

    Regarding Obama’s comment that it’s “above his paygrade” to determine when life begins, don’t you think that at any point in his wife’s two pregnancies if anyone suggested taking the “life” of one of his yet unborn children he would have cried murder? Like so many that support abortion, Obama knows when life begins; the problem is he doesn’t want to “punish” someone with an “unwanted” baby. You see, babies are only babies if they are wanted. That’s an Obama world — is that your idea of an ideal world?

  • Fred

    Alexandria,You wrote that “We need a leader to let us know that we are all in this together.”I haven’t seen Obama bring anyone together. His wonderful “spirtiual mentor” Rev. Jeremiah Wright taught him a perverted version of Christianity based more on black liberation theology than the Bible and spewed hatred and racism and anti-Americanism from the pulpit. How does this bring people together? And what in the world does Obama offer as any kind of “change”? Voting for Obama is like voting for John Kerry, or Ted Kennedy, or Nancy Pelosi, or Walter Mondale, or Al Gore. They’re all the same. What’s new about Obama? Oh, I remember now, he “looks different than those guys on the dollar bills.” Well, now that’s real change worth voting for, huh?

  • zqll

    And furthermore, as for liberals’ love affair with Obama’s nuance, a wise man once said:”Let not the meaning of your words be far removed from their literal sense;. . . . Let not your words require farfetched interpretation and extraordinary perception before they can be understood.”Wisemen have been warning us about flimflam artists and Obama-types for centuries but some people never learn.

  • pontificator

    Women have inviolate biological proprietary rights over the life within – you may as well ask if a person has the ‘right’ to commit suicide. Of course they do, and they will – regardless the laws that are thrown up by self-righteous obstructionists with every ‘good intention’. And so it goes with abortion – try and make it difficult legally and there will be hell to pay.Real sex education, widely available conventional birth control methods, over the counter morning after pills – and getting religious organizations (think Catholic) to cease and desist with their ‘philosophical objections’ to standard birth control methods, will all go a very long way toward reducing abortions.Banning abortions is simply trying to forcibly impose your own relative ethics on another by law.Like it or not, we have alot of control in this life over who lives and who dies – we impose that control on others continuously in the form of capital punishment, war, and homicide (justifiable or otherwise). The ‘innocence’ of a fetus does not make the situation different, even one iota. Humans make their own rules – and not all are universally palatable. So goes life……and death. Think about the lesser evil in an imperfect world – outlawing abortion will not result in the lesser evil.

  • Dave Van Tassel

    As moderator of “On Faith”, one would expect more objectivity and less bias from Ms. Quinn than for her to use the phrase “anti-abortionist” when the preferred term by the right-to-life crowd is “pro-life”. Case in point – she used the term “pro-choice” instead of “pro-abortion”.

  • Patti Massaker

    Just want to thank you for a fair assessment of the forum Rick Warren held at Saddleback. As a former member of Saddleback (we moved to another area) I have seen Pastor Rick in every conceivable situation. He is authentic, intelligent, forthright, giving and above all fair. I am so proud that someone thought of this idea. This format was able to help believers and non-believers alike, Democrats and Republicans think deeper on issues of what makes a good/great leader. We are facing some of the most difficult times. People from all over the world need hope. If the United States appoints a strong, fair leader and one who truly understands how to lead then all of us will feel secure. I believe this forum did just that. You did an excellent job writing this column. Thanks!!!

  • Kristina

    There must also be a huge cultural divide that corresponds with the age divide. McCain’s world seems a lot scarier to me than Obama’s. Perhaps becuase my generation, those coming of age at the dawn of the digital age and younger, are more fammiliar with global differences, have spent at least a semester abroad in a foreign culture, and take for granted the rights of women. We are not as easily scared by the fact that other cultures may see events differently and understand that the “Top Gun” perspective of foreign affairs plays a lot better domestically than it does with the rest of the world. The world is not black and white and I would prefer a President with a nuanced world view anyday.

  • Norrie Hoyt

    It’s not that Obama is nuanced: it’s that he’s a true and accurate observer of what actually is.What’s actually going on in the world is complex and cannot accurately be described by the buzz words that McCain declaims so boldly.McCain lives in a fantasy world similar to George Bush’s when he decided to invade Iraq.Beware.

  • Brian

    Sally, I don’t know if you’ll get a chance to read this. I thought about looking at the comments, but decided against it because so many people are probably posting hateful messages of one sort or another. I appreciate your views on this. For some reason your comments really spoke to me and gave me peace. God Bless.

  • Henry James

    Scott Meseck sides with the candidate “who can actually see the world in terms that are a bit more black and white and make a decision.”Invading Iraq and wasting US credibiliy, soldiers, and billions of dollars, without making us safer, for instance.Pretty Black and White, wouldn’t you say?

  • Willis E. Elliott, panelist

    Splendid, Sally, both as truth and as writing.

  • R.J. Westervelt

    In your article you describe Barry Goldwater as being Senator John McCain’s mentor. This is a position that is being promulgated by McCain supporters in an attempt to popularize him with the conservative wing of the Republican party. Former White House Counsel John W. Dean writing in this month’s Playboy Magazine (unfortunately not a publication that will be read by many conservative-leaning voters) states that “he (McCain) wishes others to see him as struck from the same iconic mold as his iconic and exemplary predecessor. But he is not.” Mr. Dean goes on to say that “the mainstream media have been so enchanted with McCain for so long that few outlets have bothered to look closely at his biography and record, giving him a free ride few other candidates have ever received.”

  • Colonel Hogan

    Let me see if I’ve got this straight, Sally. Barack Obama is a man of nuance, and John McCain……simply isn’t. Barack Obama lives in a world rooted in reality, while McCain resides in a fanciful world divorced from it.Did I get your meaning? Talk about a black and white construct…Do you truly long for the comforts you wistfully posited in the McCain world view, or were you merely setting up your straw man argument?The lie that you and others have bought into is that changes in technology, globalization or shifting alliances, that have increased the complexity of certain practical and strategic decision making, have inevitably blurred the moral component involved in those decisions as well. You have obviously deluded yourself into believing that because the question “what is worth dying for” is not *always* without ambiguity, it is *never* without certainty. One can parse the nuances separating good and evil as long as may be desired, but once evil has been identified as such, what is left but to defeat it? Where did we get the idea that we elevate our humanity by pretending that relatively simple moral questions are more difficult than they truly are and that the truly agonizing moral questions defy definitive resolution whatsoever?Nuance *that*, Ms. Quinn. I sincerely hope we get a President who can.

  • Sneadley

    What, riding your father’s horse body as the earth cracked beneath you? That’s quite a dream for a little girl! And now that you’re grown up you want to jump onto John McCain’s back while the earth moves? Is this a confession, a cry of help, or just pure insanity?

  • terri

    “Only the antiabortionists are clear on that.”I’m not antiabortionist. I am against abortions. I pray for the abortionist. What a hell he/she is living. They handle the bloody remains of abortions daily. How can they not (over time) get that blood on their hands? Does Sally know how many abortionists have addiction problems? Does she know how many commit suicide? Google search “ex abortionist” and “former abortionist”. Their stories are common and compelling.You can call me antiabortion. You can call me prolife. Both describe me.

  • Ramesh Rao

    Ms. Quinn writes, “Now, can we have more of these events in Catholic churches, mosques,

  • Robert Smith

    Ms. Quinn,

  • David in Chicago

    I pray all Americans come to the same conclusion concerning the world’s nuances as Ms. Quinn, but fear that my fellow Americans like their politics like they like their religion, simple and void of complexity. Sadly for the nation and world, advantage McCain.

  • spiderman2

    Pro-choice means pro killing of fetuses. It’s that simple. Even abortionists can’t stomach their true name. They have to use some other name to soothe their conscience.

  • Evalynn Monsky Duncan

    Sally–why have such a “forum” at all? Will we be voting for a President or a Panderer in November? Am I too bluntly direct or too nuanced for you and your analysts, faithful followers, and challengers? Your post is well-formulated, but I recall the Gaza Stripper as more profound.

  • Javier Gutierrez

    Ms. Quinn,You want to live in a world that’s White Christian-dominant. America and the world around us is increasingingly non-White and non-religious. Wake up from your dream.

  • Roger Loveland Colorado

    Sally…why don’t you stay home and raise your own children, or did you abort them all?

  • Roger Loveland Colorado

    Sally…why don’t you stay home and raise your own children, you don’t have time to do anything else? Or did you abort them all? Your commnents are a disgrace to all women…

  • T Lewis

    Investigations on Sally Quinn begins today.

  • Tim

    Obama said that the question of when life begins was “above my pay grade.” He sounds just a little bit like Ronald Reagan, who stated that if we are uncertain about when life begins then we should be especially cautious about ending it.I am sorry that Obama has not taken that logical next step. After all, we don’t bury a person until we are quite certain that he is no longer alive. Neither should we kill a fetus if we are not certain that it is not a living human being.

  • Tim

    Obama said that the question of when life begins was “above my pay grade.” He sounds just a little bit like Ronald Reagan, who stated that if we are uncertain about when life begins then we should be especially cautious about ending it.I am sorry that Obama has not taken that logical next step. After all, we don’t bury a person until we are quite certain that he is no longer alive. Neither should we kill a fetus if we are not certain that it is not a living human being.

  • Tiffany Denny

    Dear Sally, I’m a mother of three including a special needs child. I’m also a working mom and, always have been. Your statements today and, in the past few days on O’Reilly and the Realiable Sources show are obviouslly bias and, insulting to all working moms with large families and, parents of special needs children. Should we hide are special needs children and, not put them on stage because, they are special and, hide pregnant teenage daughters. Is that how we should show support for our families, or be and example of millions of citizens in the U.S. who are in the same situation? Is this what you are trying to suggest?