Obama at Saddleback

OBAMA AT SADDLEBACK….Liberals have been in a dither for several weeks now over Barack Obama’s supposedly listless campaign performance following his return from Europe, and as near as I can tell this turned into something close to panic after his performance in Saturday’s Saddleback Church pseudo-debate. Obama was deliberate and thoughtful! McCain was direct and forceful! Joe and Jane Sixpack will take wrong but strong every time!

Give me a break. Of course McCain was direct and forceful. He was on his home turf and he could afford to be. Abortion? Life begins at conception. Gay marriage? Against it. Tough calls? Let me tell you about the Vietnamese prison guard who drew a cross in the dirt.

Obama, of course, had no such option. What’s he going to say? That he has a 100% approval rating from NARAL? Gay marriage is a gift from God? We should nuke Tehran?

If this had been an AFL-CIO forum, the tables would have been turned. But it wasn’t, and Obama played the hand he was dealt. That’s life. Obama’s campaign tactics will almost certainly get more aggressive after the convention, when most people finally start paying attention, but in the meantime it’s worth noting that Obama’s performance at Saddleback Church might have been better than all the heathens who read this blog think. McCain, to my ears, sounded almost robotic talking about his faith, not like someone who truly has a deep connection with his church — and I’ll bet that came through to more than a few viewers. See recovering evangelical Stephen here for more on that. And then take a look at Rick Warren’s followup sermon on Sunday:

“Don’t just look at issues, look at character,” Warren said to a crowd of nearly 3,000 during one of two morning sermons at Saddleback Church in Lake Forest. “Look at the candidate and say, ‘Does he live with integrity, service with humility, share with generosity, or not?’ “

Don’t just look at the issues. That’s not exactly an endorsement or anything, but it sure sounds like Warren is doing his best to tip the scales in favor of the guy who might be pro-choice, but also has a deeper, more thoughtful faith than the other guy. Just saying.