February 1, 2008
Fun with books: Election 2008 edition
Katie Couric recently asked a number of the primary candidates, Democratic and Republican, what book — other than the Bible* — they would take to the White House with them. [*I appreciate that Couric included that clause, because you know a number of the candidates would have answered “The Bible, of course,” and we wouldn’t have learned anything new.] Clinton said she’d take the Constitution and the Federalist Papers, for obvious reasons; Obama’s answer was, I think, somewhat more illuminating (emphasis added):
Obama: Doris Kearns Goodwin’s book “Team of Rivals.” It was a biography of Lincoln. And she talks about Lincoln’s capacity to bring opponents of his and people who have run against him in his cabinet. And he was confident enough to be willing to have these dissenting voices and confident enough to listen to the American people and push them outside of their comfort zone. And I think that part of what I want to do as president is push Americans a little bit outside of their comfort zone. It’s a remarkable study in leadership.
A few days ago Melissa McEwan reminded us that “when the Supreme Court struck down the bans against interracial marriage in 1968 through Virginia vs. Loving, SEVENTY-TWO PERCENT of Americans were against interracial marriage” (the statement is from a 2005 blog entry by John Rogers), and so when I hear Obama talk about wanting to push Americans out of their comfort zones, I want to believe he might have same-sex marriage on his mind, which is what I thought of when I read that sentence. Of course, given that it follows “be willing to have these dissenting voices,” I fear that the idea of pushing Americans out of their comfort zones is actually a message to progressives: I’m going to pander to the middle in the name of unity, and you’re just going to have to deal with it.
But maybe I’m just paranoid. Indeed, I rather hope I am.
[Hat tip to Petulant.]