Civil Forum Reflections

Well our friends cancelled on us last night so Ann and I got to catch the live broadcast on CNN of Saddleback Church's Civil Forum on the Presidency. I thought that Rick Warren did a great job on the questions. I don’t think that I learned anything new about the candidates positions.. well.. I was surprised that McCain and Obama have essentially the same position on a constitutional marriage amendment.. both feel that marriage and civil unions are a state issue.

I was disappointed that McCain felt that “saved and forgiven” was all he had to say about his Christian testimony before he rehashed the POW cross in the sand story.

A thought that came to me as I watched was that the demeanor of John McCain is very similar to President Bush.. a bit cocky and sanctimonious.. often digressing to campaign stump speech rhetoric. On the other hand I thought that Barack Obama came across a bit more contemplative and humble.. seemed genuinely interested in answering the questions and not giving a speech.

It will be interesting to see if the issues rule the day in this election like they did in 2000 & 2004 or if demeanor will be weighed in as well.

In my 30+ years of voting I don’t think that I have ever been undecided in August.. I am still watching and praying.

And you can catch the replay here.. and you might want to check out Dan Gilgoff's perspective here.. he makes the point that the forum was not what it was advertised to be.. hmmm.


  1. I thought both candidates (and Rick Warren) did a great job. For one of the first times ever, I saw candidates actually answer the questions put to them.

    I thought the format was ground-breaking. Each guy knew his opponent was getting the same question and his answer was going to be compared, scrutinized, contrasted and picked apart. So, they were forced to be as forthright as possible and both delivered on that.

    It did make the choice even more clear for me even though McCain definitely scored some points with me. It really comes down to "worldview" for me. McCain is a black/white thinker. Obama is a shades of gray guy. I'm a shades of gray guy.


  2. I think Brian is onto something with his comments about McCain as black/white thinker and Obama as being shades of gray and nuanced. Like Brian, I am a nuanced kind of guy especially when it comes to particular issues. Personally, I think there is a time to be black/white and a time to be more takes wisdom to know when to be which...

  3. Along with my gray hair I too have become a shades of gray kind of guy.. not that I like it :)

  4. Great observations, Bob!!! I am gray too (but I do have my hair colored so you can't tell).

    I am pretty sure I'm voting for Obama. I know I am. I think. :)

  5. Hey Bob, I agree with Bilbo I think there are issues in which you can be black & white.

    The only thing that I've decided is that I can not vote for Obama - his radical position on abortion is enough for me not to support him. There are other reasons, but that is the primary one.

    I interpreted Obama's answers not so much as humble as not knowing what the heck he's talking about. He has no experience. I thought it was laughable that he criticized Clarence Thomas saying he didn't think he was a good jurist and legal thinker... citing experience. That didn't come across as arrogant?

    It is clear who has the experience on foriegn policy... his comments on terrorism, the Georgia - Russian conflict, etc.

    John Mark Reynolds of Scriptorium Daily (also a prof at Biola) said it well that if you want a professor then Obama is your guy. If you want somebody with experience to be your commander-in-chief then McCain is the guy. I agree.

  6. Great push-back Shane.

    Not sure that I am too interested in McCain's foreign policy experience.. it didn't help him when he voted to give Bush permission to invade Iraq.

    I am more interested in discernment than I am experience in Washington.. especially given the state of the economy and our energy crisis.. things that a seasoned senator could have took leadership on years (and years) ago.

    And as a commander-in-chief.. McCain's hawkish tendancies scare me a bit.. I'd be afraid that his policies would be a bit too much like Bush.

  7. I enjoyed the forum as well. I have to agree, the hawkishness of McCain gives me pause too. (Especially in light of the fact that Bush's aggressive missile positioning along Russia's borders in Eastern Europe have instigated a the beginnings of a new arms race. Guess what? Russia's lining up missiles in Ossetia pointing toward our NATO allies. This is no surprise. I've also heard - through BBC or Stratfor - that Putin is trying to negotiate for missiles in Cuba again. Fantastic. Thank you, Bush, for making us less secure).

    Oh, by the way, the NY times reported that McCain was not in a "cone of silence" but was in his motorcade travelling to the church while Obama's interview was taking place live (it also reported that Rick Warren was unaware of that). I find it difficult to believe that his campaign staff were not listening in, since it was being broadcast.

    Along with Shane, the pro-choice thing bothers me too. But McCain is not exactly an embodiment of pro-life values. And he is considering a pro-choice VP. So, I continue to lean more and more towards Obama.

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  9. Missiles in Cuba? Shades of JFK's presidency Sarah.. I wonder how McCain and Obama would react to that threat?


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