Joe Klein on Obama & Islam

As usual Joe Klein of TIME has a slant on President Obama that most media tend to ignore.


Included is an interesting snapshot of Vice President Biden.


Joe Klein Is Salient On Obama

This guy and I are on the same page, instinctively, I think, regarding President Obama and what he is up to. Joe Klein calls it substance over show biz.

Just as he could have opted for the adrenaline rush of grand rhetoric in his Inaugural Address but didn’t, he could have turned any of the profoundly serious actions of his first week into a whiz-bang photo opportunity. He could have planted solar panels and a wind turbine on the White House roof or blasted the Bush Administration as he signed an Executive Order banning torture or lacerated the bankers who got us into the economic mess. But that’s not his style, apparently. He has reversed the tactical, win-the-news-cycle sensibility of recent presidencies. During his first week in office, at least, he opted for strategy and substance over show biz.



Barack Hits The Press Room

And Joe Klein’s account is enjoyable reading.

Someone sprinted down the hallway, so I knew something was up. More running around. The cameramen sprang to action, the scribblers grabbed their notebooks. President Obama had dropped into the White House briefing room. This is not the sort of thing that happens everyday. He said he wanted to “thank everybody for not just completely ripping up [Press Secretary Robert] Gibbs,” in the recently finished press briefing. “He handled it and I’m very proud,” Obama added, noting that he had watched the briefing on television.

Then he took a tour of our modest environs. As he walked through the two story press complex on the edge of the West Wing, he was less full of praise. “I got to say, it’s smaller than I thought,” he said. He made it down to the basement hallway. “It’s like a submarine down here,” he joked. When he passed the press vending machines, which offer candy bars and potato chips, he suggested that we “might want to have healthier snacks.”

He bantered with the jostling crowd as he walked, saying he had been using the White House gym to work out. He said he had not yet acquired his hard-won Blackberry. “I won the fight but I don’t think it’s up and running yet,” he said. He said he had added another backboard on the White House tennis court so he could play basketball, but he had not played yet because it was “too cold.”



Joe Klein: Barack President of All Americans

As culture wars seek to stop their steady, sputtering recession, the Rick Warren episode induces a pit-of-the stomach sense that what Nietzsche called ressentiment will find a way to dampen the sense of hope in unity that has animated the Obama Movement.

You have only to look at this text and the exchange of notes to get the drift.

Will the disaffected on the left have the power to dislodge a unity movement? No. But the real question is whether these disaffected will have the power to push everything back into the hat-in-hand tokenism that has been the face of the Democratic Party during these last decades of Atwater Republicanism?

Joe Klein thinks such a sad retreat is unlikely and I want very much to agree with him. I hope that Barack’s unbroken pattern of snatching victory from the jaws of boiling resentment will once again prevail. From the WSJ:

Time’s Joe Klein, though, doesn’t find much to get worked up about in the Warren invitation. “I have no problem with Barack Obama asking Reverend Rick to deliver a prayer at the Inauguration. It will have zero–repeat, zero–impact on the policies of the Obama Administration.” It might do some good, Klein continues, if it makes those who agree with Warren’s conservative social views to give Obama “the benefit of the doubt on controversial stuff like talking to the Iranians or universal health insurance, then it’s worth it. If it causes evangelicals to say, ‘Well, he’s not demonizing us, maybe we shouldn’t demonize him,’ it’s worth it. If it makes Rush Limbaugh’s toxic blather about our next President seem even the slightest bit ridiculous and over-the-top to his idiot legion of ditto heads, it’s worth it. “ SOURCE


And now this salient addendum from one of my favorite blogs:

All I ask is that Warren remembers that the inauguration is about the presidency, not CONTROVERSIAL CULTURE WAR ISSUE OF THE DAY, and will just give the invocation without pissing of 48 percent of the country. The announcement has already distracted and derailed the news cycle. But I think Warren will keep-it-simple-stupid, because he is a smart guy and wants to be Graham’s heir apparent. And you don’t get to be Graham’s heir by being unpalatable, like crazy Pat Robertson or dearly departed but also crazy Jerry Falwell OR by being kind of skeevie, like Creflo Dollar, OR by being too vague, like Joel Osteen. READ THE BLACK SNOB