Hugh Hewitt praised Barack Obama for meeting with Marines while he is in Hawaii:
Glenn Reynolds, however, links to an ABC News account suggesting that the Marines gave Obama a lukewarm reception, and notes that Obama ate Christmas dinner with family and friends at the beach house where he is vacationing, not with the Marines.
I don’t doubt that Obama comes from an anti-military background, much like Bill Clinton, who famously wrote that he “loathe[d] the military.” But Obama knows that he is about to become commander in chief. He seems to be making the right gestures, and I assume he is smart enough to understand that being President requires him not only to be symbolically pro-military, but to take an active interest in the welfare of our troops. Until his actions compel a conclusion to the contrary, I will give him the benefit of the doubt and assume that he holds our military in the esteem to which it is entitled. I hope and expect that we’ll see more efforts on his part to build bridges to the military community.
For what it’s worth, my reaction to Obama’s selection of Pastor Rick Warren to deliver the invocation at his inauguration is similar. I’ve been a bit surprised at how quick commentators–especially pro-Obama commentators–have been to attribute this move to cynical political calculation. Perhaps so. But, here too, I give Obama the benefit of the doubt.
Obama surely understands how little his experience has prepared him for the office he is about to assume, and he must wonder how he will bear up under the unimaginable strains the office implies. He must be aware that not only President Bush, but most if not all of his predecessors have credited the prayers of millions of Americans with sustaining them in office. So I assume that Obama reached out to Warren not only because he is a spiritual leader with some possible political significance (although Warren’s ministry is not politicized), but because he wants the support, and the prayers, of millions of evangelicals, whether or not they voted for him, and because he sincerely wants to show that that segment of our society is included in his vision of America.
No doubt we will have many occasions to disagree with Barack Obama in the years to come, but he is soon to become the only President we’ve got, and he’ll have my support when I can find a way to lend it.
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