A hamfisted moderation

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It's not shocking that Obama is inviting Rick Warren to do the invocation. It just seems like a rather obvious move to embrace the "new" religious right. I find it interesting that Warren crafted this new "moderate" personality just as his old allies were going down. Maybe it's moderation. But I can't find much daylight between a dude who equates gay marriage with incest and the old right.

Andrew sees the hallmarks of wedge politics. Possibly. But I don't think this is a play for the homophobe vote, in the way Reagan's Philadelphia deal, or Clinton's Sista Souljah deal were plays for the racist vote. A better--if somewhat obscure--parallel is the move by my alma mater, Howard University in 1989, to put Lee Atwater on the board of trustees. Atwater had just finished with Willie Horton, but the administration was willing to overlook that in hopes of gaining the sort of access Atwater offered. Likewise, I'd bet Obama wants access to evangelicals. Atwater eventually withdrew after Howard's students and faculty basically embarrassed the University. The lesson there is obvious, even if the means and times are different.

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Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle.

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