Inspired by Wonkette, I have to say just one thing. That Obama would make a shrewd, political and calculating move is entirely unsurprising to me. Actually that aspect of picking Warren is not interesting in the least bit. I mean, really - this is a guy who voted for FISA and who changed his mind about campaign financing, remember? He is no naive idealist.
The thing that is surprising to me is just how much he fucked up this particular calculation. He didn't have to pick him, there was no explicit or implicit expectation that he would. Social conservatives couldn't care less about social issues right about now and anyway I don't really see how this changes anyone's opinion of him meaningfully. On the other hand, it was entirely predictable just how outraged progressives would be at this symbolic gesture. So the math is - conservatives may like you a little more; progressives will be mortally pissed. Something doesn't quite add up.
This can be viewed as troubling: just how disconnected is he from the social liberals (and, yes, gays) not to appreciate the message it sends? While some interpret this as politicking at its worst, I actually suspect it could be just the opposite: a really bad misunderstanding of the issues at hand and the symbolism attached to a guy like Warren.
But, to leave this one on a bright note, it can be viewed positively. Hey, maybe he just likes the dude - for whatever weird reason - and he genuinely didn't feel like politicizing this decision. Maybe he is a different kind of politician after all. Convinced?