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March 19, 2008

Obama's Speech: The Morning After

Presidential candidate Barack Obama's speech yesterday was written by the candidate himself, and attempted to transcend race while justifying his continuing twenty-year commitment to the church led by Rev. Jeremiah Wright.

Many reviews of the speech were predictably glowing in their admiration for the Democratic Senator from Illinois, but that reaction was far from universal among op-ed writers, even in a media that is generally accepted to be left-of-center ideologically.

While giving credit to Obama's speech as a "fine political performance," Michael Gerson, writing in the Washington Post, noted:

Obama's excellent and important speech on race in America did little to address his strange tolerance for the anti-Americanism of his spiritual mentor... ...In Philadelphia, Obama attempted to explain Wright's anger as typical of the civil rights generation, with its "memories of humiliation and doubt and fear." But Wright has the opposite problem: He ignored the message of Martin Luther King Jr and introduced a new generation to the politics of hatred.

King drew a different lesson from the oppression he experienced: "I've seen too much hate to want to hate myself; hate is too great a burden to bear. I've seen it on the faces of too many sheriffs of the South. . . . Hate distorts the personality. . . . The man who hates can't think straight; the man who hates can't reason right; the man who hates can't see right; the man who hates can't walk right."

Barack Obama is not a man who hates -- but he chose to walk with a man who does.

Writing in a similar vein in the Boston Herald, Michael Graham opined:

Obama is right when he reminds us that all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. But where he is cynically and shamefully wrong is insisting that we all have fallen as far as he has.

The reason many of us are horrified by the senator's connection to the Rev. Wright is that most Americans can't imagine spending 20 minutes listening to his ignorant rantings, much less 20 years. Most of us would never even consider joining a church that preaches racial theology of any kind, much less the overt racism of the "black values system" at Obama's church.

And now we're supposed to believe that this man is going to heal our souls?

Likewise, Thomas Sowell likened Obama to a con man:

Someone once said that a con man's job is not to convince skeptics but to enable people to continue to believe what they already want to believe.

Accordingly, Obama's Philadelphia speech a theatrical masterpiece will probably reassure most Democrats and some other Obama supporters. They will undoubtedly say that we should now "move on," even though many Democrats have still not yet moved on from George W. Bush's 2000 election victory.

Like the Soviet show trials during their 1930s purges, Obama's speech was not supposed to convince critics but to reassure supporters and fellow-travelers, in order to keep the "useful idiots" useful.

Stated Mark Davis in the Dallas Morning News:

Mr. Wright has spent years infecting congregations with sick obsessions about an evil, racist America. That congregation has largely responded with cheers of agreement. Yet Mr. Obama insists he has absorbed only the "loving" portions of Rev. Wright's Christianity, not the portions that have heaped condemnation on our country, on white people, on Israel and on specific political figures he reviles.

How conveniently selective. Can you imagine a conservative politician able to skate away from decades of association with a pastor who spent frequent occasions spewing fiery condemnations based on race and politics?

In the Jerusalem Post, Armstrong Williams points out the obvious:

This past week was not an exemplary moment for the man who has prided himself on integrity and honesty throughout this campaign. The fact is that the senator has no plausible excuse for why he remained a member of Rev. Wright's church. He and his family should have immediately left that congregation for the embrace of a church that teaches the Bible rather than the alienation, lunacy and outright mockery of Christian teachings.

Even reliably left-of-center Maureen Dowd was forced to concede in an otherwise glowing review in the New York Times:

The candidate may have staunched the bleeding, but he did not heal the wounds. His naive and willful refusal to come to terms earlier with the Rev. Wright's anti-American, anti-white and pro-Farrakhan sentiments echoing his naive and willful refusal to come to terms earlier with the ramifications of his friendship with sleazy fund-raiser Tony Rezko will not be forgotten because of one unforgettable speech.

When the story of Wright's damning of America broke last week, it became obvious that to stay a viable political candidate in the general election, Barack Obama would have to substantially distance himself from a pastor and congregation that practices a form of radical theology firmly rooted in a toxic mix of racial identity politics, conspiracy-theorizing, and Marxism.

Obama's speech attempted a transcendent rise out of a hole of his own digging by excusing his intimate relationship with a controversial church and pastor, without actually distancing himself from either Rev. Wright or his underlying theology. Instead, Obama claimed falsely, "I can no more disown him than I can disown the black community."

Obama was not asked to disown the black community. He was asked to sever ties with a purveyor of a poisonous mindset, and he has failed to do so.

Lacking that concrete act of denial, Obama's grand eloquence was revealed as all too typical political pandering.

"Just words," indeed.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at March 19, 2008 11:36 AM
Comments

Thomas Sowell had a pithy summary of Obama's speech:

"Like the Soviet show trials during their 1930s purges, Obama's speech was not supposed to convince critics but to reassure supporters and fellow-travelers, in order to keep the 'useful idiots' useful."

It almost appears the Sowell wrote that sentence after reading some of the dreck spouted in the immediate aftermath of the talk by such folk as Andrew Sullivan and Matthew Yglesias, among many such "useful idiots."

Posted by: Terry at March 19, 2008 12:34 PM

So what could this New Messiah ever say to reach the shriveled, racist hearts of scoundrels like us who, while QUITE unlikely to ever vote for him could at least admit his decency on this subject? Again, we look to drunken lunatic Mel Gibson who managed to declare that his ravings were embittered lies "that I do not believe and which are not true." Hell, Barry could say that simply about the CIA/AIDS thing, leave the rest and get plenty of props from Yours Truly. "My Gammy made me do it."? Not so much.

Posted by: megapotamus at March 19, 2008 12:52 PM

C'mon, CY. Surely there are more irrelevant partisan douchebags you can quote on the speech? Let's get cracking here. We need to figure out which anti-Obama talking point has the most staying power or Operation Swift Boat 2.0 will never get off the ground.

Posted by: D. Aristophanes at March 19, 2008 12:56 PM

[[Operation Swift Boat 2.0]]


DA, you had better not hope Obama is in for a swiftboating. When Americans were confronted with the truth of Kerrys lies on Vietnam and his anti-American, pro-Communist and anti-military positions they tossed him onto the scrap heap of rejected presidential candidates. He was rejected so strongly because he was running on his military record.

Obama is running on a platform of racial healing, hope and broad appeal to all Americans. If it turns out he is a race baiting anti-American his dishonesty will sink him just as fast as Kerrys.

Posted by: Grrrrrrrrrrrrr at March 19, 2008 01:13 PM

I guess you can throw in ABC News' Brian Ross as yet another one of those "irrelevant partisan douchebags."

As for myself, I'm waiting to see how those "irrelevant partisan douchebags" that are moderate and independent voters react in upcoming polls taken after Obama's speech. Early results don't look good for him.

Obama's poll numbers have dropped according to Reuters/Zogby, and pollster Zogby ascribes at least part of that pre-speech drop to Wright's statements late last week, and his association with Obama.

Perhaps more tellingly, Gallup's daily tracking poll of 03/16-03/18 also attributes Wright's divisive comments as being at least part of the reason for Clinton moving out to a statistically significant lead for the first time in a month.

Seems like a lot of those "irrelevant partisan douchebags" are Democratic moderates.

I'm sure they feel your love, and hope they will respond accordingly in the fall.

Posted by: Confederate Yankee at March 19, 2008 02:01 PM

Shelby Steele's article in the WSJ yesterday hit it precisely.

Senator Obama is on both sides of the fence: he's warm and accepting toward whites, offering them exoneration in place of anger, while at the same time trying to prove his "blackness" sufficiently by belonging to a church that is driven by blackness and "black values" (see the church's "About Us" fact sheet) and which calls on all members to give their allegiance to black leaders and which is led by a hot-rage black separatist. All without a peep from Senator Obama. Obama is split, living a sort of double life. He has yet to even unify himself.

Senator Obama's resume remains empty of real accomplishment, although he has been promoted multiple times to ever-higher public offices. He presents himself as a healer and transcender of racial division. Yet where has he actually ever tried to heal racial tension, or to correct destructive and sometimes, mistaken attitudes and grudges to repair racial separation? "Where's the beef?"

Where better to start than in a church -- HIS church -- where Jesus Christ is the accepted common denominator, the reigning authority, a natural starting point of discussion and an irreproachable example? Yet the Senator presents no evidence that he ever made even the first attempt, in 20 years.

I did a bunch of interviewing of job applicants at my place of employment. A cardinal rule we followed was that "past performance is the best indicator of future success". So I probed to see what applicants had done with what they had in the way of the skills and aptitudes my department was seeking.

Senator Obama wants to be hired as President largely on the claim that he is a healer and uniter. Yet where has he done this so far, or at least tried? Not even in his own back yard, so to speak?

I realized from this that Shelby Steele is right about something else regarding Senator Obama. His appeal is that he offers white voters a feeling of exoneration and innocence.

His campaign allures white voters by offering them a FEELING of contributing to a cure by their vote for a bi-racial man. So it's not what HE has accomplished, or might, that he's selling. It's the feeling in a voter that *I* have done something! *I* am a healer and a uniter!

This sets up a fresh case in which Mario Cuomo could go on TV, just as he did for Bill Clinton BEFORE his 1993 inauguration, and preposterously say the President-elect "has already kept all his promises, just by being elected".

Posted by: Buckmeister at March 19, 2008 03:30 PM

The point being missed is that Obama did NOT apologize for the Rev. Wright's hate speech, but excused it!

If anything he telegraphed that his idea of "unity" is to bundle together the angry black conspiracy-nuts together with the angry white conspiracy-nuts to be united in their mutual hate for "evil white rich men" running corporations. I.e. class warfare. If that's not marxism what is?

His solutions to all greivances: bigger socialist government programs that forcibly seize profits from private enterprise and then redistribute it to the underclass who demand ever bigger portions all while nurturing grudges and an overpreening sense of entitlement rather than gratitude towards their fellow citizens.

Uniting rhetoric aside, Obama has NEVER shown any inclination to reach across the aisle to compromise with "the other side". He has always voted hard Left. So the unity he seeks is that of one side winning and the other side being called evil-doers and forced into silence.

It's becoming ever clearer that the Democrats are seeking a super majority in the Senate (60 seats) and House and White House to ram rod their extremist positions through with wild abandon this November. Their idea of "unity" is not respecting the 49% who don't agree with them, but forcing us to shut up and take pay for it.

Posted by: John at March 19, 2008 03:30 PM

I didn't expect Obama's condemnation of Rev. Wright's words to be enough for those of your ilk, but, of course, neither did Obama. That's why he singled out people like you, CY, in the speech. He told us,

"Some will see this as an attempt to justify or excuse comments that are simply inexcusable. I can assure you it is not. I suppose the politically safe thing would be to move on from this episode and just hope that it fades into the woodwork.

...knowing that the forces of division will not let their most powerful weapon to be taken away. You do your readership a disservice.

Posted by: Frederick at March 19, 2008 04:25 PM

The only "Ilk" I see around here, are the people attempting to sweep this candidate's tacit approval of outrageous anti-americanism, blatant and overt racism, and position switching.

Go look in the mirror Freddy, the ilk is plain to see.

Posted by: Conservative CBU at March 19, 2008 05:08 PM

There are some here who wish to believe. I do not expect that anything will disturb their unique worldview nor upset their carefully constructed fantasies. Osama is a poor Elmer Gantry because his lies are too slick and his patter too practised. Even Elmer wouldn't have thrown his grandmother under the bus nor tired to tie a guilt trip on his crowd. So one has to believe that Oama has given up on fooling the majority of Americans to concentrate on the left hand scale of the IQ chart.

As we can see here in a comment left by one of the sheep, there are those who will always follow and believe because they have to. The rest of us can just examine the facts and make up their minds.

This looks like a replay of 1972 again, an unpopular Republican crushes his wingnut extremist opponent in a massive landslide when the public realizes that a politboro isn't a viable form of government.

Posted by: Thomas Jackson at March 19, 2008 06:00 PM

"Forces of division" You are talking about the Reverend, right?

In any case, it was nice of Obama to "condemn" Wright's vile Black liberation theology. But why is Obama still going to that church based on Black Liberation theology? Remember, the church crowd was cheering Wright on.


Posted by: Roy Mustang at March 19, 2008 06:44 PM

How's about that Bill Ayers, huh? I think his cover name was the "Old Grandmother"? And the New BP Party, and Farrakhan - just some kewl new threads. Stove pipe pants, a black leather "Nehru" jacket and turtleneck? Slick!
Let's all have a group hug.
Playing hardball with Identity Politics means a few Kewpie dolls and weighted milk-bottles get knocked over at the Carnival Midway they call the Democrat Convention, where the games are rigged ya know.

Posted by: DirtCrashr at March 19, 2008 06:55 PM

Anyway...Frederick, I'm seriously concerned about you.

Wright and his ilk are the real forces of division. But you choose to get upset at us because we want to talk about Wright simply because Obama told you that those who continue to talk about Wright after his speech are the evil "forces of division". That's scary stuff. That's Kool-Aid level obedience.

Posted by: Roy Mustang at March 19, 2008 06:59 PM

"Obama was not asked to disown the black community. He was asked to sever ties with a purveyor of a poisonous mindset, and he has failed to do so."

Who asked him to sever ties with the reverend--you? Why should Obama be your organ grinder monkey and disown, renounce, and whatever else you demand when you'd never be satisfied even if he did? It's pretty disingenuous to make such demands when you know no actions would satisfy you, and that you'd never give him the benefit of the doubt.

He didn't fail any test because it's not up to you to give him tests to pass. Either he gets elected or not, and that's the only test. After this he may not, but at least he's got a spine and courage enough not to dance when the frothosphere says dance.

Posted by: Craig at March 19, 2008 07:58 PM

Craig:

You are quite correct. Obama does not have to disown anybody. He is his own man. However, as the "ilkers" around here suggest(See definition*) he can and will be know as Obama of the home grown terrorists, and Obama of the Black Separatist Movement, and Obama of the Marxist's and Obama of the Chamberlainites.


Mind you, the ilkers could be accused of racism because the word ilk became more common during the late 1800s, which allthough after the war to end slavery in the US, is certainly not late enough for us to be comfortable that it is not a word co-opted by the enablers of white racists.


"When one uses ilk, as in the phrase men of his ilk, one is using a word with an ancient pedigree even though the sense of ilk, "kind or sort," is actually quite recent, having been first recorded at the end of the 18th century. This sense grew out of an older use of ilk in the phrase of that ilk, meaning "of the same place, territorial designation, or name." This phrase was used chiefly in names of landed families, Guthrie of that ilk meaning "Guthrie of Guthrie." "Same" is the fundamental meaning of the word. The ancestors of ilk, Old English ilca and Middle English ilke, were common words, usually appearing with such words as the or that, but the word hardly survived the Middle Ages in those uses."-Houghton Mifflin.

Posted by: davod at March 20, 2008 04:08 AM

I agree that Obama wasn't asked to sever his ties to anyone. He really wasn't "asked" to do anything.

What he needed to do though, assuming he wants to be elected, is explain why he chose to associate himself with a race bating hate monger like Wright.

And I believe there actually is a good explanation for why he associated himself with Wright. That explanation, I believe, would have to do with his wanting to become a politician, being of mixed race but outwardly black, and needing the support of people of color to be politically viable.

It may not be an explanation that would satisfy his critics, but that, I think, is what he was doing. The problem is that Obama has marketed himself as someone that transcends race and will depart from the politics of the past, and his association with Wright (at least apparently) gives the lie to that marketing.

IOW, what Obama needed to do was act out his self assigned role as truth teller. But he didn't do that. Instead, he attempted a bunch of really lame moral equivalence and threw his own grandmother under the bus.

I have been wondering since he gave this speech who wrote it because it was an utter failure at accomplishing its mission. CY in your opening line you say he wrote it himself. If so then this is one of those cases where the lawyer that represents himself has an idiot for a client.

Posted by: DaveW at March 20, 2008 07:05 AM

It is still a question of "representative" government. Who represents "me" best in the field of choices. I am voting for Obama because "I" would not have voted to go to war in Iraq, "I" would vote to make health care more affordable to more Americans, I would focus more on our nation's infrastructure than wastefule war spending etc. It's an exercise not exclusively in what the person has accomplished but what "you" elect him or her to advocate in the sesssions of congress and policy. Newt Gingrich, as much as I don't like him, is a very skilled "advocate". All of these peoples are lawyers first and for most, it's a nation of consumers and you think of what you want and need from the "product" and make your choice.

Posted by: chris lee at March 20, 2008 08:32 AM

Davod-
When I read your description of the ilkers, a faint ember from my high school lit class glowed slightly brighter, though that was so, so many beers ago (Reagan was president). It actually caused me to crack open my dusty box of old school books to find it, but here is a quote from To Kill a Mockingbird that I think sums up the sentiment of the ilkers: "...but when it comes down to the line, the veneer's mighty thin. Nigger always comes out in 'em." I think that's what a lot of people were waiting to see, and are now harumph-ing contentedly that Obama had his Tom Robinson moment. After all, he couldn't play it cool forever, and he was going to show his true colors eventually (pun intended). Feel free to rip this up one side and down the other if anyone feels it's unfair. I feel there's more than a grain of truth to it.
In any event, could it also be that many people are just allowing themselves to be drawn into yet another false flag operation, where we pit ourselves against fellow Americans who the radio and Internet spokesmen deem to be assualting our way of life? After the election, it's all forgotten for 4 years until we useful idiots are needed, once again, to get riled up.

Posted by: Craig at March 20, 2008 09:37 AM

Its amazing what people will do to drag someone down. There are no rumors of marital affairs (yet), the muslim rumor went down in flames, and now the latest is he isn't the right kind of christian. I went to church (Southern Baptist) mostly to worship with my friends and family. I routinely disagreed with various preachers and some of their sermons. For example, I didn't see the point of contributing to the temperance league (anti-drinking group) when most in the congregation went back home and watch football that afternoon with a six pack of beer. It didn't require me to abandon my church or try to convert everyone to my POV. God gave us the ability to choose salvation or not, but that ability also is applicable to deciding what we believe is God's word and what isn't. In my case, my preacher and I agreed to agree on some things and disagree on others.

As far as Obama goes, I do not plan to vote for him in the GE but my reasoning is based on his lack of experience as a leader and politican, not on what church he went to or what his priest did or said. Frankly, this looks like a pretty pathetic attempt to get the religious right riled up to support McCain...

Posted by: matt a at March 20, 2008 10:13 AM

Obama's evil double life has been exposed, and all he can think to do is insult his own grandmother.

Obama gets caught attending a racist, antisemitic, anti-American church for 20 years and what does he do? He calls a press conference to defend his racist pastor, lecture white people about racism, and insult his grandmother. Class move there Barack!

There are only two possibilities. Either Obama is secretly a racist anti-American leftwing nutjob ... or he's just been pretending to be one for 20 years. Either of which make him a world class scumbag.

The man should resign from his Senate seat. It's no different than if he'd been attending Klan meetings for 20 years for the fellowship and charity work. Both white supremacists and black supremacists should be kicked out of all elective offices.

Posted by: jim at March 20, 2008 12:29 PM

I'd like to know how he insulted his Grandmother? If she really did have deep reservations about black men and used ethnic slurs, its not an insult but an accurate observation. If its not accurate, then its an insult but I haven't heard any of his family denounce this...Should he have used a ficticous person or made someone up? I think its his family and his experience and if he wants to talk about growing up in a family with racist feelings as a way of showing he understands both sides of the color line, then he should...

Posted by: matt a at March 20, 2008 01:42 PM

matt a,

Obama insulted his grandmother by placing her on the same plane as Wright in his speech.

Posted by: Confederate Yankee at March 20, 2008 01:46 PM

I may also add that Obama's Grammy isn't the only older white women who doesn't appreciate being compared to Wright.

Posted by: Confederate Yankee at March 20, 2008 02:12 PM

CY-
That assumes the unproven premise that Wright is an inherently bad person, and thus comparing any good person to him is an insult. If you scratch the surface, there's lots of direct evidence that Wright does a lot of faith-based positive work in his community, which the Right should appreciate, leaving aside his vitriol.
I further disagree with you because the point Obama was making was nuanced, and was instead (1) that you can love people that are flawed, and (2) that Obama doesn't disown people he cares about just because they are flawed. In fact, it's completely unchristian (my observation, not O's).

Posted by: Craig at March 20, 2008 02:15 PM
That assumes the unproven premise that Wright is an inherently bad person...

I don't think that premise unproven. Wright promoted and was an enabler for racism, separatism, racist conspiracy theories; gave awards to racists, visited a terrorist regime, was anti-Semitic, etc... and by the way, he profited from it, handsomely. Nothing like a man preaching about poverty from the pulpit, only to come down and drive home in a Porsche.

That he doubtlessly did good works during his career is of course a mitigating factor, but when you weigh the good he's done versus the evil he's preached to thousands, I think it rather obvious he's done more harm to his community than good.

Of course, your standards may be different.

Obama perhaps used the wrong choice of words if he meant to say what you claim, that "you can love people who are flawed." I certainly hope so, or I, you, and everyone else is screwed. :-)

That said, his attempt at damage-controlling that statement today didn't win him any new converts, as he attempted to explain her prejudice as that of a "typical white person."

For a man once though to have an orator's gift, he has certainly discovered a talent recently to rub people the wrong way.

Posted by: Confederate Yankee at March 20, 2008 02:33 PM

CY-
I appreciate the thoughtful response. Well, I agree with you that O's not hitting the right notes, but I don't think anyone can in that situation. Wright's words make your average white person angry and a little jumpy because most people feel that they are not really racist, so it's unfair for Wright to judge. And indeed it is unfair. But, it's also true that the vast majority of people haven't had a chance to see/experience the echo chambers that are the very, very poor and blighted part of a major city in this country. And for that reason, they can't understand why he's ranting, and so chalk it up to being bad. (Or evil, as you say, but what is this, Lord of the Rings? Truly, it's beyond hyperbole to say he's evil). In reality, blighted areas create their own distorted myths of what reality is (think about all the early cultures' reasons for why the sun travels across the sky) because of a serious lack of education coupled with little outside influence. I mean, the south side of Chicago goes on for miles and miles of apartment after apartment of poor, ignorant people that rarely leave their neighborhoods--still surprised that they come up with some nutty ideas?
As to the "terrorism" and the rest, aren't you getting tired of scaring the crap out of each other with the terrorist bogeyman? Sure, there are terrorists, but they're not hiding in your cornflakes, and not everyone who criticizes this country angrily needs to be on the watchlist. I'm surprised to see the term used in connection to Wright, an inner city pastor of all people. Sheesh, I remember when being on the right meant being tough. Now it means shivering in fear and demanding protection at all costs.
And another thing, while I'm at it, this "hate speech" thing cracks me up. Back in the early to mid 90's when I was a Dittohead, Rush used to rail against the PC constrictions of lib'rals trying to ban hate speech. He was positively apoplectic, guaranteeing that it was the just the left trying to squelch political speech of the right. (And I believed him). Now look who is wielding the term "hate speech" to quash dissent. (Rush also said we shouldn't invade foreign countries that don't attack us (Bosnia) but I guess he figured the left was right about that too). To quote Yakov Smirnov, "What a country!"

Posted by: Craig at March 20, 2008 03:00 PM

Craig, Wright is not the uneducated product of the inner city. He has a bachelor's, two master's, and a PhD, also wih no less than eight honorary degrees. He is well-traveled, and well-educated. some of his congregation may have an excuse of being trapped in an echo chamber; Wright decidedly does not.

As for the terrorist reference, that was not a generalized "boogeyman" statement, but an indirect reference to a specific man Wright went out of his way to visit in 1984. This man supported the PLO, Black September (which carried out the 1972 Munich Olympics Massacre) and the Irish Republican Army. His name is Muammar Gaddafi, and he was known as a sponsor of terrorism for more than a decade before Wright's social call.

As for being "tough"... please. I though you were a little more mature than that.

Obviously, I was wrong.

Posted by: Confederate Yankee at March 20, 2008 03:19 PM

Craig, Craig, Craig - Your distortions are legion.

The left has continued to try to squelch speech from the dight as Limbaugh pointed out. In 2006, they tried to get him removed from Armed Forces Radio. The keep trying to resurrect the Fairness Doctrine, really a smokescreen to regulate the content of Talk Radio. The right has not tried to censor Wright, the fight is between Clinton and Obama at this point for the nomination. The right certainly wants more exposure of Wright's words, if anything.

"Wright's words make your average white person angry and a little jumpy" Why did you have to insert the word "white" in your sentence there Craig? Do you have trouble acknowledging the Reverend's words should be considered flat out wrong for everyone? Are you trying to perpetuate divisiveness here?

Posted by: daleyrocks at March 20, 2008 03:25 PM

I wish I knew how to make that nifty quote box, but sadly...I'm a luddite.

Anyhoo, CY, I did not know that about Wright. Interesting. I suppose I take that to mean he's playing to his audience. In any event, the reason I didn't research this guy is that his kooky rantings just didn't phase me. I didn't take them and Obama's association with them to mean very much. And, at bottom, I think Obama just really liked the experience of belonging to a spirited black church of the type he never had when growing up. As such, to my mind, it's a tempest in a teapot, but obviously, to a lot of others, the teapot is the size of Crater Lake.
Re: toughness, perhaps it was a little snarky, but really, I do wonder where the toughness (i.e. stiff upper lip) went.

Daleyrocks: I inserted white because his words don't make too many black people jumpy per se, though probably made many uncomfortable when aired out on the Wright videos. If you re-read what I said, though, the point is that it irks white people because most don't see themselves as racist or bad, and thus bristle at being unfairly painted as such. Totally valid feelings. I did acknowledge Wright's words were wrong, so I guess I'm not seeing the divisiveness perpetuation..... More like trying to perpetuate a discussion (which has been pretty fun, y'all).
Regarding Rush, the fairness doctrine thing was raging when I used to listen to him, but that's beside the point. The point is that using the term "hate speech" to shout someone down was used against the right in the 90's, but is now being used by the right against dissenters like Wright. And for the record, I think the fairness doctrine is silly.

Posted by: Craig at March 20, 2008 03:47 PM

"In any event, the reason I didn't research this guy is that his kooky rantings just didn't phase me. I didn't take them and Obama's association with them to mean very much."

Are you an atheist?

Posted by: davod at March 20, 2008 06:35 PM

"Are you an atheist?"

No, agnostic. Raised Protestant, though, and my parents changed churches enough that I saw first hand that kooky ideas (no, I do not mean the Bible) are not confined to the Trinity church. But obviously, since I don't subscribe to the faith anymore, hearing Wright say "damn" from the pulpit sort of whizzes by and completely bypasses my hackles. I get why it makes others angry, though.

Posted by: Craig at March 20, 2008 06:59 PM

Craig -
"I inserted white because his words don't make too many black people jumpy per se"
Based on what evidence? Got any links? There has been plenty of black condemnation of Wright's words.

"The point is that using the term "hate speech" to shout someone down was used against the right in the 90's, but is now being used by the right against dissenters like Wright."
You miss the point again. Reread WHAT I wrote. Please point out who on the right is trying to silence Wright. That's what the left does. Obama did it to Imus for less than what Wright said if you want to talk about hypocrisy.

Posted by: daleyrocks at March 20, 2008 08:54 PM

Daleyrocks: Here you go, dude....word search "hate": http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives2/2008/03/
Oh, and uh, this: http://confederateyankee.mu.nu/
And about 3 zillion other right leaning sites.

Posted by: Craig at March 20, 2008 09:04 PM

Craig - Nothing specific as I thought. Blowing smoke just like the rest of your comment.

Posted by: daleyrocks at March 20, 2008 10:28 PM

OK, is Craig a troll, who ought not be fed? What percent of the population agrees with him? Is he or are they in any rational way reachable? Or does one make the argument, so that when some future event occurs, people will have at least heard a rational point of view that they can then move to? I'm a sucker for low odds, so I'll give it a try.

Craig wrote: In any event, could it also be that many people are just allowing themselves to be drawn into yet another false flag operation, where we pit ourselves against fellow Americans who the radio and Internet spokesmen deem to be assualting our way of life?

Earth to Craig, all the radio (and tv btw) and Internet spokesmen are doing is to allow Rev. Jeremiah Wright's words be heard. This is Rev. Wright's big moment, his 30 years of preaching, now has a huge national and international audience. He can bring the word of God to millions and hundreds of millions of souls.

People are reading and listening to Rev. Wright's words and rejecting him. They are taking Rev. Wright seriously. They are taking his words seriously. The more they hear of Rev. Wright, the more they are rejecting him.

Who is pitting Americans against fellow Americans? The Americans who reject Rev. Wright or Rev. Wright himself? Rev. Wright accuses some Americans of inventing the AIDS virus and injecting it into Black Americans in order to kill them. Rev. Wright accuses some Americans of bringing drugs into Black American communities in order to specifically disrupt and destroy the lives of Black Americans. Rev. Wright accuses White Americans of greed, of hatred, of having designs to destroy Black Americans, of keeping Black Americans illiterate and uneducated.

Craig, seriously dude, who is dividing Americans here? Craig, you join Rev. Wright in his insane conspiracy theories, ie 'false flag operation'. So, if I don't join you and Rev. Wright, I'm a divider. I guess that's the 'moderate' form of being called a racist.

Posted by: Jabba the Tutt at March 21, 2008 06:26 AM

Jabba-
I'm not a troll in the sense that I'm not just trying to stir things up. Sure, I could post and debate on a blog that mirrors my outlook, but of what benefit would that be to me or you? I'd rather engage you in debate, and through that perhaps I validate my POV, or perhaps it changes based on your comments. (Maybe your POV changes, too). To kick around ideas with only my like-minded pals is intellectually dishonest if I come to believe that it's reaffirming my stance, since no one would likely challenge my assertions.

As to the false flag operation, I stand by what I said, and your comments (I think) lend support. It would seem you've come to believe that there is a referendum on the Rev, and you presented a false choice that we're either with the Rev or not. But the Rev is not running for president, so the choice is more like: Should Obama be president taking into account his association with the Rev. It seems you have unfairly short circuited the Rev's comments to Obama, and ascribed them to be Obama's POV.

And, contrary to your suggestion, the Rev.'s comments do not appear in a vacuum. Rather, there's an edited youtube clip with his worst moments, and some other clips with black nationalists and Obama. Then, there's the talking heads who try to put his comments in "perspective". This may have lead you to view the issue of the presidential election as whether you are with Wright or not. That is absurd. But, it is, I believe, as I say: a false flag operation to yet again pit Americans against one another for the benefit of a candidate or party that won't pay you any mind until 4 years from now. Gay marriage and abortion are similar issues....parties stoke the fires every 4 years, then are forgotten until you're needed to get angry again and vote.

I say we demand better from our candidates to not treat us like useful idiots. Agree or disagree with Obama, but you would probably have to admit that his recent speech represented the most adult and open discussion on the topic in a long time. It's also sad that the race is so hostile all of a sudden; Obama seems like a decent and likable guy, McCain seems like a decent and likable guy, Hillary...*cough*....has a really nice and likable daughter. Just wish we could have an election with adult discussions.

Posted by: Craig at March 21, 2008 10:14 AM

Keep in mind that what you're watching is a race for the democratic nomination for president. The republican nominee has already been decided.

Am I being too obscure? OK, let me put it this way; what you're watching right now is a fight between Obama and Clinton and if you attribute what you're seeing to anyone besides those 2 combatants in that race you're being played for a fool.

Posted by: DaveW at March 21, 2008 12:01 PM