March 15, 2008


Obama and Wright (Michael Crowley, 3/15/08, New Republic: The Stump)

Jeremiah Wright's 2003 "War on Iraq IQ Test" underscores that the now-infamous Wright clips playing on television were neither isolated outbursts nor mere efforts at being "provocative," as Obama described the post-9/11 tirade to the New York Times last April. (People didn't much note this at the time because a) the Times didn't directly quote from the sermon and b) seeing/hearing the rhetorical power--and anger--of Wright's rhetoric takes it to a different and jarringly visceral level.) It's also clear that the question of whether Obama was present for those particular sermons now in the news isn't really the issue. Wright's oft-iterated political worldview, which apparently includes the belief that the US created AIDS to keep the Third World in poverty, should be quite apparent to anyone who knows him as well as Obama does.

Where does this leave us? There are two separate issues here. One is political, and that one's not too ambiguous: This is really bad news for Obama, both in the primary and if he makes it to the general. He's worked successfully to escape the image of the "angry black man," and here he is linked to that image in the most emotionally searing way.

The second issue is how we should feel, normatively, about the fact that Obama maintained ties with Wright, even after presumably realizing that he held views Obama now calls deplorable.

Like a dupe if you bought into the hype.

Posted by Orrin Judd at March 15, 2008 8:00 PM

Obama picked up 7 Edwards delegates today at the Iowa county conventions. He may get more before Denver. He may be slipping nationally, but in the racially charged Democratic arena, he is gaining. I also think it is more likely that a Clinton surrogate will make a damaging racial remark than Jeremiah Wright will drive Obama down further in PA (he's already way behind).

Up to now, Bill Clinton and company (Ferraro, Wolfson, Mark Penn, Ed Rendell, etc.), have either spoken too clearly about Obama and his singular raison d'etre or they have arched their brows and dropped hints for white voters. The slur is coming, and when it does, will it blowback on Hillary? Or is the blowback being saved for Denver?

Posted by: jim hamlen at March 16, 2008 12:46 AM

A bright, young whippersnapper who believes all the codswallop coming from Hamas is calling other folks dupes?

(Or are we trying real hard to be showing how "all humor is Conservative"?)

Posted by: Barry Meislin at March 16, 2008 3:36 AM

You don't think Hamas would like to destroy Israel?

Posted by: oj at March 16, 2008 6:40 AM

I just love it when it all comes together.

And now a somber note:
I am somewhat perplexed by just how extreme this Wright guy appears. Let us be plain: he is a self proclaimed enemy of the American folk. In a war situation--a real war, I mean--he would have to be picked up. If his followers persisted in his treason, they would have to be dealt with, no matter their numbers.

Now my perplexity arises from my familiarity over the years with many co-workers and neigbors of African and mixed-African descent. Of course I had been aware of the bad ones--the haters--but the great majority have been good people, good Americans and good Christians.

So what is going on here? Who among us, if we heard our clergyman spout delusional treason week-in, week-out would not either switch congregations, switch pastors, or perhaps take the matter up with ecclesiasical superiors?

Posted by: Lou Gots at March 16, 2008 6:46 AM

Not at all. They just want to pave their roads, put those state-of-the-art sewage lines in place, and get those water purification plants up and running so that in the next elections, they'll be unbeatable.

'n they figure they won't have to budget for earthmoving equipment and labor if they can somehow persuade the Israelis to level the place for them. Big savings there.

'n they seem to believe they have a problem with over-population. Not to worry, though. Jimmy Carter's working on it.

Remember: "Clean streets, broad avenues, pure water, a chicken in every pot and a rocket in every garage." Yep, unbeatable.

Posted by: Barry Meislin at March 16, 2008 7:16 AM

As for the good Reverend Wright, there is a way out of this mess. If he had any sense, he'd say something like:

"Everything, everything I've said has been twisted, distorted, taken out of context. By you know who. You see, I was, am, and always will be---courageously---taking on the Israel lobby. Leave it to the Jew-, sorry, Israeli-run media to twist the words of a man of God!!"

(Oh, and by the way, does anyone have a spare copy of Ellison's Invisible Man?....)

Posted by: Barry Meislin at March 16, 2008 7:30 AM

Why do you assume they can't multitask?

Posted by: oj at March 16, 2008 9:40 AM

I was watching the insufferable Meet the Press this morninig (I've got to stop punishing myself) and Michelle Norris from NPR's All Things Considered was on and when asked about Wright she essentially said, we have to look at everything he has said and this was just a small part of it. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot?

Posted by: pchuck at March 16, 2008 11:27 AM

"The second issue is how we should feel, normatively, about..."

TNR, you need to hire a copy editor!

Posted by: Eugene S. at March 16, 2008 11:55 AM