April 29, 2008


Obama's Risky Denunciation Of Rev. Wright (Vaughn Ververs, April 29, 2008, CBS News)

In taking such an aggressive stand Obama may succeed in publicly distancing himself from the spectacle that the Rev. Wright has become, but his newfound outrage raises some further questions. In his Philadelphia address, Obama stood by his friend. “As imperfect as he may be,” he said of Wright a month ago, “he has been like family to me. He strengthened my faith, officiated my wedding, and baptized my children. … I can no more disown him than I can disown the black community.”

In today’s press conference, Obama said he sought in his earlier speech to “provide a context and to lift up some of the contradictions and complexities of race in America,” but that he found Wright’s comments Monday to be a “bunch of rants that that aren’t grounded in truth.” But many of Wright’s “rants” were simply a confirmation of many of the statements which had stirred up controversy in the first place.

Despite his appropriate outrage over Wright’s performances of late, Obama’s claim that his longtime pastor is exhibiting new behavior is certain to come under scrutiny. “The person I saw yesterday was not the person that I met 20 years ago,” Obama insisted today. That comment, and any suggestion that the relationship between the two men was never as close as portrayed, are questionable.

Some of Wright’s remarks that sparked this mess were made over five years ago, specifically his oft-played comment that the nation’s “chickens” were “coming home to roost,” which he made shortly after 9/11. Obama has indicated Wright was instrumental in attracting him to the church he joined and has said he titled his book, “The Audacity of Hope,” after one of Wright’s sermons. That 20-year relationship will not be easily broken as a result of one afternoon press conference.

“What I think particularly angered me,” Obama said of Wright on Monday, “was his suggestion somehow that my previous denunciation of his remarks were somehow political posturing."

In a New York Times profile of the Obama-Wright relationship in April 2007, Wright himself predicted such a split based on the controversial remarks that were already under some scrutiny. “If Barack gets past the primary, he might have to publicly distance himself from me,” Wright told the paper over a year ago. “I said it to Barack personally, and he said yeah, that might have to happen.”

One more distancing before the cock crows....

Posted by Orrin Judd at April 29, 2008 6:15 PM

Every time I read about Wright & Obama, I'm amused that (1) anyone who calls themselves a Christian, no matter how un-Christian his beliefs never seems to be rejected as a Christian, and (2) that Wright's beliefs and ideology seem to me to be Nation of Islam rebranded.

Posted by: tehag at April 29, 2008 10:20 PM

I'd say Wright's ideology was more or less black liberation theology: a mixture of Marxism and racial grievance in a thin candy shell of Christianity.

Posted by: PapayaSF at April 29, 2008 11:38 PM

That "candy shell" is very thin indeed.

But let me suggest it again: Wright's expose' of Effendi Obama's plan to put the candidate's own racist agenda in the stealth mode is quite remarkable. It is so contrary to what we would expect from a co-conspirator at this stage in the game, that we seriously suspect that the Clinton's have paid Wright off.

Remember, Mr. & Mrs. B.J. are awash in money--that we know of--surely buying one "minister" would have presented little problem.

Posted by: Lou Gots at April 30, 2008 4:02 AM

Naah, Wright just seems to be an attention whore. This black liberation theology, the Nation of Islam, the Black Panther party and the racial grievance industry all share the same roots and goals whatever their outward trappings: blame whitey for all the black community's ills and soak him for all he's worth.

Posted by: Ali Choudhury at April 30, 2008 5:42 AM

The Reverend is a true believer. For him, the point of an Obama candidacy is to spread the word.

The Senator is a cynic, who just used black liberation theology to get street cred he needed to launch his career. If he'd been running in a predominantly Jewish district his mentor would be Michael Lerner.

Posted by: oj at April 30, 2008 7:07 AM

Wright was supposed to be retiring this year, remember? He's got an ego big enough to fill the sanctuary of his church, and he was about to go from being the center of attention to, well, not the center of attention. This is a hard transition for persons of ego-size, and they tend to look for ways to get more attention. (See, also, e.g., William Jefferson Clinton.) The longer this circus goes on, the more attention Pastor Jeremiah gets.

Posted by: Mike Morley at April 30, 2008 7:28 AM

OJ - good one.

Posted by: ratbert at April 30, 2008 8:51 AM

Also, Wright's ideology is based on grievance, not hope; for Obama to actually be elected would be a devastating blow. He needs Obama to be rejected by AmeriKKKa.

Posted by: Mike Earl at April 30, 2008 10:07 AM