March 17, 2008


Why Obama can't escape his minister (JAMES KIRCHICK, 3/17/08, New Republic)

On Thursday, ABC News finally got a hold of what surely dozens of news outlets had been looking for: videos of Wright’s sermons. The results are not pretty. Wright doesn’t just epitomize the racial victimization that Obama supposedly transcends; his vision of America is an extreme, racialized version of John Edwards’s already ridiculously overwrought “Two Americas” schtick.

He says that the United States is responsible for spreading drugs in the inner cities and that it invented the AIDS virus, shopworn and dangerous conspiracy theories regrettably popular amongst poor, urban blacks. He says that the September 11th terrorist attacks were an instance of America’s “chickens coming home to roost” and that the United States supports “state terrorism” against the Palestinian Arabs.

Obama immediately went on the defensive, granting interviews to several television networks and issuing a statement to the Huffington Post. Conveniently, he denied sharing any beliefs espoused by his preacher that might upset the average American.

Earlier this month, Obama had preemptively assured a Jewish group that Wright is like a cantankerous “old uncle says things I don't always agree with.” This would be an apt analogy were it not for the minor genealogical inconvenience that bars one from choosing his uncles.

This, ultimately, is the ineluctable fact of the Wright controversy. Obama chose Wright to be his spiritual mentor. He chose Wright to marry him and to baptize his children. He chose one of Wright’s sermons as the title for his bestselling book, The Audacity of Hope.

He chose Wright to deliver the invocation at the announcement of his presidential candidacy last year, only to scotch the decision after advisors warned that such a prominent display of the radical pastor was politically risky. For Obama to claim today that his pastor’s obscene views come as a shock is not only unbelievable but disingenuous.

Given the way the campaign has tried to pitch him, as a new Messiah, the disingenuous bit is almost as deadly as the underlying race war stuff.

Posted by Orrin Judd at March 17, 2008 10:12 PM

I heard some interviews with other members of the church today - the general feeling was that Wright expresses the "black" feeling in America, and that his statements are not radical.

This is why Obama is still picking up delegates: Wright's views are not 'radical' - they are just plain stupid. Wright uses the church to strut around and talk bad-ass to people who will applaud him. He isn't really a 'pastor', at least not a Christian one. He's a barker, a mini-Sharpton or Jesse who will say just about anything at the drop of a hat. It is easy to see why Obama was warned about him last year.

Other preachers (black and white) teach a social gospel, or they shout about a health'n'wealth gospel, or they preach to enrich themselves or to manipulate their flocks. Wright preaches about victimhood and division. He probably doesn't preach about the Jesus of the Scripture. Obama went to Ivy League schools - he probably thought Wright was his Sunday version of Cornel West. Bad move.

Posted by: jim hamlen at March 17, 2008 11:19 PM

Of course, the ridiculous thing is, to the extent that we, white America, is responsible for the state of black America, it's almost entirely a product of the Democratic party . . . and black preacher/leaders like Wright.

After all, who the frig was it who put them in housing projects on the dole.

The damn Dems, so they could bus them to the polls on election day.

Posted by: Jim in Chicago at March 17, 2008 11:32 PM

Indeed. And what an opportunity to tie the left up in knots. Let's all have a discussion about Wright, Cone, and Black Liberation Theology. Where does Obama agree or differ? Does he repudiate his mentor's core beliefs one by one, or defend them to the average voter? Let's see him tiptoe through that minefield, and have a public airing of that corner of lefty academia.

Posted by: PapayaSF at March 17, 2008 11:39 PM

Ditto Papaya, the antidote to bad speech being, of course, more speech.

This matter forces us all to face an actual inconvenient truth. Fortified by the maxim tha the greatest of infidelities is the fear that the truth may be bad, we have to admit that many, many of our fellow-citizens--our neighbors--are, deep in their hearts, enemies of the American folk.

Why do you think so many go out of their way to give their children faux-Mohammadan names? Real slave-names, now, the names from the culture which blighted the African continent until its liberation by the men of the West.

This is a disheartenong development, for at strikes enmity between us where none should exist. One goes through life consciously willing to accept his fellows as individuals, offering and accepting comradeship friendship wheneven possible, and this kind of hatred threatens to poison it all.

Sympathy and understanding are irrelevant in this business. It does no good to hold that the racist insanity we read of now is a reaction to past greviances: that line is akin to accepting Auschwitz because of the harsh terms of the Versailles treaty.

So Effendi Obama has given us an image he may not wish turned as I shall now turn it. It appears that, as a people, America has a crazy old uncle in the attic. We may love him and pity him, and pray for his recovery, but we are not going to let him rum the hoiusehold.

Posted by: Lou Gots at March 18, 2008 4:19 AM

Talk about disingenuous:

On Thursday, ABC News finally got a hold of what surely dozens of news outlets had been looking for: videos of Wright’s sermons.

Those videos are (or at least until recently were :-) available for sale on the TUCC website. The rest of the press didn't "miss" this story, they tried to their best to bury it.

Posted by: Ralph Phelan at March 18, 2008 7:13 AM


You can bet it would have been buried had Hillaries' lefty media minions not pushed this to the fore otherwise, it would have only existed in righty talk radio and blogs.

It will be interesting to see if Obmama is successful in framing Wright as just a "crank" as he put it in his speech today or if the media pushes this and forces him to deny or affirm Wright is a raging racist, more than a simple crank.

Posted by: Perry at March 18, 2008 11:15 AM