These attacks aren’t as vulgar as the ones Obama’s spiritual advisor and close friend, Jeremiah Wright, makes against Clinton on a regular basis, but they sure aren’t “the politics of Hope”
If Obama is the Democratic nominee, this is what Republican attack ads will look like:
The more you learn about him, the more Obama seems to be a conventionally opportunistic politician, impressively smart and disciplined, who has put together a good political career and a terrific presidential campaign. But there’s not much audacity of hope there. There’s the calculation of ambition, and the construction of artifice, mixed in with a dash of deceit — all covered over with the great conceit that this campaign, and this candidate, are different.
An Elegant Farce
Obama’s ‘conversation’ about moral equivalence.
By Victor Davis Hanson
Barack Obama’s Tuesday sermon was a well-crafted, well-delivered, postmodern review of race that had little to do with the poor judgment revealed in Obama’s relationship with the hateful Rev. Wright, much less the damage that he does both to African Americans and to the country in general. Obama chose not to review what Wright, now deemed the “occasionally fierce critic.” said in detail, condemn it unequivocally, apologize, and then resign from such a Sunday venue of intolerance — the now accustomed American remedy to racism in the public realm that we saw in the Imus and other recent controversies.Instead, to Obama, the postmodernist, context is everything. We all have eccentric and flamboyant pastors like Wright with whom we disagree. And words, in his case, don’t quite mean what we think; unspoken intent and angst, not voiced hatred, are what matters more. Rather than account for his relationship with a hate-monger, Obama will enlighten you, as your teacher, why you are either confused or too ill-intended to ask him to disassociate himself from Wright.The Obama apologia was a “conversation” about moral equivalence. So the Wright hatred must be contextualized and understood in several ways that only the unusually gifted Obama can instruct us about:
1) The good that Rev. Wright and Trinity Church did far outweighs his controversial comments, which were taken out of context as “snippets” and aired in the “endless loop” on conservative outlets.
2) We are all at times racists and the uniquely qualified Obama is our valuable mirror of that ugliness: Wright may say things like “God damn America” or “Dirty Word” Israel or “Clarence Colon,” but then it must be balanced by other truths like Obama’s own grandmother who also expresses fear of black males (his grandmother’s private angst is thus of the same magnitude as Wright’s outbursts broadcast to tens of thousands).
3) We don’t understand Wright’s history and personal narrative. But as someone who grew up in the hate-filled and racist 1960s, it was understandable that he was bound to mature into his present angry anti-American, anti-Israel, anti-white mentality. (As if all blacks did?)
4) Indeed, Wright does nothing that much different from radio-talk show hosts and those of the Reagan Coalition who thrive on racial resentments. But whereas Wright has cause as a victim, his counterparts are opportunists who play on white fears.
5) And if we wish to continue to express worries about Obama’s past relationships with Wright — never delineated, never explained in detail — in trite and mean-spirited ways such as replaying the Wright tapes, then we have lost a rare opportunity to follow Obama into a post-racial America.
6) We, both black and white alike, are victims, victims of an insensitive system, a shapeless, anonymous “it” that brings out the worst in all of us — but it will at last end with an Obama candidacy.
The message? Some of us are never quite responsible for what we say. And Obama has no responsibility to explain the inexplicable of how he closely tied himself to someone of such repugnant and racist views. We will never hear “It’s time for Rev. Wright and me to part our separate ways, and here’s why.”Instead, the entire Wright controversy evolved due to America’s failure to understand the Wright’s past and the present status of race. No doubt, the next time some public figure utters a racist comment — and it will happen — we will then expect to hear about context that explains and excuses such an apparent hurtful outburst.Obama is right about one thing: We are losing yet another opportunity to talk honestly about race, to hold all Americans to the same standards of public ethics and morality, and to emphasize that no one gets a pass peddling vulgar racism, or enabling it by failing to disassociate himself from its source — not Rev. Wright, not even the eloquent, but now vapid, Barack Obama.
Obama Merely Changes The Subject
By INVESTOR’S BUSINESS DAILY Posted Tuesday, March 18, 2008 4:20 PM PT
Election ’08: Rather than break ties with his demagogic, anti-American pastor, Barack Obama used a speech on race to excuse his behavior and sweep the controversy under the rug. Passing the buck is not very presidential.
Speaking in Philadelphia, steps away from where the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were enacted, the front-runner for the Democratic nomination for president delivered an address that used the words “race” or “races” 11 times, “racial” or “racially” 15 times, and “racism” or “racist” six times.
But Obama’s recent troubles, which this much-hyped speech was supposed to put past him, are not about race relations. They’re about one churchman who happens to be black, whose views from the pulpit are repugnant and from whom Obama doesn’t seem to have the guts to distance himself.
Reacting to being linked with a bigoted conspiracy theorist by lecturing the nation on race is like disgraced ex-New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer responding to his getting caught patronizing an international prostitution ring by giving a speech on the female physique.
The supposed divide between black and white is not the issue here; Obama’s longtime association with Jeremiah Wright is.
This is a man who believes the U.S. government formulated the HIV virus to commit genocide against blacks and that it is also responsible for the 9/11 attacks.
Yes, Obama claimed in his speech to have “condemned, in unequivocal terms, the statements of Reverend Wright that have caused such controversy.” But he quickly proceeded to equivocate regarding them.
The problem, according to Obama, is not that Wright is wrong about America being a racist society, but that he “sees white racism as endemic.” The problem is not that Wright has made statements that clearly seem anti-Semitic and anti-Israeli, but that he, as Obama puts it, “sees the conflicts in the Middle East as rooted primarily in the actions of stalwart allies like Israel, instead of emanating from the perverse and hateful ideologies of radical Islam.”
Obama’s pastor of 20 years is nothing more than “imperfect,” as Obama sees it. And so, “I can no more disown him than I can disown the black community.” He won’t quit this church where hate is spewed, and he doesn’t explain why over all the years he has never tried to straighten Wright out.
The rest of Obama’s speech was spent explaining and rationalizing hate such as Wright’s rather than denouncing it. Wright’s words “reflect the complexities of race in this country that we’ve never really worked through,” the result of which has been “a cycle of violence, blight and neglect” still haunting America.
The solutions? Expanded government for one, of course. But while Obama concedes that “the erosion of black families” is “a problem that welfare policies for many years may have worsened,” he fails to understand what “Wealth and Poverty” author George Gilder knew back in 1981:
“What actually happened since 1964 was a vast expansion of the welfare rolls that halted in its tracks an ongoing improvement in the lives of the poor, particularly blacks, and left behind . . . a wreckage of broken lives and families worse than the aftermath of slavery.”
Another of Obama’s answers is that black anger and white resentment should give way to “the real culprits” — capitalists, or as Obama puts it, “a corporate culture rife with inside-dealing, questionable accounting practices and short-term greed” and Washington lobbyists who support it.
The early reaction to Obama’s speech amounted to more media fawning on the order of that which was spoofed in a recent “Saturday Night Live” sketch. The Reuters headline was “Obama denounces preacher, urges race healing.” The Boston Globe titled its story “Obama calls for racial unity.” And the Washington Post proclaimed: “Obama Confronts Race in U.S.” A CNN analyst even compared it to Lincoln’s 1858 “A House Divided” classic.
Lincoln, however, used that occasion to warn that “this government cannot endure, permanently half-slave and half-free . . . . It will become all one thing or all the other.” Unlike Obama, Honest Abe wasn’t trying to have it both ways.
A Speech That Fell Short
By Michael Gerson
WASHINGTON — Barack Obama has run a campaign based on a simple premise: that words of unity and hope matter to America. Now he has been forced by his charismatic, angry pastor to argue that words of hatred and division don’t really matter as much as we thought.
Obama’s Philadelphia speech made this argument as well as it could be made. He condemned the Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s views in strong language — and embraced Wright as a wayward member of the family. He made Wright and his congregation a symbol of both the nobility and “shocking ignorance” of the African-American experience — and presented himself as a leader who transcends that conflicted legacy. The speech recognized the historical reasons for black anger — and argued that the best response to those grievances is the adoption of Obama’s own social and economic agenda.
It was one of the finest political performances under pressure since John F. Kennedy at the Greater Houston Ministerial Association in 1960. It also fell short in significant ways.
The problem with Obama’s argument is that Wright is not a symbol of the strengths and weaknesses of the African-American community. He is a political extremist, holding views that are shocking to many Americans who wonder how any presidential candidate could be so closely associated with an adviser who refers to the “U.S. of KKK-A” and urges God to “damn” our country.
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.
Take an issue that Obama did not specifically confront in Philadelphia. In a 2003 sermon, Wright claimed, “The government lied about inventing the HIV virus as a means of genocide against people of color.”
This accusation does not make Wright, as Obama would have it, an “occasionally fierce critic of American domestic and foreign policy.” It makes Wright a dangerous man. He has casually accused America of one of the most monstrous crimes in history, perpetrated by a conspiracy of medical Mengeles. If Wright believes his charge is correct, he should urge the overthrow of the American government, which he views as guilty of unspeakable evil. If I believed Wright were correct, I would join him in that cause.
But Wright’s accusation is batty, reflecting a sputtering, incoherent hatred for America. And his pastoral teaching may put lives at risk, because the HIV virus spreads more readily in an atmosphere of denial, quack science and conspiracy theories.
The Philadelphia speech implied that these toxic views are somehow parallel to the stereotyping of black men by Obama’s grandmother, which Obama said made him “cringe” — both are the foibles of family. But while Grandma may have had some issues to work through, Wright is accusing the American government of trying to kill every member of a race. There is a difference.
But haven’t George Bush and other Republican politicians accepted the support of Jerry Falwell, who spouted hate of his own? Yes, but they didn’t financially support his ministry and sit directly under his teaching for decades.
The better analogy is this: What if a Republican presidential candidate spent years in the pew of a theonomist church — a fanatical fragment of Protestantism that teaches the modern political validity of ancient Hebrew law? What if the church’s pastor attacked the American government as illegitimate and accepted the stoning of homosexuals and recalcitrant children as appropriate legal penalties (which some theonomists interpret as biblical requirements)? Surely we would conclude, at the very least, that the Republican candidate attending this church lacked judgment, and that his donations were subsidizing hatred. And we would be right.
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’s problem is exactly the opposite: 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.
Obama then: Fire Imus:
“I understand MSNBC has suspended Mr. Imus,” Obama told ABC News, “but I would also say that there’s nobody on my staff who would still be working for me if they made a comment like that about anybody of any ethnic group. And I would hope that NBC ends up having that same attitude.”
So, Imus said one thing and had to be fired….and Wright said those horrific things over 20 years? And it’s okay?
The Obama family, remember, donated more than $22,000 to Trinity in the last 2 years. Remember, Obama admitted that he parsed and lied.
We wonder if the good Reverend ever make similar poisonous remarks while Michelle & the girls were present?
The most important part of my plan is the first step, to bring our troops home and send the strongest possible message to the Iraqis that they must take responsibly for their own future. No more talk of permanent occupation, no more policing a civil war, no more doing for the Iraqis what they need to be doing for themselves. As president, one of my first official actions will be to convene the Joint Chiefs of Staff, my Secretary of Defense and my National Security Council and direct them to draw up a clear, viable plan to start bringing our troops home within the first 60 days of my taking office. A plan based on my consultation with the military to remove one to two brigades a month, a plan that reduces the risks of attack as they depart.As we bring our troops home, I will ensure we are fully prepared to take care of them and their families once they have returned. I will direct the Department of Defense and the Department of Veteran’s Affairs to prepare a comprehensive plan to provide the highest quality of health care, disability benefits, and social services for every single service member including every member of the National Guard and Reserve as well as their families, and I will make sure this plan is promptly implemented.In the Senate I’m proud to have reached across the aisle to provide access to TRICARE for all members of the National Guard and reserve, even when they’re not deployed. and to have passed my heroes at home act to help family members care for those who traumatic brain injury, the signature injury of this war because I believe when brave men and women sign up to serve our country, we sign up to serve them too.That is why I will also immediately adopt Representative John Murtha’s urgent proposal to reduce the strain on our troops by reducing the permissible length of overseas deployments.Going forward, we will ensure that our troops spend as much time at tome as they have spent deployed. So every month they spend in the field, they will be guaranteed one month here at home.I will also implement a proposal that I, Representative Murtha, and others have been calling for, requiring that before any brigade is deployed, the Secretary of Defense must certify to Congress that it is fully combat ready. Sending brigades that do not meet this standard puts our soldiers in danger and our mission in Iraq or elsewhere at risk.In addition to removing American troops from Iraq, I will also work to remove armed private military contractors who are conducting combat-oriented and security functions in Iraq. For five yeas their behavior and lack of supervision and accountability have often eroded our credibility, endangered U.S. and Iraqi lives and undermined our mission.Now, Senator Obama and I have a substantive disagreement here. He won’t rule out continuing to use armed private military contractors in Iraq to do jobs that historically have been done by the U.S. military or government personnel. When I am president I will ask the Joint Chiefs for their help in reducing reliance on armed private military contractors. With the goal of ultimately implementing a ban on such contractors.I’ve already cosponsored the Stop Security Outsourcing Act requiring that security services for personnel at any U.S. diplomatic or consular mission be provided only by federal government personnel.