Thursday, March 20, 2008

Obama’s "eccentric uncle"

Stanly Kurtz waxes poetic:

It isn’t nice to save your fanny,
By sacrificing dear old granny*.

No crazy uncle, I’ve got news,
Is someone who in fact you choose.

But grave indeed must be the error,
Of charging Sam with bio-terror.

There’s the uncle needs respect,
Only then will we elect.

Listening to Obama's speech and the way he elegantly stepped around the need to disown his crazy pastor, a thought flitted through my mind that his attitude to Rev. Wright is probably a foretaste of what we can expect from his foreign policies, were he to become America's next president.

I found someone else thinking along the same lines:

Obama’s relationship to Wright is paradigmatic. Obama’s own views are not precisely Wright’s, but Obama understands and is attracted to Wright’s radicalism and wants to win at least a gruff sort of understanding and even acceptance of it from Americans at large. What’s scary is that this is all-too-similar to the way Obama thinks about Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Bashar Asad. Obama may not agree with them either, but he feels as though he understands their grievances well enough to bridge the gap between these leaders and the American people. That is why Obama is willing to speak to Ahmadinejad and Asad without preconditions.

....The world of nations is in fact a scarcely-hidden anarchy of conflicting interests and powers. Yet liberals treat the globe as if its one great big "multicultural" nation in which reasonable folks can simply sit down and rationally iron out their differences. Obama sees himself as a great global reconciler, on exactly the same pattern as he sees himself as a national reconciler–the man who bridges not only all races, but all nations. Unfortunately, what reconciliation means for Obama is getting Americans to accept folks who don’t like them, and to strike bargains (on disadvantageous terms, I would argue) with those who mean to do us serious harm.

...Jeremiah Wright traveled to Libya with Louis Farrakhan to meet Muammar Khadafi, when Khadafi was one of the most important rogue-state leaders and terror-supporters in the world... Obama’s willingness to talk to Ahmadinejad and Asad without preconditions, as president, shows that Wright’s more radical impulse survives in Obama, in an only slightly more moderate form.

I confess I allowed myself to be slightly less vigilant about Obama's more profound ideological underpinnings, which were more glaringly visible before I succumbed to his easy-going prose style that seems so open and engaging. I forgot what Kurtz reminded me: Of who Obama's earlier friends and influences were.

And the chief question: how come all these friends and fans, like Farrakhan, Khalidi, Dabbashi, Abunima are still supporting him, even after he publicly declared his sympathy for Jewish concerns about Israel and avowal about his friendship with Israel. Something is not... (w)right.

It may be instructive to compare what Obama says about Jews and their concerns and how he explains black rage as exemplified in Rev. Wright's apoplectic rants. If I have the patience, I'll try to dig up the few quotes and do that comparison.

Norm Geras provides a different take on Obama's intentions, here:

I've been supporting Barack Obama in a quiet sort of way. After yesterday I still am. It was a very fine speech: in which he spoke of the stain of 'this nation's original sin of slavery' and said that 'for as long as I live, I will never forget that in no other country on Earth is my story even possible'; in which he dodged nothing and rose to the demands of the occasion, rose above the standard concerns and tricks of the mere political competitor.

And there is nothing quiet or understated about Leon Wieseltier's support:

There is nothing about a candidate for the presidency that is not of interest, in the old politics and the new. If you want fewer questions, seek fewer powers. And there is an awful air of impeccability about Obama, with his peculiar mixture of populism and hauteur: criticism of him is not only wrong, it is also impudent. He regularly waves criticisms away as "silly." He will talk to dictators but not to reporters..... the anxieties of American Jews about the security of Israel cannot all be dismissed as Likud e-mail.... fear is not always a fantasy. ... sometimes American Jewish identity appears to consist in a great competition in worry, and whoever worries most, wins; and it is true that American Jewish culture is too consumed by the commemoration, or the anticipation, of disaster. But the psychological complexities of American Jewry are not all you need to know about the strategic complexities of the Middle East. This is a time when the two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is increasingly in disrepute, and the conspiracy theory about the Jews and Washington is increasingly in the air; when a Hamas regime in Gaza is receiving Iranian weapons, and using them; when Hezbollah has become a regional inspiration; and when Iran is relentlessly pursuing a nuclear option. It is perfectly proper for friends of Israel to probe Obama remorselessly for his analysis of the dangers, and for his understanding of "hard power" and "soft power." Anyway, worry is also an expression of love. The more intensely you cherish something, the more regularly you contemplate the possibility of its disappearance.

...But the reassuring truth is that every president in my lifetime has pursued more or less the same policy toward Israel, according to which Israeli security is to be regarded (in Obama's fine word) as "sacrosanct," and a Palestinian state is to be created out of the occupied territories, and Israeli settlement of the territories is to be discouraged, and a concord of pro-American Arab states is to be encouraged, and so on--in sum, partition, a special relationship, peace, a regional alliance... this is the tradition, and I do not imagine that Obama will deviate from it, or Clinton, or McCain. ... hold the kaddish, because in American presidential politics now there is not an enemy in sight.


* The full details of the incident described by Obama, about his grandmother's so-called "racism" were dug up by this blogger:

...on pp. 88-91 of Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance... shows that Obama is slandering his elderly grandmother to make Rev. Dr. Wright look better. Obama's white grandmother, Madelyn Dunham, who was raising him and earning most of the money in the family... rode the bus each morning to her job as a bank executive. One day, the 16-18 year old Obama wakes up to an argument between his grandmother and grandfather. She didn't want to ride the bus because she had been hassled by a bum at the bus stop. She tells him:

"Her lips pursed with irritation. 'He was very aggressive, Barry. Very aggressive. I gave him a dollar and he kept asking. If the bus hadn't come, I think he might have hit me over the head."
So why didn't Obama's lefty grandfather not want to drive his own wife to work? Because to help his wife avoid the hostile, dangerous panhandler would be morally wrong, because the potential mugger was ...

Well, I'll let Sen. Obama tell the story:

"He turned around and I saw that he was shaking. 'It is a big deal. It's a big deal to me. She's been bothered by men before. You know why she's so scared this time. I'll tell you why. Before you came in, she told me the fella was black.' He whispered the word. 'That's the real reason why she's bothered. And I just don't think that right.'

"The words were like a fist in my stomach, and I wobbled to regain my composure. In my steadiest voice, I told him that such an attitude bothered me, too, but reassured him that Toot's fears would pass and that we should give her a ride in the meantime. Gramps slumped into a chair in the living room and said he was sorry he had told me. Before my eyes, he grew small and old and very sad. I put my hand on his shoulder and told him that it was all right, I understood.

"We remained like that for several minutes, in painful silence. Finally he insisted that he drive Toot after all, and I thought about my grandparents. They had sacrificed again and again for me. They had poured all their lingering hopes into my success. Never had they given me reason to doubt their love; I doubted if they ever would. And yet I knew that men who might easily have been my brothers would still inspire their rawest fear."

Then Obama drives over for counseling to the house of his grandfather's friend Frank, an old black
Communist Party USA member, who tells him:

"What I'm trying to tell you is, your grandma's right to be scared. She's at least as right as Stanley is. She understands that black people have a reason to hate. That's just how it is. For your sake, I wish it were otherwise. But it's not. So you might as well get used to it."

"Frank closed his eyes. His breathing slowed until he seemed to be asleep. I thought about waking him, then decided against it and walked back to the car. The earth shook under my feet, ready to crack open at any moment. I stopped, trying to steady myself, and knew for the first time that I was utterly alone."

Man, what a family full of drama queens! And now Obama is equating his own grandma, who was the main breadwinner in this dysfunctional family circus (and who is still alive, living in the Honolulu highrise where this scene took place), with Rev. Dr. God Damn America.

The Washington Monthly's liberal blogger
Kevin Drum, who voted for Obama, commented about this scene and others:

"Obama routinely describes himself feeling the deepest, most painful emotions imaginable (one event is like a "fist in my stomach," for example, and he "still burned with the memory" a full year after a minor incident in college), but these feelings seem to be all out of proportion to the actual events of his life, which are generally pretty pedestrian."

So, in summary, let's look at how Obama smeared his own elderly but very much alive grandmother, calling her:

"a woman who once confessed her fear of black men who passed by her on the street, and who on more than one occasion has uttered racial or ethnic stereotypes that made me cringe."

Well, no, according to Obama's 1995 book, it is not at all true that she "once confessed her fear of black men who passed by her on the street." Instead, she once confessed her fear of one aggressive black beggar who didn't pass by her but instead confronted her, demanded money, and then gave her -- an intelligent, level-headed woman who had worked her way up to a mid-level corporate management position -- good reason to believe he would have violently mugged her if her bus hadn't pulled up.


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