Friday, May 02, 2008

Roundup of reaction in the wake of Obama's repudiation of Rev. Wright:

Apparently, not everyone is convinced by Obama's total rejection of his preacher's attempt to besmirch him by attributing to him the qualities of a smarmy politician.

Here is, again what Rev. Wright said:

"... so he had a political event, he goes out as a politician and says what he has to say as a politician.... “He’s a politician... he says what he has to say as a politician. ... He does what politicians do. So that what happened in Philadelphia where he had to respond to the sound bytes, he responded as a politician.”

And how Senator Obama responded:

"What particularly angered me was his suggestion somehow that my previous denunciation of his remarks were somehow political posturing ...I cannot prevent him from making these remarks," but "when I say I find these comments appalling I mean it. It contradicts what I'm about and who I am ... It is completely opposed to what I stand for and where I want to take this country."

No, no, no, Obama. You don't get off so easily. Not with your friends, you don't. Who are you kidding? They know you better. They know you are lying. You have to lie. If you don't lie, you won't get elected. It is so simple that only simpletons who value authenticity, integrity and honesty will fall for your schtick...

Where Were Obama's Friends?

This week we learned the limit of a dream in American politics. At Barack Obama's darkest hour, not one prominent ally came forward to support him. Everyone abandoned Everyman.

No prominent black clergyman came forth to make even the simple point that Jeremiah Wright's notion of the "black church" is but one point on a spectrum of faith. Rev. Wright, now written off as a virtual nut case, got more support from black clergymen than did Obama.

Barack Obama was bleeding by Monday and needed cover. Where, when he could have used them, were Obama's oh-so-famous endorsers...

Obama's friends - not to be found

I thought this all along. Why isn't anybody standing up for Barack Obama in his time of need?. The last two weeks have been pitiful for the man. Everybody seemed to just stand back willing to watch to see if he would implode. With "friends" like these...

How the Obama-Wright bond unraveled

Obama told close friends after watching the replay, he felt dumbfounded, even betrayed, particularly by Wright's suggestion that Obama privately agreed with him.

The next afternoon, Obama held a news conference and denounced his former pastor's views as "divisive and destructive." And so a tightly knit relationship finally unraveled.

...As for Wright, he saw a cascade of perceived slights coming from a bright young follower whose political ambitions were tugging him away from Trinity United Church of Christ.... And he made no secret of whom he blamed: Obama's political adviser, David Axelrod, a white Chicago political operative.*

(Axelrod? He wouldn't be a Joo, would he? Some of the Reverends implacable wrath is beginning to make some sense... One hates to speculate on that too much ... )

James McBride, Here:

...As a mixed-race black person whose story has been read by millions (“The Color of Water”), I have watched with angst and horror the unraveling of Senator Barack Obama’s campaign by the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr. and the old guard of angry African-Americans ..... Like Senator Obama, I was raised by a white woman. As a child and an adult, I have lived in many of the same places that Senator Obama has lived in — that tight space between white and black America. Luckily for me, however, I was raised in the black church.

I think the senator was naïve about the black church.... He was betrayed by a smooth-talking preacher whose recent behavior is a clear example of how low the black church has sunk in the days after the death of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. It is heartbreaking.

The senator is not the first nor the last to suffer this kind of injustice. But if he loses the Democratic nomination because of it, the injustice will have been served on us all. (Thanks to Jogo, via Bob for this piece)

Jonah Goldberg:

"[T]he people who do say [we need a conversation about race] seem to be the same people who want the conversation about Jeremiah Wright and what he represents to go away. That is outrageously dishonest. Unless of course your real aim is to have the same old conversation about race again and again and again, in which the only villain is white America and the only victim is black America, and all of the old cliches get one more fresh coat of Wrightwash."

Marty Peretz: Heroic Liberals

Both of Michigan's U.S. Senators, both Democrats, Carl Levin and Debbie Stabanow attended the Detroit NAACP dinner this past weekend. An old habit, probably, and an honorable one. Senators spend much of their time at such events. But this event honored the Reverend Jeremiah Wright, bigoted nut-case extraordinaire. It's true that 10,000 other people came to honor Barack Obama's nemesis at the shindig, and that's a problem for the entire black political class. And for Obama, especially.

I don't know much about Stabanow. Levin purports to be a brave man, at least when it comes to George Bush and the Iraq war. But he (and Ms. Stabanow, too) should have stood with Obama on this one and simply not come to the NAACP fest. A decision simply not to show up would have been a passive act, but one of relative courage. Alas, they are cowards.

Did they stand when Wright was introduced? I bet you they did, and they applauded, too.

I think we more or less get the picture.

Victor Davis Hanson explained it, prophetically, the day before the kerfuffle broke out in full bloom:

Lately a number of Obama’s African-American supporters have taken the airways to make the argument that his astounding percentages of 90% and above among African-American voters are not racialist because the community would not vote in such numbers for a Clarence Thomas or Condoleezza Rice.

But that is a dangerous comparison that raises only more questions. So it’s politics, not race? Why then not a mere 60/40 margin over the ultra-liberal Hillary, wife of our first “black” President? The answer? Obama represents a certain racial chauvinism that neither a white liberal nor black conservative can convey. In other words, in the world of identity politics, he seems to reflect an authentic representation of grievance, and a perpetuation of the entire industry of racial reparations.

Most think the corpus of Rev. Wright’s sayings, comments like “typical white person”, and snotty condescension about white Middle American yokels were terrible gaffes. True, but such wedge politicking apparently ensures him the astounding margins in the African-American community that really are unprecedented—when not long ago there were concerns among his strategists that he might not capture the black vote in such numbers. That problem of authenticy was put to rest by his choice not to disown Rev. Wright...

Well, he has disowned him since, and in no uncertain terms. As I said, I thought this was a defining moment for him. From what I have seen of his wife, Michelle, speaking about the terrible row, she gets it. I'm sure he discussed his public reaction with her, before going on to that fateful press conference. Some day, we may learn more about it. I can only imagine the foul mood, the bitter disappointment. I recently read this quote on the Internet which may define the sense of betrayal:

"The most dangerous thing I ever did was trusting that someone was a friend when they were not"...

Maureen Dowd summed it well: "The Illinois senator doesn’t pay attention to the mythic nature of campaigns, but if he did, he would recognize the narrative of the classic hero myth: The young hero ventures out on an adventure to seek a golden fleece or an Oval Office; he has to kill monsters and face hurdles before he returns home, knocks off his father and assumes the throne. Tuesday was more than a Sister Souljah moment; it was a painful form of political patricide. ‘I did not vet my pastor before I decided to run for the presidency,’ Obama said. In a campaign that’s all about who’s vetted, maybe he should have."


* If Obama didn't see this week's public betrayal coming, he is not only naïve but lacking in political skill. What is even more fascinating, and damning, is that Wright blamed Obama's chief campaign strategist, David Axelrod, for the dis-invitation; the NYT article goes on to quote Wright as saying "They're spiriting him away from people in the African-American community. David doesn't know the African-American church scene."


At 3:17 PM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

African American pathologies writ large.

I heard an African American man call into a talk show the other day, he said that before American can move forward again on race, the Rev. Wrights and the older African American generation has to perish from the Earth, the ones who experienced the segregation and disenfranchisement are too bitter to do anything other than to stroke their victimization and peddle guilt in return for special priveleges and handouts. The younger generation is moving away from Rev Wright's view of the world.

Now I think this is true, but overstated.


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