Saturday, March 15, 2008

About Time

The fulcrums of Obama's campaign have been his character as supposedly transcending race - indeed, he implies that his very identity will somehow end identity politcs in America - and equally his claims to superior judgment. Yet all are clearly called into question by the company he has chosen to keep. The blogosphere has been pointing for months to Obama's twenty year relationship with the racist and vitriolic Rev. Jerimiah Wright and Obama's membership in Wright's afrocentric Trinity United Church. Now it is finally making its way into the cable news, though not yet into the MSM.


Here is the Hannity and Colmes video documenting a few of the incredibly inflamatory, anti-American, anti-semetic and racist remarks of Obama's friend and pastor of twenty years, Rev. Jerimiah Wright.

And here is a Sean Hannity interview of Rev. Wright:

Obama has previously attempted to squelch talk about Rev. Wright and their association by claiming that Wright was simply an "uncle figure" and that Obama "didn't agree" with all of the things Wright may have said. Despite Obama's disingenuous characterization of Trinity United - "I don’t think my church is actually particularly controversial" - the cat is out of the bag now, and Obama is into damage control.

As reported in the Kaus Files, Obama tried to put a damper on this issue with a preemptive, global denial in the Huffington Post yesterday:

. . . I vehemently disagree and strongly condemn the statements that have been the subject of this controversy. I categorically denounce any statement that disparages our great country or serves to divide us from our allies. . . .

Read the article. And he appeared on Fox News last night to briefly answer questions about the scandal:

As shown in the video, Obama's defence is that, while he often attended church, Rev. Wright did not make these vitriolic and racist types of statements while he was in attendance. Obama states that he did know about one or two statements that Wright had made when he named Wright to the committee but did not feel them that important. Obama claims that had he heard these repeated he would have quit the Church.

Watching the video, one is struck with the fact that Bill Clinton may finally have met his match in the ability to lie convincingly. But as Rick Moran lays out the facts, he notes that Obama's contrary assertions are "frankly unbelievable." Indeed, Obama seems to have has his own DNA stained dress problems. In Obama's case, it is a paper trail that belies his assertions in the Fox interview. It is Obama's memoirs and, indeed, the origins of his "audacity of hope" theme. As Rich Lowrey posts at NRO:

. . . In the book, Obama makes it clear that Wright when he first got to know him was pretty much the same Wright we're getting to know now (the one that Obama is at pains to say is on the verge of retirement). Wright was striking some of the same notes, saying racially venomous things and attacking the bombing of Hiroshima. Note this passage about the first sermon Obama heard from Wright, the source ultimately of the title of Obama's second book and one of the central themes of his presidential campaign:

The title of Reverend Wright’s sermon that morning was “The Audacity of Hope.” He began with a passage from the Book of Samuel—the story of Hannah, who, barren and taunted by her rivals, had wept and shaken in prayer before her God. The story reminded him, he said, of a sermon a fellow pastor had preached at a conference some years before, in which the pastor described going to a museum and being confronted by a painting title Hope.

“The painting depicts a harpist,” Reverend Wright explained, “a woman who at first glance appears to be sitting atop a great mountain. Until you take a closer look and see that the woman is bruised and bloodied, dressed in tattered rags, the harp reduced to a single frayed string. Your eye is then drawn down to the scene below, down to the valley below, where everywhere are the ravages of famine, the drumbeat of war, a world groaning under strife and deprivation.

“It is this world, a world where cruise ships throw away more food in a day than most residents of Port-au-Prince see in a year, where white folks’ greed runs a world in need, apartheid in one hemisphere, apathy in another hemisphere…That’s the world! On which hope sits!”

And so it went, a meditation on a fallen world. While the boys next to me doodled on their church bulletin, Reverend Wright spoke of Sharpsville and Hiroshima, the callousness of policy makers in the White House and in the State House. As the sermon unfolded, though, the stories of strife became more prosaic, the pain more immediate. The reverend spoke of the hardship that the congregation would face tomorrow, the pain of those far from the mountaintop, worrying about paying the light bill . . .

Read the entire post. Indeed, it would seem that when Obama first heard Rev. Wright's racist screed, he didn't recoil, rather he signed on the dotted line. And we clearly see the Reverend's mindset in the words of Obama's wife. It was only a few weeks ago that she told the world that, for the "first time," she was "proud of America."

The far left Obama supporters in the MSM are circling the wagons, some in an incredible display of hypocrisy. Others ponder whether this is really meaningful.

Update 2: Juan Williams just appeared on the Beltway Boys and raised an interesting point. The Jerimiah Wright issue has still not gotten a lot of traction in the MSM, but he doesn't think that simply ignoring it is doing Obama any favors. To paraphrase, he states that, while the MSM may be ignoring this, a lot of white people aren't.

As Bookworm Room argues in one of her usual thoughtful posts, yes, Obama's association with Rev. Wright does matter. I certainly believe so on several accounts. One, Obama's attempt to minimize his twenty year association with Rev. Wright and the screed he has preached show a distinct lack of veracity. Two, I personally do not tolerate racism, and with two children of mixed race, I firmly believe that racism of any sort has no place in our politics. I would not tolerate the racism of a David Duke, I would not tolerate a supporter of Duke and the racist attitudes that implies, nor will I tolerate the racism of Rev. Wright. The fact that Obama has tolerated it for twenty years speaks volumes about this man's character.

As Thomas Sowell recently wrote:

Character is what we have to depend on when we entrust power over ourselves, our children and our society to government officials.

We cannot risk all that for the sake of the fashionable affectation of being more non-judgmental than thou.

Currently, various facts are belatedly beginning to leak out that give us clues to the character of Barack Obama. But to report these facts is being characterized as a "personal" attack.

Barack Obama's personal and financial association with a man under criminal indictment in Illinois is not just a "personal" matter. Nor is his 20 years of going to a church whose pastor has praised Louis Farrakhan and condemned the United States in both sweeping terms and with obscene language.

The Obama camp likens mentioning such things to criticizing him because of what members of his family might have said or done. But it was said, long ago, that you can pick your friends but not your relatives.

Obama chose to be part of that church for 20 years. He was not born into it. His "personal" character matters, just as Eliot Spitzer's "personal" character matters — and just as Hillary Clinton's character would matter if she had any.

Read the entire article. Finally, Rick Moran asks:

How many lies must Obama tell before he falls off his perch as an “Agent of Change” and comes back down to earth and is recognized as a gifted but flawed politician, no better and no worse than McCain or Hillary Clinton for that matter?

I think it is now beginning to happen. According to Rasmussen, Obama dropped seven points in the polls overnight, making him almost even with Hillary in the Democratic primaries and several points behind McCain in the national polls. It's about time.

Update: Tom MacGuire at Just One Minute has an exceptional post on all of this:

. . . [N]ot even the Times will be able to ignore this now, ancient footage and interviews with Wright will surface, and Obama will be pretending that he never heard any of it. Get Claude Rains to close the church!.

This Rolling Stone article from Feb 2007 titled "The Radical Roots of Barack Obama" looks like a gold mine. Lots of material on Wright . . . This next passage gives a flavor of what Obama is pretending he did not hear in church . . . :

Wright takes the pulpit here one Sunday and solemnly, sonorously declares that he will recite ten essential facts about the United States. "Fact number one: We've got more black men in prison than there are in college," he intones. "Fact number two: Racism is how this country was founded and how this country is still run!" There is thumping applause; Wright has a cadence and power that make Obama sound like John Kerry. Now the reverend begins to preach. "We are deeply involved in the importing of drugs, the exporting of guns and the training of professional KILLERS. . . . We believe in white supremacy and black inferiority and believe it more than we believe in God. . . . We conducted radiation experiments on our own people. . . . We care nothing about human life if the ends justify the means!" The crowd whoops and amens as Wright builds to his climax: "And. And. And! GAWD! Has GOT! To be SICK! OF THIS SHIT!"

This is as openly radical a background as any significant American political figure has ever emerged from, as much Malcolm X as Martin Luther King Jr. Wright is not an incidental figure in Obama's life, or his politics. The senator "affirmed" his Christian faith in this church; he uses Wright as a "sounding board" to "make sure I'm not losing myself in the hype and hoopla." Both the title of Obama's second book, The Audacity of Hope, and the theme for his keynote address at the Democratic National Convention in 2004 come from Wright's sermons. "If you want to understand where Barack gets his feeling and rhetoric from," says the Rev. Jim Wallis, a leader of the religious left, "just look at Jeremiah Wright."

Obama wasn't born into Wright's world. His parents were atheists, an African bureaucrat and a white grad student, Jerry Falwell's nightmare vision of secular liberals come to life. Obama could have picked any church — the spare, spiritual places in Hyde Park, the awesome pomp and procession of the cathedrals downtown. He could have picked a mosque, for that matter, or even a synagogue. Obama chose Trinity United. He picked Jeremiah Wright. Obama writes in his autobiography that on the day he chose this church, he felt the spirit of black memory and history moving through Wright, and "felt for the first time how that spirit carried within it, nascent, incomplete, the possibility of moving beyond our narrow dreams."

. . . Let's cut to the Times for more on Obama's choice of minister:

It was a 1988 sermon called “The Audacity to Hope” that turned Mr. Obama, in his late 20s, from spiritual outsider to enthusiastic churchgoer. Mr. Wright in the sermon jumped from 19th-century art to his own youthful brushes with crime and Islam to illustrate faith’s power to inspire underdogs. Mr. Obama was seeing the same thing in public housing projects where poor residents sustained themselves through sheer belief.

. . . In “Dreams From My Father,” Mr. Obama described his teary-eyed reaction to the minister’s words. “Inside the thousands of churches across the city, I imagined the stories of ordinary black people merging with the stories of David and Goliath, Moses and Pharaoh, the Christians in the lion’s den, Ezekiel’s field of dry bones,” Mr. Obama wrote. “Those stories — of survival, and freedom, and hope — became our story, my story.”

Mr. Obama was baptized that year, and joining Trinity helped him “embrace the African-American community in a way that was whole and profound,” said Ms. Soetoro, his half sister.

Whoa. It is hardly as if this is the church Obama's parents selected and he inherited. He sought out Wright, was moved by Wright, and is now pretending he had no idea Wright said these things. . . .

Read the whole post. There is much more.

Updated 3: Much of the above information is now appearing in the Washington Post - but only on Mary Ann Akers The Sleuth blog. Its not quite made the main pages yet. Regardless, the comments of one individual who identifies herself as an Obama supporter are noteworthy:

An interesting summary from an Obama supporter. Here's the link if you wanna sound-off. Very interesting:
By now everyone has seen some of the exceedingly provocative clips from
Mr. Wright's (Obama's pastor) sermons. As an Obama supporter I am
assailed by the following questions/confusions regarding the fallout of
this episode. I have tried my hardest (believe me it's been excruciatingly hard)
to objectively confront the implications of our candidate's
relationship with his pastor. I persuaded myself to face these
questions by telling myself that one is nothing if one is not
intellectually honest:

1. There is an undeniable close knit 20 year relationship between the
pastor and Obama. I gather, the Pastor married Barrack and Michelle,
baptized his children, dedicated Obama's house, has been his "sounding
board" for all that time. The title of Obama's book "Audacity of Hope"
is from the Pastor's sermon. From WSJ I gather, the Pastor was one of
the first people Obama thanked after his election to the Senate in
2004. That, Obama consulted him before deciding to run for president
and prayed privately with him before announcing his candidacy last
year. How can one distance oneself from this deep and this long a
relationship? That would be akin to trying to distance yourself from
half your life. Won't it?

2. The Pastor called US the number one killer, held US responsible for
AIDS/9-11/Mandela's imprisonment and apartheid/Palestinian
plight/killing of innocents to bring down Castro & Libya - I mean,
it goes on and on over, not one or two, but several sermons. How do you
explain how you presumably sat through such incendiary sermons with
your family? Or, at a minimum, continued having a spiritual
relationship despite such rhetoric?

3. Then I read that these clips directly contradict some of the things
Obama has been saying about the pastor. It seems Obama said clearly
that he does not regard his church to be "controversial". While
addressing the Jewish Leaders he apparently explained his pastor's
anti-Zionist statements as being rooted in Israel's support for South
Africa when it seems those statements were never qualified as that. I
don't know if anyone has more insights on this.

4. Our candidate's primary counterpoint to Hillary's Experience has been his Judgment. If people question his judgment for keeping close kinship with someone who was asking God to damn America, how will he respond? What will he say?

5. Obama's candidacy is significantly based on his crossover appeal.
That is, his appeal to Republicans and Independents. He may yet get the
nomination but is his appeal not fatally compromised? How can he hold
on to the mantle of being the less divisive candidate while having an
unapologetic 20 year spiritual relationship with such a radical
preacher? I feel so hopeless about this point. I mean, how would we
feel if McCain was taking his family most Sundays to Jerry Falwell's

6. Obama's appeal to the young and the "latte liberals" has been his
fresh-faced sincerity and honesty. To me, I know, that has been his
primary appeal. Now, how do I reconcile this with what his detractors
will call: the hypocrisy of calling, say, Ferraro as divisive? I mean,
folks, what is more divisive than the things the Pastor said about
"white folks", even clearly lambasting Europeans.

7. Of all the incendiary things one can say about race and society and
country where is an Obama supporter or surrogate who now has the moral
high ground to accuse the opponent's surrogates for being divisive.
What is disheartening here is that Obama has forever ceded that high
ground to Clinton/McCain.

I may be wrong - do persuade me that I am. It is very hard for me to
vote for Hillary but now I am thinking about the general election and
finding it really hard to figure out how Obama can keep his
constituencies, his image of being a uniter. How can he? I am seeing
those Republican ads running day and night showing a montage of all the
different ways this Pastor has denounced America and Europeans and
Israel, punctuated by Obama in his own words "I don't think actually
that my church is particularly controversial". I mean, Judgment,
Moderation, Sincerity - can they be Obama's defining pillars anymore?
This is so disheartening. Where do we go from here?

Posted by: Umbria | March 14, 2008 05:38 PM


A Christian Prophet said...

It's not about Obama's minister. Obama will lose if his THEOLOGY is exposed. See:

PhilippinesPhil said...

This important story will NEVER really make it into the corrupt MSM. We all KNOW what THEY want, don't we?

KG said...

The MSM has decided that Obama is the saviour of the left and they're not going to willingly give up that position.
The same thing happened in Australia during the last elections, and they successfully downplayed the murky pasts of the leftist candidates.
It's now election by media, more than ever.

PhilippinesPhil said...

Sadly, this all reminds me of 92. I was stationed in Arkansas then, and we all there KNEW about Bill's unseemly out of control womanizing. He was the state joke. Even so, it didn't matter to the electorate. They voted for him anyway. People who love Obama will not be swayed. The rest of the electorate won't pay attention.

Mr Bob said...

I agree with the 1992 feeling but this is different. We actually have candidates (2) that can talk and defend themselves. Bush (both of them) do not defend themselves well. We have not had a bulldog (or should I say pitbull) at the head of the Republican party since Reagan.
If they let Sarah speak...we will win.

Mr Bob said...

McCain is good in the one on one too, but he's too nice sometimes.