Yes, Obama Can

Wow. Take a few days to work and suddenly issues break out all over.

There’s a lot to unpack in what’s happened for the last few days in Obama-land. It’s late here in Milwaukee, and I don’t think I can do my thinking on this complete justice yet – but I do think I can do a fast pass over the issues as I see them and then try and dig a bit deeper over the next few days, unless events overtake me again.

Do I still support Obama? Yes. Am I shocked by anything I’m seeing in the news over the last week? No. Do they change my views of who Obama is or the implications for his candidacy? No. I do think there may be a huge impact on his candidacy – and I’m really reassured by the fact that a McCain presidency won’t make my head explode.

Let me make a pair of general comments that seem relevant, make a general comment about what I think Obama’s politics are and mean, and the wrap up for tonight.

First, I’m amused to see the politics of crazy intolerance that have made so many on the right – and some of us on the left – disgusted with the PC left (anyone else feeling schadenfreude over ‘Jungle Girl‘-gate?) play out on the right.

Yes, Wright is a liberation theologist with a bunch of views that range from wacky to disgusting. But you know, damning Obama for having a relationship with him is like damning me for having a relationship with arguably-racist Jeff Cooper or with some of my more outrageously right-wing friends from my shooting community. It’s like my conservative friends damning me because I have other friends who are Chomskyites.The reality is that we all know people who hold views that are better not exposed to the bright light of public scrutiny. That doesn’t mean – necessarily – that they are horrible people. many good people – even great people – hold views that I’d be repelled by. But we judge people on the whole of their lives and acts, not on the worst thing that they say or believe.

Tim Oren suggests that we’re in a new ‘domestic cold war’, and he’s right to an extent – because we live in the world where what we worship is Perpetual Outrage, and we reserve the right – not to be casually dismissive, or to disagree and ‘move on’ – but to dismiss any taint of opinions that we find displeasing and try and drive them out of the world.

Second, I wrote something a long time ago, and want to bring the whole thing here:

Earlier, I noted that I wasn’t happy with either the inclusion of ‘under God’ into the Pledge, or with the court decision that maybe-kinda struck it. I got comments, both from people who felt they had been scorned and abused as children because they wouldn’t say it and from parents who wanted to spare their children from such opprobrium.

I thought about it a bit while driving the Boyyz around this afternoon, and talking to them came to the conclusion that, basically, I was right. Here’s the deal:

Dealing with other people requires a certain flexibility. They don’t know what you know, believe what you believe, or feel what you feel. The entire problem of politics is how to engage people and keep them engaged in some common purpose, even one as minor as obeying traffic signals.

I’m not Jewish; but when I go to a Jewish wedding or funeral, I wear a yarmulke. Why? Out of politeness. Out of a willingness to respect the beliefs of others.

But, you say, that’s exactly what the Pledge doesn’t do! It doesn’t respect my beliefs!

And that’s the key, isn’t it? On one hand, my desire is to respect the beliefs of others, where it doesn’t materially affect me and regardless of my own beliefs in the matter. On the other, your complaint is an overwhelming desire that your beliefs be respected, no matter how trivial the violation, regardless of the impact on yourself or others.

Look, we’re not talking about material affect, about racist exclusion…about fighting to give your kid opportunity or dignity. And, in part, it’s this conflation of hurt feelings with Jim Crow or the Holocaust that is driving me nuts.

And in the other part, I think that including the ‘under God’ clause was an embarrassing artifact of late 50’s cultural rigidity. I’d like to see it removed. But I’d like to see it removed via a process which doesn’t drive a further wedge between the folks in the U.S. who are clinging to the symbols of a nonexistent former consensus, and those who feel alienated from that consensus.

We?re at a point in our history when we need to find the threads that bind us into a nation and a polity. Sadly, ?win at any cost? politicians (c.f. Gray ‘SkyBox’ Davis), and culture warriors of one stripe or another are happy to drive wedges, if they believe the fractures serve their short-term political interests.

And we’re at a point in our political history that’s been made by single-issue warriors…for and against development, for and against abortion, for and against parks for dogs…and damn those on the other side of the issue.

I had the unique opportunity to have dinner once with then-State Senator John Schmitz. He was a genuine John Birch society member, elected from Orange County, who lost his office when it was discovered that his mistress had sexually abused their sons. (His daughter is also Mary Kay Le Tourneau, so I’ll take as a given that the family had ‘issues’). He was still in the Senate, and made a comment that I’ve always remembered:

When Moscone ran the Senate, he and I used to fight hammer and tongs all day, then go out and have drinks over dinner and laugh about it. We differed on where we wanted the boat to go, but we recognized that we were in the same boat. These new guys would gladly sink the boat rather then compromise.

And that’s why I think the decision was stupid, and why the forces behind it ‘the Church of My Wounded Feelings’ and their soldiers, the Warrior Cult of the Single Issue’ are incredibly destructive. And right now, we don’t have the time for it.

My sons don’t go to church, because I’ve never gone to church (at one point, one of my exes went to what I jokingly called ‘The Church of the Sandinista’ in Ocean Park, but I thought Jim Conn was a good guy, so I’ll cut them some slack). I don’t think they are abused by being asked to say ?under God? in the Pledge, and when they ask me about it (each one has, either in kindergarten or first grade) I tell them the truth; that some people who believed in God a lot asked to have it added to the pledge, and got the President to add it. And that they will; have to make up their own minds about whether to say it or whether to believe in God when they are older. But that this is how they do it in their school, and when I’m in a similar situation I say it, while thinking about all the people who do believe in God, and how cool it is that we all get to believe whatever we want in this society. But they get to decide.

If they told me they were being teased about it, I’d ask them how it differs from all the other things kids get teased for – childhood is a vicious time – and talk to them about how to respond in a way that protects themselves emotionally without becoming the bullies they are afraid of.

Somehow this whole thing reeks of the kind of pecksniffery that wants to ban tag and dodgeball. It’s the same kind of thinking that bans Nativity scenes or menorahs from public buildings, and worries more about changing the names of sports teams than about bringing people along to actually change the world.

And the main thing that appeals to me about Obama is that he sets out a politics that puts this behind us. Can he live up to it? No. But can he help steer out national politics in the right direction? Yes, he can.

Here’s a description from a critical fan of Obama’s over at Daily Kos who sums up the core of Obama’s values pretty well:

At the core of Obama’s political philosophy is the belief that real divisions should not stand in the way of conversation. He has always believed that it is right and necessary for us to speak to folks on the other side of the aisle, to speak with our enemies. That to do so is a sign of strength, of problem-solving, and that it can be done without having to compromise any of our own values in the process.

I don’t agree with this strategy. At all. But I respect it. I understand it. And I made my peace with it long ago when I came around to openly supporting Obama’s candidacy at the beginning of the year. For progressives to suddenly complain about this suggests they either haven’t been paying attention to Obama’s core values, or have conveniently decided to only remember them now in order to beat him over the head.

On one hand, this is a refreshingly old-fashioned kind of politics; something you could picture LBJ or – especially – FDR doing.

On the other, it can be viewed as Habermasian – and given his eating and reading habits, I wonder if Obama has read Jurgen Habermas. Here’s the Wikipedia article on ‘communicative rationality,’ which is one of Habermas’ key concepts.

And I’ll toss out to this group that it’s even Smithian – as in Clint Smith, who no one can claim is a leftist delicate flower.

“You better learn to communicate real well, because when you’re out there on the street, you’ll have to talk to a lot more people than you’ll have to shoot, or at least that’s the way I think it’s supposed to work.”

I’m making this point in an effort to point out why it is that – in my mind – Obama isn’t automatically disqualified from consideration as a Presidential candidate because he is close to Wright.

Is this good news? Does it tie me more closely to him. Nope. Am I hitting the door? Nope, not today.

Look, the guy is a liberal. We’d all best get that. He’s a brilliant speaker, but arguably not yet a mature enough candidate to win election. But he’s not running against FDR. He doesn’t have to be faster than the bear; he just needs to be faster than Hillary or John McCain. We’ll see how this plays out.

More to follow.

116 thoughts on “Yes, Obama Can”

  1. But you know, damning Obama for having a relationship with him is like damning me for having a relationship with arguably-racist Jeff Cooper or with some of my more outrageously right-wing friends from my shooting community. It’s like my conservative friends damning me because I have other friends who are Chomskyites.

    No, A.L., it would be like damning you for attending the church they were sole pastor of for two decades, for donating tens of thousands dollars to their causes, for crediting them with your current set of religious beliefs, and for calling them your moral sounding boards, spiritual advisors, and mentors.

    The attempted dismissal of every repellant character that Obama has chosen to associate himself with over the course of his adult life as “just some guy he knows” doesn’t fly, and especially not for Wright.

  2. bq. can he help steer out national politics in the right direction? Yes, he can.

    I’m on an IT project at work right now where the problem is the concept was conceived as part of management and marketing vision. But there was no engineering or technical guts to the concept; they know what they want the end state to look like, but no idea how to get there, and the silver bullet was not (and still is not) readily apparent to the poor architects they threw the task to.

    And it strikes me this is the problem with Obama’s message, such as it is. He knows what he wants the end state to be–a nice, harmonious, post-party, post-racial, inclusive political scene. But I submit he has no clue how to get there; the President may get to set the tone somewhat, but he doesn’t get to sweep the board, and Obama’s policies are not inclusive enough to make up the difference.

    In my IT project case, the techies are stuck holding the bag full of nothing but empty vision. Who gets stuck if Obama wins the Presidency on promises of unity and entitlement growth?

    bq. Yes, Wright is a liberation theologist with a bunch of views that range from wacky to disgusting.

    And if he was just Obama’s shooting buddy, no one would have a problem with that. (And it might make Obama look less than horribly wrong on 2nd Amendment issues.) But if Wright’s _theology_ is the objectionable part, not just his wackniess or phraseology, what does that say of someone who spent 20 years in a church that espouses that theology?

    bq. damning Obama for having a relationship with him is like damning me for having a relationship with arguably-racist Jeff Cooper or with some of my more outrageously right-wing friends from my shooting community.

    Sure. But if you assigned Jeff to be the head of minority relations for your campaign, that would be rather damning. If you quote your friends’ views while commenting on any particular subject they are outrageous on, that would raise eyebrows.

    The issue with Wright is not mere social association. It is one of judgement, values, and core belief systems which inform a man’s decisions; all critical areas when examining a potential President.

    bq. I’m making this point in an effort to point out why it is that – in my mind – Obama isn’t automatically disqualified from consideration as a Presidential candidate because he is close to Wright.

    100% right. It’s the _pattern_ suggestive of 20 years in Wright’s church, plus his other associations; and Obama’s apparent confusion as to why those are a problem, and his response to the criticisms, that casts serious doubts on Obama himself, not just his candidacy.

  3. Random comments…

    I’m glad you have a liberal candidate you’re happy to vote for this time. I felt kind of sorry for you last time, that you felt John F. Kerry was so bad you had to vote for George W. Bush.

    I’d like you to talk about Barack Obama and arms, since you are Armed Liberal. I’m not asking you to change your side (been there, done that) or denounce your boy Barak. But you’ve got to know he was lying about that survey, and that as far as guns go he is your enemy. I’d like you to say how you see that, what weight you put on the issue, and why.

    Armed Liberal:

    “But we judge people on the whole of their lives and acts, not on the worst thing that they say or believe.”

    No we don’t.

    And sometimes, when the issues are literally life and death, I think: nor should we.

    I’m not a fan of the Church of Perpetual Outrage. In particular, I think pagans and members of other small minority religions that get all twisted over Christianity are ridiculous. Maybe if you’re so delicate that you can’t stand the sight of a creche, a nativity scene, Thor doesn’t need your worship anyway.

    But I don’t think you made a convincing transition from the illegitimacy of perpetual outrage over petty things to the illegitimacy of single issue concerns and single issue voting.

    There are such things, from time to time, as single issues of overwhelming moral importance. William Wilberforce was right.

  4. Just like with fish, how long the Wright issue sat in the sun counts. If Obama had talked this way in Philly, it might have made a difference. Now, not so much.

  5. Barack Obama: he’s a terrible judge of character, lies frequently and transparently, and would rather see wealth destroyed than let it accumulate unevenly, but he’s less combative than some Daily Kos posters!

  6. I think Wright is a distraction from more damaging questions of character.

    His financial entanglements with Rezko, and his close association with Ayers.

    As for the latter is there any doubt the fate of a Conservative Politician if their first campaign had
    been kicked off in the home of a former Abortion Clinic Bomber whose attitude was that he was not only felt no guilt about placing bombs but did not think he did enough?

    Now I know Senator Obama has stated the man is just someone who lives in his neighborhood and who he sees in passing

    If true it’s odd that His first run for office began in the man’s home.

    Oh and if the Church that same man had been goingt to for 20 years had given David Duke a Lifetime acheivement award?

    That might make us ponder

    The answer seems to be, this is all “quitlt by association”

    I call it a “pattern of behavior”

    Then we can get to the real grit in Financial Corruption in Chicago.

    What did he know? and when did he know it?

  7. #5 from Mark Poling:

    “Just like with fish, how long the Wright issue sat in the sun counts. If Obama had talked this way in Philly, it might have made a difference. Now, not so much.”

    But Obama only responds to political issues, not moral ones, and his response to a political problem, whether with Jeremiah Wright, Tony Rezko, William Ayres and Bernardine Dohrn or whoever comes next is consistent to the point of method.

    Barack Obama ignores, denies, covers up and lies as long as he can. No, his church is “… uh … not particularly controversial…” No, he never wrote on that opinion survey – that handwriting must be somebody else’s.

    Then he minimizes beyond the point of honesty. Yes he got some money from Tony Rezko – but gee, he got the number wrong, instead of thousands it was hundreds of thousands, well whadda ya know, that little detail slipped his mind. (Meanwhile, one look at his house and the whole block around fenced off for the Obamas’ private use it tells us what was really happening.)

    Then he weasels and evades and plays lawyer language games as long as he can. He makes William Jefferson Clinton discussing the meaning of “is” seem like just a warmup act. Obama … doesn’t go along with the statements that are controversial – but doesn’t say what, so whatever is politically inconvenient, or will be when it’s found out, is disavowed in advance, but nothing in particular, just whatever is politically awkward, to the extent that it’s a hassle for him.

    Then comes the awkward part, where he has to decide if something is so bad he has to make a harder response – but he can’t tell, with Wright at least, because nothing that Wright says sounds wrong to him, that’s why he was in that church for twenty years.

    (And not just silently either. Have people listened to these recordings? Those are and are required to be active congregants. When Wright tells them all to turn to their neighbors and say “Enemy!” they do.)

    So he has to wait and judge by the media feeding frenzy, if any, since he lacks any moral sense of his own regarding his church’s doctrinal Black racism, and he has to make a tactical response based on a media problem that emerges. (Or, when he becomes more experienced, that time has taught him is bound to emerge.)

    It’s not just bad luck that he didn’t make a prompt, adequate response, he couldn’t have.

  8. Armed Liberal:

    “He doesn’t have to be faster than the bear; he just needs to be faster than Hillary or John McCain. We’ll see how this plays out.”

    True.

  9. Something that David said feels right to me:

    Then comes the awkward part, where he has to decide if something is so bad he has to make a harder response – but he can’t tell, with Wright at least, because nothing that Wright says sounds wrong to him, that’s why he was in that church for twenty years.

    Here’s a mini insight I just had…

    I wonder if those who can look past Obama’s active, 20-year membership in a racialist church are not particularly religious, or even been around particularly religious folks that much?

    Where I come from, your relationship with God is deeply,deeply personal, not just informing your character; but is in fact, integral to it.

    This doesn’t preclude acceptance of those in the greater society based on respect, understanding, and good works; BUT, the relationship amongst those within your communion is much deeper than something that can be described as “fishing buddy” or political contributor.

    From my perspective, Obama’s active, contributing membership in Rev. Wright’s church demonstrates a deep communion with it’s theology.

    I guess it’s possible that Obama was a member for other reason’s besides communion, but it seems unlikely that any such explanations would reflect very well on him either.

    Could it really be that those who easily look past Obama’s church really don’t grok what joining a religious communion means?

  10. From John McCormack at The Weekly Standard (link):

    “Obama said today of Rev. Wright: “The person I saw yesterday was not the person that I met 20 years ago.””

    “Obama’s recollection in Dreams from My Father of his first time at Trinity United 20 years ago:”

    “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….”

    “”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…”

    “Wright doesn’t sound all that different.”

    He sure doesn’t.

    And it must be exasperating to the Reverend to see and hear a member of his flock rejecting him and his message now, and pretending he never knew either, just for the votes of a bunch of bitter whites.

    “And it’s not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy toward people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.”

    Those people don’t have true faith, the faith of the true church, the Black Church, God’s Church. They are the kind of people as the Reverend denounces as God’s enemies. (Response from the congregation, each told to speak to each other: Enemies!)

    Yet for the power that their votes provide, the politician is saying now that the Reverend never said any of the things he commonly preaches in the twenty years he Barack Obama was in the church, and along with his wife responding on cue (which he would have to do to fit in). Exasperating.

    I could see why the Reverend Wright would want to respond strongly along the lines: you say what you’ve got to say as a politician, Barack Obama, but preaching is my job, and I’ll tell the truth about what I’ve always taught in my church. I don’t think Barack Obama will find a lot of willingness on the Reverend’s part to compromise his life long message for a dishonest politician’s temporary need.

  11. Political words are too often used as a substitute for legislative actions and that seems to be the case with Senator Obama. When has he reached across the aisle to work with the “other side”? What legislation has he authored to promote the personal responsibility he spoke of in his 2004 DNC address?

    Well, he hasn’t compared republicans to nazis so that is a start in today’s leftward political climate.

  12. From my perspective, Obama would be unacceptable from a policy standpoint even where Jeremiah Wright never to have existed. What the Wright association tells me is that it is not merely Obama’s policies, but his character that I must question. (And his association with Rezko challenges his honesty, and his association with Ayers and Dohrn challenges his patriotism. His response to all of these confirms, in my opinion, his deeply flawed character, which to me is unacceptable in a president.)

    Here’s the part that really bothers me, though, from a political discourse point of view: the people who defend Obama’s 20 year membership in Wright’s church on the grounds that one’s relationship with the Divine is deeply personal, and thus what the pastor says and does does not matter. That’s crap. You see, I was raised without any real pressure from my (very religious Christian) parents on going to church, so I tried out several. I ended up at a large Southern Baptist church, and had been going for several years. Then, the preacher gave a sermon about money. Not about how the love of money is the root of evil, or how we should provide alms to the poor, or anything I could consider a Christian message: the sermon was about how much money the church needed to build a new building, and to do this and that for the church. And that was the last day I was a member of that church, or in fact a Christian.

    People who associate with a church that speaks against their understanding of the Divine and the world are hypocrites. But I don’t get the feeling, from listening to Obama and from having read his book, that Wright does speak against Obama’s understanding of the Divine and the world. And yes, that’s a legitimate reason to vote against Obama, even though I don’t need it personally, because earlier considerations had already convinced me that Obama would be a disaster on the scale of Jimmy Carter, and in much the same way.

  13. The key themes in Barack Obama’s conversion story seem to be world view, identity (that is race), community and family, with each reinforcing the other.

    Jesus appears peripheral. I can understand that. There are seriously committed Jews who are atheists, and not even “atheists” against God (which is very Jewish) but atheists with no god and no interest in god, but the basis of their very strong adhesion lies elsewhere.

    This is setting aside cynical explanations like political advantage, of course.

    I can see why Barack Obama would be beyond disgruntled with a preacher who refuses to understand the needs of by far the most important person ever to be a member of his church. Barack and Michelle are not in a position to accommodate Jeremiah Wright’s grandstanding, not with the White House potentially at stake.

    So, sincerely, I think Barack Obama’s rejection of Wright personally is likely genuine at this point. He used devious words about an undefined relationship with Wright, whatever that once was, changing in an undefined way – but that’s just because this is part of Barack Obama’s routine.

    However, the world view / identity / race / community / family thing, with Michell, his wife, who Barack can’t disown, and with his daughters – how would a man reject that package, and twenty years of his own public affirmations, and the 90% of the Black vote without which he would be a nobody?

    Regardless of Barack Obama’s cynical, superior, academic and materialistic rejection of the religion of others, and maybe of their god, I don’t think it’s a sure bet that Barack Obama has kept preserved through the decades of his indoctrination a pure secular world view with no blending of the world view, identity, sense of community and so on of his church.

    (shrug) And in principle, that’s fine. I’m all for religion, by default.

    And better the religion Barack Hussein Obama has than Islam, if that really was his religion, as some misinformed people think, or if his religion was Nation of Islam, which is still incorrect – but not nearly as incorrect as I would have assumed a week ago.

  14. David_Blue: Ironically, the conspiracy theory of “Obama as a crypto-Muslim for political reasons” would neatly explain how he could sit in a “Christian” church for 20 years yet sincerely disagree with the theology preached. If the Wright thing gets too big for Obama, and he hires Karl Rove to run the campaign…

    I think I feel an anonymous post to Daily Kos coming on.

  15. #13 from Jeff Medcalf:

    “From my perspective, Obama would be unacceptable from a policy standpoint even where Jeremiah Wright never to have existed.”

    (nods) Rather than renouncing the Reverend Jeremiah Wright and the Trinity United Church of Christ, I would rather Barack Obama renounced Jimmy Carter and NARAL Pro-Choice America and all their works.

    I’m not going to pretend to have a fit over the guy’s religion, and I even respect his steadiness in sticking to it. I just think that he’s been lying over who he is, in a big, fundamental way.

    #13 from Jeff Medcalf:

    “Here’s the part that really bothers me, though, from a political discourse point of view: the people who defend Obama’s 20 year membership in Wright’s church on the grounds that one’s relationship with the Divine is deeply personal, and thus what the pastor says and does does not matter.”

    Agreed. It matters.

    But, you can’t get too picky over these things, especially if your own views are minority. Nobody who’s going to get elected is going to agree with you on everything. Mormon, Christian, Jew, weirdo / whatever – odd beliefs are common, and by default they ought not to be disqualifying.

    It’s enough to have a fair understanding of how someone thinks their religion bears on the duties of the office he’s running for. If someone has a suspect religion, as Catholicism once was, but they’re prepared to clear up how their religion will touch on their duties, and their answers are convincing – that’s fine.

    The answer doesn’t have to be “my religion will be irrelevant” either. (Though that was an honest answer from John F. Kennedy – nobody could accuse him of being a good Catholic.)

    And there are bound to be surprises. For example, nobody knew in advance that Nancy Reagan was going to be made so fearful for her husband’s life that she would start consulting an astrologer and influencing her husband’s schedule to avoid “bad” days.

    It’s just that it’s good to have a sense of approximately who someone is.

    A lot of people never showed much confidence that they knew who Mitt Romney was, other than a phenomenally talented businessman. John McCain, the devil the party knew, got the nod instead.

    My impression of Barack Obama is that he’s a lot more of a phony than Mitt Romney, he hasn’t got a particle of Mitt Romney’s understanding of capitalism – and he’s likely to be elected anyway, because he’s Black and a Democrat in a year when the Republican Party is as popular as ten days old dead fish.

  16. Re: #15 from The Unbeliever…

    You made me laugh so hard it hurts, you (insert actual or imaginary skin color) devil you. :D

  17. Obama’s bigger problem is how he handled the wright issue. It is an interesting insight into his leadership ability (actually his lack of ability) that most voters have not had a chance to see, since the media has all but anointed him as the chosen one.

    Obama used the church as a political crutch to help him gain credibility. Do I believe that he actually buys into the Black Liberation Theology? No, but I do think his wife does. And any married man knows how much influence their wife has over them. Obama comes off as a cuckold when his wife speaks about him, a subject that has not gotten much attention.

    The other issue with Obama, is that he has chosen a cadre of really horrible people to associate with. I’d be more inclined to pummel someone like Ayers than allow them to host a dinner party for my political coming out. Rezko is a thug and a crook, which is typical of the Chicago power player set. How many more people do we not know about?

    Of course it all goes back to character, which is something that counts in a lot of peoples eyes, and something that charisma cannot always overcome.

    Honestly, I don’t understand the hype behind Obama, none of his actions live up to his speech. He has never reached across the isle, he has no history of bi-partisanship, or leadership on any important issue. Its kind of hard to preach “change”, when you have never been an agent of change yourself. It’s equally hard to understand how someone can speak of hope, when all you hear in speeches is resentment and pessimism about America.

  18. As this thread was building, I was reading the morning paper. The editors of the Baltimore Sun are offering a different narrative, probably fairly typical for the mainstream media.

    “Rejecting hate – Our view: Barack Obama’s passion renews his vision”:http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/opinion/editorial/bal-ed.wright30apr30,0,3722134.story

    bq. …We believe the candidate when he says with some emotion that his goal is to bring Americans together, not divide them, as Pastor Wright’s rhetoric would. Voters in Indiana and North Carolina should endorse that vision in next week’s primaries.

    bq. When inflammatory snippets of a past sermon by Pastor Wright surfaced earlier, Mr. Obama condemned the oratorical sins but not the sinner. Yesterday, the candidate declared that his minister was “not the man I met 20 years ago.” He said he was particularly angered by the minister’s suggestion that he would say whatever he had to say to get elected.

    bq. What we heard from Mr. Obama reminded us of what powered his earlier speeches – an understanding that many Americans were fed up with the divisive politics that have dominated the past eight years.

    bq. [snip]

    The editorial’s narrative is nonsense to most informed readers ( “link,”:http://isteve.blogspot.com/search/label/Obama again, to Steve Sailer’s archives. )

    What can it mean for Obama to denounce Rev. Wright–Wright’s preaching hasn’t changed in 20 years (viz. #11). Instead, Obama should be writing his Big Speech to explain to voters how he has changed and matured in that time.

    The Obama of the late ’80s chose the racialist, firebrand, conspiracy-believing, black-liberation-theologist Rev. Wright above all other South Chicago pastors to be his mentor, spiritual guide, and father-figure. He and his family have stuck with Rev. Wright since then. So something is now different: What?

    It can’t be Obama, because Obama is, and always has been, a post-racial figure committed to reconciliation, hope, bipartisanship, and change. It’s in his DNA.

    No wonder Obama’s contortions strike such a dissonant chord. Personally, I suspect that Obama has grown wiser as he’s aged and gained experience, and the genuine story would make me like him more (or distrust him less, at least). But the exercise seems to be beyond him.

    However, this is the perspective of someone who has followed the primaries pretty closely. In contrast, I strongly suspect that the editorial quoted above was written for subscribers to the newsprint edition of the Sun, specifically for those who don’t focus on politics. If you’re only vaguely aware of the twists and turns of Obama’s life, why, the editoral’s story makes about as much sense as any other.

    Voters in this category seem to be the current hope of the Obama campaign.

  19. Re: ‘Jungle Girl’-gate —

    Yesterday, David Thompson offered his view of this instance of the inmates running the asylum, “Borrowed Shame”:http://davidthompson.typepad.com/davidthompson/2008/04/borrowed-shame.html

    bq. But it strikes me as more than just absurdity. It’s disabling too, and more than a little malign. One of the surest ways to erode a person’s probity is to make them repeat in public, among their peers, things that are unrealistic and absurd; things they know, or suspect, to be untrue. The more incoherent and ridiculous the claim – or apology – and the greater the mismatch with reality, the larger the effect. “Bad medicine.”:http://davidthompson.typepad.com/davidthompson/2007/11/emasculated-lia.html

  20. For the record, I’m not ‘suggesting’ that we are in ‘domestic cold war’, that carries a flavor of advocacy.

    I’m interesting in finding out if it’s the case. Or at least picking at away at whether what’s going on deserves to be dignified(?) with the name of war, or is just one of America’s episodes of angst-ridden scab picking.

    Carrying it as a hypothesis is not the same as suggesting.

  21. bq. The editorial’s narrative is nonsense to most informed readers

    Informed by your Obama-hater Sailer, you mean?

    Probably true.

  22. When I first started to listen to Obama, (much later than most, early this year) I was intrigued. The events of the last few months have tempered my optimism. However the things people describe above (some dishonesty, alleged but not confirmed shady dealings, association with controversial characters, insensitive gaffes) is more or less what I expect from a politician these days.

    In fact, I haven’t seen any presidential candidate without these characteristics in a long, long time. Now, I like McCain, I voted for him twice when I lived in Arizona. He’s generally made a commitment towards cleaner politics, which I admire. However, by the time we get to November many of McCain’s issues will come out as well. Like most presidential elections, I expect the candidates will have similar (but different) sins. I would like cleaner candidates, but we need to start from the bottom and work up.

    So I’m still going to watch the issues. Here, I’m less apt to agree with McCain on a number of issues, (including Iran, Iraq and his current stand on gas taxes) so I’m with Obama.

    That could still change though. However, I’m no longer paying attention to conspiracy theories. If Obama gets prosecuted on bribery charges, I’ll pay attention. Until then, I just assume he’s playing the same game as everybody else.

  23. And the main thing that appeals to me about Obama is that he sets out a politics that puts this behind us. Can he live up to it? No. But can he help steer out national politics in the right direction? Yes, he can.

    In my “comment here”:http://www.windsofchange.net/archives/long_time_coming.php#c4 I conjectured how Obama could strike a blow right now against the culture that Wright represents, telling them (as Kevin Spacey told Annette Benning in American Beauty) “You don’t get to tell me what to do ever again.”

    By doing this he could actually do something “post-racial”, and even more, he could forge a path for the black politicians who follow him, so that they would no longer have to kow-tow to Jackson, Sharpton, Farrakhan.

    It would require a little penitence on his part, which I think he has it in him to do. He would have to admit that he did know what kind of attitude Wright represented, and went along with it, but could do so no longer – perhaps recalling what MLK said about the complaisance of the good allowing the triumph of the evil.

    That’s what I would do if I were Obama. I’m not sure what you would have him do, A.L. Turn to German Critical Theory, and pretend that this is all much ado about nothing? That’s what the Democratic left wants him to do: dismiss his critics as racists and hopefully eke out a victory in November, leaving the whole rotten establishment in place to do their damage on the next Barack Obama.

    I submit that at this point I have more faith in Obama than you do – at least, I recognize a real potential for him to do something tangible and good. Sure, I called him a poser, but I’ve come to think that he’s not comfortable being a poser. He doesn’t have Bill Clinton’s effortless venality. This man might have a conscience or something.

  24. bq. I submit that at this point I have more faith in Obama than you do – at least, I recognize a real potential for him to do something tangible and good. Sure, I called him a poser, but I’ve come to think that he’s not comfortable being a poser. He doesn’t have Bill Clinton’s effortless venality. This man might have a conscience or something.

    Actually I agree a lot with this sentiment. Obama strikes me as earnest and _dead wrong_. Not just on his personal associations, but on his policies, on his view of Americans, and on his underlying worldview which informs his stance on all of the above.

    If Obama had gone to a different church for the last 20 years, I’d still have a huge objection to his values system based on his comments about the capital gains tax and foreign policy (especially Iran). The logic thread common to the two areas exhibits a worldview that is not just silly, but I would argue dangerous when writ large to national policy. Wright, Ayers, etc just fill in a hole in the picture when asking “how did Obama come to actually believe this stuff?”

    But more importantly, his _reaction_ to these questions speak to his judgement, and to any hope there might be of changing his viewpoint. Being earnest and wrong is forgivable, if you have the discernment necessary to correct the “wrong” part when confronted by reality; Obama took 20 years, a flood of YouTube clips, a media firestorm, and slipping poll numbers before he managed to disown Wright (no news yet if his grandmother is next).

    Not an encouraging sign, and certainly not good enough to earn a vote.

  25. Unbeliever –

    What Obama can undeniably claim at this point is being the first serious black candidate for president. Jesse Jackson was just running for president of an self-alienating, self-exploiting, and self-isolating “Black Community.”

    And yet Obama is carrying the same junk along with him that Jackson did. Jackson all but flaunted it; Obama finds it ill-fitting and uncomfortable. I don’t excuse him for putting it on anyway, but he could set quite an example by taking it off and trash-canning it.

    BTW, this old tune has been playing over in my head recently:

    Jesse, you say “Common Ground”
    – does that include the PLO ?
    What about people right here right now
    who fought for you not so long ago ?

    If I ran for President
    and once was a member of the Klan
    wouldn’t you call me on it
    the way I call you on Farrakhan?

    Oh Common Ground,
    Is Common Ground a word or just a sound?
    Common Ground,
    Remember those civil rights workers buried in the ground …

    Lou Reed, Good Evening, Mr. Waldheim (1989)

  26. There’s no equivalence between Obama and you. The issue is what Obama campaigns as, versus what he is. The difference is wide enough to make him a walking lie.

    You are not making your ‘post-racial’ approach a centerpiece of why you should be elected, while indicating by your actions that you will countenance the most lying, divisive racist hate and refuse to disown it or condemn it.

    You are not promising to change the way things are done in Washington, while happily signing up for “blind-eye business as usual” with people who raise money for you but still believe in terrorism against the USA, or throttle relevant anti-corruption reforms in Washington while you campaign without a peep.

    Etcetera, etcetera. But those are the 2 pillars of his candidacy. Both are revealed as lies.

    If he had campaigned as something else, we wouldn’t have these problems. He didn’t, and so we do. If he had a record that indicated integrity and conviction in key areas, and dovetailed with his campaign, we wouldn’t have these problems. But he doesn’t – indeed, he’s displaying rather the reverse of that – and so we do.

  27. Joe Katzman – wrong as ever.

    _But those are the 2 pillars of his candidacy. Both are revealed as lies._

    Oh, so those are the 2 pillars of his candidacy?

    _You are not making your ‘post-racial’ approach a centerpiece of why you should be elected, while indicating by your actions that you will countenance the most lying, divisive racist hate and refuse to disown it or condemn it_

    Actually, as you know, Obama has only addressed being black, when forced to it. Yes, he gave the “on race” speech after the Wright issue first came up, but this was never the main thrust of his candidacy.

    Not to mention, as I’ve said previously, that McCain SOUGHT OUT and endorsement from a religious hater, in McGee – but people here don’t call McCain on it.

    _You are not promising to change the way things are done in Washington, while happily signing up for “blind-eye business as usual” with people who raise money for you but still believe in terrorism against the USA, or throttle relevant anti-corruption reforms in Washington while you campaign without a peep._

    You can IMMEDIATELY see how he does things different from regular polls in:

    a. Refusing to accept donations from lobbyists.
    b. Building a campaign, of donations, based on the broadest base of contributors that has EVER EXISTED SO FAR in the history of the United States. As close to “public” financing as any candidate has yet come.

    The rest – sounds like more of your guilt by association – applied to the whole universe of people Obama knows, but not to the whole universe of people McCain knows.

    More of the same HYPOCRISY, that RULES Katzman, on repub/dem people.

  28. Also, again, I want to reiterate – elections ‘should’ be about issues – who is more likely to put the United States on a sane fiscal course, who is more likely to bring health care reform so that the 40 million without healthcare receive it, and who is more likely to address the energy infrastructure, that, in my opinion, needs to be built out for the 21st century.

    All the rest is fluff.

    I don’t expect you Republicans to stop pushing these fake issue, as the TV networks eat them up like candy – as long as it works, you guys will do it.

    But really, you’ve got a guy like McCain, who will continue to sink billions upon billions into Iraq, when those same billions upon billions can go to U.S. infrastructure.

    Heck, even if you give the work to Halliburton, with a no-bid contract, one of the worst ways to negotiate that, but at least the work would be done IN THIS NATION.

    Think about what we could do in this nation, if the same companies granted billions for Iraq (or a functional equivalent) simply received the same money, but used it domestically!!

    Sometimes I think everyone who posts here, like Joe Katzman, has a vested interest in the military industrial complex being as huge as it is.

    America, really, in the eyes of this patriotic liberal, should be number 1.

    Number 1 in the health outcomes of it’s citizens – we are not, by a long shot.

    Number 1 in leading the way in renewable power – in wind, we used to be number 1 in 1997 – 40% of wind projects were based in U.S. Now, 11 years later, only 8%.

    Number 1 in internet penetration and bandwidth availability to cities.

    And that used to be the case – back in the mid 90’s, the U.S. rolled out the internet HERE first. But now, we are back to number, what, 15 or so?

    All because of the LOCK-IN that the lobbyists have, on crafting legislation that benefits their companies short term.

    I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again – I am sick of the United States, my beloved country, discovering things, advancing knowledge, only to then let the leading companies LOCK DOWN a status quo, through “lobbying legislation: – thus ceding the technological edge to so many other companies.

    And you guys STILL want to make a priority, what Wright said?

    At least with Bill Clinton, you guys were making it a big issue about what Clinton kept of didn’t keep in his pants. Now, you are so desperate, you are making the election about what a third party said.

    Just vapid, and silly.

  29. If he had campaigned as something else, we wouldn’t have these problems. He didn’t, and so we do. If he had a record that indicated integrity and conviction in key areas, and dovetailed with his campaign, we wouldn’t have these problems. But he doesn’t – indeed, he’s displaying rather the reverse of that – and so we do.

    Well put. He’s an unqualified candidate with almost no record of accomplishments who is going through his first real vetting and some people are actually surprised to learn that he’s wanting.

  30. Last time I checked, Ted Kennedy was still a liberal, and still blocking all attempts at wind farms 50 miles off the coast of nantuket.

  31. I’m sick of the modern left, regulating to death nearly every industry in the US to the point that other nations can come along, steal our work and better it on the cheap because its too damn expensive to do here anymore.

    I’m pretty pissed off that during the 90’s a certain Democrat whose wife is running for President allowed China to steal technology on a whim, while getting nice fat donation checks from dishwashers in Arkansas of Chinese decent.

    You want to talk about cheap renewable energy? We don’t have cheap energy in the US primarily because lefties cried wolf about nuclear power back in the 70’s.

    I’m tired of Unions demanding 100k a year jobs for longshoremen who refuse to allow any form of modernization of our ports for fear of losing a few hundred jobs.

    I’m really tired of a Democratic Congress who has embraced K-Street in far greater excess than the prior Republican Congress with earmarks and wasteful spending.

    Really man, two can play at this silly game. Spare us the broad brush.

  32. _You want to talk about cheap renewable energy? We don’t have cheap energy in the US primarily because lefties cried wolf about nuclear power back in the 70’s._

    Yes, that’s weird. What could have possibly happened in the 70’s that generated such paranoia? An event perhaps? Maybe a series of events?

  33. “…like damning me for having a relationship with arguably-racist Jeff Cooper or with some of my more outrageously right-wing friends from my shooting community. It’s like my conservative friends damning me because I have other friends who are Chomskyites.”

    The legitimate concern isn’t over the views of friends/associates. Where the damnation comes in is not from learning about a skill from an expert, like combat handgunning from the Guru , or having buddies on a spiritual/intellectual equal footing that have heads full of snakes, but rather counting as one’s “spiritual mentor” a man who is not only a vehemently anti-American racist, but also a cynical manipulator who builds an empire railing against the Blue-eyed Devil only to retire to a $10 million estate in a gated community with fewer black folks than a Siberian mayonnaise factory.

    I would agree that Obama isn’t a Jeremiah Wright sycophant, however I’d like to hear the argument that says tolerating such virulent racist rhetoric and even lending financial support to it for 2 decades for the politically expedient reason that he needed that community’s support to attain the political power he desired somehow doesn’t reflect poorly on Obama’s character. Picking one’s battles is wise, we can’t fight every transgression, but some battles are too important not to fight. Being complicit with someone like Wright falls into my “good men stand by and do nothing” kind of evil zone.

    I’m not voting for Obama anyway, his stated policy goals preclude that, but I don’t consider him any kind of a monster, and what is more I think that he stands to play a major role in the country’s future re: Race Relations, even without being president. My motivation for commenting here was not a desire dissuade anyone to vote for Obama, but rather to point out that I think your conclusion that the affair centers around a “guilt by association” angle is not the salient point, and that the mentality of “putting up with a little bit of evil now so I can get to be in charge and fix things later” is exceedingly poor judgment. Obama has been lying about who he is at a fundamental level, and whether he was lying then or now is academic.

  34. Gabriel,

    In other words,

    “Straw man! Straw man! Nyah nyah nyah!”.

    Ok, whatever works for ya.

    Alchemist,

    Yes, there was something, wasn’t there?

    Something about a body of land – called what, an island?

    Also, I think a unit of measurement was involved.

  35. I dunno, A.L. I’m not sure I’m going to say anything here that hasn’t been said by other people over the last few weeks, and I’m not sure where to start, but what the hell. Sorry if this rambles.

    First, I’m not exactly looking for reasons to dislike Obama. I was floored by his speech at the 2004 Democratic Convention, and my biggest complaint when he started his bid was the nagging suspicion that he wasn’t seasoned enough to get the job done. At the time, I meant that mostly politically, because his economic policy proposals often had that air of impractical utopianism so characteristic of young, untested politicians. (I am thinking in particular of his then-stance on drug reimportation. I know enough about economics and high tech research to know that the result of that would be a disaster. I’m also seriously unimpressed with his war policies.)

    But I also thought it might apply less on a policy-politics level and more on a personal-politics level, as well. Yeah, Chicago can be bruising as all hell, but Obama has led an amazingly charmed life until now, in terms of opposition and media love. He really has seem honestly confused, and taken a bit aback at the notion that people expect answers and clarification when:

    o He says something stupid,
    o An associate says something stupid, or,
    o An associate takes advantage of him.

    After all, I’m not really required to give him the benefit of the doubt, morally or intellectually. Now, in an ideal world, policy-politics would be a much stronger driver than personal-politics. But in my opinion, to a large degree, Obama has chosen to force an intersection between those two decision criteria.

    How? I’m glad you asked. I will explain, but I will have to back up a moment.

    I still see war and terrorism as dominant issues in this campaign. I think, unless something catastrophic happens in the next four years, that this will be the last Presidential campaign where that is true, and probably the last national election where that’s true. By 2010, and certainly by 2012, absent catastrophe, the war and terrorism will be issues but no longer dominating issues.

    Obama has been strident and almost unwavering in his criticism of the entire idea of the war. Okay, that’s policy-politics I disagree with, but okay. However, in addition to that, he’s also brought out the big banner of negotiations and sitting down and talking with everyone about everything, and we’ll just work out our differences like civilized men and women. I also disagree with that, but the thing is, that crosses from policy-politics into personal-politics, and I think that does require me to start thinking long and hard about how I expect Obama to perform in that dimension.

    Beacuse, think about this: Obama has (ostensibly) spent the last twenty years listening to this man in church. It might be an exaggeration to call Wright his spiritual mentor, but if so, not much. Certainly he closer to a spiritual mentor than he is to, say, a crazy uncle. It takes serious effort to really, formally disown a family member; it takes nearly no effort to find a new congregation. But again, he’s spent twenty years in some degree of association with this man, and furthermore, Wright’s church publishes material on a regular basis, too, and some of that is… highly questionable.

    Now, I’m not Obama, and I’m not Wright. But one or both of the following would seem to be true:

    o Obama wasn’t paying attention to Wright for the past decade, or

    o Wright did some really well-timed grandstanding and backstabbing in exchange for a free media storm.

    Neither of those are very comforting thoughts for the candidate who would build bridges to peace with our enemies. Let’s harp on Iran for a moment, although the issue extends to any one of a number of unsavory political actors on the international stage. I want to say this carefully: I am not a member of the bomb-Iran-into-the-Stone-Age set. I am a member of the negotiate-from-overwhelming-strength set. I believe the Iranians are rational actors, but that they are cunning rational actors. I believe there is the possibility of reaching a 32.1 degree Fahrenheight detente with Iran to the benefit of both of us, but only after we’ve shown them that we are just as cunning, and even stronger, than they are.

    Then I look at Obama, who has staked his international policy on dialogue with our enemies, while I wonder if he just got rolled by his pastor!

    How well do I think he’s going to do in negotiations with savvy political operators like the Iranians, or the North Koreans? Critically important, how well do the Iranians think he’s going to do in negotiations with them?

    This inspires no confidence. And this is a problem that has been structurally embedded in Obama’s campaign– by his choice– since day one, by his inexperience and his professed policies. It’s only now that people are seeing how critical this combination can be. I would like to live in a world where this did not drive a campign. We might be there in 2012, or 2016, and in either case Obama would be a hell of a lot more seasoned by 2016 than he is now. Possibly seasoned enough not to run on that kind of platform.

    But he’s running now and in that fashion, and in a world where it matters.

    It makes me unhappy, because I want to like him.

    PS: I am a member of the Military Industrial Complex, with my member ID hanging from my hip right now.

  36. A.L. –

    Have you noted a couple of small things that happened over the past few days? Obama broke a two-year boycott of FOX and appeared in a Chris Wallace interview – which he stood up to manfully, very unlike Bill Clinton, America’s second-oldest teenager. Now Hillary has seen and raised Obama, appearing in a Bill O’Reilly interview. (The very first question was about Wright, and Hillary proceeded to chow down.)

    A couple of small events, but of seismic significance to the Netroots Left, who ought to know by now that they’re being told to go play Hide and Go Screw Yourselves.

    You realize that Obama’s problem with Wright are of a piece with his Bill Ayers problem, and he could dispose of both with one stone. Wright’s twisted tirade at the NAACP about education could have been written by Ayers. Wright even cited Ayers’ favorite education expert, the Marxist Paulo Freire. In part it was a condescending swipe (“Those stupid crackers will never figure that one out”) but it almost looked like a nod at Ayers.

    Wouldn’t you love to see him chop them both off at the ankles?

    My point is, there are things going on here that I would think you’d want to encourage, not discount.

  37. What is Obama’s track record on these issues; has he put forth a credible health care bill; how many have signed on to it. His record in the Illinois State Legis.
    involved ‘voting’ present on contentious issues. What degree of rehabilitation was there in his corner of Chicago. That education
    board he shared with Ayers fils &
    pere; what was the track record on those issues. “Hypocrisy” among others wants to cite ‘fluffy bunny’s and other abstraction; but there is no real record of accomplishment. In that regard, character references are important; Rezko, Wright, Al Sammarai, the indicted electricity
    minister, Auchi, the oil for food
    ‘entrepreneur’ Pflueger, the priest
    who wants to shoot down gun dealers.

  38. #38 from alchemist said:

    bq. Yes, that’s weird. What could have possibly happened in the 70’s that generated such paranoia? An event perhaps? Maybe a series of events?

    re: nuclear power stations

    That is like condemning all cars because of the horrid wrecks before seatbelts! I remember those STEEL dashboards! They could and did hurt. We now have the equivalent of seatbelts for reactors. For heavens sake, doesn’t France get some 70% of their electricity from nuke stations? Are you going to let them out engineer us? I prefer not to….

    Try again.

    Amac’s link called Bad Medicine had this quote from Dalrymple:

    bq. My father was a communist though he was also a businessman. Our house was full of communist literature from the 1930s and 40s… It was always clear that my father’s concern for humanity was not always matched by his concern for men, to put it mildly, for whom (as individuals) he often expressed contempt. He found it difficult to enter an equal relationship with anyone, and preferred to play Stalin to their Molotov… I think the great disjunction between my father’s expressed ideas (and ideals) and his everyday conduct affected me, and made me suspicious of people with grand schemes of universal improvement…

    bq. *Political correctness is communist propaganda writ small. In my study of communist societies, I came to the conclusion that the purpose of communist propaganda was not to persuade or convince, nor to inform, but to humiliate; and therefore, the less it corresponded to reality the better. When people are forced to remain silent when they are being told the most obvious lies, or even worse when they are forced to repeat the lies themselves, they lose once and for all their sense of probity. To assent to obvious lies is to co-operate with evil, and in some small way to become evil oneself. One’s standing to resist anything is thus eroded, and even destroyed. A society of emasculated liars is easy to control. I think if you examine political correctness, it has the same effect, and is intended to.*

    This is exactly why PC is pernicious and erosive to a society. Obama is a product and willing participant of this PC culture. The above is why I never trusted the Obama narrative and viewpoint. There was something that seemed and has proven to be disingenuous about him.

    What was it? That even our worst critics tend to want to stay?

  39. It’s great that you have friends that are Chomskyites, and other friends who are to the right of Atilla the Hun. Have all the friends you want.

    But if you’re in the running for president, I want some very strong signals that you aren’t going to offer cabinet positions to them. Or to anybody who thinks like them. I’ve had enough, both of Janet Reno AND James Watt, thank you.

    I believe that Obama is not a victocrat. He talks great rhetoric about a post-racial future. But I notice that he’s *really tight* with the whole Jesse Jackson clan. If he appoints one of them to Attorney General, I really won’t care any longer what Obama believes in his heart. And this is what the whole Wright flap means to me. I like what I see of Obama; but I’m afraid that he’s still a ‘no enemies on the left’ kind of liberal. So I still fear what his administration would look like.

  40. AL, Interesting points. I find his bitter comments more telling than his association with Wright. In a previous comment I pointed out the social gospel origins of Wright’s teaching. What I’ve read about Wright’s recent speech/interview goes beyond that, and Obama’s response–while a step in the right direction–makes me think he’s full of crap. I have attended a few different churches in various denominations, and it didn’t take me 20 years to figure out which ones had a penchant for flaky ideas (the Jack Chick comics about Freemason collaboration with the Antichrist/Pope are usually a dead giveaway). Obama should have addressed all the crackpot stuff up front when people first started talking about it. That said, I think Wright was pushing his own limits because he’s pissed off about all the faux outrage and wanted to play for effect. But the bitter comments are way more in line with the we-are-so- sophisticated urban liberal snobbery that the Democratic party just can’t get enough of. F-in’ Yalies.

    Pecksniffery is my new favorite word, narrowly edging out d-bag. I figured out not too long out of college that some people have a vested economic and political interest in keeping me pissed off, which was when I canceled my Nation subscription. Some people haven’t canceled the subscription to their daily source of outrage, though, much to the financial benefit of Matthews, O’Reilly, Hannity, Scarborough–pecksniffery d-bags one and all. Oh yeah, that word’s a keeper.

    (still not reading the comments tho, AL–sorry to rub your face in it, NM)

  41. For me, Obama has a few positive qualities, lots of unknown ones, and a significant number of negative qualities. Unfortunately for him (from my perspective as a voter and taxpayer), his negatives are all about policy and judgment. His positives are about things that have little to do with governing; being a good writer and orator aren’t terribly relevant if your policies suck. His unknowns are scary – is he really a moonbat like Ayers/Wright, or just a cynical politician? – and since he’s running against McCain, who is well-known, he doesn’t get the benefit of my doubt.

  42. Obama is the perfect candidate for Democrats because he encapsulates what Democratic politics is all about: Blacks and Billionaires.

    For the Billionaires, save the polar bears, global warming, control over everyone’s life down to the most atomic detail (two square maximum) and other nutty causes designed to make being rich important (by making everyone else miserable).

    For Blacks, well it’s transfer of money from mostly white voters/taxpayers to various groups like Trinity United and so on.

    Obama chose Wright as his “spiritual mentor” and took the title of a sermon for a book (Audacity of Hope), could no more “disown Rev. Wright than I could the Black Community, or my own family.”

    What is great about Obama is he likely believes the same things Wright says: that the US created AIDS to kill Black People, “God Damn America!” and that the US deserved 9/11. You have thousands of people cheering and clapping, that represents the accurate depiction of the beliefs of most Blacks. Beliefs so deeply held that not even Rev. Joseph Lowery can challenge them. Beliefs so deep that Rev. Lee from the NAACP launches into an anti-semitic tirade aimed at the Jewish woman getting an award from a Black Fraternity. Beliefs in racialism that applaud (at the NAACP Dinner) Rev. Wright’s theories on Black and White brains and rhythms. If he didn’t believe these things (he heard them there in his twenty years at the church) why stay?

    He believes it.

    Which is why he is the perfect candidate for Dems.

    Surrender to AQ, in all areas. Endless demands that all whites apologize for their very existence, and hand over money to race hustling frauds like Wright. Disgust that the US even exists, conceived as it was with sin (unlike every other country which have always been perfect and flawless).

    Wright hates America, that much is clear. Obama really does also, and doubtless that was Wright’s attraction for him. Why Obama sought Wright out as his father figure and spiritual mentor.

    Hillary Clinton has many flaws. But at a minimum, she does not hate America, nor ordinary people who are not Black. Obama sure does. Wright is exhibit A. [Ayers and Dohrn Exhibits B and C.]

    I’m sure Moveon will be quite happy marching off the cliff. As Hillary noted, they even opposed Afghanistan. That’s how insane they are. And they control the Party.

  43. No, Jim, it’s not clear *what* Obama thinks, feels or believes. He’s successfully either “denied Wright thrice” (so to speak) or muddled things by gainsaying their relationship. But even the latter doesn’t indicate anything about his definitely believing the out-there stuff. Nor, I opine, is “proof” in the other direction possible. What we’re left with is opportunity-influenced gallimaufry.

  44. Ahh yes, when ignorance is bliss it sure is grand. Who knew that, contrary to Rev. Wright’s assertions, that Negro slavery was a net POSITIVE for African-Americans. Sure we all understand how the slave-holding class got on right swimmingly with the whole deal, but now we learn that “liar” and “revisionist” Rev. Wright has been trying to suggest that America’s 300+ year love affair with the highly profitable institution of slavery (as well as an additional 100 years of Jim Crow) has left systematic and pervasive institutional racism as its vestigial legacy in our society.

    Yes, SOME people like to make a big deal about the fact that though the US comprises only 5% of the world’s population, it houses 25% of the world’s incarcerated persons. And yeah, of that quarter total, nearly 50% of US prisoners are of African-American descent though this ethnic group accounts for only 8% of the US population. Our prison population constitutes a staggering 2.2 MILLION–most of which are for non-violent drug offenses. The raw number of US prisoners outstrips that of China, a nation with nearly five times our population and barely the pretense of a democratic society.

    Now SOME may conclude that the above facts coupled with studies that have for decades consistently shown disparities between African-Americans and whites in every quality-of-life category, from life-expectancy to education-funding to housing discrimination to work earnings, indicates a pattern of discrimination. Well, in spite of what the evidence suggests, I say POPPYCOCK! Evidence, shmevidence.

    Rev. Wright is WRONG DAMNIT! How dare he question the motivations behind our serial invasions of other countries! Doesn’t the man know that had we not killed those 2 million Vietnamese, Ho and his minions would have rowed their canoes across the Pacific and destroyed our nation brick by brick? LBJ had no choice but to invade the Dominican Republic in 1965 after its citizens foolishly voted the “wrong way” and elected a damn leftist. Didn’t they understand? WE decide what form of government people may construct in this hemisphere, which is something the Haitians STILL haven’t learned after all this time. Are you listening Chavez?

    What? There’s no evidence that Iraq, the nation we invaded and destroyed after 9/11, had anything to do with 9/11? The whole WMD thing was fiction? Who cares! And Rev. Wright is WRONG I say for even suggesting that anyone should. Do we obsess over the insects we inevitably crush during the course of our daily lives? Then why on earth should we do so over the fate of nominal people like those dusky Iraqis? Get a grip Rev.

    *Not that anyone really gives a damn but Wright “sat down”:http://www.pbs.org/moyers/journal/04252008/transcript1.html” with Bill Moyers the other day and spoke at length about the “controversy” surrounding his positions.

  45. Coldtype, we’re all really glad you got that out.

    Can we count on not seeing you ’til your next, ummm, dump in a month or so? Because, from where I am, that looked like one big-*ssed self-righteous drive-by post and if you left anything further of this sort unsaid I’m very much afraid it’ll be deleted out of hand.

    Not because I’m “the man” (although I guess by your lights I am), but because it was… how shall I put this?… a flatulent bowel movement as far as this thread is concerned. No doubt you thought we needed an enema. OK, point made. Congratulations. You’re right, Wright’s absolutely correct to accuse the USG of inventing AIDS because of Tuskeegee, and all the regular posters here are fundamentally irredeemable. /sarcasm

    Happy now? I sure hope so. Because one more laundry-list, vituperative, peripherally-on-topic post like that and I’m going to have a very hard time feeling you’re a welcome participant in anything resembling actual dialog hereabouts.

    And yes, sometimes I feel that way about people who post here more regularly than you do, too.

    Addendum: as for why I leave #51 standing… AL’s entry gave me guidance.

    bq. [W]e reserve the right – not to be casually dismissive, or to disagree and ‘move on’ – but to dismiss any taint of opinions that we find displeasing and try and drive them out of the world.

    It is in the spirit of doing better than that that I let Coldtype’s racism-imperialism rant stand as is. Not patting myself on the back–assuming I can say that and be believed.

    This is still a “bar” with rules even if they aren’t fair.

    I think some of Coldtype’s criticisms bear thought even if he did blort them out on what I’d call the wrong patch of linoleum. I’d appreciate it if you-all tried to keep clear of the wet spots while I work the mop, though. Hey, maybe we could rig up a guest entry for Coldtype…? Hmmmm.

  46. Let’s see now, though this is not really the thread for it… is it actually worth it to dissect, for instance, Wright’s famous utterance that “‘we'[sic] never batted an eye” about bombing Hiroshima and Nagasaki?

    I think there’s a lot of evidence that the US planners of the time were very concerned about the Home Islands (Japan) defense leading to Allied losses in the many hundreds of thousands, and Japanese losses in the millions. And the Japanese authorities were looking forward to the glorious denouement of amphibious invasion in which nearly everyone died throwing off the invaders, or at least they were saying they were. Does hoping to reduce those numbers with two bombs killing a fraction of that total count as “batting an eye”, or no?

    Does it even matter if Wright is correct, or is it more important that he is “justified” in his utterance in some way that transcends any horrible death calculus, or indeed any factual historicity? Surely any group capable of such calculations is inhuman. Right?

    I mean, will someone (Coldtype?) tell me if I understand this view? Have I got a sense of this, or is Wright just full of sh*t?

    Or …both?

  47. “Coldtype, we’re all really glad you got that out”
    -NM

    Thanks buddy, I must admit that I do feel better, however, I’d feel a good deal better if you were to kindly provide something approaching analysis to my post. If the good reverend has managed to scuttle the Good Ship Obama by merely making observations [the AIDS bit excluded… perhaps] that would hardly be controversial in a culture that took full ownership of its past and related present, why shouldn’t I subject this fact to all the contempt that I can muster?

    You see NM, that irritation you feel in the pit of your bowels is a common allergic reaction among many Americans when confronted with a challenge to the Myth of American Exceptionalism. For herein lies Wright’s most egregious offense: The Shining City on a Hill is sacrosanct, to violate its narrative with inconvenient facts is to court social oblivion, spiritual (and perhaps literal) death, and eternal damnation. This is really a controversy about what most Americans think they “know” about themselves and their nation. A recent poster over at Jon Schwarz’ “A Tiny Revolution”:http://tinyrevolution.dreamhosters.com/mt/ put it rather succinctly in response to another contributer there who felt he spoke,
    “for what every reader of this blog knows about his country’s record…”

    _But that is precisely what must be denied. If we admitted to pieces of our record as dark as pieces of the German, British, French or Belgian records, we could no longer claim to be different, better in the eyes of history or god.
And then we would be forced to take the next unthinkable step, to admit that we are just another nation among nations, another people among peoples, that our way is not the “exceptional” American way, but the way others took for which we have judged them.
And there we would be, no longer the hope of the rest of humanity, but chubby chumps staring at our strip malls and unlivable cities and gated communities and Wall Street crooks and corporate thieves at the top of a pyramid we pretended was “opportunity for all.”
And who is going to propel us to go there and maybe, maybe start all over? Neither the Prince of Hope nor the Princess of Policy._
    -Donescobar

  48. I don’t feel irritation in *my* bowels, Coldtype. I see pronounced evidence of your questionable colonic hygiene, though.

    Consequently, I’m not feeling much like your “buddy”.

    I have agreed that some of what you write has possible merit, and warrants discussion, but not in this thread.

    I am hereby informing you that further posts on this subject in this thread -will be- {Edit} might be deemed more-of-the-same {Edit} (rant/spew) and deleted without comment.

    Claro? Bene.

  49. Actually, perhaps I overstep here. It’s up to AL to make that call. Try the softball question about nuking Japan, why don’t you? Convince me that the US only did exactly what Nazi Germany would have done, won’t you?

  50. Maybe I missed something NM. I read A.L’s original post, then the comments which followed and discerned the pattern which emerged: Rev. Wright, a man with a 20 year history with The Barockstar, made comments which were beyond the pale and for THIS reason they have potentially crippled Saint Obama’s campaign. With me so far? I took the position that much of “mainstream” America views Wright’s comments through a prism of self-delusion and historical amnesia therefore potentially crippling Saint Obama’s campaign for THIS reason.

    Am I therefore to conclude that I may not take positions at this site that run contrary to the perceived wisdom herein?

  51. Our posts might be criss-crossing here.

    You seem to think everything Wright has to say is (pardon the expression) gospel. Let’s assume you’re right, and I was wrong to chastise you for your (as I saw it) longwinded rant about how right it is to find fault with America in what you evidently think is Wright’s manner.

    Your explanation of your reasons for the rant I now accept, along with your rant(s) as provisionally relevant.

    Let’s clear the decks and move into something a bit more manageable for the moment.

    The only point you indicate so far that Wright *might* have overstepped on is the AIDS matter.

    So. Take a look at my #53 and tell me what you really think. Is it beyond question that “we” “never batted an eye” about nuking Japan? Or was Wright blowing smoke? Or was he truthing even if he was historically wrong?

    What’s up there?

    Edit: Please do the courtesy of (for the moment, til we can get you a guest entry of your very own) avoiding further content of the form {Long screed detailing how America is racist, imperialistic, fatuous and unexceptional}. Assume we got it, for the moment. Please.

  52. Re. #53

    NM I would agree that there was certainly “discussion” among the chieftains over the decision to nuke Japan but overwhelmingly of the tactical/pragmatic variety. It’s important to remember that Japan was essentially defeated by this point and had no hopes of launching offensive operations anywhere in the Pacific theater–a fact acknowledged by the US high command. The Japanese were sending feelers to negotiate the terms of surrender BEFORE the decision to drop the bombs was made by Truman. The nukes were dropped [here’s where it’s indefensible morally] for its “demonstration effect” on the Bolsheviks should they get any ideas about encouraging the anti-fascists forces (partisans) that gave Hitler’s occupying armies fits in places like France, Greece, Italy, the Balkans etc, to advance their gains politically [I’m speaking of the Left generally throughout Europe and the newly emerging independence movements within the former colonies of the west in Asia and Africa which the US aggressively opposed].

    I will have to provide links and sources a bit later NM.

    Peace.

  53. “Please do the courtesy of (for the moment, til we can get you a guest entry of your very own) avoiding further content of the form {Long screed detailing how America is racist, imperialistic, fatuous and unexceptional}. Assume we got it, for the moment. Please.”

    -NM

    Agreed. Right now I’ve just got to get some sleep. I’ll check in later.

  54. Coldtype,

    Sorry to bring rain to the parade, but you haven’t demonstrated that you know enough WW2 history to offer a qualified opinion on why the US nuked Hiroshima. Let me be more honest than polite–it’s worse if you do have some deep knowledge of that time, because then your comments would be intentionally misleading.

    I won’t debate you on this issue–what would be in it for me? I won’t learn anything, and you seem to have a faith-based view that’s not open to revision. Bystanders would profit more from checking out a good book from the library (ask if you want a recommendation).

    A question that’s relevant to A.L.’s post:

    Wright was interviewed by fellow hard-leftist Bill Moyers. The show that aired on Friday (link in #51) showcased Wright’s kinder and gentler side. In the right light, the guy comes across as reasonable, if he wants to. If the pitches are slow enough, he can hit singles and even doubles.

    Then he gave a trademark rant to the NAACP in Detroit over the weekend (to thunderous applause), followed by Monday’s show at the National Press Club (to a standing ovation).

    In Detroit and DC, Wright went out of his way to say, “This is who I am! These are the thing I believe!” AIDS conspiracy theories, 9/11 chickens roosting, Chomskyan blame-AmeriKKKa-first, God -Bless- Damn America, Black Liberation Theology, wet kisses to Louis Farrakhan, the full Monty.

    If Obama had known of your wisdom and insight and had turned to you before Tuesday’s press conference, what would you have advised? In other words, in your opinion, what should the real, plain-speaking, honest, admirable Barak Obama have said about Rev. Wright?

  55. Coldtype,
    I’m the booking agent that handles appearances at the National Press Club and the NAACP, please call me ASAP!

  56. Great. Just as I was getting ready to challenge Joe on his interpretation of the situation, we get Coldtype.

    Let me mull it over a bit – I’m not sure a guest post here would do much more than chum the waters; the question is how to create a discussion that adds any value to the topic.

    For Coldtype, I’ll suggest that if you think we’re on a par with the Belgians, you’re missing key knowledge about someone’s history.

    And I’ll suggest that if you intend to cling bitterly to your – interesting – interpretation of history, you shouldn’t be shocked when the vast majority of your fellow-citizens reject you electorally.

    But that’s a discussion for another day. Or later in this one.

    A.L.

  57. “And I’ll suggest that if you intend to cling bitterly to your – interesting – interpretation of history, you shouldn’t be shocked when the vast majority of your fellow-citizens reject you electorally”
    -A.L

    Good morning A.L. I’d been mulling over some of the comments here at W.O.C and other blogs that I frequent regarding the thoroughly predictable Wright/Obama controversy and then it hit me: “mainstream” America hasn’t the faintest clue about African-American perspectives. None. Reading and listening to commentary on this issue by African-Americans, then to those of whites leaves one with the distinct impression that the two parties cannot possibly be discoursing over the same subject. The portion of your response that I quoted above illustrates this phenomenon perfectly [in the interest of full-disclosure: I’m a Chicagoan and South-Sider whose wife is a member of Trinity, as for myself well… I choose not to believe in the existence of the Sky-God].

    In order to bring this matter into finer focus, I think the following from Glen Ford, another African-American thinker from whom Saint Obama has distanced himself, is instructive of just how broad the divide is between black and white perspectives in allegedly “race-neutral” America. More later.

  58. BHO = running for President wiht No real track record is under Wright during fomrative years and having a sha-zam moment only whne Wright disrepsected him = some day maybe he will get to the point that he should have not said Grandma (who said XXX one time in comfidence) is = to Wright.

  59. The Black Agenda Report link provides an analysis of the relationship between Obama and Wright from the perspective those who naturally align with Rev. Wright’s viewpoint. I can understand why they see it that way.

    It is also an accurate description of Obama’s campaign strategy on this issue, and why it was always destined to fail.

    Thanks for the link Codetype, though I’m a little depressed at this peek under the rug of identity politics.

  60. Coldtype #64 —

    In your link, Black essayist Glen Ford makes interesting points about the Black/white divide in America. It’s long, so here are a few topical excerpts.

    Ford “begins”:http://tinyurl.com/46ec2a

    bq. Things fall apart; some things, like an ill-tied shoelace, sooner than others. Barack Obama’s strategy to win the White House was to run a “race-neutral” campaign in a society that is anything but neutral on race. The very premise – that race neutrality is possible in a nation built on white supremacy – demanded the systematic practice of the most profound race-factual denial, which is ultimately indistinguishable from rank dishonesty.

    Then:

    bq. Obama swore up and down that he had never before, in 16 years as a member of Wright’s Trinity United Church of Christ congregation, observed his pastor behave in such a way. The declaration rang patently false… Wright’s Press Club performance [was one of a] veteran pulpit-master with a vast repertoire of church-pleasing moves and grooves to draw upon, all of them honed over decades for the entertainment of his parishioners – including Obama. But the senator was intent on giving the impression that Rev. Wright was – unbeknownst to Obama – a Jekyll and Hyde character, whose statements “were not only divisive and destructive, but I believe that they end up giving comfort to those who prey on hate.”

    (While no friend to Rev. Wright, I agree with Ford there–it’s one of the big problems Obama faces with white voters.)

    And:

    bq. In order for his race-neutral strategy to appear sane, Obama must constantly paint a picture of an America that does not exist. This cannot be accomplished without mangling the truth, assaulting the truth-tellers, and misrepresenting America’s past and present.

    Penultimate ‘graph:

    bq. For people like Rev. Jeremiah Wright, mass Black incarceration and slavery are seamlessly linked, part of the continuity of racial oppression in the U.S. Most African Americans see the world the way Rev. Wright does… This Black American world view, excruciatingly aware of the nation’s origins in genocide and slavery, is wholly incompatible with the American mythology championed by Barack Obama. When the two meet, they are mutually repellant.

    (In this comment, I’ve followed Ford’s by capitalizing “Black,” but not “white,” in case there’s a subtle message in that convention.)

    [sarc] Nice website Ford posts at, by the way. It offers real visions for a better America and a better world. [/sarc]

    More seriously, Coldtype, it seems as though Ford’s big problem isn’t with Obama. After all, the guy is who he is; any group is going to have to suffer with some proportion of Uncle Toms, turncoats, and collaborators–however small.

    No, Ford’s real problem is surely that 80% to 90% of Blacks have been voting for this mangler, assaulter, and misrepresenter. Can these ballot-box race-traitors be re-educated in time?

  61. This one sums up the BHO/Wright debacle pretty well:

    “What took Barack Obama so long? Yes, the “old uncle who says things I don’t always agree with” is no longer welcome for dinner. That was the Illinois senator’s urgently delivered message about his fiery former pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, whom he had previously denounced but not, until Tuesday, disowned.

    What the presidential candidate from Chicago had to say was strongly worded, solemn and angry. It was powerful and personal. But it still raises the question of his response time. In political terms, this was a 3 a.m. phone call that went into voice mail.“

    And there folks is the real issue. This was the first actual test BHO has had to face that was more challenging than say buttoning ones pants, and he failed it miserably. If he can’t make obvious good choices in a situation as simplistic and silly as this one, what makes anyone think he could make a serious judgment call when it comes to something of great importance like Iran, Iraq, Syria, etc. Nothing in BHO’s background points to his ability to lead or make prudent decisions on any substantive level except what his next political play would be to push himself further into the good graces of his media acolytes. When one looks for “Empty Suit” in the dictionary, there should be a picture of Obama.

    I honestly feel sorry for Hillary, shes worked pretty damned hard to get where she is, and to have this lightweight come in and steal her thunder must really be chapping her hide. I know she has to be scratching her head at night saying “WTF is going on?” Probably like George Herbert Walker Bush was in 92 with Slick Willy.

  62. “[sarc] Nice website Ford posts at, by the way. It offers real visions for a better America and a better world. [/sarc]”
    -AMac

    No Amac, B.A.R merely presents an African-American perspective–one completely absent from mainstream discourse.

    _”…Ford’s big problem isn’t with Obama. After all, the guy is who he is; any group is going to have to suffer with some proportion of Uncle Toms, turncoats, and collaborators–however small.

    No, Ford’s real problem is surely that 80% to 90% of Blacks have been voting for this mangler, assaulter, and misrepresenter. Can these ballot-box race-traitors be re-educated in time?”_
    -AMac

    I must confess that there is more than a kernel of truth to this statement AMac. Yes, Barockstar’s massive appeal among African-Americans is
    quite frustrating given the clear evidence that his “progressive” credentials were manufactured from the flimsiest of tinsel. He stands in diametric opposition to most African-Americans on matters of race/class, the war in Iraq, healthcare and the plethora of issues surrounding American Exceptionalism in general–yet in spite of it all, many blacks will kick your ass for disparaging Obama to their face [ask Tavis Smiley]. My own mother, a woman who actively participated in the Civil Rights movement of the 60’s and faced the bricks and spittle with Dr. King in Chicago’s Marquette Park, won’t speak civilly with me over the issue of Saint Obama.

    I’m not sure the readers of this blog can fully grasp the level of cognitive dissonance displayed in the African-American community (before the Wright controversy) when faced with examples of Obama’s actual voting record and public statements–and contrasted with his alleged progressivism. It was stupefying. When I gently broached the Wright/Obama break-up with my mom she stated, and I quote: “The Rev shouldn’t have taken it there, this wasn’t the time”. Even though *there* was where my parents took it with my siblings and I as we grew up. It’s positively surreal.

    In closing I’d like to bring the focus back to Wright for a moment and I think Chris Floyd has “hit the mark here”:http://www.chris-floyd.com/content/view/1495/135/. Bear in mind as you read Floyd’s analysis (and most importantly Wright’s statements in context) that much of this passes for common knowledge among African-Americans and many, at least in my circles, are scratching their heads over this turn of events. Not, mind you over what’s wrong with Wright, but with what’s wrong with Obama. They thought he had their back, whereas they already knew that Wright did for he stands in the tradition of Paul Robeson, Martin Luther King Jr, W.E.B DuBois, and Malcolm X.

  63. Shouldn’t the default assumption here be that those 80-90% of African Americans know exactly what they are doing and that Ford and the other self-appointed mouthpieces are in fact completely and totally wrong?

    What evidence is there that the African American community is in fact suffering from profound cognitive dissonance? Is it your contention that if they were less confused they would be voting for Hillary who is more in tune with what they ‘actually’ believe?

    Where is this argument going, exactly? If you’re complaining that an identity bloc group is voting for the identity bloc candidate on nothing more substantial than identity group membership, well, petard meet hoist. It is sort of an innate fault of the entire identity politics system. Take it or leave it.

    Or were you taking this some other direction?

  64. Thanks for thought-provoking links and commentary, Coldtype.

    At least as concerns blogging types, politically-active hard-left blacks seem to inhabit a different world from politically-active hard-left whites. Who, in turn, have a very different perspective from the set of beliefs that are common in the center of the US spectrum (from, say, Obama/Clinton supporters to Romney acolytes). Head to the right from there, and that feeling of strangeness starts to return.

    One thing that “Floyd”:http://www.chris-floyd.com/content/view/1495/135/ and “Silber”:http://powerofnarrative.blogspot.com/2008/04/messiahs-just-arent-what-they-used-to.html share with Rev. Wright is a penchant for errors of fact. But I don’t think it matters–there are so many new convenient facts that could substitute for any that were admitted to being defective.

    At any rate, so-called facts have no separate, objective reality, because they are entirely socially constructed.

    More importantly, facts light the way to the better, purer society that is just beyond our grasp.

    1787, France. 1917, Russia. 1933, Germany. 1947, Mainland China. 1975, Cambodia. Five of the instances when visionaries have come close to starting their societies’ journeys on the road past Year Zero.

    How strange that some people would rather work for gradual improvements to the imperfect present, instead.

  65. Coldtype:

    he stands in the tradition of Paul Robeson

    Paul Robeson. Magnificent singer, greatest bass voice ever. I have a stack of his albums.

    He is also notable as being the the only known person on Earth who cried when Josef Stalin died.

    Did you cry when Josef Stalin died, Coldtype? Oh, damn it, that was tactless – you did know that he was dead, right?

    Meanwhile, back in the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave, Clinton has jumped a clear seven points in the Indiana primary. Losing Indiana is going to hurt Obama a lot more than it would have a couple of weeks ago. Obama got a big boost early on from the “Obama is unstoppable” theme, which became a self-fulfilling prophecy. It works the other way, too, and the word people are using now is “slide”.

    Obama will probably get past Clinton anyway, and he’ll be a wiser but weaker man. You “Wright was just telling the truth” sick-thinkers are doing your level best to dig his grave, though.

    Wright claims that Obama agrees with him, and is just denying it because he’s a politician. That’s a devastating portrait of Obama. People like you, Coldtype, are in there helping to paint it.

  66. Treefrog: “What evidence is there that the African American community is in fact suffering from profound cognitive dissonance?” [Emphasis added.]

    The Term of Art is actually “False Consciousness.” It’s what allows an overeducated borderline sociopath to believe he or she has the right, or rather obligation, to force a vision of society no one really wants down the throats of the peons.

  67. #74 from Glen Wishard:

    “Wright claims that Obama agrees with him, and is just denying it because he’s a politician. That’s a devastating portrait of Obama. People like you, Coldtype, are in there helping to paint it.”

    But, there’s every reason to think that Wright may be telling the truth, and that Obama must be lying.

    Wright knows what he’s been saying for many years, and that Obama was always fine with it till it became politically convenient to start demeaning Wright as a crazy uncle.

    Wright also knows how normal and accepted his church is and his views and manner of presentation are, in the Black community. The closed racial ranks and absence of authoritative Black criticism of his views confirms what he already knew: that he is in the great Black tradition that Coldtype referred to.

    That means Obama is – has to be – wholly cynical in speaking negatively of Wright, not only against Obama’s whole previous life history, not only from the point of view of a man totally outside the Black consensus, but from the fake point of view of a Black man – and a community organizer! – who has no idea what the Black consensus is, who never heard such things!

    So Wright has gotten angry and told the truth, that Obama has betrayed him for cynical political reasons.

    Why shouldn’t Coldtype tell the truth too, and let the chips fall where they may?

  68. In case anybody was confused, Coldtype doesn’t want Obama to be elected president.

    Also worth pointing out that it was the recent ascendancy of African-American Democrats in Obama / Coldtype’s homestate that led to passage of mandatory school prayer — something Republicans had failed to get for decades.

    B.A.R may present “an African-American perspective,” but Coldtype’s clique ain’t the only one.

  69. David Blue:

    But, there’s every reason to think that Wright may be telling the truth, and that Obama must be lying.

    That is certainly a wide-spread opinion at the moment. I can’t reference the poll I saw yesterday, but it was bleak. If even 30% of people think that “Obama is just being a politician” then he’s in big trouble.

    I’m confident that a large percentage of Obama’s left-head followers believe that he’s lying when he denounces Wright. It is widely believed on the left that all smart people “know” that America is an evil racist empire that kills black people whenever it gets a chance. Anything anti-American is taken as self-evident truth. They expect their leaders to lie about it in front of the proles, because the proles are too stupid to understand.

    And yet I, who will go to the firing squad as an unrepentant Republican, am still willing to believe that Obama is sincerely trying to find the right road to Damascus – having mistakenly taken the Wright road.

    Not because I believe that Obama has been in a coma for 20 years. He saw it all and he heard it all, and he sat still for it. No excuse for it – but that doesn’t mean he can’t change his trajectory now. I don’t believe he has it in him to be a real hater – to drip scorn and racist condescension like Wright does.

    It’s precisely because I believe that Obama is a naif – an intelligent but unreflective and uninformed person who has been skimming along all of his life, being all things to all people – that I’m willing to give him another chance now. (As a man, I mean, not a POTUS. Naifs need not apply for the job of POTUS, though of course they do, and sometimes get it.)

  70. Coldtype,
    Even with the way you first dropped into this thread and the fact that I probably disagree with 95% of your world view, I appreciate they way you have subsequently contributed here.

    Thanks.

  71. BTW, I’d like Obama’s supporters and detractors both to note a couple of changes in Obama’s behavior: He is not dismissing this as a racist-McCarthist smear campaign. He is not shrieking “swift-boat”. If Hillary were on this spot, that’s what she’d do.

    And he has stopped trying to turn this around on whites and Jews. He did that early on (“Don’t your priests and rabbis say the same kinds of things?”) and it was staggeringly offensive, but I think he did it in all innocence. Wright’s church, if one may call it such, is the only church Obama has ever seen. He really didn’t know any better. Maybe he’s learning better, and I point to this evidence in support of that.

    And both sides must beware the racist and false claim that Wright represents “the Black Church” – a claim that Wright trumpets, and that Obama acquiesced to when he said “I can’t turn my back on him.” I think Obama is being quietly educated about that right now, by some people who never elected Jeremiah Wright to represent them.

  72. Let me echo lurker for a sec, and hold Coldtype up as a model of someone who has strong views and defends them with argument and reference.

    My only complaint is that you’ve given me a bunch to read and I’m probably going to have to respond, dammit…

    A.L.

  73. Glen:

    He is not dismissing this as a racist-McCarthist smear campaign. He is not shrieking “swift-boat”. If Hillary were on this spot, that’s what she’d do.

    He doesn’t have to, because his surrogates do the dirty work for him. Don’t believe me, turn on any news channel.

  74. #75 well and #80 too

    I was more interested in the way this highlights the mechanisms behind black leadership selection, or rather the lack thereof.

    Basically, the left convinced the AA community that voting as a single mass was the only way to be treated fairly (and there is strong logic here). But they neglected to then provide any rigorous mechanism for selection of Black leadership, no democratic way for the black community to say, this guy (gal, other) represents us.

    No provided mechanism means anarchy rules apply, and thus the guy (gal, other) with the loudest voice wins. Under these conditions, how a charismatic, well financed outsider can muscle in and stage a palace coup ought to be obvious.

    I sometimes wonder if the left considers minorities to be like birds or fish, born with a built-in flocking mechanism. Actually, that does explain the reaction to Rice, Thomas, et all. They aren’t really conservatives, just defective.

    Did you see the section in the Wright sermon Hewitt posted where Wright goes on about Tiger Woods? And on, and on. Me thinks the ‘Cablasian’ thing got fairly far under his skin.

  75. A ruminatiion on the above, follows – meanders, really:

    There’s lots and lots of absurdity to what we see, lots of hypocrisy ruling. (Yes, I go to that too much, so sue me.)

    There is the hard left view, that the U.S. is the root of all evil. Found in the Black Agenda, but also familiar in, say, La Raza, or Chomsky.

    I’m trying to remember the name of a book – something like “The Open Veins of Central America” – which documented in grim detail, with huge amounts of corroborating evidence – how Latin America has been used as a giant resource pool, for the United States, without regard for the people of Latin America.

    Same with Chomsky – the EVIDENCE of superpower thuggery, as perpetrated by the U.S. – does exist, is comprehensive, and overwhelming in it’s detail.

    But what never seems to be acknowledged is – compared to WHAT??

    Compared to the U.S.S.R?
    Compared to China?
    Compared to the British Empire?
    Compared to Islamic Republics of the 1200-1500’s?

    Name another superpower in history, that has handled the role better than the United States. It doesn’t exist, in my opinion.

    On the other hand – you have normal patriotism – a healthy thing – and the weird type of aggressive patriotism, or partisan patriotism, which doesn’t acknowledge there are issues and things the U.S. does do wrong. And, for example on this site, invests a lot of weird broad brush theories as to why this group or that group is “the enemy”.

    Both are paranoid, in my opinion.

    And the United States has done a lot – A LOT to make the world a better place, for it’s own people – no matter the color – and for ever growing alliances of other countries. Corruption, to the degree it exist in the United States, is not a fact of life, as you get in a lot of other countries. The ability for anyone to create a business, and forge ahead, without paying the corruption tax, (same with getting a job), is a great boon. Basically creating an environment where people have the FREEDOM to pursue happiness and meaning, without interference.

    Who is the person who said, “History is the nightmare from which I am trying to awaken”.

    There will always be power games. There will always be a competition for resources, as well as hopefully an advancement in technology to render the various scarcities…less scarce.

    So we improve life, as we can. Everyone doing their part to make the system better, within their purview, while pursuing their own agenda. (If you have the chance, see the Wire on this. Great, awesome series, with flawed human beings doing the best they can, “playing the game”, from teens on the corners, to cops, to commissioners, to mayors).

    Through various stumbing, we have found that the evidence points to the fact that an opne (although regulated) market, working with as little corruption as possible, tends to create the most possibilities for people.

    Now, this comes with it’s own set of negatives and drawbacks. Mainly corporate power can get concentrated, and then interferes with progress that a free market can bring, or with policies that benefit citizens. I’m thinking specifically of health care, where there are 1000 years of proof (facts, as Amac would say) showing that universal coverage simply works.

    Or, another example, how the conglomerates actually interfere with progress, in relation to internet penetration and bandwidth, once they have their market share.

    Or, the same thing with the energy market, which doesn’t create correct feedback for an infrastructure.

    Those are some small examples.

    Or even more importantly, the conglomerate of the MSM – which hews to a false vision of neutrality, favors “excitement”, and again, tends to distort and mis-represent fact.

    Now, the specific race issue – as has been noted recently, Hispanics are now the largest minority subset in the nation. Depending on where you go, say if you are in the San Francisco Bay Area, like visiting the Richmond Mall – on a typical day, it seems you get 15% White, 15% Black, 20% Hispanic, 20% other Asian (Chinese, Filipino, etc), 10% Indian (from India), etc.

    So even the “race” issue, as constructed, in very, very narrow, in the mainstream media, as far as I’m concerned.

    We are heading to a “post-racial” future – despite what the hard right whites (some of which populate and post on this site), and the hard left resentments of a very narrow black philosophy, or a La Raza philosophy, entail.

    And I believe that Obama embodies this, in a Tiger Woods “CaBlanasian” (as he jokingly calls himself), way.

  76. I’m thinking specifically of health care, where there are 1000 years of proof (facts, as Amac would say) showing that universal coverage simply works.

    I’d like to go on record as saying I have no problems implementing universal 11th century health care for anyone who wants it.

  77. HR,

    and the weird type of aggressive patriotism, or partisan patriotism, which doesn’t acknowledge there are issues and things the U.S. does do wrong.

    I can’t think of any one that posts on this site, as a host or as a commenter, that believes this.

    Just because someone doesn’t agree with your prescribed solutions doesn’t make then any weirder, more aggressive, or more partisan than you.

  78. Treefrog,

    I’m counting EVERY nation, who has health care, and their years of having heath care, and simply adding them up.

    This starts from England, starting from England back in 1948. So 60 for England, plus the years, for all the other countries.

    1000 years is a nice round estimate.

  79. Ah, that makes sense, without that it was a little strange sounding. I was wondering if your zeros were breeding on you.

  80. Beyond AL’s advocacy I can find no reason to believe that Obama is sincere about liberalism, or the core values of Western Civilization. Of course, I think they’re probably a bit beyond the ken of John McCain as well, but his allegiences are more visceral and dependable.

    I also don’t see how a philosophy like the Habermasian “Communicative Rationality” can, on their own, meet the challenge of unreason… unless they’re willing to establish a safe-zone, through the monopoly of force.

    I don’t see Obama as particularly trustworthy, but were he not weighed down by a decidedly illiberal wife I might be willing to extend the benefit of the doubt. I think Michelle is the archetype of the illiberal elitism that our higher education system has made its top priority… and empowering her and her husband seems a little like nicking my jugular to tempt fate. Things aren’t really that bad.

    But we do have a system that demands a price be paid to virtue, so if Obama is elected the rational option will be to specifically give voice to those Lockean values that define us as a nation, and challenge Barack to take a position and back it up with action.

    My head would not explode were Obama elected, at least not right away…

  81. You can only find one commenter?

    Plus, I’m pretty sure that Jim Rockford sees plenty of things wrong in American now, and probably agrees with you on some of them, must likely his solutions differ though.

    Consider him a canary in our coal mine. Others’ attitudes will harden like his every time there’s an attempted terrorist attack.

    Other than the target of his ire, can you explain how his attitude differs than that of Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s?

  82. Lurker,

    If necessary, I can find more. But we might be getting far away from the purpose of this thread. Also, remember, your question was:

    _I can’t think of any one that posts on this site…_

    As to whether Jim’s attitude differs from Wright? Some similarities, certainly –

    #1 Deeply paranoid, pessimistic, grievance – whether it is Rockford on democrats and blacks, or Wright on the white power structure.

    #2 Painting with a broad brush. Again, for Rockford, “all democrats suck/are evil except for (insert favored exception), or Wright, “all issues reduce to the white power dynamic and the racist effects of such”.

    Of course, lots of differences – Wright is more a 60’s/70’s leftist than anything else, than some form of “reverse racism”, hence his embrace of gays, which is at odds with a lot of black churches, and his familiarity with quite a lot of post-modern philosophy. He’s also a very bright guy.

    Also, Wright of course has a lot more legitimacy for his paranoia/resentment, than Rockford. Not only his life experiences in the 40’s through the 70’s, but also the historical fact of slavery, and the continuing prejudiced encountered by his people – note the percentage of blacks locked up, even now. That’s fair?

    But yes, there are similarities.

    As far as Obama, or McCain, or H. Clinton – I think right now, the level of arrogance/thirst for power you have to have to run for office, has to be pretty high. Oil IS going to continue to rise, barring a technological breakthrough. Resource wars ARE going to start to raise their ugly heads again, unless, again, more technological breakthroughs similar to the Green Revolution. Who wants to be President during that?

    In addition, one would be being president in an absolutely fracking nutes, I mean, INSANE news media environment, that is much more tabloid trash than useful reporting. (I’ve already said that this guilt by association thing has JACK ALL to do with what is going to make americans life better, economically.)

    Again, crazy time to be President.

    So I’m not expecting some perfection from the Change guy – still he’s incredibly smart, very good at listening, a very good public speaker, and has the best judgment in this crowd. I only have to look at his 2002 Iraq speech, to see that. The other two candidates would accelerate the decline of U.S. dominance, by ironically supporting a larger and larger role of the U.S. as the world’s “unilateral” cop, and the resources, which should stay in the U.S., that would be drained by that decision.

  83. Cynically though, you know, at this point though, Obama is a few more Wright outbursts away from being out of the race.

    All Wright has to do, is say “Obama WAS there at such and such event, and he’s lying when he says he didn’t know my views.”

    And Obama is most likely done – finis.

  84. Sorry, one more – on lying.

    Those here who would condemn Obama only, because he perhaps has “lied” about Wright – have to basically not vote.

    Right now, both Clinton and McCain are lying about their supposed gas tax – they both KNOW it’s a joke, and are only pandering. But it’s still a lie.

    So no faux outrage against lies – politicians lie, as we all know.

  85. he’s incredibly smart, very good at listening, a very good public speaker, and has the best judgment in this crowd.

    The problem here is that this is also a good description of Jimmy Carter. I’d like to see an ability on Obama’s part to acknowledge and reverse himself out of errors, a demonstration of decisiveness under pressure, and better faith judgement in appointments.

    That last one is particularly important and Obama has a rather lot of questions here for not even getting to the nomination yet. Wright was on and then back off his campaign, but also the Power incident and Goolsbee’s little whatever the heck that was vis-a-vis Canada shows some rough edges in that department.

    Granted, nothing over the line, but it shows shakiness in an area he should be showing serious strength, all the more worrisome in a candidate with zero executive and little governmental experience.

    Choice of tangential relations (and not so tangentials) like Wright and Ayers get, of necessity, stood in as place holders for what kind of people he seeks to associate with, and presumably hand out cushy government jobs to.

    If he does get the nomination he really needs to drag out some serious firepower to fill cabinet positions. Remember how much of a boost Bush got in 2000 by putting Powell in at Sec State? Covered a lot of his ‘inexperienced at foreign policy’ reservations in one move.

  86. #78 from Glen Wishard:

    “And yet I, who will go to the firing squad as an unrepentant Republican, am still willing to believe that Obama is sincerely trying to find the right road to Damascus – having mistakenly taken the Wright road.”

    Your whole post makes a lot of sense. I still see the evidence that I see. But now I see the sense in your perspective too.

    I think the tack you’re taking on this is admirable. I think we are too often too cynical about politics – so cynical that the decent guy who messes up has no advantage over the total fraud, and so cynical that we as good as forget that politicians are people too – not just agents of causes, or symbols, or where the parties are stronger than in American just faces of party machines.

    I can see decent reasons for Obama to cling to Wright, even as long as he has. Obama seems to be a great, loving husband and father. He’s accomplishing in his own home everything he didn’t have as a kid. We all know that doesn’t happen with just willpower, because we’ve seen men do their best and fail horribly. So it would be natural for Obama to hang onto the things that have permeated his home as if they were magical talismans of intact family-hood.

    Unfortunately, the Obama family home, including the other three quarters of the block that serves as his yard, is the fruit of criminal corruption, and the family that prays together and stays together prays in a church of intensely political hate-whitey race hatred, and mum’s job looks a lot like a payoff to a rising politician, and the friends at whose home Barack started raising that career to a higher level are unrepentant terrorists.

    The house that Barack Obama built is a crooked house.

    But Barack Obama’s daughters will never write books aching with loss for never having known their father, and I think his wife will never join a “first wives club,” and I weigh those things heavily. I would still be glad to see Mitt Romney become American President one day, partly because his great family says that he is a man at least some people can trust.

  87. #80 from Glen Wishard

    “BTW, I’d like Obama’s supporters and detractors both to note a couple of changes in Obama’s behavior: He is not dismissing this as a racist-McCarthist smear campaign. He is not shrieking “swift-boat”. If Hillary were on this spot, that’s what she’d do.”

    So noted.

    #80 from Glen Wishard

    “And both sides must beware the racist and false claim that Wright represents “the Black Church” – a claim that Wright trumpets, and that Obama acquiesced to when he said “I can’t turn my back on him.” I think Obama is being quietly educated about that right now, by some people who never elected Jeremiah Wright to represent them.”

    Wait, so if I believe what Wright and Obama both said, and what holds up from the fact that Wright got a pass from his fellow American Back leaders, that Wright is indeed mainstream, you’re crying “racist!”?

    No sale, if only because if I deny that the obvious and accepted leaders of the Black community are real leaders others – likely with more Black credentials than you have – will also cry “racist!”

    And I’m not inclined to roll over, go back to sleep and forget what we’ve seen about Black culture and the Black community standing of men like Wright. It was a shock to learn that. I won’t un-learn it.

  88. gabriel:

    He doesn’t have to, because his surrogates do the dirty work for him. Don’t believe me, turn on any news channel.

    Sure they are. And if Obama was as dumb and dishonest as they are, he’d chime right in with them – or just sit back and let them carry his water. That would be the easy thing to do. After all, people have been telling this guy for months that he has the nomination in the bag, no matter what.

    Maybe I’m all wrong about Obama. Maybe this resurgent Hillary has him scared, and he feels the need to fake in the direction of sanity. I’ll wait and see.

    On the other, maybe Obama’s own supporters have him scared. Maybe being the new Che Guevara for the Permanently Alienated is not what the man signed up for.

  89. David Blue:

    Wait, so if I believe what Wright and Obama both said, and what holds up from the fact that Wright got a pass from his fellow American Back leaders, that Wright is indeed mainstream, you’re crying “racist!”?

    Well, no. Perhaps I should not have said “racist” but “feeding racist notions”. I do believe that black Christians have been treated with contempt by some of their so-called friends. I noted some of this during the Terri Schiavo incident.

    But I reject the notion that Wright is mainstream in the black church, though he may well be mainstream among the self-appointed “black leaders”. If you’re black, you don’t get famous by preaching the gospels, you get famous by preaching politics. If you cross the politicians, you get called an Uncle Tom Preacher.

    I would compare the position of the traditional black Christian to a Northern Democrat in 1860. Like the great majority of Northern Democrats, you’re probably opposed to slavery. Although you represent majority opinion, you dare not say so too loudly, because then you’re a hated abolitionist.

  90. Beyond AL’s advocacy I can find no reason to believe that Obama is sincere about liberalism, or the core values of Western Civilization.

    Dude.

    Look, to all y’all who’ve apparently acquired the ability to look into Bam the Man’s tortured soul: where the heck was those powers when you voted for George W. Bush, twice? You could have saved the country, and the world, a whole lot of grief. It seems to me that what more than a few here are perceiving is not so much Obama’s detachment from the mass of his fellow countrymen, but rather their own affinity for sweeping pronouncements of Reverend Wright, and that should scare anyone.

  91. HR,
    I think I made my point that the regulars here are not as wingnut-crazy as many try to make them out to me. Not by a long shot. I think even Jim Rockford deserves a closer reading from you. His MAIN concern is terrorism, especially Islamic Arab terrorism. That’s the main issue that he has with Democrats.

    If one of our cities is hit by another major Islamic Arab terrorist attack expect a majority of Americans to line up right behind Jim Rockford. That’s the context of where he is coming from. It looks extreme now, but we are that one major event away from it going mainstream. You should pay more attention to Jim Rockford and add his perspective to your calculus for possible futures.

  92. Dang…”where the heck were those powers,” and “their own affinity for thesweeping pronouncements of Reverend Wright.”

    See, y’all aren’t the only conflicted ones. From sloppy to anal in two comments.

  93. …where the heck was those powers when you voted for George W. Bush, twice? You could have saved the country, and the world, a whole lot of grief.

    I’m a Democrat. I voted for Clinton. I voted for Gore. I also held my nose and voted for George W. Bush over Kerry. I’d do it again too.

  94. Yeah, Lurker, Jim “Crushing the Tribals” Rockford has issues alright.

    Couldn’t one just as easily argue that Rev. Wright’s main concern– the legacy of racism in America–is an equally real one, with similar prospects for destabilizing our society?

    Neither’s views, however, can justify de-humanizing broad swathes of people, nor advocating indiscriminant brutality. The latter of which I don’t think Rev. Wright has ever preached, by the way.

    And if we get attacked again, especially if OBL is behind it, I would imagine that his is not the only head that the American people will be calling for.

  95. Dolf,

    Couldn’t one just as easily argue that Rev. Wright’s main concern– the legacy of racism in America–is an equally real one, with similar prospects for destabilizing our society?

    You certainly could argue that. It’s just that Jim Rockford is our Cassandra and Rev. Wright is our anti-Norman Rockwell.

    Neither’s views, however, can justify de-humanizing broad swathes of people, nor advocating indiscriminant brutality.

    I feel pretty dehumanized and threatened by brutality whenever Al Qadea releases another tape saying how they want to kill me and everyone who looks like me. Watching the Twin Towers toppled didn’t do much for my tranquility either.

    The latter of which I don’t think Rev. Wright has ever preached, by the way.

    I don’t know. It’s pretty dehumanizing when Rev. Wright has his whole congregation yell out “Enemy” about me and all the people that look like me.

    And if we get attacked again, especially if OBL is behind it, I would imagine that his is not the only head that the American people will be calling for.

    Yeah, I’m worried about those 800 million Islamic head too. Let’s work to keep it from happening!

  96. I’m a Democrat. I voted for Clinton. I voted for Gore. I also held my nose and voted for George W. Bush over Kerry. I’d do it again too.

    Yeah, I’ve heard of people like you, my man. Not many, though, and of those, quite a few are presently cashing in (Miller, Silver, Johnson, Simon). So, you’re a man of principle, if not discernment.

    Indubitably, Kerry was a stiff, as the large bulk of politicians are (though I think both Obama and McCain are a little less so). But Bush was clearly out of his depth, from day one. By 2004, the jury was well in. In fact, they all’d signed book deals, and were appearing on Greta regarding their harrowing ordeal.

    I acknowledge that the war was the pre-eminent issue, on both sides, really. Still, it’s hard imagine anyone watching Bush and Cheney bungle matters of such importance, and still come to the conclusion that Kerry could have been any worse. Bush’s stubbornness–his most salient feature, heck, his only feature–caused two more years of stagnation in Iraq, which Kerry and the Democrats certainly wouldn’t have countenanced.

    But what I do expect for you to do about it? Go back and change your vote?

  97. Dolf,
    I lurk here because once in a blue moon, we get threads like we’ve gotten the last few days. There’s been some constructive engagement this week. It’s not an echo chamber.

    The worst thing is the occasional drivebys and then there’s the gang that try to talk A.L. out of his positions or our of the democratic party. Haven’t seen those guys for awhile.

    But these Obama threads and the ID to vote thread have brought some interested points that I hadn’t considered before; and even some of the old guard at WoC change have chimed in again. It’s all good stuff.

    Your tone has even softened of these last few posts. Hypocrisyrules stands exposed as a proud American. I found common ground with Andrew J. Lazarus. Coldtype, a black uber leftist contributed substantively and civilly. All AMAZING.

    I don’t know if it’s the magic of Obama, but maybe there is something to this “Conversation on Race”?

  98. Ah crap, now y’all have made me start reading the comment again. Lurker is right: the comments have been thoughtful and carried the conversation started by the original post quite nicely.

  99. Glen Wishard, by saying that Jeremiah Wright is mainstream, I don’t mean to say that where he stands is the majority position in the Black church, only that it’s a large minority position, let’s say one church in four or five, and fully respectable, not stigmatized and with no united opposition from other groups. It’s the equivalent of being a Mitt Romney fan for Republicans: that’s a minority position, as the primary contests proved, but it’s a normal, accepted one that doesn’t harm your social standing.

    I can’t see any argument that by this definition Jeremiah Wright might not be mainstream in the Black church and the Black community and in Black culture. If he wasn’t mainstream by this definition, the Black elite would never have closed ranks around him, even temporarily (till Barack Obama turned against him), and he never could have conferred on Barack Obama the Black community standing that Barack Obama needed both personally and to thrive politically.

  100. I agree with you Amac, but at the risk of sounding churlish (and with the hope that I’m not too far off topic here), one of the bits HR and Coldtype both brought up is the incarceration of a diproportionate number of black males. I’ve seen that used quite often as “evidence” of continuing racial injustice in Amerikkka. Just a thought, though, has it ever occurred to you guys that maybe a higher proportion of blacks are in jail because a higher proportion of blacks _commit crimes_. To quote William F. Buckley in the context of the death penalty, “The question is not are they black, but are they guilty?”

  101. Fred,

    I’d already used up my churlishness quota in #73, supra. But before hurrying to join me at those ramparts, be sure to appreciate hypocrisyrules in his/her comment #84. Argue about specifics, sure, but let’s not diminish the common ground, when it’s pointed out. In a heartfelt way, and with elegance.

  102. People all over the world know how to act like American Blacks. Be thugs, act arrogant and entitled, be loud and trashy, be intimidating, and jab the “race” button hard and often.

    That’s why American Blacks are a malign influence on kids of other races in other countries. (link)

    “Paul Sheehan, Sydney Morning Herald, April 14, 2008″

    “As far as I can deduce, beneath the suffocating silences of the state bureaucracy—now a wholly owned subsidiary of the Labor Party—last Monday a group of violent racists acted out their YouTube fantasies and stormed into Merrylands High School at 8.50am, armed with machetes and baseball bats. They then started to beat the crap out of people.”

    “A week after this rampage, any member of the public interested in this crime could have deduced the alleged perpetrators were Tongan morons. Or perhaps morons who are, regrettably, Australian citizens but portray themselves as “nigga gangstas”. The reaction of the various state agencies to this crime was best described in a Herald editorial last week as “a torrent of the most extraordinary obfuscation, and a reluctance to acknowledge the reality that local residents live with every day”.”

    “Just as Goulburn jail, home to the most violent offenders, is dominated by Aborigines, Pacific Islanders and Lebanese Muslims, so is racial hate-mongering in our society disproportionately represented by these same groups, even as the ideologically tainted human rights industry obsesses about white racism.”

    “On the internet you can find hundreds of video clips featuring variations on the Tongan-moron theme, glorifying crime and racial violence. Here’s a smattering of lyrics from a rap song on YouTube: “I want your head boy . . . Two niggers in the front, two niggers in the back . . . My homies . . . brains over the sidewalk . . .””

    This is a prime American cultural export. To which reasonable responses include…

    “You’re not in America. Get a life.”

    This has nothing to do with the injustice of Southern slavery, or all the excuses for and incitements to ever-bubbling Black racism. For that matter, it has nothing to do with Black genes or Black brains, since it’s the same with Tongans, Asians and “wiggas” – wannabe whites. It’s an international, inter-racial culture of criminal depravity that thrives when atomized, enervated, decadent populations, without spine or solidarity, don’t beat it out of existence and make that “not here mate, this isn’t America!” stick.

    So no, high imprisonment rates for the ethnic group that originated and remains the sun source of this global culture don’t represent injustice. On the contrary: the continued existence of this predator culture is an injustice to the victims of its aggressiveness, and an indictment of the lack of social solidarity and standards in societies (I mean especially in Australia of course) where this stuff is allowed to keep a toe-hold.

  103. Hadn’t you heard? Alicia Keys says -White- white recording companies invented gangstas, or at least gangsta rap. /sarcasm

    Me, I put the blame on Digital Underground hooking up with Tupac after their successful Sex Packets album. They mostly wanted to talk about sex, he mostly wanted to talk about how hard he was.

    Zany madcap mix-up of entendres followed. “Ooops!”

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