April 29, 2008

Did Obama "denounce Wright"?

That's what the headline at the Politico says. But read the body of the post by Ben Smith:
"I have spent my entire adult life trying to bridge the gap between different kinds of people. That’s in my DNA, trying to promote mutual understanding to insist that we all share common hopes and common dreams as Americans and as human beings. That’s who I am, that’s what I believe, and that’s what this campaign has been about," Obama said.

"I am outraged by the comments that were made and saddened by the spectacle that we saw yesterday," he said.

Obama also distanced himself from the man in a way he has been reluctant to in the past.

"The person that I saw yesterday was not the person that I met 20 years ago," he said. "His comments were not only divisive and destructive, but I believe that they end up giving comfort to those who prey on hate, and I believe that they do not portray accurately the perspective of the black church."

"They certainly don’t portray accurately my values and beliefs," he said.

"If Reverend Wright thinks that’s political posturing, as he put it, then he doesn’t know me very well and based on his remarks yesterday, I may not know him as well as I thought either."

"I gave him the benefit of the doubt in my speech in Philadelphia, explaining that he has done enormous good in the church," he said. "But when he states and then amplifies such ridiculous propositions as the U.S. government somehow being involved in AIDS; when he suggests that Minister Farrakhan somehow represents one of the greatest voices of the 20th and 21st century; when he equates the U.S. wartime efforts with terrorism – then there are no [excuses]. They offend me. They rightly offend all Americans. And they should be denounced, and that’s what I’m doing very clearly and unequivocally here today."

"It is antithetical to my campaign. It is antithetical to what I’m about. It is not what I think America stands for," he said.
They should be denounced? There's a lot of "they" in that statement. The antecedent is "his comments." It's a strong statement, but it does stop short of denouncing the man. He's denounced his comments before. Remember, in the last debate, he held back, as I noted:
Obama is asked why didn't he disassociate himself from Jeremiah Wright sooner. He mainly relies on the assertion that he hadn't heard most of the bad statements. At some point he says "someone I've disowned" and has to correct it to "statements I've disowned."
And, of course, in the Philadelphia speech, he famously said:
I can no more disown him than I can disown the black community. I can no more disown him than I can my white grandmother – a woman who helped raise me, a woman who sacrificed again and again for me, a woman who loves me as much as she loves anything in this world, but a woman who once confessed her fear of black men who passed by her on the street, and who on more than one occasion has uttered racial or ethnic stereotypes that made me cringe.

These people are a part of me. And they are a part of America, this country that I love.
He's stuck to this refusal to denounce, and give him some credit for maintaining integrity over this concept that "these people are a part of me." Whether Americans want him as President if Jeremiah Wright is a part of him is another question.

ADDED: Glenn Reynolds collects links — including to here — and opines that Obama's being "too lawyerly"... and characterizes my criticism as calling him too lawyerly. Meanwhile, one reader seems to think I'm the one that's being too lawyerly about this. He emails:
You always come up with some way to say that people weren't saying what they clearly were saying. You might have a valid semantic point, but you're missing the big picture. Just endlessly parsing words — boring.
WELL: We're all law professors: me, Glenn, Obama... Or should I parse some words again about whether Obama was really a law professor? And "was" not "is," depending on what the meaning of... I need to get some fresh air.... It's a lovely day now... not like this morning.... almost 5 o'clock....

114 comments:

reader_iam said...

From my point of view, one of the most fascinating aspects (ignored in all the coverage) of this whole controversy is the launching of a national, public conversation about race and racial politics within the Black community iself. It started out a bit slowly and even timidly, but I'm seeing it begin to take on at least some legs.

Wow.

John Stodder said...

Well, it's a good statement. It would have been better if it had been included in his Philadelphia speech. The comments he denounces now were known then, and known to Obama long before then, via his campaign at a minimum.

But the real problem is, few are going to believe that Wright ever changed. That his sermons weren't pretty much all like the speeches he gave Sunday and Monday. So, therefore, they don't believe Obama when he professes ignorance of his mentor's true beliefs.

There's nothing more to be said about that, however. Obama's got his story and he's sticking to it.

Discussion of this issue might abate, and Obama's supporters might confuse that for successful management of the problem, but the reality is, the damage has been done and it can't be undone.

reader_iam said...

Also, just a thought: would Obama be better off if he were to use the word "renounce" rather than "denounce"?

FobwGal said...

Isn't it one's actions we should denounce, not the person? It's a thin line to walk, but an important one.

Original Mike said...

"But when he states and then amplifies such ridiculous propositions ... then there are no [excuses]. They offend me. They rightly offend all Americans."

The audience at the National Press Club yesterday didn't seem very offended.

Just sayin'.

Henry said...

Obama: They [Wright's statements] offend me. They rightly offend all Americans. And they should be denounced, and that’s what I’m doing very clearly and unequivocally here today.

It is, as John Stodder writes, a good statement. And, as he implies, the problem is in the word "today."

* * *

Overall I think there's a point, perhaps we're at it for now (until after the conventions), where Wright and the Wright controversy turns to background noise.

Those who would hold it against Obama but like him anyway will let it go. Those who don't like Obama don't like him anyway.

After the conventions, a wider bunch of voters will have the chance to be outraged then benumbed.

Doc said...

This is a whole made up orchestration for everyone who is still saying Obama didn't do enough against wright. It's been hurting him, and it would admit something wrong for him to just admit that Wright was wrong without anything new. So Wright goes out and throws everything that people were criticizing him for in one big speech and this lets Obama make up for his past. Why is this not obvious?

Synova said...

I think that those comparing him to Carter have a point.

TROBlog said...

The audience at the National Press Club yesterday didn't seem very offended.

Of course not, it was a black preacher saying it. Now, had that been a white preacher, it would have been a different story.

As was said, the damage has been done. Obama's supporters will vote for him no matter what, but independents and moderate Dems have no doubt been turned-off by his racist friend and mentor. Also, it's still the super-delegates that count and I see them giving a long, hard look at Obama and thinking maybe Hillary isn't such a bad bet after all, especially since she is reportedly within 5 points of him in NC now.

Windbag said...

More drama than an MTV reality show.

John Stodder said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Skyler said...

As much as I despise Obama and his marxism, I think that you are being a bit too harsh, Ann. He's not Clinton, or at least hasn't shown himself to be the type of man that lies about everything for the pure sake of lying like Bill Clinton does.

I'm willing to give him the benefit of the doubt that he wants to now repudiate, denounce, whatever, this nutball's words and the nut himself.

It doesn't much matter until he also does the same for his wife's statements. And he can't erase the fact that he's a marxist and that a terrorist is the one that launched his political career.

So, he gets a point, but he's still 20 points behind.

Dogwood said...

Doc,

When I heard Obama was going to hold a presser on Wright, the extreme cynic in me said the same thing. This is all a perfectly stage-managed affair to give Obama a Sister Souljah moment prior to the last remaining primaries.

Sorry, but I just can't believe a word Obama says because I don't think he believes what he says.

A church member for 20 years and now he finds Wright's ideas unacceptable?

Not buying it.

Lamar63 said...

OK, that’s it. Obama has just shown himself to be a man without principles. Nothing has changed with the Good Reverend Wright. The only thing that changed was the negative impact on his campaign. He not only threw Rev. Wright under the bus (with his Grandma) but also his excellent speech in Philly. If the choice on May 6th is between two typical politicians then I’m going with Clinton. At least she is sincere in her insincerity.

Maguro said...

From the AP article:

Obama said he didn't vet his pastor before deciding to seek the presidency.

Hello? This guy has been your friend and mentor for 20 years, baptized your kids, you named your damn autobiography after a line in his sermon and you didn't *vet* him before seeking the presidency?

Obama is either lying or more oblivious to what's going on around him than Amanda Marcotte.

John Stodder said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
paul a'barge said...

give him some credit for maintaining integrity

That would be a nice thing to do if the guy had any integrity.

He's a liberal Chicago machine politician running a scam.

John Stodder said...

Q: "You say you didn't 'vet' your pastor? Weren't you in church when he was giving his sermons?"

A: "Shit, man, what do you do in church? I was sleeping. I didn't even recognize the guy when I saw him on YouTube."

Q: "You say you didn't hear Rev. Wright say these crazy things about AIDS and 9/11 and Farrakhan when you were in church. How could that be?"

A: "Simple. I didn't go to church every Sunday. On the days I attended, he talked about Jesus, all pious-like. On the other days, he'd say, 'Okay, folks, that uptight phony Obama ain't here. Let's talk real before he decides to show up.'"

vbspurs said...

He's not Clinton, or at least hasn't shown himself to be the type of man that lies about everything for the pure sake of lying like Bill Clinton does.

Skyler just verbalised what I have been thinking is a brilliant political strategy, if it is GENUINE (and not stumbled into).

Clinton sacrificed everyone to get to the White House, including betraying a lover of 12-years in Gennifer Flowers.

That Obama is not willing to do that, certainly not to the extent Clinton was willing to do with Lewinsky* is a point in his favour.

*(Prior to the surfacing of the Blue Dress, the groundwork for her being "nuts" and having invented the whole affair, was being laid out)

Cheers,
Victoria

cokaygne said...

Say this for Obama, he's trying not to be as cynical and heartless as the Clintons who would cut loose anyone who stood in their way. He is trying very hard not to publicly dis the pastor who presided over his marriage and baptised his children. Unfortunately, Obama has not realized until now that he has to win over the large proportion of Democrats who have not voted for him.

The tip off must have been Hillary's endorsement by NC's governor; which, in turn, must have been prompted by the NC GOP's use of Wright against local Democrats. With Obama at the top, the NC Democrats were looking at disaster up and down the ticket. The same could be said for states like OH, PA, NY, NJ, and so on.

Obama desparately needs a Sistah Soulja moment. Wright has given him the opportunity. Will Obama take it and be like the Bill Clinton who interrupted his campaign to go back to Little Rock and execute a mentally retarded man? Or will he decide that politics and its successful practitioners are totally immoral?

chris said...

Obama's excuse is now that Wright has changed.

Oh the irony!

Dogwood said...

Town Hall is reporting that a poll concerning Rev. Wright was conducted last night in N.C.

BJK said...

From the 4/16/08 Debate:

OBAMA: You know, George, look, if it's not this, then it would be something else. I promise you, if Senator Clinton got the nomination, there will be a whole bunch of video clips about other things.

In a general election, we know that there are going to be all kinds of attacks launched and leveled. There have been quite a few leveled in this primary campaign.

And I have confidence in the American people that when you talk to the American people honestly and directly about what I believe in, what my plans are on health care, on energy, when they see my track record of the work that I've done on behalf of people who really need help, I have absolute confidence that they can rally behind my campaign.

And, you know, the notion that somehow that the American people are going to be distracted once again by comments not made by me, but somebody who is associated with me that I have disowned, I think doesn't give the American people enough credit.

STEPHANOPOULOS: You've disowned him?

OBAMA: The comments, comments that I've disowned. Then that is not something I...


http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/DemocraticDebate/Story?id=4670271&page=2

Even if he tried to take it back when called out by Stephanopoulos, I think it's interesting that he attempted to use the same word, 'disowned,' that he did in his famed speech about Rev. Wright and race.

I guess he was for his pastor before he was against him.

(Weak.)

rhhardin said...

I go on the Obama speeches to swooning women, and the guys' reaction : WTF?

Obama runs on helium. Who cares about Wright.

JohnAnnArbor said...

Obama on helium. THAT would be funny. But then someone would say he's encouraging the kids to do something dangerous...

Randy (Internet Ronin) said...

I thought it an excellent statement and well-delivered. Will it solve the problem? I think so, for most people as most people really aren't paying all that much attention (BWDIK?). Come the Fall campaign, the divorce from Wright will be old news given the repudiation. He repudiated the man standing before the NAACP 2 days ago and the NPC yesterday, as well as his comments. Parse the statement all you want - the average person doesn't care all that much about parsing every phrase. To the question, "What did he mean when he said what he said" most people will have an easy answer. To the next question, "Was it believable?" I think, for most people, the answer will be, "Yes." YMMV, of course. It usually does. Zealots on the left and right are never satisfied by anything less than a full blood-letting.

(Kudos to J. Stodder and Vics for their comments, btw.)

FobwGal said...

Chris - relationships aren't linear - they're pretty fluid. Clearly, there was something that drew Obama to Wright, early on. Probably something quite profound. Quite honestly, I doubt that it's Wright that's changed all that much, it's probably been Obama - or more accurately, what Obama needed from the relationship changed. Part faith, part social position.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Too little, too late.

Timing is everything and the time to have distanced himself from Rev Wright's ideas was long ago.

FobwGal said...

Please DB, timing has nothing to do with this - he's being condemned for the fact that it even happened.

Revenant said...

Maybe I'm just cynical, but I think Obama will get away with it. Yeah, his speech was nonsense (Wright wasn't saying anything he hadn't said before) and it contradicts his previous "can't disown Wright" schtick, but he's charismatic and the press fawns over him like nothing I've ever seen. He'll probably pull it off.

What I'm looking forward to is watching all the Obama supporters who less than a day ago were insisting there was nothing really wrong with Wright's attitudes suddenly leap to defend Obama's criticism of Wright's attitudes. :)

Pastor_Jeff said...

I thought it an excellent statement and well-delivered. Will it solve the problem? I think so, for most people as most people really aren't paying all that much attention (BWDIK?). Come the Fall campaign, the divorce from Wright will be old news given the repudiation.

Randy, I agree. While Obama's long association with Wright and his claims that he'd never heard any of the really bad stuff raise questions, for most Americans, this is a tempest in an internet teapot. The news cycle is so short, this will be old news in 2 weeks.

vbspurs said...

I need to get some fresh air.... It's a lovely day now... not like this morning.... almost 5 o'clock....

Very Brontë-esque, Ann. I feel like calling out to you as your words fade, on top of a moor, shouting softly:

Don't go...don't go...my sweet Ann... *waves hanky*

Cheers,
Victoria

Salamandyr said...

You know, a thought occurred to me. Most of us who are most critical of Obama's association with Wright aren't going to vote for him anyway. By this I'm not saying we should not comment or care. Whether we plan to vote for him or not, he might very well become our President and so it's important for us to know about him.

But the thought that occurs to me is that his Wright ties, along with his association with Rezko is so much small beer compared to the kind of shady associates regularly hanging out with the Clinton's, from the Rich's to cattle futures, to Chinese campaign money, to former 60's radical terrorists. Does a racist demagogue and a shady house deal really compare to the high octane corruption of the Clintons?

John Stodder said...

The news cycle is so short, this will be old news in 2 weeks.

But the news cycle isn't the only way in which voters process information. If the media all agreed as of tomorrow to shut down all talk of Rev. Wright -- which is pretty close to what they'll actually do, given the pro-Obama bias that still runs most newsrooms -- the mark he's left on Obama's campaign will not fade much if at all. Wright contradicts everything Obama claims to stand for. Wright is clearly a radical -- too radical even for most of the left wing sites I've reviewed today. Obama can no longer get up on stage and talk about uniting people and transcending the past, etc. without at least a portion of the audience reacting as if it's a joke.

If "the Bradley effect" exists, the Wright issue will produce an exponential increase in its power to damage Obama. The media does not have to say a word. The media can denounce Republican-affilated groups that use his image and remarks in their ads. Won't matter. This relationship imposes a barrier between Obama and all but the most pro-Obama voters.

MarkW said...

Yeah, OK, a good statement by Obama. But he should have said it long before this. After all, Wright said nothing new yesterday. The claim that the government created AIDs to carry out genocide against black people, for example. There is no possible way that the context can make that reasonable. No. possible. way.

Now Obama says this statement goes against everything he believes and stands for? Well it sure as hell should, but he should have said that -- clearly, unequivocally, forcefully -- the very first time he heard Wright say it.

Terry said...

Randy (Internet Ronin): "Will it solve the problem? I think so,...".

I don't think so (though I do agree that, as usual for Obama, his speech delivery was great). I believe the average American voter will view the ultimate issue in all this as Obama's judgment. And his further distancing himself from Wright does nothing to address that. Probably just the opposite.

The focus of public attention will move from assessing Wright to fully considering Obama and why he stayed so close to Wright for so long.

Obama is still faced with trying to extricate himself from a situation he cultivated and benefited from for over 20 years.

George said...

Salamandyr--

Got to be many Jewish voters (and countless other rational people) out there wondering about just how pro-Israel a President Obama would be.

"Louis said 20 years ago that Zionism, not Judaism, was a gutter religion. He was talking about the same thing United Nations resolutions say, the same thing now that President Carter's being vilified for and Bishop Tutu's being vilified for. And everybody wants to paint me as if I'm anti-Semitic because of what Louis Farrakhan said 20 years ago. He is one of the most important voices in the 20th and 21st century." (via Best of the Web)

His ex-minister is on a first-name basis with 'Louis.'

And Hitler was one of the most "important" voices of the 20th century, too.

Randy (Internet Ronin) said...

Revenant - Like you, I am looking forward to the contortions of some of those who abased themselves in his service less than 24 hours ago. A few smart ones said nothing. I was really disappointed by their silence because their gymnastics would have been highly entertaining. Ah well, next time. (And there will be a next time, I'm sure.)

Jeff - Yes. What Mickey Kaus calls The Feiler Faster thesis, IIRC. In the end, most people aren't bloggers, political junkies (or law professors ;-), and most will credit Obama for pulling the plug on the relationship. End of story. He's very fortunate that Wright went public now and not the day after Labor Day.

John - There may be some truth to that but I'm not so sure those who choose that hook to hang their vote on would not find another equally convenient hook were this one unavailable. It seems to me that the GOP ads running in NC and MS lose much of their sting now that Wright is the publicly denounced former associate. Maybe the "Bradley Effect" exists. And maybe, just maybe it doesn't and the real story there was the extra 500,000 GOP absentee ballots counted on election day because only the GOP took advantage of the law change and mass mailed and absentee ballot request to every registered GOP voter in the state of California. My money is on the latter.

Salamandyr said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Randy (Internet Ronin) said...

Terry - I thought he handled that about as well as anyone could with the line about first giving him the benefit of the doubt but now realizing that that was a mistake. I could be wrong, but it seems to me that most Americans like the idea of giving people the benefit of the doubt. As a nation, we value personal loyalty. At the same time, a leader has to show he knows when to say "Enough is enough!" "Be gone I say!" I'm not a fan of Obama, but I do believe he struck all the right notes today, or close enough as to make no difference.

Salamandyr said...

George, I see where you're coming from, and agree with you, as far as that goes. But the Clinton's are not exactly without sin in that area as well. Remember Hillary's kiss with Mrs. Arafat and her (rumored) anti-semitic insults. Not to mention the Clinton Administrations meddling in Israeli internal politics against the candidacy of Netanyahu

Fen said...

Part of me is happy that Obama finally denounced Wright; part of me is cyncical re the timing. This was more about internal polls re Indiana.

But the news cycle isn't the only way in which voters process information.... Obama can no longer get up on stage and talk about uniting people and transcending the past, etc. without at least a portion of the audience reacting as if it's a joke.

The contraversy has stripped away a section of his armor. Hillary's sniper fable is a good example - it was only lethal to her because it revealed a pattern. The next time Obama makes a "bitter rednecks" remark, this will erupt all over again.

J.R. said...

I am no law professor, but he did not denounce the Rev. Wright. He denounced his statements and propositions. Senator Obama sometimes suffers from John Kerry disease; he rambles on at such length that he obfuscates his point. Of course, that may be intentional.

Revenant said...

Salamandyr,

The thing about the Clinton scandals is that by and large only Republicans believe the Clintons were actually guilty. The official press line is pretty much that it was all just a Republican witch hunt.

Fen said...

Does a racist demagogue and a shady house deal really compare to the high octane corruption of the Clintons?

Lousiana voters faced a similar choice with Edwin Edwards and David Duke. Corruption trumped racism.

AJ Lynch said...

I have been a semi-regular here for 1-2 years (yikes maybe longer). John Stodder is the most insightful of the commenters and I say that even though he is somewhat of a lib/moderate Dem.

So - Stodder's opinion is very meaningful and predictive of how other Dems have interpreted and judged Obama's situation.

That does not bode well for Senator Obama's general election prospects.

Anthony said...

I think it does depend on what the media does now. If they choose to accept this as cover and drop it, it will probably fade away, and whenever it comes up again, news stories will just show a lot of talking heads showing great distress that anyone would still bring it up after the Great Man has put it to rest.

OTOH, if they keep nagging him about it, it could stick around and be problematic. I actually have some hope that the media will do this, as they did keep it alive enough between Philly and now to make it an issue.

Fen said...

Victoria: Very Brontë-esque, Ann. I feel like calling out to you as your words fade, on top of a moor, shouting softly -

Marry me.

Roger J. said...

I disagree with those who argue this will be old news--Should Obama get the nomination (which I think is getting more tenuous by the day), these clips of Wright's comments will be played routinely by the republicans--Obama, of course, will say he disowned them, but--rather like Senator McCain's 100 year war thing--it will be a campaign issue.

Obama is a lightweight; Hillary is the queen of earmarks along with a whole lot of Clinton baggage (note that HRC is going on O'Reilly--she knows where there is an audience); I hope McCain can keep it together for the next six months while the democrats destruct.

mentorstl said...

I would venture to guess that the vast majority of your readers have a faily member or a long time friend that has said things in a private setting that they thought was over the line. Maybe it was a racist joke, or maybe it was some conspiracy theory. Those same people did not stop caring for the family member and so no need to speak out publically about their statements which fell beyond the lines of propriety. Wright was Obama's pastor. Wright has done many great things, and also several idiotic things. Once they become public discourse, then they can not be minimized and tolerated because they have greater harm of doing damage to others and are no longer forgivable foibles. Wrights previous comments were culled from the privacy of the church family. His most recent ones are public pronouncements that have to be denounced. Obama has done as he should have done. It is no longer an issue.

Andrew said...

Oh, everyone knows that the Wife always picks the Church, anyway.

I'm more concerned about Ayers than Wright. When he denounces the casual anti-Americanism of the Academic Left, then I'll be excited.

vbspurs said...

Marry me.

Heathcliffe!

Cheers,
Victoria

Fen said...

Wrights previous comments were culled from the privacy of the church family

They were on DVD, some kind of "Greatest Wright Hits" collection sold by the church.

Dogwood said...

Salamandyr,

Obama has his own radical 60s terrorist ties.

Whether we plan to vote for him or not, he might very well become our President and so it's important for us to know about him.

Exactly, and I have no intention of voting for Obama, however, if he does become our next president, I at the very least need to believe that he believes in the words that come out of his mouth.

I may disagree strongly with what he says, but I want a president who truly believes in what he is saying, proposing, etc.

At this point, given all the twists and turns in the Wright saga, I just find it very difficult to believe Obama.

garage mahal said...

The thing about the Clinton scandals is that by and large only Republicans believe the Clintons were actually guilty. The official press line is pretty much that it was all just a Republican witch hunt.

Well, if you ever notice, no accusations against them are ever backed with a link. It's not what they did, it's what we think they're capable of. And all the CDS has been coming from the Daily Kos/Huffington side this election.

Roger J. said...

Leaving aside Obama's thoughts, I am interested in the Rev Wright--the thought strikes me: are we seeing a battle among the black clergy as represented by the Rev Sharpton and the Rev Wright for leadership of the black aggrieved? We did have Al Sharpton threatening to take down NYC followed almost immediately by the gospel according to Wright. I think there is another issue going on under the radar--probably not for honky eyes.

Blue Moon said...

Following on Fen's last comment, I think we should all know at this point that there is no such thing as "private" when we talk about politics. If you are not in the woods, by yourself, and are absolutely positive that there are no cameras or microphones nearby, then you better watch what you say or whether you are present when something unsavory has been said. You also better start throwing people under the bus for their "hot sports opinions." McCain threw that Cincinnati radio host under the bus with the quickness, and I imagine he will continue to do so because it is smart politics and he still gets the benefit of the slime without the smell of it be linked directly to him.

But when you sit in THAT church for 20 years...

Maguro said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Maguro said...

Whether this continues to hurt Obama at the polls really depends on Rev Wright.

If Wright continues to play publicity-hound through the election cycle he will hurt Obama big-time, denounced or not.

On the other hand, if the the good Rev can find it in his heart to just go back to Chicago and STFU through November then all will be well.

Personally, I think Wright will choose the former option. The oportunity to "go national" alongside Jesse and Al is just too tempting to pass up.

lurker2209 said...

It strikes me as a very honest, thoughtful answer. The part about not knowing Wright as well as he thought...that's clever because it subtly points you towards seeing Obama as someone who's been betrayed. You start to think about how hurt it would be to have someone who respected come out and say these horrible things, say them in a place and time that seems intended to hurt you, to work against all that you're trying to accomplish.

It succeeds in making you forget that Wright hasn't suddenly started spouting this sort of nonsense--until you start to think about it.

I think it's probably about the best Obama can do and it will certainly have an effect on those who are willing to believe in him. But I'm not sure it's enough.

Terry said...

Randy,

I see your point and I am one of those who value loyalty in a candidate and have given Obama credit for his loyalty - though it may not seem that way.

I think he is loyal, but for what we are witnessing to be a genuine display of admirable loyalty, that would presume Obama truly did not know about Wright's obvious proclivities and so was genuinely taken aback by the revelations of yesterday.

I don't believe that. I think Obama is trying to be as loyal as he can be to Wright and his community while trying to save his political hide from a situation that he and he alone is responsible for.

lurker2209 said...

I mean "...how hurt you would be..."

oops!

Terry said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
John Stodder said...

So - Stodder's opinion is very meaningful and predictive of how other Dems have interpreted and judged Obama's situation.

You don't need a Stodder to know which way the wind blows!

Anyway, thanks, A.J.

I have a group of people I regularly e-mail about politics with. Two or three of them have been very devoted to Obama. They reached a tipping point, however, with Wright's speeches Sunday AND Monday. They thought his campaign's prospects for success ended right then.

One of them has told me they think his statement today was good, but question if it was enough.

If Hillary wasn't Hillary, there'd be a stampede toward her right now. But because Hillary is Hillary, Obama can survive this at least til Denver. Not saying he will, but I do sense a media hunger out there to "move on" and "put this behind us" and to stop playing the clips of this crazy man.

garage mahal said...

If Hillary wasn't Hillary, there'd be a stampede toward her right now.

As opposed to candidates that haven't made it as far as she has? What other candidate's supporters would have stuck with it as long as they have, other than Hillary's?

former law student said...

I think he is loyal, but for what we are witnessing to be a genuine display of admirable loyalty, that would presume Obama truly did not know about Wright's obvious proclivities and so was genuinely taken aback by the revelations of yesterday.

Wright could be very different from how he was twenty years ago; he might just be losing it now.

Or, like a lot of people I have known, worked with, socialized with, or even been related to, he might have concealed his batshit insane beliefs. I have known apparently competent people who believe that the world was created in six literal days; that Chinese people seldom bathe, that warts come from playing with amphibians, that Iraq was behind the World Trade Center strikes, etc.

John Stodder said...

What other candidate's supporters would have stuck with it as long as they have, other than Hillary's?

True enough. There are lot more Hillary bitter-enders than, say, people who would die for Biden.

But that doesn't refute my point or my experience. A lot of the Obama fans I know despise Hillary. They didn't like her before, and the campaign has made them hate her more. I don't think all of them will vote for her if she gets the nomination. McCain will get some of those votes, and None of the Above will get a lot.

William said...

I just saw Obama's comments on the Rev Wright. As always he was likeable. His words and gestures were as well groomed as his clothes. He spoke in iambic pentameter and with high seriousness. When listening to an Obama speech, I sometimes feel like I'm being manipulated and I sometimes feel guilty about my suspicions of being manipulated. I don't think Obama ever had the same grudges as Wright. Maybe his support of Wright was the manipulative act. And maybe no one, including Obama, really knows.

vbspurs said...

Does a racist demagogue and a shady house deal really compare to the high octane corruption of the Clintons?

Salamandyr, not saying you're wrong, but the whole point of Obama's candidacy was his "otherness".

Everything from his skin tone, to his upbeat hopeful rhetoric, as well that he wasn't your typical pol were factors in people choosing Obama.

But he counters high octane corruption with the corrosive acid of associations -- most of them who it turns out, hate people like "us".

Sure, it's not the same-old, same-old, but right now, the same-old is looking the less nuclear bet.

Since Friday, I have desperately been trying to imagine that BHO is not like Wright, even the tiniest bit. So I researched his comments about disowning him. I came up with this, from March 2008:

I can no more disown him than I can disown the black community. I can no more disown him than I can my white grandmother – a woman who helped raise me, a woman who sacrificed again and again for me, a woman who loves me as much as she loves anything in this world, but a woman who once confessed her fear of black men who passed by her on the street, and who on more than one occasion has uttered racial or ethnic stereotypes that made me cringe.

Remember what happened when they prodded him deeper about referencing his white grandma?

"The point I was making was not that my grandmother harbors any racial animosity, but that she is a typical white person."

A typical white person.

If he can talk and think about his grandmother in this way, God only knows what he thinks of other white people...

First, I don't want to be defined by my race, which is what he suggests happens to black guys all the time. Only he turns around and thinks the same thing about whitey, when given the chance.

He's not offering an alternative to anything. It's rat dressed up as mutton.

Cheers,
Victoria

Revenant said...

Wright could be very different from how he was twenty years ago; he might just be losing it now.

The obvious problem with that argument is that the stuff Wright said that Obama just denounced him for was the exact same stuff that got him in trouble in the first place -- stuff he'd been saying for years now. A month ago Obama said he couldn't disown Wright; now, somehow, he can, even though nothing has changed.

The sensible interpretation is that Obama finally decided Wright wasn't worth the trouble, and threw him under the bus.

Maguro said...

Not saying he will, but I do sense a media hunger out there to "move on" and "put this behind us" and to stop playing the clips of this crazy man.

Again, things depend much more on what Wright does from now on than on what the media wants. The media didn't want the Wright issue to blow up in Obama's face this time, but it did. If Wright continues to make a spectacle of himself, the media will have no choice but to cover it.

I imagine Wright would like to continue being famous for a while longer. We'll see how he goes about it.

Revenant said...

A typical white person. If he can talk and think about his grandmother in this way, God only knows what he thinks of other white people...

I've heard a couple of generally non-political friends and associates of mine cite the "typical white person" line as the most shocking thing Obama has said.

Terry said...

FLS: "Wright could be very different from how he was twenty years ago; he might just be losing it now."

True it is possible that this could be a senile Wright. I don't think it is plausible though. When I look at the videos from the the last few days and from TUCC sermons I see man completely in his element. He loves what he is doing and revels in the attention and opportunity to voice his beliefs. I was raised in a mixed-race Baptist church and recognize all too well the fire-and-brimstone style.

However, before he even joined Trinity, Obama was warned by other pastors that Wright was radical. I don't think the Wright we're seeing now is different in any essential way than the man who Obama confided in over the years.

boris719 said...

For Obama to claim that he was unaware Wright harbored sentiments of the type expressed at the NPC ranks right up there with "I have not had sexual relations with that woman" as the greatest insult ever to the intelligence of Americans by a politician. After this ridiculous speech, I think most Americans, Andrew Sullivan aside, will be less likely to support him because this speech is, quite frankly, one blatant lie too many.

Does anyone reading this blog, or this comment actually believe that Wright acted one way for the 20years Obama associated closely with him and then all of a sudden changed his views over the last few weeks? Americans will be asking themselves this same question over the next few months, and only those who have to wear a helmet at the dinner table will be unable to figure out the answer. For crying out loud, the DVD's of "Rev." Wright's (he must have gone to the same seminary as the "Rev." Al Sharpton) sermons prove unequivocally that Obama is lying.
Those claiming Wright never should have been an issue may or may not be right, but they can't say the same about Obama's obvious willingness to lie to save his own political skin.

vnjagvet said...

Here's what he really said without waggling his finger at us:

I want you to listen to me. I'm going to say this again: I did not have [religious mentoring] with that [man, Rev. Wright]. I never told anybody to lie, not a single time; never. These allegations are false. And I need to go back to work for the American people [and get elected President].

Sounds sort of familiar to me.

Hoosier Daddy said...

I'm sure this has been said somewhere down the road but perhaps Wright's demented and racists rantings at the Press Club were intentional with the goal to derail Obama.

Imagine what would happen to race baiters like Wright, Jackson and Sharpton if suddenly a black man becomes President of the USA? Suddenly the whole racist US of KKKA makes no sense. How could a racist, white dominated nation which invented AIDs to kill the black man, infused crack into the ghetto and is always keeping a brother down elect a black man to the most powerful position on the planet? Heck even the dumbest box of rocks in the Trinity Church of Christ could smell the bullshit of that sermon. Then Jesse, Al and Jerimiah would have to get real jobs.

Probably the kind were you say 'Paper or Plastic ma'am'? all day.

vbspurs said...

Revenant wrote:

I've heard a couple of generally non-political friends and associates of mine cite the "typical white person" line as the most shocking thing Obama has said.

This is what is shocking, because he doesn't think it's wrong to think of a typical white people, any more than to think of rural folk who are "bitter" and "cling to religion and guns".

Something else is contained in his grandmotherly anecdote, too.

It's the tortured mind games of a biracial child, as one friend of mine, who was, put it.

Deep inside, does he have a secret fear that if he weren't related to her, would his grandmother flinch if she saw him coming down the street?

Black. Male. Danger. Danger. Oh. That's My Grandson. HE is all right.

Cheers,
Victoria

Ruth Anne Adams said...

Victoria:
Tohesian.

vbspurs said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
vbspurs said...

I remember! The Rock? Tohesian.

I go to dinner with a smile on my face, Ruth Anne.

Cheers,
Victoria

George said...

Something's caused Sen. Obama to shake up his schedule.

I went this afternoon to a store to get a free ticket for an upcoming appearance of his. The event had been promoted for a week. Many newspapers stories about it. Thousands were expected.

The storekeeper, as I walked in, had just gotten off the phone with his campaign—Event cancelled.

She said they told her the event had never officially been on his schedule.

Sure.

Cedarford said...

Skyler said...
As much as I despise Obama and his marxism, I think that you are being a bit too harsh, Ann.


Ann, as a lawyer, notes Obama using deliberately precise language that gives him wiggle room later. He may have to mollify his "authentic black flock". They likely will vote overwhelmingly for him on skin color, as is the usual black voting pattern, but it is important that Obama not be seen as "dumping" his true black "posse" & homies for Bigger and Better things.
By leaving doors open to Wright, rhetorically, he can kiss and make up with his great mentor who showed him Jesus, what real blacks are like, gave him street creds and the South Side black vote after he lost to a former Black Panther. Plus he has his wife, who brought him to Wright in the 1st place, to pacify.

*********************
George said...
Salamandyr--
Got to be many Jewish voters (and countless other rational people) out there wondering about just how pro-Israel a President Obama would be.


The Jewish vote is of minimal importance except in Florida. Because it is small and mostly in solid Blue States..except it might have impact in Florida in a very, very close contest, but Jews have voted 85%+ Democratic anyways there, like clockwork, except in Reagan's 1984 blowout.

But the tremendous Jewish clout of money and media ownership and heavy influence in culture, academia, "the chattering classes" makes ensuring Jews are not alienated an obvious concern for Obama.

The evidence suggests that Obama is in tight with most Jews, who believe that Obama attended Wrights Church mostly for show and the REAL OBAMA is a Harvard-Educated Wunderkund who moves easily in the Elites, has good Elite values, is at core a good Lefty progressive that will "reunite" blacks and Jews and cause both groups to forgive one another for the "oversteps" done by each that caused so much friction and divorce between the groups objectives beginning in the 60s.

Obama has been backed and cultivated by Chicago's wealthiest and most powerful Jewish families (Crowns, Pritzkers, Saltzman) since the early 90s. In patronage for his political career, opening doors to other Jews with great influence and money in Hollywood, NYC, and setting up both Barack and Michelle with high-powered
careers at U of Chicago from their positions at U of Chicago Board of Trustees and other blacks on the Board they previously mentored.

These are very smart people, and while they may not be Likudniks, they would not be backing Obama if they thought he threatened Israel. Other Jews pick up on Obama having some of the richest and important Jews backing him, and figure if the Crowns, Pritzkers, and Geffens are backing him, he can't be that bad for Israel or "doing business as usual".

John Stodder said...

Wright could be very different from how he was twenty years ago; he might just be losing it now.

The obvious problem with that argument is that the stuff Wright said that Obama just denounced him for was the exact same stuff that got him in trouble in the first place -- stuff he'd been saying for years now.


There's an easy answer to this. Obama's campaign should put together a video of Rev. Wright saying the kinds of things that inspired Obama, that are not repellent but thoughtful and uplifting. With all the Wright video floating around out there, I'm surprised Obama's fans haven't done this already.

Show me the guy you thought you knew for 20 years, Obama. That might go a long way toward establishing your credibility.

Riikka said...

There's a fun video game you can play for free that has Obama v. Hillary in a kickboxing contest.

My kids discovered it, and if you are interesting in this stuff, here it is:

http://www.miniclip.com/games/street-fight/en/

memomachine said...

Hmmmm.

My problem is that Obama doesn't really come out and say it. He talks around the issue, touches it a couple times, dips in a toe, but he doesn't actually jump on in.

Here's how to denounce someone:

"I denounce Reverend Wright for his bigoted, racist and extremely offensive comments. I refuse to have anything to do with him or those associated with him and advise everyone else to do likewise."

Now how difficult is that?

memomachine said...

Hmmmm.

"Show me the guy you thought you knew for 20 years, Obama. That might go a long way toward establishing your credibility."

*shrug* look at Obama's first book. He quotes a large passage from Rev. Wright's sermon. The sermon that influenced Obama so much that it inspired the title of his book.

Stanley Kurtz

blake said...

Hoosier,

I dunno. You're thinking logically about something that's not logical.

With all due deference to Cedarford, Jews have been scapegoated regardless of how low their position in society was. Always accused of manipulating society and world events, even when locked inside a ghetto, or a concentration camp.

I don't see the mindset that blames Whitey and the Jew for stuff changing because, you know, facts changed. Facts weren't being used in the first place.

I should interject, however, that "Whitey and the Jew" would make an awesome road flick. Or possibly weekly cop drama.

SukieTawdry said...

"I have spent my entire adult life trying to bridge the gap between different kinds of people. That’s in my DNA, trying to promote mutual understanding to insist that we all share common hopes and common dreams as Americans and as human beings."

I'm struck by this because the Obama as recalled by acquaintances, associates and co-workers through the years doesn't quite live up to the Obama billed above.

The reports are similar: you'd walk away from a conversation with Barack somehow believing that he agreed with you, but never really knowing for certain nor why. Or, you'd decide that Obama would give you a fair shake, but you didn't quite know how you came to that conclusion nor were you necessarily surprised when it proved not to be the case.

This, of course, is a considerable talent to possess, especially if one is a politician. But it's hardly bridging gaps nor is it promoting mutual understanding. To the contrary. It's leading others to believe things that may be quite untrue and for reasons that are apparently self-serving.

Obama has been studious through the years about remaining as much a cypher as possible. He even admits that as president of the Law Review, he declined to engage in the many controversies raging at the time simply because should he decide to go into politics, he don't want to leave that kind of paper trail. (Someone who claims he did the necessary legwork reports that Obama's is the least referenced Law Review ever.)

I would like Obama to tell us about some of the many gaps he's bridged or the mutual understanding he's promoted because, off the top of my head, nothing comes to mind. If anything, he's become one of the more devisive figures on the public scene. But perhaps that's to be expected from someone intent on being all things to all people while at the same time secreting the kind of skeletons Barack has in his closet.

vnjagvet said...

BHO's gap-bridging experience has roughly the same depth as the Red Witch's claimed 35 years of political experience that will allow her to competently take the helm "on day one".

Simon said...

boris719 said...
"After this ridiculous speech, I think most Americans, Andrew Sullivan aside, will be less likely to support him because this speech is, quite frankly, one blatant lie too many. "

Sure, but the problem is that it's too late. This has all happened so late i the game that there may not be enough time for Clinton to claw the nomiation back from him. This season is the future classic example of why moving to a national one-day primary (or needlessly compressing the primary schedule) is a really, really bad idea: a candidate may sneak in under the radar and built up an insumountable lead before attention and scrutiny can be brought to bear.

Paul said...

Unbelievable....I had to read through the comments all the way to boris719's 6:06pm post before somebody stated the obvious fact that BHO is simply lying his ass off. I can't believe how many people are so easily bamboozled by this slimy pol. Jeez folks get a grip.....

Laura said...

So, BO begs Wright to shut up. He pleads for him to disappear. And what does Wright do? He takes full personal advantage of a very bad situation, one that threatens BO's political survival, by getting on TV and saying more profoundly stupid things.

The next logical move for Obama is to sit Wright down and explain to him that the POTUS can open a can of "shit storm" brand wupass on him the likes of which he's never seen.

Original Mike said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Original Mike said...

The reports are similar: you'd walk away from a conversation with Barack somehow believing that he agreed with you, but never really knowing for certain nor why. Or, you'd decide that Obama would give you a fair shake, but you didn't quite know how you came to that conclusion

You don't want to sell me death sticks.
I don't want to sell you death sticks.

You want to go home and rethink your life.
I want to go home and rethink my life.

Ralph said...

"Satan, I rebuke you!"
*Barry smears his mascara and purple lipstick*

kcom said...

These aren't the 'droids you're looking for.
These aren't the 'droids we're looking for.

As Darth Vader would say, The Force is strong in this one.

former law student said...

Rev. [Jeremiah] Wright's (he must have gone to the same seminary as the "Rev." Al Sharpton)

In a fairly weird coincidence, Jeremiah Wright studied at a seminary founded by Bishop Milton Wright, the father of Orville and Wilbur. The United Theological Seminary -- still in Dayton -- trained ministers of the Church of the United Brethren in Christ. The CUBiC started preaching against slavery in 1820, and expelled slaveowners in 1837.

Al did not need to go to seminary because he was ordained a Pentecostal minister at the age of nine.

Sloanasaurus said...

Unbelievable....I had to read through the comments all the way to boris719's 6:06pm post before somebody stated the obvious fact that BHO is simply lying his ass off.

No kidding. Obama sat through Wright's sermons for 20 years. He talks in his book about how wright told him [Obama] that he and his church were controversial. Obama joined anyway and stated he had tears coming down his face during the first sermon about "white greed." Don't forget that Obama's church also gave Farrahkan a lifetime achievement award.

former law student said...

Don't forget that Obama's church's pastor's daughter's magazine also gave Farrahkan a lifetime achievement award.

vbspurs said...

Al did not need to go to seminary because he was ordained a Pentecostal minister at the age of nine.

HOWL...

You know, one of the sadnesses of South America is that they have precious little good leaders from which to choose.

Oh, they have the right CVs -- Harvard MBAs/Kennedy School, Georgetown Foreign Service diplomas up the wazoo.

But that's just pretty lamination covering up corrupt or twisted hearts.

On the one hand, we have a consummate lying trickster like Hillary Clinton running against a man whose entire adult life has been spent surrounded by hateful anti-Americans.

No one should be surprised if this doesn't turn out for the best, like South America.

Cheers,
Victoria

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

As much as I despise Obama and his marxism...

I think it's terrific that you've heard the term "Marxism," but would it be too much to ask that you now make an effort to learn what it means?

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

John Stodder wrote:

I do sense a media hunger out there to "move on" and "put this behind us" and to stop playing the clips of this crazy man.

Oh good. Will we be "moving on" to clips of McCain's "moral compass and spiritual guide" Rod Parsley and "supporter and endorser" John Hagee now?

Fen said...

Nope. Its much more entertaining to watch Obama apologists like you flail around.

AllenS said...

Obama: "but a woman who once confessed her fear of black men"

The black men she was talking about are Wright, Farrakhan, Sharpton, Jackson.

The only reason that Obama is distancing himself from Wright, is because Wright called him a politician. Which means that Obama will say anything to get elected.

Simon said...

Cyrus Pinkerton said...
"[Skyler said 'As much as I despise Obama and his marxism...'] I think it's terrific that you've heard the term 'Marxism,' but would it be too much to ask that you now make an effort to learn what it means?"

He believes in using the tax code to make incomes fairer (see the Philly debate comment on capital gains tax) and he believes that religion is an opitate that people bitter about their economic circumstances cling to. Obama isn't a Marxist, but does not exactly evince hostility to its worldview.

Nichevo said...

Cedarford, thanks for posting, you reminded me of something.

Let's put this in a framework of family values. Not of sex-before marriage, my lieftist friends, but in the pagan or Italian sense of friends-family-fuck-everybody-else.

Hypothetically speaking, if I had to give up somebody to [the police, the Nazis, Torquemada, Cedarford], I would give up myself before my best friend, my best friend before my grandparents, my grandparents before my parents, my parents before my wife, and my wife before my children. At least I'd like to think so. Yes, that seems about right.

Obama gave up his grandmother (and the white race, half his lineage) easily and painlessly, long before his preacher. Still holding on to the preacher, kinda-sorta.

Now maybe there's some flex in the order [best friend-grandparents]. But basically, unless he and Wright are the very bestest friends in the world EVAR!!!11!!!eleven!, or are fucking, or Wright is his dad and not the Kenyan, Obama's priorities are out of whack.

As a matter of fact, I think I would have to give up my girlfriend before any of the above, so even a homosexual relationship wouldn't justify it.

So - one of two things make sense. Either 1) Michele will leave him or commit suicide if he throws Wright to the wolves; or 2) he would betray everybody else before himself, and he sees Wright as crucial to his election as President.

Or 3) Obama and Wright make Damon and Pythias look like Romeo and Tybalt.

Or 4) the race is all, the black race that is. Though 2) and 4) may be one.

rhhardin said...

Kinky Friedman is raking Obama over the coals on Imus right now. Imus is following along finally.

Howard Dean should prevail on both candidates to withdraw.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Howard Dean should prevail on both candidates to withdraw.

Indeed so the true Messiah can come on.

Enter Gore.

Fen said...

Blasphemy! Gore is not a Messiah, he's a Priest.

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

Simon wrote:

Obama isn't a Marxist...

Indeed. Thank you for injecting an ounce of common sense into this discussion.

By the way, the points you mention regarding the tax code and religion really have no relevance in determining Obama's thoughts on Marxism. For example, Jesse Ventura claimed that "organized religion is a sham and a crutch for weak-minded people who need strength in numbers," and no one accuses him of a sympathetic view of Marxism.

former law student said...

Blasphemy! Gore is not a Messiah, he's a Priest.

like Rasputin?

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

Fen gushed:

Its much more entertaining to watch Obama apologists like you flail around.

You're letting your fantasy life creep into your posts again, Fen. It's very sad to watch your mind deteriorate like this.

Fen said...

The lame flames from you after I yank your chain are even better.

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

Fen wrote:

The lame flames from you after I yank your chain are even better.

You need to get a better fantasy life, Fen.