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Friday, June 21, 2024

Did Barack Obama finally do the Wright thing?

On Monday, the pundits said Rev. Jeremiah Wright threw Democratic Presidential frontrunner Barack Obama under the proverbial political bus with more lurid comments about the sad state of affairs in a place called America. On Tuesday, Obama disowned his former minister and now the same pundits say the candidate tossed the preacher under the same bus. Sure is getting crowded underneath that Greyhound. Has Obama finally done right on Wright? Can he put the mouth that roared behind him? Or did his denunciation come too late? The jury's still out and polls are mixed.

On Monday, the pundits said Rev. Jeremiah Wright threw Democratic Presidential frontrunner Barack Obama under the proverbial political bus with more lurid comments about the sad state of affairs in a place called America.

On Tuesday, Obama disowned his former minister and now the same pundits say the candidate tossed the preacher under the same bus.

Sure is getting crowded underneath that Greyhound.

Has Obama finally done right on Wright? Can he put the mouth that roared behind him? Or did his denunciation come too late?

The jury’s still out and polls are mixed.

Writes Ben Smith in Politico:

Sen. Barack Obama coolly denounced the Rev. Jeremiah Wright for his “appalling” words and for his personal and political betrayal Tuesday, a day after Wright seized center stage in the race for the White House and six weeks after Obama said he could no more “disown” his former pastor than he could his own grandmother.

Obama’s remarks were a second attempt to end perhaps the most damaging chapter of his political career — and strategists raised significant doubts about whether even Obama’s blistering words could immediately quell the crisis Wright has created for the Illinois senator’s campaign.

In the weeks since the Wright controversy first emerged, Obama has receded in the public eye, and his Hyde Park, Chicago, milieu — Wright, former Weather Underground bomber William Ayers and the San Francisco comments that made Obama seem distant from working-class Americans — has come to dominate his image and seemed to energize the flagging nomination hopes of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton.

“When I say I find these comments appalling, I mean it. It contradicts everything that I am about and who I am, and anybody who has worked with me, who knows my life, who has read my books, who has seen what this campaign’s about, I think, will understand that it is completely opposed to what I stand for and where I want to take this country,” Obama said in a press conference called after a rally in Winston-Salem, N.C., where he was campaigning Tuesday.

Obama’s comments were triggered by Wright’s defense of what the candidate called “ridiculous propositions”: that the U.S. government created the HIV virus and that Louis Farrakhan is a great and important voice.

But underlying Obama’s words was a sense of personal betrayal by a man whom the candidate had given the “benefit of the doubt” in his speech in Philadelphia last month.

Editorializes The Washington Post:

Last month, during a speech on race in Philadelphia, Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) repudiated “in unequivocal terms” the explosive sound bites from his former pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr., without denouncing him or repudiating their long relationship. In a confident address that discussed in an effective and intelligent way the impact of race on American life, Mr. Obama sought to put the rights and wrongs of the Rev. Wright into understandable historical context.

Yesterday was a different story. A downbeat Mr. Obama announced at a hastily convened news conference in North Carolina: “The person I saw [Monday] was not the person that I met 20 years ago.” Forcefully breaking from the Rev. Wright, Mr. Obama said: “The insensitivity and the outrageousness of the statements shocked me and surprised me.” He added that they contradict “everything that I’m about and who I am.”

We didn’t join the renewed and growing chorus calling on Mr. Obama to renounce the Rev. Wright after the minister’s all-about-me rant at the National Press Club on Monday, but the candidate’s motivation is pretty obvious. The Rev. Wright praised Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, said it was plausible that AIDS was a genocidal tool of the U.S. government to kill African Americans and proclaimed that attacks on him were an attack on the black church. He also delivered a deliberate poke in the eye to his former parishioner, suggesting that Mr. Obama’s conciliatory Philadelphia speech was nothing but politics. With each defiant utterance Monday, the Rev. Wright dug a deeper political hole for Mr. Obama.

Did Mr. Obama climb out of that hole yesterday? It seems to us that the whole sorry episode raises legitimate questions about his judgment.

Post Op-Ed columnist Harold Meyerson says Obama’s problems, and the problems faced by Democrats, go beyond his controversial former pastor:

The relationship between Barack Obama and the white working class is beginning to resemble that between Ahab and the white whale. In state after state (Ohio, Pennsylvania and now Indiana), Obama sets out to reel in his working-class quarry, and, in state after state, it eludes him. As Obama is still the likely nominee, many Democrats fear that come November, working-class whites will pull Obama and their party down to defeat.

Obama’s problem, and the Democrats’, goes well beyond the malignant nonsense of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright. Ever since the New Deal coalition was smashed on the reefs of race in the mid-1960s, working-class white support for Democratic presidential candidates has hemorrhaged. Though he won a plurality of the popular vote, Al Gore lost the white working class by 17 points in 2000; John Kerry lost it by 23 points four years later. Even though, as Ruy Teixeira of the Brookings Institution and Alan Abramowitz of Emory University demonstrated in a recent paper, the white working class is becoming an ever smaller share of the overall electorate, it will remain large enough through the middle of the century that the Democrats cannot afford to lose it by Kerrylike margins. But how, Democrats wonder, can they secure the white working-class vote?

In The New York Times, Jeff Zeleny and Adam Nagourney write:

Senator Barack Obama broke forcefully on Tuesday with his former pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr., in an effort to curtail a drama of race, values, patriotism and betrayal that has enveloped his presidential candidacy at a critical juncture.

At a news conference here, Mr. Obama denounced remarks Mr. Wright made in a series of televised appearances over the last several days. In the appearances, Mr. Wright has suggested that the United States was attacked because it engaged in terrorism on other people and that the government was capable of having used the AIDS virus to commit genocide against minorities. His remarks also cast Louis Farrakhan, the leader of the Nation of Islam, in a positive light.

In tones sharply different from those Mr. Obama used on Monday, when he blamed the news media and his rivals for focusing on Mr. Wright, and far harsher than those he used in his speech on race in Philadelphia last month, Mr. Obama tried to cut all his ties to — and to discredit — Mr. Wright, the man who presided at Mr. Obama’s wedding and baptized his two daughters.

“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,” Mr. Obama said, his voice welling with anger. “They certainly don’t portray accurately my values and beliefs.”

33 thoughts on “Did Barack Obama finally do the Wright thing?”

  1. Sherry and Yarply: Thank you for telling me just how the both of you feel. I truly appreciate knowing just what you really stand for. You have taught me how to stear clear of toxic individuals like the both of you. Those small towns with small minds.

    By the way Sherry, go back and see who the real owners of MOTOWN are. I think you will be very surprised! Also, is that really what families do in WV? If so, may God help them!

    Obama ’08

  2. PS: This is it for tonight. I promise.

    “What I see from many is fear, fear that if blacks came to power they might try to exact revenge on the group of people who’ve done terrible things to them.”

    Exactly right. They “system” has blacks angry at whites who are afraid of blacks. Muslims hate Jews and vice versa. Democrats hate republicans and vice versa, the Lakers vs. the Saints… the list goes on. But look at it for what it is. See a pattern there? Yes, it’s the “vs”. There are powers that be that profit directly by maintaining (at all costs) that millieu. So, basically, we’re all really asking “how do I fight fear”? How do I fight it. How do YOU fight it. How should Barack fight it. That’s the big question IMHO but, I think worthy of an answer. Now if we can put that in everyone’s cornflakes, we’re in business. Hell, come to think of it, they’ve been putting s**t in ours forever.

  3. [b]”Politicians seeking the anointing of God, and churchmen seeking the acknowledgment of political authority…a combination bound to cause problems.”[/b]

    Ergo the separation of church and state. The constitution gives it lip service but the fact is, if organized religion weren’t that crucial to the career of any politician, they’d never have to pander to any of these “men of god”….

    This whole pastor thing is a grand distraction and Hillary is eating it up. I must confess, I was really a little disappointed in the way Obama handled it lately. As he wrote off his ex, he literally stammered when asked the expected neverending followup questions. I would have hoped he had said something like this:

    “…Look. The fact that the press and everyone else has beaten this horse to death. You know exactly how I stand. This country knows exactly where I stand. But having said that, I refuse further indulging in and reacting to this distraction because that simply nurtures it. At this point it’s all smoke and mirrors. .. a la ‘watch up here while I take it from down there’. It’s an old magicians trick. That said, I will NOT answer any more questions about the pastor unless John McCain insists on bringing it up during our presidential debates. I’ll be ready for him”. And I’d like to see him look angry when he said it. That’s something I would have respected a little more than the way I saw him react. Time for some serious counter punching.

    [quote]Ridingchick, when Graham made those comments, they were made within the confines of President Nixon’s Oval Office. Graham, faced considerable outrage when the tapes were disclosed and he apologized.[/quote]

    Does the place the words are spoken determine their authenticity? Would his statements have had an entirely different meaning if they were uttered while in the pulpit? Sure he apologized. That’s because he got caught.

    [quote]Secondly, Graham was NEVER Nixon’s pastor. Graham was known as pastor to the presidents[/quote]

    Huh? And Nixon didn’t qualify?

    [quote]Graham apologized while denying.[/quote]

    Now THAT is funny.

    Let’s face it. People are ALL screwy. All of us. But I see the job of the voter to simply support the least screwy. He needs to start kicking some serious spiritual butt. He’s more than proven that he can take a punch, soooooo. As they say on Comedy Central…”git ‘er done”.

  4. Graham apologized while denying. If that is the only bigoted statement you have ever heard attributed to Graham, it is just because you haven’t looked. I fear for Obama in November as he will not only have the Rev Wright debacle to content with, the noise over his association with Bill Ayers will increase. I am so disappointed because right now I see Obama’s actions as cowardice, much like I view the actions of your Billy Graham.

  5. When is the last time that a black cop shot or brutually beat a white male or female?

    When was the last time a black in this country burned down whites businesses and took their lands w/ government approval?

    Name anytime is history when blacks were openly allowed to lynch white men or women?

    Go to Angola, the Congo, Grenada, Jamaica, Kenya, Namibia, the Sudan, Uganda or other such countries and ask that question.

  6. ridingchick you state,, Explain to me how a opressed person of color can be racist?
    Why can’t they? Because the are colored?
    Explain to me then how an OPPRESSED white person can be racist?
    It would seem that logic would dictate that ANYONE,, even a so called ‘OPPRESSED’ person of color or ANY person of ANY race,, can be a racist and hate, or feel superior to another race. All the qualifier is, is that a person feels superior to another because of racial differences. The continued psychobabble which pours forth from the lips of the so called ‘progressives’ of today would have us think,,, otherwise. Black people can’t be racist, Jews can’t be racist, aborigines can’t be racist, Indians can’t be racist. Oh far be it, according to some, only white people can be racist, (because they are white) and probably born racist to boot. Maybe you, as some have, should take classes which study the roots of racism and you would know that any person, of any race, can hate another person just because of the racial difference in which they have been raised. You would find that blacks grow up and join gangs which hate Mexicans because they were taught by their parents that they were smelly foreigners. Or that Mexicans hate blacks because they were raised by parents who hate blacks. Evidently you do not understand fully what you are saying. To say people of color can not be racist because they were at one time oppressed is an absurd statement. If you follow that logic then the Irish or ANY race can NOT be racist, because all have been, and still are in many places oppressed.

    You state people of color can not be racist, and as I stated previously,
    ‘you are saying that people of color can not be racist thus implying because of their race they are either better or different than everyone (white people) else or,, that their ‘human character’,, because of their race, is such that they can not exhibit this trait.’
    You are saying they can not and do not exhibit this trait. So you are saying,,, BECAUSE of there COLOR or race they are the way they are.

    There are plenty of people out there of ALL racial backgrounds who are oppressed, white people, black people, yellow people, red people, Italians, Jews, Poor white trash Irish, Native Americans, Native Australians, Poor white trash British, Poor white trash Americans.

    You are saying people of color are different than other people, that we, or others, do not have the same capacities to hate, love, or to be racist.
    Its because of statements like yours which divide this country and its people. You and others keep saying colored people are different than non colored people, when most people are trying to say we are ALL THE SAME. That we are ALL HUMAN. That we ALL have the same capacities and are equal to each other, yet you say people of color are different.

    The founding fathers of this country said all are created equal.

    Evidently you disagree with this proclamation.

    For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.

  7. Riding, I NEVER said Graham’s comments were ok. NEVER. He did apologize and his actions are largely apolitical. He was not Nixon’s pastor. HE was never my pastor.
    As for a black corporate owned company, does the name MOTOWN mean anything to you?
    As for prejudice, try being an American tourist in Austria in the 80’s. Yeah, I’m a white girl. They didn’t like me.
    Must have been the accent.
    Being a native West Virginian, I actually had someone to ask me if I had ever slept with my father. Seriously. I had no clue about all the WV incest jokes until I came to VA 20 years ago.
    Honey, I just don’t know how to tell you this, but bias hits everyone.
    I was in a candle store at Valley View Mall in Roanoke. The sales lady asked if she could assist, and I told her I was browsing. She asked a rather attractive black lady standing next to me the same question and the attractive black lady accused her of stalking her as if to accuse her of stealing. She really made a scene.
    Back to Graham. That is th only bigot statement I ever heard our of Graham. Wright blames the US Government for AIDS and other evils.
    As for the Tuskegee experiment, the men were not injected with sypillis, they already had the disease and at the time of the study there was no treatment. The great sin is that when there was a cure, it was not administered to the subjects. President Clinton apologized and the families of those subjects (the majority of whom had died of the disease or complications thereof) received a monetary settlement.
    Read up folks. Two sides to every story. And while bias is everywhere, I prefer not to have a bigot in the White House of any color.

  8. That’s the post-modernist deconstruction shtick that racism is based on power and therefore the powerless “people of color” cannot act in a racist manner.

    It’s a fallacy derived from the erroneous assumption that racism is purely an artifact of Euro-imperialism; i. e., that there was really no such thing as racism prior to a half-millennium ago.

    However, the fact is that anyone, regardless of their racial group or socio-economic status, is perfectly capable of acting in a racist fashion.

    Most sincerely,

    T. J. Flapsaddle

  9. It’s amusing to listen to people comment on Wright’s take on the U.S. from his perspective and say he’s wrong. Repeatedly, this government has attempted in anyway, shape, or form to destroy and marginalize most people of color.

    Speaking specifically to African American’s, just a few questions

    1. What group in this country was forced and openly asked to leave?
    2. What group of people had syphilis injected in them (unknowingly)and was allowed to mingle in their communities?
    3. When is the last time that a black cop shot or brutually beat a white male or female?
    4. When was the last time a black in this country burned down whites businesses and took their lands w/ government approval?
    5. Name anytime is history when blacks were openly allowed to lynch white men or women?

    What I see from many is fear, fear that if blacks came to power they might try to exact revenge on the group of people who’ve done terrible things to them.

  10. The guy who acted as if nothing stuck to him,( Obama ) and that he is above it all, has finally shown his true RatBlack color.
    After all his posturing, and defending Rev. Wright as a close dear family friend, mentor, and spiritual counselor, telling the media he couldn’t shut out Wright anymore than he could a favorite old uncle, he then goes on national television, telling us he didn’t know this mentor very well, and his kindly old family counselor who had married him, and Baptized his kids, obviously didn’t know him well either! WHAT? You expect me to believe that you listened to this kindly old favored man’s anti Jew, Anti White, Anti America rants and venom for 20 years, and you didn’t know him?
    You basically stabbed Rev. Wright in the back on national television, and then had the nerve to bemoan that Wright wasn’t thinking about poor you, and your campaign.
    You have shown us your true colors, and it is that of a two faced lying weasel.
    You sir, are not fit to be President of the USA. Not now, not ever. Go crawl back into the hole you came from.

    You aren’t going to weasel your way out this one, like you have everything else in your life…we’re on to you now!

  11. Sandra Price, Thank you for your forthright comments. It’s individuals like you that understand what it’s like to be mis-treated in a society where only wealth and privilege prevails. I have great respect for your postings.

    Sherry: Are you suggesting that it is ok when a so called MAN of GOD spews ANTI-SEMETIC comments about a race of people different from his own? If that’s the way you and others like you feel, no wonder this country is so divided.

    I’m not sure what your belief is or do I care at this point, but, how can anyone including AMERICA’s pastor, BILLY GRAHAM harbor those kinds of comments? Surely that is not Christ Like. In most circles he would be considered a HYPOCRITE! Just for your information, that’s the difference. Hopefully you can understand that! Comments like that is the reason GW Bush became president twice. It’s very obvious that you do not care for Mr. Obama for whatever excuses you may have. That’s just fine! Why don’t you vote your interest and stop being a HYPOCRITE. I and others like me, have a lot more respect for honesty!

    Yarply, lets take a moment and educate you…Explain to me how a opressed person of color can be racist?

    Can you name ONE corporation that persons of color OWN? Have you ever gone into an upscale boutique and be followed from FRONT to back as though your mission was to rob or steal something? Have you ever experienced being stopped by law inforcement just because you were driving a very expensive Automobile? Have you ever moved into a very exclusive neighborgood and your neighbors call law inforcement because they thought you were robbing your own home? How about this one..Have you ever had the misfortune of checking into an expensive and exclusive hotel in a major city and the guest tell you that their room will be ready to clean at 12:00 Noon? Perhaps this one… You sit down to conduct a board meeting and the CFO address you as boy or girl.

    I would be willing to bet you that you have never had any of those experiences so now, I hope these comments will assist you in your thinking about why people of color do not harbor the racist traits. Please be willing to venture beyond the sum of what you have been taught. You will see that the world is not as black and white as you and others like you seem to think it is.

    I welcome further discussion from you!

    Obama ’08

  12. What type of individual could say,, with a straight face,, that people of ‘color’ can not be racist. All people can be racist. Racism; The belief that race accounts for (differences in human character) or (ability) and that a particular race is (superior) to others. So in someones statement that people of color can not be racist are they insinuating that people of color are better than everyone else or,, that their ‘human character’ is such that they can not exhibit this trait. Talk about a racist comment. Who ever said this MUST BE WHITE. Right?

  13. Janet, Hagee is well known and scary as it is, he brings a lot of votes to the table. That is why McCain can get away with it. That said, Hagee plays nice with Israel, whereas Wright actually met with Qadaffi of Libya. Yep, Hagee has some baggage from where I sit, but nothing compared to Wright.
    As for Hillary, she is just sitting back watching the bonfire.

  14. Obama did the right thing and hopefully has put it behind him in terms of damage.

    Let’s not forget Reverend Hagy who endorsed John McCain. McCain actually ASKED for his endorsement and even after being advised that Hagy is a nutcase who calls the Catholic Church “the Great Whore” and blamed Katrina’s destruction on the gay pride parade in New Orleans, is still happy to have his endorsement. I heard him say it on TV.

    Where are the media critics and talking heads when it comes to McCain? Where’s Hillary when you need her?

    Obama 08!!!!!!!!!

  15. ridingchick, give the Republicans time and they will open up to the anti-Semitism. On many of the Conservative sites they are putting the blame of 9/11 on Israel. There are many who have written about the Bush family and their real opinions of Israel. Nothing is as it should be in the last Bush/Clinton/Bush Administrations.

    We seem to allow mistreatment of Americans and as long as we are not the mistreated, we will be quiet. I have been fighting for women’s rights for many years and am still knocking heads with the Conservatives. That famous last line of somebody’s quote “They they will be coming after you and who will be left to help you?” Of course, I have read a lot of Orwell, Wells and even Rand, all of whom warned of the subtley of control over others.

    It is time we built an honest and open government more in the line of our Bill of Rights. I too have chosen Obama in 2008! I am tired of the duplicity and lies from the GOP and the Clintons.

    Welcome aboard…My family are all horse people.

  16. Ridingchick, when Graham made those comments, they were made within the confines of President Nixon’s Oval Office. Graham, faced considerable outrage when the tapes were disclosed and he apologized.
    Secondly, Graham was NEVER Nixon’s pastor. Graham was known as pastor to the presidents, but never once endorsed any political candidate from the pulpit or anywhere else for that matter.
    Surely, you see the difference here right?
    umm. no. I guess not.

  17. I ask you America, where was the public outrage when Rev. Billy Graham made ANTI-Semitic comments about the Jewish population? It’s sad that no one will ever admit the truth about America’s mis-treatment of it’s citizens!

    People of color can only be prejudice and not racist. If you don’t believe me, please review the meaning of both words. I’s sure you will find it very educational!

    Obama for President ’08

  18. Whatever, I am still voting for Obama. I don’t like the other choices. McCain is too old and out of touch. The war isn’t working and we are preparing to start another with Iran and maybe even Pakistan. As for Hillary: she has no principles other than a liking for power. She is a known liar. Let her do something other than get fat at the public trough for a change. She can go to Africa and raise a village or something. And let McCain RETIRE.

    So I don’t care if Obama is a black crypto-Muslim with Commie pinko ties as well as ties to Rev. Wright. So be it. Whatever, whatever, whatever.

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