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Bloggingheads
03-13-2008, 08:24 PM

Wonderment
03-13-2008, 09:53 PM
Dear Barack,

Please do not be swayed by the right-wing campaign to smear you, your family and your pastor. There is no need to further distance yourself from Rev. Wright.

Your constituency is not offended by Dr. Wright. On the contrary, many of us respect Wright as a great man and one of the inspirations for your vision of hope.

He does not deserve to be attacked by sleazeball bloggers and Fox News. As one of your supporters, I want you to know that I admire Rev. Wright and reserve my dismay for those clergy members who routinely bless war and turn a blind eye on social justice.

bjkeefe
03-13-2008, 10:14 PM
Given that all I know about Rev. Wright is what I saw on the YouTube clip linked to from the diavlog page, I agree. I liked that woman on the street who said, "He's not radical. That's just being black in America."

And in any case, some rabble-rousing preacher doesn't change my feeling that Obama is the best candidate by far.

bjkeefe
03-13-2008, 10:18 PM
... may be found here (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qXBXD2zizIY).

(Added) Didn't do much for me. I thought he made a couple of good points, but his faux outrage has long since bored me to tears.

piscivorous
03-13-2008, 11:00 PM
The real Spitzer problem (http://and-still-i-persist.com/2008/03/12/the-real-spitzer-problem/) or maybe just blackmail.

piscivorous
03-14-2008, 12:39 AM
Obama voted against President Obama’s tax-and-spending package (http://blogs.dailymail.com/donsurber/2008/03/13/senate-97-obama-0/)

brucds
03-14-2008, 02:03 AM
Reverend Wright is a great preacher in the prophetic tradition. This furor is proof that he's been doing his job and doing it well. The preachers who make you "feel good" and preach "prosperity", who condemn people on the basis of their sexuality or assume an identity between American hegemony and "God's Will" are blasphemous phonies. Let the GOP surround themselves with these hypocrites. Obama's message isn't the same as Reverend Wright's, nor should it be, but I respect the man for embracing a Christianity that challenges comfortable assumptioins and stands unequivocally with the "least among us" rather than the rich and powerful any day over anyone who succumbs to the crap that passes for spiritual sustenance among adherents of the GOP, even if it's only out of political opportunism.

piscivorous
03-14-2008, 07:25 AM
Or you could contrast him with Dr. Martin Luther King whom I'm sure would appreciate the message of hate dispensed in the short clip.

uncle ebeneezer
03-14-2008, 12:06 PM
I am a big fan of Olberman and his show. I think it's pretty entertaining and surprisingly good at focussing on stories that don't get much coverage on other shows. Good example being the David Corn article on McCain's spiritual advisor's Anti-Islam statements. I thought many of his points were cogent, but yeah, this was little too much, even for me. Olberman has some great points that he brings up but sometimes he tries a little too hard to be the next Murrows and he comes off looking pretty phony.

That said, the way the Clinton campaign has repeatedly shrugged off very borderline offensive tactics has really made me lose alot of respect for her.

Obama was on Hardball the other night addressing this issue and he came off the way a President should. Cool, calm, sensible and with integrity. He has really impressed me with his ability to resist the Clinton's attempts to bait him into an hysterical reaction. One could argue that this is a pretty important quality for a president to have with all the Ahmedinajad's, Kim Jong Il's and Hugo Chavez's out there who just love to push the buttons of the Prez of the US. Too bad Hillary is pushing this thing closer and closer to a scenario where (the opposite of cool) John McCain may be the one to respond to the world's disenchanted peanut gallery of provocateurs.

When McCain is sworn in I hope somebody prints up bumper stickers that say "Thanks Hillary, from the remnants of the Dem party"

bjkeefe
03-14-2008, 12:11 PM
uncle eb:

That last line has the eerie ring of plausibility, but well said, anyway.

bkjazfan
03-14-2008, 12:16 PM
You say there is no need to further himself from his pastor but I wouldn't bet on it.

brucds
03-14-2008, 12:19 PM
"the message of hate dispensed in the short clip"

What are you talking about ? This is a crackpot interpretation of Wright's sermon.

Bloggin' Noggin
03-14-2008, 12:36 PM
Please do not be swayed by the right-wing campaign to smear you, your family and your pastor. There is no need to further distance yourself from Rev. Wright.

Your constituency is not offended by Dr. Wright. On the contrary, many of us respect Wright as a great man and one of the inspirations for your vision of hope

By Obama's "constituency", do you mean his "base" of support? Even some of his base might not be happy with Wright. But I think it's certain that a majority of Americans would not vote for a Wright clone for president. Obama has already distanced himself from Wright, and I think he's got to be pretty clear in doing so -- probably clearer than he has been if he wants the presidency.
I think it's pretty evident that Obama is nothing like a clone of Wright. And the idea that his conciliatory message is just a pose, is about as plausible as the claim that he's a secret Muslim (i.e., not worth considering).
Still, I don't think your advice above is good political advice (to say the least). Maybe you want him to maintain his loyalty to his pastor at the expense of the presidency, but if you want him to have a good shot at the presidency, then he does need to distance himself (as, to some degree, he's already done).

brucds
03-14-2008, 12:50 PM
Some context - before fools run wild with their "stupid white people" racist hysteria:

http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/the_daily_dish/2008/03/obamas-next-pas.html

piscivorous
03-14-2008, 12:55 PM
While I'm not 100% sure that I am the only one that will see this message as one of bigotry and hate I'd be willing to take bets on it as it is definitely not a christen message of love ad redemption. If Senator Obama wants to be president and lead America to a better place perhaps he should have started closer to home with the members the congregation that he has been a member of for some 20 odd years.

uncle ebeneezer
03-14-2008, 01:07 PM
Found this on MY:

http://matthewyglesias.theatlantic.com/archives/2008/03/the_success_of_the_surge_1.php#comments

I was shocked to see that the # of military deaths is around 4,000 nowadays. I try to be pretty up-to-date on world affairs, but must admit embarassment that even I underestimated this unfortunate number as being closer to 3,500. I don't know if it's the horse-race distractions or the "liberal media" trying to consistently ignore the Iraq, but it seems to be a pretty important thing that Americans (and their candidates) should be talking about. 4,000 is a pretty large number considering now BOTH of the big justifications (WMD's & Saddam/Al Qaeda connex) have been conclusively shown to have been not true.

brucds
03-14-2008, 01:18 PM
Here's one from Jesus Christ, via St. Matthew, taking on the "rich establishment" that Obama MUST if he is to be elected President reject and denounce:


You blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess...You blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also. Even so you also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within you are full of hypocrisy and iniquity...You serpents, you generation of vipers, how can you escape the damnation of hell?... Jerusalem, Jerusalem (America ? America ?) You that killed the prophets, and stoned them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered your children together, even as a hen gathers her chickens under her wings, and you would not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate.

Bloggin' Noggin
03-14-2008, 01:32 PM
The Devil has just put me on retainer. So, I can't resist pointing out that by historical standards, these are very low figures.
We are still short of the number killed in the Battle of Iwo Jima (6,800). Total casualties are larger than those of Iwo Jima (26,000 for Iwo Jima -- around 30,000 for Iraq, I believe). That was between February 19 and March 26, 1945. I'm pulling this info from this website http://www.military.com/NewContent/0,13190,NI_Iwo_Jima2,00.html

There were tens of thousands of American deaths in both Korea and Vietnam.

That's not to take on your overall point but just to point out that the sheer numbers might well not impress anyone who thought the occupation was worth continuing.

piscivorous
03-14-2008, 01:42 PM
That's not to take on your overall point but just to point out that the sheer numbers might well not impress anyone who thought the occupation was worth continuing. Oh you mean like Senator Obama Obama stance on Iraq shows evolving view (http://www.boston.com/news/nation/articles/2008/03/08/obama_stance_on_iraq_shows_evolving_view/) when in July of 2004 he told a group of reporters in Boston that the United States had an "absolute obligation" to remain in Iraq long enough to make it a success." "The failure of the Iraqi state would be a disaster," he said at a lunch sponsored by the Christian Science Monitor, according to an audiotape of the session. "It would dishonor the 900-plus men and women who have already died. . . . It would be a betrayal of the promise that we made to the Iraqi people, and it would be hugely destabilizing from a national security perspective."

Bloggin' Noggin
03-14-2008, 01:47 PM
Good thing 'prophet' wasn't an elected position!

piscivorous
03-14-2008, 02:29 PM
Imagine a Senator Joe Elephant, well call him, since 1982 Pastor Fred Phelps has been his spiritual consular and he has now been a parishioner of Pastor Phelps congregation since 1991 attending the Westboro Baptist Church. For all those years he has sat by silently listening to all those “God hates fags” sermons by Pastor Fred Phelps. (may have the exact years wrong)

Can anyone here seriously argue that Senator Elephant could get away with saying, “Like a member of his family, there are things he says with which Senator Elephant deeply disagrees” to explain away his silence.

brucds
03-14-2008, 02:57 PM
Do you expect me to take an equation - or even any comparison - between Fred Phelps and Jeremiah Wright seriously ? This is utter stupidity. Really you should be ashamed to go public with this brain-dead crap.

piscivorous
03-14-2008, 03:02 PM
I would appreciate it if you would attack the argument instead of me. We have been through this once before do you relay want to reprise that conversation?

brucds
03-14-2008, 03:15 PM
I'd appreciate it if you made an argument that wasn't shamefully stupid. There's a point at which moronic drivel doesn't deserve anything more than being designated as such. You've lived in your "stupid white people" bubble for too goddam long. It's okay if you characterize Jeremiah Wright as sending "hate messages" but not okay if I characterize you as sending "stupid messages" ??? Yeah, right. That makes a lot of sense.

piscivorous
03-14-2008, 03:16 PM
Yes and once again you have reached it!

Wonderment
03-14-2008, 03:27 PM
That's not to take on your overall point but just to point out that the sheer numbers might well not impress anyone who thought the occupation was worth continuing.

Try throwing in the number of dead, maimed, displaced and impoverished Iraqis then. They count too.

Wonderment
03-14-2008, 03:44 PM
Still, I don't think your advice above is good political advice (to say the least). Maybe you want him to maintain his loyalty to his pastor at the expense of the presidency, but if you want him to have a good shot at the presidency, then he does need to distance himself (as, to some degree, he's already done).

My points are

1) There's nothing wrong with Rev. Wright.

2) People who would be swayed to vote for John McCain over Barack based on their distaste for Rev. Wright are few in number and unlikely to matter.

3) Their loss would be offset by de-energizing voters and organizers like me who support Rev. Wright.

4) On principle Barack should not cave in to bullies who don't like his pastor. What next? Someone will go after his deceased mother for being an atheist, and he will have to "distance" himself from her and repudiate her?

5) There's an ugly and outrageous racist component to sending out the church video: "Look at what these blacks do when no white people are looking."

brucds
03-14-2008, 03:47 PM
"you have reached it"

I'm more than happy to simply let my commentary on this issue stand next to yours and let folks judge who is substantive and who is shooting off their mouth slinging unhinged insults.

piscivorous
03-14-2008, 04:09 PM
I guess it would also be proper to count the number of the Natives killed and maimed, the Japanese soldiers their families, and the Merchant Marines that died trying to support the invasion. A mere 35 days of combat. In 1945 that was considered an acceptable causality rate but would not be today, which is a good thing. It is understandable that the definition of what an acceptable casualty rate is changes with time and perception; but in 5 years of combat 29,314 (http://icasualties.org/oif/) causalities and with probably about a million individual deployments is not historically high.

P.S. Revised for clarity.

allbetsareoff
03-14-2008, 04:30 PM
I realize this is a couple of weeks (i.e., a lifetime) ago, but in the Obama-Wright feeding frenzy is anyone mentioning Hagee, the nutjob Texas pastor McCain wouldn't disown?

Sgt Schultz
03-14-2008, 04:43 PM
GOD DAMN BLACK AMERICA!
Can I get a Amen?

You_had_me_at_hello
03-14-2008, 05:01 PM
University of Bloggingheads

This was a really interesting diavlog, sorry this post isn't really about it though, and I haven't read the comments --- I will later.

I'm educating myself about politics more, and for the first time really questioning certain items of "received wisdom", and this site is a real find.

I frankly admit that I don't know enough about the subject to make substantial comments in the comments section, yet. Forgive the bad writing.

Anyhow, I'm trying to get a clearer image so to speak of some of the regular Bloggingheads here.

For instance: On first encountering Robert Wright and Mickey Kaus in one of their diavlogs one is frankly confused. (Ok speaking for myself).

Apparently, they are good friends, or are they? They seem to be to have different political views and sympathies, but sometimes they seem to be saying "We actually pretty much agree on everything and any "tension" is just an act".

Mr Wright will sometimes (not often) say bizarre things to Mr Kaus or about him, that seem oddly ---- uncharacteristic (Of course I really can't speak on this, just an impression).

So, I am doing some reading to try to get a bigger picture.

I have purchased Mickey Kaus' book: The End of Equality, Wright's Non-Zero: The Logic of Human Destiny, and Marglin's The Dismal Science: How Thinking Like an Economist Undermines Community (which just arrived).

I've just finished the Kaus book. Debating about whether or not I should be the first one on Amazon to review it. I mean it's a political book that was written in 1992. How fair is it to comment on it at all? Is it really just to assume that an author has the same views that he did twenty years ago about Liberalism? Especially in this case--- I have to research Neo-Liberalism, which apparently Kaus espouses now (this factoid found in Wiki not his book). Thanks to his book I have a better idea about what "Civic Liberalism" is about, which he espoused back then.

I have strong, mixed, feelings about the Kaus book. (If you do read what on discovery seems to be a rather obscure, forgotten, book ---Be sure to read the last two paragraphs hidden in the Acknowledgments: So much illuminating info packed into such a small space!)

Will discuss at next Wright/Kaus Bloggingheads. (Hopefully, by that time I'll be done with the other books, too, although each seems to make the demand on me to do other reading, before even beginning them (like superficially investigating game theory) in order to grasp the concepts in these books, but I'll do my best).

I was going to ask Brendan about how to insert "emoticons" before I read about how he feels about the subject, so I'll resist. I happen to like emoticons.

note to Brendan: I don't know how well I'll be able to "emote" less in posting, after all.

olmeta
03-14-2008, 06:10 PM
Utter White Noise. Stunningly bad. Two self-proclaimed "politicos" just managed to say absolutely nothing relevant, useful or mildly engaging on a day when gubernatorial paid sex and (supposedly) racist presidential speeches dominate our headlines. I can only think of two explanations for this: either they know nothing about sex or racism, in which case we should blame the editors, or they are so afraid to approach sex or racism directly that they set a course on the frozen outer-most orbit to completely avoid the heat at the core.

I'll assume both are true.

Then again, perhaps this is exactly the right response. After all, when we un-hysterically face the facts of what has "happened" there really aint much to talk about. Spitzer got overpriced p_ssy. And a silly man talked silliness into a microphone in front of a silly audience.

Here's my transcript (edited for clarity) of what the ridiculous Reverend actually said:

Whites form the majority in America
Powerful rich people are usually white
Hillary is White
Barrack is not white.
Hillary is not Black
Barrack is a black man.
Hillary is not a victim of white racists.
Barrack sometimes cant get a taxi.
Men like him have been called a n__ger.

How will the nation ever recover?

bkjazfan
03-14-2008, 09:02 PM
I wonder what moved Barak Obama to sit and listen to this hate filled moron Reverend Jeremiah Wright for 20 years? I would have made a permanent exit after the first sermon.

piscivorous
03-14-2008, 09:04 PM
...

5) There's an ugly and outrageous racist component to sending out the church video: "Look at what these blacks do when no white people are looking."

Then why are they for sale by his church? (http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/story?id=4452990&page=1)An ABC News review of dozens of Rev. Wright's sermons, offered for sale by the church, found repeated denunciations of the U.S. based on what he described as his reading of the Gospels and the treatment of black Americans.

brucds
03-14-2008, 09:21 PM
Contextualization from a reader over at Talking Points Memo:

"What drives me crazy is how this could have been avoided so easily if Wright was the slightest bit media-savvy. Had he merely controlled his tongue and limited himself to advocating an attack on Iran to encourage massive worldwide Muslim attacks leading to a fulfillment of the biblical prophecy of end-times and bringing about Armageddon and the summary slaughter of every Jew, Muslim, Catholic, and non-believer on the planet while rapturing him and his flock up to heaven, then followed it up by denouncing Catholics as cult members and blaming Hurricane Katrina on gay people, this story wouldn't be metastasizing like this. One five minute milquetoast repudiation by Obama and it would all be behind him.

"But what does Wright do instead? He spews this vile "God damn America" bile. What a psycho."


Jeezus, the rightwing/FOX crowd are despicable hypocrites. As the crazed Jew, Jesus of Nazareth put it, "You serpents, you generation of vipers, how can you escape the damnation of hell?... Behold, your house is left unto you desolate."

bkjazfan
03-14-2008, 09:23 PM
ABC news bought several of these taped sermons which are for sale on the church's website and it was the same ole' garbage on every one of them. Obama acts like the clips of the sermon we heard is an aberration, but he's been spewing out this nonsense for years.

bkjazfan
03-14-2008, 09:29 PM
I read Mickey Kaus's book years ago. Plus, I have read one of Loury's when he was a conservative and McWhorter's "Losing The Race" (I think that was the title of it). Of the 3 McWhorter's was worthwhile, the other 2 were so-so.

piscivorous
03-14-2008, 09:31 PM
(Rough Speculation)

I don't really care how much Minister Wright rails against America he has succeeded and prospered in this evil land of the whites and like most people it all boils down to the money. It was a hint here a inference there and the congregation seemed to respond and the Sunday till grew. Over time the rhetoric expanded the congregation grew larger and more approving and the till grew ever larger still. Now it has evolved into venal open bigotry and hate speech.

Odds are that when Senator Obama first started receiving spiritual guidance form Minister Wright there was little if any of this. Over time they got to be friends and confidants. As the rhetoric proceeded towards it's current form it was just sort of overlooked and denied by his friend Senator Obama and as the Senator's life moved on got busier and busier he somehow missed the changes.

Either that or he did like my dad and sent the wife ad kids to church while he and the guys knocked back a beer or two.

bkjazfan
03-14-2008, 10:00 PM
Luckily, I was spared from the church routine growing up. However, my ex is a catholic and I was exposed to that side of christianity. Frankly, I don't get the religion thing.

piscivorous
03-14-2008, 10:17 PM
Luckily, I was spared from the church routine growing up. However, my ex is a catholic and I was exposed to that side of christianity. Frankly, I don't get the religion thing.
Not exactly a big fan of it myself; but I have seen an acceptance of religious beliefs make tremendous positive differences in the lives of people I know. One of my friends, a so called "born again christen", answered my questions as to what has made the difference in his life after accepting Christ as his savior along the lines of it eliminated his doubt and fear allowing him to accept himself as he was, the circumstance of his life and the ability to forgive the world around him.

What ever gets you through the night I guess.

brucds
03-14-2008, 10:19 PM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lY6qjeJ5mG8

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ioaChVw_pUw&NR=1

Data points, assuming you actually give a shit about the real world.

piscivorous
03-14-2008, 10:34 PM
Have seen both of these before. Would you like to point out in any one of my comments where I have attached any of the bigoted and hate full words of the Minster Wright to the church. Or for that matter where I have accused the Minister Wright with being a bigot or hate monger but only his speech of being bigoted and hateful. But I do not recognize it as fact checking for church spokes people to talk about the church as a means of countering the bigoted and hateful speech of it's Head Minister with oh he'll be retired shortly anyways.

Bloggin' Noggin
03-14-2008, 11:10 PM
[QUOTE]2) People who would be swayed to vote for John McCain over Barack based on their distaste for Rev. Wright are few in number and unlikely to matter.

First, you're forgetting all about Hillary and the superdelegates. If enough of them decide that he's been sufficiently damaged by this, they can go for her.
Second, I don't know on what you are basing this -- scientific polls? I suspect that your friends are probably not a representative sample of the US. The 2004 election certainly persuaded me that I and my friends were not representative. McCain is popular with independents -- and he's white. I suspect a lot the "Reagan Democrats" will be willing to vote for Obama, but only if he's very careful not to scare them. The Wright speech would scare a lot of those voters.

3) Their loss would be offset by de-energizing voters and organizers like me who support Rev. Wright.

Are you de-energized now? -- http://www.huffingtonpost.com/barack-obama/on-my-faith-and-my-church_b_91623.html
And if you are, how much does it matter how energetically you pull that lever, so long as you vote for him? I really think you over-estimate the number of people like you there are in this country. I'm not a pacifist and I'm not the type to get horribly offended by the things Wright says, but there aren't even enough people like you and like me put together to get someone elected president.

5) There's an ugly and outrageous racist component to sending out the church video: "Look at what these blacks do when no white people are looking."
You don't think the Republicans (or Hillary for that matter) would try to use something like that Youtube against a white politician? Of course they would! They always try to make Dems look unpatriotic. And it's politics -- of course they'll be happy to take things out of context.
Of course, I don't deny that residual racist attitudes on the part of many voters make this kind of thing even more dangerous in Obama's case.

I will say there's something akin to racism in the weird double-standard about Farrakhan/Obama vs. McCain/Hagee.
But that's a subtler argument about patterns of coverage in the media -- I don't buy the claim that using the tape against Obama is itself racist.

Wonderment
03-15-2008, 01:11 AM
BN,

I suspect that your friends are probably not a representative sample of the US. The 2004 election certainly persuaded me that I and my friends were not representative.

Actually, the 1968 campaign persuaded me, so it's not like I haven't been around the block a couple of times with the Democrats.

Are you de-energized now? -- http://www.huffingtonpost.com/barack...h_b_91623.html

Yes, I am disappointed. Obama statement is pathetic. I also saw him on TV tonight. It was embarrassing. The claim that he never knew Rev. Wright said such things is not credible, and it's demoralizing to watch Obama fibbing. He's trapped. It's sad.

And if you are, how much does it matter how energetically you pull that lever, so long as you vote for him?

I think it does matter how energetically people like me are about supporting Obama. It takes grassroots organizing to get elected, requiring a lot more than pulling a lever.

You don't think the Republicans (or Hillary for that matter) would try to use something like that Youtube against a white politician? Of course they would!

That's not the point. These are tapes that play to the redneck fear of the "crazy n-word." The value of the tapes is not in the words, but in the spectacle of a black guy dancing around the podium, shouting in African American English, wearing African garb, and preaching in cadences that suggest indecency to staid Protestants.

But if you actually decouple what Wright says from the circus fireworks, there's not much there.

This is why the Farakhan stories about Wright were not really making a huge impact. It took a video to reinforce prejudices (Hey, this guy reminds me of James Brown and Little Richard, haw, haw, haw!).

So now the right wing has a black guy they can make fun of. Wow, this is funnier'n Al Sharpton and gangsta rap put together. A brand new Willie Horton.

bjkeefe
03-15-2008, 01:17 PM
YHMAH:

I was going to ask Brendan about how to insert "emoticons" before I read about how he feels about the subject, so I'll resist. I happen to like emoticons.

Heh. As with pretty much everything, I'm not for an absolute ban on emoticons. I do happen to believe the occasional wink -- ;^) -- has its place, for example, since it is hard for a reader to pick up sarcasm or irony from text alone, especially if unfamiliar with the writer, and there are times when attempting to recast the line to avoid the need for an emoticon robs the line of its pithiness.

Also, I'm not so much against emoticons as I am against graphic emoticons. The original, purely typographical ones often struck me as quite clever and delightful. The little icons that have become all the rage -- to the degree that email and IM programs automatically replace the text with the graphics -- are just visual clutter. Not only don't they add anything, they actually detract from the message. They remind me of that tendency that many junior high school girls go through -- dotting each i with a little heart -- and that tendency that every semi-illiterate on the Internet uses -- ending every sentence with multiple exclamation points.

And animated graphical emoticons? I say, place the inventor of those in the same vat of boiling oil being heated for the inventor of the <BLINK> tag.

note to Brendan: I don't know how well I'll be able to "emote" less in posting, after all.

Emotion is fine, even often desirable. In the context of a forum like this, I admire it more if it is conveyed through words.

=====

Regarding Mickey/Bob diavlogs: I think I've seen them all, since the site began. For what it's worth, here is my sense of their dynamic: (1) They are truly friends who genuinely differ on some political points; (2) Mickey always likes to adopt the contrarian position, whether in conversation or while blogging; (3) Mickey likes to view himself as one who holds the Democrats' feet to the fire; (4) early on, Bob would often force "controversy," believing it made for more engaging TV, and still sometimes does this; and (6) sometimes Mickey adopts and/or clings to positions that truly enrage Bob.

brucds
03-15-2008, 01:30 PM
I'll reiterate that in no way do I acknowledge, or have you given evidence, that Wright's preaching is "bigoted" or "hateful." I've heard many of his sermons on cable TV and he is often angry, yes, but no more "bigoted and hateful" than the prophets or Jesus often were - the forebearers he uses as his foundational texts. Reject those texts as a secular person or whatever, but if you think that Wright is "bigoted and hateful" it's an indictment of his quite liberal and inclusive reading of the Bible, and there's no evidence there. Wright is not even remotely comparable to truly bigoted and hateful preachers like Fred Phelps, who you tried to equate him to. His anger is rooted in his own perception of the root and persistence of inequality, war, etc. Disagree with his profoundly Christian philosophy on those issues if you will, but calling his sermons "bigoted and hateful" is totally bogus.

Bloggin' Noggin
03-15-2008, 05:45 PM
Yes, I am disappointed. Obama statement is pathetic. I also saw him on TV tonight. It was embarrassing. The claim that he never knew Rev. Wright said such things is not credible, and it's demoralizing to watch Obama fibbing. He's trapped. It's sad.

I think it does matter how energetically people like me are about supporting Obama. It takes grassroots organizing to get elected, requiring a lot more than pulling a lever.

But only if enough less committed voters will pull that lever. And I seriously doubt that the really committed folks will stop working for him just because he explicitly says he disagrees with Wright. Why shouldn't he be allowed to disagree with his pastor?



That's not the point. These are tapes that play to the redneck fear of the "crazy n-word." The value of the tapes is not in the words, but in the spectacle of a black guy dancing around the podium, shouting in African American English, wearing African garb, and preaching in cadences that suggest indecency to staid Protestants.
But if you actually decouple what Wright says from the circus fireworks, there's not much there.

"God damn America!" and all the rest doesn't sound like much to YOU, Wonderment, but it's a powerful soundbite for much of the rest of the country. However out of context it may be, that sound byte alone would be far more damaging than anything John Kerry was caught saying. Of course, it's not the candidate himself. An opponent of Obama need not be playing on racism to use it against him. It is mere guilt by association of course. I think Obama shouldn't have denied hearing lines like that, he just should have pointed out that people often disagree with their priests and pastors. I certainly don't think his Huffpo statement was any huge betrayal of Wright or as a "disappointment."

This is why the Farakhan stories about Wright were not really making a huge impact. It took a video to reinforce prejudices (Hey, this guy reminds me of James Brown and Little Richard, haw, haw, haw!).

I think the Farrakhan stuff didn't work mainly because it was so loosely tied to Obama.

Wonderment
03-15-2008, 06:17 PM
I think Obama shouldn't have denied hearing lines like that, he just should have pointed out that people often disagree with their priests and pastors.

We agree on that.

Glenn Loury predicted this blowup a few weeks ago on BHeads, when he mentioned he had attended a funeral at the church in Chicago. It will be interesting to hear his response to the controversy.

Hopefully, the whole thing will be ancient history in a few days. Now, as opposed to later, may be a good time for Obama to clear the air on this and the Resko (is that his name?) matter. We'll see.

On "God Damn America," You're right, I'm not upset with that kind of rhetorical flourish. I tend to reserve my outrage for those clergy who bless America's wars, prisons, homophobia, social injustices and devastation of the environment.

Or course, "God damn America" is something that would be shocking and inappropriate for a politician like Obama to say, but I don't believe for a nanosecond that Barack doesn't understand the theme and sentiment of that sermon. Nor do I believe for a nanosecond that Barack is clueless or detached from the angry questioning of US foreign and domestic policy that exists among poor minorities in this country.

There is (as far as I can see) nothing that Rev. Wright supports, nothing on THE ISSUES, that is inconsistent with Obama's proposals.

This is VERY different from your typical right-wing preacher who support bans on abortions, de jure discrimination against gays and lesbians, teaching creationism in the schools, and so on.

bkjazfan
03-15-2008, 09:38 PM
Barak Obama has been doing some damage control on the subject of his minister. He said on Fox News that these statements by Reverend Wright were abberant. Brian Ross said on ABC News that on several taped sermons they bought from this church that these kind of inflammatory comments were on every tape. So, for some reason Senator Obama is playing this down when the facts speak otherwise. Of course, he wouldn't be as politician if he didn't lie sometimes. Nothing new here.

You_had_me_at_hello
03-16-2008, 09:56 AM
I'm wrestling with Wright's book now. For a book in the, broadly speaking, "Works on Science" genre I'm finding it to be a strangely intense experience (ok that doesn't make very much sense grammatically, but i'm going to let it stand). I also wanted to get his "The Moral Animal" which apparently was acclaimed by the NYTimes but I couldn't find it at my local bookstore, and it was checked out at the library. I think I will look a little further afield for it today.

Bloggin' Noggin
03-17-2008, 12:18 PM
Hi Wonderment,

Obama did do his best to clear up the Rezko thing recently -- took every question from the Chigago Tribune (http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/the_daily_dish/2008/03/the-chicago-tri.html)

I recognize that you may not disagree much with Wright, but that doesn't mean that much of the country agrees with him -- or wants someone to be president who agrees with him (or with those they take him to be speaking for based on the sound-bytes from those speeches).
If Obama shared that viewpoint and they thought that viewpoint would be wrong, and in fact dangerous for a president to hold, then there would be absolutely nothing racist or unfair about showing the Wright sermons or about voters deciding on that basis not to vote for Obama.
If I thought Obama shared (what I take to be) Wright's view of the world, I myself would not want him as president. This is not because I hate people with Wright's point of view or don't like people to be critical of US foreign policy, but because I think it would be dangerous for someone with those views to be president of the US.
The view I have in mind is one that sees the US as the snake in the garden of Eden: if only the US had just left the world alone, things would be fine. I'm certainly not one to think that US foreign policy has always been benevolently motivated or even in our long-term interest. But I think it's unrealistic not to realize that US foreign policy was formulated as a response to bad situations out in the wider world that the US didn't create. Even an ideally benevolent and foresighted power would face very difficult and morally questionable choices in the actual world. Such a power would be often faced with the dilemma of whether to sit back and let things go from bad to worse or to "get its hands dirty" by using the levers of power available to them in the actual world to make things better overall.
It sounds like you believe that where the choice is between "dirty hands" (e.g., working with a dictator or going to war) and making the world better on the whole, you would ALWAYS choose clean hands, no matter how much worse the world might end up being if we keep our hands clean. That's your prerogative, but most people are sufficiently consequentialist that they would not ALWAYS choose this way -- most people think that if consequences get bad enough, then you do work with a less than ideal regime or go to war.
I'm sure you will also point out that at least sometimes, we are simply mistaken in thinking that our choice is like this. Sometimes we are overlooking an option that keeps our hands clean and produces the best results. I don't disagree that this is sometimes the case (and has been the case in past foreign policy errors). But (unless you believe in Providence), it is deeply implausible that this is always the case.
At any rate, most people don't believe that the world is providentially arranged in this way, and most of them would prefer a president who would choose a morally dubious lesser of two evils over a much greater evil where our hands are kept clean. If people believe either that Obama is so out of touch with the real world that he thinks such conflicts never arise, or if he is such a moral purist that he would choose to let things get horrendously bad just to keep his hands clean, then they have every reason to vote against him. Nothing racist about that.

Of course, I don't think Obama falls into either camp, and I don't think his pastor's sermons are terribly strong evidence about what he believes. But it isn't entirely unreasonable to ask how far he does agree with what his pastor said (or seems to be saying), and vote accordingly. There's nothing racist about that wanting the president to be a pragmatist rather than an idealist. Even when I was more of an idealist myself, I think I'd have been rather afraid of electing too single-minded an idealist to the presidency.

Wonderment
03-17-2008, 03:36 PM
Of course, I don't think Obama falls into either camp, and I don't think his pastor's sermons are terribly strong evidence about what he believes. But it isn't entirely unreasonable to ask how far he does agree with what his pastor said (or seems to be saying), and vote accordingly. There's nothing racist about that wanting the president to be a pragmatist rather than an idealist. Even when I was more of an idealist myself, I think I'd have been rather afraid of electing too single-minded an idealist to the presidency.

You make some good points, BN, but I think you are arguing with me more than with Obama.

You seem to be saying that a legitimate fear is that Obama would be reluctant to wage a "just" war. But Obama is not a pacifist. He has made that abundantly clear. He has advocated, for example, an intensification of the war in Afghanistan, and it would be insane to think that position is a big con job that he, the closet idealist or pacifist, wouldn't follow up on. His claim to antiwar claim was based on the assertion, "I am NOT against all wars... just this war [Iraq]." (The Democrats did have a pacifist-idealist presidential candidate. His name was Dennis Kucinich, and I supported him until he withdrew. )

The Wright tapes are not about national defence. I am certain we could find countless examples of pacifist views coming from pastors Bush and Cheney have admired, yet no one is putting those tapes on national TV. In fact, we have the excellent historical precedent of Nixon's Quaker church condemning him (I believe this included his mother on the local level) and Bush's Methodist church firmly opposing the Iraq War.

The tapes will be used instead to illustrate a supposed lack of patriotism. I can see the collage of TV ad already: Michelle Obama not proud to be American clip, Wright and Obama hugging and smiling, Wright ranting about "God Damn America" and an AIDS plot in a CIA lab, and who-knows-what else they'll dig up from Obama supporters to reinforce the "traitor" meme.

This, I insist, is not about Wright's views and how they might influence Obama. It's about an "uppity preacher." Wright, if nothing else, epitomizes the stereotype of uppitiness. He out Al Sharptons Al Sharpton.

Wonderment
03-17-2008, 04:04 PM
>>Most voters, 56%, said Wright’s comments made them less likely to vote for Obama. That figure includes 44% of Democrats. Just 11% of voters say they are more likely to vote for Obama because of Wright’s comments.
However, among African-Americans, 29% said Wright’s comments made them more likely to support Obama. Just 18% said the opposite while 50% said Wright’s comments would have no impact.>>

bkjazfan
03-17-2008, 11:27 PM
This minister is causing Senator Obama problems. First, there was his less than specific explanation on Huffingtonpost. Then, the soft interview on cable news. Now, tomorrow a speech on race. Hopefully, he will give us straight talk not fluff. Isn't his campaign about change? Let's see some.

Bloggin' Noggin
03-18-2008, 12:50 PM
You make some good points, BN, but I think you are arguing with me more than with Obama.

You seem to be saying that a legitimate fear is that Obama would be reluctant to wage a "just" war. But Obama is not a pacifist. He has made that abundantly clear. He has advocated, for example, an intensification of the war in Afghanistan, and it would be insane to think that position is a big con job that he, the closet idealist or pacifist, wouldn't follow up on. His claim to antiwar claim was based on the assertion, "I am NOT against all wars... just this war [Iraq]." (The Democrats did have a pacifist-idealist presidential candidate. His name was Dennis Kucinich, and I supported him until he withdrew. )

The Wright tapes are not about national defence. I am certain we could find countless examples of pacifist views coming from pastors Bush and Cheney have admired, yet no one is putting those tapes on national TV. In fact, we have the excellent historical precedent of Nixon's Quaker church condemning him (I believe this included his mother on the local level) and Bush's Methodist church firmly opposing the Iraq War.

The tapes will be used instead to illustrate a supposed lack of patriotism. I can see the collage of TV ad already: Michelle Obama not proud to be American clip, Wright and Obama hugging and smiling, Wright ranting about "God Damn America" and an AIDS plot in a CIA lab, and who-knows-what else they'll dig up from Obama supporters to reinforce the "traitor" meme.

This, I insist, is not about Wright's views and how they might influence Obama. It's about an "uppity preacher." Wright, if nothing else, epitomizes the stereotype of uppitiness. He out Al Sharptons Al Sharpton.

I know Obama isn't a pacifist. And in fact, I think Wright's remarks don't actually show anything about what Obama believes -- and Obama has been fairly clear about his position, and I think those who put this video forward probably know pretty well that it doesn't reflect Obama's position. However, his past remarks have probably not reached the wide audience that the video has reached. He therefore needs to distance himself from the stuff he disagrees with.
I am disagreeing with you and not Obama. I have no trouble with Obama and remain a supporter. You wanted him not to distance himself, and I think he needed to.
I don't know if Wright is a pacifist, but I suspected that your view that Obama shouldn't distance himself was a result of your point of view about foreign affairs.
I'm not sure how you can say that the speeches had nothing to do with foreign affairs. Wright definitely seemed to endorse a more or less Chomskeyan view of the US and the world in his comments on 9/11: the US only has itself to blame for trying to be an imperial power.
I don't of course, deny that there is such a thing as "blowback" and it's silly to pretend that no one in the rest of the world could reasonably resent US foreign policy or its actions in support of that policy, the way the Republicans do.
What I'm saying is that, although I don't have a problem with activists and academics arguing that American power is largely a baneful force in the world, I don't want the president to think that. Of course, I want the president to have a sense of humility about what American power can achieve and a genuine concern for those our actions affect, but as the puller of the levers, I want him to evaluate American policies one-by-one and at the ground level rather than to take a black-and-white approach that says either that whatever America does is right or that whatever America does is wrong.
I don't myself worry that Obama takes such a manichaean view in either direction, but IF one assumes that Wright speaks for Obama (which many would do if Obama didn't distance himself), THEN one has a more substantive worry about him than whether or not he is sufficiently "patriotic." Of course, I think one would want a president who loved his country -- one who was willing to betray it would be a bad thing. But of course, Republicans do try to paint anything critical of US actions as unpatriotic. However, I am inclined to believe that some on the left help give this unreasonable position unnecessary credence. There really are "Blame America Firsters," and Wright's comments on 9/11 give the impression of belonging to this school.

(I don't blame the far left more than the far right, though. "America can do no wrong, and you're unpatriotic if you suggest it can" is the view that the Blame-America-Firsters are overreacting to -- or shall I say "rebelling against"? That view is pretty dangerous when someone who holds it comes to power too!)

Wonderment
03-18-2008, 05:51 PM
I know Obama isn't a pacifist. And in fact, I think Wright's remarks don't actually show anything about what Obama believes -- and Obama has been fairly clear about his position, and I think those who put this video forward probably know pretty well that it doesn't reflect Obama's position. However, his past remarks have probably not reached the wide audience that the video has reached. He therefore needs to distance himself from the stuff he disagrees with.
I am disagreeing with you and not Obama. I have no trouble with Obama and remain a supporter. You wanted him not to distance himself, and I think he needed to.

I think he ended up doing what was best for his campaign after having been Swiftboated by right-wing TV. Obama really had little choice but to make a great speech after FOX looped a deranged-looking (to white foks) Wright for 48 straight hours or so.

Barack turned the whole thing into an opportunity to speak to liberal America. That's a good thing. But Republicans know that the independent non-college educated white voter will have forgotten the speech by tommorow and will never forget the caricature of Rev. Wright screaming "God damn America."

The smear worked. Rev. Wright is Willie Horton.

bkjazfan
03-18-2008, 08:59 PM
I am surprised that the Obama campaign did not prepare for the fallout over Senator Obama's close friend and spiritual advisor Jeremiah Wright. Knowing of the good reverend's rabid anti-white and anti-American views it is indeed a "head scratcher."