PDA

View Full Version : Barack vs. Jeremiah


Bloggingheads
05-01-2008, 04:18 PM

graz
05-01-2008, 05:36 PM
Barack and Jeremiah may have been the subject, but it was really a showcase for a greater understanding of the mind and heart of Glenn Loury. Without having to spell it out, he came clean with his reason for supporting Clinton over Obama. It isn't passion for her as much as his soul wrenching disappointment with the failure of Obama to embrace the legitimate long standing black issues that Glenn would like to be tackled head-on and not subsumed by the "new politics" as offered by Obama. Glenn has previously hinted that an opportunity for a black candidate to tackle these issues should not be wasted on a post-racial methodology. I think Glenn would rather see Obama fail, not out of spite, but because his success does more than set-back his concerns - it glosses over or in its worst aspects will disregard the approach that Glenn requires. I don't mean to suggest that the approach I'm speculating about is all race-related either; it encompasses prison reform, imperialism, self awareness and community relations.
I think Josh made an important point to his friend in pointing out that we are reduced to three candidates after all. So don't allow the Wright prism to confuse the choice at hand.
I'm looking forward to both of these guys reopening this thread in the future.
Thanks to both.

StillmanThomas
05-01-2008, 05:40 PM
Wow! This is a searing, scintillating, passionate, gut-wrenching conversation. I simply can't thank both of these gentlemen enough for giving us so many wonderful diavlogs over the months. I'm going to have to listen to this again, because there were so many points I want to ponder and perhaps write about.

First of all, I think it's absolutely vital to hear Jeremiah Wright as a prophet, in the Biblical sense. That doesn't mean that he predicts the future, as many of us misunderstand prophecy nowadays. It means that he brings spiritual exhortation and frequently warning or discipline. The snippets of his sermons that made it to YouTube were literally part of a Jeremiad that he believes it's his mission to bring. If you believe in coincidence, then it's ironic that his name is Jeremiah. Otherwise, it's somehow foreordained. Anyway, it's useful to read the book of Jeremiah in the Old Testament to see what he had to say about his country (Israel) around 650 B.C. The parallels between that old prophet and this new one are striking.

I believe one of the great problems of modern Christianity (especially Protestant fundamentalism), is that it has lost the ability to hear and understand that the exhortations of Jesus and Jeremiah (to cite two prophets) apply to us, equally, today. The problems of the Pharisees (being overly literal, a lack of compassion, condemning anyone who is not legalistic) are exactly the problems of fundamentalists today. The right wing zealots who are condemning Jeremiah Wright are sitting in their pews, listening to their preachers read from Jeremiah, and are absolutely blind to the fact that the message of prophecy is the same then as it is now.

Preaching that "the chickens will come home to roost" is simply a homely way of saying that our actions have consequences. More than any other failing, I think America's insane belief that we can live in a consequence-free world is destroying us. That's what Jeremiah Wright is saying, if you have ears to hear.

rfannan
05-01-2008, 05:50 PM
Unlike what Glenn says, Barack did not say or indicate that he was leaving his church. He only said that he was disavowing the retired pastor of that church. He's under no obligation now to cease going to that church or to find another church

otto
05-01-2008, 05:56 PM
Seems to do more bloggingheads than Mickey these days.

Eastwest
05-01-2008, 06:03 PM
Gosh, Glenn, I get why you're angry, but you've lost your balance here.

I carefully watched more than half of Wright-Moyers, the whole NAACP show, and the whole Press Club bit.

As much sympathy as I had for Wright (having resisted programming by mini-clips), I made a cool-eyed evaluation: "Attack on the Black Church" (and much else) holds no water, period.

I'm sorry, but Wright's a hate-warped buffoon with 80% correct analysis torpedoed by 20% big-mouth, small-mind, delusional BS so off-the-map (even for me, a 60's radical), that I can't see him as anything but destructive and toxic in intent, and not such as a thinking man can take seriously.

That Barack would listen to this for 20 years (even for political strategy reasons) without up-chucking and leaving is incomprehensible. I don't see, even given your comments, how you can defend Wright, even as a justification for your well known stance (which I share) that Hillary is the better candidate. Obama did the right Wright think. He just did it 20 years too late, showing himself to be a man of only weak powers of judgment.

Obama will pay for this by now being unelectable.

EW

Wonderment
05-01-2008, 06:39 PM
Jermiah Wright was on the right track when he said that he would be Barack's foremost critic starting on the day after he won the election and the day after innauguration.

Wright could have been a powerful social justice critic of the Obama administration. His views are clearly to the left of Obama and are largely shared by people like Glenn, Josh (and me).

Unfortunately, the Rev. couldn't keep his mouth shut until election day. That was mistake number 1. He hurt Obama and played into Clinton and McCain's hands.

And then he blew all credibility big time by reiterating the crackpot AIDs theory and by supporting Farrakhan (a guy at least as nutty as Jerry Falwell) as one of the great minds of the last 100 years.

Sgt Schultz
05-01-2008, 07:05 PM
Hasn't Wright received the package?
The package from Farrakhan.
The package which Farrakhan's minions retrieved from the mothership.
The CURE TO BLACK AIDS package.

Maybe he has received that package.
But only the 8,000 select parishioners get the treatment.
Because they kling to the Right Reverend Wright.
Klingons?

PandoraHope
05-01-2008, 07:06 PM
Thank you Glenn, your discussion was fascinating.

I think you're right, they prayed together before he started and, I think that Obama must have reneged on what they said.

I am the same age as Obama and by a strange twist of fate have a very similar life story to his. We survived real hardship because of my "typical" white mother's courage and abnegation. She didn't, she died at 39 (another reason why I disagree with his healthcare plan, sometimes you are too poor to pay even peanuts, healthcare should be universal, because we're all human beings). I was profoundly offended when he threw his "typical" white grandmother under the bus. I was also profoundly disgusted when he said his pastor was cockadoodle because he was "old". Obama should have stood up and said my gran right or wrong, my pastor right or wrong, and anyone who disrespects them should come to me first. I felt what he said was ageist and racist.

Obama is a good guy (I think, it's hard to tell, he never stands up for what he believes) but he needed to get himself together for all this. He's a rookie. I think his life paradoxically has also been too easy. He doesn't have a resumé he can point to and say "this is what I stand for".


I think the first black pres will be a Rebublican, because they don't have to wade through all these problems.


I don't agree with you at all on militant Islam, it is as unpleasant as is said. They really do hate us for what we are, prosperous and above all free, not what what we do. It is especially unpleasant to women.

wssjunku
05-01-2008, 07:36 PM
Graz said:
Barack and Jeremiah may have been the subject, but it was really a showcase for a greater understanding of the mind and heart of Glenn Loury. Without having to spell it out, he came clean with his reason for supporting Clinton over Obama. It isn't passion for her as much as his soul wrenching disappointment with the failure of Obama to embrace the legitimate long standing black issues that Glenn would like to be tackled head-on and not subsumed by the "new politics" as offered by Obama.

Couldn't agree more. I think Glenn Loury feels so strongly about this that he would rather have blacks never enter the American political mainstream if it means surrendering black grievances and criticisms of America. He is angry because he and perhaps Rev. Wright see the Obama candidacy as a bait and switch for Black America. Once we get a black president, the rest of the country will simply declare the race problem over and move on to something else while the black incarceration rate and numerous other problems will continue as before. And past injustices will go forever unaddressed because "Hey, we have a black president! What more can you ask for?" Glenn sees 95 percent of black voters falling for what he sees as a con job.

I just wish that Glenn and others who feel as he does would consider the possibility that some of the societal problems falling particularly hard on blacks would be eased by blacks entering the mainstream of American politics and participating not as permanent outsiders forever wagging their finger at America (and being ignored by both parties) but as active participants and contributors.

bjkeefe
05-01-2008, 07:53 PM
wssjunku:

I agree with you and graz in how I heard Glenn. This also resonated with me:

I just wish that Glenn and others who feel as he does would consider the possibility that some of the societal problems falling particularly hard on blacks would be eased by blacks entering the mainstream of American politics and participating not as permanent outsiders forever wagging their finger at America (and being ignored by both parties) but as active participants and contributors.

I wonder if the attitude expressed by Glenn, and his interpretation of Wright's motivations, has the problem of letting the perfect be the enemy of the good. It seems to me that there is no way to heal racial problems in this country, or anywhere else, except in the imperfect way we have been -- fits and starts, some steps back for every set of steps forward, and, admittedly, no way around this: some people's concerns never getting fully addressed. On the other hand, for all of the shortcomings of this approach, we can say that progress has been made. Too slowly, and lots of problems remain, admittedly. But there has been progress.

It also seems to me that when trying to fix racial problems, it's almost impossible to change the minds of many, if not most, older people. And on a related note, their view of things will be different from the view of the next generation. So I can understand why Glenn would think that it's too soon to be "post-racial," but I wish he could understand that people a generation or two younger than him might truly see things this way, or at least, partly this way.

If there's a better way to fix the problems of racial divide in this country, I'd be glad to hear about it. In the meantime, it seems to me that all we can do is muddle forward. Having Barack Obama be president will not fix the problems, but it does seem to me that he'd be a big help in this muddling forward.

Also, as you noted, the reality is that there are three candidates left to choose from. When I think about the other concerns Glenn and Wright have, regarding the US as imperialist, for example, I wish that they would remember those factors, too. Obama is not the perfect choice, but it seems to me that he's the best available, even from Glenn's and Wright's perspective.

bjkeefe
05-01-2008, 07:54 PM
Bokonon:

Well said, especially your last paragraph.

Wonderment
05-01-2008, 08:59 PM
I think Glenn Loury feels so strongly about this that he would rather have blacks never enter the American political mainstream if it means surrendering black grievances and criticisms of America. He is angry because he and perhaps Rev. Wright see the Obama candidacy as a bait and switch for Black America.

I didn't get that from Glenn, although I think it's a fair point. All I got from Glenn is a Hillary supporter. He's not a supporter of a candidate to the left of Barack, such as Ralph Nader or Cynthia McKinny, who would address issues like the incarceration epidemic, imperialism, etc.

All Glenn was trying to do, in my view, was to explain where Rev. Wright was coming from. What Wright may have resented most was the assumption by the media that he was pro-Obama in his politics. But Wright was never been pro-Obama except in his pastorship. He has no obligation to support the political views of Obama, and he doesn't.

Like scores of people I know, Wright apparently feels it doesn't really matter who the Dems. nominate; he or she will still be an establishment Democrat who represents the System.

Happy Hominid
05-01-2008, 09:04 PM
Glenn renegotiates his Bh.tv contract (http://www.bloggingheads.tv/diavlogs/10710?in=00:00:04&out=00:00:20)

handle
05-01-2008, 09:43 PM
I have never seen more words and emotions pasted on someone (Glenn) who I see as being almost as objective as a person can get. Glenn has reiterated from the outset that he has no problem with an Obama presidency, as, I am sure are large percentage of Americans. The issue is, and has always been, who can win against the corporate attack machine. Some of us look at the Clinton record and see a person who has sustained perhaps the worst and most relentless smear
campaigns in US history, and yet remains extremely popular.
I found it difficult to get swept up in the Obama rock star movement, as wonderful as it is, because, like Glenn I suspect, I've seen too much of the kind of destruction we are beginning to see now. You can blame Hillary, but she's got nothing on Rupert & Co. when it comes to undermining the transcendence of "old school politics".
I mean no harm or disrespect to Obama and his supporters, and I share your
frustration, but I have to point out how quickly euphoria can turn to anger in
this post-Roveian political climate.

bjkeefe
05-01-2008, 09:51 PM
handle:

I agree with most of what you said, but I don't agree that Hillary Clinton "remains extremely popular." There is a core of people who will never hold anything except the most rigidly negative view of her. That was true before the campaign started, and it has only increased since. If she were to win the presidency, she would go into office with at least 40-45% "strongly negative" ratings, and unless she pulled off a few miracles, those numbers would only go up. Additionally, many people who would have voted for her, like me and most other Obama supporters, would only have done so in the sense of voting for the less objectionable candidate.

I agree that there has been a diminishing of euphoria about Obama, but he still doesn't have anywhere the strong negatives that Clinton has, and I expect that were he to win, there wouldn't be as many Democrats who would feel no better than permanently resigned to him as they would with Clinton.

swmayhew
05-01-2008, 10:11 PM
Fascinating exchange. My amazement was that neither talked about the fact that it is Obama's dealing with Wright that is the critical point. The fact that Obama first denied that he'd heard Wright's hate speech, then said that he did is the crack in his armor. The stupidity of his campaign which has been so slick is that it didn't anticipate that Wright's rantings would do damage.

Wright is right - Obama is no different - he is a clever politician and nothing new.

rcocean
05-01-2008, 10:12 PM
Damn, would Josh ever shut Up! I want to listen to Glenn - who has a wealth of knowledge on the subject - talk about Wright and Obama. Instead I have to listen to a cookie-cutter white liberal from Palo Alto yap and yap - uttering nothing but a bunch of inane cliches.

So thanks Glenn, I hope you and John do a divalog on this.

P.S. - No offense to Josh, but is this guy a friend of Bob Wright? Or is he on because he represents BHTV's target audience? I find him boring, he's a walking cliche and talks too much.

Namazu
05-01-2008, 10:24 PM
Kudos to Glenn for the insight and candor he consistently delivers. I wish Josh had done less talking and more listening.

graz
05-01-2008, 10:30 PM
I have never seen more words and emotions pasted on someone (Glen) who I see as being almost as objective as a person can get.

In fairness to Glenn, I agree that I took liberties with a reading of his reaction that isn't fully supported by the current diavlog. His focus was Wright and I expanded the lens. My inclination remains the same, but I want to concede the point.
I didn't make clear that my take is informed by the full record of his most recent diavlogs with Josh and McWhorter.
Wonderment also makes a fair point that the issues that most concern Glenn would be more likely addressed by an alternative type candidate. So his choice of Clinton over Obama makes the charge moot. That seems plausible, but I am not persuaded.

bkjazfan
05-01-2008, 10:52 PM
I agree with Glenn that Wright's congregants are going to side with their pastor. Afterall, they bought him a mansion in an upscale neighborhood along with a 10,000,000 dollar line of credit.

Barak Obama is running for president of the United States not South Chicago. His audience is broader than Cornell West and Louis Farrakan.

John

brucds
05-01-2008, 11:03 PM
It's totaly bizarre for Glenn to oppose Obama from a "left" perspective. Everything he says in his critique of U.S. foriegn policy, et. al. is true. But to cling to those views and support Clinton's candidacy on the basis of Obama not sharing the gamut of his views is, not to put too fine a point on it, totally asinine and horseshit of the "highest" order. Not impressive. Sad, actually. If he's concerned about the Middle East, the Senator from New York is about as bad as it gets within the Democratic Party. The good professor needs to grow up. If he's "serious" he should cross over to Nader. Otherwise he sounds foolish and remarkably hypocritical. I like Glenn but he's beginning to sound more than a bit ridiculous.

bjkeefe
05-01-2008, 11:11 PM
rcocean:

I wish you would think about how it makes you feel when someone is dismissed out of hand for being a standard-issue conservative from the Heritage Foundation, uttering nothing but the same old stale talking points.

I will grant that it would be nice if Josh could be more succinct on occasion. On the other hand, I often think he takes extra time because he's trying to be precise or trying to tease out a subtle nuance. I suppose his worldview is so different from yours that you fail to see the possibility of any distinctions within that view, but for someone else, like me, say, those distinctions exist and need to be spelled out, particularly on topics as complex as those involving race.

bjkeefe
05-01-2008, 11:18 PM
brucds:

I take your point as far as comparing Clinton and Obama, but it seemed to me that Glenn wasn't really so much saying this. He was saying something more along the lines of, "Obama is not as much of a completely different candidate as his supporters would like to think."

There's a second part, in that Glenn has stated in other diavlogs that his main reason for preferring Clinton is the "grownups in charge" theory.

Now, I happen not to agree completely with Glenn on either point, particularly the second, but I do think there is something to what he says on the first. That is, I also think Obama will be hamstrung by reality in some foreign policy matters, and that he does have some hawkish and America-first views, which make him less different than one might like.

brucds
05-01-2008, 11:19 PM
The shorter Glenn Loury: Fear of a Black White House.

Thanks for attempting to send us back into the '90s when the Clintons weakened the Democratic Party. Share your champagne toast to Hillary with Nader. You've made your conception of the perfect, to steal BJKIeefe's line, the enemy of "the good", i.e. moving us forward even incrementally. Nice job - if you've got an academic perch in the Ivy League. Black folks, unfortunately, who don't share your good fortune in the white world will suffer.

brucds
05-01-2008, 11:24 PM
bj - I take your point, but as an Obama supporter who knows many others in the "out of touch" Bay Area, as well as some in the midwest, we're not that naive. This is presidential politics. One of the great things about Obama is that he doesn't make promises that he can't keep and is realistic - and I've heard him make the point explicitly to a roomful of his supporters that he can't make the kind of change we need from the Oval Office. It's on us. Unfortunately folks like Glenn are part of the problem by clinging to a politician who will reinforce the status quo rather than challenge people to change it. I've lost any affection for this guy.

brucds
05-01-2008, 11:31 PM
Re: the "grownups in charge" theory.

Grownups who enable the neocons and pander to white racism. Also grownups whose tenure weakened the Democrats, sank health care reform for a decade and a half and reduced our political life to a televised family soap opera. Just what the country needs at this juncture...

bjkeefe
05-01-2008, 11:34 PM
brucds:

I agree with you about Obama being different, more honest than most politicians, realistic about how much he'll be able to do himself, and Clinton as a continuation of the status quo.

I do not agree with you about having lost affection for Glenn. Even as I wish he would support my candidate of choice, I continue to think he's incisive, correct on a whole bunch of things, and always teaches me a lot.

piscivorous
05-01-2008, 11:36 PM
I'd save it for Science Saturday but this looks pretty interesting The Algae Economy? (http://www.blog.speculist.com/archives/001722.html)

bjkeefe
05-01-2008, 11:38 PM
brucds:

I don't think that's quite what Glenn has in mind when he gives voice to "grownups in charge." Be honest. You know he means something else; e.g., the ability to win at the political game in order to get legislation passed and the ability to manage crises.

I'm with you in worrying that a Clinton Administration would also manifest in the ways that you suggest, but I think Glenn's views deserve a little more respect and a little less caricaturization.

brucds
05-01-2008, 11:49 PM
bj - Glenn is the one who needs to "be honest." I couldn't be more honest in my description of what we can assume about Hillary. I want the Democratic Party to be stronger at the grassroots, not weaker under another 8 years of Clinton hegemeongy. This is pretty basic stuff. Glenn is simply full of it in choosing Clinton over Obama if he's sincere the foreign policy concerns he claims. "Grownups in charge" is a very cynical notion in this context. Nor is it defensible on the basis of the Clinton record.

What's that definition of insanity ? Glenn has succumbed to it.

brucds
05-01-2008, 11:50 PM
"hegemony"...sorry

bjkeefe
05-01-2008, 11:53 PM
brucds:

If you think about how much it annoys you when an Obama-hater says you're being dishonest for failing to see the "real" Obama, maybe you'll be able to see why I say I don't think Glenn is being dishonest, and why I wish you wouldn't say so. The man has clearly thought long and hard about this and has -- unfortunately for us -- come to different conclusions. I don't agree with his assessment, and I do think he's holding Obama to too high a standard, but he's not being a liar about it.

brucds
05-01-2008, 11:55 PM
Glenn "always teaches me a lot"

I can't afford Brown tuition, I'm not nineteen years old and my primary political concern is to see the Democratic party move forward, not backward. Given that, Glenn's argument here doesn't impress me. Not even a little.

brucds
05-01-2008, 11:56 PM
"The man has clearly thought long and hard about this"

So have I (and without any detours through the American Enterprise Institute.)

bjkeefe
05-02-2008, 12:03 AM
"The man has clearly thought long and hard about this"

So have I (and without any detours through the American Enterprise Institute.)

Heh. I actually give more credence to his thinking because of his ideological journey, for some reason. Maybe it's because it suggests he's put more effort into seeing both sides. Or maybe it's because since he made such a big change, he had to be very sure about those things that he now sees differently.

bjkeefe
05-02-2008, 12:04 AM
Glenn "always teaches me a lot"

I can't afford Brown tuition, I'm not nineteen years old and my primary political concern is to see the Democratic party move forward, not backward. Given that, Glenn's argument here doesn't impress me. Not even a little.

We both want the Democrats to move forward, not to mention the whole country.

I'm not nineteen, either, nor can I afford the tuition. Still, I learn from Glenn through the good fortune of this other channel. And as much as I disagree with him about who'd make the better president, I still respect a lot else of what he has to offer.

We've both had our say, and neither of us will budge. I guess I'll leave it there.

brucds
05-02-2008, 12:17 AM
P.S. to BJK: "Grownups" don't pander to voters with a "gas tax holiday."

brucds
05-02-2008, 12:18 AM
Look, I've found Glenn to be an interesting and intelligent commentator. But there's a point at which my self-respect and common sense trumps my fascination with the "journey" of the learned professor.

bjkeefe
05-02-2008, 12:20 AM
P.S. to BJK: "Grownups" don't pander to voters with a "gas tax holiday."

No disagreement there. None whatsoever.

bjkeefe
05-02-2008, 12:21 AM
Look, I've found Glenn to be an interesting and intelligent commentator. But there's a point at which my self-respect and common sense trumps my fascination with the "journey" of the learned professor.

Okay. Noted. I haven't been trumped yet, I guess.

Wonderment
05-02-2008, 12:23 AM
I would also like to say a good word about Glenn. He is obviously a deep thinker, great teacher and compassionate human being.

He is certainly not "lying" about his support for Clinton. He has an opinion that she would better advance a social, economic and environmental justice agenda than Obama. Although I disagree, the two are very close on most domestic issues, and Clinton may well have a better healthcare plan.

Clinton is much harder to defend on foreign policy. She represents the hawk wing of the Democratic Party. I preferred Richardson, Edwards, Kucinich and Obama and Dodd over her on those grounds.

But there's really not a lot to go on with Obama that suggests he's less hawkish. Just the early opposition to Iraq before he was in the Senate. If you're unimpressed with that (as Glenn may be), then the argument that Obama is less hawkish than Hillary may not be so compelling.

brucds
05-02-2008, 12:27 AM
"the argument that Obama is less hawkish than Hillary may not be so compelling"

But it's a hell of a lot more compelling than an argument that Barack hasn't broken definitively with the conventional wisdom on issues and party rhetoric related to the Middle East and turning to Hillary as the better candidate. That's remarkably disingenuous. As I said, what's that definition of insanity ?

Bob M
05-02-2008, 12:28 AM
Glenn Loury seems to have such a rare ability to speak honestly, passionately and intelligently and he seems so emotionally honest and upfront that I wonder if he is not as tolerant of the brilliant (or not so brilliant, as the case may be) disguises that the rest of us often deploy.

Yes, Barack Obama has constructed a narrative about himself, and yes he has tried to sell that narrative to the American people. And I am a little uncomfortable with Obama as a candidate because I see him running on his personal virtue and life story and on political process issues rather than on the policies he would implement in office. So while I tend to agree with the Paul Krugman-David Greenberg (and perhaps Glenn Loury) assessment of Obama, I also think that all people (and especially all political candidates) construct narratives about themselves and sell those narratives to other people (and often to themselves). So I guess I might view Obama more sympathetically than Loury seems to.

I see the dispute (if that's the right word) between Obama and Wright as a tragedy for both men. And I mean "tragedy" in the dramatic sense that the unraveling of their relationship almost seems like the inevitable result of two good people acting according to their respective natures to outside events and cultural forces and ending up in a place that I suspect neither really wanted to end up.

A proud pastor who has devoted his life to good works and to what he sees as the truth finds himself turned into a caricature and rejected by our culture for a few of his most outrageous statements. I suspect that Wright sees himself (probably justifiably) as better than the culture that is rejecting him. Of course, he is going to be outspoken, and of course, he is going to eventually repeat one of the statements that got him in trouble ("show his butt," as Glenn characterizes it).

An ambitious politician with noble aspirations, whose very self-identity (or self-narrarative, if you prefer) is one of transcending race and being a uniter is on the verge of getting the Democratic Party's nomination for President. He finds himself backed in a corner where he feels that he either has to renounce a beloved pastor or reject the predominant culture as a whole and possibly pass up the opportunity to run for President as a viable nominee. Of course, he is going to do what he did.

I'd like to say that I would have behaved differently than either Obama or Wright in their situations, but I doubt that I would have. So, in the end, I think I have to agree with Josh. It is just a sad story.

themightypuck
05-02-2008, 12:55 AM
Where's the cynicism? This is obviously a manufactured fight to give Obama a face saving way to ditch Wright six months before the election.

brucds
05-02-2008, 01:04 AM
In your comment ?

themightypuck
05-02-2008, 01:23 AM
I suppose I was being cynical suggesting that that reading was cynical.

rgajria
05-02-2008, 03:10 AM
This is a fascinating diavlog that needs to be heard a few times to be absorbed and understood.
Thank you Professor Loury and Professor Cohen.

rgajria
05-02-2008, 03:18 AM
"Obama is not the perfect choice, but it seems to me that he's the best available, even from Glenn's and Wright's perspective."

Exactly!!!

rgajria
05-02-2008, 04:08 AM
Fascinating story here about Professor Glen Loury.

http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9C01E1DE1238F933A15752C0A9649C8B 63&sec=&spon=&pagewanted=all

bjkeefe
05-02-2008, 04:33 AM
That was pretty good. Thanks, rgajria.

sharkdog
05-02-2008, 07:29 AM
Both of these guys are absolutley nuts. Liberation Theology is nothing more than trying to redfine the disasterous ideology of Marxist-Lennonism usng Christian termenology. Black liberation theology simply puts a black spin on it. It is all pure crap.

graz
05-02-2008, 10:01 AM
[QUOTE=sharkdog; Liberation Theology is nothing more than trying to redfine the disasterous ideology of Marxist-Lennonism usng Christian termenology. [/QUOTE]

No your thinking of McCartney/Lennon.

bkjazfan
05-02-2008, 10:50 AM
This belief that Reverend Wright being some kind of noble theologian/pastor is one that escapes me. One of his clams to fame is he has 8,000 congregants and that is proof pudding that he is a wonderful man. I don't think so. Afterall, how many does Reverend Moon have? Probably more. There is no way to escape the fact that he is a hateful borderline lunatic.

John

Bloggin' Noggin
05-02-2008, 11:49 AM
This was a fascinating discussion -- and more passionate than I recall either of these diavloggers being.
I think Glenn's position is very interesting: it really does seem that he could not support any potentially electable black presidential candidate. An electable black candidate is going to have to make peace with the majority of the white majority (by which I mean the majority of whites who are fairly blind to racism and (more importantly) the legacy of racism, and therefore think Affirmative Action is completely unnecessary and even "racist".
But Glenn feels in his bones that such a compromise amounts to a betrayal and sends a message that confirms this majority white view. Rather perversely, therefore, Glenn seemingly cannot support a black candidate (who could actually win). Maybe that's an overstatement -- let's say that a black candidate who could win has to face an extra hurdle with Glenn. If he were more experienced than Hillary and had uniformly better policies than Hillary, maybe Obama could overcome Glenn's extra hurdle. It's funny in a way, because even a white politician is limited by those very same white voters, though I guess one can argue that a white politician will automatically have a bit more of their trust, and can therefore do a bit more of the Nixon-to-China thing with race.
And in a way this makes sense: Mickey is of course hoping that Obama, as a black man, can do the Nixon-to-China thing with blacks, getting them to substitute class-based affirmative action for race-based.
Glenn's view seems quite similar to Shelby Steele's, but Steele seems (on the basis of the little I've read about what he says -- I haven't read the book) to take Obama as more of a tragic figure. Glenn seems angry with Obama and seems unwilling to take him as well-intentioned and basically honest (as honest as a politician can be).

I see things differently. It's not hard to see that the Republicans have basically won the argument over affirmative action (and a number of other issues) with respect to majority of Americans. I am not convinced personally by the conservative arguments against race-based affirmative action, but the argument has been lost politically. Yet problems remain -- I think we need to recognize the problems that remain and try to solve them, but we need to find another approach that can fly better with the majority of whites. It's therefore not much of a leap for me to think Obama sees things this way as well -- it's not hard for me to see his political strategy as fairly closely aligned with what he thinks actually needs to be done.
Glenn charges Obama with a kind of "stealth candidacy" -- which is clearly what a fair number of whites worry about (that's the whole point of the guilt-by-association attacks on Obama). I think Glenn is being rather forgetful of political reality and of recent history. Bill Clinton was also sold to liberals as a kind of stealth liberal. For that matter, Laura Bush and Dick Cheney have been used by the Bush administration to present a more moderate image of the Bush administration in connection with culture war issues, like abortion and homosexuality.
I don't think Obama is running a stealth candidacy, nor do I think his cross-over appeal is merely a branding exercise based on vague, meaningless nostrums. I think he's trying to be a "reality-based" liberal -- one who has liberal ends, but recognizes that conservatives won some arguments politically and other arguments on the merits: certain old-style liberal means to these ends were insufficiently aware of market forces and really did produce perverse incentives. So, I see him in a way, as basically in the Bill Clinton mold. I'm sure he'll disappoint people in pretty much the way Bill Clinton did too -- we shouldn't forget how much Clinton was excoriated by the left. Impeachment was the only thing that got the left to rally around Bill. The current era is a lot more liberal (or at least this moment is a lot more liberal) than the '90s were, and maybe Obama, in contrast to Bill, will disappoint the right more than the left. And to some degree, he'll disappoint both -- but that's just an unavoidable part of politics.
I liked it when Josh called Glenn on psychologizing Obama too much -- on reading a lot of pre-conceived ideas into Obama's actions -- in a way that Glenn had objected to when it was directed at him. And Glenn's reaction spoke well of his fair-mindedness.

Scoop Jackson
05-02-2008, 12:32 PM
Josh's quotes Martin Luther King Jr. in 1967 saying that America "is the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today" and that quote seems to be music to Glenn's ears. King's statement was effective anti-war propaganda at the time but with the benefit of history, we know now it was a poor desciption of the world in 1967. That period was the height of the Chinese Cultural Revolution, an event not well understood outside China at the time but now known to have been incredibly violent and repressive. The Soviet Union also "purveyed" much violence and deprivation against its own people and those of its satellite states during the 1960's. So did the regime in North Korea, still in power today. If Josh thinks King's statement is or was literally true then he is not much of a political scientist.

King was a great man but he was fallible, especially on foreign policy where he had little knowledge and almost no direct experience. And tragically his views are frozen in time. If King were alive today, he might not stand behind some of his ill-informed statements from back then. Who among us still holds the exact same opinions on subjects where we initially lacked information after 40 years? Only the ideologues.

But Obama might not be an ideologue. He might be able to pick and choose among the various parts of King's legacy. He might understand that no President who adopted King's late 60's views on American foreign policy would (or should) be successful today. He might repudiate not just Rev. Wright but implicitly also the problematic side of Rev. King. It is too soon to tell where Obama really stands. I'm going to like him more if he in fact turns out to be the kind of leader Glenn fears he is.

Bloggin' Noggin
05-02-2008, 12:50 PM
Wright's most damaging remark about Obama reminds me of Kinsley's definition of a "gaffe" as "when a politician tells the truth." Wright isn't a politician, and he may not care about whether Obama gets elected, so maybe it wasn't a gaffe, but I think what he actually said is pretty much the truth. The trouble lies in his saying it and in what else we may read into it.

The job of a pastor (as Wright sees it, at least) is to lay down high moral standards and get people to look at their lives and ask themselves whether they are living up to those standards.
The job of a politician is to build coalitions of very imperfect people who disagree about a lot around certain practically achievable aims. If Lincoln had been a pastor, he would have simply denounced slavery (there's no doubt he regarded it as evil all along). But as a politician, Lincoln had to recognize political and Constitutional realities and go for something achievable -- the limitation of slavery to those states that already accepted it. That didn't make him a "stealth candidate" or a "liar" -- it made him a politician with a genuine loathing of slavery who realized that his option was either to limit slavery or leave it absolutely unlimited.
Pastors want us to see the moral truth and how far we fall short -- they shouldn't compromise. Politicians aim to achieve something, and they must compromise, accepting half a loaf when they can't get the whole.

Of course, people read into Wright's statement the view that Obama secretly believes everything Wright believes and they worry that once elected, Obama can suddenly throw off his cloak of secrecy and start governing as Wright might govern if he were king (e.g., looking for the proof that the CIA invented HIV). But what that paranoid fantasy neglects is that Obama IS a politician and that he won't be king. If he's to get anything done, he needs to keep his coalition with him as far as possible after the election, and the very fact that Obama acts as a politician on the campaign trail shows that he's perfectly aware of the constraints that political reality and his coalition place on him, and will continue to place on him when he reaches the oval office. Even if he believed everything Wright said (and I'm sure he does not), he'd still know that he couldn't govern as Wright would if he were king.

In fact, as I said, Obama surely doesn't agree with Wright (though as Glenn points out, he probably does underplay the nuances of his actual views that would bring him a bit closer to Wright), and I think the difference is more or less what he said it was -- essentially, he agrees (and Wright does not) with Bill Clinton's belief that "there isn't a thing wrong with America that can't be put right by what's right with America" (or whatever the exact quote was). Obama wouldn't run for the presidency if he didn't believe (or at least hope) that he really could bring together, not only African Americans, but whites and hispanics, to achieve -- not heaven on earth -- but anyway, a better state of affairs than currently exists. Without that hope, he'd be a lawyer or a community organizer or something other than a presidential candidate.

Bloggin' Noggin
05-02-2008, 01:18 PM
Yes, that was indeed fascinating. Thanks for the link!
I thought this was a great line:
He often talks about his past self as if he were someone else, as if the only thing the two Lourys had in common were a body.

graz
05-02-2008, 01:21 PM
[QUOTE=Bloggin' Noggin;
The job of a politician is to build coalitions of very imperfect people who disagree about a lot around certain practically achievable aims. If Lincoln had been a pastor, he would have simply denounced slavery (there's no doubt he regarded it as evil all along). But as a politician, Lincoln had to recognize political and Constitutional realities and go for something achievable -- the limitation of slavery to those states that already accepted it. That didn't make him a "stealth candidate" or a "liar" -- it made him a politician with a genuine loathing of slavery who realized that his option was either to limit slavery or leave it absolutely unlimited.
Pastors want us to see the moral truth and how far we fall short -- they shouldn't compromise. Politicians aim to achieve something, and they must compromise, accepting half a loaf when they can't get the whole.

In fact, as I said, Obama surely doesn't agree with Wright (though as Glenn points out, he probably does underplay the nuances of his actual views that would bring him a bit closer to Wright), and I think the difference is more or less what he said it was -- essentially, he agrees (and Wright does not) with Bill Clinton's belief that "there isn't a thing wrong with America that can't be put right by what's right with America" (or whatever the exact quote was). Obama wouldn't run for the presidency if he didn't believe (or at least hope) that he really could bring together, not only African Americans, but whites and hispanics, to achieve -- not heaven on earth -- but anyway, a better state of affairs than currently exists. Without that hope, he'd be a lawyer or a community organizer or something other than a presidential candidate.[/QUOTE]

Thanks Bloggin' for putting so succintly and artfully the answer to the doubters and haters. It really highlights the weakness of the criticism from the crowd that complains that Obama is nothing more than a politician - so much for higher ground politics. Well, duh. It is disingenuous to expect a presidential candidate not to have to play within certain electoral boundaries. The way that Obama has navigated this terrain is part of his appeal to me. And I agree that his approach offers the best possibility for effective governance and sound policy. Granted that is a big if to many, and I am quick to despair also. But, we have to elect somebody. The choices before us are delineated if not crystal.
I can only continue to voice support and oppose the most negative and destructive attempts to derail his candidacy for purely political reasons. As opposed to having to resign myself to acceptance of the truly destructive policies and politics as evidenced in the last seven years particularly. Which would easily be perpetuated by McCain.

piscivorous
05-02-2008, 01:38 PM
Thanks Bloggin' for putting so succintly and artfully the answer to the doubters and haters. It really highlights the weakness of the criticism from the crowd that complains that Obama is nothing more than a politician - so much for higher ground politics. Well, duh. It is disingenuous to expect a presidential candidate not to have to play within certain electoral boundaries. The way that Obama has navigated this terrain is part of his appeal to me. And I agree that his approach offers the best possibility for effective governance and sound policy. Granted that is a big if to many, and I am quick to despair also. But, we have to elect somebody. The choices before us are delineated if not crystal.
I can only continue to voice support and oppose the most negative and destructive attempts to derail his candidacy for purely political reasons. As opposed to having to resign myself to acceptance of the truly destructive policies and politics as evidenced in the last seven years particularly. Which would easily be perpetuated by McCain. Being neither a doubter or a believer nor am I a hater or a lover, of the Senator's, just no longer one who can consider Senator Obama ready for the big time yet, I would only say that ones man's art is another's pornography.

Happy Hominid
05-02-2008, 02:32 PM
Let me add to what Brendan said that I don't think you would have gotten all of the same insights you got from Loury without the counterpoint of Cohen. This one podcast is a microcosm of Bh.tv - 2 friends, both intelligent, very different points of view argued passionately. And, I believe if you go back through the diavlog you'll find that the time speaking was pretty even.

Happy Hominid
05-02-2008, 02:40 PM
While I disagree with the TONE of what you are saying and some of your points I'm struck with the one big point that I have to admit to:

If what Wright had to say was so awful that Obama had to "disown" him, then why does he do it now, other than for political expediency? Obviously, like it or hate it, this is WHO J. Wright is... and certainly it is nothing new to Obama.

I'm a little concerned that the Hillary meme from months ago of the unelectability of Obama is suddenly coming true. Curious.

handle
05-02-2008, 02:41 PM
In fairness to Glenn, I agree that I took liberties with a reading of his reaction that isn't fully supported by the current diavlog. His focus was Wright and I expanded the lens. My inclination remains the same, but I want to concede the point.
Thanks for that, I too was basing my view on those other diavlogs, but obviously through a different lens.
I must concede I was thinking more in terms of Bill's popularity post Monicagate.
But I believe that toughness and ability to remain strong in the face of the Rovian attack machine does not belong exclusively to Bill, as well as, what I feel, were some of the best, tried and true, economic and foreign policies.
I'm sure Whatfur or somebody will reiterate the tired blaming of Clinton for the failures of the Bush administration, but after eight long years of one blunder after another, I don't think they even buy it anymore.

I can't speak for Glenn, but when It comes to steering this great country, I think objective hind sight is golden. I've made this point before, but we haven't had a Dem President from the North, or even the West, since JFK. I am ready to embrace an Obama candidacy, but at this point I have little real history to calm my nerves. Especially when I see polls that show Florida going to Hillary or McbombIran. Florida is still VERY fresh in my mind. Maybe y'all can make me feel better... is there anyone from the South or mid West that is sure their state is going blue this time?

piscivorous
05-02-2008, 02:56 PM
What I got from Senator Obama's. latest speech and Q&A, about Pastor Wright, was that the most serious wrongdoing in Pastor Wright's statements was their disrespect of Obama. The journey Senator Obama has undertaken to go from "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...", to "...That's -- that's a show of disrespect to me..., has obviously been a painful one that the Senator would have probably preferred not to have to take. But in his act of repudiation it is the "I don't think that he showed much concern for me..." parts that catch my eyes and ears and I think says something significant about the real Senator Obama. The adolescent self-centeredness and narcissistic pettiness of Obama's remarks are perhaps the most pertinent revelations, of this entire episode, about the character of Senator Obama.

graz
05-02-2008, 03:17 PM
What I got from Senator Obama's. latest speech and Q&A, about Pastor Wright, was that the most serious wrongdoing in Pastor Wright's statements was their disrespect of Obama. The journey Senator Obama has undertaken to go from "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...", to "...That's -- that's a show of disrespect to me..., has obviously been a painful one that the Senator would have probably preferred not to have to take. But in his act of repudiation it is the "I don't think that he showed much concern for me..." parts that catch my eyes and ears and I think says something significant about the real Senator Obama. The adolescent self-centeredness and narcissistic pettiness of Obama's remarks are perhaps the most pertinent revelations, of this entire episode, about the character of Senator Obama.

Interesting take. That approach is exactly what Rob Long and Ellen Ladowsky used to analyze the candidates and voters. I don't share the depth of your characterization. But it seems fair to use this method to some degree. I could argue that your point doesn't give any credit to the fact that the words are true as well as telling. I am likely to be more forgiving than you in regard to this interpretation. But I would concede that it is no small matter for either man. What does remain is our obligation to put this matter in the larger context of who to vote for and why. I have no reason to consider this a disqualifier or expand it to justify disapproval.

Wonderment
05-02-2008, 04:18 PM
I think Glenn's position is very interesting: it really does seem that he could not support any potentially electable black presidential candidate. An electable black candidate is going to have to make peace with the majority of the white majority (by which I mean the majority of whites who are fairly blind to racism and (more importantly) the legacy of racism, and therefore think Affirmative Action is completely unnecessary and even "racist".

Couple of things: 1) Once elected, Obama is not likely to spend political capital on taking ANY position on affirmative action (what's in it for him?) and 2) Affirm. Action is but one of many issues critical to African Americans that Glenn is interested in.

In any case, fear of Obama turning out to be a mediocre president from a progressive POV is not a very good reason to support someone whom we already know to be more conservative.

Candidates compromise once elected; we all know that. I know, for example, that Obama may talk peace now (my most important issue), but once in power will start hanging out with warists of both parties, owe them favors, be dependent on the military-industrial-congressional establishment, etc. Thus, Obama's peace message will be largely co-opted, and I'll have to live (or die) with that.

The antidote to this kind of political backsliding is to demand of the candidate that, from Glenn's POV, he address black social and economic justice issues now (before the election) and, from my POV, that he make strong commitments on peace now.

So these grassroots interest groups -- lower-income blacks and anti-war activists -- have been pushing Obama as hard as we can. But his failure to commit shouldn't push us us into Hillary's campaign. That's the part that's hard to reconcile with Glenn's views.

I do understand that Obama's message to his 90% black base has been "Trust me", providing little substance on the issues and relying on them to be so thrilled with his racial identity that they won't make the kinds of demands they would of other candidates.

bjkeefe
05-02-2008, 04:41 PM
bkjazfan:

Afterall, how many does Reverend Moon have?

Excellent point.

rgajria
05-02-2008, 07:27 PM
Even Professor Loury had to admit that Pastor Wright showed his butt in the Q & A. He did nothing to advance his church, his parishioners, his beliefs, or himself by showboating and speaking in funny voices.
After the Bill Moyers interview, I was really curious to know what are Pastor Wright's views on politics and politicians. I suspect not very good.
It was interesting to note that in the Q & A, Pastor Wright decided to parody Lyndon Johnson and John Kennedy. Interesting choice of targets don't you think.

rgajria
05-02-2008, 07:33 PM
After hearing this diavlog for the third time, I get the sense that Professor Loury is holding Barack Obama to an unrealistic standard.
His support for Senator Clinton doesn't square with his criticism of Barack.

brucds
05-03-2008, 12:39 AM
"His support for Senator Clinton doesn't square with his criticism of Barack."

Ya think ? The irony is that Glenn is making a principled "Black" case against Obama that runs diametrically against the common sense of something like 80% of his brothers and sisters. Except for - mostly - a rarified cluster of "nationalist" intellectuals and a layer of VERY old folks. (If I'm not mistaken, Maya Angelou - who's occupied in her dotage churning out Hallmark Cards ahd Hillary ads - turned 80 this month.)

hans gruber
05-03-2008, 01:59 AM
Bingo! (http://bloggingheads.tv/diavlogs/10710?in=00:16:45&out=00:17:28) Wright tattled on Obama!

bjkeefe
05-03-2008, 02:05 AM
Hans:

I don't see why you would say "bingo" here, especially in the context of your reply as it appears in the thread of my argument with brucds. Would you care to elaborate?

algal
05-03-2008, 08:52 AM
This was just terrific, definitely the most intelligent and humane discussion of the Obama-Wright controversy that I've seen anywhere. This kind of discussion, with smart people actually listening to each other, is what's great about bloggingheads. Bravo to Josh and Glenn. (And after that it's a little depressing to see some of the comments that basically insult the interlocutors, but such is the public square I suppose.)

That said, I thought the discussion did slip off the rails around 25 minutes in, when the topic turned to everything that is objectionable about American foreign policy -- military build-up, threats of nuclear obliteration, etc.. What's interesting here is really the falling out between Obama and Wright, and what that says. And on that note, here's a couple of thoughts:

Glenn argues that Wright didn't lose control of himself and "sink into it" (in Josh's words), but instead that he deliberately chose to criticize Obama or at least implicitly to disrespect Obama (or "show some butt"). But if this was deliberate, then why was there such a discrepancy between the character of his prepared marks and all the butt-showing remarks that appeared in the Q & A?

That discrepancy really suggests that Wright got caught up in the enthusiasm of the moment in the Q & A, in the back & forth with the audience right in front of him, and that is what led him to say the things (like the AIDS comment, the Farrakhan comment) which look so bad to the audience behind the cameras. It suggests that he did not present himself as he originally intended, but that he accidentally presented himself as he actually felt. And why would he feel that way? Why would he have have it in for Obama?

Glenn argues that Wright had a reasonable basis for criticizing what Obama said, since Wright might know as a fact that Obama was being misleading about his beliefs. But this misses the point. Of course, every politician will present his views in the most palatable way possibly. That's so obvious that the real question is why a longtime close associates of the person would feel motivated (perhaps secretly, perhaps deliberately) to point it out in such a public way. What about the duties of friendship?

This leads to the real heart of the issue, Glenn's argument that Wright had a motivation for criticizing Obama, because of the feeling that Obama is selling out his adopted South Side Chicago black identity for political purposes. And I think everything Glenn suggests here is very believable. But it's also believable that envy of younger man, vanity, and other lesser motives were also in the mix. These are all reasons Wright, in his private heart, might want Obama to lose. But again, from the discrepancy between the prepared and impromptu comments, it's hard to believe he had acknowledged and credited and planned to act on those feelings.

I think Bloggin Noggin's comment here is really great. Quite apart from the personalities of Wright and Obama, just as human types, as a pastor and a politician, they represent basically different stances toward moral standards and moral compromise in speech and in deed. When you listen to Wright's comments about Obama "posturing" as a politician, I think he was trying to get at this. But he didn't do it very delicately, and he got carried away with himself. And then this defensible and legitimate contrast between the role of a pastor and politician ended up becoming an excuse for lower motives and much more destructive performance he probably did not intend.

tarajane
05-03-2008, 09:51 AM
As always, Loury impresses me. Maybe it's an age thing. In my opinion Obama has asked us to "turn the page" on boomer history, on a lot of what we feel in our gut to be true. To my ears what he offers instead is something ill-defined that mainly revolves around slogans of hope and change. I don't know him well enough to buy what he implicitly offers.

Hillary, I believe I know. In my view she's learned the lessons that liberals must take to heart to succeed in the political world as it is. Obama says he wants a new politics -- as if partisan politics were just a phenomenon of the past twenty years and not part and parcel of how our government has operated from its inception, with battles waged over power, ideology, economics and personalities. To me, his new politics are a bright piece of paper that can't even cover the rocks in his own campaign.

Yes, I see that Hillary has carefully crafted a centrist and hawkish identity and adopted political technique that has been successfully deployed against liberal democrats. It doesn't bother me because I trust her. In many ways Obama's supporters are actively rooting and praying for him to dissemble in just the ways that they criticize her for doing, longing for him to craft a persona that will make him acceptable to the country at large though they believe he stands for something else. They're angry at Jeremiah Wright for damaging his veneer. I too believe Hillary stands for things I want because I've seen her go to bat for them and in my view her veneer is a hell of a lot more solid and electable.

Tom Hayden wrote a piece pointing out that Hillary's background is just as full of leftist and radical figures as Obama's is and that it's hypocritical of her to point his out. The difference between them is the number of years that she's had to create her own record and shape a mainstream identity that gives her distance from them in a way that he hasn't, in a way that makes him more vulnerable which she has every right to point out.

Again, it may be an age thing. I idolized Jesse Jackson and bristle every time I hear him dismissed -- he was the first presidential candidate from whose lips the words "gay and lesbian" were ever publicly uttered in inclusive tones -- and it made me weep when I heard them.

if baby boomers (I'm in my early 50s) are just "clinging" to outdated views and ways of doing things, so be it. We're still here. I view the support some male Obama supporters among my acquaintance evince as having a mid-life crisis component. They want to be viewed as younger by embracing the younger model.

But I think that maybe Obama has chosen to run too soon, not just because his candidacy undermined Hillary Clinton's but that his time will come a few years down the pike when the generations he speaks to have more political clout.

If he ends up with the nomination I will most likely vote for him but it won't be because I've bought what he's selling. I live in MA and saw Deval Patrick run on an almost identical platform crafted by David Axlerod. I voted for him and he is a huge disappointment. I think it's apt that Patrick wrote Time's profile of Obama in the Influential People issue.

bjkeefe
05-03-2008, 10:06 AM
People like me are entirely reasonable when we ignore whatever Hillary Clinton says, and instead, believe whatever we want about her.

People not like me are delusional, because they ignore whatever Barack Obama says and instead, believe whatever they want about him.

And worse, they're too young.

Except for those old guys who like Obama. They're trying to pretend that they're young. That's even worser.

brucds
05-03-2008, 10:25 AM
blogginnoggin: "Wright's most damaging remark about Obama reminds me of Kinsley's definition of a 'gaffe' as 'when a politician tells the truth.'"

That was "most damaging" only after Wright had reaffirmed a couple of his most "outside" "damaging" beliefs in a nationally televised public forum and demonstrated an inability to comprehend the nature of his venue and his potential for damaging Obama. The imporant distinction here isn't between a pastor and a politician but between a politician - walking a particular tightrope that his opponents don't have to deal with - who is remarkably skilled and a pastor who showed himself to be more than a bit narcissistic and full of crap.

This was evident once Wright began taking questions (admittedly stupid, but that's why they call it the "National Press Club." Rather than handle them gracefully and temperately he chose to mug and riff for his (adoring) DC "local pol/black theol" audience (while the press, ironically, took notes from the balcony.) This performance shocked me - which was most disturbing because I've been watching Wright's sermons on cable for quite a while, enjoying and tivoing them - since long before he became an issue in this campaign - and had a fairly high regard for the guy's talents in the pulpit, aside from the obvious "miracle" of the Trinity community being built from 75 members of a dying church back in the '70s. I'd also been predicting and waiting for something like this involving Wright's hyperbolic preaching to get dragged into the 24/7 news cycle, It was obvious the guy had a penchant for going over the top in his pronouncements (which didn't particularly bother me when he was riffing off of some "extermist" Old Testament prophet, building parallels and waxing hyperbolic as preachers do.) BUt the unfortunate flip side to all of this is that were Wright not a guy who is way too used to hearing "amen" when he opens his mouth, he could have gotten through this with the kind of generally positive response he got on Bill Moyers, where his interlocutor set a tone for the conversation. He also might have considered laying out the terms of his relationship with Farrakhan with more discretion and not trying to justify every fool notion that's popped into his more-than-a-bit paranoic head over the years, as though every questioin asked by every detractor was illegitimate. Worse, creating an identity between every Jeremiah Wright pronouncement and "the" black church itself is remarkably hubristic and offensive. Had he drawn some of these distinctions, repudiated some of his own assertions as mere suspicions he's had over the years that don't stand up to empirical evidence, avoided simple-minded "cognitive" theory, etc. etc. he would have done himself a great favor, not to mention Obama.

But he succumbed to his ability to play the crowd in the Press Club room without, apparently, having a second thought about the implications of it being broadcast live - AND in the very context of reaffirming his least attractive, least intellectually and morally coherent side implied Obama was being disingenuous. Claiming that it was mere "politics" on Obama's part in seperating himself from the kind of crap Wright was putting on display at that very moment - the old guy reduced himself to an irresponsible buffoon and a fair-weather friend parading his own ego first and foremost. Given that, I think Rev. Wright proved himself the guy reduced to a self-serviing false assertion in suggesting Obama didn't mean it when he repudiated the "crazy uncle" aspects of his pastor. I've defended Wright through the first pahse of this bogus brouhaha and respected his talents enormously, but this was a demonstration of something very small inside of the man (or "big" in terms of the size of his ego when its unleashed.)

Generating even more controversy about his association with Obama rather than allowing it to be put to rest for the next few months - at least - was a form of betrayal - shockingly immature and "unChristian" in the way that a penchant for megalomania among very successful preachers often shows itself. If anyone cares to psychoanalyze Wright, perhaps the fact that some of the same talents that allow "celebrity" preachers to grow their churches can also erase any sense of humility over time is the most relevant "inner" dynamic here in terms of the man's pastoral role. He screwed up big time in a way that appeared remarkably amateurish and he should be ashamed of himself.

As for Glenn, he's a nice guy and I'm sure he's a wonderful professor but his rationales for rejecting Obama in the context of his supporting Hillary come across as special pleading at best. Some here may be impressed by his "honesty" - I'm impressed by his ability to delude himself. I don't hate the guy, but what he says is, frankly, infuriating on the political level. He actually believes - contrary to the actions of most black voters - that black psychodrama trumps any attempt to move beyond the paternalism and triangulation of political mediocrities like the Clintons. (The "adults in charge" argument is so lame it echoes some guy sitting in a bar trying to convince his buddies to vote for John McCain.)

bjkeefe
05-03-2008, 12:08 PM
brucds:

Thanks for your thoughtful essay. Made for interesting reading.

Only complaint: Nothing to argue with. ;^)

look
05-03-2008, 02:18 PM
Thanks for your thoughtful analyis. I have long been an admirer of Hillary's, but I did vote for Obama, mainly due to a severe case of Bill-itis and concern over her bridge-building capabilities. I'm now having some buyer's remorse, but over all, my main concern over a Clinton presidency remains that she may end up conducting a bunker-mentality presidency. I do think there's a high likelihood that the many years of press scrutiny and negative characterizations of her will translate into a high-handedness toward the press, the Dems who dissed her, and the Republicans who love to hate her, which will ham-string her effectiveness at wheeling and dealing. Barack, on the other hand, possesses an ease that I think may lend itself to bridge-building.

An 'Independent' Observer
05-03-2008, 08:34 PM
A truly fascinating and rich conversation, both in the video clips and in the comments. I think Obama's error was his waffling with respect to Wright. He had to either cut ties with church and pastor years before or keep the reverend *very* close during his campaign. The first option would have been difficult (he owes Wright politically as well as personally) and cut-throat. But the fallout could have occurred off-stage, as it were, with respect to national politics. Given that he did not do so, he should have kept Rev Wright close and appeased the man, certainly not rely on some tacit agreement that his mentor would remain silent till January 21, 2009. Many reports from the campaign itself reveal that Wright had repeatedly expressed his disappointment in his handling by both the media and the campaign. And that communication between the two men dropped off considerably this year. Not good at all when you're in the process of doing this nuanced distancing dance.

An 'Independent' Observer
05-03-2008, 08:50 PM
Also, with respect to the comments: there has been some considerable slippage between 'Hillary Clinton' and 'the more conservative Democratic candidate.' These days, the conservative tag is being asked to do a lot of varied work, and for some people an expressed ability to contemplate war and support motions that lead to war is sufficient evidence to earn the label, as is a more open and deep connection to (corporate) special interests. There's no question that HRC edges BHO when you focus on these aspects (and assume her to be ready to duplicate several political moves her husband has become famous for). Things get murky when you start to consider health care (if that's important to you). And even murkier when you keep in mind just how little you have to judge Obama by, particularly in terms of decisions he's made on the national stage, when the lights are most intense, as they are now. Personally, over the past three months, I've gone from being surprised and disappointed about HRC's political mistakes to being surprised and disappointed about BHO's political mistakes. From once thinking POTUS to be the hardest job there is, to realizing the past 3 elections have shown running-as-a-democrat to be the real back-breaker.

pod2
05-03-2008, 09:21 PM
Fascinating exchange. My amazement was that neither talked about the fact that it is Obama's dealing with Wright that is the critical point. The fact that Obama first denied that he'd heard Wright's hate speech, then said that he did is the crack in his armor. The stupidity of his campaign which has been so slick is that it didn't anticipate that Wright's rantings would do damage.

Wright is right - Obama is no different - he is a clever politician and nothing new.

I think you misunderstand what Obama has said over and over again about what he had heard in the pews. He said many times, including the Philadelphia speech, that he had heard Wright say "controversial" things . When pressed, he said that they were off-color remarks of some kind. However, he has repeatedly said that he had not heard the specific things Wright said that have shown up in cable news highlight films-- the god damn america, US gov't inflicting AIDS on black America. If he has admitted that he had in fact heard these remarks after all, then I take your point. Otherwise, I think you're just a little confused. If you can cite a case when Obama has said that he had heard Wright's "hate speech" as part of the congregation, I would be interested to see it.

pod2
05-03-2008, 09:27 PM
Re Loury:


If he's concerned about the Middle East, the Senator from New York is about as bad as it gets within the Democratic Party.

Can I get an Amen? Just take out the last prepositional phrase and you're even closer to the truth. As a New Yorker, I have been consistently appalled at Clinton's support of the most brutal attacks on civilian populations in Gaza and the West Bank. Her position has been Likudnikier than thou from the beginning of her arrival in the senate.

Wonderment
05-03-2008, 09:33 PM
Her position has been Likudnikier than thou from the beginning of her arrival in the senate.


Which was a flip-flop pander for the New York pro-Israel vote.

She had previously been viewed as too pro-Palestinian. AIPAC had gone apeshit because she had greeted Arafat's wife with a kiss on the cheek.

pod2
05-03-2008, 09:41 PM
bj - This is presidential politics. One of the great things about Obama is that he doesn't make promises that he can't keep and is realistic - and I've heard him make the point explicitly to a roomful of his supporters that he can't make the kind of change we need from the Oval Office. It's on us. Unfortunately folks like Glenn are part of the problem by clinging to a politician who will reinforce the status quo rather than challenge people to change it..

This is what I think is most powerful about his candidacy-- and this vision is encapsulated by the different responses the candidates had to Dr. King's legacy in South Carolina. While Clinton chose to emphasize the role of LBJ over King's in the successes of the civil rights movement, Obama made a concerted effort to draw a distinction between the work he could do as a presidential candidate and the work that King did in the 50s and 60s. When asked during the SC debate which candidate King would support, Obama said that it was not King's role to support presidential candidates, but rather to build popular movement to constrain and change a president's behavior. ( ok, that's a rough paraphrase, but true to the gist of his answer, I think.) THis is a fundamentally different view of how political and social change works than the bromides offered by Clinton and McCain.

pod2
05-03-2008, 10:13 PM
Josh's quotes Martin Luther King Jr. in 1967 saying that America "is the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today" and that quote seems to be music to Glenn's ears. King's statement was effective anti-war propaganda at the time but with the benefit of history, we know now it was a poor desciption of the world in 1967. That period was the height of the Chinese Cultural Revolution, an event not well understood outside China at the time but now known to have been incredibly violent and repressive. The Soviet Union also "purveyed" much violence and deprivation against its own people and those of its satellite states during the 1960's. So did the regime in North Korea, still in power today. If Josh thinks King's statement is or was literally true then he is not much of a political scientist.

I think you underestimate the effects of carpet bombing a pre-industrial country, of napalm, agent orange, strategic hamlets. Are you aware of the 600 million peasants killed by US satellite Indonesia under Suharto in 65 and 66? With full military and diplomatic support? Repression under the SHah in Iran? Central and South American dictatorships?

pod2
05-03-2008, 10:49 PM
I do understand that Obama's message to his 90% black base has been "Trust me", providing little substance on the issues and relying on them to be so thrilled with his racial identity that they won't make the kinds of demands they would of other candidates.

But have previous Democratic candidates provided substance to satisfy the black activist community? THis is where I don't understand Loury's point.

Wonderment
05-03-2008, 11:15 PM
But have previous Democratic candidates provided substance to satisfy the black activist community? THis is where I don't understand Loury's point.

I don't really understand Glenn either, but I'm trying to :)

Try looking at it this way: Let's suppose the Republicans ran Clarence Thomas for president (forget for a moment that he's on the Supreme Court). Blacks might be tempted to vote for him for the merely symbolic value. Thomas is a descendant of slaves who grew up in extreme poverty in the Deep South. It's unlikely, however, that African Americans would support Thomas to the tune of 90%. They would ask, "Why the hell should I vote for you? Just because you're black?"

Obama isn't really being asked the "Why should I vote for you?" question. He's simply scooping up the votes without uttering a peep about addressing black unemployment, the impact on black families of the prison epidemic, black healthcare crisis, black disadvantages in education, etc.

Now it may be true that Clinton has not made commitments to African Americans either (that's why I think the real black candidate may have been John Edwards), but if she wins the nomination she will be in a position to have to grovel to win back the black vote. In that scenario, she will make commitments to address black issues. Obama, on the other hand, may win the nomination and then have to distance himself even further from the AA community in order to win independent whites in the general election. He will have to be The Anti-Wright in order to get to the White House.

pod2
05-03-2008, 11:30 PM
Now it may be true that Clinton has not made commitments to African Americans either (that's why I think the real black candidate may have been John Edwards), but if she wins the nomination she will be in a position to have to grovel to win back the black vote. In that scenario, she will make commitments to address black issues. Obama, on the other hand, may win the nomination and then have to distance himself even further from the AA community in order to win independent whites in the general election. He will have to be The Anti-Wright in order to get to the White House.

I love this point. It has all the virtues of being counterintuitive and something I hadn't thought of at all before. And yet, it seems totally plausible and obvious once mentioned aloud. I love it! This one post has driven me closer to supporting Clinton than I would have thought possible.

Were it not for the unfortunate fact that she is a war criminal under Nuremberg or ICC Hague conventions (see Germany, 1940s, Rwanda, 1994)...

But it's the movement that keeps me away from supporting Clinton. Her movement represents precisely nothing-- an endorsement of DLC as usual. Obama, more than any presidential candidate with a real chance, has spoken explicitly of the worthlessness of the presidency without popular pressure to enact reform. He has organized in ways that no other candidate has in the last half century. We need a community organizer in chief. Someone who believes that the power of democracy is more than an empty ritual undertaken every four years. It's something that requires our involvement as citizens on a continual basis. We're the most powerful, wealthiest nation in the history of the world. We are responsible for the future of the world in ways that no other population could conceive. Sorry to get misty eyed here. Can't be avoided.

Emdependent
05-04-2008, 12:09 AM
I have been truly puzzled by Wright's attempted sabotage of Obama. Why? I can't believe the man is so clueless that he can't see he is seriously hurting Obama's run.

One idea is that he is actually looking out for Obama. Maybe Wright has waited all his life for a black president, and he wants the first black president to do well. Unfortunately, whoever is elected walks into a war without end, mult-multi-trillion dollar debt it will take our grandchildren to pay off, outrageous petroleum prices and profits, health care, and about a million other problems. A dream team of American presidents couldn't come out of this one smelling like a dandelion, much less a rose. Maybe Wright just doesn't want to see Obama blamed for failing to solve the impossible problems he would inherit.

Another idea is that he doesn't really want a black president because that would inhibit his ability to maintain that America is such a racist society. It would also inhibit his ability to fill the church and the church coffers (I realize he is officially retired, but filling pews and offering plates has been his life).



My final guess is that Wright is just too full of himself. I've heard a wide variety of preachers, ministers, reverends, et. al. in my life, and I've read quite a number of theories and styles, and this man sounds a lot more full of himself than he sounds full of the Word. He could have such an amazingly high opinion of himself and his personal views that he believes he should put them out there no matter what. And, in his opinion, any right-minded person will obviously agree with him. Opening his mouth and professing his beliefs is more important than thinking about the ramifications of his words.

Personally, I believe the first idea is least likely, and the last idea is most likely. It could also be a combination of ideas 2 and 3. Or it could be idea 4, which I don't have. If you have it, please post it. I really have been puzzled by this. It makes no sense.

It could

bjkeefe
05-04-2008, 12:16 AM
Here's a commentary by Bill Moyers, recorded both after the interview he did with Wright, and after Wright's ensuing public appearances: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gfqCyMU3mfo

It's about 5 minutes long. It's more sympathetic to Wright than not, but it's not a complete puff piece.

piscivorous
05-04-2008, 12:23 AM
Bill Moyers interviews someone of like idealogical standing -> "not a complete puff piece." Does not compute.

bjkeefe
05-04-2008, 12:34 AM
Bill Moyers interviews someone of like idealogical standing -> "not a complete puff piece." Does not compute.

All I can say is watch it for yourself. I'd add that I don't consider Moyers and Wright to be matched on ideological standing.

hans gruber
05-04-2008, 01:57 AM
I don't see why you would say "bingo" here, especially in the context of your reply as it appears in the thread of my argument with brucds. Would you care to elaborate?

I'm not sure if I replied to your post or not, didn't mean to. Just agreed with Loury on his interpretation of the Wright issue--that he tattled on Obama.

Eastwest
05-04-2008, 02:33 AM
It's about 5 minutes long. It's more sympathetic to Wright than not, but it's not a complete puff piece.

It absolutely IS "a complete puff piece" ending with a nauseating bleeding-heart declaration that "we should all hang our heads in shame that we have let things come to this." (Close paraphrase from memory.)

I'm usually very appreciative of Bill Moyers. In this, he just makes himself ridiculous in the service of the ridiculous Rev. Wright.

EW

bjkeefe
05-04-2008, 02:40 AM
I'm not sure if I replied to your post or not, didn't mean to. Just agreed with Loury on his interpretation of the Wright issue--that he tattled on Obama.

How so? By saying he was acting like a politician?

johnmarzan
05-04-2008, 12:00 PM
Jeremiah Wright = the Sword of Damocles over Obama's head.

Eastwest
05-04-2008, 04:16 PM
Jeremiah Wright = the Sword of Damocles over Obama's head.

Precisely. And that's why Obama is too great a risk for him to be given the Democratic Party nomination, especially since we know by Wright's own announcement that he'll be on at least intermittent if not constant "book tour" all the way up till the election when sections of his book will probably be dropped like little "wackiness bombs" right on up to Election Day.

Truly "the gift that keeps on giving" for the Republican swiftboaters.

Democrats lost primarily on account of being so out of touch that they nominate screwballs: Gore (too wooden) in 2000; Kerry (beyond strange) in 2004.

So now we're going to nominate somebody whose ineptness has now made the whole race issue into an inescapable general election fear topic?

Give this electorate even the tiniest dose of irrational fear and they just wet their pants and run for the Republicans, even though doing so is economic and geopolitical suicide.

EW

Wonderment
05-04-2008, 04:38 PM
Democrats lost primarily on account of being so out of touch that they nominate screwballs: Gore (too wooden) in 2000; Kerry (beyond strange) in 2004.

Democrats did not lose in 2000. Al Gore indisputably won the popular vote and, it is generally conceded, the state of Florida vote as well.

Gore, hardly a "screwball," has since won a Nobel Peace Prize and made what is arguably the most important documentary film ever on environmentalism. The "screwball" had also high national ratings as an 8-yr-VP (a heartbeat from the presidency.

If anything, Gore can attribute Bush's making the election close to the Clinton sleaze and perjury factors. Gore was tainted with the Clinton brand of corruption.

Eastwest
05-05-2008, 01:29 AM
Al Gore won the popular vote [blah, blah, blah]....

Argue this all you want. Still, Gore lost (regularly and rightly derided for a wooden affect failing to connect with voters).

Gore was also demonstrably stupid for choosing Lieberman as a VP candidate. Anything moderately impressive about Gore has only appeared post-defeat.

Not having learned a thing, the Dems fell for Kerry. Again intelligent, experienced, etc, but, again, totally unable to connect with the electorate. Kerry was another similar-caliber dud.

Obama is yet another dud, another case of dreamy and out-of-touch Dems falling for a General election loser. (His supposed personal chops are irrelevant. He can't connect with anything but my kid's university buddies and the Prius drivers. He's toast.)

Obama had an outside chance till he really showed his idiocy by putting his foot into this race thing. It's ruined him. No way he'll not be plagued by it till his November loss to John McCain.

So all your plaudits and rationalizations for Gore et al are utterly irrelevant to the argument. Your analysis is marvelously demonstrative of why the Dems will yet again snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

EW

SwingStatements
05-06-2008, 08:44 PM
But what is Jeremiah Wright offering if not a mechanistic, biological account of black behavior? That learning disabilities are in fact genetically endemic in a 'Wright brained' race. No, that kid doesn't have ADD because, say, Bill Clinton's welfare reform forces his, for example, single mother to work long hours leaving the child's rearing to the sporatic stream of nonsense which is the television, the xbox, and the internet. No. That kid has ADD because he's black, and is simply not built to learn objectively, says Wright.

Indeed, Wright sought to use this mechanistic explanation of black behavior to recuse himself of his own personal responsibility in this maelstrom. That he did indeed deliver sermons which are misunderstood as hateful or bombastic. But, in actuality, his sermons were simply black.

Obama does offer a kind of socio-economic explanation for certain kinds of comportment. Admittedly, that kind of talk can be a bit patronizing. However, it does frame the game in a productive fashion. So you find the seething racial resentment of the white underclass threatening/unfounded/counterproductive? Good, let's try to understand the socio-economic background behind these misplaced resentments and fix those.

But Wright's biological, essentialist explanations for comportment? Far more dangerous. There is no fix here but eugenics.

What's becoming clear is we are in fact witnessing a generational fissure in black political discourse between an essentialist/identity movement and a more pragmatic movement. I think the Identity Movement has dominated black discourse for a good 4 decades now, to questionable benefit. A whole generation of black public intellectuals (men and women of the cloth included) sense this sea-change, and are offended/threatened/belligerent.

I'm sure Glenn Loury would find this suggestion extremely offensive. But it's worth considering what certain factions within black discourse stand to lose or gain from an Obama presidency. If we're going to demote Obama's life to a kind of bargaining strategy, we may as well not stop at Obama and consider the source. What bargain do those who trade in separatism or essentialism offer the establishment? Garvey did, after all, meet with the Klan. (This isn't to draw ANY analogy between Loury and Garvey, but that Minister Patterson seems to fall into that tradition).

A less cynical take might be, there is a concern that Obama being the First Black President might make him The Only Black President, spending the entirety of Black Political Capital (painful, painful centuries in the making) on an undeserving youngster.

Non-wasp whites, the Irish specifically, have only one president, and he wasn't allowed a full term.

So the concern is, perhaps, somewhat valid.

Unfortunately, we might not have the luxury, this time... we, the people of the US, might truly need Obama... The only candidate who hasn't yet pledged to bomb and/or obliterate Iran...

We might truly need the black man raised by a single white mother with a muslim name and a firebrand christian pastor... such a candidate might in fact be exactly the president we need in these next four years... this may mean the difference between the fire next time being in the next four years or not...

kevski11
05-10-2008, 05:25 PM
Glenn Loury is what we in the black community call a "Hater". He would rather cut off his nose to spite his own face. His support of Senator Clinton is simply not genuine. Case in point, he believes that Senator Obama's speech on Race was imperfect or didn't go far enough... yet he supports a candidate with no discernible perspective on Race other than race-baiting for her own selfish political initiatives. He says Senator Obama's foreign policy is imperfect or doesn't go far enough... yet he supports a candidate that uses words like "obliterate" to describe her foreign policy. And moreover VOTED for the WAR! It also amazes me that Senator Clinton's supporters question Senator Obama's "judgement" in having Rev. Wright as his Pastor... yet they don't question Senator Clinton's "judgement" in political expediency by voting for a War that was by all accounts the greatest political blunder of the 21st Century! It is all so incredibly disingenuous.

kevski11
05-10-2008, 07:42 PM
Let us not forget that the real reason Gore lost the 2000 election was because of the 'stain' (pun intended) of the Clinton years.

bjkeefe
05-10-2008, 08:51 PM
Let us not forget that the real reason Gore lost the 2000 election was because of the 'stain' (pun intended) of the Clinton years.

Is that a reply to another comment, or the beginning of a new thread?

Or just making a joke? (Which is fine.)

mpg77
05-12-2008, 02:25 PM
Swingstatements, may I gently suggest that Reverend Wright is using "black" here as a designation for a certain kind of politics?

The philosophical critique of essentialism (and I hate that I even had to go here) was meant to address attempts to bypass history and declare an unchanging identity for a group of people. It's irresponsible to turn Wright's dialectic of political orientation and historical circumstances into something idiotic so as to dismiss it the more easily. In fact, it seems to me that Wright would argue that any continuity in black political orientation (more on that in a moment) is a result of the unresolved conditions of inequality. When equality is reached, this black political orientation would disappear as its work would be complete.

The Politics of Black
When a younger generation of movement participants began saying "I'm Black and I'm Proud" with James Brown--rather than Negro with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.--(perhaps too) much was made of the distinctions between those grouped under each word. In any case, "black" was supposed to signal a new politics of pride, self-respect and self-defense, and solidarity with African decolonization movements. From complexion to hairstyle, black was meant finally to suggest that dark skin and nappy hair were not a curse from God but a manifestation of human diversity on an equal footing with all others. While the Stokely Carmichael's of the world forgot or purposely omitted the pan-Africanism that came before them, "black" came to be associated with a staunchly oppositional rather than accomodationist or assimilationist stance.

Black as Political Designation
As for Wright's remarks to the Press Club, he never once insisted upon a biological definition of blackness but, rather, spoke of the historical stances that black Christianity has taken... against slavery, against apartheid, on behalf of the oppressed rather than the dominant. For example, note that some black pastors in Georgia are state legislators who believe homosexuality is against God but also adamantly refuse to vote for discriminatory legislation. http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9C02E1D8153FF930A35750C0A9629C8B 63

The gospel of liberation for the oppressed is one political orientation prominent in black Christianity. It might be wishful thinking on Wright's part to assert that the (entire) Black Church has these tendencies, but it is in no way essentialist. No one could pay as much attention to history and conditions as does Wright and be an essentialist.

mpg77
05-12-2008, 03:22 PM
I don't think that politics needs to be an art of compromise. What compromise can there really be on the question of equality? To use your "half a loaf" metaphor, Dr. King once argued that the enslaved were given half the loaf of freedom at Emancipation and crumbs from the remaining half ever since. He defined this as not freedom and not equality.

So I'm perfectly willing to accept your notion that politics entails compromise -- but the corollary argument turns out to be that of Marcus Garvey and Malcolm X: the descendants of slaves will never be equal in the United States and therefore require their own nation. So unless we plan to create an Israeli state for black Americans, I think it's about time we subjected our political figures to some moral questioning and stopped allowing their very moral claims to "judgment," "patriotism," and "fairness" a free pass.

I get very concerned about the idea that we get closer to freedom and equality by compromise. How, exactly, is one to broker a compromise between, say, rapist and raped? Does each of them have the same standing, each of them deserve equal consideration in relation to the rape? I would argue it's the same for issues of social equality: The beneficiaries of discrimination do not have the same standing as the targets of discrimination. Any compromise brokered between the two is merely a postponement of the only kind of equality there is, full equality.

YouppiMontreal
05-12-2008, 04:13 PM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wqKuwel6CVg