Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Is Obama's grandmother next?

Yesterday Barack Obama decided that he could, in fact, disown Jeremiah Wright. So much for his speech in Philadelphia being a singular event in American history that will be studied years from now.

But Wright said nothing over the weekend that he has not said before. What's changed?

The charitable explanation is the Obama has learned that his conservative critics - the ones that he said were raising distractions and taking Reverend Wright out of context - were right all along. The claims that the increasingly numerous outtakes from Wright's eruptions did not reflect the pastor's views or that Fox News somehow unfairly edited his remarks were destroyed by Wright himself. He decided to repeat most of them before a national audience in a way that made no attempt to hide his anger and smug moral arrogance. Maybe Obama's eyes were finally opened. Thus his statement that, perhaps, "I may not know [Wright]as well as I thought ...."

How to put this charitably?

It doesn't scan.

It is implausible to the point of impossibility that Obama could have had the type of relationship that he had with Wright and not know that the pastor (whose anthropology actually controls his theology) thinks that America is a god awful place that is in need of radical alteration. It is incredulous that Obama, over those twenty years, did not come to know that the man who he identified as akin to a father figure believes that our country's sins (which are hardly unique to the human condition)outweigh its virtues. Unless Obama was, as Kathleen Parker puts it, a "clueless naif," he had to be familiar with views that are, as he explained at the National Press Club, at the core of the "prophetic" call of the church that he headed and that Obama was part of for twenty years.

But even if he somehow managed to miss the essentials of Wright's world and spiritual view, he had certainly become aware of it by the time of the Philadelphia speech.

What has changed is that Wright wouldn't shut up. What has changed is that Wright suggested that the man he has known and counseled for twenty years distanced himself from his pastor, not because he disagrees, but for political reasons. This, was apparently the worst thing. "And what I think particularly angered me," Obama said, " was [Wright's]suggestion somehow that my previous denunciation of his remarks were somehow political posturing."

Obama apparently couldn't disavow Wright for suggesting that America brought 9/11 upon itself, couldn't disown him for spewing hate about the US deliberately addicting blacks to drugs and infecting them with AIDS, wouldn't denounce him for suggesting that our country is damned in the eyes of God, wasn't much moved by Wright's support for Louis Farrakhan and belief that Zionism is racism.

But Wright's decision that his beliefs (or ego) are more important than Obama's presidential aspirations? His suggestion that the man he has known so well is actually sympathetic to his world view? His refusal to go along?



Anonymous said...

Right-t-t-t-t. If Obama stands by his man, he's toast. But if he breaks away, well, he's toast. Another game of gotcha.

sims said...

Yes, anonymous he's toast. As the president of the entire country he would have to be able to see the bigger picture and part of that picture is that many Americans are horribly insulted, offended and even a little frightened by Wright's rants. Just as many people would be offended by someone's drunken, crazy uncle showing up in public places and spouting off all kinds of trash and rightly outraged when they are asked to accept said uncle as part of that person's baggage. Mr. Obama cannot dismiss Wright as just another crazy uncle that people should overlook (which in itself shows a lack of perspective) and then decide to eschew that uncle not because the uncle in question insulted America, Americans, whites, and Jews (to mention a few) but because the uncle insulted Obama and called Obama's honesty in question.

Anonymous said...

C'mon, sims, be honest. Obama did more than act personally insulted. He said:

"His [Wright's] comments were not only divisive and destructive, but I believe that they end up giving comfort to those who prey on hate, and I believe that they do not portray accurately the perspective of the black church ... ."

"But when he states and then amplifies such ridiculous propositions as the U.S. government somehow being involved in AIDS; when he suggests that Minister Farrakhan somehow represents one of the greatest voices of the 20th and 21st century; when he equates the United States' wartime efforts with terrorism, then there are no excuses. They offend me, they rightly offend all Americans, and they should be denounced. And that's what I'm doing very clearly and unequivocally here today. "

So what part of Obama's comments re offending the American people don't you grok? Or did they happen to get edited out of the particular news story you read?

As for Our Host wondering whether Obama's grandmother is next, I say absolutely yes. The right wing will attack her the moment it can concoct some new slime. They'd walk over their own grandmothers to gain a political edge, so of course. It's all part of their "let's you and him fight" strategy.

Of course, their permissible standard of personal outrage is not to be applied when say, Clarence Thomas declares he's insulted by the questions of senators -- electronically lynched, even. Personal outrage and insults are for the exlusive use of Republicans. Democrats are not to be allowed personal feelings. What, you want people to start thinking Obama can be as emotional as John McCain?

To reparaphrase Reagan and Buckaroo Banzai: Wherever you go, there you go again.

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