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March 18, 2008

Reactions, Yours and the MSM's (Gee, I Wonder If They Liked It! I'm On Pins and Needles and Hanging On Tenterhooks!)
Upadated and Bumped: My Reaction



Ok, let me see if I understood this speech correctly:

1. I was in church when Wright said some bad things.

2. I didn't like the bad things he said.

3. I never, ever spoke up about how I felt about the bad things.

4. I continued to go to the church even after he said the bad things.

5. All of which is irrelevant because my grandmother used some racil epithets.

Did I get it right?

Yeah that's right.

/David Puddy

Marc Ambinder: I concur in part and dissent in part.

In his speech today, instead of casting Wright out, throwing him overboard, trying to write him off, Obama did the opposite: he incorporated Wright into Barack Obama, LLC. Wright's evolution becomes part of America's evolution, which is part of Obama's story.

In no uncertain terms did Obama renounce -- morally condemn -- the hateful, anti-Semitic, anti-American and just plain bizarre rants of his pastor -- "former pastor," as Obama now calls him. But he did not reject him. He refused to reject him. He is daring, in essence, his white liberal supporters to accept what Wright's anger represents -- a legacy of oppression -- and daring the rest of white supporters to take a leap of faith him... and asking them to expand their minds a bit and see that Wright is preaching in a tradition that has a context that is directly related to the material and spiritual conditions of all Americans.

The sell will be easier for white liberals, I think. The speech was magnificently written. It was internally consistent with Obama apparently believes.

How it plays will determine how it plays. If the media focuses more on the Wright defense-by-renouncements and then juxtaposes them with clips of Wright's comments, then I think the trouble remains. The seeds of doubt about who this guy really is may be nourished. I know that Obama believes that a discussion about race plays to his benefit, no matter what people think about white working class voters and their latent feelings. Perhaps this is the beginning of his opportunity to lift the veil and get everyone -- not just himself and the media -- to talk openly.

Problem is... so far, this is a one way conversation. It's ... well, the tiny media scrum debating Rev. Wright... and Obama preaching to the country. There's no give. There's go back and forth. A one way conversation is a lecture.

The dissent: Obama did not "in no uncertain terms" renounce and denounce Wright. He engaged in apologism for a racist. He equated his grandmother's alleged occasional, private racial slurs with Wright's cynical career of constant, public racial arson. Further, he claimed that just as he cannot give up on Nana Obama, he wishes he could quite Rev. Wright, but Brokeback Style, cannot. It would be selling out a "friend" to do so.

Well, we do not choose our family but we do choose our friends, or pastors, and our close and key political allies. Can anyone think of a case where a politician has had a 20 year history with a racial arsonist but claimed it was excused because, on balance, he's just a capital chap?

I am also unimpressed by his "denouncements." Will he specifically denounce the statements in question? Will he tell black conspiracy-theorizing haters that No, the CIA did not create HIV to kill you? He permits such conspiracy theorists to believe he's still on their side by refusing to specifically deny the lie and affirm the truth.

If some blacks are being told by figures of respect (ahem) that the government created AIDS to murder them and that the CIA stocks black communities with crack and guns to murder them, um, isn't that a rather large impediment to true racial reconciliation? I have to tell you, I know some Muslim terrorists really do want to murder me and I'm afraid reconciling with them is quite out of the question.

So is his message "Yes, white people are murdering you, but you need to get past that"? Really? One can get past conspiracy to commit genocide?

Obama, and his liberal media spirit squad, speak of having an "open, honest" dialog on race and racial resentments, hatreds, and paranoias. But Obama has had twenty years to have an open dialog -- but a private one, which is far easier -- with his "friend" Rev. Wright.

Did he have this dialog? He says he disagrees strongly with some of Wright's "controversial political positions." Did he, you know, actually raise these points with Wright?

If he did, his putative skills at "reconciliation" and "healing" seem woefully deficient. This bastard has gone on spreading his noxious racism and hatred of America until his retirement... and then beyond a bit. Obama's going to heal the racial "wounds" of 300 million but he can't get through to his very good "friend"? He can't even get him to tone down his hateful rhetoric, even if he continues to give hatred a safe harbor in his heart?

I agree with Ambinder that this was, however, a lecture, not a "dialogue." Futhermore it was a lecture for white people only. Whites were told that legitimate grievances over black criminality -- oh, by the way, the real and enduring source of racial tension -- and Affirmative Action were "exploited" by politicians and media to stoke "fear" for personal gain. Hence, not really legitimate at all.

Meanwhile, as regards Wright and black hatred and borderline insane paranoia, he counseled "understanding" by whites -- but no call for blacks to give up such retrograde and hateful fantasies and scapegoatings.

My idea of a truly groundbreaking speech would involve a Cosbyesque riff on some of the real causes of white resentment, starting first and foremost with rampant black criminality and anti-social behavior, and blacks' acceptance of this as not only acceptable but justified -- perhaps even obligatory -- given past and current racial discrimination.

He did not touch on this. He's still pandering to Wright's flock. And it's not just pandering of course; he is required to excuse the black racist, not just out of ideological fervor, but out of personal circumstantial necessity. After all, he was caught in bed with a black racist and anti-American radical, not a white racist. So of course he demands that we "understand" and "forgive" the black racist. He needs us to. His personal fortunes depend on that.

But imagine if he were white and had been caught in a 20 year cynical political alliance with a white racist -- would his calls for "forgiveness" and "understanding," and his maudlin Checkers-style "I cannot renounce him, he's my favorite dog" self-justification carry any weight whatsoever with liberals, the media, or good-hearted conservatives?

No, it would not. But in Obama's case, we are lectured that we must forgive this particular racist and understand this particular brand of racism. The other sorts of racism are of course unforgivable and no proper person would ever befriend such malefactors, and certainly not intertwine their political fates so closely; but here, of course, we -- those who are a bit alarmed by virulent black racism -- must "understand."

His entire claim that some are "surprised" that blacks are angry represents some sort off teachable moment in our racial education is a transparent lie: We are not surprised by black rage. I have seen the Reginald Denny attempted murder video, not once but a dozen times. I understand there is black rage in the country.

What I do not understand -- and refuse to understand -- is that a major political figure and possible President of the United States of America has decided to court a preacher of rage and hatred, and essentially tells me to grow up and get real about my concerns for his doing so.

My takeaway: White racism is pernicious and bad and we must correct it. We must learn.

Black racism, on the other hand, is perfectly understandable, justified even, and blacks get to keep on hatin' for as long as they might like.

Obama, of course, will one day change all this.

But he didn't change the heart of Wright when he had the chance. Nor even is there any evidence whatsoever he even attempted such an undertaking.

So Obama is sold to us as biracial, transracial, postracial. A new kind of black candidate.

And yet he seems to look precisely like the old sort of black candidate, the Jesse Jackson type, the Al Sharpton type.

Have Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton bridged our racial divides and healed the scarring on our collective racial heart?


Then how does Obama presume to do any better while following the exact same playbook, albeit with a warmer manner and a nice-boy haircut?

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posted by Ace at 01:10 PM

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