Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Obama’s Wright Problem Remains

An Obama delegate from Illinois to the Democratic National Convention tells some children climbing a tree to get out of it. She calls them “monkeys,” a term she says she uses with her own grandchildren.

But never mind about that.

One child, an African-American, complains and the child’s mother calls the police, who issue the women a citation for calling the kids “monkeys” (it seems doing so was disturbing the peace). The woman can be fined up to $75.00.

At that point the Obama campaign got involved. The Senator feels what the woman did has no place in his campaign or in the post-racial America he’s planning for us. The Senator wanted the woman to resign as an Obama delegate and she agrees to. [There are now reports she may not resign. I'll update as appropriate. JinC]

Now let’s get back to talking about Obama’s close friend and pastor of almost 20 years, Rev. Jeremiah Wright.

Former Clinton White House counsel Lanny Davis in today’s WSJ. I add a few comments below the star line

Davis begins - - -

I have tried to get over my unease surrounding Barack Obama's response to the sermons and writings of his pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright of Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago. But the unanswered questions remain.

I am a strong supporter of and a substantial fundraiser for Hillary Clinton for president (though in this column I speak only for myself). I still believe she should and will be the Democratic nominee.

But if Sen. Obama wins the nomination, he needs to understand that this issue goes well beyond Clinton partisans. Now is the time to address these questions, not later.

Clearly Mr. Obama does not share the extremist views of Rev. Wright. He is a tolerant and honorable person. But that is not the issue.

The questions remain: Why did he stay a member of the congregation? Why didn't he speak up earlier? And why did he reward Rev. Wright with a campaign position even after knowing of his comments?

My concerns were retriggered when I read for the first time three excerpts from Rev. Wright's sermons published several weeks ago in a national news magazine:

- "We bombed Hiroshima, we bombed Nagasaki, and we nuked far more than the thousands in New York and the Pentagon, and we never batted an eye. We have supported state terrorism against the Palestinians and black South Africans, and now we are indignant because the stuff we have done overseas is now brought right back to our own front yards. America's chickens are coming home to roost."
-- Sept. 16, 2001 (the first Sunday after 9/11)

- "The government . . . wants us to sing God Bless America. No, no, no. God damn America; that's in the bible, for killing innocent people. God damn America for treating our citizens as less than human."
-- 2003

- "The United States of White America."
-- July 22, 2007

As I read and reread these words, I keep thinking: If my rabbi ever uttered such hateful words from the pulpit about America and declared all Palestinians to be terrorists, I have no doubt I would have withdrawn immediately from his congregation.

In his eloquent Philadelphia speech, Mr. Obama likened Rev. Wright to a beloved, but politically extremist, family member with whom one profoundly disagrees but whose rage one understands.

But this comparison just doesn't work for me. I don't get a chance to choose my family members. I do get a chance to choose my spiritual or religious leader and my congregation.

And I do not have to remain silent or, more importantly, expose my children to the spiritual leader of my congregation who spews hate that offends my conscience.

Mr. Obama made a choice to join the church and to ask Rev. Wright to marry him and his bride. He said for the first time a few weeks ago that had Rev. Wright not recently resigned as pastor of the church, he would have withdrawn.

But that only reraised the same questions: Why didn't he act before the resignation?

The rest of Davis’ column is here.


Most of what Davis says has been said before. That’s important to note because it reminds us, as Davis is reminding the Obama people, that the Senator has not put behind him questions raised by his almost two-decade long relationship with Wright.

At least he hasn’t put them behind in the minds of most Independents and what are called Reagan Democrats and soft Republicans whose votes he’ll need in November.

Three weeks after Obama's Mar. 18 speech in Philadelphia the questions are still there.

A few hours after the speech I posted Obama’s speech was no Houston. Here’s part of it:

I though Senator Obama was sincere. As you’d expect, the speech was well delivered. It had moments of grace, candor and poignancy.

But the speech didn’t do what it needed to do: it wasn’t Obama’s Houston.

John Kennedy knew what he had to do in Houston was answer tough questions.

So he went before a not very friendly audience of mostly Protestant ministers, made a brief speech and then answered their questions about his Catholicism.

Obama had to answer tough and important questions today and he ducked them.

He arranged to deliverer a lengthy speech to a very friendly, invited audience and talked around the tough questions.

Nothing Obama said today really explains why he remained in a church whose pastor is so virulently anti-American. There are black churches that offer everything Trinity UCC offers, but without the anti-Americanism.

Obama never explained why he didn’t denounce until just recently his pastor’s Lifetime Achievement Award to the anti-Semite and anti-white Minister Louis Farrakhan. …
The rest of the post’s here.

Near the end of his column Davis says:
When I said on CNN recently that concerns about the Wright-Obama issue were "appropriate" to continue to be discussed, my friend Joe Klein of Time Magazine said, "Lanny, Lanny, you're spreading the poison right now" and that an "honorable person" would "stay away from this stuff." …
I’m hearing in North Carolina the kind of thing Klein was shilling: nice, “honorable” people don’t mention Wright-Obama.

Does that mean in Obama’s post-racial America discussing Wright-Obama falls in the same category as calling a group of kids climbing a tree “monkeys?”


Anonymous said...

On a LS thread yesterday, I read a report from The Daily Tartan of Carnegie Mellon University (Pittsburgh) that when Mr. Obama's spouse appeared at the school, the campaign officials cherry-picked the audience members who were to appear behind Mrs. Obama. They moved Black, Asian, and other "people of colour" out and "whitened up" the audience. Hmm. Sounds a lot like the techniques of the Soviet Union or Nazi Germany, or am I missing something? We're getting some major doses of political correctness as well as perception management by Mr. Obama's handlers. And, of course, the MSM is appropriately silent.
Just like the silence about the relationship between Mr. Obama and Preacher Wright.
Tarheel Hawkeye

Anonymous said...


"Does that mean in Obama’s post-racial America discussing Wright-Obama falls in the same category as calling a group of kids climbing a tree “monkeys?”"

Yes. There will also be a $75 fine for any politicos who disturb the peace by raising the subject.


Anonymous said...

Obama is toast!

He'll never get the nomination now because his own Democratic Party doesn't trust that he can win in November. Can you imagine what the Republicans are going to do with this Rev. Wright issue? Obama has only himself to blame. And his skag wife.

Anonymous said...

If the Democrat party rejects Mr. Obama and makes Rodham their candidate, stand by for some real serious civil disorders. If you think the Watts riot in 1968(?) was horrific, just you wait. And let's not get personal with remarks denigrating the wife of a candidate. Keep it civil.
Tarheel Hawkeye

Anonymous said...

John -

Can't disagree with the first four comments here or with the sentiments in the Lanny Davis piece you cite. Keep in mind, though, that Lanny Davis is an ardent Clinton ally and supporter. The column you cite may be Hillary's way of keeping the embers burning about Obama and the "Reverend" Wright.

Jack in Silver Spring

RedMountain said...

Lanny Davis? Gee this is so surprising.

Lanny says: "Clearly Mr. Obama does not share the extremist views of Rev. Wright. He is a tolerant and honorable person. But that is not the issue."

It should be the issue. Unfortunately for people like Lanny Davis the issue is how to use this pastor's remarks to get someone else elected. The reason this 'problem' remains for Lanny Davis is obvious.