Obama’s ‘More Perfect Union’ Speech

Barack Obama gave his big race speech today. I haven’t heard it, just read the transcripts of the pre-release text and the as-delivered version.

Obama’s ‘More Perfect Union’ Speech

My colleague Dave Schuler observes, “I’ll wait for the overnight polls. Otherwise my remarks would just be a Rorschach test which is what the commentaries I’ve heard so far have been.” I’ll take that risk. Indeed, that we filter our analysis through our personal experience is not only the nature of blogging but a central thesis of Obama’s speech.

I’ll add the additional caveat that analyzing a speech from its text is problematic in two ways. First, it divorces it from the style of delivery; that disadvantages Obama and advantages George W. Bush. On the other hand, it does get to the substance. Second, most people will neither hear the speech nor read it; rather, they will hear and/or see a handful of sound bytes. My impressions will therefore be quite different than those that inform the overnight polls on which Dave waits.

Be that as it may, the speech accomplished what it presumably set out to do. It re-emphasized Obama’s answer to the “Why are you running for president?” question, namely that his background and skills are uniquely suited to healing what’s wrong with the country. And it took on the Wright question in that light.

I chose to run for president at this moment in history because I believe deeply that we cannot solve the challenges of our time unless we solve them together, unless we perfect our union by understanding that we may have different stories, but we hold common hopes; that we may not look the same and may not have come from the same place, but we all want to move in the same direction: toward a better future for our children and our grandchildren.

And this belief comes from my unyielding faith in the decency and generosity of the American people. But it also comes from my own story. I am the son of a black man from Kenya and a white woman from Kansas. I was raised with the help of a white grandfather who survived a Depression to serve in Patton’s army during World War II and a white grandmother who worked on a bomber assembly line at Fort Leavenworth while he was overseas.

I’ve gone to some of the best schools in America and I’ve lived in one of the world’s poorest nations. I am married to a black American who carries within her the blood of slaves and slave owners, an inheritance we pass on to our two precious daughters.

I have brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, uncles and cousins of every race and every hue scattered across three continents. And for as long as I live, I will never forget that in no other country on earth is my story even possible.

It’s a story that hasn’t made me the most conventional of candidates. But it is a story that has seared into my genetic makeup the idea that this nation is more than the sum of its parts — that out of many, we are truly one.

Now, frankly, I find this narrative ridiculously oversold. Lots of black men have traveled and gotten a great education and his ties with America’s history of racial tension are mostly vicarious. Certainly, Condoleeza Rice and Colin Powell have better stories to tell in that regard. Regardless, people are buying into this message and re-establishing it as the backdrop for what is to come is smart.

I have already condemned, in unequivocal terms, the statements of Reverend Wright that have caused such controversy, and in some cases, pain.

For some, nagging questions remain: Did I know him to be an occasionally fierce critic of American domestic and foreign policy? Of course. Did I ever hear him make remarks that could be considered controversial while I sat in the church? Yes. Did I strongly disagree with many of his political views? Absolutely, just as I’m sure many of you have heard remarks from your pastors, priests or rabbis with which you strongly disagree.

A nice sleight-of-hand, if an incredibly dubious one. How many people who need to be convinced actually sit in congregations where clergy spout things as outrageous as Wright’s bile?

After a few paragraphs talking about how Wright’s words were “divisive” and distracted us from the challenges of terrorism, climate change, and so forth– a rather nonsensical criticism of a local preacher, frankly — he gets to the meat of it:

Why associate myself with Reverend Wright in the first place, they may ask? Why not join another church? And I confess that if all that I knew of Reverend Wright were the snippets of those sermons that have run in an endless loop on the television sets and YouTube, if Trinity United Church of Christ conformed to the caricatures being peddled by some commentators, there is no doubt that I would react in much the same way

But the truth is, that isn’t all that I know of the man. The man I met more than twenty years ago is a man who helped introduce me to my Christian faith, a man who spoke to me about our obligations to love one another; to care for the sick and lift up the poor.

He is a man who served his country as a U.S. Marine, and who has studied and lectured at some of the finest universities and seminaries in the country, and who over 30 years has led a church that serves the community by doing God’s work here on Earth — by housing the homeless, ministering to the needy, providing day care services and scholarships and prison ministries, and reaching out to those suffering from HIV/AIDS.

This gets to the truth via a lie. Does anyone really believe that the three or four sermons that have been aired repeatedly are the entirety of Wright’s misconduct? That he’s normally sweetness and light but, for some inexplicable reason, channeled Louis Farrahkan one a few occasions? That’s just insulting, frankly.

But I’m inclined to believe — indeed, was so inclined before reading Obama’s response — that the rest of this is right. Wright helped Obama through some hard times, inspired him to do good, and it was therefore easy to overlook his bad conduct.

This, too, is completely understandable:

The church contains in full the kindness and cruelty, the fierce intelligence and the shocking ignorance, the struggles and successes, the love and, yes, the bitterness and biases that make up the black experience in America.

And this helps explain, perhaps, my relationship with Reverend Wright. As imperfect as he may be, he has been like family to me. He strengthened my faith, officiated my wedding and baptized my children.

It’s immediately followed, though, with what I believe to be another misdirection:

Not once in my conversations with him have I heard him talk about any ethnic group in derogatory terms or treat whites with whom he interacted with anything but courtesy and respect.

But, surely, he’s heard anti-white and anti-Jewish rhetoric coming from Wright’s pulpit.

He contains within him the contradictions — the good and the bad — of the community that he has served diligently for so many years.

I can no more disown him than I can disown the black community. I can no more disown him than I can disown my white grandmother, a woman who helped raise me, a woman who sacrificed again and again for me, a woman who loves me as much as she loves anything in this world, but a woman who once confessed her fear of black men who passed her by on the street, and who on more than one occasion has uttered racial or ethnic stereotypes that made me cringe.

These people are a part of me. And they are part of America, this country that I love.

This is quite powerful and believable. Race is a complicated part of the human equation and decent people have visceral, instinctive reactions to it that coexists — and often competes with — our intellectual understandings.

The speech should have ended there, frankly. That’s a stirring note and a stark contrast with Wright’s infamous “God Damn America” refrain.

Instead, we get many, many paragraphs on Jim Crow and other aspects of America’s history. We already knew that, though; it’s the foreshadowing of this controversy. Hitting us over the head with it detracts from Obama’s appeal. Shelby Steele:

Bargaining is a mask that blacks can wear in the American mainstream, one that enables them to put whites at their ease. This mask diffuses the anxiety that goes along with being white in a multiracial society. Bargainers make the subliminal promise to whites not to shame them with America’s history of racism, on the condition that they will not hold the bargainer’s race against him. And whites love this bargain — and feel affection for the bargainer — because it gives them racial innocence in a society where whites live under constant threat of being stigmatized as racist. So the bargainer presents himself as an opportunity for whites to experience racial innocence.

[…]

Race helps Mr. Obama in another way — it lifts his political campaign to the level of allegory, making it the stuff of a far higher drama than budget deficits and education reform. His dark skin, with its powerful evocations of America’s tortured racial past, frames the political contest as a morality play. Will his victory mean America’s redemption from its racist past? Will his defeat show an America morally unevolved? Is his campaign a story of black overcoming, an echo of the civil rights movement? Or is it a passing-of-the-torch story, of one generation displacing another?

Because he is black, there is a sense that profound questions stand to be resolved in the unfolding of his political destiny. And, as the Clintons have discovered, it is hard in the real world to run against a candidate of destiny. For many Americans — black and white — Barack Obama is simply too good (and too rare) an opportunity to pass up. For whites, here is the opportunity to document their deliverance from the shames of their forbearers. And for blacks, here is the chance to document the end of inferiority. So the Clintons have found themselves running more against America’s very highest possibilities than against a man. And the press, normally happy to dispel every political pretension, has all but quivered before Mr. Obama. They, too, have feared being on the wrong side of destiny.

Few will hear or read the whole speech and my guess is that the sound bytes won’t come from its dull ending. But Obama should have finished on the uplifting applause line just the same.

Both Bruce McQuain and Publius note the parallels with Mitt Romney’s “Mormon speech.” While that immediately struck me as a brilliant analogy, upon reflection I think it’s not. People had legitimate doubts about Mormonism and Romney’s adherence to its more unorthodox views. Ditto John Kennedy’s “Catholic speech” decades earlier and fealty to the Holy See.

Few seriously thought Obama shared Wright’s crazier views. Rather, there’s a concern that Obama’s carefully crafted transracial, transpartisan appeal is a mask for something more radical. Shelby Steele again:

[N]othing could be more dangerous to Mr. Obama’s political aspirations than the revelation that he, the son of a white woman, sat Sunday after Sunday — for 20 years — in an Afrocentric, black nationalist church in which his own mother, not to mention other whites, could never feel comfortable. His pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, is a challenger who goes far past Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson in his anti-American outrage (“God damn America”).

Whether this speech will dissuade these fears is beyond my ability to forecast, as I was in the minority that wasn’t all that troubled by the Wright association in the first place. That much, we’ll need to wait for the overnight polls to find out.

Photo credit: Jessica Kourkounis for The New York Times

UPDATE: The gang at NRO’s The Corner have ginned up more than a dozen posts on this topic already but two of them encapsulate the likely reactions of people not already predisposed to love Obama and capture nicely the dichotomy I was trying to get at above.

Charles Murray* (yes, that, Charles Murray) gushes,

Has any other major American politician ever made a speech on race that comes even close to this one? As far as I’m concerned, it is just plain flat out brilliant—rhetorically, but also in capturing a lot of nuance about race in America. It is so far above the standard we’re used to from our pols….

Stanley Kurtz, though, sees something more troubling:

Wright could not have taken up so huge a space in Obama’s life unless Obama had let Wright in. And Obama let Wright in because of Wright’s sermons, not in spite of them. Obama may not have agreed with Wright’s solutions, or even with his final judgements, but something about Wright’s anger had to have attracted Obama—had to have seemed tantalizingly “authentic.” From the beginning, Obama had to have been sufficiently attracted to Wright’s excesses to forgive them. Then he sought to draw closer. In this positive attraction to anti-American anger (even if that anger is not quite entirely shared) Obama embodies the sensibilities of the elite academic radicals that are his real heritage and milieu.

*Hat tip to commenter Hal.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2008, Race and Politics, , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is a Security Studies professor at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Jeffrey W. Baker says:

    Shorter James Joyner: “I haven’t heard it, but I’m qualified to write 1,000 word opinion about it.”

  2. James Joyner says:

    Uh, I’ve read the speech in its entirety. Linked the transcript. Quoted from the transcript.

  3. Alex Knapp says:

    I disagree with you on the need for the second half of the speech, which I thought helped highlight the CONTEXT from which Wright was speaking, and the CONTEXT of race relations today, including the white-working-class backlash against affirmative action. He was saying things that people say in private but that politicians don’t touch, which I thought was brave–especially considering that a lot of people will, like you said, only see clips.

  4. laura says:

    A couple quibbles: his church does have white members, Wright isn’t anti-Jewish (if he was surely the people who are using The Sermon to hurt Obama would be emphasizing the anti-Jewish quotes), and The Sermon was not standard fare at the church. It was a one shot sermon delivered seven years ago. Wright’s usual stuff was applications of the New Testament to daily life. In fact he gets a bit defensive in The Sermon about the overt politics and says something about how he is sticking to the text, meaning the Bible.

    People are getting the impression that Wright’s one sermon was standard fare, but it wasn’t. We are just hearing the same hysterical crap from the corporate media about the ONE sermon over and over again.

  5. Patrick T. McGuire says:

    The man I met more than twenty years ago is a man who helped introduce me to my Christian faith,…

    Obama is clearly a confused man. He goes from being a Muslim to a Christian, led by a pastor who preaches hate. On balance, there isn’t much difference between the two.

  6. JT says:

    He never was Muslim. Read before you write.

  7. Other Ed says:

    I don’t think the “bile” is that unusual from the pulpit. One of my local Parish Priests regularly says that America is damned because of legalizing abortion. The only difference is whether you agree or disagree with the issue.

  8. Hal says:

    Gotta love Charles Murray @ the corner

    I read the various posts here on “The Corner,” mostly pretty ho-hum or critical about Obama’s speech. Then I figured I’d better read the text (I tried to find a video of it, but couldn’t). I’ve just finished. Has any other major American politician ever made a speech on race that comes even close to this one? As far as I’m concerned, it is just plain flat out brilliant—rhetorically, but also in capturing a lot of nuance about race in America. It is so far above the standard we’re used to from our pols…. But you know me. Starry-eyed Obama groupie

    It really is kind of hillarious to see this nit picking of the speech but then to think “where the heck is the competition?”. Never thought I’d say that, but agreeing with Charles Murray of “The Bell Curve” fame is making me freak out.

  9. Dave Schuler says:

    My judgment was a political one rather than a substantive one, James, and I don’t think we can decide whether this speech has put the Wright matter to bed until the returns start coming in.

  10. James Joyner says:

    Never thought I’d say that, but agreeing with Charles Murray of “The Bell Curve” fame is making me freak out.

    Murray may see himself in his analysis. Trying to capture the complexity of race in the public sphere is damned tricky, as he knows all too well.

    I’ve been more pro-Obama on the Wright issue than most of the left-leaning bloggers I’ve read. Other than being a little cute with the facts, I think he’s done well here.

    Ultimately, I don’t think he’s going to have trouble with intellectuals on this issue. Heck, John McCain has even defended him on this score. It’s working class white Democrats that he’s got to win over and I just don’t know if he’s done that. Or even how to go about doing that.

  11. James Joyner says:

    My judgment was a political one rather than a substantive one, James, and I don’t think we can decide whether this speech has put the Wright matter to bed until the returns start coming in.

    Agreed. Which is why I circle back to that in the closing line.

  12. DL says:

    Other Ed

    There’s a world of difference between preaching against an evil (abortion) and preaching that is an evil – racial hatred.

    Please don’t try to gain moral equivalancy between trying to stop the murder of an innocent and trying to agitation for the hatred of innocents (white people who aren’t racists or slave owners)

  13. mannning says:

    So Obama comes fully attached at the hip to Wright (ugh!), and we still don’t have a real insight to what Obama himself really thinks, nor which of Wright’s memes Obama has actually denounced versus supports. Dissembling and expedient politics all thrown together with smooth delivery.

    Thumbs down.

  14. Bithead says:

    Now, frankly, I find this narrative ridiculously oversold.

    LOL… It was seared, seared, I tell you… not into my memory, but my very genetic makeup.

    OK, he’s aiming for large, here, and ending up at bombastic. trouble is, Meatloaf, he’s not. He does, however, sound rather like one of the occupants of the Manor farm, after the removal of Farmer Jones.

    Ultimately, I don’t think he’s going to have trouble with intellectuals on this issue.

    Of course not.
    He’s trying to secure his base, and tryng to keep iffy democrat intelectuals in line. He’s still not won the primary yet, and knows it, and that situation is exactly what this speech was being aimed at… the true belivers, and the hangers on. The rest, he hasn’t a prayer of swaying, frankly. Then again, he doesn’t need to wrroy about that until he’s gone through Denver.

    Assuming he gets so far.

    This issue is going to come up again afterward, however.

  15. yetanotherjohn says:

    This is a different Obama from last Friday.

    Last Friday, he issues a memo which says:

    The statements that Rev. Wright made that are the cause of this controversy were not statements I personally heard him preach while I sat in the pews of Trinity or heard him utter in private conversation.

    Now in this speech he says:

    Did I know him to be an occasionally fierce critic of American domestic and foreign policy? Of course. Did I ever hear him make remarks that could be considered controversial while I sat in church? Yes.

    The may be a Bill Clinton “I did not have sexual relations with that woman” kind of way of having those two statements reconcile, but it sure looks like he is changing his story when the earlier version didn’t sell.

    Obama has gone from Wright being a “crazy uncle” who is “kind of rough” that he never heard controversial remarks from Wright to Obama’s current position of sure Wright said controversial things but lets just ignore it. Maybe the speech will put this behind him, but I foresee a fall commercial showing Obama saying never heard controversial remarks being juxtaposed with today’s “sure he made controversial remarks”.

  16. anjin-san says:

    his ties with America’s history of racial tension are mostly vicarious

    Spoken like a true white boy James… really, how the hell do you know what sort of racial tensions Obama has been exposed to living 46 years, day in and day out in this country?

    In fact, you don’t have a freaking clue, and are talking thru your hat. But hey, point to that photo of Condi hanging on the wall and tell us all how black folks in America don’t have to put up with racial crap all the time.

    Actually, just the fact that this dialog is taking place sort of proves that your point is nonsense…

  17. Triumph says:

    Whether this speech will dissuade these fears is beyond my ability to forecast, as I was in the minority that wasn’t all that troubled by the Wright association in the first place.

    What evidence do you have that the “majority” is/was “troubled by the Wright association”?

    Given the fact that Obama leads the latest CNN poll of national Democratic voters as well as beats McCain in head-to-head polling, I am not sure how you can say that a majority of anyone (except, perhaps, crazed, irrational pundits) things the Wright issue is anything of import.

  18. Michael says:

    A nice sleight-of-hand, if an incredibly dubious one. How many people who need to be convinced actually sit in congregations where clergy spout things as outrageous as Wright’s bile?

    Probably more than you would think. If Obama needs to shore up the vote of middle-class white Democrats, chances are pretty good that A) they attend church fairly regularly, B) their priest/pastor is to the right of them on many social issues, and C) their pastor has at one time or another condemned America for having liberal social values. I know I fall into that category.

    This gets to the truth via a lie. Does anyone really believe that the three or four sermons that have been aired repeatedly are the entirety of Wright’s misconduct?

    Do you have any specific reason to believe they aren’t the entirety of his misconduct? If there was more, don’t you think those sermons would be getting aired repeatedly also?

    That’s just insulting, frankly.

    No more so than judging a person’s entire character and life on a handful of comments.

    But, surely, he’s heard anti-white and anti-Jewish rhetoric coming from Wright’s pulpit.

    Maybe I missed them too, what anti-white and anti-jewish things has come from Wright’s pulpit?

    Lastly, Shelby Steele is an idiot. Ask any Obama supporter if they’d vote for him if he were white, the overwhelming majority will tell you “yes”. I don’t care what color his skin is, the fact is that he’s smart, he’s trying new things, and I would trust him more as the chief executive of my country than I would any other candidate.

    Alas I am a Floridian, so until November it doesn’t matter what I think.

  19. Hal says:

    I don’t care what color his skin is, the fact is that he’s smart, he’s trying new things, and I would trust him more as the chief executive of my country than I would any other candidate.

    Indeed, and this is what scares the Republicans to the point of running for the Depends.

    Despite all the obvious disadvantages of the current predicament, I’m starting to think this is probably one of the best things that could have happened to Obama. He’s used Wright like a fulcrum to increase his leverage and pivot around the issue – an issue, I might add, which is one of his *signature* issues. In the retrospect, I think we’re likely to look at this and speculate as to whether it was staged so that he could use it in the way he did.

  20. yetanotherjohn says:

    Michael,

    You asked if ‘Do you have any specific reason to believe they aren’t the entirety of his misconduct? If there was more, don’t you think those sermons would be getting aired repeatedly also?’

    The sermon videos you have seen are from a DVD promoting the church. It could be that they just happened to pick the only sermons that had controversial remarks. If so, I would suggest that they need to rethink their process for creating DVD’s to promote their church. Isn’t it more likely that what they would use to promote the church would be in line with what people could expect in going to the church? Would it have really made sense to create a promotional video that was so very unlike the rest of the church services?

    I regonize that you want these to be isolated cases. It would help the story line of the left that somehow Wright’s racism should just be ignored. To the best of my knowledge, we don’t have a vault of sermons or transcripts to compare this. If such a thing exists, they are probably held by the church and I expect that Obama would be pushing to release them. Nothing would make Obama’s point better than to realease 1000 hours of sermons with only what has been shown being controversial. But I think you are being a bit naive to suggest that what has been shown so far is all that is controversial.

  21. bornonthefourth says:

    Last week he had no idea about this.. This week he is an expert on it. WOW, Lying is more effective in local politics. This ones in over his head. You can’t pick your grandmother but you can your friends!!!!!!!!!

  22. Hal says:

    I regonize that you want these to be isolated cases.

    Dude, if you think there aren’t armies of reporters and private investigators turning over every single rock looking for more, then you’re the one who is naive. To coin a phrase, I recognize you want these to be the norm and for even uglier stuff to come out but perhaps you’ll be left longing for more ammunition in your fight.

    But I think you are being a bit naive to suggest that what has been shown so far is all that is controversial.

    I think you don’t quite understand that in light of what Farrakan says, Wright doesn’t even register on the WTF meter. If Wright has more explosive material to share with us, rest assured that it’ll come out.

    The question I’m wondering about is *why* you want it to come out and are longing to see it. But then I already know the answer to that, and it has nothing to do with “racism”, per se.

  23. Hal says:

    but I foresee a fall commercial showing Obama saying never heard controversial remarks being juxtaposed with today’s “sure he made controversial remarks”.

    And I’m sure the rejoinder will be Hagee’s rant on the apostate catholic church being the whore of babylon framed with a hug by John McCain as he begged for his support. I’m sure we’ll be able to find even nastier stuff when the digging starts in earnest.

    As they say, bring it on.

  24. Paul McCarthy says:

    Fox undoubtedly has bought all of Wright’s sermons and combed them for nasty stuff by now. Yet all they’ve given us are the following:

    a. “God Damn America”
    b. 911 and chickens coming home to roost
    c. Hillary wasn’t a black boy raised by a single parent.
    d. Aids virus cooked up in labs.

    any others?

    So if Wright has been continually preaching nasty sermons, where are the rest of them?

  25. yetanotherjohn says:

    Hal, Paul,

    The video is from one DVD put out by the church to promote the church. Why you aren’t seeing more is because the source is the church. There may be more video or this may have been a one off and no more exist. If there is more, then the church is going to control it’s distribution. If it is favorable to their position (this is an isolated incident taken out of context), then I would expect to see thousands of more hours released and the controversy will die down. If there is more and it is more of the same of what we have, then I would be amazed if they release the additional video.

    Now Hal, lets posit two possibilities. One is that this is an isolated incident in Wright’s history. In which case the story will die for lack of fuel. In the other, this is not an isolated incident on Wright’s part. That for 20 years (despite Obama’s denial last Friday) Obama has been soaking this in. It would certainly explain why his wife had never in her adult life felt pride in America prior to Obama running for President. 20 years of the US of KKKA, United States of White America, that the US created aids, etc would certainly tend to make you look askance at America. If Obama has been sucking in 20 years of hate mongering, wouldn’t you like to know that before we hand over the presidency. To put it another way, would you want Wright to be running the country? If not, why would you want a president who looked up to Wright as a mentor and who used Wright to keep his head screwed on straight. Obama had a profile on Wright up on his website until last week. Now, he wants to distance himself from Wright. Don’t you have the least bit of concern about a potential president thanking a hate mongering racist on election night, dedicating a book to a hate mongering racist and having the hate mongering racist on his campaign until people started to notice that he was a hate mongering racist?

    You don’t stop racism by promoting racism.

  26. Hal says:

    You don’t stop racism by promoting racism.

    Hmmmm. Your comment is certainly something to study as I’m sure this is pretty much the narrative you and the other Republicans would like to see take hold. For now I’ll just chew on it, because this is obviously not an intellectual debate so much as it is a means of trying out propaganda. As Paul mentioned in the comment above yours, what’s out there so far is pretty darn mild. As to your whole “racism” line, I’m pretty sure that this works well in focus groups but for the most part we’ll have to see if it’s really something that is just limited to appealing to people who will never in a million years vote for Obama regardless of whatever trash talk y’all can dig up on Wright. We’ll have to see, of course, but I think Obama effectively pivoted off of this and has shown that he can use this to drive home his message rather than letting this drag him down. Time will tell.

    But look at it this way. You’re entire hope is based on there being some really nasty crap coming out about Wright *and* having it stick to Obama. As I’ve said, I doubt that the first is true – I’d have to believe we’d seen it by now as the right wing noise machine has never been one to keep their powder dry waiting to unleash the juicy stuff, but stranger things have happened. The problem then becomes making it stick to Obama and causing it to depress votes. Certainly, if y’all can manage to effectively do that, it’ll drive down his negatives with the poor schmoes who are going to hold their noses and vote for McCain come hell or high water. But that isn’t really doing anything. It’s wasting valuable bandwidth and other resources to do nothing. Something I encourage Republicans to do at every step along the way, of course.

    We’ll soon see Obama did what he needed here and comes out of this stronger. If not, then it’s HRC. Either way, McCain is toast once whomever the nominee is starts focussing on him. Like I mentioned above, there’s plenty of rejoinders to anything y’all want to throw out here vis a vis Wright. Personally, I don’t think it’s anywhere the right wants to tread, given the history of evangelicals for whom “damning america” is really the least offensive thing they say on a regular basis. If the right wants to open this box and start strewing around the insides, I’m sure that it will get really ugly for the religious right very quickly.

    Oh, and for a party which pretty much owns the racist vote – i.e. Republicans – I do find your offense at whatever “racism” Wright has quite charming. Let’s remember which party the KKK belongs to, shall we? And I guess those Confederate flags and such are just quaint symbols of treason in defense of slavery.

  27. Moonbat Boy says:

    what’s out there so far is pretty darn mild.

    “The USKKK of A” just your garden variety racist hate.

    Oh, and for a party which pretty much owns the racist vote

    There’s some good projection.

    Let’s remember which party the KKK belongs to, shall we?

    As represented by the Senator from WVA?

  28. M1EK says:

    How many people who need to be convinced actually sit in congregations where clergy spout things as outrageous as Wright’s bile?

    How many Catholics need to swallow their bile when their boy-fondling priests lecture them about birth control and abortion?

  29. Hal says:

    As represented by the Senator from WVA?

    See? Let’s remember that he’s an *ex* KKK member. And why is he an EX member? Well, that’d be because of the Southern Revolt where by the formerly democratic south bolted the party during the civil rights movement and joined the Republican party.

    You guys can keep bringing this up like it’s some amazing revelation, but all it really does is shows how deeply profound your ignorance is and exposes the lengths your willing to go to cover up what is quite obvious to everyone else.

    Still, keep plugging away at that. As I said, I’m 100% behind futile efforts which simply expend heat without result. Doubly so for efforts as misguided as yours which will end up highlighting the very things that most of your party would like to bury.

    “The USKKK of A” just your garden variety racist hate.

    Offensive? Certainly. Racist? I don’t see how. But then your buddy Jonah has managed to twist himself around defining liberals as the true fascists so I’m sure you have some incredibly detailed explanation that has never been made with such care and attention to detail. But again, I’m pretty sure that most people – while offended by what he said – would be hard pressed to agree with you on classifying it as “racism”.

    I’m sure the projection comment would come in handy here…

  30. This thread epitomizes why serious discussions about race remain beyond our grasp.

  31. Dave Schuler says:

    Could you flesh that out a bit for me, charles austin?

  32. Mr. Schuler, I am reluctant to do so for several reasons, though I might in a private correspondence. Nonetheless, here’s a few quotes from this thread that prove to be problematic without specific comment:

    Shorter James Joyner: “I haven’t heard it, but I’m qualified to write 1,000 word opinion about it.”

    We are just hearing the same hysterical crap from the corporate media about the ONE sermon over and over again.

    He goes from being a Muslim to a Christian, led by a pastor who preaches hate.

    Never thought I’d say that, but agreeing with Charles Murray of “The Bell Curve” fame is making me freak out.

    There’s a world of difference between preaching against an evil (abortion) and preaching that is an evil – racial hatred.

    Spoken like a true white boy James…

    Lastly, Shelby Steele is an idiot.

    Indeed, and this is what scares the Republicans to the point of running for the Depends.

    But then I already know the answer to that, and it has nothing to do with “racism”, per se.

    You don’t stop racism by promoting racism.

    Let’s remember which party the KKK belongs to, shall we?

    As represented by the Senator from WVA?

    How many Catholics need to swallow their bile when their boy-fondling priests lecture them about birth control and abortion?

    That’s no more than one sentence from any one comment while some individuals are quoted several times. Admittedly, many of the problems introduced by these comments have nothing to do with race, but that just highlights the problems in this medium with trying to focus on a single train of challenging and difficult thought without the casual introduction of extraneous baggage, questioning of motives, bad faith, logical errors, convoluted facts, and rampant definitional differences.

    I apologize for the lack of specifics, but there’s just too much to wade through and I lack the time and skin thick enough to do so.

  33. Christopher says:

    Hal,

    You democrats are indeed the party of racists. Your comment alone about the KKK being republican says it all.

    Liberals are obsessed with race. Republicans only care about prosperity for all and are color blind. Dems want to hand out money to solve problems-give a man a fish as it were. Conservatives instead teach men to fish. Liberals have supported programs that over the years have given away countless billions (trillions?) to able-bodied people. Yet it is republicans that get the blame for the resulting utter failure of these giveaways. Democrats celebrate their own racist party members, while republicans drive out theirs.

    Democrats are the most racist of any party. Their presumed nominee, their “Obamessiah”, belongs to an obviously racist church and is himself racist for his continual denials until it was politically expedient to admit it all today.

    Minorities should stop being the lap dog of the democrats-it has gotten them nowhere, according to Obamessiah-and vote republican. The Republican Party has their best economic and security interests in mind. Only we don’t call it “in the best interests of minorities”. We call it the best interests for EVERYbody equally.

    Learn to live with it, liberals: Omama is toast. God BLESS America.

  34. DL says:

    Rush referred to this speech as the “Rodney King” speech. “Can’t we all just get along”

    Personally it sounds like pure Clintonian nuance disguised as an apology (for white racists?)

    I suppose it depends upon what the meaning of racism is.

  35. Hal says:

    Christopher, what an odd definition of “racist” you have. Apparently, calling someone a racist actually makes you a racist, so I guess by your definition, you are the biggest racist of all.

    Like I said, keep it up. You guys only keep making yourselves look ever more like stupid boobs and continually embarrass your party and require them to keep sweeping you back into the holes you periodically crawl out of. The whole “racist” whine you seem to have perfected simply exposes you for the loon you seem to be struggling to be.

    Just think. You face the next four years of either HRC as your president or Obama. It’s kind of like a Republican nightmare. A woman – a Clinton! – or a black man. No wonder you guys are in hell.

  36. floyd says:

    There is an odd bit of hypocrisy being overlooked here.
    The left proudly supports Obama’s confession of Christianity as exculpatory of other dubious allegedly unsavory affiliations.
    Whereas,their normal reaction to a confession of Christian faith is the vitriolic assertion that Christianity itself is a disqualifier for public office and perhaps even proof of insanity!

  37. Michael says:

    Whereas,their normal reaction to a confession of Christian faith is the vitriolic assertion that Christianity itself is a disqualifier for public office and perhaps even proof of insanity!

    Back that up with examples. Ty my knowledge, every Democratic candidate for President has professed their Christianity.

  38. floyd says:

    Hal;
    Jumping to conclusions and running down your neighbors are truly not good forms of cardiovascular exercise. Though they may raise your blood pressure slightly, they only serve to exacerbate a serious “heart condition”!
    The “Republican nightmare” has nothing to do with race or gender. It has to do with the inaugEration{sic} of a Democrat as President.
    You forget that the Republicans have fielded a QUALIFIED black candidate in three of the last four presidential election cycles.How many for the Democrat Party during that period? To date… none!

  39. Hal says:

    You forget that the Republicans have fielded a QUALIFIED black candidate in three of the last four presidential election cycles.How many for the Democrat Party during that period?

    Yes, there’s always the qualification of “qualified”, isn’t there. The subjective term which conveniently allows you to somehow filter out Jesse Jackson and others.

    But hey, keep up the whole “Republicans are the TRUE party of diversity” bit. As I’ve said, I’m behind such efforts 110%.

  40. floyd says:

    Michael;
    Wink wink,nod nod.

  41. floyd says:

    Hal; I think you were about a decade off on that one!

  42. Michael says:

    Wink wink,nod nod.

    I can’t even begin to imagine what you are trying to convey with this. Are you doing a Triumph-style troll? Because if you are, you suck at it.

  43. Hal says:

    Hal; I think you were about a decade off on that one!

    Geebus, when do you think the last 4 presidential elections happened? Guess you missed Al Sharpton, too.

  44. Christopher says:

    floyd,

    Great job on Hal; but I think he will never get it. He sees through “racist”-colored glasses.

    But you gotta give him credit. He did write a post where he got to use the word “boobs”. He is on his way to working for CNN!