Shadow of Wright Still Hangs over Obama Campaign
A piece in today’s WSJ argues that “there is evidence of lingering damage” to Barack Obama from the controversy over pastor Jeremiah Wright’s videotaped tirades. The evidence is, to put it mildly, thin.
“It has not been defused,” says David Parker, a North Carolina Democratic Party official and unpledged superdelegate. He says his worries about Republicans questioning Sen. Obama’s patriotism prompted him to raise the issue of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright Jr.’s remarks in conversations with both the Obama and Clinton campaigns. “I’m concerned about seeing Willie Horton ads during the general election,” Mr. Parker says, referring to campaign ads that Republicans widely credited for helping defeat Michael Dukakis in 1988.
So, one guy nobody’s ever heard of is worried about some ads that might run? And then there’s this:
In Pennsylvania, Sen. Clinton had a 48% to 40% lead against Sen. McCain while Sen. Obama was ahead 43% to 39%. The polls credit Sen. Clinton’s advantage to her strength among white voters. No Democrat has won the presidency with a majority of white voters since 1964, and no president from either party has been elected without winning two of the three swing states of Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida since 1960. In those three states, some 23% of white Democrats would defect to Sen. McCain in a matchup with Sen. Obama, compared with 11% who would abandon Sen. Clinton, according to the Quinnipiac polls.
“It’s a reasonable assumption that … part of that drop-off among white voters would result from his pastor’s notoriety,” says Quinnipiac pollster Peter Brown.
Or that Wright’s remarks give credence to reluctance to vote for a black guy? But, again, that’s pretty weak. Despite polls showing that most people aren’t even aware of the controversy — and Obama’s national lead over Clinton continuing to grow — the story won’t die.
Lawrence Korb and Ian Moss had an interesting op-ed last week in the Chicago Tribune which tells, as Paul Harvey might say, the rest of the story:
In 1961, a young African-American man, after hearing President John F. Kennedy’s challenge to, “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country,” gave up his student deferment, left college in Virginia and voluntarily joined the Marines.
In 1963, this man, having completed his two years of service in the Marines, volunteered again to become a Navy corpsman. (They provide medical assistance to the Marines as well as to Navy personnel.)
The man did so well in corpsman school that he was the valedictorian and became a cardiopulmonary technician. Not surprisingly, he was assigned to the Navy’s premier medical facility, Bethesda Naval Hospital, as a member of the commander in chief’s medical team, and helped care for President Lyndon B. Johnson after his 1966 surgery. For his service on the team, which he left in 1967, the White House awarded him three letters of commendation.
As they reveal by and by — and you’ve likely guessed given the context — they’re talking about Wright. Korb and Moss contrast his service with the avoidance of same by Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Dick Cheney and ask, “Who is the real patriot? The young man who interrupted his studies to serve his country for six years or our three political leaders who beat the system? Are the patriots the people who actually sacrifice something or those who merely talk about their love of the country?”
That strikes me as a silly conclusion, as there are all manner of ways to serve. And, surely, eight years as commander-in-chief (in the cases of Clinton and Bush) and four years as SECDEF and another eight at VP (in the case of Cheney) counts as national service. But the smaller point — that Wright’s story is a more complicated than a few moments of video would lead you to believe — is worth factoring into the equation.
I find the Wright story interesting. And the fact that Obama has seen him as a mentor all these years probably means that he, too, is more complicated than his well crafted public image. But I don’t see this brouhaha being a decisive factor in who becomes our next president.
Tie Wright’s thinking into Obama’s father’s thoughts and you have a mentorship program for young Barack that is anti-Western, anti-capitalist and quite totalitarian.
To claim Obama is anti-Western, anti-capitalist and totalitarian is stupid. There is zero support for a claim like that. It makes you sound like a loon.
Get a grip and show some Christian charity:
Hey Pug, read, if you can, Obama’s book. Dreams of my Father. James calls thousands of dollars in donation to a church that preaches black liberation theology as espoused by a man named Cone. Obama’s admiration of Malcom X. The fact the church in question had a preacher who for years blamed whitey for all the ills of black people world wide thin evidence of damage or potential damage to Obama’s campaign. Those that think Obama can or will be elected President are either blind or stupid. He is, without doubt, the least qualified candidate to ever run for that office.
I’m happy to give anyone charity, or the benefit of the doubt, except if this person is campaigning to the POTUS. Obama and his associations are too weird for me; anything requiring that extensive explanation is far too complex. Clinton, well, remains Clinton. Their years in the WH were akin to enduring 8 yrs in the dentist’s chair.
Tried and true is for me. McCain it is. His downside is age, but he only needs four years and a capable VP.
Thank Goodness that Obama stayed at Trinity Church and gained valuable insight into the mindset of Blacks, as well as other races.
All of his associations has probably made him a very WISE man.
But I don’t see this brouhaha being a decisive factor in who becomes our next president.
Don’t think so? Just wait until the McCain ads start running this fall on TV over…and over…and over again. Prince Charming had better start working on his next “race speech” right now because he’s still got a lot of explaining to do.
The story won’t die because the WSJ and other right-wing mouthpieces are determined to flag, flog and milk it down to the very last drop of blood, far beyond the bounds of good taste, common sense, or genuine new information.
I’m saying what James is implying.
But it’s offensive. and it’s boring. And I too doubt voters are going to continue giving a rat’s *ss. The ones who care have already formed their opinions. Reprinting the Wright baloney is easier than coming up with creative new ways to trash Obama.
Is it an issue that Obama is a racist, anti-American traitor? Yeah, I think so. He’s gotten this far through lies and obfuscation. But he can’t hide his poisoned soul forever.
But I don’t see this brouhaha being a decisive factor in who becomes our next president.
Apparently, “denial” is not just a river in Egypt. You say yourself that no one knows about Wright yet – so just wait til the TV ads hit him. “God damn America” – that one’s going to be the masses’ favorite. What plays with Democratic primary voters who don’t know about Wright does not translate to General Election voters who do.
This is Willie Horton on steroids.
Wright with his Nation of Islam ties (according to The New Republic) will have absolutely no effect on the election. None. None what so ever. Nothing at all.
Have faith brothers and sisters. And hope. And change. What we want is change.
And most of all what we want is to change the subject. Why even bring it up?
So what’s next?
“If Obama doesn’t get elected, the cities will burn”?
Obama is very fortunate to come from a not atypical black family.
Where the father abandons the child to go live with another woman. Dreams of my father indeed.
There is another image that will be a big seller in the national election.
Hope is the new dope.
You know James, I’m kind of righty myself (how did you guess?), but the Dems this year are in a real pickle. Wouldn’t it be better to focus on what went wrong rather than trying to pump some helium into one or two shredded balloons?
We need a two party system in this country to keep politics moderately honest. The Dems seem to be in spin, crash, and burn mode this year. How did it happen? What went wrong?
“Decisive factor”? Probably not.
As big a factor as Kennedy’s Catholicism in 1960 or Mitt Romney’s Mormonism? Yup. For some small (single-digit, probably less than 5) percentage of voters, the Wright controversy will be a significant deciding factor in casting or withholding their votes.
“… I don’t see this brouhaha being a decisive factor in who becomes our next president.”
James, you’re living in a dream world if you really believe this. That rumbling sound you hear is every swing voter in the U.S. moving away from Obama and toward McCain.
Admittedly, November is still a long way away, but at this moment I don’t see any way McCain loses.
No one is questioning Pastor Wright’s military record. What is under fire is his speech and conduct as a preacher.
Korb and Ross’s argument is absolute garbage. They conclude:
“Let us not forget that, for whatever Rev. Wright may have said over the last 30 years, he has demonstrated his patriotism [through his military service]”
No one would say of James Earl Ray,
“Let us not forget that, for whatever James Earl Ray did in 1968, he has demonstrated his patriotism, because he enlisted and served in the army.”
Arguably, Ray only killed the man. Wright has spent 20 years killing King’s idea.
I too don’t believe that “this brouhaha being a decisive factor in who becomes our next president”. However, as with Mrs. Clinton’s steady missteps, this brouhaha along with Mr. Obama not personally apologizing to Senator McCain over the warmonger statement, his continued use of the 100 years of war in Iraq lie, voting present so often in the legislature and other such possible errors in judgment does have a slow steady impact on one’s view of his character. His lack of being proactive on such things may cause many to view him as being a moral coward. The candidates are too slow to learn that the internet, youtube and the need to fill 24/7 cable programs with sound bites shows candidates no mercy.
No president has an option to decide a question with “presentâ€. Mr. Obama may see, but he doesn’t act; a deer in the headlights. Like it or not, as Dick Morris says, a president (at times) has to be ruthless. If not, our enemies receive the impression that you are weak and that perception can have consequences we have seen before; President Kennedy in Cuba and President Ford in Vietnam. While even trying to project strength, the impression and inherent misunderstandings of our culture emanating from that was that our country was weak willed, resulted in Pearl Harbor, the invasion of South Korea and Kuwait. But a president appearing weak in character or politically, if nothing else, causes our enemies to test our country’s resolve. Al Qaeda is doing that now in Iraq, in what they, yes they, have proclaimed as a major front in their global campaign against the our Western culture and ideals.
The message from unidentified gringos found in the captured laptops of the FARC narco-terrorists leadership in Columbia told them to just wait for the Obama presidency and our policies will change; perceptions can be everything.
Everything about Obama screams that he has been deeply influenced by the radical marxists philosophy of the past 4 decades that all the world’s problems are a result of America and “white” people.
From his wife who believes that Americans are ignorant, to his mother who traveled the world looking for marxist love, to his “pastor’s” black liberation theory which blames all the black community ills on “whites”, Obama is what he is regardless of the pretty words he spouts.
Denial is rampant everywhere about Obama even to this article and comments where we get assurances that Obama is not like this. How would you Obama supporters know? Because he gives pretty speeches? So his speeches take precedent over this actions of the past 20 years? Are you that gullible?
Look if you want a representative which makes decisions based on the philosophy that you, the American people, and your white neighbors are behind all the world’s problem, then vote for Obama.
I gave Obama the “benefit of the doubt” when he decided not to wear an American flag on his lapel. I gave Obama the “benefit of the doubt” when he didn’t put his hand over his heart for the National Anthem. I gave Obama the “benefit of the doubt” when his wife said it was the first time in her adult life she was proud of her country. At some point, each of us needs to decide when the question is no longer in doubt, but a real issue. His wife’s college thesis on race would have been unremarkable, were it not for her comments 20 yrs later that seem to confirm her thinking. Obama’s racist and anti-American minister would have been an issue regardless, but does this explain Obama’s earlier decision not to wear the flag on his lapel, etc…? When do you stop giving him the “benefit of the doubt”?
It should be pointed out, too, that like Willie Horton, the Republicans will only be using something the Dems brought out in the primary. The media never like to remind you that the Willie Horton ad was started by Al Gore in the ’88 primaries–George Sr. merely picked up the ball and ran with it.
Dems sure do love shooting themselves in the foot!
I must admit, however, I never knew Wright’s service record was as sterling as I just read. Then again, it does suggest he’s smarter than his silly sermons suggest, which supports the race hustling accusation (all that tithing landed him in a multimillion dollar home).
Obamessiah is a typical America-hating leftist and (at a minimum) a panderer to racist hate groups such as that led by his “pastor.” If you truly don’t believe that his 20-year association with Pastor Kill-Whitey is going to affect the election I suppose you don’t think it would or should matter if it were revealed that McCain had been a member of the KKK for 20 years. Most sane people are not going to vote for someone whose ideology revolves around blaming them for all society’s ills and blaming their country for all the world’s problems. ‘Nuff said.
America’s first traitor, Doctor Benjamin Church, had been “Chief Physician & Director General” of the Medical Service of the Continental Army in 1775.
America’s most famous traitor, Benedict Arnold, had been a Major General.
Four decades ago, among his Marines, the corpsman Jeremiah Wright would not have dared to blare out “God DAMN America” three times. Just the look from those around him would have choked him off in mid-stride.
Today, Mr. Wright’s understanding of the word “America” is fatally flawed. And any man who would for years remain a member of Wright’s organization has a deeply perverse understanding of the term “church”.
It is entertaining to read, however in a sinister sort of way, as people try to rationalize a way around these exhibits. After all, their exertions fairly illustrate the term “hopeless”.
You have to work really, really hard to categorize “G-d D*mn America” as “complicated”.
For me, it was months ago, but I’ve been paying more attention. For my mother (one of those coveted swing voters) it was when it was revealed that he took his children to that ‘church.’ Even my Dem-worshiping brother’s voting McCain now. None of us will support a klansman, no matter what color the skin is under the hood.
That wacky Lawrence Korb. George W. Bush served in the Texas National Guard. Furthermore, if comparisons are there to be made why avoid the actual candidates–what are we to make of the Clinton/Obama/McCain service? Korb et al must be delusional to believe that past behavior guarantees future results, unless he’s on to the ultimate good of Timothy McVeigh.
I’m sure you’re totally right and there is nothing to it. Nominate him. 🙂
(yes, I’m voting republican)
Korb and Moss contrast his service with the avoidance of same by Bill Clinton, George W. Bush,
Nothing could be more different than Clinton’s self-righteous snivelling against military service, and Bush’s flying of F-101s and request for service in Vietnam. Korb and Moss demonstrate stupendous ignorance in their statement, and there’s no reason to credit them as believeable sources of anything.
“Wright has spent 20 years killing King’s idea.”
Not quite. But it would be interesting to see the reactions of those piling on Wright to what MLK said about U.S. policy in Southest Asia, among other topics. If we had an equivalent of King alive today no doubt NRO, Malkin, and Powerline would be all over any candidate who would associate himself with such an anti-American Marxist…
I keep seeing claims that Pastor Wright served in the Marines as a medical corpsman. This appears to be incorrect. Members of the Navy serve as medics for the Marines. I hate to see a racist, anti-American creep like Wright get credit for serving as a Marine.
No, those are two separate facts. Wright was a Marine. Subsequently, he was a Navy corpsman.
I love how Obama supporters try to make the case that the Rev. Wright controversy is old news. It’s the mainstream media that’s trying to kill this story. If the media pursued this story with the same zeal that they go after any story that has the potential to harm Republicans, you can bet that…….
A. The media would be runnning dozens of front page stories on Black Liberation Theology.
B. The media would be asking Obama detailed questions about how often he attended church services, and what, specifically, did he hear from Rev. Wright that could be considered, in Obama’s words, “conroversial”.
C. The media would be running dozens of front page stories about Obama’s association with the Rev. James Meeks, and the Rev. Michael Phleger.
D. The media would be running dozens of stories about the Black community’s embrace of 1960s counterculture, anti-American, anti-White, anti-Western, radical left wing politics, and how politically estranged they are from the rest of the country, along with many artists and academics, and how Obama’s campaign has brought this to the public’s attention 40 years later.
Let the Obama supporters delude themselves into thinking Obama has weathered this storm. They ought to be scared to death of the anger Bill Clinton has displayed towards Bill Richardson. Richardson’s defection is symbolic of the lack of gratitute that many Democrats are showing the Clintons after Bill rescued their party from the abyss after losing 5 out of the last 6 Presidential elections. Clinton brought the Democrats back to life by tacking to the political center, and obscuring the left wingers who are now engaged in an anti-Clinton intifada.
Once Obama wins the nomination, the Clintons will be doing everything in their power, behind the scenes of course, to make sure that Obama not only loses, which is inevitable, but that he gets his swelled head handed to him.
Past military service is not proof of good character in the present. Just like any other large organization, the U.S. Military has both good and bad people in it, although I expect more of the former than the latter.
John Murtha served, but that doesn’t make him any less of a pork-swilling corruptocrat. John Kerry served, but that didn’t keep him from proving his idiocy with his statements about poor students getting “stuck in Iraq.” Wright’s past service doesn’t make him any less of a rabid bigot in the present.
I do agree with you that the Wright controversy had little impact. Citizens who see Obama’s extensive association with Wright as evidence of poor judgment most likely were already against his candidacy, because of his ultra-liberal voting record and policy proposals. Those who back Obama either agree with Wright, or are credulous enough to take Obama’s denials at face value.
Obama’s close association with Wright for 20 years precludes any possibility that Obama strongly disagrees with Wright. Obama may not utter the same words, but he shares the sentiment.
Furthermore, Obama’s wife Michelle also says Wright-like things.
Are we to believe that Obama’s views are dramatically different that those of his pastor/mentor and his wife? Surely you jest…
“… after Bill rescued their party from the abyss …”
Fop – I was right with you until this. How exactly did WJC save the Dem. Party? By losing congress in 1994? By trying to nationalize health care? By lying under oath & getting impeached?
“Saved by Bill Clinton” is probably not how most Democrats are feeling right about now.
It continues to amuse me that those who are now assuring themselves the Wright flap is no big deal are undoubtedly the same people who for years have railed against the right-wing fundamentalists. The fundies, you see, bring their politics of hatefulness to the pulpit, the better to gain power, money, and the fealty of their easily deluded followers. And what’s the difference between them and the good Rev. Wright, again?
Oh, right, skin color. Because that signals oppression, discrimination, and other bad stuff. Why, it wipes the slate clean!
Well, I hope the Obama Fan Club is enjoying the thrill of embracing this double standard, and all the warm feelings of moral superiority it carries. Because it’s what they’re exchanging for the thrill of victory in November.
At least there’s a chance the Democratic Party (or what’s left of it) may learn a hard lesson about just how far a candidate-star of the identity politics firmament will get them in a national election — you know, the kind that’s decided outside the confines of the Huffington Post, the offices of the New York Times, and the halls of academia.
Haters, whatever their politics, color or creed, are not fit to be our leaders.
Well, Senator Obama wants change but what I’m afraid of is the type of change that his mentor wants. His mentor sounds a little deranged and it might have been catching. Rev. Wright doesn’t like whitey thats for sure, whats his plan, couldn’t be the final solution could it. Just noticed in the “New Republic” last March issue that Rev. Wright used to be a Farrakhan Muslim, that needs a lot of explanation. Lot of religious craziness coming up here that could get a race war started.
This is how Dr. King spoke about the US during the war in Southeast Asia and it is not so far removed from how Rev. Wright speaks during our war in the Middle East. Were Dr. King alive today he would no doubt be speaking much the same as he did during Vietnam and being excoriated by the right wing punditry just as Rev. Wright.
U.S. Marine Corps, private first class, 1961-63; U.S. Navy, hospital corpsman third class, 1964-67.
Hate it or not, there it is.
What is amazing is that the 2008 election was going to be a referendum on Iraq and the GOP.
Instead, it has remarkably become a referendum on African American victimology, and the continued relevance of the victim culture in an America that now has many Hispanics, Asians, and voluntary Black immigrants.
Who would have thought, just 6 months ago, that 2008 would be the year where black victimology finally jumps the shark?
John McCain is the archetype of a middle of the road, patriotic, white male. He is not a racist, and the 85-90% of the US population that is not on the fringe, will reject any suggestion that he is.
The story won’t die because it’s relevant to the election, no matter how much you say it isn’t. Between this and Hillary’s transparent lies, so far it looks like the chances of a Democrat president this time are less than 50-50.
What would your reaction be if you found a Republican candidate’s long-time pastor who said “God damn the f*ggots” and “AIDS is the chickens coming home to roost”? Remember when Falwell said 9/11 is God’s punishment for our sinfulness? He was condemned from all over the political spectrum.
To say Wright doesn’t matter is flagrant, despicable hypocrisy.
Big deal, Wright served in the military. He’s still a racist.
The most disturbing thing about Wright is the way the audience responds. If you watch the video clips again and ask yourself, during the most offensive parts:
Is the audience shocked, as if this sort of thing is a rare occurrence?
Is the audience rolling their eyes and acting like, “Well there he goes again”?
Or is the audience jumping to their feet and cheering, as if this is the good part, the payoff they’ve been waiting for; the affirmation of the true beliefs planted in them and nurtured by Wright and his ilk.
I’m tired of the clips, so I don’t remember which one it is, and don’t care to watch again to find out. In one of those outbursts, two robed members of the choir rush across stage, give each other a huge grinning high-five right on stage behind Wright, and rush back to their places.
Or take, for example, this Chicago Tribune story from 3/31:
Members of Sen. Barack Obama’s church got pep talks from the pulpit Sunday … But it was a sermon delivered by high school senior Anita Pennington during Trinity United Church of Christ’s monthly youth service that brought the crowd to its feet and moved about a dozen visitors to answer the altar call.
“Let your enemies in your fight bring out the best in you,” urged Pennington, 18. “Let your enemies in your fight bring out the God in you.”
She knows who the enemy is. They all know. They know it because Pastor Wright taught them who the enemy is.
And that is why I say that Wright is killing the King legacy.
Everyone keeps calling wright a racist but I have yet to see Wright actually being a racist =/
Matt, you don’t think that calling the U.S. “Ameri-K-K-K” is a display of bigotry and prejudice? I certainly do.
Quite possibly, depending upon the context in which it was said. That does not, however, make it racist.
Bigotry â‰ racism, and prejudice â‰ racism.
All racists are bigots and display prejudice. The inverse is not true.
Well, OK, point taken. By the clinical definition, i.e. believing that one race is inherently or genetically inferior to another, you are correct.
Sadly I don’t see too many folks in the media making that fine distinction nowadays…
The irony here, is that Wright clearly does have substantial white ancestry. Obama is 50% white, yet darker in skintone than Wright.
BTW, most Americans don’t know that in Africa, OBAMA IS CONSIDERED WHITE. Yes, it is true. White people consider half-white Obama to be black. Black Africans consider half-black Obama to be white.
Think about it. It is logical, from their point of view. Who are we to assume that a 50/50 guy is ‘black’, when there is just as much justification for people who are 100% black to consider him to be white.
Matt, you may wait as long as you like. You hardly need use the term “racist” to describe Wright’s odious words. What’s quite clear is that, out of either real, rancid belief or cynical manipulation (or some blend of both), he has made a steady diet of hate speech and victimology — and served it piping hot for others. And he’s done it for years. We can sit around and play Dictionary all day, but those people in his church’s pews — espcially the young ones, such as the Obama girls — are losing players in a very real game. They’re absorbing stupid, evil ideas that can do far more damage to them than to any of Wright’s alleged villains. I think that’s worth speaking out against, particularly in the context of a presidential campaign.
I said it above, and I repeat: Haters, whatever their politics, color or creed, are not fit to be our leaders.
Copy of the $48,000 Federal Income Tax Lien against Rev. Jeremiah Wright