Tuesday, April 29, 2008

What Barack Obama Ought to Say to his Ex-Spiritual Advisor

With apologies to Andrew Shepherd!
Being President of this country is entirely about character. America isn't easy. America is advanced citizenship. You gotta want it bad, 'cause it's gonna put up a fight. It's gonna say
You want free speech? Let's see you acknowledge a man whose words make your blood boil, who's standing center stage and advocating at the top of his lungs that which you would spend a lifetime opposing at the top of yours.
You want to claim this land as the land of the free? Then the symbol of your country can't just be a flag; the symbol also has to be one of its citizens exercising his right to burn that flag in protest. Show me that, defend that, celebrate that in your classrooms. Then, you can stand up and sing about the "land of the free".

I've known Reverend Wright for years, and I've been operating under the assumption that the reason the Reverend devotes so much time and energy to shouting at the rain was that he simply didn't get it. Well, I was wrong. Wright's problem isn't that he doesn't get it. Wright's problem is that he can't sell it! We have serious problems to solve, and we need serious people to solve them. And whatever your particular problem is, I promise you, Reverend Wright is not the least bit interested in solving it. He is interested in two things and two things only: making you afraid of it and telling you who's to blame for it.

Well, that ends right now. Tomorrow morning. We've got serious problems, and we need serious people, This is a time for serious people, Jeremiah , and your fifteen minutes of fame are up.

My name is Barack Obama, and I am running for president of the United States of America.

Wednesday Morning:

My post at the head of this thread reflected my gut reaction to the scattered accounts of Reverend Jeremiah Wright's comments in front of the National Press Club. Monday, I did not watch C-SPAN or read any newspaper accounts of Wright's remarks. Tuesday morning I posted my adaptation from The American Presidency based upon excerpts, hearsay, and spin, which I picked up vicariously. Since then, I have been nagged about doubts as to whether I had been unjust to Wright by prejudging him on the basis of others' reactions.

But, before I go any further, let me make two observations:
  • In yesterday's early morning hours when I was scouting around the internet looking for comment and reactions concerning Wright's appearance at the NPC, my distinct impression was that liberal sites were silent and conservative sites were all over the story.
  • Tonight, as I was looking around for transcripts of yesterday's event, it took me some time to find them. They were not in the NYT. They were not to be found on the National Press Club's site. They were only to be found on Faux News channel.
That, as the clinical psychologists would say, is diagnostic. And this goes to the root of my complaint against Wright - why Wright is wrong.

So, I have read the full transcript of Wright's NPC performance. The truth is, as I expected it would be, that I am in amazing agreement with a lot of Wright's positions. This, probably, is not the place to go into a detailed analysis of my agreements. Let's just say that Wright's stands and statements are at least arguably defensible.
I'll concede that every thing he says is worth consideration except his statement that HIV is a government conspiracy to kill off African-Americans. This exception is not a trivial one. Wright's decision to preach such rubbish does incredible damage to the mission of reconciliation that he purports to champion.

My major, major, objection to Wright is that he egotistically thinks he is a national figure. He thinks the headlines should feature him. He thinks he is responsible for Barack Hussein Obama making it big. In fact, it's the reverse. Wright would be a nobody, if it weren't for Obama. But Jeremiah Wright thinks yesterday's, today's, and tomorrow's story is all about Jeremiah Wright. I've even read rumors that he has a book coming out in November, just before the national election is held!

Although he has inadvertently become a major political personality, Wright does not possess any political skill, instincts, or vision. He's a religious freak, nutcase or cultist. Illustrative excerpts:
..... My theological lens shapes my anthropological lens ...

..... As I said, this is not an attack on Jeremiah Wright. It has nothing to do with Senator Obama. It is an attack on the black church launched by people who know nothing about the African-American religious tradition.

..... As I said, whether he gets elected or not, I'm still going to have to be answerable to God November 5th and January 21st. That's what I mean. I do what pastors do. He does what politicians do.

..... In my tradition, however, what everybody has been saying to me as it pertains to the candidacy is what God has for you is for you. If God intends for Mr. Obama to the president, then no white racists, no political pundit, no speech, nothing can get in the way, because God will do what God wants to do.
An attack on the black Christian church? Answerable to God? Is this some Ayatollah speaking? If he's not concerned about Barack Obama being elected, and sensitive as to what he - Wright - should do and not do to support him, then this self-obsessed paranoid should have been thrown under the campaign bus in the Barack's Philadelphia speech, if not before. With friends or 'family' like this, Obama does not need enemies.

17 Moderated Comments:

Blogger Emily said...

Andrew Shepherd's speech was a terrific speech, and the words in yellow certainly apply to Reverend Wright, Vigil. But, the fear-mongers who seek power through lies, intimidation, and manipulation are the shameless Republicans Busheney, Rove, and Hillbill.

Sadly, Jeremiah Wright,like the aforementioned individuals, appears to possess a fragile ego also. His attempts to destroy Obama stem from his own envy, jealousy and neediness. It is outrageous that Wright's emotional difficulties are being inflicted upon the American "body politic" during this already trivialized campaign season.

4/29/2008 08:24:00 AM  
Blogger Kentucky Rain said...

That truly was a terrific speech and I agree with everything else Emily said! Thanks for the link Vigil.

4/29/2008 09:50:00 AM  
Blogger Big Yellow Forehead said...

I agree that the speech is good. You should check out Eugene Robinson's opinion article on Wright. I heard him discuss it on The Tony Kornheiser Show on the radio this morning, and just finished reading it.

P.S. It's good to be back! Thanks for that extra push.

4/29/2008 10:03:00 AM  
Blogger Bob Keller said...

Excellent adaptation. I couldn't agree more.

4/29/2008 04:29:00 PM  
Blogger E said...

Nicely done.

4/29/2008 06:39:00 PM  
Blogger Yellow Dog said...

This is Obama's Sister Souljah Moment.

4/29/2008 08:01:00 PM  
Blogger Utah Savage said...

Emily is one smart cookie.

I too posted on the Rev. I'm not as nice as anyone here. But glad to see we are paying attention.

4/29/2008 08:49:00 PM  
Blogger Vigilante said...

This morning, I have updated my original post with something I had to get off my chest. I have not yet taken stock of Barack Obama's renunciation, denunciation, or disavowal of Wright yet. Based upon anecdotal clips from TV, I expect I will find it inadequate

4/30/2008 08:21:00 AM  
Blogger Ryland Grace said...

Sort of would be nice to see McCain's version of Wright, the good Reverend Hagee, have his own speech at the National Press Club and have him spout of his version of all the ills of society.

4/30/2008 05:41:00 PM  
Blogger Emily said...

Bob Herbert in the NYT:

The Rev. Jeremiah Wright went to Washington on Monday not to praise Barack Obama, but to bury him ....

He’s living a narcissist’s dream. At long last, his 15 minutes have arrived ....

The thing to keep in mind about Rev. Wright is that he is a smart fellow. He’s been a very savvy operator, politically and otherwise, for decades ....

So it’s not like he’s naïve politically. He knows exactly what he’s doing. Forget the gibberish about responding to attacks on the black church. That is not what the reverend’s appearance before the press club was about. He was responding to what he perceives as an attack on him.

4/30/2008 09:43:00 PM  
Blogger Vigilante said...

I agree, Beach.

Having read Obama's Pastor-casting-under-the-bus, I am, as I expected to be, not impressed. It was downright Dukasas-like. It's not what the momemt calls for. Obama now has to campaign against his father figure (the Pastor) as well as Hillary and Johnny-Mac. Obama has to take his repudiation on the road. He need to take Wright to task in his stump speeches. And, as Beach says, Hagee, too!

4/30/2008 10:31:00 PM  
Blogger Soros' Proxy said...

Maureen Dowd in Praying and Preying:

At the very moment when his fate hangs in the balance, when he is trying to persuade white working-class voters that he is not an exotic stranger with radical ties, the vainglorious Rev. Wright kicks him in the stomach. In a narcissistic explosion that would impress Bill Clinton, the preacher dragged Obama into the ’60s maelstrom that he had pledged to be an antidote to. In two days worth of solipsistic rants, the man of faith committed at least four of the seven deadly sins — wrath, envy, pride and greed (book and lecture fees?) — while grandiosely claiming he was defending the black church.

That's putting it perfectly.

But it's also putting it perfectly as did a pro-Hillary Democrat (unidentified by Dowd):

“He talks about Reverend Wright violating his core beliefs as if he is detailing why he doesn’t like cheesecake or cream cheese. He’s more passionate about basketball.”

Wright has tried to each Obama's lunch. Obama should be doin' the Dozens on his ex-father figure.

5/01/2008 07:12:00 AM  
Blogger Petrosexual said...

A poor commentary on Dems: Hillary's the only one man enough to beat down the Reverend.

5/01/2008 10:43:00 PM  
Blogger Emily said...

A few years back, Congresswoman Lois Capps (CA) ran for and won her husband Walter's seat after his untimely death. Two days ago, she endorsed, as a super delegate, Barack Obama. She wrote:

Walter once said that “we are strongest as people when we are directed by that which unites us, rather than giving into the fears, suspicions, innuendos and paranoias that divide.” For years I have been waiting for a President that speaks to that vision. I believe Barack Obama may very well be that rare leader.

Daily Sound

5/02/2008 07:30:00 AM  
Blogger Stella by Starlight said...

Wonderful emily, I agree with you completely. And, Utah, I felt the same way you did about Wright. Shut up. Speaking of which...

Petro, got a problem with authority in a skirt? The issue at bar, and let me speak s-l-o-w-l-y because you're obviously not paying attention, is R-e-v.   W-r-i-g-h-t    h-u-r-t-i-n-g   O-b-a-m-a's n-o-m-i-n-a-t-i-o-n   b-i-d. Get it?

HRC's problem is that she's the same kind of "tough as men" like Bush and Cheney. Listening to men like that makes her weak as she panders to necons—like you. I have held her as conservative for some years now. There are far less formidable men than HRC.

But I digress. Wright's desire to be in the spotlight, as noted by emily, clearly "stem from...envy [and] jealousy." He just wanted is 15 minutes, and took it at the cost of a what could have been a triumph in American politics. If Obama loses this election, I'm inclined to lay the blame at Wright's feet.

In fact, if Obama does get in the White House, I would have thought Wright might have served as a minor advisor and do a great job. We need more hellraisers in government. Has Wright destroyed Obama's potentiality of creating peace? "You want a fight, President Bush?"

Rambling as usual...

5/02/2008 01:36:00 PM  
Blogger Kentucky Rain said...

I just have to add one more thing to this post. I think Obama has said all he needs to say about the crazy reverend. The more he talks about it the more credence and attention he gives it.

Those on the Left have always had a tendency to see Chicken Little's falling sky, and I don't blame them. The Democrats are very good at doing themselves in, but in this case the Reverend is not nearly as important as some may believe.

He does not represent Armageddon for Obama. I promise there will be something else, and something else before he wins the nomination by a majority of Superdelegates, because Hillary is not going to quit until that happens. This isn't about Reverend Wrong it is about Hillary.

5/04/2008 10:48:00 AM  
Blogger Messenger said...

Yes, but the hill for Hill to climb is a steep one. It's time Howard Dean made her a take-it-or-leave-it offer she can't afford to turn down.

5/04/2008 11:32:00 AM  

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