March 18, 2008

Obama's speech

Here's the text.

As always, very eloquent.

I'm sure it will be taken as the Sister Souljah moment I've long urged Obama to carry out on Rev. Dr. Wright. Amidst all the high sounding phrases, however, it's not clear whether Obama is confessing that he blatantly lied last week when he asserted:

"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."

Nor does it appear that he's withdrawing from Wright's church, to which he donated $27,500 on his two most recent available tax returns.

Obama is trying to leave the impression that this is kind of a recent senile crack-up on the part of Wright (who is 66):
And yet, it has only been in the last couple of weeks that the discussion of race in this campaign has taken a particularly divisive turn.

On one end of the spectrum, we’ve heard the implication that my candidacy is somehow an exercise in affirmative action; that it’s based solely on the desire of wide-eyed liberals to purchase racial reconciliation on the cheap. On the other end, we’ve heard my former pastor, Reverend Jeremiah Wright, use incendiary language to express views that have the potential not only to widen the racial divide, but views that denigrate both the greatness and the goodness of our nation; that rightly offend white and black alike.
No, this is just Wright being the same Wright who went with Farrakhan to see Gadaffi when he was 42. The only difference is that it's Wright being Wright on Youtube.

When he was told he needed a church to be politically successful, Obama searched out Wright out of all black pastors on the South Side. He got what he was looking for.

And, no, not all black pastors are like Wright. Here's the website of the biggest black megachurch in LA, West Angeles Cathedral, with almost three times as many members as Wright's Trinity. It's a Christian church, not an excuse for far left politics in dashiki vestments.

In summary, unless I'm missing something, Obama's speech is a lot nice words and zero action.

We'll see if he ever holds a press conference on this topic.


Anonymous said...

Here's my takeaway:

America’s basically good, but still has to work out it’s racial issues. Black people used to have it worse, and we need to acknowledge progress. No one’s perfect. I liked some things my minister did and didn’t like others. Sure he hated white people, but he had soup kitchens too. Plus, he’s like family. This is where Wright’s wrong: black people have problems primarily because of racism, but we need to get beyond blaming whitey. Also, someone like Wright doesn’t realize that white people have problems too because a lot of them are hard-working, poor, and buffeted by the forces of globalization, just like blacks. I’ve known bigoted black and white people and didn’t throw them under the bus for a single wayward remark (or in Wright’s case 20 years of highly refined incitement to racial arson). I love my white mom, just in case anyone forgot about her. Single issue explanations based on conspiracies about other races are not entirely accurate, but common among older blacks. These hateful feelings that I’m giving you some insight into are a bit of a generational thing, and I’m young. We all need to understand each other and reach some Hegelian synthesis of social solidarity. The root of that is a frank acknowledgement by whites that most black problems are caused directly or indirectly by the past actions of white people; blacks merely have “complicity in our condition.” But there is some hope: black and white can unite around fleecing Wall Street and rich people and expanding government programs, helping all kinds of poor and middle class people, and therefore both groups can unite around the Obama candidacy. The speech ends with a nice vignette about a little white girl and a nice old black man illustrating the possibilities: black and white people sometimes get along, especially when they’re working on my campaign.

Anonymous said...

He's profoundly dishonest, arrogant to the point of psychopathy, and obviously views the American people with utter contempt. He'll make a great president.

Anonymous said...

Steve Sailer: As always, very eloquent.

Oh come on, Steve.

This thing was really, really awful.

Huge swaths of it don't even make any sense:

...For we have a choice in this country. We can accept a politics that breeds division, and conflict, and cynicism. We can tackle race only as spectacle – as we did in the OJ trial – or in the wake of tragedy, as we did in the aftermath of Katrina - or as fodder for the nightly news. We can play Reverend Wright’s sermons on every channel, every day and talk about them from now until the election, and make the only question in this campaign whether or not the American people think that I somehow believe or sympathize with his most offensive words. We can pounce on some gaffe by a Hillary supporter as evidence that she’s playing the race card, or we can speculate on whether white men will all flock to John McCain in the general election regardless of his policies.

We can do that.

But if we do, I can tell you that in the next election, we’ll be talking about some other distraction. And then another one. And then another one. And nothing will change.

That is one option. Or, at this moment, in this election, we can come together and say, “Not this time.” This time we want to talk about...

What in the world is that passage supposed to have meant?

"Let's forgo talking about the distractions that you want to talk about, in favor of talking about the distractions that I want to talk about"?

Or try to parse what passes for "logic" here:

This time we want to talk about the crumbling schools that are stealing the future of black children and white children and Asian children and Hispanic children and Native American children. This time we want to reject the cynicism that tells us that these kids can’t learn; that those kids who don’t look like us are somebody else’s problem. The children of America are not those kids, they are our kids, and we will not let them fall behind in a 21st century economy. Not this time.

So it's false that "these kids can't learn", but, at the same time, it's true that the situation will not change unless we talk about the fact that they aren't learning?

I.e. these kids are not intrinsically non-learners, yet only the existence of our extrinsic talk about their situation can transform them out of their state of non-learningness and into a state of learningness?

This stuff is meandering, circular, gobbledygook gibberish.

Anonymous said...

*it’s based solely on the desire of wide-eyed liberals to purchase racial reconciliation on the cheap*

You hear that? The presidency is cheap. Real "racial reconciliation" is going to cost a whole lot more.

Anonymous said...

My fav passage...

I can no more disown him than I can disown the black community. I can no more disown him than I can 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 by her on the street, and who on more than one occasion has uttered racial or ethnic stereotypes that made me cringe.

Mentioning self-sacrificing granma for embarassing you but not sticking it to the black father that totally threw you aside -- a whiteRpeople moment. Throwing honky granny under the bus -- truly Nixonian. This guy RAWKS! 8 years of Barack then 8 years of Michelle will be totally KEWL!

God bless Ivy-League Affirmative Action!!

Sweating Through fog said...

I just found a link to a longer Wright sermon, and posted it on my blog.

C. Van Carter said...

A slick speech, particularly his duplicity where he concedes opposition to racial preferences and "fears about crime in urban neighborhoods" are legitmate, while at the same time claiming such concerns have been "exploited" and are motivated by "fear" and "anger".

He provided a narrative for the liberal media that they can pick up and use as an excuse to move on. Apparently he did learn something in law school.

Anonymous said...

It's all about race. It will continue to be about race. Obama WANTED it that way the moment he specifically chose Wright as his pastor. The chickens are coming home to roost.

Anonymous said...

I loved the part where he threw his white granny under the bus! (Something he would NEVER do to a black relation--even tho his black family never lifted a finger for him.) He was raised,he said,by his dear white granny,who sacrificed for him yada yada yada.( I would be curious to know her true feelings about having her Stanley run off to Indonesia and leaving her black son behind for her to raise..) But this saintly woman was not without sin,NO! She confessed that she sometimes had fears about...the Black man! Ha ! What a racist! Imagine! An elderly woman being afraid of black men? The nerve!! You dont fear black men,thats wrong. (I myself live in Chicago. If I ever have occasion to be incarcerated in Cook County Jail,I know I will be safe and well...cause I will be surrounded by black men! :0 ) So I guess you can actually feed,clothe,shelter,and educate the black man--and still be racist!! We have GOT to vote for Barry,its our only chance!!-Josh?

Anonymous said...

Funny how Obama didn't condemn his African grandfather who didn't want his blood "sullied" by his son marrying a white woman. Nope, the ofay grandmother(a leftist)was singled out by Barry. This guy is toast,this speech did nothing but please guilty white imbeciles like Olbermann and Matthews. The stage is set for Hillary's "comeback" AIPAC will deliver the death blow to Obama because of his Brzezinski links...

Anonymous said...

"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."

Others have pointed out that Obama's remarks may have been "Clintonian".

He did not hear them when he sat - perhaps only when he was on his feet cheering along with the rest of the congregation. He did not hear him "in private" - perhaps his wife was also in the room. Etc. The idea is to make it sound like you are saying more than you are really saying without uttering express untruths.

The test is this - if the shoe were on the other foot, if McCain's minister had given "white empowerment" sermons for 20 years and McCain "could not" bring himself to disown him, could he ever in a million years get away with this?

Now Obama is right that there have been far too many cases where people have been thrown out of campaigns or even their jobs (Obama favored Imus loosing his job for one offhand "nappy" remark) for saying one "wrong" thing and I have to admire him for not throwing his old friend overboard at the first sign of political trouble.

But, in the end Wright is indefensible and Obama should not have befriended someone with views like his in the first place. Nor does Obama's comparison of what his grandmother says in private to what Write says in public, before an audience of thousands and recorded on DVDs proudly sold by the church, really stand up. As I said before, no "respectable" white preacher associated with a main stream presidential candidate could get away with saying the stuff Wright has and it is telling that Obama is not willing to alienate his black base by denouncing Wright in unequivocal terms (though the truth is that it is too late for that - Obama was his friend for 20 years, so to denounce him now could only be seen as an insincere move in any event).

In the end, Obama felt comfortable being around this hate filled man and that tells us something about the man - "tell me who your friends are and I'll tell you who you are."

Anonymous said...

Here's another serving of Obama's hypocrisy:

Obama On Imus: I Wouldn't Have Anyone On My Staff Who'd Make Those Sorts of Racially-Insensitive Remarks

Anonymous said...

I was willing to give Obama a pass because his opponents were so disreputable. What he did to his grandmother, though, man, that's about as low it can get. I think that was more insidious than Wright's comments. You can make a case that Wright is at least sincere. Obama, though, should know better.

The rest of the speech was hardly any better. It was more Clintonian than Bill Clinton at his worst. He conceded just enough to secure his Obamaton base, and then proceded to red herring, straw man, and tu quoque the rest of the way through.

Anonymous said...


What do you make of this head-scratcher:

Anonymous said...

What he didn't address was how he came to be so close to Wright to begin with. Unlike his insufficiently enlightened granny, he chose Wright's church.

Obama's background put him on an odd periphery to American race relations. No history of slavery, or even black family in the South. Raised by whites in Hawaii and Indonesia and educated in private schools. And then, after having earned a Harvard law degree, he deliberately jumps into the left armpit of black politics.

It's like some weird diversity-age obverse of George Wallace: he appearently didn't ever want to be out-...well, you know.

Anonymous said...

Obama smoked Pastor Wright’s sermons but he didn’t’ inhale them?

Is Obama attempting to distance himself from . . . himself?

Wasn’t Obama the change we have been waiting for? But I guess he doesn’t have to change himself.

To use a poker analogy, if Obama keeps playing the race card, that card will become so dog eared that more people will be able to see what kind of hand he is holding.

Anonymous said...

Is English your primary language? If not, then you're doing a pretty good job, but I would advise further study.

Anonymous said...

Hi everyone. Here is the press conference

Anonymous said...

Doesn't anyone recall Jesse Jackson's admission (many years ago) that he had he sometimes felt fear when he encountered groups of young black men on the street? A fear he did NOT experience when he ran across groups of young white men. Sounds kind of like of Obama's grandmother.

Anonymous said...

But recall Jackson’s own tortured words on November 27, 1993: “There is nothing more painful for me at this stage of my life than to walk down the street and hear footsteps and start to think about robbery and then look around and see it’s somebody white and feel relieved. How humiliating.”

Truth said...

"But this saintly woman was not without sin,NO!"

Do you know someone who is?

Anonymous said...

Obama smoked Pastor Wright’s sermons but he didn’t inhale them?