May 5, 2008

The Hitch on Michelle Obama

In Slate:

Are We Getting Two for One? Is Michelle Obama responsible for the Jeremiah Wright fiasco?

By Christopher Hitchens

I think we can exclude any covert sympathy on Obama's part for Wright's views or style—he has proved time and again that he is not like that, and even his own little nods to "Minister" Farrakhan can probably be excused as a silly form of Chicago South Side political etiquette.

Why? Obama wrote thousands of sympathetic words about Wright's views and style in 1995. If he has changed his mind since then (and in 2004 he said he hadn't), it's his responsibility to prove it to us.

And Obama wrote a couple of pages that were fairly sympathetic to Farrakhan, rejecting his black nationalism on practical, not moral grounds.

On p. 200 of his autobiography, Obama writes:
"If [black] nationalism could create a strong and effective insularity, deliver on its promise of self-respect, then the hurt it might cause well-meaning whites, or the inner turmoil it caused people like me, would be of little consequence."

If nationalism could deliver. As it turned out, questions of effectiveness and not sentiment, caused most of my quarrels with Rafiq [a Black Muslim ally].

After a discussion of the failure of the Nation of Islam's attempts to sell black-only toothpaste and other consumer products, Obama rejects Farrakhanism as being unable to "create a strong and effective insularity."

Hitchens goes on:

All right, then, how is it that the loathsome Wright married him, baptized his children, and received donations from him? Could it possibly have anything, I wonder, to do with Mrs. Obama?

This obvious question is now becoming inescapable, and there is an inexcusable unwillingness among reporters to be the one to ask it. (One can picture Obama looking pained and sensitive and saying, "Keep my wife out of it," or words to that effect, as Clinton tried to do in 1992 when Jerry Brown and Ralph Nader quite correctly inquired about his spouse's influence.) If there is a reason why the potential nominee has been keeping what he himself now admits to be very bad company—and if the rest of his character seems to make this improbable—then either he is hiding something and/or it is legitimate to ask him about his partner.

I direct your attention to Mrs. Obama's 1985 thesis at Princeton University…

A friend asked an old Chicago acquaintance of Obama about Wright a few months ago, and he blamed it on Michelle, but didn't cite any persuasive evidence.

I spent a few hours last week looking for evidence to support this not prima facie implausible presumption, but couldn't find anything in particular on Google. We know that Obama met Jeremiah Wright before he met Michelle Robinson. I've never heard that she was a member of Wright's church when she met Obama in 1989.

The idea that Michelle would knowingly risk becoming First Lady out of personal, ideological, or racial loyalty to Rev. Wright seems less likely the more you think about it. My guess would be that Michelle would strangle baby pandas to get to the White House. She has a need for social dominance, which was unfulfilled in her educational career at intellectually elite schools that she got into because of affirmative action. In contrast, nobody cares if the First Lady isn't all that smart -- she's the First Lady so she's the highest ranking woman at any social gathering.

On the other hand, I haven't seen any evidence that Michelle gave her husband any good advice on his Rev. Wright problem either. (I'm not sure that "giving good advice" is Michelle's strong suit.) There is so much we don't understand about them.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

14 comments:

Lucius Vorenus said...

Barack Hussein Obama Jr: "If [black] nationalism could create a strong and effective insularity, deliver on its promise of self-respect, then the hurt it might cause well-meaning whites, or the inner turmoil it caused people like me, would be of little consequence."

If nationalism could deliver. As it turned out, questions of effectiveness and not sentiment, caused most of my quarrels with Rafiq [a Black Muslim ally].


Steve Sailer: After a discussion of the failure of the Nation of Islam's attempts to sell black-only toothpaste and other consumer products, Obama rejects Farrakhanism as being unable to "create a strong and effective insularity."

Uh, correct me if I'm getting the wrong impression here, but isn't BHOJr rejecting black nationalism & Farrakhanism because they were insufficiently insular and unable to deliver and ineffective, with the implication being that if that had been more "insular" and more able "to deliver" and more "effective", then he would have happily adopted these positions?

Does BHOJr ever come out and declare any of these ideologies to be wrong [in and of themselves], not to mention inherently evil in nature?

Anonymous said...

This underscores the problem with Obama. He's a consequentialist, as are many leftists. It informs his opinion on Black Nationalism, on his relationship with Ayers, and on partial-birth abortion just to name a few.

Concerned said...

I don't like Michelle Obama much, but hanging Wright around her like a necklace is totally unfair. According to his book he began seeing Michelle five years AFTER he joined Trinity.

Hitch, like a lot of drunken Englishmen, has female trouble.

Anonymous said...

Does this mean Chris has been reading your stuff again.

Hi Chris if you are reading this, go on you can tell us, we are all mates here, we wont tell anyone, promise ;)

Anonymous said...

Does this mean Chris has been reading your stuff again.

Hi Chris if you are reading this, go on you can tell us, we're all mates here, we wont tell anyone, promise ;)

Sideways said...

It seems entirely plausible that Obama joined the church for political advantage, met Michelle, got into IL congress, US Senate, decided to go for president, decided at some point to drop Wright from his ticket, but Michelle wouldn't let him until it became a political disaster for him.

No evidence, but it's very believable

Anonymous said...

i think hitchens reads sailer for ideas. i also think hitchens does not have the balls to credit sailer for anything.

Anonymous said...

I don't think Michelle has anything to do with it. Blaming Michelle is a way for liberals to maintain a awestruck view of BO, by placing the responsibility for the Wright fiasco on someone else.

But the explanation is very typical and fits easily with liberal thinking. BO doesn't believe any of that Farrakhan/Wright crap, he's too smart for that. *But*, he thinks it's fine if other people believe it. This is because for liberals reality is subjective. What is true depends on your personal experience (assuming you're a woman or a minority of course, a white man is by definition wrong.)

And the problem comes up because BO, like other liberals, can't understand why anyone has a problem with this. If Wright thinks the government created AIDS to destroy blacks, we need to accept that because due to white oppression, blacks are going to believe bad things about whites. We are not to change that belief by pointing to objective reality, but by providing blacks with benefits until they believe in the benificence of whites, and then blacks will stop believing bad things about whites.

Anonymous said...

But the explanation is very typical and fits easily with liberal thinking. BO doesn't believe any of that Farrakhan/Wright crap, he's too smart for that. *But*, he thinks it's fine if other people believe it.

Well whatever he doesn't believe it's fair to say that what he does believe is some of the most radical ideology we've ever seen in a poltician with a fair shot at the White House. Everything about his past, about the people he's embraced, and even down to his DNA (the radical politics of his father, his mother, and his mother's father) seems to point to that.

Obama doesn't strike me as the Bill Clinton type - the guy doesn't seem to want political power merely out of pure ambition. He seems to have a real ideological axe to grind.

simon newman said...

This "Obama's a moderate, it's his racist wife who's bad!" meme really sucks.

It's viciously unfair on Michelle to claim that she's the evil influence on Barack - she seems a nasty piece of work, but Obama chose her *because* of his own racist views. If Wright and Michelle weren't nasty pieces of work, Obama would never have associated with them in the first place.

Udolpho said...

If Obama is really a radical at heart (he is definitely not a Clintonian triangulator) then we are in luck, because he will preside over an utterly failed single term administration that will set back progressive causes for a generation.

Also looking forward to the spectacle of blacks on election day who, win or lose, will probably behave true to form.

Concerned said...

I think that gradually the cloudy picture on Obama is becoming clear. He's just a corrupt Chicago machine pol. Michelle is the daughter of a machine worker (two, actually, but her daddy was a precinct captain), Wright is a machine beneficiary, Ayers is part of the machine, and so on and so forth until the end of time and the sun becomes a dwarf star and implodes.

We're doing a lot of psychologizing here, but I think that's the real story: Obama is just a machine hack with a kind-of interesting life history.

Josh said...

I would point out that Hitchens couldnt carry Sailers jockstrap--but why belabor the obvious? :) They would prob get along well if they met--have they? :) Anyway,AIDS has been somewhat of an albatross for Obama.(Remember the Monty Python skit where the guy was selling albatross in the theatre? "Albatross!!Albatross!!" :) )Recall his African trip where he had to confront Mbeke about his cockamammie AIDS cures,and had to take several AIDS tests to inspire the locals. Its impossible to conceive of Obama taking Jerry's sermons on "AIDS being a government plot" seriously. So why did he stick with him so long? O'B spent his carrer slugging it out in the trenches of Chicago & Illinois politics,making a quixotic run at Senator only to find that due to unforseen circumstances this unknown guy with no money was about to win! He became an overnite sensation.Point? His choices may not be all mapped out strategically.The Wright fiasco is just a big screw up.An ambitious man who suddenly got the chance to join the Big Leagues,he is prob flailing around trying to figure out what to do. He prob thinks,"Let me get elected first,then I'll figure out what to do!"

Proofreader said...

The only true claim of Obama to sainthood: being married to Michele. A loud, obnoxious professional "soul sister" with a huge chip on her shoulder.
I pity the man.
And sitting through 20 years of demented speeches by reverend Wright could qualify as well.
The things a man has to do in order to prove his blackness!