March 18, 2008, 0:00 a.m.
Double Life of Barack Obama
Wright is wrong for America.
By Thomas Sowell
There is something both poignant and galling about the candidacy of Barack Obama.
Any American, regardless of party or race, has to find it heartening that the country has reached the point where a black candidate for president of the United States sweeps so many primaries in states where the overwhelming majority of the population is white.
We have all seen the crowds enthralled by Barack Obama’s rhetoric and theatrical style.
Many of his supporters put their money where their mouths were, so that this recently arrived senator received more millions of dollars in donations than candidates who have been far more visible on the national stage for far more years.
That’s the good news. The bad news is that Barack Obama has been leading as much of a double life as Eliot Spitzer.
While talking about bringing us together and deploring “divisive” actions, Senator Obama has for 20 years been a member of a church whose minister, Jeremiah Wright, has said that “God Bless America” should be replaced by “God damn America” — among many other wild and even obscene denunciations of American society, including blanket racist attacks on whites.
Nor was this an isolated example. Fox News Channel has played tapes of various sermons of Jeremiah Wright, and says that it has tapes with hours more of the same.
Wright’s actions matched his words. He went with Louis Farrakhan to Libya and Farrakhan received an award from his church.
Sean Hannity began reporting on Jeremiah Wright back in April of 2007. But the mainstream media saw no evil, heard no evil, and spoke no evil.
Now that the facts have come out in a number of places, and can no longer be suppressed, many in the media are trying to spin these facts out of existence.
Spin number one is that Jeremiah Wright’s words were “taken out of context.” Like most people who use this escape hatch, those who say this do not explain what the words mean when taken in context.
In just what context does “God damn America” mean something different?
Spin number two is that Barack Obama says he didn’t hear the particular things that Jeremiah Wright said that are now causing so much comment.
It wasn’t just an isolated remark. Nor were the enthusiastic responses of the churchgoers something which suggests that this anti-American attitude was news to them or something that they didn’t agree with.
If Barack Obama was not in church that particular day, he belonged to that church for 20 years. He made a donation of more than $20,000 to that church.
In all that time, he never had a clue as to what kind of man Jeremiah Wright was? Give me a break!
You can’t be with someone for 20 years, call him your mentor, and not know about his racist and anti-American views.
Neither Barack Obama nor his media spinmeisters can put this story behind him with some facile election-year rhetoric. If Senator Obama wants to run with the rabbits and hunt with the hounds, then at least let the rabbits and the hounds know that.
The fact that Obama talks differently than Jeremiah Wright does not mean that his track record is different. Barack Obama’s voting record in the Senate is perfectly consistent with the far-left ideology and the grievance culture, just as his wife’s statement that she was never proud of her country before is consistent with that ideology.
Senator Barack Obama’s political success thus far has been a blow for equality. But equality has its down side.
Equality means that a black demagogue who has been exposed as a phony deserves exactly the same treatment as a white demagogue who has been exposed as a phony.
We don’t need a president of the United States who got to the White House by talking one way, voting a very different way in the Senate, and who for 20 years followed a man whose words and deeds contradict Obama’s carefully crafted election-year image.
Judith A. Klinghofer cites a passage from Barack Obama’s first autobiography to remember when listening to his speech today:
On p. 94-95 he describes an effective tactic to deal with White people:It was usually an effective tactic, another one of those tricks I had learned: People were satisfied so long as you were courteous and smiled and made no sudden moves. They were more than satisfied; they were relieved – such a pleasant surprise to find a well-mannered young black man who didn’t seem angry all the time.
On the evidence of his career, Obama has learned well how to reassure white people that he is not a grievance-mongering racialist with a chip on his shoulder. But Pastor Wright’s obvious contrast with this approach, combined with the self-proclaimed importance of the Reeverend to his life, suggests manipulativeness may well be at work.
So expect no sudden moves in The Speech, but watch for smooth ones.
Hat tip: Susan L.
Update: Shelby Steele calls this sort of behavior “bargaining” in his best-selling book White Guilt, and this morning in the Wall Street Journal.
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.This is how Mr. Obama has turned his blackness into his great political advantage, and also into a kind of personal charisma. Bargainers are conduits of white innocence, and they are as popular as the need for white innocence is strong. Mr. Obama’s extraordinary dash to the forefront of American politics is less a measure of the man than of the hunger in white America for racial innocence. [….]
He was driven by insecurity, by a need to “be black” despite his biracial background. And so fellow-traveling with a little race hatred seemed a small price to pay for a more secure racial identity. And anyway, wasn’t this hatred more rhetorical than real?But now the floodlight of a presidential campaign has trained on this usually hidden corner of contemporary black life: a mindless indulgence in a rhetorical anti-Americanism as a way of bonding and of asserting one’s blackness. Yet Jeremiah Wright, splashed across America’s television screens, has shown us that there is no real difference between rhetorical hatred and real hatred.
Posted on 03/19/2008 5:45:07 AM PDT by Jet Jaguar
BEGIN TRANSCRIPT RUSH: We have a couple more bites. This is Obama. He’s trying to say that unless the Rev. controversy goes away, we won’t be making any progress.
OBAMA: We have a choice in this country. We can play Reverend Wright 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 —
RUSH: Stop the tape.
OBAMA: — think that I somehow —
RUSH: Stop the tape! Yeah, we can do that. We could get rid of Reverend Wright. We can stop playing Reverend Wright. We’re still going to have to listen to Al Sharpton. Al Sharpton is still going to be able to tell networks who can say what. We’re still going to have to listen to the Reverend Jackson. We’re still going to have to listen to all the other dividers in this country on the left. Now, go back to the top of this. This might sound like an idle little thing. I’m not sure that we’re dealing with something here that’s just idle. I think there’s something a little bit more substantive going on with this bite. Listen again.
OBAMA: We have a choice in this country. 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.
RUSH: This is so slick.
OBAMA: Or we can speculate on whether white men will all flock to John McCain in the general election regardless of his policies.
RUSH: This is Clintonesque, here.
OBAMA: 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 (applause) and nothing will change! That is one option. Or, at this moment, in this election, we can come together and say, “Not this time.”
RUSH: Okay. Blackmail? “You keep playing the Jeremy Wright stuff, we’ll see to it this country stays roiled and divided. You stop playing the Jeremiah Wright stuff, and maybe we can move on and be at one with one another.” He’s just trying to get this Reverend Wright stuff off television, folks. That’s all that bite was — and he’s trying to guilt everybody in the networks into not doing it under the guise of, “By not playing Rev. Wright, we are coming together.” He touches this with… Well, I haven’t got time to elaborate, but while all this is going on, we’re not supposed to mention his middle name, either. We don’t mention his middle name. We don’t call him a liberal. We don’t play any more Rev. Wright videos — or else!
Obama Merely Changes The Subject
By INVESTOR’S BUSINESS DAILY | Posted Tuesday, March 18, 2008 4:20 PM PT
Election ’08: Rather than break ties with his demagogic, anti-American pastor, Barack Obama used a speech on race to excuse his behavior and sweep the controversy under the rug. Passing the buck is not very presidential.
Read More: Election 2008
Speaking in Philadelphia, steps away from where the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were enacted, the front-runner for the Democratic nomination for president delivered an address that used the words “race” or “races” 11 times, “racial” or “racially” 15 times, and “racism” or “racist” six times.
But Obama’s recent troubles, which this much-hyped speech was supposed to put past him, are not about race relations. They’re about one churchman who happens to be black, whose views from the pulpit are repugnant and from whom Obama doesn’t seem to have the guts to distance himself.
Reacting to being linked with a bigoted conspiracy theorist by lecturing the nation on race is like disgraced ex-New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer responding to his getting caught patronizing an international prostitution ring by giving a speech on the female physique.
The supposed divide between black and white is not the issue here; Obama’s longtime association with Jeremiah Wright is.
This is a man who believes the U.S. government formulated the HIV virus to commit genocide against blacks and that it is also responsible for the 9/11 attacks.
Yes, Obama claimed in his speech to have “condemned, in unequivocal terms, the statements of Reverend Wright that have caused such controversy.” But he quickly proceeded to equivocate regarding them.
The problem, according to Obama, is not that Wright is wrong about America being a racist society, but that he “sees white racism as endemic.” The problem is not that Wright has made statements that clearly seem anti-Semitic and anti-Israeli, but that he, as Obama puts it, “sees the conflicts in the Middle East as rooted primarily in the actions of stalwart allies like Israel, instead of emanating from the perverse and hateful ideologies of radical Islam.”
Obama’s pastor of 20 years is nothing more than “imperfect,” as Obama sees it. And so, “I can no more disown him than I can disown the black community.” He won’t quit this church where hate is spewed, and he doesn’t explain why over all the years he has never tried to straighten Wright out.
The rest of Obama’s speech was spent explaining and rationalizing hate such as Wright’s rather than denouncing it. Wright’s words “reflect the complexities of race in this country that we’ve never really worked through,” the result of which has been “a cycle of violence, blight and neglect” still haunting America.
The solutions? Expanded government for one, of course. But while Obama concedes that “the erosion of black families” is “a problem that welfare policies for many years may have worsened,” he fails to understand what “Wealth and Poverty” author George Gilder knew back in 1981:
“What actually happened since 1964 was a vast expansion of the welfare rolls that halted in its tracks an ongoing improvement in the lives of the poor, particularly blacks, and left behind . . . a wreckage of broken lives and families worse than the aftermath of slavery.”
Another of Obama’s answers is that black anger and white resentment should give way to “the real culprits” — capitalists, or as Obama puts it, “a corporate culture rife with inside-dealing, questionable accounting practices and short-term greed” and Washington lobbyists who support it.
The early reaction to Obama’s speech amounted to more media fawning on the order of that which was spoofed in a recent “Saturday Night Live” sketch. The Reuters headline was “Obama denounces preacher, urges race healing.” The Boston Globe titled its story “Obama calls for racial unity.” And the Washington Post proclaimed: “Obama Confronts Race in U.S.” A CNN analyst even compared it to Lincoln’s 1858 “A House Divided” classic.
Lincoln, however, used that occasion to warn that “this government cannot endure, permanently half-slave and half-free . . . . It will become all one thing or all the other.” Unlike Obama, Honest Abe wasn’t trying to have it both ways.
The Audacity of Hate
By Paul M. Weyrich
FrontPageMagazine.com | 3/19/2008
As an Eastern Christian, and having lived more than 40 years in metropolitan Washington, D.C., I never have heard a political sermon. In two different churches, one for two years, the other for 38 years, I have heard only preaching from the Gospel. That is as it should be. Extensive media attention has arisen in view of the vicious anti-American sermons of the Reverend Jeremiah A. Wright Jr., the pastor for more than 20 years of Senator Barack H. Obama, who may be on his way to the Democratic nomination for president.
It is quite one thing to demonstrate how Scripture says “choose life” in relation to the current right-to-life issue and quite another to condemn the United States by saying, “God Bless America. On the contrary, ‘Damn America.’”
The Internal Revenue Service in its entire history evidently only twice has revoked the tax exemption of a church. IRS has been careful not to interfere with the preaching of the Gospel, particularly in black churches. But to hear the ravings of the Reverend Mr. Wright I would not be surprised if an investigation is in order. Wright claims that the United States is responsible for 9/11. “The chickens have come home to roost,” he claims. He has used foul language, saying things which would offend almost anyone. This minister baptized the Obamas. He married them. The question is, did he exhibit this political behavior for the past 20 years or is this something recent due to the current political climate and the possibility of a black man’s actually having a shot at the presidency?
The issue is important. Obama says he disassociates himself from the divisive commentary. He has reminded the electorate that he seeks to unite the country, not to divide it. Clearly, were I to have come upon a church such as this, and a minister such as Reverend Mr. Wright, and if I heard what I have heard these days, I immediately would exit that church. I would seek a church in which the Gospel is preached and in which I can learn more about the Scriptures and my faith.
Wright appears to be an advocate of black power. How does this square with Obama’s desire to unite both black and white? Wright claims that we are a deeply racist nation, and so it goes. Either these are the ravings of an angry black man which never manifested themselves until recently, or for years he has preached this line. Given that Wright inspired the book Obama wrote, TheAudacity of Hope, and has been viewed as an Obama mentor, it is inconceivable that he could have been this angry all along. This anger and hatred for the United States of America must be a more recent development.
Why, I am not sure. It seems to me that he has the chance to be the Billy Graham for Barack Obama, giving him advice and telling him which direction to go. But first he must purge himself of his destructive anger. If he does that there may be no end in sight to which he can take Obama. However, if he fails to rid himself of his anger and hatred for this great country he may bring both Obama and himself down.
Obama appears to be a sincere, believing Christian. Yet what may be years of association with such anger and hatred will not do him or our country any good. Senator Obama, in the context of extensive adverse publicity, has disassociated himself from his long-time pastor’s more virulent anti-American comments. Yet The Wall Street Journal reports a close Obama family connection to the church of which Wright has been pastor and casts some suspicion upon the Obama-Wright relationship.
Paul M. Weyrich is Chairman and CEO of the Free Congress Foundation.