ARC's 1st Law: As a "progressive" online discussion grows longer, the probability of a nefarious reference to Karl Rove approaches one

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Obama Shocked - Shocked - That Spiritual Advisor is a Nutjob

Obama attempted to throw his spiritual adviser, Jeremiah Wright, under the Campaign bus today.

From politico:

Obama denounces Wright
[...]
The core of his message: That Wright was not only offensive, but the polar opposite of Obama's own views and politics.

"I have spent my entire adult life trying to bridge the gap between different kinds of people. That’s in my DNA, trying to promote mutual understanding to insist that we all share common hopes and common dreams as Americans and as human beings. That’s who I am, that’s what I believe, and that’s what this campaign has been about," Obama said.

"I am outraged by the comments that were made and saddened by the spectacle that we saw yesterday," he said.

Obama also distanced himself from the man in a way he has been reluctant to in the past.

"The person that I saw yesterday was not the person that I met 20 years ago," he said. "His comments were not only divisive and destructive, but I believe that they end up giving comfort to those who prey on hate, and I believe that they do not portray accurately the perspective of the black church."

"They certainly don’t portray accurately my values and beliefs," he said.

"If Reverend Wright thinks that’s political posturing, as he put it, then he doesn’t know me very well and based on his remarks yesterday, I may not know him as well as I thought either."

"I gave him the benefit of the doubt in my speech in Philadelphia, explaining that he has done enormous good in the church," he said. "But when he states and then amplifies such ridiculous propositions as the U.S. government somehow being involved in AIDS; when he suggests that Minister Farrakhan somehow represents one of the greatest voices of the 20th and 21st century; when he equates the U.S. wartime efforts with terrorism – then there are no exuses. They offend me. They rightly offend all Americans. And they should be denounced, and that’s what I’m doing very clearly and unequivocally here today."
[...]
I'm sorry, but this just won't fly...

It's not like Wright and his radical and ridiculous propositions are something new.

Surely Barry Obama read this New York Times article on how his spiritual adviser is controversial - from a year ago!?!?
April 30, 2007
A Candidate, His Minister and the Search for Faith
By JODI KANTOR

CHICAGO — Members of Trinity United Church of Christ squeezed into a downtown hotel ballroom in early March to celebrate the long service of their pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr. One congregant stood out amid the flowers and finery: Senator Barack Obama, there to honor the man who led him from skeptic to self-described Christian.

Twenty years ago at Trinity, Mr. Obama, then a community organizer in poor Chicago neighborhoods, found the African-American community he had sought all his life, along with professional credibility as a community organizer and an education in how to inspire followers. He had sampled various faiths but adopted none until he met Mr. Wright, a dynamic pastor who preached Afrocentric theology, dabbled in radical politics and delivered music-and-profanity-spiked sermons.

Few of those at Mr. Wright’s tribute in March knew of the pressures that Mr. Obama’s presidential run was placing on the relationship between the pastor and his star congregant. Mr. Wright’s assertions of widespread white racism and his scorching remarks about American government have drawn criticism, and prompted the senator to cancel his delivery of the invocation when he formally announced his candidacy in February.
[...]
It is hard to imagine, though, how Mr. Obama can truly distance himself from Mr. Wright. The Christianity that Mr. Obama adopted at Trinity has infused not only his life, but also his campaign. He began his presidential announcement with the phrase “Giving all praise and honor to God,” a salutation common in the black church. He titled his second book, “The Audacity of Hope,” after one of Mr. Wright’s sermons, and often talks about biblical underdogs, the mutual interests of religious and secular America, and the centrality of faith in public life.
[...]
His embrace of faith was a sharp change for a man whose family offered him something of a crash course in comparative religion but no belief to call his own. “He comes from a very secular, skeptical family,” said Jim Wallis, a Christian antipoverty activist and longtime friend of Mr. Obama. “His faith is really a personal and an adult choice. His is a conversion story.
[...]
From Skepticism to Belief

This polyglot background made Mr. Obama tolerant of others’ faiths yet reluctant to join one, said Mr. Wright, the pastor. In an interview in March in his office, filled with mementos from his 35 years at Trinity, Mr. Wright recalled his first encounters with Mr. Obama in the late 1980s, when the future senator was organizing Chicago neighborhoods. Though minister after minister told Mr. Obama he would be more credible if he joined a church, he was not a believer.

“I remained a reluctant skeptic, doubtful of my own motives, wary of expedient conversion, having too many quarrels with God to accept a salvation too easily won,” he wrote in his first book, “Dreams From My Father.”

Still, Mr. Obama was entranced by Mr. Wright, whose sermons fused analysis of the Bible with outrage at what he saw as the racism of everything from daily life in Chicago to American foreign policy. Mr. Obama had never met a minister who made pilgrimages to Africa, welcomed women leaders and gay members and crooned Teddy Pendergrass rhythm and blues from the pulpit. Mr. Wright was making Trinity a social force, initiating day care, drug counseling, legal aid and tutoring. He was also interested in the world beyond his own; in 1984, he traveled to Cuba to teach Christians about the value of nonviolent protest and to Libya to visit Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, along with the Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan. Mr. Wright said his visits implied no endorsement of their views.
[...]
Audacity and Hope

It was a 1988 sermon called “The Audacity to Hope” that turned Mr. Obama, in his late 20s, from spiritual outsider to enthusiastic churchgoer. Mr. Wright in the sermon jumped from 19th-century art to his own youthful brushes with crime and Islam to illustrate faith’s power to inspire underdogs. Mr. Obama was seeing the same thing in public housing projects where poor residents sustained themselves through sheer belief.
[...]
Mr. Obama was baptized that year, and joining Trinity helped him “embrace the African-American community in a way that was whole and profound,” said Ms. Soetoro, his half sister.

It also helped give him spiritual bona fides and a new assurance. Services at Trinity were a weekly master class in how to move an audience. When Mr. Obama arrived at Harvard Law School later that year, where he fortified himself with recordings of Mr. Wright’s sermons, he was delivering stirring speeches as a student leader in the classic oratorical style of the black church.
[...]
In the 16 years since Mr. Obama returned to Chicago from Harvard, Mr. Wright has presided over his wedding ceremony, baptized his two daughters and dedicated his house, while Mr. Obama has often spoken at Trinity’s panels and debates. Though the Obamas drop in on other congregations, they treat Trinity as their spiritual home, attending services frequently. The church’s Afrocentric focus makes Mr. Obama a figure of particular authenticity there, because he has the African connections so many members have searched for.

To the many members who, like the Obamas, are the first generation in their families to achieve financial success, the church warns against “middleclassness,” its term for selfish individualism, and urges them to channel their gains back into the community.
[...]
At the same time, Mr. Obama’s ties to Trinity have become more complicated than those simply of proud congregation and favorite son. Since Mr. Obama announced his candidacy, the church has received threatening phone calls. On blogs and cable news shows, conservative critics have called it separatist and antiwhite.

Congregants respond by saying critics are misreading the church’s tenets, that it is a warm and accepting community and is not hostile to whites. But Mr. Wright’s political statements may be more controversial than his theological ones. He has said that Zionism has an element of “white racism.” (For its part, the Anti-Defamation League says it has no evidence of any anti-Semitism by Mr. Wright.)

On the Sunday after the terrorist attacks of 9/11, Mr. Wright said the attacks were a consequence of violent American policies. Four years later he wrote that the attacks had proved that “people of color had not gone away, faded into the woodwork or just ‘disappeared’ as the Great White West went on its merry way of ignoring Black concerns.”

Provocative Assertions

Such statements involve “a certain deeply embedded anti-Americanism,” said Michael Cromartie, vice president of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, a conservative group that studies religious issues and public policy. “A lot of people are going to say to Mr. Obama, are these your views?”

Mr. Obama says they are not.
[...]
Despite the canceled invocation, Mr. Wright prayed with the Obama family just before his presidential announcement. Asked later about the incident, the Obama campaign said in a statement, “Senator Obama is proud of his pastor and his church.”
[...]
Mr. Wright, who has long prided himself on criticizing the establishment, said he knew that he may not play well in Mr. Obama’s audition for the ultimate establishment job.

“If Barack gets past the primary, he might have to publicly distance himself from me,” Mr. Wright said with a shrug. “I said it to Barack personally, and he said yeah, that might have to happen.”
Surely he read Alex Beam's article in the Boston Globe, responding to the New York Times' article - wishing that Obama would be able to get past the upcoming Jeremiah Wright debacle.
Meanwhile: President Obama? Not this time
By Alex Beam The Boston Globe
Published: May 10, 2007
[...]
Let me repeat: I wouldn't mind living in a country where Barack Obama is president. Brains; candor; charisma; ambition hitched to a work ethic; I admire those qualities. But frankly, the people who've ponied up $4,600 for Obama in this election cycle might as well have piled the money on the kitchen table and set fire to it. Or donated it to the Audubon Society, which has a lot better chance of being in business a year from now than Obama's presidential campaign.

If you listen closely, the silent dog whistle is already blowing for the Obama candidacy, and the tune it is playing is taps.
[...]
Last week, The New York Times profiled Obama's spiritual adviser, Reverend Jeremiah A. Wright Jr. and his Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago. Wright is an inspirational minister responsible for Obama's embrace of Christian values and mission. The Times politely calls Wright's politics "Afrocentric," but Obama's political rivals will call them black separatist when it behooves them to do so. So, in a high-stakes, nationally televised debate, Obama might be called upon to defend his pastor and church, or abjure his faith.
[...]

Interestingly, Beam - an Obama fan - predicted that Obama wouldn't make it very far precisely because of Jeremiah Wright and the radical theology that Obama embraced. Of course, Beam didn't imagine that the MSM would simply swoon over Barry and not ask him a single tough question about his relationship Wright (or any of the other shady Chicago characters).

As I've pointed out previously, I'd be absolutely pissed if I were a Democratic voter - pissed that the MSM isn't asking my primary candidates the tough questions that they're sure to face in the general election.

Barry - This won't suffice: Jeremiah isn't an acquaintance. He saved you and provided you a spiritual home - a home that you couldn't find in other churches in Chicago; he married you; he baptized your children; he dedicated your house (that Tony Rezko helped you to buy); and he prayed with you before you announced your candidacy; you've given him 20 large; your political philosophy and book are cribbed from his sermon.

His views on Farrakhan, AIDS, Iraq, and AmeriKKKa were all known to you before today.

Shame on you for thinking you can fool the American people with your flowery rhetoric and the obsequious media.

Gateway Pundit has some additional insight.

Best of the Web provides info about what finally pushed Obama to denounce Wright - Wright's claim that Obama's distancing himself for political expediency:
[...]Fox on Obama's response:
Obama said he was particularly "angered" by that suggestion.

"If Reverend Wright thinks that that's political posturing, as he put it, then he doesn't know me very well--based on his remarks yesterday I may not know him as well as I thought either," Obama said.
Here are some of the other things Wright said, according to Milbank:
  • The Golden Rule justifies the 9/11 attacks: "His claim that the September 11 attacks mean 'America's chickens are coming home to roost'? Wright defended it: 'Jesus said, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." You cannot do terrorism on other people and expect it never to come back on you. Those are biblical principles, not Jeremiah Wright bombastic divisive principles.' "
  • Farrakhan good, Israel Bad: "Louis said 20 years ago that Zionism, not Judaism, was a gutter religion. He was talking about the same thing United Nations resolutions say, the same thing now that President Carter's being vilified for and Bishop Tutu's being vilified for. And everybody wants to paint me as if I'm anti-Semitic because of what Louis Farrakhan said 20 years ago. He is one of the most important voices in the 20th and 21st century."
  • AIDS is a U.S. government plot: An oldie but a goodie. "I believe our government is capable of doing anything," Wright said.
Obama did, finally, denounce these comments specifically. But what particularly angered him was the suggestion that Obama is insincere. Well, we all know the real enemy is cynicism!

So, was Obama sincere? Did he spent 20 years as an intimate of Wright and a parishioner of his church without ever having an inkling that the guy is a wacko hatemonger?

If so, can you think of anything more terrifying than sending such a naïf to the White House while there's a war on?
[...]
heh - terrifying indeed.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler