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More Wright and Obama

This NYT story surely doesn’t make either man look good. Obama comes across as much too calculating in all his moves, which ends up giving some credence to Rev. Wright’s claim that he’s "just" a politician doing what a politician has to do.

There’s also some polling evidence of a bleeding Kansan.

Discussions - 27 Comments

We know that Obama is ambitious to the point of arrogance, and we know that Wright is proud to the point of prancing self-importance. Neither exhibits much of Hobbes' "complaisance" (see below)! As I read the NYT article, that church was and is important to Obama, but in a way that has nothing to do with Wright's theology or educational theories (sic) or any of his other opinions. This must annoy Wright. Wright's church gave newcomer Obama a community and made Christian faith -- distinguishable from Wright's theology -- available to him. (See the most widely quoted parts of Obama's book on the subject.) Wright must think of himself as more than his "pastor." (At one point in his appearance before the National Press Club, Wright mocks the idea that he is more than Obama's pastor: the mockery perhaps points to his real self- understanding.) Anyway, Obama made the mistake of thinking Wright understood and was ready to applaud his ambition; Wright made the mistake of thinking that Obama took him intellectually seriously. These are large egos and something other than nice (see below).

P.S. (1) It isn't the calculation that bothers me about Obama. Presidential candidates are typically not people who can avoid the appearance or the reality of self-serving calculation. This is not a bad thing. He or she will need the capacity for cold calculation. (2) Obama found in that church not only "community" but also a pollitical base or access to a political base. This made him inevitably Wright's rival. It was only a matter of time until the mutual misunderstanding flared.

Thanks, Steve, those are good and helpful comments.

So, it's official then - McCain and his seeking the endorsement of John Hagee, and his connections with Rod Parsley, that will all just be ignored here at NLT? I thought Hagee's views on Jews and Catholics would at least warrant a bit of concern here, but I guess not.

Isn't it amazing that the notoriously liberally-biased MSM (but I repeat myself!) has given such minimal attention to the McCain-Hagee-Parsley issue, while really focusing so much attention on one of their own!

Why would the NYT want to make Obama or Wright look bad - aren't they cheerleading for Obama?

Don't worry, once the media sharks Obama feeding frenzy stop, it will turn to McCain with maybe a stop or two for Hillary.

To pay attention to an issue, there should actually be an "issue." No such connection, association or any other form of tethering exists between McCain and Hagee.

And it's more than bad faith to suggest as much.

"No such connection, association or any other form of tethering exists between McCain and Hagee."

...other than the fact that McCain actually sought out Hagee's endorsement and has not yet disowned it.

Hagee is ugly but insignificant. He is not at all in Wright's league, either as a hater or as a representative of a political-cultural force. McCain's alleged relationship with him is tactical, shallow, and trivial. Not so with Obama and Wright.


Yes, Obama is calculating. While that's not a sin in itself, one cannot lump all political "calculations" together as if they are all the same. The friendship with Wright, and the sense of solidarity with his bigoted, lunatic church is not something an honorable man "calculates" about. Regime-level principles are at stake here, as should be obvious to anyone who understands political philosophy.
The Wright/Trinity scandal tells us more about Obama than that he made a "bad judgment." He made a scandalous and unacceptable judgment. The extent to which Obama believes this poison is unknowable. I think he largely rejects it. But that isn't nearly good enough. To reject something in one's own mind is fine for a private citizen. Obama ran for the legislature, then the Senate, and now the presidency. No public official, and certainly no president, should have any close relationship whatsoever with Wright or with his type of church. Since Obama clearly was comfortable swimming with these sharks until he ran for president, he is a disastrously bad choice for president. THE ISSUE ISN'T GUILT BY ASSOCIATION. THAT'S A RED HERRING. "Guilt" isn't our concern. The concern is judgment and priorities, about which associations tell us much. Obama's judgment and priorities are, ipso facto, very bad. Close association with a hate church and a hate pastor may be forgivable in a Chicago community leader, depending on the details. It is utterly unforgivable in a man who asks to represent all the people and to represent the United States in a dangerous world. Might Obama be eligible someday? Yes. But a substantial amount of time has to pass, and there must be further substantial, and sustained, repudiations of the bigoted, lunatic sector of the "black community." As the folk saying goes, we would not allow the town whore into the church choir a few days after she gets religion. Nor would be allow someone who has just broken with the communist party to be a public official -- and the true ex-communist or ex-whore would understand and accept this.
Obama has tried to transform himself from a black leader into a national leader. One cannot be both as president. He has not left behind his role as a black leader, with all that this (his pathetic race speech on Philadelphia suggests) seems to entail for him. Even if he tries to now, he has no credibility. While Obama may well be elected president, he should not be. Not this year, even if his policies and his party were acceptable, which they aren't.

"[A]actually sought out...?????????" He "sought" his support only within a group of larger Southern preachers. So what's the big deal? Whereas our Barack Hussein Obama sat at the knee of Wright for years, actually brought his children to him, so that Wright could stretch forth his racist hands over them, and invoke some sort of dark and unholy anointing upon them. That's the connection. That's what has all of America beginning to conclude that Obama isn't just a fraud, but is something far worse.

Hagee "protests" against the Roman Catholic Church. He does so in a pulpit. He focuses on some actual historical misdeeds by my Church, and also some that have been hyped. Unfortunately some of the things he has to say are accurate, because there are too many clerics who never should have gained admission to the clergy, and violated a sacred trust thereafter. But Hagee didn't create that, and though some of the conclusions he draws from that are overdrawn, it doesn't make him a hater like Wright.

It's not a coincidence that Wright was a former muslim. Nor is it coincidental that he's tight with Farrakhan.

If you think Obama's choice of Wright as a mentor is whacked, go check out the mentor and spiritual leader that Wright himself had. That guy makes Wright appear mild.

Recall all of those libs who tried to attach GW's foreign policy to Leo Strauss. Where are they now when the lines stretching from Obama to Wright to Cone are as clear as those from Tinker to Evers to Chance.

The issue isn't creepy Wright's role in forming and shaping the modern Obama. The issue is much larger.

The issue is the prevalence of conspiracy mongers within black America, as well as the prevalence of political and theological pathology.

THAT'S the issue. Obama is simply an en passant within a larger issue. If played well, the GOP should be able to make the Democrats pay dearly for decades worth of race mongering and demagogic, irresponsible and lunatic pronouncements.

Draw it ALL out into the light of day.

Ordinary Americans will flee from the Democrat party like ordinary people fleeing for their lives in some sci-fi horror flick.

It's time for the issue to begin to grow beyond Obama, which will also prevent Obama being able to get out there and explain his warped attachments. When the discourse assumes Obama's connection, but concerns wider pathologies and the political ramifications of such pathologies, Obama will find himself swept up within a political whirlwind over which he'll have no control.

Libs in the media continually cry out for a "national dialogue on race." Well let's give it to them, and exhibit A is Wright, exhibit B Cone, Exhibit C Farrakhan, Exhibit D the Black Panthers. Let's bring it all out into the light of day. For far too long pathologies and conspiracy theories have been circulating off stage. NOW is the time to bring them all front and center, and shine the big lights on them.

Dan, I strongly agree with you. In fairness I would say, "the incidence" rather than "the prevalence" of this pathology in the black community, but otherwise, you're absolutely on-target. McCain doesn't want anything like this -- doesn't have the stomach for it -- nor does the Republican "leadership" as a whole. But intellectually, politically and morally, you couldn't be more right.

That's a good correction. Incidence is better than prevalence.

It's prevalence. Dan had it right. You can look it up.

I'll have to think about the "decent interval" for the ex-commie. As for the whore, I'd say it depends upon how well she can sing.

I thought Hagee's views on Jews and Catholics would at least warrant a bit of concern here


Yeah, we can't have people lobbying Congress to support Israel. Everyone knows thats code for "Kill the Jews!"


Acording to that notorious wingnut site, Wikipedia;

The San Antonio B'nai B'rith Council awarded Hagee with its "Humanitarian of the Year" award. It was the first time this award was given to a gentile .... Hagee has been to Israel 22 times and has met with every Prime Minister since Menachem Begin. John Hagee Ministries has given more than $8.5 million to bring Soviet Jews from the former Soviet Union to Israel. Hagee is the Founder and Executive Director of "A Night to Honor Israel", an event which expresses solidarity between Christians and Jews on behalf of Jerusalem, the State of Israel and the United States ... On February 7, 2006, Hagee and 400 leaders from the Christian and Jewish communities formed a new national organization called Christians United For Israel (CUFI). [31] This organization addresses members of the United States Congress, professing a Biblical justification for the defense of Israel


Dear God, this monster must be stopped!

The issue is the prevalence of conspiracy mongers within black America, as well as the prevalence of political and theological pathology.

In fairness to blacks, the problem is hardly confined to them. It seems to be more of a "progressive" thing. This blog doesn't seem to be afflicted with them, but some of the lefty bloggers and commenters out there .... wow! They belong in a nice padded cell.

Dan's right about the main issue here, although I certainly don't have any personal or strategic desire for conservatives to be rehashing the sins of the Black Panthers and their fellow travellers. Were it not for Obama's choices, I would prefer to remain in the long post-9/11 holiday most of us have been taking from national "dialogues" about race. (Man, don't you just miss the 1990s!) I suppose conservative journalist/red-meat-searcher types could go through the records of the NAACP leadership, find outrageous speeches, link them to prominent allied Democratic politicians and celebrity donors. But then we would be meeting the stereotype of red-meat-craving, maniplate-the-conversation-towards-hot-botton-cultural-issues noise-makers. I suppose a general call for black politicians to denounce and discourage Wright-thought among their key supporters and associates could yield some useful tension.

And if Obama loses, my bet at this point, we should trot out the "Black Power TALK took out Black Power REALITY" argument again and again and again. A different sort of "the chickens came home to roost" argument!

In any case, the race-first ideology is THE issue here, not the personal or political dynamics between Wright and Obama. Those dynamics merely shed more light on the ugly choice that Obama was making, the choice that said, "being THIS sort of Christian gives me a genuine black identity, in addition to non-outsider membership in an inner-city black community...and for such a gift I will ignore and half-justify the Wright-think of this church." This choice cannot but call into ugly question a) his Christianity, b) his patriotism, c)his courage, and even d) the sincerity of his desire to 'serve' the inner-city blacks of Chicago. Worse, it suggests that his apparent two-step strategy of 1)transcending and then 2) personally bridging the white/black divide, in which old grievances and hostilities (mostly aired by the blacks) are systematically ignored(i.e., nod your head to Wrightism w/o believing any of it; implicitly ask everyone else to do the same, so we can all move on to Change) is a hopelessly flawed strategy for dealing with racial divisions. And worst of all, it reveals his deep-seated insecurity about his own black identity, an insecurity that will remain open to manipulation. Shelby Steele has all of this pegged in his A Bound Man book--he saw the essentials of this case before even the more extreme statements of Wright became known. In fact, Wright could utterly repent tomorrow, die the day after, but the issue of Obama's accomadationist stance toward Wright-ism would remain. It does disqualify him from the presidency, although America may be too Demo-leaning right now to acknowledge this.

Finally, Islam is totally irrelevant here. The Nation of Islam is what matters. That's what Wright belonged to, it is the elements of its "theology" that he and Cone tried to bring into Christianity. Not to deny there weren't many sincere Muslims in the Nation prior to the post-Elijah Muhammad exodus of many of its members into orthodox Islam, but its core Machiavellian strategy was to find a creed utterly alien to America, and something utterly hostile to forgiveness, that blacks could rally around. That's the edge Cone and Wright wanted to somehow get into Christianity. That's the edge the Panthers and all the other Black Power preachers wanted to duplicate in a more secular (but not necessarily Red) way. The Koran is totally irrelevant to understanding anything about Barack Obama. Rather, you need to read Steele's book, and the Ur-text of black nationalism The Autobiography of Malcolm X. And incidentally, some day the very "Americaness" of the black Muslims who rightly left the cult that was/is the Nation of Islam (with Wallace Deen Muhammad) may wind up being one of the most powerful voices for moderation within Islam as a whole. But that's another story altogether, and perhaps too hopeful a one.

Carl Scott effectively rehearses the case that will be made should Obama get the nomination. Obama haters should note his prudence. Obamaniacs should note how brutally he turns Obama's self-presentation against itself.

What to make of ">">http://online.wsj.com/article/SB120966911007860195.html?mod=todays_columnists"> this, from Peggy Noonan? It seems wise and it shows independence of mind and a sense of proportion.

I agree with Peggy Noonan.

21: One person's "sense of proportion" is another's blindness. This is one of the worst Peggy Noonan columns I've ever seen.

Frisk said, "[Hagee] is not at all in Wright's league, either as a hater or as a representative of a political-cultural force."

Wright's church (or former church, as I understand he's retired) has about 10,000 members. Hagee's mega-church has nearly double, at over 19,000.

Further (from Wiki):


"Hagee is the President and CEO of John Hagee Ministries, which telecasts his national radio and television ministry carried in the United States on 160 TV stations, 50 radio stations and eight networks, including The Inspiration Network (INSP) and Trinity Broadcasting Network. The ministries can be seen and heard weekly in 99 million homes. John Hagee Ministries is in Canada on the Miracle Channel and CTS and can be seen in Africa, Europe, Australia, New Zealand and is in most third world nations."

If that's not "representative of a political-cultural force" then I'm not quite sure what is. I'm guessing you thank God that Wright doesn't have a similarly trivial, multi-continent presence.

As for comparing them as "hater(s)", well, I suspect Hagee could personally kidnap a Muslim from the street and strangulate them at his pulpit and you'd urge people not to read too much into it... Yes, Wright is a dangerous monster and Hagee's just your average friendly white preacher. (yawn)


Craig, you'd have to show me that the people in Hagee's church show roughly the same enthusiam for his anti-Catholic poison that the people in Wright's church show for his anti-American and anti-white poison. You'd also have to tell me how much reinforcement the anti-Catholicism gets from major forces in our society -- another question that works against you, because I don't think it's remotely comparable to the reinforcement Wright's lunacy gets. And that's just for starters. Comparing the size of their churches and radio audiences isn't the point at all. None of that demonstrates a "force," any more than a commercial product advertised incessantly on radio or TV to millions of consumers would be a "force."

Frisk, now I'm starting to think you're just being obtuse. "Comparing the size of their churches and radio audiences isn't the point at all. None of that demonstrates a 'force,' any more than a commercial product advertised incessantly on radio or TV to millions of consumers would be a 'force.'"

Now you want evidence of "enthusiasm" and "reinforcement" to indicate the "political-cultural force" that you brought up, but church attendance and the money that their churches bring in isn't relevant to that? Get real. I think developing a flock of 19,000 or so just in his home church, PLUS building up this televangelism enterprise must represent enthusiasm and reinforcement from somewhere. As far as I know, his church and televangelism business hasn't been financed by the government. What you're doing here is feeding a blatant double-standard, period. Extremism on the right, uttered by white clergymen (see Hagee, Parsley, Falwell, and Robertson - all associated with McCain) is A-OK and can't be fairly connected to any politicians associated with it, whereas Wright's extremism, uttered by a black clergyman can be fairly linked to Obama. It's absurd, especially from a guy who said, in this very thread, things - actually quite self-contradictory things - like this:

"Since Obama clearly was comfortable swimming with these sharks until he ran for president, he is a disastrously bad choice for president. THE ISSUE ISN'T GUILT BY ASSOCIATION. THAT'S A RED HERRING. 'Guilt' isn't our concern. The concern is judgment and priorities, about which associations tell us much."

The "issue isn't guilt by association" but "associations tell us much." Oh, I see. But really, that's some great D.C. -level sophistry!

"No public official, and certainly no president, should have any close relationship whatsoever with Wright or with his type of church."

Do you mean a church where the clergymen spout off extremist nonsense, or do you mean a black church where clergyment spout off extremsist nonsense? Something tells me...


Scanlon (since you insist on the juvenile trick of using only a last name when addressing a person): 1. Don't accuse me of racism, punk. Don't even get close. 2. Wright's extremist nonsense is more comprehensive and more relevant to the presidency than is Hagee's, or that of any fundamentalist I'm aware of, even the genuinely evil Fred Phelps. If the cases were comparable, I'd be equally concerned and condemnatory. 3. The issue isn't "guilt," but judgment. As I made very clear. Associations tell us much about judgment. You have twisted my words. Are you a professor somewhere, or a PhD candidate? 'Cause if you are, you shouldn't be. 4. Find me some evidence that Hagee's church members and/or listeners are really fired up by his anti-Catholicism, or better, evidence that there remains a strong anti-Catholic current in fundamentalist/evangelical preaching in today's America. Like many liberals, Scanlon, you appear to live in (and deeply fear) an America that hasn't existed for about 40 years. Maybe more.

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