Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

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Destroying Obama

Now that Reverend Wright has spoken thrice at length, and answered questions at length, we have learned much about what he thinks, how he thinks, and how fond he is of himself. There was nothing American, or post racial, or post ideological, about any of this. On the one hand, this may be an intelligent man, a well educated man, even a deeply religious man. On the other hand, he sounds like an idiot, a fool, even a fraud.

We can speculate about why this man did what he did, and why he did it now. But that would be speculation based on effect. The effect is to destroy Obama’s presidential campaign. It is now certain that Hillary Clinton will become the Democratic nominee for president. The door has opened through which the superdelegates can walk--never mind Indiana voters--in good conscience not only arguing that Obama is not electable, but arguing that he shouldn’t be elected because the twenty year association is too tight, too revealing. Wright is no Martin Luther King, Jr. challenging us to live up to our standards, calling us to be our better selves.

Obama could make another race speech in which he will denounce both Wright and his words altogether. Behind him and with him he he should place every serious person he can, especially black thinkers and preachers, all of whom would be willing and able to speak on behalf of the abstract principle that is the American cause and appeal to the better angels of our nature. If he cannot do this--with pith and eloquence, even some justifiable anger against the egoistic Wright--he is finished.

Discussions - 23 Comments

You are assuming that the electorate is full of right-thinking people, when there might be any number of Wright-thinking people or those who will give Obama the full benefit of the doubt on his Wright-thinking. Obama's speeches are full of the right words and phrases and he always appeals to the better angels of our nature. That is what we like about him, those of us who are inclined to like him. It will be interesting to see how the Democrats sort this out. I don't see that Hillary is a sure thing given the Obama delegate count. There is a long time till the convention. Obama might give up, but given the level of self-righteousness in his rhetoric, it seems unlikely. We can't underestimate the power of spin and so many powerful people in the Democratic Party have supported Obama, this will have to be spun til it turns around. Or maybe that is what is suggested in that last paragraph.

We can speculate about why this man did what he did, and why he did it now. But that would be speculation based on effect. The effect is to destroy Obama's presidential campaign.

I wonder whether it's even worth distinguishing between act and effect in this case. My speculation: Wright's worldview is centered in his view of himself as a victim of white oppression. He strikes me as a man incapable of forgiving and forgetting. ("Louis Farrakhan is not my enemy. He did not put me in chains, he did not put me in slavery and he didn’t make me this color.")

In fact, no one put Wright in chains and slavery. Yet he clings to the idea that blacks in general and he personally are still chained and enslaved by whites.

Wright has evidently invested his all in this elaborate fiction, which would collapse if a black man -- a protege of his, no less -- were elected president.

Maybe Wright's sudden tirades are, at bottom, a desperate attempt to preserve the only way he can make sense of the world and his place in it. Maybe.

I don't think there is a speech, or a panorama, that can now get Obama past Wright. That's just the way it is, I think -- though it is, I also think, unfair (like life). The only chance the Democratic nominee has in November is to get Obama to accept the VP slot. For that to happen, it looks as though the laws of physics would have to be suspended.

But do you forget about Obama's Michelle? Based on her recent remarks there is no way she would approve of such a speech. The Rev. Wright was insistent that Obama did not distance himself from him in that first speech of his--or at any point in this campaign. He insisted that Obama is only doing what a politician must in his statements about him. He did not stand behind him at his announcement . . . but they prayed together before it. This is more significant to the Rev. Wright. He's saying that he does not need to be there in body because he is there in spirit. And Michelle more or less embodies him anyway. If the Rev. Wright is a fraud (even though he's clearly not stupid), so is his protege. He can no more give that speech than he could pull his grandmother up from under that bus.

Bad boy Stanley Fish has some ">">"> thoughts, not about Wright but about another of Obama's many problems.

What can Barack Hussein Obama possibly say to explain 20 years worth of hanging around and listening to a creature like the "Reverend" Wright? What can he possibly have to say? He's not 50 years old, and he's spent 20 years with Wright, which means that for most of Obama's adult life he's chosen to immerse himself in the weird world of the right "Reverend" Wright.

There's no explanation possible. There's nothing that can be said; there's nothing that can rationalize it away, nothing that can render such an association reasonable.

It is an absolute outrage that an Ivy League graduate would choose to associate himself with Wright, who by his own words stands convicted as a racist, anti-American monster.

So everybody has got to stop asking for explanations, and stop calling for Obama to "answer" the latest outrage from Wright. The only logical and honourable thing to do is simply damn them both.

Julie's observations about the wife are a bullseye, {as always}.

How can the Democrats possibly consider Obama for the nomination? How can they possibly reject Hillary now? Obama has left them with no choice but to reject him.

And I'm beginning to suspect that Obama is so damaged that it would be a disaster for the Democrats to attach him to the ticket. The Democrats need to distance themselves in a big way from Obama, lest they too fall under the baleful shadow of that stupor mundi, "Reverend" Wright.

To Steve's comment #5, that is also going to become acceptable and ultimately no big deal. Those of us who will be saying "Can you believe this?" will be in the same spot we were in after the Flowers business, or after any of the other of Bill Clinton's messes, wondering why there is no fuss about it. That is not what is important in the Democratic Party - it can't be important.

One issue we must keep in mind is the demeanor of the black electorate and the dependence the Democratic party has on their votes. Large sections if not a great majority will see a Clinton nomination as a betrayal of Jim Crow proportions. It will wreck the Democratic party, a party build on placating specialized (and self-understodd victimized) groups by itself "victimizing" those whose victimization they have played off for so long. Yet to nominate Obama, a man whose early near-perfection in campaigning has become one blunder after another seems to pose increasing problems if not impending disaster itself. Hard times and impossible choices in a year that was supposed to be a walk for the Democrats.

He can no more give that speech than he could pull his grandmother up from under that bus. And yet, he did! The only difference between him and Hillary now is that he has a better claim to the sniper fire.

Kate - I don't see the parallel with Jennifer Flowers, but maybe I'm missing what you are driving at.

This is not enough to ruin Obama's chances for the nomination, especially now that we have a partial repudiation from him. And the thorough repudiation of Wright that Professor Schramm calls for, complete with rows of black clergy and intellectuals
who will agree with it, is a sadly unrealistic scenario. Just for starters, there is Julie's point that Michelle won't allow it. And there are other reasons too. Obama is too far left and too respectful of "black solidarity." The same can be said of the responsible black leaders who Schramm hopes to see lined up behind Obama at a repudiation speech. It is easy to overestimate the power of abstract principle in politics. Most people, and likewise most black leaders, however intellectual, are
interested in their immediate interests, be they class interests or cultural interests. Not in abstract principle.

there is Julie's point that Michelle won't allow it.

Julie didn't make a point. She cited a strange audio that Hewitt posted. I listened to it. Exactly how might these words predict that she would not allow the speech that Obama gave today. . .well, maybe Julie can tell us. The "point" of all this is to define Michelle Obama as another, let's see. . . HILLARY!! (I'm glad I finally remembered that.) Maybe Julie can tell us why we can't simply disagree with something that Mrs. Obama has said.

Certain Democrats aren't going to abandon him. But the Superdelegates, with an eye for a candidate's electability, won't be left with any option but to turn away from him.

The pieces are coming together for the Obama mosaic, and the pieces have images of Dohrn, Ayers, Wright, Farakhan, et al. Combine that with the most radical voting record in the Senate, and we're seeing a guy who could easily get hammered in the general. No guarantee that it will happen, but if the Republican runs an aggressive campaign, a sharp and savvy campaign, Obama could leave the Democrat ticket shattered, and shattered up and down the whole ballot.

Responsible Democrats are left with little choice but to jettison him. And despite promises that his turn will come, ----------------- I don't think it will. There's no way he'll live down Wright. Not 20 years worth.

I agree with Mr. Frisk. You guys are indulging in wishful thinking if you believe this is going to be the door the supers escape through.

P.S. What sort of 286 machine do you have this site running on?? Get some memory guys! Do you need a donation?

Steve Thomas, the question is not whether "we" can simply disagree with something Michelle Obama has said, but whether Barack Obama can (or does) disagree with it. We certainly can disagree with her and I surely do. But do you want to make a serious argument that a candidate's wife (particularly one as sharp and as savvy as Mrs. Obama) out on the campaign trail for her husband is going around saying things that are not of a piece with her husband's thinking? It's possible . . . but I think he would have had to say so by now. As far as I know, he has done nothing of the kind. He has defended her. Again . . . perhaps he "has" to. But it's a tight spot to be in . . . defending her and denouncing Wright.

Julie - Will you please, pretty please tell us what Mrs. Obama said that has so set you off?

"We're still living in a time in a nation where the bar gets set . . . and then you go about the business of doing those things . . . what happens? They move the bar! . . . that's a little bit of what's been going on in this race. . . . we are more easily guided by fear . . . the problem with fear is that it cuts us off . . . it has certainly cut us off from the rest of the world . . . we've made a lot of progress . . . but we should be at a point now . . . [where government helps you make your dreams come true] . . . the salaries of those jobs won't cover the cost that it took to get the job--they've moved the bar. . . ." Then she went on to say that Barack's opposition to the war is like that bar. "They" say it doesn't count now because he "they've" moved the bar. His opposition didn't count because he wasn't part of the Senate. He was first too black, then not black enough, she says. This all seems to be happening to Barack because he's different. It can't possibly be because he's just wrong or people have legitimate disagreements with him. It's because people want to move the bar on him. It ain't fair!

Now, who are "they"? Who keeps moving the bar and keeping folks like Michelle and Barack Obama down? (!?) And who is selling fear here? Could it be Michelle trying to sell a fear of these mythical bar movers? Look, she's not saying "God damn America" but she's not exactly giving us a reason to ask God to bless her either. This isn't the government manufacturing and spreading AIDS but it is conspiratorial in it's quality and it is meant to exploit the sentiments of people prone to believe conspiracies about the spreading of AIDS. She complains about cynicism . . . but she is the queen of the cynics.

O, for Heaven's sake. This was a political speech. And how can you know so precisely who was in the room? By the way, this all started with the idea that Hewitt's audio showed that Mrs Obama dominates Mr Obama. . .that she would never permit him to make a speech breaking with Wright, because after all Michelle IS Rev. Wright! You don't like her. Fine.

Michelle isn't possessed of the spirit of the right "Reverend," but she's certainly, how should we put this ... channeling him.

As the drama unfolds, it's become painfully clear that she has an unusual and unhealthy attachment to the "Reverend."

Obama wasn't lying when he said Wright "was family." Which man chooses his father? Obama has, he chose Wright, he chose him for a host of reasons, he chose him AFTER receiving one of the finest educations this country provides, he chose him AFTER matriculating through the finest institutions in this land, --------- and any other for that matter.

Ivy League after Ivy League, and all it did was prepare him to take his place at the knee of the "Reverend."

What a grotesquerie. What a revolting, mentally and morally revolting spectacle.

Steve, after reading your posts I listened to the audio of Michelle Obama's speech.

Her tone drips with resentment and she keeps telling her listeners, who begin echoing her back, that some unnamed "they" keep "mov[ing] the bar" to keep down the listeners (with whom she tries to identify herself and her husband despite the obvious position, fame, and wealth). Then she harps cluelessly on the student-loan business.

My own hunch is that Michelle is a study in the psychology of resentment as a response to condenscension. She went from the South Side of Chicago to Princeton courtesy of a policy of condescension (affirmative action) driven by white-liberal guilt, and then spent her time there obsessing over how awkward, alienating, and uncomfortable the whole dread (but ever so upwardly mobile) experience was (witness the windy undergrad thesis on her "Blackness" and her agonizing Princeton experience). Since then she's been vaulted into a fat sinecure ($330K/yr from the U of Chicago Hospital for some kind of vague vice-presidency for something or other) probably mostly on the strength of who her husband is, but she's still filled with the same anguish and resentment that leaps out of that old Princeton thesis.

And she was (is?) a loyal parishioner of the Reverend Wright's, too . . . I wonder when the media is going to get around to asking Michelle what SHE makes of His Reverend Doctorness now, and what she knew about his message, and when she knew it. That's one interview I would love to see.

I see that for you, too, Michelle Obama is an ink-blot with a sound track.

No, Steve, I think she's a prospective First Lady with a bunch of opinions that voters won't agree with, couched in tones that will annoy them. The more she talks, the happier I am. And I'd really like to hear her account of what she knew about the Rev. Wright's opinions and when she knew it. How closely tuned to Wright's frequency is she? I hope we find out.

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