Wednesday, January 09, 2008

But we can always hOpe

The Kossacks, notorious for their anti-Semitic tendencies, are defending Obama's bizarre by any measure choice of church (even its pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright has admitted publicly that his visit to Gaddafi is an embarassment. Obama himself knows this, as he dropped Wright from at least one campaign appearance). They go further of course, and engage in personal and racist attacks on Illinois Review's editor. (And leftie Illinois "Reason" piles on the personal attacks.) Illinois Review makes this very fair point:

My biggest beef is that Barack Obama is affiliated with TUCC and is building a campaign on a message of unity. "No red states, no blue states . . ." "No white America, no black America," he says. Rev. Martin Luther King's dream was that we as a nation would no longer judge each other by the color of our skin.

Obama's message is a good one, but he's a hypocrite for teaching racial unity out of one side of his mouth and spouting out of the other praises of a church that unashamedly teaches racial favoritism.
Which party is race obsessed? In a column in December NY Times columnist Frank Rich brought up the subject, essentially claiming there are no Dem racists (for my thoughts on that, see the Kossacks remarks above) My initial take on Obama's church was that he was a secularist, choosing a church that was more a political gathering than a place of worship. You could say the same thing about some Episcopal churches, but politicians don't usually preach there come election time.

But Obama's choice is troubling--he didn't grow up with this church, he chose it. Here's what I said in response to the Rich column:
And as far as being racist, which Rich brings up, I'd like to see Barack explain again why his choice of church is headed by a black separatist pastor who, in the company of Louis Farrakhan, made a pilgrimage in 1984 to visit Libya's notoriously anti-Semitic dictator Muammar Gaddafi. Oh, well, who knew he would engage in the Lockerbie bombing 4 years later? But he had bombed US servicemen in Berlin and was known to harbor terrorists in 1986. Let's see what was going on with Libya in 1984...Libya shoots British policewoman protecting their "people's bureau" in London. We had an embargo on Libya then for some reason.
We can only assume Obama chose this church because it was politically expedient (Gee, isn't it Oprah's church?), which has also governed many of his other decisions--no Chicago, no Cook County crusader embodied in Barack Obama.

Christopher Hitchens, no conservative, has questioned Obama's affiliation with TUCC, as have moderate Democrats, from this earlier post (Note the liberal NY Times brought it up):
Obama has yet to really repudiate his pastor's cozying up to the terror-master Gaddafi in the past, his view that America deserved 9/11 and his essentially equating Zionism with racism, profiled in this NY Times story:
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.
But now, it's not only some bloggers on the right who are raising the issue, it's moderate Democrats. Mickey Kaus, Slate, via RCP:
Old CW: Not Black Enough; New CW: What's All This Black Business? Tom Maguire wonders why Jodi Kantor's front-page NYT piece on Barack Obama's pastor, Rev. Dr. Jeremiah Wright, hasn't generated more controversy. Having now read it, I tend to agree. I'd certainly be more comfortable with a presidential nominee whose main spiritual man 1) hadn't visited Col. Qaddafi (even back in '84); 2) talked less about "oppression" and "this racist United States of America;" 3) when discussing the solution to poverty, talked more about individual achievement and less about the role of "community"--including maybe even celebrating "middleclassness" instead of using it as shorthand for selfishness; 4) in general wasn't so obsessed with race.
Sounds like Obama could benefit from a little more separation of church and politics. And a little less playing the race card.

As far as the Kossacks it is too much to expect a moderation in tone and thought...but we can always hOpe.

Related posts: SEIU-er Rats for Obama, Clouded Aura for Obama, Liberal Fascism, Hope is not enough

No comments: