Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Not Enough

Just listened to the speech. Not enough to end this, in fact, it just continues to raise questions about his sincerity and judgment.

He still acts like the Rev. Wright's hateful and disgusting words were new to him these last two weeks, and essentially blames conservatives and the media for bringing it up--we are the ones who are divisive. He says that these "snippets of sermons" are "caricatures" of the Rev. Wright and not the man he knows.

He says to us that it's wrong to condemn this anger.

It's wrong to condemn this anti-white, anti-American anger?

That makes me mad.

Oh, and one more thing--we can only begin to achieve perfection, uh a more perfect union with him, the personification of perfection--Barack Obama.

P.S. Smears the black community by suggesting they are all hate-filled Rev. Wrights and accuses his own grandmother--

UPDATE: RCP Blog, pre-speech, what Obama should say. More pre-speech commentary from Rich Lowry.

UPDATE: Michael Crowley in the left-leaning The New Republic on its brilliance. But worried that such nuance goes over our heads, you see:
This is a complex and nuanced point--one which, taken from the context of Obama's larger assessment of race in America, won't satisfy people horrified by a preacher who blamed 9/11 on U.S. policies.
Damn right it won't. But even Crowley takes Barack to task for not emulating the Bill Cosby alternative approach that emphasizes personal responsibility. VDH, "An Elegant Farce". Obama practices and expects us to accept a double standard of behavior:
Barack Obama’s Tuesday sermon was a well-crafted, well-delivered, postmodern review of race that had little to do with the poor judgment revealed in Obama’s relationship with the hateful Rev. Wright, much less the damage that he does both to African Americans and to the country in general.

Obama chose not to review what Wright, now deemed the “occasionally fierce critic.” said in detail, condemn it unequivocally, apologize, and then resign from such a Sunday venue of intolerance — the now accustomed American remedy to racism in the public realm that we saw in the Imus and other recent controversies.
And this:
Rather than account for his relationship with a hate-monger, Obama will enlighten you, as your teacher, why you are either confused or too ill-intended to ask him to disassociate himself from Wright.

The Obama apologia was a “conversation” about moral equivalence. So the Wright hatred must be contextualized and understood in several ways that only the unusually gifted Obama can instruct us about:
Read on.

So we should just shut up. Obama knows better than we do what's good for us and the country. This reveals him for the dictatorial liberal that he is, but he has yet to dictate to us any solutions, beyond bromides. And in this speech, he told us even words don't mean what we think they mean.

So tell us again Barack--why should we believe a word you say? Why should we trust you?

UPDATE: Stanley Kurtz, The Corner. Obama sought out Wright, and by drawing false equivalences, this extends to Obama's excusing other hateful sentiments and behavior:
Far from pulling a Hubert Humphrey or a Tony Blair and casting the radical left out of the party, Obama seems to see his job as getting the rest of the country to adopt a stance of relative complacency toward the most egregious sorts of anti-Americanism–all under the guise of achieving national unity.
As Kurtz points out, the precedent is Jimmy Carter. Do we really want another criminally incompetent president who sucks up to dictators?

omg Obama's white grandmother is still alive--and he exploits and shames her before the world. What a shameless, nasty thing to do--to get himself out of a tight spot. That is a personal betrayal. And of the woman who raised him when his own mother flounced off.

UPDATE: James Taranto:
As we noted yesterday, Wright credits James Cone of New York's Union Theological Seminary with having undertaken this systematization. Here again is Cone's description of black liberation theology:
Black theology refuses to accept a God who is not identified totally with the goals of the black community. If God is not for us and against white people, then he is a murderer, and we had better kill him. The task of black theology is to kill Gods who do not belong to the black community. . . . Black theology will accept only the love of God which participates in the destruction of the white enemy. What we need is the divine love as expressed in Black Power, which is the power of black people to destroy their oppressors here and now by any means at their disposal. Unless God is participating in this holy activity, we must reject his love.
[snip]But if he cannot speak out unequivocally against the public, organized bigotry of his spiritual mentor, how can he possibly live up to this promise?
UPDATE: Andrew Sullivan pre-debate:
Maybe this is a bridge too far. But in thinking about Obama for this past year, and reading the subtle critique of, say, Shelby Steele, as well as the palpable racial discomfort of some white conservatives, I have to say that it is precisely the wide span of Obama's bridge that makes me admire him. He has refused to disown Wright, while also refusing to endorse all of his message. You can call that opportunistic or expedient or cynical. You can also call it intelligent and brave and principled. Obama could have chosen the Shelby Steele route or even the Alan Keyes or Condi Rice path. He could equally have chosen the Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton path. But what is unique about Obama is that he tried and is trying to do much more than any of them have - to express all of these racial strategies and to transcend them. While being human. He isn't a saint or a savior. But he is trying.
I think I would have more patience and respect for Barack Obama if he actually had a record of bi-partisan accomplishment, if he had tried to do the hard business of governance--if he had run for Governor of Illinois for instance, or even just supported real reform candidates at the local level when he could have "made a difference"--a real one, not just talk.

Sullivan says Republicans don't empathize--but many of us do, most of us applaud and value the advent of a color-blind society. And though we may not have agreed with his liberal policies, were predisposed to give Obama the benefit of the doubt--that he was sincere, that he was principled--but he has failed us every time. And it's such a waste of Obama's talents.

But maybe one kind of healing will come out of this--that playing either the race card or the gender card won't work any more. Most of us are beyond that.

Richard Cohen, WaPo, "On Wright, What Took Obama So Long?":
After I wrote in January about Wright's praise for Farrakhan, I was pilloried by Obama supporters who accused me of all manner of things, including insanity. But when I asked some of them what they would have done if their minister had extolled David Duke, the former Ku Klux Klan official, or Rabbi Meir Kahane, the late anti-Arab racist, they either rejected the question entirely or simply didn't answer. Don't they think that everyone, particularly a public figure, has an obligation to denounce bigotry, as well as those who praise the bigots themselves?
UPDATE: Reverse Spin:
He cheapened the “major” speech by saying our racial divide needs to be healed so we can address Democratic talking points.
“I suppose the politically safe thing would be to move on from this episode and just hope that it fades into the woodwork,” Obama said, seeming to want credit for his political bravery. “We can dismiss Reverend Wright as a crank or a demagogue. ... But race is an issue that I believe this nation cannot afford to ignore right now.”

#ada#But then, he insisted that we do, in fact, dismiss Wright as a distraction. Indeed, Obama says that pretty much any inconvenient discussion of race is a distraction from what America really needs: a huge expansion of the welfare state.

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