Archive for the ‘Jeremiah Wright’ Category

Republicans feel good about Obama match-up

April 3, 2008
By John Whitesides, Political Correspondent 

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Hillary Clinton may be the Democrat who Republicans love to hate, but some Republican strategists say they have no fear of a match-up with her rival Barack Obama in November’s presidential election.
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Many Republicans have long believed Clinton, the polarizing New York senator and former first lady with the high negative ratings, would make an easier White House foe by energizing conservatives and alienating independents.

But Republicans say the relentless Democratic nominating battle has given them new hope for November and exposed weaknesses in Obama that will play a central role in any general election campaign against the Illinois senator.

“I believe he has a glass jaw — and he is going to get hit hard,” said Republican pollster Tony Fabrizio.

Obama’s voting record in the U.S. Senate — one magazine ranked him the most liberal senator in 2007 — and during his years in the Illinois state Senate will get a more thorough examination in a campaign against Republican John McCain than it has so far, he said.

“He portrays himself as a centrist and a moderate, but if you look at his votes it’s tough to see anything but a liberal. He is more liberal than Hillary Clinton,” Fabrizio said.

The questions raised by Clinton about Obama’s lack of experience and suitability as commander in chief will be revitalized, Republicans say, as will the controversy about inflammatory comments by Obama’s pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright.

Coupling that with Obama’s weakness among blue-collar Democrats and Hispanics, and the possibility of a prolonged nominating fight that turns off Clinton backers and independents, Republicans are gaining confidence about a November race against Obama.

Many Republicans have long believed Clinton, the polarizing New York senator and former first lady with the high negative ratings, would make an easier White House foe by energizing conservatives and alienating independents.

But Republicans say the relentless Democratic nominating battle has given them new hope for November and exposed weaknesses in Obama that will play a central role in any general election campaign against the Illinois senator.

“I believe he has a glass jaw — and he is going to get hit hard,” said Republican pollster Tony Fabrizio.

Obama’s voting record in the U.S. Senate — one magazine ranked him the most liberal senator in 2007 — and during his years in the Illinois state Senate will get a more thorough examination in a campaign against Republican John McCain than it has so far, he said.

“He portrays himself as a centrist and a moderate, but if you look at his votes it’s tough to see anything but a liberal. He is more liberal than Hillary Clinton,” Fabrizio said.

The questions raised by Clinton about Obama’s lack of experience and suitability as commander in chief will be revitalized, Republicans say, as will the controversy about inflammatory comments by Obama’s pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright.

Coupling that with Obama’s weakness among blue-collar Democrats and Hispanics, and the possibility of a prolonged nominating fight that turns off Clinton backers and independents, Republicans are gaining confidence about a November race against Obama.

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The Audacity of Obama-Wright Rhetoric

March 30, 2008

By Thomas Sowell
The Washington Times
March 30, 2008
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It is painful to watch defenders of Barack Obama tying themselves into knots trying to evade the obvious.

Some are saying that Senator Obama cannot be held responsible for what his pastor, Jeremiah Wright, said. In their version of events, Barack Obama just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time — and a bunch of mean-spirited people are trying to make something out of it.

It makes a good story, but it won’t stand up under scrutiny.

Barack Obama’s own account of his life shows that he consciously sought out people on the far left fringe. In college, “I chose my friends carefully,” he said in his first book, “Dreams From My Father.”

These friends included “Marxist professors and structural feminists and punk rock performance poets” — in Obama’s own words — as well as the “more politically active black students.” He later visited a former member of the terrorist Weatherman underground, who endorsed him when he ran for state senator.

Obama didn’t just happen to encounter Jeremiah Wright, who just happened to say some way out things. Jeremiah Wright is in the same mold as the kinds of people Barack Obama began seeking out in college — members of the left, anti-American counter-culture.

In Shelby Steele’s brilliantly insightful book about Barack Obama — “A Bound Man” — it is painfully clear that Obama was one of those people seeking a racial identity that he had never really experienced in growing up in a white world. He was trying to become a convert to blackness, as it were — and, like many converts, he went overboard.

Nor has Obama changed in recent years. His voting record in the U.S. Senate is the furthest left of any Senator. There is a remarkable consistency in what Barack Obama has done over the years, despite inconsistencies in what he says.

The irony is that Obama’s sudden rise politically to the level of being the leading contender for his party’s presidential nomination has required him to project an entirely different persona, that of a post-racial leader who can heal divisiveness and bring us all together.

The ease with which he has accomplished this chameleon-like change, and entranced both white and black Democrats, is a tribute to the man’s talent and a warning about his reliability.

There is no evidence that Obama ever sought to educate himself on the views of people on the other end of the political spectrum, much less reach out to them. He reached out from the left to the far left.
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That’s bringing us all together?

Is “divisiveness” defined as disagreeing with the agenda of the left?
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Who on the left was ever called divisive by Obama before that became politically necessary in order to respond to revelations about Jeremiah Wright?

One sign of Obama’s verbal virtuosity was his equating a passing comment by his grandmother — “a typical white person,” he says — with an organized campaign of public vilification of America in general and white America in particular, by Jeremiah Wright.

Since all things are the same, except for the differences, and
different except for the similarities, it is always possible to make things look similar verbally, however different they are in the real world.

Among the many desperate gambits by defenders of Senator Obama and Jeremiah Wright is to say that Wright’s words have a “resonance” in the black community.

There was a time when the Ku Klux Klan’s words had a resonance among whites, not only in the South but in other states. Some people joined the KKK in order to advance their political careers. Did that make it OK? Is it all just a matter of whose ox is gored?

While many whites may be annoyed by Jeremiah Wright’s words, a year from now most of them will probably have forgotten about him. But many blacks who absorb his toxic message can still be paying for it, big- time, for decades to come.

Why should young blacks be expected to work to meet educational standards, or even behavioral standards, if they believe the message that all their problems are caused by whites, that the deck is stacked against them? That is ultimately a message of hopelessness, however much audacity it may have.

Obama has unwittingly enhanced his image as the African American candidate

March 24, 2008

By Robert D. Novak
The Washington Post 
Monday, March 24, 2008; Page A13

Barack Obama‘s speech last week, hastily prepared to extinguish the firestorm over the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, won critical praise for style and substance but failed politically. By elevating the question of race in America, the front-running Democratic presidential candidate has deepened the dilemma created by his campaign’s success against the party establishment’s anointed choice, Hillary Clinton.

In rejecting the racist views of his longtime spiritual mentor but not disowning him, Obama has unwittingly enhanced his image as the African American candidate — as opposed to being just a remarkable candidate who happens to be black. That poses a dilemma for unelected superdelegates, who as professional politicians will settle the contest because neither Obama nor Clinton can win enough elected delegates to be nominated.

Superdelegates, though they were inclined toward Clinton as recently as three months ago, now flinch at the idea of rejecting Obama. They fear antagonizing African Americans, who have become the hard-core Democratic base. But what if national polls continue their post-Wright trend and show Obama trailing both Clinton and Republican John McCain in popular support? The Obama strategists’ hope of reversing that trend depends on whether his eloquent race speech, which he continued to reprise on the campaign trail all week, can overcome videos exposing his pastor’s demagoguery.

Thanks to proportional representation, which was enacted as part of radical Democratic reform a generation ago, no candidate can replicate George McGovern‘s nomination victory in 1972 by capturing winner-take-all primaries. It is not possible for Clinton to score large enough victories in the remaining nine primaries (starting with Pennsylvania on April 22) to move ahead of Obama in delegates or the accumulated popular vote. Those goals became unreachable with the apparent Clinton failure to force a revote in Michigan and Florida.

That means Clinton must convince superdelegates that Obama is not electable — validating this judgment by a neutral Democratic leader: “It was a great speech, but it cannot overcome the powerful [Wright] video.” Since Obama’s race declaration, he has fallen behind McCain nationally in various polls and trails by as much as eight percentage points in Rasmussen tracking.

In head-to-head tests with Clinton, he is two points behind in Rasmussen tracking and has slipped in other surveys, though he is still leading. Polls in Pennsylvania taken before Obama’s speech Tuesday showed that Clinton’s narrow lead had expanded to double digits, and private surveys since then indicate the margin is growing.

To combat that, the Obama high command privately contacted superdelegates Friday to report that his Pennsylvania and Indiana polling numbers have “come back” (without specifying by how much). Obama agents are also trying to minimize the distinctiveness of his embrace with Wright by distributing photos and letters showing Bill Clinton‘s contacts with the Chicago preacher in 1998, when the president was wooing friendly clergymen in his campaign against impeachment.

The problem for Obama is that furor over Wright has reached beyond voters normally interested in political controversies. Over the past week, I have been asked repeatedly by non-political people about Obama’s connection with Wright’s tirades. In the process, Obama’s political persona has been altered — transformed from Harvard Law Review to South Side activist, as described by one friendly Chicago politician.

The Clinton campaign has shied away from official comment about Wright. But in off-the-record talks with superdelegates, Clinton’s agents claim that the connection casts doubt on Obama’s electability. Furthermore, one Democratic operative who is inclined toward Obama warns that the issue will be raised in much harsher terms by Republicans during the general election campaign. In last week’s Clinton conference call with the media, senior adviser Harold Ickes questioned “whether Senator Obama is going to be able to stand up to the Republican attack machine.”

The consensus among knowledgeable Democrats is that Obama will win over enough superdelegates to clinch the nomination before the national convention in August, partly because of fear about the consequences if he does not. But one longtime associate said this of the Clintons in private conversation last week: “They will do anything — anything — to get nominated.” That reminder deepens the Democratic dilemma.

A Brilliant Fraud: Obama and The Reverend, No Deal

March 23, 2008

 By Charles Krauthammer

 Charles Krauthammer

The Washington Post

Friday, March 21, 2008; Page A17

The beauty of a speech is that you don’t just give the answers, you provide your own questions. “Did I ever hear him make remarks that could be considered controversial while I sat in church? Yes.” So said Barack Obama, in his Philadelphia speech about his pastor, friend, mentor and spiritual adviser of 20 years, Jeremiah Wright.

An interesting, if belated, admission. But the more important question is: which“controversial” remarks?

Wright’s assertion from the pulpit that the U.S. government invented HIV “as a means of genocide against people of color”? Wright’s claim that America was morally responsible for Sept. 11 — “chickens coming home to roost” — because of, among other crimes, Hiroshima and Nagasaki? (Obama says he missed church that day. Had he never heard about it?) .
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What about the charge that the U.S. government (of Franklin Roosevelt, mind you) knew about Pearl Harbor, but lied about it? Or that the government gives drugs to black people, presumably to enslave and imprison them?

Obama condemns such statements as wrong and divisive, then frames the next question: “There will no doubt be those for whom my statements of condemnation are not enough. Why associate myself with Reverend Wright in the first place, they may ask? Why not join another church?”

But that is not the question. The question is why didn’t he leave that church? Why didn’t he leave — why doesn’t he leave even today — a pastor who thundered not once but three times from the pulpit (on a DVD the church proudly sells) “God damn America”? Obama’s 5,000-word speech, fawned over as a great meditation on race, is little more than an elegantly crafted, brilliantly sophistic justification of that scandalous dereliction.

His defense rests on two central propositions: (a) moral equivalence and (b) white guilt.

(a) Moral equivalence. Sure, says Obama, there’s Wright, but at the other “end of the spectrum” there’s Geraldine Ferraro, opponents of affirmative action and his own white grandmother, “who once confessed her fear of black men who passed by her on the street, and who on more than one occasion has uttered racial or ethnic stereotypes that made me cringe.” But did she shout them in a crowded theater to incite, enrage and poison others?

“I can no more disown [Wright] than I can my white grandmother.” What exactly was Grandma’s offense? Jesse Jackson himself once admitted to the fear he feels from the footsteps of black men on the street. And Harry Truman was known to use epithets for blacks and Jews in private, yet is revered for desegregating the armed forces and recognizing the first Jewish state since Jesus’s time. He never spread racial hatred. Nor did Grandma.

Yet Obama compares her to Wright. Does he not see the moral difference between the occasional private expression of the prejudices of one’s time and the use of a public stage to spread racial lies and race hatred?

(b) White guilt. Obama’s purpose in the speech was to put Wright’s outrages in context. By context, Obama means history. And by history, he means the history of white racism. Obama says, “We do not need to recite here the history of racial injustice in this country,” and then he proceeds to do precisely that. What lies at the end of his recital of the long train of white racial assaults from slavery to employment discrimination? Jeremiah Wright, of course.

This contextual analysis of Wright’s venom, this extenuation of black hate speech as a product of white racism, is not new. It’s the Jesse Jackson politics of racial grievance, expressed in Ivy League diction and Harvard Law nuance. That’s why the speech made so many liberal commentators swoon: It bathed them in racial guilt while flattering their intellectual pretensions. An unbeatable combination.

But Obama was supposed to be new. He flatters himself as a man of the future transcending the anger of the past as represented by his beloved pastor. Obama then waxes rhapsodic about the hope brought by the new consciousness of the young people in his campaign. Then answer this, Senator: If Wright is a man of the past, why would you expose your children to his vitriolic divisiveness?
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This is a man who curses America and who proclaimed moral satisfaction in the deaths of 3,000 innocents at a time when their bodies were still being sought at Ground Zero. It is not just the older congregants who stand and cheer and roar in wild approval of Wright’s rants, but young people as well. Why did you give $22,500 just two years ago to a church run by a man of the past who infects the younger generation with precisely the racial attitudes and animus you say you have come unto us to transcend?

Racism concerns no stranger to pulpit

March 21, 2008

By Jennifer Harper
The WashingtonTimes
March 21, 2008

The tone and ferocity of the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr.’s comments about American racism which came to national attention last week may not be typical in many mainstream black churches. The content — concerns that racism persists — still surfaces at many pulpits, however.
Jeremiah Wright greeting President Bill Clinton during a 1998 prayer breakfast at the White House, to which Clinton had hand chosen Wright to attend.

Jeremiah Wright greeting President Bill Clinton during a 1998 prayer breakfast at the White House, to which Clinton had hand chosen Wright to attend.

“Inflammatory rhetoric is certainly a minor approach to congregations within black Christian circles. That rhetoric needs to be criticized. But the larger agenda Reverend Wright is pointing to, the deep frustration over racism, is a common theme preached at black churches across the country,” said Anthony B. Pinn, a professor of religious studies at Rice University.
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“The topic is viable. The rhetoric is not,” Mr. Pinn added.
“No one can rationally attribute to an estimated 56,000 black American churches the comments of a black pastor in a black church which is a member of a white liberal denomination — the United Church of Christ,” said the Rev. Eugene F. Rivers III of the Azusa Christian Community in Dorchester, Mass.
“Everyone gets the point that those quotes were indefensible and over the top. Everybody gets that,” he said.
Supporters say that the Rev. Jeremiah Wright is misunderstood.
Rev. Jeremiah Wright
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Mr. Wright, who recently retired from the 8,000-member Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, has been family pastor and spiritual guide to Sen. Barack Obama for years. .
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Mr. Wright’s sermons have included stark references to racism. In a highly publicized speech Tuesday, Mr. Obama affirmed his friendship with his pastor but repudiated his extreme opinions.

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