Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Media tries to bury Pastorgate

Compare this with what happened when GWB gave JUST ONE SPEECH at Bob Jones university

The broadcast network evening show blackout, of Reverend Jeremiah Wright's 2001 charge that the U.S. earned the 9/11 attacks, continued Monday night as neither CBS nor NBC touched the Wright issue and ABC ran a full story which included Wright's "U.S. of K-K-K-A" hate speech and how Obama has been close to Wright for 20 years, but concluded with how "many African-Americans do not understand" the controversy since the "kind of fiery language Wright uses is not uncommon in black churches."

The race-based, white-bashing rants may not be so uncommon, but is anti-American shouting -- about how "we nuked far more than the thousands in New York and the Pentagon, and we never batted an eye" and so "America's chickens are coming home to roost" -- so common?

Anchor Charles Gibson set up the story from Jake Tapper by asserting Obama "is being dogged by his pastor's provocative comments." After the "U.S. of K-K-K-A" soundbite, Tapper pointed out how "Wright has played an important role in Obama's life for 20 years." Viewers then saw a clip of Obama from June of 2007 giving "a special shout out to my pastor" who's "a friend. And a great leader." Following some quotes illustrating Obama's awareness a year ago of how Wright's views could prove embarrassing, Tapper ended with how such language is not unusual in black churches.

Not a word on Monday's CBS Evening News (anchored by Russ Mitchell) of Wright/Obama and, on Monday's NBC Nightly News, merely one cryptic "by the way" line from anchor Brian Williams....

In a sermon the Sunday after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Wright suggested America spurred and deserved the attacks:
We bombed Hiroshima! We bombed Nagasaki! And we nuked far more than the thousands in New York and the Pentagon, and we never batted an eye....We have supported state terrorism against the Palestinians and black South Africans, and now we are indignant because the stuff we have done overseas is now brought right back into our own front yard. America's chickens are coming home to roost.

No part of that far-left, Blame America First language has made it onto the ABC, CBS or NBC evening newscasts since the video became public last Thursday.

More here

Taranto on Pastorgate

Are we wrong to think that Barack Obama's campaign is imploding? For the past few days the national spotlight has been on Jeremiah Wright, pastor of the Trinity United Church of Christ and Obama's so-called spiritual mentor, who turns out to be a certifiable America-hating crackpot. As ABC News reported last week:
"The government gives them the drugs, builds bigger prisons, passes a three-strike law and then wants us to sing 'God Bless America.' No, no, no, God damn America, that's in the Bible for killing innocent people," he said in a 2003 sermon. "God damn America for treating our citizens as less than human. God damn America for as long as she acts like she is God and she is supreme."

In addition to damning America, he told his congregation on the Sunday after Sept. 11, 2001 that the United States had brought on al Qaeda's attacks because of its own terrorism. "We bombed Hiroshima, we bombed Nagasaki, and we nuked far more than the thousands in New York and the Pentagon, and we never batted an eye," Rev. Wright said in a sermon on Sept. 16, 2001.

"We have supported state terrorism against the Palestinians and black South Africans, and now we are indignant because the stuff we have done overseas is now brought right back to our own front yards. America's chickens are coming home to roost," he told his congregation.

Obama's response--which we'll get to in a moment--has been to assert that the most outrageous of Wright's utterances are news to him, and to avoid discussing the pastor's overall theological worldview.

In a set of "talking points" on the church's Web site, Wright proclaims himself an exponent of "black liberation theology." He cites James Cone, a distinguished professor at New York's Union Theological Seminary, whom he credits for having "systematized" this strain of Christianity. Here is a quote from Cone, explaining black liberation theology (hat tip: Spengler, a pseudonymous columnist for the Asia Times):
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.

Could Obama really have been unaware for all these years that his spiritual mentor follows a racially adversarial theology, one that demands of God that he be "for us and against white people" and that he participate "in the destruction of the white enemy"? It doesn't exactly sound like the sort of change we can believe in.

National Review's Rich Lowry notes that Obama's 1995 memoir, "Dreams of My Father," cites a Wright sermon called "The Audacity of Hope," the title of which Obama borrowed for his own campaign slogan. Without evident disapproval, Obama quotes a passage from that sermon in which Wright describes "a world . . . where white folks' greed runs a world in need."

Writing on the Puffington Host, self-described Obama backer Gerald Posner says he finds it hard to believe Obama could not have known about Wright's post-9/11 calumny:
There was no more traumatic event in our recent history than 9/11. Reverend Wright's comments would have raised a ruckus at most places in America, coming so soon after the the [sic] attack itself. . . .

If the parishioners of Trinity United Church were not buzzing about Reverend Wright's post 9/11 comments, then it could only seem to be because those comments were not out of character with what he preached from the pulpit many times before. In that case, I have to wonder if it is really possible for the Obamas to have been parishioners there--by 9/11 they were there more than a decade--and not to have known very clearly how radical Wright's views were. If, on the other hand, parishioners were shocked by Wright's vitriol only days after more than 3,000 Americans had been killed by terrorists, they would have talked about it incessantly. Barack--a sitting Illinois State Senator--would have been one of the first to hear about it.

Can't you imagine the call or conversation? "Barack, you aren't going to believe what Revered [sic] Wright said yesterday at the church. You should be ready with a comment if someone from the press calls you up."

And what does Obama have to say for himself? Essentially nothing. In his own Puffington Host post, the senator issues a series of condemnations without troubling himself to specify what he is condemning:
I vehemently disagree and strongly condemn the statements that have been the subject of this controversy. I categorically denounce any statement that disparages our great country or serves to divide us from our allies. I also believe that words that degrade individuals have no place in our public dialogue, whether it's on the campaign stump or in the pulpit. In sum, I reject outright the statements by Rev. Wright that are at issue. . . .

The statements that Rev. Wright made that are the cause of this controversy were not statements I personally heard him preach while I sat in the pews of Trinity or heard him utter in private conversation. When these statements first came to my attention, it was at the beginning of my presidential campaign. I made it clear at the time that I strongly condemned his comments. . . .

Let me repeat what I've said earlier. All of the statements that have been the subject of controversy are ones that I vehemently condemn. They in no way reflect my attitudes and directly contradict my profound love for this country.

In the same post, Obama claims that Wright "has never been my political advisor; he's been my pastor." In fact, as Bloomberg reports, Wright served on an advisory committee for the Obama campaign, from which he was forced to resign Friday.

Why does Obama feel it necessary to resort to these lawyerly--dare we say Clintoneque--evasions? (The American Thinker blog sends them up to great effect.) Why can't he simply speak from the heart and tell us what he really thinks of black liberation theology? Two possibilities come to mind, both of which may be true.

One is that Obama's condemnation and rejection of Wright's appalling statements is not sincere. That is not to say that Obama shares Wright's hatreds; we have no reason to think that he does and would be surprised if he did. It may just be that the whole question is a matter of indifference to him, except inasmuch as it affects his own political ambitions. If Obama doesn't speak from the heart, perhaps it is because his heart has nothing to say. Obama apparently has been aware for some time that his association with Wright was likely to be a political liability. The New York Times reports:
In the interview last spring, Mr. Wright expressed frustration at the breach in [his] relationship with Mr. Obama, saying the candidate had already privately said that he might need to distance himself from his pastor.

At this point, though, "distancing" himself plainly is not enough. Obama needs to renounce Wright and his noxious beliefs forcefully and specifically, even if he personally is blas‚ about them.

But this brings us to the second possible reason he hasn't done so: that it may entail a political cost as well. After all, it's not as if the malevolent minister is preaching to empty pews. There is a segment of the black community that embraces Wright-style bigotry, shown anecdotally in this quote from the ABC News story:
"I wouldn't call it radical. I call it being black in America," said one congregation member outside the church last Sunday.

We would like to think this point of view is not terribly common. But Wright's congregation has 8,000 members, the biggest in its denomination, according to the Religion News Service. Possibly Obama has reason to fear losing crucial black support if he expressly repudiates Wright and what he stands for.

One of the Obama campaign's chief selling points has been the promise of "unity" and of rising above racial division. But how can you unify the nation while countenancing hatred of it? And how can racial division be overcome when those who preach hatred are able to find such a large audience?


Obama's poor judgment and poorer excuses

Barack Obama showed very poor judgment when he accepted $250,000 of campaign funds from slumlord Tony Resko (now on trial), who was Obama's first substantial contributor in Obama's meteoric political rise. When Obama bought his $1.65 million South Side home, there was an adjacent landscaped lot, which Rezko's wife purchased on the same day for the full asking price of $ 625,000. Obama's changing excuses for his lack of judgment are even more troubling. Here are three of many unconvincing justifications:

First he claims ignorance. "I didn't know about Rezko problems." He told Sun Times reporter Tim Novak on April 24, 2007. He also didn't know the unsafe conditions of Rezko's buildings, some of which were in Obama's district. "Should I have known these buildings were in a state of disrepair? My answer would be that it wasn't brought to my attention,'' Why didn't Obama know? Jay Stewart, Chicago's Better Government Assn., told the LA Times:
"Everybody in this town knew that Tony Rezko was headed for trouble. When he got indicted, there wasn't a single insider who was surprised. It was viewed as a long time coming. . . .Why would you be having anything to do with Tony Rezko, particularly if you're planning to run for president?"

Second, Obama underplayed Rezko's financial contributions and said it was his "best guesstimate" that Rezko raised $10,000 to $15,000. "Obama said he didn't have more certainty because he didn't then have the staff to maintain better campaign finance records." If Obama had so little management and understanding of his small campaign coffers, how will he govern a nation whose complex economy faces many challenges?

On March 15, 2008, to quell the increased press scrutiny of the Obama-Rezko relationship, Obama explained, "My instinct was to believe him.... In my interactions with him [Rezko], he was very gracious. He did not ask me for favors. He was not obtrusive. He wasn't one of those people who would insist on coming around all the time or constantly being photographed with me."

So the candidate was too trusting, too gullible. Did he think that a conman and influence peddler would be the movie stereotype of a cigar-smoking thug with a scar slashed across his face and wearing a trench coat and dark glasses? Of course, the most effective criminal would be gracious. If Barack Obama is indeed so gullible, then he is not ready for the cons and maneuvers he will encounter with our adversaries in Iran, Venezuela, and North Korea.

Ignorance? Ineptitude? Gullibility? None are excellent credentials for the highest office in the nation.


Obama can't even "reconcile" his own minister

The poor old emptyhead hasn't got a clue how to reconcile anyone

More from today's Obama:
We've got a lot of pent-up anger and bitterness and misunderstanding. But what I continue to believe in is that this country wants to move beyond these kinds of divisions. That this country wants something different.

Does Obama believe his own minister wants something different? Can Obama point to any success he has had in moving his minister past anger and bitterness and misunderstanding? (This will be tricky, since Obama apparently only learned in Feb 2007 that his minister harbored and expressed such thoughts.)

When does the Great Reconciliator actually reconcile? Or does Obama's magic reconciliation only work at great distances, with those who don't really know him? Let's put some meat on these reconciliation bones - per this report, Obama's remarks today also included this:
He said schools should do a better job of teaching all students African-American history "because that's part of American history," as well as women's struggle for equality, the history of unions, the role of Hispanics in U.S. and other matters that he suggested aren't given enough attention. "I want us to have a broad-based history" taught in schools, he said, even including more on "the Holocaust as well as other issues of oppression" around the world.

What? On behalf of gays, lesbians, Native Americans, Asians, and left-handed Alaskans I deplore this limited approach to the teaching of American history. Now, I assume the Asian sub-section will note the vital Chinese role in building our Western railroads, so let's not overlook the Irish, once a disprespected underclass that is now respectably mainstream. C'mon, I have some bad self-esteem days just like everyone else (Perhaps coincidentally I am verging on a low self-esteem moment as I type this, or perhaps because I type this.)

Well - if an enhanced Victims Studies curriculum shouldered by our already struggling public schools is really Obama's bridge to a united tomorrow, please help us all. Help us to keep a straight face, I should say. My impression is that his minister, Jeremiah Wright, is an extremely intelligent and well-educated man who is well-versed in black history - how is his reconciliation progressing?



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