Monday, June 2, 2008

Obama finally quits his church of hate

Offensive remarks from a black preacher didn't budge Obama but having a white preacher make offensive remarks in the same church could not be tolerated

DEMOCRAT White House hopeful Barack Obama said he has quit his long-time Chicago church, following a string of racially-tinged rhetoric by preachers from its pulpit. The decision followed new controversy over sermons at the Trinity United Church of Christ, when a guest preacher last week mocked Obama's foe Hillary Clinton with racial rhetoric.

"Michelle and I told Reverend Otis Moss that we were withdrawing as members of Trinity," Obama told a gathering in South Dakota. "This is not a decision I come to lightly, and frankly it is one I make with some sadness," noting that he had concluded "it was going to be very difficult to continue our membership there so long as I was running for president. "It's the right thing to do for our church and for our family."

Trinity's former pastor was Reverend Jeremiah Wright, who sent the Obama campaign into turmoil when videos emerged of a string of vehement and race-based sermons emerged earlier this year. Wright's most controversial statements, included comments assailing US and Israeli "terrorism," exhortations on blacks to sing "God damn America," over racism and allegations that AIDS was spread by the US government. His comments, and Obama's former allegiance to the church are likely to be a major target for Republicans, should the Illinois senator as expected clinch the Democratic presidential nomination and face Senator John McCain in November's general election.

Obama on said he was "disappointed" by the latest remarks made by guest preacher, and Catholic priest Father Michael Pfleger, last Sunday at Trinity. Pfleger mocked Clinton for appearing to cry days before the New Hampshire primary in January, saying she was on the verge of tears because "there is a black man stealing my show." "She always thought, 'This is mine. I'm Bill's wife, I'm white and this is mine,' Pfleger said in the dramatic sermon, which now has 100,000 hits on YouTube. "And then out of nowhere came him, Barack Obama. And she said: 'Damn, where did you come from? I'm white, I'm entitled, there's a black man stealing my show!'"'


Why did it take so long?

Some of the questions that should be asked of Senator Obama are ones like when does he think that Trinity United Church of Christ changed? Does he believe the church became radical only in the last few weeks? If Senator Obama is as anti-Farrakhan as he stated when he disowned Jeremiah Wright, how could he not know of the church's past and present fondness for Farrakhan? Was Senator Obama aware of Father Pfleger's Farrakhan ties when he orchestrated hundreds of thousands of earmarked dollars to projects run by Pfleger?

As the Democrats finish wrestling with what to do with the Florida and Michigan half-a-delegates, in a move to try and wrap up their contentious primary, you've got to think at least some of the Obama supporters out there have to be extremely concerned that it seems no friend of Obama is above being jettisoned when it becomes politically expedient to do so.

If there is one thing that has been uncovered about the character of Barack Obama during the primary process, it's his questionable judgment. On a micro level, the space under the Obama bus is getting crowded with Jeremiah Wright, former staffer Samantha Power, Father Pfleger, and now, apparently, an entire church. On a macro level, Obama spent all week parsing words, essentially trying to maintain he's willing to meet with any despot around the world with no preconditions, yet he's unwilling to meet with our military leaders in Iraq unless there's a precondition of withdrawal.

The question Americans should be asking as we continue the slow, methodical march to November, doesn't judgment still matter in a president, and hasn't Barack Obama demonstrated that his judgment is flawed at best?


What Took Twenty Years?

Well, we can now call Obama's claim that he is devoted to the church and not Wright "inoperative." This seems to undermine the argument of his apologists that there was nothing wrong Trinity United and lots of people attend places with rabbis or ministers with whom they "disagree." Now that it is plain that this church welcomed and celebrated anti-white, anti-woman and anti-Semitic hate speech it is fair to ask why now, why only now would he leave? Well, he's got a general election to run and the old Obama - the one with Rev. Wright and Father Pfleger as mentors - needs to be pushed out of view.

Imagine if the roles were reversed and John McCain had attended a white separatist church for twenty years. Would his resignation after two decades cure the concern that he had lived some sort of weird double life, cavorting with racists but talking about equal opportunity in his public life? I would imagine he'd have been forced out of the presidential race by now.

So the question remains: was Obama the least observant church congegrant on the planet (racism and anti-Semitism at Trinity? No!) or a hypocrite? Let the voters decide.


Obama & His Church

There goes that historic, transcendent, life-changing, not since the Gettysburg Address, "I have a dream," must-be-taught-in-every-school race speech. It didn't hold up three months, let alone the time it would take to print up new textbooks.

The charitable explanation: Barack has belatedly discovered that no one person or church symbolizes "The Black Community." Not a pastor, an athlete, singer, dancer, or blues man. We should be judged on the, dare I say it, content of our character.

The less-charitable explanation (which, ironically, his defenders will rush to offer) is that he's preempting the unfair attacks that will bombard him from the right once the general is underway. The unenlightened public cannot be expected to understand the complexity of "The Black Church" which Trinity exemplifies. He must clear the path of unfair "distractions" that his affiliation with Trinity raises. In other words, he's dumping his church of twenty years so that he can be president. He's a politician and that's what politicians do. Why should he be held to a higher standard? Right? Wright?


Obama: gaffe-prone or just really dumb?

I started out with an open mind about Obama. That's changing. Ace calls Barack Obama "like Dan Quayle, only dumber," and it's becoming difficult to disagree.

Can you imagine how the press, the late-night talk shows, the Jon Stewart's and Steven Colbert's, the Bill Maher's the Keith Olbermann's, the Chris Matthews', the women on The View, Saturday Night Live and the rest of the news and entertainment media would be reacting to the astounding mindlessness of Barack Obama, if only he had an R after his last name?

Good lord, Dan Quayle fudged spelling potato and it still gets derisive laughs from the left. Barack Obama actually thought Cary Grant and Eve Marie Saint were scampering around Mt. Rushmore in the film North by Northwest.

From the press and entertainment media: silence. No stories here, no jokes, no skits. Obama's brilliance is unquestionable. If President Bush (or, now John McCain) had asked so naive a question, you'd hear it everywhere, read about it everywhere, your search engine would bring you thousands of hits. Which is quite different from the reaction we're seeing to Obama's wonderings. All that silence. I can hear crickets!

Obama also mentioned that his ears would be too big for his inclusion in that monument. Seems his brains would not be.

If George Bush had made this many gaffes, so many stupendously stupid ones, day after day, do you think he'd ever made it out of Texas with the media jeering and mockery?

But Obama gets up there, every single day and says something embarrassingly wrong, and the press beams, edits out or ignores the gaffe and heaves a sigh for Mr. Wonderful that is so deep it makes their legs tingle.

You're watching the press and the entertainment media try to hand the US Presidency over to a guy who can't get much right, flip-flops with impunity (the press - also happy to talk down the economy or bury the positives to help the cause - will just quietly change the narrative) panders shamelessly, but not believably, would rather go talk to our enemies than to our generals, gets endorsements from Cuba and Venezuela, hangs with some interesting people who like to blow stuff up or stir up resentment, and has never been asked this simple question: what do you think will be the reasonable and logical result of our "pulling out" of Iraq at this point in time, when we're beating Al Qaeda? Will it give new life to a terrorist movement that is currently losing morale and momentum? Wouldn't that betray the same Iraqi people we were wrong to abandon in 1992? Wouldn't it put them back under the tyrant's gun and render the sacrifices of our troops meaningless? Isn't walking away as victor better than snatching defeat from the jaws of victory? I mean.what sort of president thinks it's better to surrender and lose - especially when we're winning?

The GOP is in a free-fall, but my goodness, the Democrats have an Anointed One who increasingly reminds me of Chauncy Gardiner, but with an ambitiously co-presidency-minded spouse and some troubling whispers about his cabinet appointments, but and even if they get buyer's remorse, they won't admit it because they're finally seeing a way to dethrone the Clintons. They're not in such good shape, either.

I think we should NOT have a president coming out of an Ivy League school this year. I mean, Bush came out of both Yale and Harvard, and he's the moronic evil genius liar who told us all the same things his predecessor co-presidents had said. Hillary came out of Yale and she's smart but completely untrustworthy. And Barack, like Bush, is a double-ivy guy, and he is out-Quayle-ing the "stooooooopit" Dan Quayle.

UPDATE: Obama has quit his controversial church. Pajamas Media has a good round-up. He only needed to get burned TWICE before making a move. Very presidential and reassuring, isn't it? Will he have to get burned by AlQaeda twice before making a move as president?


Obama and the judges

Both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are graduates of Ivy League law schools, Harvard and Yale respectively, and Obama taught constitutional law for a decade. Both approach the Constitution as a "living document," which they believe must constantly be interpreted anew depending on changing circumstances, mores, and values. The literal meaning of the words themselves are no more important in their eyes than the judge's interpretation of what is right and just. Thus, the 14th Amendment's guarantee of equal protection under the law without regard to race or color can be interpreted to permit discrimination against whites if it benefits blacks or Hispanics because, as a group, the latter have faced discrimination in the past and remain, on average, economically disadvantaged.

Given this philosophy it's no wonder that Barack Obama set out his criteria for picking judges this way. "We need somebody who's got the heart . the empathy to recognize what it's like to be a young teenage mom, the empathy to understand what it's like to be poor or African-American or gay or disabled or old. And that's going to be the criteria by which I'm going to be selecting my judges." When Obama voted against Justice Samuel Alito's nomination to the Supreme Court, he said it was because Alito's record showed "extraordinarily consistent support for the powerful against the powerless." In other words, a judge's role should be to decide which party should prevail on the basis of some abstract notion of fairness.

Now, this might strike some people as a good thing -- though I can't for the life of me figure out why anyone should have to go to law school or have any familiarity with legal principles and precedents in order to become a judge if compassion is the chief criterion on which cases should be decided.

Hillary Clinton's list was a little more substantive than Obama's. She told attendees to a 2007 Planned Parenthood convention that she would pick judges who "understand the role of precedent," by which she meant Roe v. Wade -- though, apparently, no decision after it that rolled back an unlimited right to abortion. But she also threw in the phrase "well-qualified judges," which, at least, acknowledged that she would require something more than a kind heart in making her selections.

Ironically, the only candidate whose primary concern is the law is the one candidate who isn't a lawyer: John McCain. He says he wants "jurists of the highest caliber, who know their own minds, and know the law, and know the difference." Perhaps it takes the humility of one who hasn't gone to law school to hold the law in such high esteem. More likely, it's respect for the democratic process by which the people choose lawmakers. In McCain's view, it's the role of the Legislature -- made up of the people's elected representatives -- to write laws. If the people don't like the laws their representatives make, they can pick new legislators, but neither the people nor legislators should rely on judges to rewrite those laws for them.

It's impossible to predict a future president's judicial picks, but it's an almost certain bet that a President Obama (or Clinton) would choose judges who share their expansive view of judicial power while a President McCain would choose more humble judges who understand the limits of that power. What remains is for the voters to decide how much power they are willing to turn over to unelected men and women with lifetime tenure -- and pick their president accordingly.


Obama a threat to Israel

Judging from the views of Israeli academics at a panel Thursday afternoon, Israel has much to worry about if Barack Obama is elected president this fall.

Barry Rubin, a well-known and respected Mideast expert and academic, told an audience today at a conference at the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies (BESA) at Bar-Ilan University here that an Obama victory would precipitate "the most dangerous crisis facing the world."

After citing his own credentials as a former Washingtonian who worked for the campaigns of numerous Democratic presidential candidates, going back to John Kennedy in 1960, Rubin described Obama as "not the candidate of the [moderate] Arab states, but the candidate of the Islamists, whether he knows it or not.

"If elected, he will be the most anti-Israel president in American history," asserted Rubin, who is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center at IDC, the Interdisciplinary Center of Herzliya, and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal.

He said that while Obama speaks of his willingness to meet with autocratic leaders of countries like Iran and Syria, he only uses the carrot half of the carrot/stick equation.

"He never mentions what he would do if the talks fail, and he doesn't talk about the need for the U.S. to show its strength."

Rubin predicted that Obama would choose Robert Malley, a former State Department official who criticized Israel for its role in the failure of the Camp David peace talks in 2000, to be director of policy planning, if elected. And Rubin said it was no accident that Obama's recent reference to the Israel-Palestinian conflict as "a constant sore" was the same phrase Rashid Khalidi, a professor of Arab studies at Columbia University, has used in an article in The Nation.

Another Israeli panelist on Thursday, Eytan Gilboa of the sponsoring BESA Center, was not as critical as Rubin. But he said that Obama has the American Arab vote "in his pocket" and that his lack of experience and seeming eagerness to talk through any problem were "worrisome" traits.

The other two panelists were Robert Lieber of Georgetown University and me.

Lieber said Obama is not anti-Israel and indeed appears supportive of the Jewish state. But he said the Illinois senator would face a serious problem if, as president, he tries to reason with American and Israeli enemies like Iran, whose leaders have proven intractable for decades. "It won't get him very far," said Lieber, who also spoke of Obama's inexperience, predicting that he would be tested early on by U.S. adversaries.

In my presentation, I said there was "a good deal of discomfort and unease" with Obama among American Jews, particularly those over 40, and that it was difficult to tell how much was based on his policies or lack of experience, how much on his association with Rev. Jeremiah Wright, and how much on race, among other factors.

The two-day conference theme was "Whither American Zionism?" But most of the presentations dealt with the past, with several speakers, including former Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Arens, pointing out that the movement's golden years were its early ones, in the first two decades of the 20th century.

The movement had "an auspicious start," noted Arens, who cited early leaders like Justice Louis Brandeis and Justice Felix Frankfurter. "But it didn't live up to expectations," he said, citing the low figures of American aliyah.

Large-scale aliyah from the U.S. "could have made all the difference," Arens said, in Israel's struggles with its Arab neighbors.



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