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April 28, 2008



I saw the Moyers interview--the fact that Obama went to Wright's church is the thing I like most about Obama. I suppose anyone with leftwing Christian views who's ever been associated with Obama should feel a moral duty to allow their beliefs (not just themselves, but their beliefs) to be spat upon in public for seven months. That's certainly the way Obama can change the nature of politics in America--by having his spiritual mentor cower quietly off to one side, not daring to open his mouth, for fear that some Americans might hear something they might find offensive.

Yes, it's pretty amazing how someone who gets shat upon by the entire national media gets called a publicity hound when he tries to respond.

Eh... Yeah. Why should he wait?

He is his own man, isn't he?

Isn't it amazing, though? This guy is getting top billing on a host of talk and interview shows. He's being exposed to an audience of millions. And as he's not this crazy fringe lunatic wacko that the right-wing wants to paint him up as, he's building as much support as those two-minute news excepts of him built disdain.

No one knew who this guy was at the beginning of 2008. Now he's a national celebrity. And he's Obama's close friend. Guess who this high celebrity, fiery speaking, millionaire religious preacher will be fund raising and campaigning for in November?

I think the GOP may have shot themselves in the foot on this one. Wright can bankroll his fame into a stronger political movement if he plays his cards right. And - being Barack Obama's mentor - I'm confident he can.

Why shouldn't he? Because he's an opinionated black man who will make some white people uncomfortable? Not a good reason in my book.
I'm actually quite curious for you to explain your reasoning: why do you want him to just shut up? I'm, to be honest, also afraid that this will harm Obama, but there is no good reason whatsoever to be silent about racial and social matters, if you actually want this country to come to some kind of just solution on those issues. Man is a priest, it is his duty to talk about those things, and I salute him for his views.

I’m not a big fan of the guy

I have become a HUGE fan (I joked to my girlfriend after the Moyers interview that I wanted to move to Chicago), and the more I hear him, the more I like him.

Do his words make you uncomfortable at times? Maybe that's a good thing. Do you not like his style? His preaching style is pretty standard from what I've seen of the African churches, and his style on Moyers was completely different.

My girlfriend wants a minister for our wedding -- Wright convinced me that it should be one from the UCC.

Yeah, I'm sorry, but I watched that Moyers interview and came away a big fan as well.

If the Democrats lose the election because of an association with Rev. Wright and an insufficiently bellicose stand against Iran, then we are pretty damned, aren't we?

The other thing is, Obama's pretty much got the nomination wrapped up. If Wright can successfully rehabilitate his image by the end of the summer, then the inevitable Republican/McCain attacks on Obama's association with him will be blunted. I'd much rather he do this now than wait till the nomination fight is officially over.

What Donald Johnson and br said. I think I'm going to give up reading most of the posts here until after November 3.

Or if he’s too vain for that, how about at least waiting until after Indiana?

What Donald Johnson and br said.

What Nell said.

Wright should say whatever the hell he wants to say, when and wherever he wants to say it. Most of what he says I think is right on. Even at his most black-helicopter paranoid, he doesn't come close to being the weirdest cat on the block. Not these days. Probably not ever.

Who knows if he's being 'vain'? I can't read his mind. Can you?

The whole world does not revolve around who the Democratic nominee is. A lot does, but not, remotely, the whole world.

Thanks -

Check out my take: www.overmeducated.blogspot.com

ok - i just watched wright's speech on the daily show. and can i just say - f*** that guy. what a selfish, immature little man -- he's being reckless at the worst possible time

Transcript. Video. Video.

Video of NAACP, Pt 1. Transcript of Press Club appearance. Video of the Press Club, Pt 1.

Bob Herbert, the NY Times Op-Ed columnist, sums up the damage Wright's doing to Obama in today's paper:

The Rev. Jeremiah Wright went to Washington on Monday not to praise Barack Obama, but to bury him.

Smiling, cracking corny jokes, mugging it up for the big-time news media — this reverend is never going away. He’s found himself a national platform, and he’s loving it.

It’s a twofer. Feeling dissed by Senator Obama, Mr. Wright gets revenge on his former follower while bathed in a spotlight brighter than any he could ever have imagined. He’s living a narcissist’s dream. At long last, his 15 minutes have arrived.

Of course, I hope the racist pastor is around for a lot longer then 15 minutes... Keep up the good work Jeremiah -- god bless ya...

Yeah, publius, because Obama's candidacy just falls apart if it turns out his pastor has a mind of his own and doesn't keep his mouth shut. That's one hell of an inspirational campaign philosophy--stfu if you have progressive views and had an influence on Obama, because you'll embarrass him.

Obama is perfectly free to rip Wright's comments apart where he actually says something stupid, such as on the HIV thing. It might even help his poll ratings. And he's free to continue his pandering to American jingoism on the other stuff--that might help also.

do you disagree with bob herbert's column? i don't want to be combative, I just think he's intentionally sabotaging obama at this point

I agree with publius, except that I'm not entirely sure about the "intentionally" part.

I thought that Wright got a bad rap on a number of points, not including the HIV claim. I thought the sermons were better when viewed in their entirety; that it made a difference that the "chickens coming home" bit was quoting someone else; and that to think of the "God damn America" bit without taking into account the very long and rich tradition of similar statements, going back to the Bible (which is full of them), was wrong. I also thought, as I said, that a lot of the problem with Wright was that, as Obama said, his views were static. That seemed to me to be a very precise, and very apt, term of criticism.

All that said, I think that he has revealed himself to be a narcissistic twit. Attacks on him are not attacks on the black church. He has a perfect right to speak, as do we all, but that does not absolve him of the need to exercise judgment about what he says. Political campaigns are not a good time for playing the dozens. Etc., etc., etc.

Anyone capable of putting his country above his own needs (and with what seem to be Wright's views) would just stfu. Not Wright. I'm sorry to see it.


hilzoy: "All that said, I think that he has revealed himself to be a narcissistic twit."

Ahhh, the satisfaction of being able to say 'I told you so...'

Both Wright and his views and yes, the black church were trashed for weeks, and even Obama patronized him, dissed his views, and treated his opinions as those of a crazy but beloved uncle. And his views aren't just about the black church--he's said some things about US foreign policy that no Presidential candidate who wants to win would dare to say. So given the opportunity to preach a sermon to the entire nation and set the record straight, he took it.

I have no time for the egomania accusation. It comes with the territory--the accusation, I mean. Anyone who doesn't line up with the current political messiah is an egotist. Bob Herbert has a national platform--for the most part he's a waste of space, along with most NYT columnists and many NYT "journalists" like Alessandra Stanley, narcissistic twit extraordinaire. Wright got a chance to say things that are never discussed in mainstream political circles. Would someone with those views ever get a national platform in a non-campaign year? Not likely.

"stfu if you have progressive views"

His views are not 'progressive, Donald -- they're regressive racist views. He perpetuates racial division by accentuating the negative and eliminating the positive about anything white.

Wright's defenders keep moaning it's wrong to take his remarks out of context because that unfairly casts a negative pall over the totality of his remarks. But they don't criticize Wright for taking American history out of context, and exaggerating everything and anything 'white' America did wrong over the last 300 years.

What's good for the white goose isn't good for the black gander, apparently. It's OK for Wright to perpetuate blanket guilt-by-association condemnations against all 'white' Americans for deeds committed by a few white Americans, but it's not OK to point out the absurd inflammatory comments that highlight Wright's racial rants...

Which only reinforces the obvious: the double-standard is alive and well in Progressive-land.

"Wright got a chance to say things that are never discussed in mainstream political circles."

You mean like blacks "learn not from an object but from a subject. They are right-brain, subject-oriented in their learning style" and that Louis Farrakhan is "one of the most important voices in the 20th and 21st century?"

Whew... I'm glad that finally made it's way into the national debate -- for a while I thought we wouldn't get a chance to calculate that kind of crucial info into the mix.

I just think he's intentionally sabotaging obama at this point

I gotta say that I'm flummoxed by the general response to Wright.

I've watched all of the videos Gary linked to. Every one, from beginning to end, as well as some other stuff.

I'm still waiting to hear anything from Wright that I would consider remotely controversial, let alone radical.

The few discrete references he makes to Obama are consistently positive. But mostly he speaks, calmly, with humor, but very seriously, about the position and history of black people and the black church in this country.

Some of what he says is harsh. The topic is harsh.

Wright didn't ask for the limelight. He didn't ask for his sermons to be put on YouTube to be used as political fodder. He didn't ask Obama to join his congregation, and to my knowledge didn't ask him to run for president. He worked for Obama's campaign until his presence there became a problem, then he stopped. Now he's just the retiring minister of Trinity UCC, and he speaks as such.

The guy's been a minister in a poor area of Chicago for over 35 years. He's built a congregation from less than 100 to one that is several thousand in number, and has built what is by all accounts a ministry that is crucial to his city.

It may well be that some of his statements are problematic for Obama. Not all of that is in Wright's control. In fact, short of totally S'ing TFU and hiding under a bed somewhere for the next 7 or 8 months, it's not under his control at all. At this point, Wright could say he prefers dark rye to marble and he'd be called a race hustling fanatic.

Obama's campaign is clearly not his first priority. He appears to have other priorities that he considers to be more pressing, and which more urgently require his advocacy, than the political future of Barack Obama. If I were him, I'd probably feel the same way.

To be completely honest, if I were given the choice today of voting for either Obama or Wright, I'd vote for Wright. I think his grasp of the issues facing the nation today are deeper and more substantive. Sadly for me, he's not running for anything.

Out of all the steaming, festering piles of rancid rhetorical dung that litter the public landscape at every election cycle, somehow we've decided that the statements of Rev. Jeremiah Wright are the ones that we simply cannot abide.

What freaking planet am I on?

Thanks -

"Out of all the steaming, festering piles of rancid rhetorical dung that litter the public landscape at every election cycle, somehow we've decided that the statements of Rev. Jeremiah Wright are the ones that we simply cannot abide.

What freaking planet am I on?"

I had the same reaction. My wife and I saw Wright on Bill Moyers and we both thought that would put to rest the idea that Wright was a bizarre white-hating freak. Yeah, he's got some odd ideas, though none of them worse than some of the crap that's spewed in the political mainstream on a daily basis.

Once again, though, I've come to the conclusion that I'm just not cynical enough. Nothing that happens in this stupid country in a political year should ever be taken seriously--in fact, if you raise a serious issue in a truly honest way 9 times out of 10 it's going to be treated as a serious gaffe if you're a candidate or part of the campaign, or as the crazed ramblings of a lunatic attention-seeker if you're not.

F*** it.

What freaking planet am I on?


Bob Herbert got his feelings hurt because Wright told him (and his peers) to their faces that they haven't a f-ing clue; and Wright was right. So the story has to be (once again) about how crazy Wright is and how Obama better shut him up if he's going to have a prayer.

Nothing really to add except that I’m with russell and Donald here, as seems always, I’m happy to say, to be the case.
And a tad mystified by hilzoy’s and Publius’ reactions, as seems almost never to be the case.

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