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May 06, 2008

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"Black Power: The Politics of Liberation in America"

I own that book -- assigned it in college actually. And I seem to recall having to write a paper on it. I guess that makes me a closet black radical too. And here I thought I was just a cranky Jew!

Anyway, I swear I read somewhere that Michelle's Trinity United membership predates Barack's. I've been waiting for someone to blame Barack's joining of that church on Michelle. I guess Hitchens more or less gets the prize.

I think that Hitchens just comes a little unhinged on occasion. I know that he really has no business criticising her writing after producing such a rambling article himself.

I think that Hitchens just comes a little unhinged on occasion. I know that he really has no business criticising her writing after producing such a rambling article himself.

You're right, of course, but it's a bit like scolding a dog for playing the piano poorly. Hitchens doesn't do logic. He does self-aggrandizing rhetoric.

Blah. Even I’m tired enough of this to pass.

Classic Hitchens. Barack Obama is an intelligent, reasonable man, so of course he's not really a Christian.

Christopher Hitchens = Sheridan Whitesides

Add this to the list of why I would never run for president nor allow my husband to do so: I would never, EVER want anyone reading my senior thesis.

EVER.

It was about Welsh political poetry! I guess that makes me a radical Welsh nationalist.

"I'm a big fan of accessories, I'm married to one.”
"Just kidding."

-Michelle in North Carolina

Barack is not controlling Michelle. If Barack wants to maximize his chance of being elected, he should control Michelle. She is still talking.

I judge that Michelle wears the pants.

If Barack wants to maximize his chance of being elected, he should control Michelle. She is still talking.

speak when spoken to. otherwise, seen but not heard.

something like that ?

Anyone catch Andrew Sullivan debating Hitch on Obama's Christianity a few weeks ago? It was with Tim Russert.

Sullivan pretty much trounced him. It was inspiring to watch.

Hitch's basic premise is that Christianity ruined Barack Obama the candidate. When that's his starting point, it should come as no surprise that he comes up with some wacky conclusions.

something like that ?

With the added frisson of 'uppity', I can't help but think.

Obama attended Wright's church not because he was an aspiring Chicago politician, but because Michelle is a closet radical. The evidence? Her 1985 college thesis.

Hitchens doesn't know many black people, does he?

It would be funny to do an article with the premise that Christopher Hitchens doesn't really believe what he writes.

One of the things that I appreciated about Howard Dean, when he was running for president, was his (and his wife's) flat refusal to have her have anything to do with his campaign at *all*. She didn't campaign with him, raise money for him, pose for photo ops with him, or anything rldr, IIRC. I'm so tired of having the presidential race be about competing presidential couples, and I don't see why we should give a hoot about what Michelle Obama -- or even Bill Clinton -- did 20 or 30 or 40 years ago. I'll admit that having a former president as spouse is somewhat of a special case, but I don't much care if Michelle Obama is a raving Marxist or an Ayn Rand acolyte. Its not unknown for a husband and wife to have different political opinions -- imagine that!

oops: "rldr" --> "else"

I judge that Michelle wears the pants.

Because equality and mutual respect in a marriage are just unthinkable. In much the same way that black men never go to church unless their wives make them.

Thanks, Jake, for the tip.

Actually I was impressed.
Hitchens had become reduced in my mind to what he calls Wright, “this conceited old fanatic”.

Fanatic he is, and suffers the pitfalls, among them glaring blind spots. What he does see he speaks of directly and clearly as is his gift.

This is a fresh perception for me. His interplay with Sullivan was conspicuously courteous, at least compared to what I expected. Where he was not misled by his fanaticism I thought he hit the mark uncommonly well. I thought the exchange was superior and delighting in Sullivan’s forthright declaration of belief as I did, I thought he, Sullivan, dealt all the right cards in a satisfying way and came up with what I thought was a royal flush, pun kinda intended.

For bonus points the reference to Farrakhan (cute— misspelled that Farrakahn) is the overture, setting the stage for outrageous associations.

Another note. Hitchens moduates his harshness in the second act, where he concedes that Obama may have felt compelled by “some South Side political courtesy” to to show the Reverend Farrakhan ‘due respect’.

bonus points if anyone can identify the logical relevance of the first two paragraphs of gratuitous references to Farrakhan.

That's easy-they're both black!

The underreported, shocking aspect of this campaign is Obama's failure to denounce Shaka Zulu.

bonus points if anyone can identify the logical relevance of the first two paragraphs of gratuitous references to Farrakhan.

That's easy-they're both black!

The underreported, shocking aspect of this campaign is Obama's failure to denounce Shaka Zulu.

Badly written column, and I'm no Hitchens fan, but he brings up a question I wondered about myself. I mean, Wright's beliefs were no surprise to Obama. Why then the denunciation after the Philadelphia speech when the only difference (really) was that Wright said his ideas before the national press? That he threw Obama under the bus for acting as a "politician" didn't really seem enough motivation to me. It has always felt like there was a loyalty that went beyond what Obama was actually saying (e.g. Wright is that unruly uncle sort of thing; you're reading his sermons out of context, etc.).

It already occurred to me that Michelle might be the cause of his loyalty. And to that extent (if it is true), I respect him for working through it slowly. In fact, if it's true, it would really clear up most concerns I have vis-a-vis his association with Wright (which are not all that great as I give a lot of latitude to religious beliefs and whether one adheres to them whole-heartedly,etc.)

But the odd association of the candidate who purportedly transcends race with Wright has been a puzzle. Maybe Michelle is the key.

I don't share Hitchen's misgivings of Michelle being another Hillary and dictating the agenda and being a closet radical, but then I don't know enough about her. No reason at this point to think so. Even after reading the first part of her thesis.

Finally, something we agree on: Hitchens is a first-rate jackass.

It would be funny to do an article with the premise that Christopher Hitchens doesn't really believe what he writes.

In truth I don't think Hitchens believes in anything, other than that Hitchens should say whatever he calculates would be the most annoying thing to say at any given point in time.

OT- so, how much is a gallon of gas if oil costs $200 per barrel?

I get just over $7 a gallon. Could be off by a quarter or so.

feddie: "Finally, something we agree on: Hitchens is a first-rate jackass."

He's a jackass fifty-percent of the time -- and right-on the other fifty-percent. Sorta like the girl with the curl in her forehead: when he's good (usually about the stupidities of religion, and dunce-like conservative ideology) he's very-very good; and when he's bad he can be awful - but his comments about Wright-Farrakhan-Obamas isn't one of the awful ones. It's one of his better ventures.

Who in their right mind can object to Hitchens' succinct and savory definition of Wright as "a moral idiot" for his reiterated view that HIV was imposed on the black community by an outside conspiracy? Or of his description of Wright as Obama's 'crackpot mentor?' Not moi, for sure.

I have no window into Obama's soul of course but my guess is that he got into the church to please Michelle's family and as part of his decision to identify more as black. Afro/European people don't really have much choice about that: if they don't identify themsleves as black the rest of the world will do it for them. They might not be black enough is some eyes but no one sees them as white.

The church is liberal: they amrry gay couples. The church is activist in progressive ways: there are all kinds of self help probrams for members and for the community. The preaching was typically about how to translate Christina values inot daily life. If Rev. Wright is a moral idiot for belieivubg one urban myth, then an awful lot of people can be discribed as a moral idiots.

I really doubt if any would give a damn about Obama's pastor if it wasn't for the unstated fear of Angry Black Men. There's some moral idiocy for you.

I think that the amount of importance a person puts on Rev Wright is probably directly related to how afraid they are of angry black men and/or how afraid they are that black men might have something to be angry about.

Otherwise why the dead silence about "Bomb, bomb, bomb Iran" McCain's courting of a pastor who thinks we should bomb Iran as a run up to the EndTimes?

Wonkie,

I have no window into Obama's soul of course but my guess is that he got into the church to please Michelle's family and as part of his decision to identify more as black.

It's not my place to guess whether he did it for familial reasons, but I can tell you that contrary to Wright's assertions, he's not the Black Church. There are plenty of others to choose from.

Afro/European people don't really have much choice about that: if they don't identify themsleves as black the rest of the world will do it for them.

So what?

If Rev. Wright is a moral idiot for believing one urban myth, then an awful lot of people can be discribed as a moral idiots.

My humble suggestion to dedicated Obama supporters is to get back in the defending Obama business, and leave the defending Wright business to someone else entirely. It's a lousy business to be in.

I really doubt if any would give a damn about Obama's pastor if it wasn't for the unstated fear of Angry Black Men. There's some moral idiocy for you.

A long-term personal relationship with a radical pastor would be an issue in anyone's campaign, albeit far less if race wasn't involved, and we're also assuming that a different, non-black candidate also wouldn't have much else controversial for his opponents to go on about.

Otherwise why the dead silence about "Bomb, bomb, bomb Iran" McCain's courting of a pastor who thinks we should bomb Iran as a run up to the EndTimes?

Because McCain didn't go to his church for 20 years and consider him a spiritual mentor.

Look, Obama's first all-out political bullsh*t moment was pretending he didn't have any idea that Wright had said anything controversial or radical. Given that the foundation and success of his campaign was doing the complete opposite of that sort of thing, it hurts him. Saying it shouldn't have hurt him or that there's no reason for it to is ridiculous to me.

I think Obama's on record that he first approached Wright because he thought Wright could help him with his community organizing work. From there, he experienced some kind of spiritual awakening and became involved as a member.

It's a pretty believable story. Maybe Michelle played a role, maybe not, but either way I'm not sure a deeper explanation is needed.

I'm pretty sure her thesis had little to do with it.

This whole thing is starting to turn into a weird game of 'Six Degrees of Eldridge Cleaver'. Hitchens needs an appointment with the good barber Ockham.

My humble suggestion to dedicated Obama supporters is to get back in the defending Obama business, and leave the defending Wright business to someone else entirely.

That's great advice.

Thanks --

wonkie: "they might not be black enough in some eyes but no one sees them as white."

So, if Obama had married a white woman, and chose a racially-mixed church to attend, and made it clear he didn't consider himself black or white, but a combination of both (like Tiger Woods, who referred to his mixed-race identity as 'Cablinasian,' a word he devised from Caucasian, Black, American-Indian and Asian)-- what percentage of the black vote would Obama be getting now?

'Six Degrees of Eldridge Cleaver'

russell,

you have just invented what i already know will be my favorite party game of all time.

thanks!

"From there, he experienced some kind of spiritual awakening and became involved as a member."

Ah, the old spiritual awakening chestnut... The angels made me do it....

After reading his bio, I think the religious conversion was part of his Momma-separation routine: from a white agnostic free-thinking flower-child mother, to a black-chick with inner-city black church credentials.


Look, Obama's first all-out political bullsh*t moment was pretending he didn't have any idea that Wright had said anything controversial or radical.

Wright has said exactly one thing that is radical -- that the government inflicted AIDS on the black community. No-one dares mention Tuskegee when they talk about how "radical" this is, nor do they talk about how the CIA turned a blind eye to drug-dealers flooding the ghettos with crack.

Wright's comments must be removed from all context and all history; all the differences of "those who stood on the decks, and those in the holds" vanished.

His preaching are the "chickens coming home to roost" (not his quote, either, right?) for the white community, as it tries to turn its back on recent history.

- - - - - - - -

Also, for all his "false history" of AIDS, he's doing more to stop it than the US government and the mainstream white churches combined. When they pick up the pace, then he might turn down the rhetoric.

After reading his bio, I think the religious conversion was part of his Momma-separation routine: from a white agnostic free-thinking flower-child mother, to a black-chick with inner-city black church credentials.

Actually, Jay, it's something he planned out during snack time in his kindergarten class. Right after he wrote his essay explaining his presidential ambitions.

Thanks -

After reading his bio, I think the religious conversion was part of his Momma-separation routine: from a white agnostic free-thinking flower-child mother, to a black-chick with inner-city black church credentials.

Between Jay Jerome and Brick Oven Bill, I feel weird racial/gender anxieties are seeping out.

"Look, Obama's first all-out political bullsh*t moment was pretending he didn't have any idea that Wright had said anything controversial or radical. Given that the foundation and success of his campaign was doing the complete opposite of that sort of thing, it hurts him."

Agree with Mr Cord here. What Obama SHOULD have said is :
"Reverend Wright holds some radical ideas that I don't agree with and that aren't part of my political program. In the Unites States of America, its still legal for friends to have policy differences, Sean Hannity and Michelle Malkins notwithstanding. It is bad faith for the pundits to keep talking about what Reverend Wright said unless they can link it to one of my policy proposals".
Frankly, instead of just attacking Reverend Wright, I would have liked to see have seen him take on the right wing echo chamber that smeared Wright and then tried to extend the smear to him through guilt by association. Instead he cozied up to Fox News in frankly rather disgusting fashion.
it makes him a better politician, I guess. But I lost a little bit of respect for him for that.

I think that Hitchens just comes a little unhinged on occasion.

Particularly when the subject at hand has anything to do - even tangentially - with religion.

Hitchens is a clown. He's a bile-filled, self-righteous gas-bag of first rate proportions, the male, British Ann Coulter of whatever esoteric corner of the political universe it is that he inhabits these days. I've never understood why anyone has ever taken him seriously as a public intellectual. Certainly, I don't think you need to waste time refuting his idiotic bloviating.

(I'm sorry if that paragraph comes off as ad hominem, but I can't think of a single coherent argument Hitchens has ever made which could be refuted on the merits).

Hitchens is a clown. He's a bile-filled, self-righteous gas-bag of first rate proportions, the male, British Ann Coulter of whatever esoteric corner of the political universe it is that he inhabits these days.

Agreed. He's the Victor Davis Hansen of the left - someone who went nuts on 9/11 and has never recovered.

"Victor Davis Hansen"

Hanson.

Jay Jerome: "what percentage of the black vote would Obama be getting now?"

The same ~90% as well-known African-Americans John Kerry and Albert Gore, Jr?

That's why African-Americans voted for Gore and Kerry in those percentages, isn't it, Jay? Because they married "black women" and went to "black churchs" and self-identified as "black"?

And that's why Bill Clinton got such a low percentage of African-American votes: because he married a "white woman," right?

Clearly your explanation makes perfect sense.

"Also, for all his 'false history' of AIDS, he's doing more to stop it than the US government and the mainstream white churches combined."

This seems arguable. $15 billion dollars worth starting in 2005, and a long list of other programs at CDC, etc. What metric are you using, exactly, Jeff?

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