Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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April 29, 2008
By: Kevin Drum

REJECTING AND DENOUNCING....I'm pretty much willing to let John Cole have the last word on Jeremiah Wright and all the other lefty bugbears being peddled 24/7 by Fox News:

And you know what? They may be assholes, or jerks, or whatever term you want to use, but they sure as hell didn't run this economy into the ground. They aren't responsible for turning a huge surplus into a several hundred billion dollar deficit. I have yet to read any memos from Barbra Streisand detailing how we should spy on American citizens.

....Maybe it is because I am totally and unrepentantly in the tank for Obama, but I just can't get worked up over what his pastor said. Maybe it is because I am not religious, and I am used to religious people saying things that sound crazy. Or maybe I just refuse to spend any more time and energy getting worked up over and denouncing, distancing, and rejecting the wrong people — people who really don't matter in the big scheme of things. If you have a memo from Jeremiah Wright to John Yoo showing how we should become a rogue nation, let me know. If you have pictures of Jeremiah Wright voting against the GI Bill, send it to me. If you have evidence of Jeremiah Wright training junior soldiers on the finer aspects of stacking and torturing naked Iraqi captives, pass them on.

Until then, I just can't seem to get all worked up about the crazy scary black preacher that Obama has to "throw under the bus."

What he said.

Kevin Drum 7:16 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (100)

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Posted by: ligedog on April 29, 2008 at 7:23 PM | PERMALINK

This has been up for sixteen minutes and only one comment. Where's the trolls?

Oh yeah: I agree.

Posted by: Bob G on April 29, 2008 at 7:24 PM | PERMALINK

I wish we would hear more like that from Obama and HIllary. Obama needs to get back on the offense. He has been playing defense for weeks.

Posted by: Teresa on April 29, 2008 at 7:29 PM | PERMALINK

Good thing for John Cole that he's not Obama's white grandmother! I just hope someone warns her of the bus!!!!

I can no more disown him than I can my white grandmother...

I can no more disown FDR's social security than I can my health care plan...

I can no more disown Bill Clinton than I can the most important president, Ronald Reagan...

Posted by: jerry on April 29, 2008 at 7:32 PM | PERMALINK

I think John has also hit on the reason that libs have not been over the top up in arms over McCain's crazy preacher connections.

Posted by: Colin on April 29, 2008 at 7:32 PM | PERMALINK

Not only does the Rev not get me worked up, I think about 90% of what he says is legitimate if overblown. I used to be middle of the road, and didn't like that sort of stuff, but after 7years of wingnuttery, my understanding of the world (and especially the US) has changed very substantially. I can see how someone who has been on the receiving end of Americas bad side would think this way. I'd much rather see someone who exaggerates our faults, than someone who ignores them and believes our own propaganda. It is absurd that feigning to have drunk our nationalistic coolaide seems to be a prerequirement for being considered to be reasonable person.

Posted by: bigTom on April 29, 2008 at 7:34 PM | PERMALINK

I second that.

And before the Clinton supporters begin swarming, explain her campaign's push-polling in North Carolina:

North Carolina activist David LaMotte just got a push poll call from the firm of Geoff Garin, the new head of Hillary Clinton's campaign team...
...The questions started out normal enough, but got progressively more ridiculous. Early in the conversation Ed asked my preference among the Democratic candidates and I told him I was an Obama supporter.
Then the questions turned to long Hillary-praising and Barack bashing policy statements with the response options being "Do you consider that a very strong, strong or weak or very weak reason to support her candidacy for president?" which is kind of an unanswerable question, and clearly not the point. At the end of the conversation they asked "Now based on everything we've discussed, who would you vote for?"

before you go off on how poor of a Democratic candidate Obama is.

Posted by: grape_crush on April 29, 2008 at 7:39 PM | PERMALINK

Within one month, everyone will be bored with Wright. No one will remember him in November.

Posted by: Gary Sugar on April 29, 2008 at 7:44 PM | PERMALINK

I agree wholeheartedly and Erica Jong's good article at Common Dreams talking about Bill Moyers’ interview of Jeremiah Wright to this for good measure. The link is:


Her best comments are as follows:

“Our idiotic press prefers to play orphaned excerpts and force Barack Obama to apologize for words he never spoke. What is this apology stuff? Everyone has to apologize for their pastors, their doctors, their mothers, their fathers, their churches, their social affiliations. Why? Apologies are cheap. Inspiration is hard to find.

Just because a man is inspired by his pastor doesn’t mean he agrees with every word his pastor says. Duh. Even a moron knows that. But inspiration remains important. And you will never be inspired by running stuff out of context and playing gotcha.

Our press has become a sea of triviality, meanness and irrelevant chatter.”

Posted by: Mazurka on April 29, 2008 at 7:47 PM | PERMALINK

Wright doesnt seem to like government, much like Grover Norquist.


Posted by: Jet on April 29, 2008 at 7:50 PM | PERMALINK

This may not be an adequate argument for voting for McCain over Obama (although, given how close they already are, a possibly decisive number of people other than me WILL think it is). But it’s a pretty good reason to vote for Hillary over Obama. I mean, the guy sat around for TWENTY YEARS listening to this garbage without objecting to it once, and there is now no conceivable way he can convincingly deny that Wright said it FREQUENTLY during his sermons. (The other good reason for now voting for Hillary over Obama, of course, is the first one I mentioned -- if the Dems nominate Barack at this point, they’re probably dead ducks in the general election.)

Of course, the garbage on the Clintons (as Joe Klein is the most recent to point out) has yet to come in as well -- and that concerns not the overrated “scandals” of their time in the White House, but Bill’s energetic influence-peddling AFTER leaving the White House (or, in the case of pardons, just before leaving it) for the benefit of assorted crooks willing to pay him off big-time in return. The NY Times’ spectacular story about Bill, his uranium-mining buddy, and the tyrant of Kazakhstan ( http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/31/us/politics/31donor.html?ei=5090&en=23a4d96223965ebf&ex=1359435600&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss&pagewanted=print ) is, I’m afraid, just the start. Which is why there’s an excellent chance now that we really are going to end up with that nitwit McCain in the White House.

Posted by: Bruce Moomaw on April 29, 2008 at 7:51 PM | PERMALINK

So... should we take it to mean that seemingly-minor matters which speak to a candidate's character are no longer to be discussed? That we should stick to broad and important issues?

Does this also apply to Republicans? Will we henceforth avoid mention of their relationships with dubious characters? Will we avoid discussing all matters which go to their character?

On this blog? Which as we see here has so devoutly endorsed the new rules?

Or do we only ban discussion of the seemingly-trivial when that discussion is damaging to Democrats?

Well, we shall see. I wonder for how long Kevin can honor this newly-found principle.

Posted by: a on April 29, 2008 at 7:55 PM | PERMALINK

If this is the worst thing that Obama has to do to get elected then I consider him pretty lucky.

Our stupid state of pollyanna politics not only requires shameless flag-hugging but it also demands that candidates not have a critical eye when they view America’s ugly past—otherwise they’re called anti-American and cannot get elected. As a country we continue to confuse nationalism and patriotism. Reaching for a better, more enlightened politics doesn’t mean that you ignore current political realities to your own detriment—otherwise Obama would just be another Dennis Kucinich.

I think he’ll pull out of this just fine and will have loudly and publicly distanced himself from Wright, quite possibly blunting its power as a future attack ad.

Posted by: zoe from pittsburgh on April 29, 2008 at 7:56 PM | PERMALINK

Bruce, in the last 20 YEARS have you attended church EVERY SUNDAY? How sure are you that Obama did?

As an aside a black minister descrying racial inequality in America isn't "garbage" its more like stating the obvious.

Posted by: dontcallmefrancis on April 29, 2008 at 7:58 PM | PERMALINK

I just want to apologize for something that I think my 7th grade French teacher mumbled in 1960. I think she was saying that we should all eat snails and surrender. I failed to immediately storm out of the classroom and denounce her to the principal.

I sincerely hope that this will not affect my candidacy for Ugliest Greek at Troy.

Thank You, and may Zeus Bless the Argives.

Posted by: thersites on April 29, 2008 at 8:00 PM | PERMALINK

Jeremiah Wright served in the Marine Corps for six years, which is more than we can say for Dick Cheney et al (as JW noted recently.) See this link for good scoop: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Jeremiah_Wright_as_a_Marine_Medic_Tending_to_Pres_Lyndon_Johnson.jpg
That's right, JW tending to President LBJ and was commended for it. Now, get the overall scoop from his Wikipedia biography:

Inspired by President John F. Kennedy's 1961 challenge to "Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country," Wright gave up his student deferment, left college and joined the United States Marine Corps and became part of the 2nd Marine Division with the rank of private first class. In 1963, after two years of service, Wright then transferred to the United States Navy and entered the Corpsman School at the Great Lakes Naval Training Center, where he graduated as valedictorian.[10][6] Having excelled in corpsman school, Wright was then trained as a cardiopulmonary technician at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland where he graduated as salutatorian.[6] Wright was assigned as part of the medical team charged with care of President Lyndon B. Johnson (see photo of Wright caring for Johnson after his 1966 surgery). Before leaving the position in 1967, the White House awarded Wright three letters of commendation.[11][12][13]

Also, maybe JW is living up to his Biblical namesake's mission of making prophecies of disparagement and dire warning. His sermon was indeed a Jeremiad, as defined in Wikipedia:

A Jeremiad is a long literary work, usually in prose, but sometimes in poetry, in which the author bitterly laments the state of society and its morals in a serious tone of sustained invective, and always contains a prophecy of society's imminent downfall.

I don't think his message was really racist, just a bit overly bitter lamentation about society and where America was going.

Posted by: Neil B. on April 29, 2008 at 8:00 PM | PERMALINK

Hmmm. Seems like selective outrage to me.

If you are prepared to renounce criticism of Hagee et al, then I might buy this post. I doubt you are.

Posted by: Armando on April 29, 2008 at 8:06 PM | PERMALINK

The fact that that even needs to be said - that those exact thoughts are not on 90% of all Americans' minds, be they Democratic or Republican, urban or rural, bitter or blissfully elitist - makes me want to move to Canada.

Posted by: Novemberist on April 29, 2008 at 8:07 PM | PERMALINK

Oooh, someone is vewy, vewy angwy

Posted by: Darlene on April 29, 2008 at 8:09 PM | PERMALINK

I have to agree with Neil B.
That's quite a picture, there.

But I still wish that Rev. Wright would be a bit more temperate in his speech outside the pulpit. But it's not for me to say...

Posted by: thersites on April 29, 2008 at 8:09 PM | PERMALINK

Why does John Cole hate America?

Posted by: Mary Contrary on April 29, 2008 at 8:11 PM | PERMALINK

Amen to what Cole said.

Posted by: PaulB on April 29, 2008 at 8:13 PM | PERMALINK

I disagree, Wright deserves a large bus and a big shove. He's attention seeking with no regard to how that effects the prospects of having a first black president.

Posted by: Neil on April 29, 2008 at 8:14 PM | PERMALINK

I agree with Thersites. I, as a public elementary school kid, back in the 60's, was repeatedly paddled by my religious principal from third to seventh grade. I want to thank my authoritarian principal for making me a better father than he was. I have never paddled my child with a two foot long three quarter inch thick wooden paddle, with holes drilled in it, to the back of the thighs, while she grabbed her own ankles, as I did.

So forgive me for not following the influence to my character others wish to imply thru bizzaro world association.

Posted by: Jet on April 29, 2008 at 8:15 PM | PERMALINK

What really needs to happen is that everyone (black, white, whatever..) needs to collectively toss the MSM news machine under the bus....with extreme prejudice.

Posted by: Aguirre on April 29, 2008 at 8:22 PM | PERMALINK

Here! Here! for John Cole.

Posted by: eholiver on April 29, 2008 at 8:22 PM | PERMALINK

How do you know, Al, that the kook Hagee wont have McCain bombing country after country involving us in endless wars??

Because Hagee doesnt tell McCain what to say or do anymore than Wright tells Obama what to do. Its tabloid trash talking and the media shouldnt be involved in such antics.

Posted by: Jet on April 29, 2008 at 8:24 PM | PERMALINK

I have no use for preachers, but bigTom is correct. One can only wonder where Jet got his idea about Wright and government!

Posted by: captaindan on April 29, 2008 at 8:28 PM | PERMALINK

I for one suggest we all throw the bus under the bus, once and for all. (what a tired metaphor!)

Posted by: absent observer on April 29, 2008 at 8:35 PM | PERMALINK

Dance, boy, dance!

That's it...don't you stop until we say so.

Posted by: Media on April 29, 2008 at 8:43 PM | PERMALINK


Posted by: absent boserver on April 29, 2008 at 8:47 PM | PERMALINK

Bob G, no one is commenting because Kevin's post (or quote to be precise) is garbage. Just because we have other problems don't make the racist and divisive content of Wright's words any less severe.

Changing the topic when it doesn't suit your mem is intellectual masturbation.

Posted by: Jon on April 29, 2008 at 9:02 PM | PERMALINK

Kudos to John Cole, Kevin Drum & Aguirre. Better than I ever could have said it.

"...Let's go with wit. Wit wins over rage." - theora jones

Posted by: daCascadian on April 29, 2008 at 9:03 PM | PERMALINK

Does this also apply to Republicans? Will we henceforth avoid mention of their relationships with dubious characters? Will we avoid discussing all matters which go to their character?

No, of course not. Don't be silly. We still can and will discuss Republicans' support for torture, aggressive war, hatred of the working class, misogny, lying, corruption, spying on Americans, secret gulags, repression, bigotry, sexual perversion, and all-around anti-Americanism, all of which are matters that go to their character.

Posted by: Stefan on April 29, 2008 at 9:22 PM | PERMALINK

Despite not becoming all worked up, are not many Democratic supporters still glad Obama threw the "crazy scary Black preacher" off the bus?

The Rev. Wright is only scary to people afraid of Blacks who are as free as everyone else. Whether some Democratic supporters are glad Obama threw Wright under the bus for demographic reasons, because of their own fears of Rev. Wright or because they support Sen. Clinton, the ganging up on Wright and the public denouncement today by Obama have been unbecoming.

Obama should have said Wright's response to victimization was understandable, but he disagreed with Wright's response because it was not part of the "we all share common hopes and common dreams as Americans and as human beings" theme he thinks is necessary to change the institutional and social abuses Blacks have suffered.

Posted by: Brojo on April 29, 2008 at 9:26 PM | PERMALINK

Who would Jesus throw under the bus?

He stood by Judas Iscariot, whose name apparently meant The Praised of God Knifeman, ie, the Jewish Assassin.

Posted by: J from Wpg on April 29, 2008 at 9:36 PM | PERMALINK




we get it. Wright is an ass wipe. and so are most men of the cloth.

compare him to joe liberman. its actions and impact that should count the most.. not a fucking hot head.

jerry farwell, pat goober robertson facshist pat buchann tool estrodinare fuck, stinking pukes. bite me you unpatriotic slime fucks

Posted by: gumbie whoretown on April 29, 2008 at 9:37 PM | PERMALINK

AS my wife and I were driving home from the office this afternoon, she said to me that she was extremely disappointed. She had so wished for a real change in the countries direction. It seems she doesn't see that much difference between Hillary and her old buddy John McCain. Long ago she concluded there isn't a chance in hell that Hillary can beat McCain.

If Obama doesn't win she is going to be pissed. I think she is going to be pissed at Obama and maybe Wright. Mostly she is going to be pissed at people who vote for either of what she calls the "same old, same old" candidates. She really loves America. I mention this exchange because my wife isn't really a political animal. She is just a mother and grandmother who is sick of the direction George Bush has taken her beloved country. Time to get real folks.

Posted by: Ron Byers on April 29, 2008 at 9:45 PM | PERMALINK

If Mark Penn is going to get such a knock for screwing up Hillary’s campaign, shouldn’t David Axelrod get as much scrutiny now, for failure to do due diligence on “self-oppo research”? (No, I don’t believe Obama saying he had heard none of this before in his “I don’t know” speech today, unless he was “praising Jesus” at Trinity UCC a lot less than he would have had us believe two months ago.

Posted by: SocraticGadfly on April 29, 2008 at 9:59 PM | PERMALINK

This country will die from a particularly American disease: endless distraction from what is important. The only sadness I feel is that good people, like John Cole, Kevin Drum, Josh Marshall, and all kindred spirits (including readers of this blog), will suffer with her. I, a Canadian, can always go elsewhere.

Posted by: DNS on April 29, 2008 at 10:00 PM | PERMALINK

eholiver --

It's "Hear! Hear!" -- as in "Hear him!", "Listen to him!"

Posted by: DNS on April 29, 2008 at 10:04 PM | PERMALINK

Unfortunately, Ted Rall writes just one column a week, and he's already out for this week. I can't wait to hear his take.

But, instead, he says D.C. Metropolitan Police Chief Cathy Lanier must arrest Bush with the announcement that he publicly discussed torture in the White House, since Pelosi hasn't seen fit to put impeachment back on the table.

Of course, Pelosi would probably be chickenshit enough to zero out the DC Police budget if Chief Lanier actually tried that.

Posted by: SocraticGadfly on April 29, 2008 at 10:09 PM | PERMALINK

One thing I would emphasize, if I were on Obama's staff: the Right and anyone who might support McCain don't respect apologies, they don't respect self-reflection, they don't respect self-correcting public statements. Meet fire with fire. Use the glass-houses line of attack: "Who are you to call into question someone else's rectitude and goodness? Who are you to demand apologies from anyone? Who are you to suggest what kinds of actions and words are appropriate in a public official?" That kind of thing.

Posted by: DNS on April 29, 2008 at 10:09 PM | PERMALINK

in the old testament days, there was a man by the name of jeremiah.

he uttered denunciations of his milieu. they were harsh. but in the perspective of history, his assessments of his milieu have been determined to have been accurate.

in my youth[1950's-1960's], strong denunciations of a culture, were labeled "jeremiads".

i am a 60 year old white man. grew up amongst the "swells". graduated from a virtually all white country day school in the heartland. graduated from harvard in the late 1960's. was a crimed. enlisted in the usmc. and have owned and managed a specialty manufacturing firm for over 30 years.

in my life, i have observed the united states very thoroughly. and jeremiah wright has seen it accurately. and described it accurately.

the real shame is that barry wants the golden kazoo so desperately that he will do backflips to avoid the truths.

such as, the "war on drugs". this is a race, class war. intended to imprison the poor and the non-white. and its origins go way back to the days of harry anslinger. that this rascist, classist war has continued until this day reveals that class hatred, racial hatred governs the united states of amerika.

that barry refuses to recognize this, refuses to assert a platform that renounces this long-term rascist, classist "war on drugs" should inform you that barry is just another fascist bastid. all he wants is that golden kazoo. he doesn't give any more of a rat's ass about the citizens of the usa than do hillary and "saint" john.

once upon a time[1964], in my high school english class, i delivered a "jeremiad". i told my classmates that in their lifetime the usa would become more like stalin's soviet union, that in fact, the usa would become more stalinist.

oh, i was hooted and hollered at. and the teacher that allowed me to deliver that "jeremiad" was discharged for being a "commie"[oddly enough, he moved to north carolina and is now a neocon - all crimes against humanity perpetrated by israel are permissible].

so, let us reflect on the accuracy of my mid-1960's prophecies. the usa now operates a gulag state that makes stalin appear an amateur.

the majority of those incarcerated: black and poor. most of the crimes that put them in the amerikan gulag - possessing marijuana, et alia.

i think it accurate to state that as a percentage of amerikan populace, the amerikan gulag is more driven by racism than the white surpremacist south africa. perhaps even more driven by racism than the apartheid israel.

perhaps this is the reason that the usa likes israel so much....we prefer the brutality of racist regimes that has a program[pogrom] to eliminate untermenschen[the zionist jews consider the palestinians - be they muslim or christian, untermenschen].

but i have scrutinized the enforcement of the "drug" laws. white with money, politically-connected, you could consume as much herb and snow as you could acquire. and if somehow you became "caught", money could get your apprehension "erased"[this is the story of george walker bush and the rabbi friedman foundation].

but by and large, the bulls did not go after the wealthy whiteys. they were immune from drug law enforcement. hell, if they hadn't been exempted from enforcement, all the scions of the amerikan ruling families would be doing long and hard time. and the gulag would be whiter than black.

and that is one of the 'truths" that jeremiah wright cares to relate.

and that barry now denounces jeremiah wright for relating these truths tells us everything about barry. barry is hillary. is "saint" john. just another pol who desires that golden kazoo.

of course, it must not be forgotten that all of these candidates are "owned" by the rockefellers. no matter how blind we prefer to be in this election, the rockefellers will win. we shall continue to be serfs.

and then there is the rockefellers' final manipulation....the jerking of the voting devices. i hazard a guess that there may have never been an honest vote count in the history of the usa. but i can assure you of this, since the implementation of computerized voting, there has not been a legitimate vote tabulation.

back in the us, back in the us, back in the ussr.

Posted by: albertchampion on April 29, 2008 at 10:12 PM | PERMALINK

If the people saying that Obama is unfit to be president because of the views of his pastor, then we can look at the behavior of other church attending Christians. What's one of the most important teachings of Christianity? "Because you did it not to the least of these, you did it not to me" or "love your neighbor as yourself".
Our pious Christian right-wingers should realize that what is taught from the pulpit is not practiced.

Posted by: Ravinia on April 29, 2008 at 10:20 PM | PERMALINK

This is so f'n ridiculous that we have to talk about this when we have this screwed-up war in Iraq, KBR employees raping their female colleagues and getting away with it, Bush + McCain telling a lie to the media each a day, etc.

46 poor guys died in Iraq this month, the most since September.

Posted by: Swan on April 29, 2008 at 10:20 PM | PERMALINK

I think you folks should volunteer to make TV spots for Obama this fall. I would be willing to contribute a few bucks to help out although Obama doesn't need the money. BigTom, I suggest you go first.

Pass the popcorn please.

Posted by: Mike K on April 29, 2008 at 10:29 PM | PERMALINK

Make that a righteous AMEN!

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on April 29, 2008 at 10:31 PM | PERMALINK

Apocalypse Alert: I agree with Swan.
(Yet talk about it we must, because as Optical Weenie observed in an earlier thread, this stuff is candy-flavored crack for political junkies.)

And 90% with albertchampion. But that's less surprising.

If I decide to run for office, I will offer Mr. Drum a large sum of money to delete this comment.

Posted by: thersites on April 29, 2008 at 10:37 PM | PERMALINK

adding to Ravinia's post:
Let's turn the Right's attacks on Wright into a Kantian categorical imperative: if Obama must renounce Wright, then McCain must renounce Hagee. Don't deal with any of the specifics of Wright's sermons or statements until McCain has abjectly denounced Hagee. Play hardball with these bastards. Surprise them with the fire and brimstone of your OWN castigations! Hit them below the waterline with your OWN righteous condemnation. Let them taste the acrid cordite that they were willing to use against us. In other words, fight back against the bully. It's really that simple. Sorry for all this macho schoolyard talk, but that's what we're dealing with here -- and the sad, sad, sad fact is that, for as long as I can remember, we've been in a position to win these fights: we just haven't been willing to figgt them. Let's start now.

If Obama wants to claim the streets of Chicago as part of his heritage, let's see some of it in action.

Posted by: DNS on April 29, 2008 at 10:43 PM | PERMALINK

This sounds defensive, specious, and a little shrill. Instead of all this whiny, nose-in-the-air verbiage, why not just say "Fuck you, Obama isn't the same person his pastor is" and move to the attack? Why do leftists always cringe and bow and defend and anguish? The right has fucked the country into the ground and is still on the attack, while people like Cole have to put together these kiddie, "Nah nah nah but the economy still sucks" kind of counters, that just make everyone on the left look wimpy.

Posted by: MG on April 29, 2008 at 10:54 PM | PERMALINK

Wright may be right on many things but he certainly didn't show compassion, humility or Christian love in much measure in his latest hits. His, words, if they were stated slightly differently could have been much more on target.

Obama was right in doing what he did. The accusation that Obama was insincere was the worst statement Wright could have made. He basically called Obama a hypocrite.

People can get a bit addled as they age. Add to that Wright has been surely stewing over the FOX-Hillary-Hannity snippets of him from last month. Certainly can't put one in the greatest frame of mind. And the Q&A session was completely the wrong venue to get a sense of the man - his back was up and against the wall and the Marine was firing back.

Anyway, I think this whole thing is going to defuse the importance of Wright and help Obama. I really do, even if Wright comes back for more.

All this still leaves a major need for addressing race in America which no one really seems to think worth addressing unless they hear something startling from a preacher. Correct that - a black preacher; white preachers are always patriots. And not when we can rather focus our energies on bridging the differences between the Sunni and Shia in Iraq to the tune of 12 Billion dollars a month and worship at the feet of Great Saint Petraeus.

Posted by: Manfred on April 29, 2008 at 10:54 PM | PERMALINK

Manfred --
Sometimes the insightsof the last generation become an obstacle.

One thing I will say is this: Obama's Speech on Race was excellent. But only as far as it went. He addressed what we might call "generalizations based on race that arise from the blunt-instrument mechanisms of public policy," It did not address the deep racism that still exists regardless of public policy; i.e. among people who don't know affirmative action from a coaxial cable. He offered an explanation for the kind of racial grievance that can be justified by disagreement with specific policies, such as hiring quotas, affirmative action, etc. But he said nothing about the kind of visceral racism that has no justification at all except the poison of one's paretns' teachings about the world. And on this level, there are racists out there who need to be confronted. OK -- now I may need to be corrected on the practical efficacy of confronting such racists v. buying them off with platitudes that they can use to assuage their (buried) guilt. All I'm saying is this: Obama's lauded speech on race really didn't cut that deep. Much more needs to be said, and a lot more people need to "come to Jesus" on this issue. And I say that as an atheist.

Posted by: DNS on April 29, 2008 at 11:15 PM | PERMALINK


Wasn't one of the students at Bloodwart's school in Harry Potter named Jeremiah Wright???

Posted by: Swan on April 29, 2008 at 11:15 PM | PERMALINK

Fight Club: "Share yourself, completely."

And why can't this site remember my Name and Email address? GRRRRRR!

Posted by: DNS on April 29, 2008 at 11:30 PM | PERMALINK

62 days after he declared himself "very proud" and "honored" to the have the endorsement of the End Times Pastor John Hagee, Republican John McCain still has not answered - or even been asked - the question that should concern all Americans:

Does John McCain agree with Pastor John Hagee that war with Iran is the fulfillment of the biblical prophecy of Armageddon?

For the details, see:
"Obama Disavows Wright; McCain Still Silent on Hagee, Armageddon and Iran."

Posted by: Raging on April 29, 2008 at 11:56 PM | PERMALINK

thersites -- Dereliction of duty as a student is nothing you need apologize for. In any case, your protestations undoubtedly would have fallen on deaf ears, as any school teaching French to 7th graders is obviously a liberal elitist institution.

What cannot be forgiven is allowing yourself to be taught French, most especially in the 7th grade. That shows a grievous lack of fortitude, deficient judgment as reflected in your extremely poor choice of parents and cohort, and shoddy career planning.

Unless you were there only because the teacher was really really hot.

Posted by: on April 29, 2008 at 11:59 PM | PERMALINK

Sorry, that was me above.

Posted by: has407 on April 30, 2008 at 12:07 AM | PERMALINK

Just to show that all conservatives aren't heartless and self-absorbed, I'd like to offer as a community service the following--Dear albertchampion-- You need to up your medication again.

I want all of you to know I haven't enjoyed this site this much since November and December of 2004. Bless all of you little Progressive nincompoops. You are paragons of rational thought and tolerance.

Posted by: BillyBobSchranzburg on April 30, 2008 at 12:11 AM | PERMALINK

Jeremiah Wright?

If we shall suppose that American slavery is one of those offenses which, in the providence of God, must needs come, but which, having continued through His appointed time, He now wills to remove, and that He gives to both North and South this terrible war as the woe due to those by whom the offense came, shall we discern therein any departure from those divine attributes which the believers in a living God always ascribe to Him? Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman's two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said "the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether."

Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address

Enjoy a spot of race baiting, do you BillyBob?

Posted by: Boronx on April 30, 2008 at 12:53 AM | PERMALINK

well, billy bob, you fascist bastid, tell me why i need go beome medicated?>

because i tell you truths that you don't care to hear?

again, much like the soviet union and its pharmaceutical lobotomization, billy bob prizes that role of the state. and he probably thinks of himself as an anti-statist.

billy bob doesn't know me very well. i think thersites may recall my posts on eschaton revealing the amerikan secret state and psychic driving....the amerikan citizens that were spirited to canada by the cia for psychoactive drug administration, electro-convulsive torture.

it is not funny that we think that the evils of torture are something new in amerika. we have been doing this for a long, long time. in fact, torture is as amerikan as apple pie.

and billy bob doesn't know jack shit about amerikan history.

Posted by: albertchampion on April 30, 2008 at 12:55 AM | PERMALINK

Why does Abe hate America?

Posted by: thersites on April 30, 2008 at 12:58 AM | PERMALINK

Posted by: Manfred: All this still leaves a major need for addressing race in America which no one really seems to think worth addressing unless they hear something startling from a preacher.
Yes, we need a dialogue on race.

These seem to follow a script. You get a couple black columnists together with a couple of the most pompous PC newspeople from the liberal mainstream media imaginable, like Jim Lehrer, Katie Couric, or Tom Brokaw. The first ten minutes is devoted to worship of M.L. King and the progress we have made. Then the black journalists pipe up 'but there are still disparities.' This is the cue for the pompous white newsmen to get real solemn as they pause to consider this. My favorite part comes next when they become totally lugubrious and say something like, 'Yes, there is still racism in this country. Though we have made progress, we have not yet realized the dream of Martin Luther King.'

LOL. I would like to see a real dialogue on race, maybe ask Katie if she would enjoy walking alone at night in the Englewood neighborhood of Chicago, or whether she is really a closet racist. "Geraldo, Mexicans are so corrupt, won't they corrupt our culture if we continue to be overrun, as for ex. on enforcement of immigration laws?" "Tom Brokaw, when I get on the bus it is often full of old African women in full Moslem dress who smell like goats. It's like stepping into the pages of National Geographic. This is just theoretical stuff for you fancy rich folks of the e-light, I realize, but I wonder just what benefit this sort of chamberpot immigration is for our nation?" That's my idea of a dialogue on race.

Posted by: Luther on April 30, 2008 at 2:19 AM | PERMALINK

It's not Wright's yapping - it's Obama's reaction to it. He never heard any of Wright's America-hating lunacy over twenty years? He had no idea? Please.

Obama is showing himself to be just another pol. He's no better than any of them.

Posted by: Brian on April 30, 2008 at 5:12 AM | PERMALINK

I'm not offended by the assclown pastor, either. But the problem is that the **** sticks to the Party if Obama is the nominee in the minds of a certain number of whites. Wright will be ice on the Democrats' wings even if he shuts up now.

Posted by: bob h on April 30, 2008 at 6:17 AM | PERMALINK

I just wish Obama would pronounce "divisive" correctly.

Posted by: douglasfactors on April 30, 2008 at 8:26 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin's post would sound more convincing to me if democrats (myself included) had not spent the last 10 years getting all worked up about speaches at Bob Jones U., etc.

I think we're getting a taste of our own medicine.

Posted by: sw on April 30, 2008 at 9:04 AM | PERMALINK

Amen, amen. So relieved to read this by Cole and agreed to by Drum. How the hell did this Wright story get to be such a big deal?

Posted by: NealB on April 30, 2008 at 9:54 AM | PERMALINK

so is this Obama guy a secret Muslim or what?

Posted by: Ethel-to-Tilly on April 30, 2008 at 10:27 AM | PERMALINK

John Cole does a great job persuading rational people.

Unfortunately the core of Bush supporters, the deluded diehard 25% are not rational. They are authoritarian followers.

To them their preachers are RIGHT and everyone else, even so-called preachers, are WRONG. Pointing out to them "you have extremists, so do we" doesn't work because they see no comparison. None.

As BillyBob so eloquently demonstrated above, they are not capable of debate. The best they can do is parrot back sound-bites they've heard from their leaders - "You are irrational," "I thought liberals were supposed to be tolerant?" along with name-calling. These are the adult equivalents of the childish response "Nuh uh" or "I know you are but what am I?"

This is why their blog comments sections are closed echo chambers. They cannot support their positions. They simply "know" them and hang around with other people who agree with them.

If their numbers were greater than 50% we'd really be screwed. As it is we've been screwed for the past eight years because of voter apathy to start with and after 9/11 voter manipulation by FEAR to bring out the authoritarian follower streak in all of us. Plus all the other tricks to try to get a Republican majority forever.

It is time to calm down and rationally take back our country. We've had our millennium madness so let's be done with it and get on with the job of rationally running our country.

People in the future, including US citizens, will look back at this time and wonder "why did the US get so looney?" They will also claim that they would never have behaved so irrationally. They will be wrong.

Posted by: Tripp on April 30, 2008 at 10:33 AM | PERMALINK

....I still think I'm one of the few people who saw that damn Press Club appearance and saw none of the outrage worth antics and responses that made Obama's distancing so necessary. Seriously, nothing in that video approached anywhere NEAR the battiness of the right wing Political Christians that actually HAVE political influence in this country.

This whole nontroversy is, was, and will continue to be utterly pathetic, and it's sad that we all got caught up in the media web while the right laughs their asses off at us.

Posted by: Kryptik on April 30, 2008 at 10:35 AM | PERMALINK


Concern trolling or not, I'll respond.

Jeremiah Wright isn't trying to replace evolution in schools with Black-Jesus-design, and he isn't trying to replace sex ed with melanin-abstinence-only, and he isn't tying AIDS funding to Africa to conditions they never mention condoms (only that the US is created AIDS to kill Africans.)

The similarities between Jerry Falwell and Jerry Wright are limited entirely to a common occupational title.

Posted by: absent observer on April 30, 2008 at 10:36 AM | PERMALINK


It's not Wright's yapping - it's Obama's reaction to it.

That's the trap they are trying to catch him in. If he distances himself he's as you say "just another politician." If he does not distance himself then he is a "scary angry Black man." (tm)

This is a trap for Obama and he has to walk the fine line in the middle. This is very similar to the "Harpy or Wimp" trap they try to put women into.

Posted by: Tripp on April 30, 2008 at 10:37 AM | PERMALINK

Jeremiah Wright, the gift that keeps on giving (to the GOP).

Or...the 527s that write themselves, if you will.

BO was naive not get distance from this guy a long time ago.

Posted by: Sarah on April 30, 2008 at 10:45 AM | PERMALINK

I saw Hagee on the God Channel last night, briefly because I can't stomach much of that, standing in front of a huge WWIII mural with the American flag and the Israeli flag in big crosshairs. He was going on about how Armageddon is already occuring, WWIII has commenced!!

I agree with Ken's original post and quote. I can't get to exercised over Wright, it's just not in me. And, as an aside, Hagee's endorsement is NOT why I will never vote for McCain. It simply shows up his rank hypocrisy. As an average white dude though, Hagee makes me way more nervous then Wright. I'll take angry black man over crazed white man any day. At least in this instance.

Posted by: andre on April 30, 2008 at 10:48 AM | PERMALINK

Disclosure - I've not read all the transcripts from Wright's media tour, just seen some clips and so on...

But can anyone define what he said now that was so different from what he'd said earlier, that caused Obama to switch from embracing him in the Race Speech to denouncing him now?

Posted by: Sarah on April 30, 2008 at 10:51 AM | PERMALINK

Democratic party members may have radical clerics at their churches, but they don't follow orders from them. It's the Republicans who let their radical clerics make both foreign and domestic policy.

Posted by: mm on April 30, 2008 at 10:53 AM | PERMALINK

...I mean he got a standing O from the NAACP...

Posted by: Sarah on April 30, 2008 at 10:53 AM | PERMALINK

What mm at 10:53 said.
But do the Republicans (and "Reagan Democrats") understand this, or do they think Rev. Wright will be setting foreign policy in an Obama White House?

Posted by: thersites on April 30, 2008 at 11:11 AM | PERMALINK

They just fear that the Rev will write the GOPs advertising for them, all fall.

Posted by: Sarah on April 30, 2008 at 11:15 AM | PERMALINK

"Kevin's post would sound more convincing to me if democrats (myself included) had not spent the last 10 years getting all worked up about speaches at Bob Jones U., etc.

I think we're getting a taste of our own medicine."

Yes, but only due to the media, the voters, and the GOPs complete inability to see nuance.

GOP candidates must seek their crazy preachers out for approval and those preachers seem to give an awful lot of input into policy. These guys go to the White House. They essentially are asked to endorse and support the crazy and they do.

Obama just had his personal minister hit the stage. He didn't seek his approval for his candidacy or his platform. And he has not endorsed the crazy of his guy.

The problem is that nuance isn't sexy or sound clip friendly. So we only get as far as they have crazy preachers, we have crazy preachers. Then there's a commercial for a gas-guzzling SUV, followed by a longer segment on sports or entertainment.

Posted by: gex on April 30, 2008 at 11:29 AM | PERMALINK

Bless all of you little Progressive nincompoops. You are paragons of rational thought and tolerance.

Posted by: BillyBobSchranzburg

I'm kind of wondering if BBS doesn't have something here - reading some of the comments here definitely shows a rather high degree of elitism,
"grievous lack of fortitude"
"Kantian categorical imperative"
"practical efficacy of confronting such racists"
"who are you to call into question someone else's rectitude and goodness"
"defensive, specious, and a little shrill"
"when they become totally lugubrious"

This is one reason why we keep losing elections.

Posted by: optical weenie on April 30, 2008 at 11:35 AM | PERMALINK

optical weenie,

Bullhockey. You are repeating a right wing claim which discredits education and rational thought and elevates ignorance and dogma.

I'm not buying into this crap again. This is a comments section not a marketing campaign. We are not here to create the catchy slogans. We are here to have an educated debate.

The idea that we need a leader who will have a beer with us and who will not intimidate us with his intelligence is dangerous. The idea that dogma should replace reason is dangerous. There is a reason that dictators go after the military first and then the Universities.

I'm not gonna dumb down here. Calling an idiot an idiot is not elitism.

If the right-wing had it's way I'd be tolerant of their stupid ideas and I'd be quiet so people didn't think I was elite. Screw that. If you or I need a dictionary now and then to understand these comments then that is a good thing.

Posted by: Tripp on April 30, 2008 at 11:59 AM | PERMALINK

. . . Except that we seem to get all bent out of shape whenever Pat Robertson, the late Jerry Falwell, or even Billy Graham say (or said) something particularly oafish, don't we, eager to tie their words to the opposition?

It's time to close down the Outrage Industry, once and for all.

Posted by: Steve on April 30, 2008 at 12:00 PM | PERMALINK

But look an Angry Black Man, Seriously an Angry Black Man, he is Angry and Black. FOrget Iraq, Healthcare, the econmy, there is an Angry Black man... Run hide your women and children, save them from the Angry Black Man

I'm Hilary McCain and I approve this Message.

Posted by: exlitigator on April 30, 2008 at 12:15 PM | PERMALINK

lol! Cole gets hyperbolic about many things, even when he's not 'all worked up'.

Of course Wright's preachings aren't something anybody but his congregation should get worked up about.

But, Obama throwing his pastor of 20 years under the bus? That's a different issue, isn't it?

Of course, it is.

Posted by: sun tzu on April 30, 2008 at 12:33 PM | PERMALINK

lol! Cole sure is worked up about not getting worked up.

Of course only the congregation should give a care about what Wright has preached. That would include Obama, btw.

Obama throwing his pastor of 20 years under the bus is a different issue. Wright will understand though. As he said, politicians do what they do, and preachers likewise.

Posted by: sun tzu on April 30, 2008 at 12:38 PM | PERMALINK

This is a trap for Obama and he has to walk the fine line in the middle. This is very similar to the "Harpy or Wimp" trap they try to put women into.
Posted by: Tripp

Then he would do well to be very careful. It's hard to imagine Wright shutting up anytime soon. And Bill Ayers is standing in the on-deck circle.

Posted by: Brian on April 30, 2008 at 1:39 PM | PERMALINK

Thank You, and may Zeus Bless the Argives.

Are you aware that Hera and Aphrodite have been helping Hector and Paris on the sly, which makes all wives and prostitutes who do not abandon their temples objectively pro Trojo-fascists?

No wonder the Agives are so mean - You can't get any hanging around with the Athenaids, no matter how much wine you scrounge up for the parties.

Posted by: Xenos on April 30, 2008 at 3:57 PM | PERMALINK

Just b/c everyone here doesn't think Wright's a big deal doesn't mean squat.

To white voters, that a minister Obama once considered his 20-year long mentor is peddling that particular brand of grievance and resentment risks transforming Obama into another Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton.

Obama clearly didn't do his homework to anticipate his association with Wright becoming an issue, and he doesn't know how to put the man behind him. Not only is Wright not going away, the dumb fuck is doing everything he can to extend his 15 minutes. Which is the last thing Obama needs.

I doubt the Obama campaign is anywhere as sanguine about the impact of Wright as 98% of the posters here. They know Obama's been hit by a torpedo and is dead in the water. He's in as desperate a need for wins in Indiana and North Carolina as Hillary.

If I were a superdelegate, I'd be taking a hard second look at Obama's electibility. No matter his previous victories, the trend is clearly turning against him.

Posted by: Auto on April 30, 2008 at 5:26 PM | PERMALINK

"Unfortunately the core of Bush supporters, the deluded diehard 25% are not rational. The are authoritarian followers"

You hit the nail on the head!

Back in the 1950's Dr. Jung, the brilliant psychologist, did a series of lectures that have been edited together as a collection 'Man in the future'.

"Everywhere in the west there are subversive minorities who, sheltered by our humanitarianism and our sense of justice, hold the incendiary torches ready, with nothing to stop the spread of their ideas except the critical reason of a single, fairly intelligent, mentally stable stratum of the population. One should not overestimate the thickness of this stratum. It varies from country to country in accordance with national temperament. Also, it is regionally dependant on public education and is subject to the influence of acutely disturbing factors of a political and economic nature. One could, on an optimistic estimate, put its upper limit at about 40% of the electorate. A rather more pessimistic view would not be unjustified either, since the gift of reason and critical reflection is not one of man’s outstanding peculiarities, and even where it exists it proves to be wavering and inconstant, the more so, as a rule, the bigger the political groups are. The mass crushes out insight and reflection that are still possible with the individual, and this necessarily leads to doctrinaire and authoritarian tyranny if ever the constitutional State should succumb to a fit of weakness.
Rational argument can be conducted with some prospect of success only so long as the emotionality of a given situation does not exceed a certain critical degree. If the affective temperature rises above this level, the possibility of reason’s having any effect ceases and its place is taken by slogans and chimerical wish-fantasies. That is to say, a sort of collective possession results which rapidly results in a psychic epidemic. Under these conditions all those elements whose existence is merely tolerated as asocial under the rule of reason come to the top. Such individuals are by no means rare curiosities to be met with in prisons and lunatic asylums. For every manifest case of insanity there are, in my estimation, at least ten latent cases who seldom get to the point breaking out openly but whose views and behavior, for all their appearance of normality, are influenced by pathological and perverse factors.They know from their own experience the language of these conditions, and they know how to handle them. Their chimerical ideas, sustained by fanatical resentment, appeal to the collective irrationality and find fruitful soil there; they express all those motives and resentments which lurk in more normal people under the cloak of reason and insight. They are, therefore, despite their small number in comparison with the population as a whole, dangerous as sources of infection precisely because the so-called normal person possesses only a limited degree of self-knowledge.
Free opinion is stifled and moral decision ruthlessly suppressed, on the plea that the end justifies the means, even the vilest. The policy of the State is exalted to a creed, the leader or party boss becomes a demigod beyond good and evil, and his votaries are honored as heros, martyrs, apostles, missionaries. There is only one truth and beside it no other. It is sacrosanct and above criticism. Anyone who thinks differently is a heretic, who, as we know from history, is threatened with all manner of unpleasant things. Only the party boss, who holds the political power in his hands, can interpret the State doctrine authentically, and he does so just as it suits him. The ethical decision of the individual human being no longer counts – what alone matters is the blind movement of the masses, and the lie thus becomes the operative principle of political action.
The mass State has no intention of promoting mutual understanding and the relationship of man to man; it strives, rather, for atomization, for the physic isolation of the individual. The more unrelated individuals are, the more consolidated the State becomes, and vice versa. Whenever social conditions of this type develop on a large scale, the road to tyranny lies open and the freedom of the individual turns into spiritual and physical slavery. Since every tyranny is ipso facto immoral and ruthless, it has much more freedom in the choice of its methods than an institution that still takes account of the individual."

Sound like any diehard Bush republicans you know?

Posted by: James G on April 30, 2008 at 5:37 PM | PERMALINK

"Rational argument can be conducted with some prospect of success only so long as the emotionality of a given situation does not exceed a certain critical degree. If the affective temperature rises above this level, the possibility of reason’s having any effect ceases and its place is taken by slogans and chimerical wish-fantasies. That is to say, a sort of collective possession results which rapidly results in a psychic epidemic."

Hell, that sounds like Obama's support base, if not about 65% of the entire party of the Donkey.

Posted by: BillyBobSchranzburg on April 30, 2008 at 6:31 PM | PERMALINK

I have 2 problems with the Wright thing and it mostly about Obama/his campaign and not the slightly off pastor.
1) At the start of the Obama campaign, Obama disinvited Wright from giving a benediction before
his announcement speech because his team saw Wright as a potential liability. They also told the NYTimes that they saw Wright as a liability. Then the campaign waited for a year until the Wright videotapes, which were available for sale by Trinity Church, hit the news before they did anything.
2) Obama has talked up god since he hit the national stage and spent the last year trying to burnish his Christian/religious bona fides. Maybe he had to because of the 'secret Muslim' smears but I think he and we would have been better if he ran as the secularist he probably is or just stuck to the concept of a civil religion. Obama claims to have never heard any controversial remarks when many of the congregants have been quoted that those type of sermons were fairly typical. The whole episode seems to point to his affiliation with the church as more political than religious.

Not a big fan of the Rev. Wright's imitations especially the lisp he broke out to caricature his white critics but the clapping bit was funny.

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