Reactions to Obama's speech

Rick Moran:

Shorter obama - "We're ALL victims."

Barack Obama gave a powerful and uplifting speech in Philadelphia today, the immediate purpose of which  was to put behind him the issues raised by the hateful remarks of his Pastor Jeremiah Wright.

I believe he did so. But at a price that opens him up to a charge he has been trying to avoid since he began his historic run for the presidency; that he is a far left Democratic liberal who sees the government as the solution to most of the nation’s problems.

Overall, where Obama succeeded was in his most interesting and incisive look at the state of race relations today. He said what needed to be said to both races in a way that didn’t come off as preaching, which it very well could have done. Where he failed was in his prescriptions to solve the problem which are nothing less than old fashioned liberal panaceas to be applied by government to cure society’s ills.

Lee Cary:

He didn't play the race card.  He played the whole deck.

Thomas Lifson
His delivery was excellent, coming across as reasonable and interested in healing. When Sen. Harris  Wofford (D-PA) introduced him with a comparison to Lincoln I almost felt sorry for Obama for having to live up to the hype. But he didn't bat an eye and led with the Declaration of Indeppendence - a nice touch considering the history which had just been invoked and his Philly location.

He hit many of the themes I expected  and added some very nice flourishes.

I can no more disown him than I can my white grandmother - a woman who helped raise me, a woman who sacrificed again and again for me, a woman who loves me as much as she loves anything in this world, but a woman who once confessed her fear of black men who passed by her on the street, and who on more than one occasion has uttered racial or ethnic stereotypes that made me cringe.

This is inspired. He simultaneously combines the church-as-family theme I expected with his own multi-racial heritage, and compares Wright to his beloved grandmother who largely raised him. This places Wright in an almost unassailable position.

I have no doubt that we will now hear that anyone who replays the Wright tape is just trying to make things worse.

A similar bit of rhetorical ju-jitsu was this:

We can dismiss Reverend Wright as a crank or a demagogue, just as some have dismissed Geraldine Ferraro, in the aftermath of her recent statements, as harboring some deep-seated racial bias.

That's brilliant. Posing as the forger of Ferraro, just as others should forgive Wright. I have got to admit that someone in the Obama camp really learned Alinsky's playbook well.

This sort of jujitsu comparison gets used again:

Like the anger within the black community, these resentments aren't always expressed in polite company. But they have helped shape the political landscape for at least a generation. Anger over welfare and affirmative action helped forge the Reagan Coalition. Politicians routinely exploited fears of crime for their own electoral ends. Talk show hosts and conservative commentators built entire careers unmasking bogus claims of racism while dismissing legitimate discussions of racial injustice and inequality as mere political correctness or reverse racism.

So Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and other talk show hosts are compared with angry resentment-filled blacks. No mention of Wright here. Probaboly Wright would not accept such a comparison/

For those willing to ignore the pastor behind the curtain, the speech will probably work pretty well, and you can count on the media demonizing further discussion  of Wright.

But the videos will live on the minds of many. If Obama heads the ticket, expect to see them played on television by independent groups, not the McCain campaign, come next October and early November.

C. Edmund Wright:

Aside from the stunning announcement that a 9 year old girl in South Carolina has discovered a cure for cancer....mustard and relish sandwiches....Barack Obama totally misses the point of the Jeremiah Wright fire storm and called the Reagan revolution nothing more than a white version of what is going on in his and other black churches.

Obama continued to dig his Jeremiah Wright pit deeper and deeper, making it more delicious by claiming that many talk radio hosts have built careers simply on the race issue with claims of "reverse racism." He did this to applause so tepid it sounds like the polite clap of a tap in bogey in an obscure golf tournaments first round.

QUICK LOOK BACK: Obama, in his autobiography, called himself a blank slate. Obama's book, by the way, is called "The Audacity of Hope." That very title was taken from the man who the blank slate calls his mentor, his spirutual advisor and a dear friend.

In other words, many of the blanks on this slate have been filled in by this very man...this Pastor Jeremiah Wright. It can be said, in fact, that more of this slate has been colored in by Wright than by any other single person. No one else in Obama's past, present and likely, future, will hold the title of pastor, mentor, spiritual advisor and great friend for anything like a 20 year period.

Now, we are to believe that this is simply a case of agreeming or disagreeing with anyone's "pastor, priest or rabbi." Yes, as long as for any of us our pastor is also our chief slate filler, mentor, priest, rabbi, spiritual advisor and for the heckuvit....the inspiration for our autobiography. I will agree. For the 4 people on the planet who can say that, this is a proper analogy.

None of those other four are running for President. None of those others are a blank slate where it is so imperative that we as a society find out what it is that is on that slate and where it came from. Obama is who he is in large part because of what Jeremiah Wright has put in him. This we get from the facts of Obama's chronology and from Obama's book. It is non negotiable.

And the Jeremiah Wright infusion includes things like "God Damn America" and blaming America for 9-ll and accusations (and accompanying high fives) of the government of white people inventing AIDS for the express purpose of exterminating blacks. They blame white America for bringing in drugs for the same purpose. The Jeremiah Wright infusion is by any measure anti White, anti American and a perversion of the scritpures.

LOOK AT THE PRESENT: So now Obama is saying that he can't "dis-own" Wright. That could be a stunningly bad bit of political judgement. It could be an admission that it is a lot of Jeremiah Wright that is part of Obama's self proclaimed "unique DNA." Perhaps a much bigger part than the Hawaiian and white part of his DNA that he sought so badly to cleanse himself of by being a close friend and follower of Wright to begin with.

And while that is sinking in, Obama is now changing the subject to Brown versus Board of Education and the problems that have not been solved in 50 years.  You know, problems not solved by liberal policies. We went on to dally into welfare and basic services and parks and police beats and building code agents of black violence. Huh? This is beyond is logically challenged and just plain silly.

He added that the memory, anger and bitterness has not gone away in 50 years. It "does find voice in the barber shop and the beauty shop. Used to gin up votes along racial lines to make up for politicians' failures." Well yes Barack...that's the have told us you were above and beyond that.

He then added that there is similar anger in the white community.  According to Obama, he says "their experience is the immigrant experience. They built it from scratch...and now they see their jobs go overseas and their pensions dumped." According to Obama, this was the  "anger over welfare and affirmative action helped form the Reagan revolution."  He claimed it built talk radio careers as well...singularly built those careers.

In contradicting himself, he said it is wrong to "dismiss as racist" these feelings among white people. Er, excuse me's YOUR party that calls these people racists!!! Not to mention your pastor.

And of course, no good desciple of Jeremiah Wright will leave out the Victimhood 101 course. He then blamed everything on "the corporate squeeze" and "crumbling schools"  (run by liberals, I might add). He then made no sense by saying that affirmative action laws must be enforced and then seconds later said it is important to realize that "your dreams do not have to come at the expense of my dreams." Geez. Do you think Jeremiah could have worked a tad of LOGIC into a sermon along the way?

Overall, I am estatic. I think Obama did nothing but continue to fan these flames. He also seemed extremely mortal and nothing like the airy above the fray post-racial candidate that cannot be stopped. He opened up many more questions than he answered. And those he answered, he did so with revised history or logic meltdowns.

Oh, and in other news. Healthcare costs solved. Cancer cured by low cost mustard-relish sandwiches. Film at eleven. 

Ed Lasky:

Obama said,
"But the remarks that have caused this recent firestorm weren't simply controversial. They weren't simply a religious leader's effort to speak out against perceived injustice. Instead, they expressed a profoundly distorted view of this country - a view that sees white racism as endemic, and that elevates what is wrong with America above all that we know is right with America; a view that sees the conflicts in the Middle East as rooted primarily in the actions of stalwart allies like Israel, instead of emanating from the perverse and hateful ideologies of radical Islam."

Clearly a pitch for the pro-Israel voters (evangelicals included) and -- if I am not mistaken -- the first time he has ever used the term "RADICAL ISLAM".

He exposed his daughters to this guy. He did not confront Wright about his views... does he agree with them?? Obama was in a position to help Wright overcome his prejudices, but he did not do so.

Kevin D. Williamson on NRO's Media Blog:

Obama just went on a riff about all the complexities of race in America "that we've never really worked through." The upshot: Let's pick every scab off of every racial grievance in the history of the United States and "work through" those "complexities." Let's don't. It doesn't sound like a good idea


Blaming black America's problems on the legacy of slavery and Jim Crow isn't going to cut it, especially if you don't have some interesting, radical proposal to address those problems.
Jennifer Rubin at Commentary's Contentions blog

If you're looking for some comfort that Barack Obama wasn't trying to play it both ways-endearing himself to extreme and paranoid fringe members of Chicago's African-American community while preaching racial unity-his speech today won't help. [....]
Notice how he now limits to "conversations" those instances in which Wright did not deride other racial and ethnic groups? I think the truth, buried in all this rhetoric and gloss, is clear: Obama sat there in church for twenty years, listening with his kids to a preacher vilifying his country, white people in general, and the state of Israel, and lacked the moral gumption to leave. I think the halo has slipped.
Norman Berdichevsky:

The utter  implausibility of Senator Obama's "explanation" that he had not been in the pew when the "reverend' Wright's most infamous remarks were made and that had he known about them, he would have made it clear that he "strongly" and then "categorically" objects to them and finds them utterly unacceptable and then "reprehensible" can only elicit a reaction of amazement and contempt by most people who are church-going congregants of any Christian or Jewish denomination in this country.

I live in a "gated adult community" for over-55 year olds in Florida. A majority of the people who live here go to church regularly. Their church and pastor's character, sermons and activities are a major subject of frequent conversation. Many people I know here have changed denominations several times because they found their pastor just boring, or disagreed with what they believed was a political comment masquerading as theology. Some have found their church too austere, others too flashy. Some have explained to me that they found their original church too active in "pushing" a "social gospel" of help to the needy. Others would like their church to extend more of an outreach to the needy.

The vulgar and demented remarks made by Jeremiah Wright exceed by light years the most outrageous remarks anyone of my friends and neighbors have ever heard within the walls of a church or synagogue. If these friends and neighbors miss several consecutive services due to travel or illness, you can be sure that the first information they ask fellow congregants about upon their return is their health, how their children are doing  and whether the minister/pastor/priest/rabbi said anything new, unusual, or  worthy of note.

For Sherlock Holms to believe Barack Obama, he would need to get a report from a certified psychiatrist that during the last few months, the reverend Wright suddenly suffered from aggravated attacks of dementia. The video clearly shows the jubilation with which the congregants in Trinity United Church hang on the reverend's every word with their continual cries of encouragement. This supports the view that the reverend didn't suddenly change his tune but must have been preaching much the same message in the past. The only reason the commentators/pundits/analysts who have interviewed Obama and miraculously tend to accept his explanation is that they must be  wholly secular in outlook, are under 55 and have no church/pastor experience of their own or even any association with people who attend church regularly.   

Steve Gilbert, of Sweetness & Light

What sophistry.

Did I know him to be an occasionally fierce critic of American domestic and foreign policy? Of course. Did I ever hear him make remarks that could be considered controversial while I sat in church? Yes. Did I strongly disagree with many of his political views? Absolutely – just as I’m sure many of you have heard remarks from your pastors, priests, or rabbis with which you strongly disagreed.

Mr. Obama’s previous statements are now no longer operative. But that’s okay. Everybody does it. Doesn’t your pastor, your priest talk like this?

Of course he does.

The fact is that the comments that have been made and the issues that have surfaced over the last few weeks reflect the complexities of race in this country that we’ve never really worked through – a part of our union that we have yet to perfect. And if we walk away now, if we simply retreat into our respective corners, we will never be able to come together and solve challenges like health care, or education, or the need to find good jobs for every American.

Understanding this reality requires a reminder of how we arrived at this point.

Mr. Wright is telling us that not only can we not condemn Mr. Wright for his hatred and ignorance, but we need to understand him — and to improve and apologize for ourselves and our ancestors so that Mr. Wright won’t get so angry and say such things.

For Mr. Wright is only saying in public what black people feel in private. Moreover, whites are just as hate-filled as Wright and blacks.

Just as black anger often proved counterproductive, so have these white resentments distracted attention from the real culprits of the middle class squeeze – a corporate culture rife with inside dealing, questionable accounting practices, and short-term greed; a Washington dominated by lobbyists and special interests; economic policies that favor the few over the many.

And of course, as always, it is the corporations who are ultimately to blame.

The profound mistake of Reverend Wright’s sermons is not that he spoke about racism in our society. It’s that he spoke as if our society was static; as if no progress has been made; as if this country – a country that has made it possible for one of his own members to run for the highest office in the land and build a coalition of white and black; Latino and Asian, rich and poor, young and old — is still irrevocably bound to a tragic past. But what we know — what we have seen – is that America can change. That is true genius of this nation. What we have already achieved gives us hope – the audacity to hope – for what we can and must achieve tomorrow.

What nonsense.

The profound mistake of Mr. Wright’s sermons is that he tells vicious lies about our country and its people, its history and its current activities.

The US was not founded on racism. America is not the number one killer in the world. It did not create AIDS to kill the black man. The US did not cause 9/11.

Nor did it do or is it doing any of the other outrageous things that Mr. Wright claims it did and does.

And these are damnable lies whether there is upward mobility for minorities or not. (And weirdly, these are lies calculated to spread hate and distrust for the very same government that these same people want to run everything.)

Moreover, the social dynamism that Mr. Obama speaks about is caused largely by our capitalist system, the selfsame evil corporations which he berates and wants to destroy.

Tellingly, while Mr. Obama described in his long winded speech his first visit to Trinity church, he artfully omitted an all too typical passage from Mr. Wright’s sermon on that day.

But it is detailed in his “Dreams From My Father,” page 293:

“It is this world, a world where cruise ships throw away more food in a day than most residents of Port-au-Prince see in a year, where white folks’ greed runs a world in need, apartheid in one hemisphere, apathy in another hemisphere… That’s the world! On which hope sits!”

And, yes, this is the “Audacity To Hope” (sic) sermon that Mr. Obama says gave him so much inspiration it changed his life. 

All the problems of the world are the fault of white greed.

However, the truth is exactly the opposite. Capitalism (greed) has solved and will solve most of the world’s problems — if we will only let it.

For the text of (obviously sanitized) Mr. Wright’s bizarre “Audacity To Hope” sermon, go here.
Bookworm has some choice analysis. A couple of brief excerpts:

Obama points correctly to the fact that he’s been tagged as both too black and not black enough. It’s an interesting point because, inadvertently, it highlights that the obsession within the Democratic community has been with his race and not with his substantive virtues: experienced enough? too little experience? too liberal? just liberal enough? too corrupt? no more corrupt than the ordinary politician? less corrupt than Hillary? With the focus on race, no one’s been asking the questions that ought to be asked. [....]

The question is how did Obama handle these disagreements [with Wrtight]. Did he, in his own head, say to himself, “Well, I don’t agree with that.” Or did he do more — something he carefully doesn’t answer. Did he challenge Wright in private? He doesn’t say. Did Obama, a public figure, challenge Wright in public? Well, we know he didn’t. Did Obama, a sitting state and federal Senator, publicly disassociate himself from one who prays for America’s destruction? Not only did he not do so, he had Wright as a core member of his campaign team up until last week, when the guy was conveniently flushed down the memory hole. Obama’s “disagreements” can’t have been that strong. He’s lying.

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