March 29, 2008

Obama and His Misguided Minister: Should I Stay or Should I Go?

Monique Chartier

In point of fact, if he were not running for President, Senator Barack Obama would have stayed.

From the AP:

Obama discussed his relationship with the Rev. Jeremiah Wright on ABC's "The View," which was taped Thursday and aired Friday.

Had the reverend not retired and had he not acknowledged that what he had said had deeply offended people and were inappropriate and mischaracterized what I believe is the greatness of this country, for all its flaws, then I wouldn't have felt comfortable staying there at the church," Obama said.

But Reverend Wright would not have retired over his own remarks if they had not been spotlighted by Senator Obama's candidacy. Nor would Senator Obama have objected to or distanced himself from the Reverend's remarks if he were not running for president. He would, to this day, have continued attending the church and endorsing Reverend Wright's odious remarks with his presence and even financial support. Only because the Reverend's remarks drew publicity followed by condemnation did Senator Obama distance himself from the remarks.

Barack Obama seems like a nice guy. But it is troubling that he has one set of standards as a private citizen and another as a candidate, especially when it comes to a serious mis-characterization of the country he wishes to lead.

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I think this is one of those rare occasions where we should honor the separation of church and state. I'm a fan of the idea that a man can worship in any way he sees fit and that what happens in church stays in church.

In my eyes this is a non-story and only reflects poorly on those who continue to bring it up in a desperate attempt to not let it die and hopefully injure the candidacy of Obama.

Posted by: Greg at March 29, 2008 2:41 PM

I for one could care less what this far left ideologue does in his personal life.i would never vote for him on at least 4 and possibly 5 issue related reasons

Posted by: joe bernstein at March 29, 2008 3:47 PM

Sen. Obama has a real problem, and the Rev. Wright episode is merely one example of it.

Barack Obama is a likable fellow, and his personal story is quite appealing, so many in the "persuadable middle" are very willing to consider voting for him.

But he is a far left ideologue; a substantial portion of his strongest supporters come from the moon-bat move-on R.I. Future crowd, and a large enough percentage of those folks actually believe some of the nutty things that Rev. Wright says.

So he runs on a platform of charm and endless promises of "change" and "unity."

Sen. Obama can't possibly win in November if centrist voters realize his views; but if he condemns the whacko left, he risks diluting their support in the primaries, and possibly losing some of them to Ralph Nader.

This is not an uncommon problem for a very liberal Democrat.

It's a pretty good explanation for why they haven't been able to win the Presidency with an openly liberal candidate since 1964.

My instinct is that they can't deny Sen. Obama their nomination, but that the Republicans will educate the voters on Sen. Obama's record and views, and he will suffer a loss of Dukakoid proportions.

Come mid-November, the Dems will be convening seminars to puzzle over how to improve their presidential nominating process . . . .

Posted by: brassband at March 29, 2008 6:28 PM

I have to agree with Greg on this one. As outrageous as Wright's remarks were, they were his not Obama's and I think this story is already getting shopworn and is starting to blowback on the Obama critics. It won't be so bad, honestly could anyone do a worse job than George W.? Say it aloud once or twice, President Obama, President Obama. Has kind of a nice ring to it, don't you think? Only downside, Joe Bernstein will definitely lose his mind when Matt Jerzyk gets rewarded for his blog's support and wrangles a plum appointment in the new administration. How about Assistant to the Deputy Commissioner in the Secretariat of (white people)not ever, ever, ever using the N word? Do you think Ralph Pappitto would give him a reference?

Posted by: observer at March 29, 2008 6:41 PM

observer --

Yes, a President Obama would do a much worse job than President Bush.

Posted by: brassband at March 29, 2008 8:38 PM

He'd get 12,000 soldiers pointlessly killed in the desert?

Posted by: Greg at March 29, 2008 8:50 PM

To clarify, this is a post about consistency, not religion, provoked by his comment on The View.

Put it another way. Which is the real Senator Obama? The one who, if he weren't running for President, would still be nodding (or possibly nodding off) through one of Reverend Wright's sermons? Or the one who has now distanced himself from some of the concepts in those sermons?

Posted by: Monique at March 29, 2008 10:06 PM

I am shocked. Shocked that a politician would modify a position or disavow someones support if the damage to their candidacy could be lessened. Where the Senator sits on sundays and listens to should not matter but we all know that is not the point anymore.The republicans will try to use the Rev to scare voters as they "educate " them about Obama. These same people that brought us the Swift Boat crowd had already convinced many that Saddam Hussein had been part of the Sept. 11 attacks. Monique It proves that Obama is a politician and has moved away from the Rev. Maybe you should apply the same standard to yourself as a contributor to a blog that has allowed all kinds of personal remarks to go unchecked. Do you stay or do you go.

Posted by: Phil at March 30, 2008 6:10 AM

Observer-LOL-some of my friends think I lost my mind years ago :)-but what a pissant rich kid wannabe revolutionary gets as a political reward would be waaaay down on the list of serious things in my life-I think the best thing for Jerzyk is to put some sunlight on his activities and his utter hypocrisy-maybe some of those people he's been scamming,from workers,to younger idealsitic students,to immigrants will see what he's about-maybe not-when the truth is out there it's up to each individual to evaluate it

Posted by: joe bernstein at March 30, 2008 9:44 AM


I think you're falling for the trap. 90 seconds or a few sound bites don't define anyone.

And when you're running for President your life and those around you come under a microscope. One could argue that if Obama was not running for President, no one would have care about Reverend Wright's comments.

Some said it earlier, this is a real non-issue. There are plenty of other issues, real issues, one could disagree with the Senator on.

Posted by: donroach at March 30, 2008 4:55 PM

Don, in some cases, you can judge someone by ninety seconds of speaking. This is the case with Reverend Wright, though it was more than ninety seconds.

However, that was not the point of the post, which was "inspired" solely by the inconsistency of Senator Obama's own words and deeds. Senator Obama took it upon himself to distance himself from the Reverend's words. If the words are not condemnable, why did he do so?

Further, Reverend Wright himself said a year ago that if Senator Obama ran for President, he would have to distance himself from the Reverend. Again, recognition that somehow, the sermons are acceptable for a private citizen but not for a candidate.

Perhaps, as you said, I should have focused instead on some of his proposed policies which I find objectionable. But there is something grating and a little alarming about a before-and-after situation like this.

Posted by: Monique at March 30, 2008 8:30 PM

"Further, Reverend Wright himself said a year ago that if Senator Obama ran for President, he would have to distance himself from the Reverend. Again, recognition that somehow, the sermons are acceptable for a private citizen but not for a candidate."

And this comes back to my simple point.

"What happens in the church stays in the church."

Not my business. If you want to belong to a church of Elvis worshiping snake handlers and run for President, what's your stand on immigration? Middle East Peace?

We were supposed to ignore that Mitt was a Mormon and some of the WACKY beliefs of his church and how they didn't reflect on him in his magic underwear but we have to dwell on moments in sermons given by greying black man old enough to remember when our government went out of the way to crap all over his people.

Some could confidently say that not much has changed. I think Rodney King might think it's the same that it ever was. He's entitled to be angry at 'his' government. I know I am.

Posted by: Greg at March 30, 2008 8:55 PM

Your concern for inconsistency seems to apply only to Obama. You might want to address McCain's acceptance of Reverend Hegge's bigoted statements about Catholics. Is it inconsistent that McCain accepts Hegge's endorsement and then tries to court the Catholic vote?

Posted by: OldTimeLefty at March 31, 2008 12:07 AM

I don't know if it's a "non-issue," but it's certainly not the only one. Most people make decisions based on a number of factors and give them different weight. To most people, repeatedly exercising poor judgment or actively associating yourself over a several decade span with a person with non-mainstream views is a big issue. That being said, there are many reasons to not vote for Sen. Obama besides his poor choice of pastor.

"90 seconds or a few sound bites don't define anyone."

No, but hundreds of potential sound bites coming out right through the conventions and election day can and will -- it's called death by a thousand cuts. This church sells its audio and video tapes, so there's sure to be more out there that we haven't heard yet. It's just not something that Obama can explain away easily. So far, he's basically used an excuse of plain ignorance or of conveniently not being there at certain key times. Of course, one can always say that the comments were taken out of context -- but how can "context" serve to explain any of this way in a way that Sen. Obama can still have any credibility left? He made a conscious 20 year decision to associate himself with that man in that congregation -- most likely to help advance his local political career -- and now the "chicken's are coming home to roost," to borrow an analogy.

PS I'll assume the lefty is referring to Pastor Hagee of Cornerstone Church. While I'm certainly not a fan of his for several reasons, McCain wasn't and isn't his longtime disciple. While I don't think anyone would consider him pro-Catholic, Hagee did state this early this month:

"I’ve learned that some have accused me of referring to the Catholic Church as the ‘great whore,’ of Revelations. This is a serious misinterpretation of my words. When I refer to the ‘great whore,’ I am referring to the apostate church, namely those Christians who embrace the false cult system of Jew-hatred and anti-Semitism."

Posted by: Will at March 31, 2008 1:09 AM

Obama seems to be the kind of person who listens to everyone's perspective, and then forms his own opinion.

Just listening to someones opinions does not mean you agree with them.

Wright is a spokesman for the concerns and fears (right or wrong) of many of the most down-pressed members of our civilization, a disproportionate number of them African American.

It makes sense that Obama would listen to the concerns and perspectives of the most downtrodden members of our society, and then take that into perspective if and/or when he enters the White House, where he knows he will be bombarded by the ruling classes worldview.

Obama is too intelligent to believe everything Wright has said, but he's also too polite to publicly object, until now that he's been pushed to.

Obama is a good man... let's cut him a little slack.

Posted by: Erik Dufresne at June 2, 2008 2:42 PM
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