First it’s former NY Gov Eliot Spitzer and his high-priced call girl. He had to resign and he did. It’s hard to feel any sympathy for a guy who wasn’t smart enough to recognize that he’s not the only government official capable of busting up prostitution rings. It’s always annoying when politicians condemn activity they themselves engage in, so Spitzer isn’t getting a free pass by the public and the media. That said, I’m not sure how strong the legal case is against him going forward. If all he loses is his political career, that would still be a significant loss, so I’m not sure whether they should go ahead and prosecute him. Now, that’s not to say that cheating on his wife is acceptable behavior, or that politicians shouldn’t be treated the same as everyone else when they break laws. But in this case, I’m not sure there is much benefit to putting the guy in jail.
Side note to my friends on the other side of the aisle: Democratic hypocrisy is not justified or excused by Republican hypocrisy.
Then the MSM finally gets around to questioning Barack Obama’s relationship with his controversial pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright. This is different than people like Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell endorsing Republican presidential candidates with which they only have a passing acquaintance. As we now know, Obama and Rev. Wright have a closer relationship than that, and it is troubling that Obama doesn’t see the problem with having a friend like this. Obama says that he doesn’t see his church as controversial. I think he should get a second opinion on that. Whether or not Obama shares some or all of Rev. Wright’s views — and for the record I don’t believe that he does — he must distance himself far from this guy, or this friendship will end up hurting him in the general election.
Tags: ’08 election, Barack Obama, Eliot Spitzer, Jeremiah Wright
31 thoughts on “questionable alliances”
I agree. And it’s gonna be heard to put too much distance between himself and his pastor. If Obama wants to even try and get the upper hand on this one he has to hit back fast and hard. I’ve met Rev. Wright; I went to a church service three or four years ago in Chicago with BO. Me and a couple others were the only white people there. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, I’m just making conversation. Him and BO are close and his comments are very troublesome.
The time I was there he didn’t say anything controversial. At least I didn’t pick up on anything. The music was great and the service was entertaining but there does come a time when Barack will have to put up or shut up on this one. And he’s going to have to tell Rev. Wright to shut up forever, which will be hard for Wright to do.
I’m not so sure Obama has to throw the guy under the bus, but he does have to make a clear distinction between him and the guy he calls his spiritual adviser.
I remember telling a friend a year or so ago that no one will be able to get anything past Obama when it comes to issues. It will be his church and his middle name that will give him the most trouble. It appears to be happening.
Obama’s affiliation with this pastor is about issues. It’s dismissive to attempt to separate Obama’s stance on “issues” and the philosophy behind what shapes his stance. So long as Obama remains a member of Wright’s congregation he is tacitly promoting the world view that is preached there.
It’s not about religion per se at all. It’s about wondering where Obama stands on the very topics discussed at the church which he regularly attends. Does Obama believe that 9-11 was brought about as a result of our so called meddling overseas? Would Obama act quickly to defend Israel if Iran should choose to go to war with them? These are questions that I genuinely do not know the answers to.
The teachings of reverend Wright bring up a host of “issues” which call into question where it is that Obama stands. “Minister” Farakan, as BO calls him, looks mild in comparison to this furiously anti-semitic pastor. Does BO “reject and denounce” this man or will he continue to attend sermons and name books after them (The Audacity of Hope)? Will he still be contributing tens of thousands of dollars to this champion of hate speech?
Something as transcendent as someone’s spiritual guidance and philosophy cannot simply be compartmentalized and then dismissed.
After all, as Alexander Pope reminds us, “to err is human; to forgive, divine.”
There’s a lot of human error going around these days, and I’m happy to leave the forgiveness of men to God, because He’s much wiser than I am. 🙂
I want to believe the best of Barack, because he seems like such a nice guy. But this relationship he has with a guy who preaches hate from the pulpit, and who disrespects this country that gave him so many opportunities, does deserve the scrutiny. It’s because we don’t know very much about Barack Obama that we start to look for other clues to his beliefs and worldview beyond what he says in his stump speeches. It’s impossible to me that he would go to this man’s church for twenty years and have all this one-on-one time with Rev. Wright – and not know what the guy believes. This isn’t a credible defense.
We shall see what he does going forward from here, but I still don’t see him losing the nomination over this. He will do what he needs to do to put some distance between himself and Rev. Wright, and the media will deem it acceptable. Of course, I never underestimate the capability of the Democrats to mess up (what they believe) is a sure thing in November. 😉
Jaz, I would think that someone who openly, proudly, and vehemently supported Mitt Romney would want to do is make religion an issues argument. The church Romney belongs to and regularly attends believes that the Garden of Eden was in Missouri and when Jesus returns he will return to Jackson Co. Missouri to setup the New Jerusalem. They also believed until 1978 that black people were second class citizens and were punished by God.
They also believe that God lives on another planet called Kolob. That women only receive salvation through their husbands and must submit to their husbands through God’s demands.
I could go on and on about mormonism and about how out of touch it is with mainstream America. I could also go on and on about how mormonism is the only religion to actually take up arms against the American government, making them a terrorist organization. I don’t think it’s necessary to say much more and to stress the fact that Romney not once had to distance himself from the hate filled teachings of the mormon church. Outside of denouncing what Rev. Wright said, I’m not sure Obama should do anymore distancing, especially considering Republicans have gotten a free pass on religion this year.
“Something as transcendent as someones spiritual guidance and philosophy cannot simply be compartmentalized and then dismissed.” Maybe you should apply the same to Romney.
Lisa, Rev. Wright preaches no more hate than Hagee or Parsley or Benny Hinn. The direction of their hate is different but the substance is all the same. Since Jaz brought up the fact that religion is an issue, then, again, someone who supported Mitt Romney should be very careful about pointing fingers at Obama.
It is very possible to attend a church and not know exactly everything your preacher believes. I’ve had many preachers I disagreed with and still attended. For instance, there are a lot of Catholics who don’t support everything the Pope says, especially in terms of birth control and women’s rights. Going to church is just as much a social function as it is a spiritual one.
If Obama is to be held to a different standard about religion then fine with me.
You are correct, Dems are famous for screwing up presidential elections.
The media didn’t ignore Romney’s Mormonism at all. That’s why he had to make a speech about it. While it is true that Mitt Romney did not have to make a point-by-point denial of every aspect of the Mormon faith, it’s also true that the media made his Mormonism an issue. I don’t know how you can say that Republicans got a free pass on religion this year, especially with the microscope Romney was under with the MSM.
But I’ll get back to my argument and let Jaz defend himself, since he’s perfectly capable of doing that. 🙂
Rev. Wright has a history of saying inflammatory things like the quotes which have been all over the press this week. He and Obama have a close relationship. That’s been well-established (in my view anyway). It’s indeed possible that the Obamas just attended this man’s church as a social affair. Many politicians do it. But why would you have a pastor who doesn’t share your values marry you and your wife, or baptize your children? He has said controversial things enough times that it’s hard to believe Obama didn’t have the slightest idea about the character of this man.
I’m not talking about knowing every single belief of a pastor. I think you’re right that there will always be things we haven’t heard about in a sermon. But if you go to a church for 20 years, it’s very likely you will get a good idea of that person’s core beliefs. My problem with what Obama has recently said is that he said it was the first time he had heard some of these statements by Jeremiah Wright. I don’t buy that at all.
It doesn’t matter what I say to you about this, because you’re loyal to your guy…and I respect that. I had enough doubts about Barack before this minister came along. I wasn’t going to vote for Obama before all this came up, and I still won’t vote for him in November. So at least I’m consistent. 🙂
Don’t be worried. I still think Barack wins the nomination. He’s got a bunch of delegates now, and I don’t think this will keep him from getting the nomination. After that, who knows?
I’m not worried. I’ll vote for Obama or Hillary. Either are better choices than John McCain.
Not one time was Mitt Romney ever asked to reject or denounce mormon beliefs. Not once. He was given a free pass entirely and so is McCain. Never was he asked about Jackson Co. Missouri being the Garden of Eden and the spot where Jesus will return– which is totally out of touch with mainstream America and Biblical teachings. He gave a speech on his mormon beliefs because he felt compelled to. The media never once asked him about which mormon doctrines he agreed with and which he rejected. Not one time has McCain been asked to reject or denounce John Hagee or Rod Parsely, people he actively sought endorsement of. Barack has been asked numerous times to reject and denounce not only people he never sought endorsements from, i.e., Farakhan, but also been subjected to denounce his very own pastor of which he has been saying for years that he doesn’t always agree with everything Wright says and does.
You don’t have to believe Obama, or vote for him. As much as I’ve said Wright’s actions are detrimental to Obama, I also think they are no worse than McCain actively and openly flaunting endorsements from preachers who preach politically-filled hate nearly every day on their television programs. Hagee calls for the destruction of Israel and says America brought on hurricane Katrina. Wright says America brought on 9/11. Not much difference there.
With McCain and the religious right, we know that it’s a wink and nod type deal. He hates the religious right. Always has. He doesn’t like conservatives much, either. The fact that he’s using these endorsements to possibly gain support for the general election doesn’t change how he really feels about us. McCain has a history that shows him calling out the “agents of intolerance” in 2000 and Falwell and his ilk were still popular back then. He needs the religious right and Christian conservatives to support him in the general, so I can understand reaching out to people like Hagee. McCain can say all the conciliatory things he wants to, and most of us aren’t fooled, because we are fully aware that he’s just pandering to get votes, just like any other politician would.
The only reason I’m inclined to give Obama the benefit of the doubt here is because you know him, and I trust your judgment of people’s character. (Well, except for your portrayal on PN of Dubya, Rush, and numerous other people who happen to be Republicans, but that’s a subject for another post…) 😉
Thanks for the compliment.
Mentioning Romney in the context of this discussion is classic Chris obfuscation (or derailing if you like). The strategy being, if he muddies than waters enough around all of these various distinct discussions, then out of the confusion and murkiness will arise a vindicated Barack Obama, rising out of the ashes of the discussion like a phoenix.
I dont blame him for trying though. This is a fairly desperate situation for the Obama campaign. And like you, I believe that the best evidence I can see explaining why it is I should believe that Obama doesnt subscribe to the same worldview as his pastor is the fact that Chris vouches for him.
And in the end I still would prefer him to Hillary Clinton in the oval office I suppose. But that sentiment may be fading depending on how Obama plays this.
So because Barack Obamas close associate and mentor has been revealed to be an America hating racist you have managed to find yet more fodder to attack Mitt Romney with, a person no longer even in the presidential race, because of his religion?
How Mike Huckabee of you.
The two situations are not parallel. One discussion is about the, often misrepresented, doctrinal teachings of a specific religion and whether the candidate should have to answer for church doctrine.
And the other discussion is about the personal relationship between the possible next President of the United States and his close associating with an anti-semitic racist/race baiter and a domestic enemy of the county.
So no, as I said, its not about religion with this Wright flap.
Its about judgment, questionable associations and core beliefs.
This is not as side issue as Chuck Schumer claimed on FOX News Sunday yesterday.
This situation speaks to a central issue of what it is that African American voters actually believe. And what Barack Obama is expected to buy into in order to gain their support. This is getting towards the real reason why it is that Obama has had a long association with this character. Two words: street cred.
As far as Romney, he freely admits that his faith informs his positions on issues. He has explained himself up and down to no end exactly what role his religion plays in his life. So I do apply the standard of non-compartmentalization to Romney as he does himself. Again the situation is not parallel and only serves to confuse the issue.
Jaz, if I was half as smart as you think you are I sure wouldn’t be reading blogs. I’m not derailing anything. I can’t help the fact that your man Romney belongs to one of the most hate-filled churches in American history. If there is anyone who should have their pastors checked out it is Romney. Oh wait, Romney is a high priest in the Melchizedek Priesthood. Meaning he believes, by doctrine and rightful title, everything the mormon church has as doctrine. He is a pastor who has not once been asked to denounce the very doctrine he swore to his church he would protect. I’ve never even heard him referred to as a pastor/preacher, which he no doubt is. Talk about a free pass.
I said in my first reply that I agreed with Lisa on nearly every point she made. You were the one who said it was all about issues. And if that’s the case, then anyone who supports Mitt Romney should be very careful about wanting to make religion an issues test. There’s no derailing Jaz. It’s simply the fact that you argue against the very things you never want mentioned about your politics and your politicians. There hasn’t been a bigger free pass in all of presidential history as to what Big Love Mitt Romney has been given. But to you the situation is not parallel. I can’t help but think that if Barack Hussein Obama believed, like Romney does, that God lives on the planet Kolob and the Garden of Eden was in Missouri and one day Jesus will return to Missouri to build his New Kingdom, that you would be saying the situation is not parallel. Instead you would use that as a way to prove that Obama is not part of mainstream America and belongs to a wacko church with ulterior motives for this country. If the best you got is that I’m derailing then I don’t know why you wasted your time responding. I guess because it’s the best you got.
Is that a preview of the tone of BO’s speech tomorrow? First he’ll insult his audience than he’ll cite Mitt Romnney as somehow related to his situation?
I suppose this tactic of conflating the two situations is the best you got.
Gentlemen…tone down the personal stuff. I don’t care who started it, if you all can’t keep that under control, I’m going to close comments on this thread. I don’t want to shut anybody up, but I do expect that ya’ll keep it civil. Fair enough? 🙂
Jaz, you are the one who said that ones personal religion is about issues. That it was “dismissive to attempt to separate” issues and “the philosophy behind what shapes” those issues. You even went so far as to say that so long as Obama remains part of Wright’s congregation, he is promoting that world view. You fail to mention that Wright no longer pastors Obama’s church, thus Obama no longer remains part of his congregation. You also fail to mention that Obama has denounced Wright’s remarks numerous times routinely stating that he does not agree with Wright. What else can he do?
If it’s so dismissive to separate issues, as you say it is, then the same is true for Mitt Romney. Those are your words. I agreed with Lisa from the start. You were the one saying oh no, religion is about issues and is the philosophy which guides the issues. Okay, that’s fine with me, but the same holds true for Republicans. Mitt Romney, who is a member of the only organized religion to ever take up arms against the American government, never once was asked what parts of the hate-filled speech of the mormon church he agreed with. He was never asked to denounce any of it. And if religion is the philosophy that guides issues, then Mitt Romney– who is actively pursuing the office of the VP– subscribes to the philosophy that God lives on planet Kolob and Jackson Co., Missouri is the Garden of Eden. That women only gain salvation through their husbands and Romney unequivacally believes that he himself is a prophet. What in the world would Sean Hannity have to say if Barack Hussein Obama believed himself to be an ordained prophet and was a member of the only organized religion to ever take up arms against the American governmnent? This is the very philosophy and world view that guides Mitt Romney’s issues, according to you that is.
There’s no derailing Jaz. You can’t just apply one set of rules to one person and not the other. I’ll happily agree that religion is the philosophy that guides issues as long as we can use it accordingly, but apparently not. If anyone is trying to conflate it’s you.
Lisa, sorry. I wasn’t trying to be uncivil. But I certainly wasn’t derailing anything either.
“…you are the one who said that ones personal religion is about issues.”
I assume that this incorrect statement refers to when I said that Obamas affiliation with this pastor is about issues.
I’m not sure why it so unclear to you that I’m not suggesting that Obama must now answer for the doctrine of his church.
Many would argue that in fact the philosophy of Jeremiah Wright has nothing to do with any precepts of Christianity. Many of Wright’s teachings are decidedly un-Christian.
This discussion of Obama’s relationship with Jeremiah Wright is simply not about church doctrine.
The concerns are: What evidence do we have that proves that Obama does not believe in these things that Wright says? And, what does it say of Obama’s judgment to be commander in chief that he would choose to align with this man who he and the campaign had to know could be potentially disastrous to any effort in courting the votes of what Wright vindictively calls “White America”?
I would never take Obama to task because many Christians believe that Moses parted the seas, that Jesus Christ rose from the dead, or any other aspect of his religion that I might find wacky or unbelievable. This is the last time I’m going to explain that the two situations are separate discussions. You’ve attempted to twist what I said and then use it as some sort of defense for Obama’s political alliance with Jeremiah Wright. I’m not somehow applying a different standard to Romney as I would to Obama. So you can keep repeating all the aspects of Mormonism that don’t comport with mainstream religions all day, but they have no bearing on this discussion of Obama’s political alliance with Wright. Kolob, Kolob, Kolob. Now can we get back to discussing Obama?
I find it almost unbelievable almost that you are arguing that it has been Romney and not Obama that has been given a “free pass” when it comes to media scrutiny vis a vis religion. Did you not see the SNL skit Hillary loves to reference? The media has been so enamoured of Obama that even fellow leftie comedy shows have taken to lampooning them.
It is only now that the media is finally starting to apply a level of scrutiny to Obama that is appropriate considering the fact that he is after the most important job in the entire world.
You can’t somehow blame Mitt Romney that Obama is struggling under this level of media scrutiny.
The bottom line is, and I think you and Obama know this but just can’t say it, that Obama had to align with Jeremiah Wright in order to solidify the black vote. This is a mega-church that Wright has preached from which represents possibly a very large voting bloc which is seen as critical to any Obama presidential bid. A parallel situation would be when a Republican candidate courts the mega churches of the evangelical right but doesn’t necessarily buy into all the things that are preached there.
You should be happy, I’m giving Obama the all important “pass” that you imagine Mitt Ronney was somehow the beneficiary of.
After listening to Juan Willaims and others lately I’m prepared to believe that Obama’s relationship with Wright was more political than it was religious or philosphical. I am prepared to agree with you that Obama does not subscribe to the same hate America world view that he had have known was held by Wright.
I just don’t buy this argument that somehow Obama was never present during any of his pastor’s hate speech. I imagine an SNL type of skit lampooning this situation where the top people of the Obama campaign had to go in a conference room for 48 to brain storm what kind of argument to use to defend Obama’s relationship with Wright.
Some people, led by Michelle Obama, wanted to argue that there isn’t all that much wrong with what Wright preeches. Others advocated the “crazy uncle” defense. Some suggested that if some the wacky tenets of Mormonism are mentioned enough that somehow Obama will be excused from consorting with an America hating racist hate monger because Mormons believe god lives on Kolob.
The argument that the Obama people seem to have settled on is almost breathtakingly unbelievable, that somehow Obama was never present during these speeches and that he essentially had no idea as to the extent of Wright’s anti-American rhetoric.
The amalgamation of all these defenses that I’ve heard made by various surrogates sound like this:
“Well, what it is that Wright said that’s so bad? OK he said bad stuff, but he’s really more like Obama’s crazy Uncle. Kolob, Kolob, Kolob… Obama was never present during any of these speeches.”
When we all now know that the real answer is political. Which makes sense since after all since Obama is a politician, this is what he does. He makes alliances with various groups in order to consolidate support. I have no problem with that.
I only wonder how it that Obama and his campaign which have both been pretty flawless so far, failed to foresee the potential trouble that this association with Wright could cause and is causing.
Jaz, I see the distinction youre trying to make between religion and spiritual guidance in regards to a relationship with a pastor, and I must still disagree that the Romney parallel doesnt apply. Your exact words were Obamas affiliation with this pastor is about issues. Its dismissive to attempt to separate Obamas stance on issues and the philosophy behind what shapes his stance… and [s]omething as transcendent as someones spiritual guidance and philosophy cannot simply be compartmentalized and then dismissed.
First youre suggesting that Obamas issues are influenced by a philosophy that he has solidly rejected numerous times. In no way, shape or form has Obama said he subscribes to the so-called hate philosophy preached by Rev. Wright. If its guilt by association, then thats a different matter all together.
Youre also saying that Obamas issues are guided by the church he attends and the relationship he has with his pastor. If thats not religion, then I suppose we have a different view of what religion is. But spiritual guidance, to you, is something that cannot be compartmentalized and dismissed. I can go along with that. Mitt Romney is an ordained priest in the Mormon Church, his spiritual guidance is Mormon doctrine and the teachings of the church and all it may encompass. Which means, by church law, he has to believe everything contained in church doctrine. Hes bound by it. His relationship to the philosophy behind his spiritual guidance is no doubt his priesthood. Romney is his own reverend. He cant escape Mormon doctrine. If he does, hes either lying to his church or to the American people. Either way isnt good.
Many would also argue that in fact the philosophy of Mitt Romney, an ordained priest in the Melchizedek Priesthood, has nothing to do with any precepts of Christianity. I for one argue that Mormon teachings are decidedly unchristian.
The relationship with Romney and the Mormon Church is about spiritual guidance, which you claim cant be separated and dismissed, as much as it is about religion. If Romney was simply a member of the church, like Obama is, and not a priest, I could see the difference you are trying to make. But to be a priest of a church that you dont seek spiritual guidance from is troubling in its own right and very hard for me to accept. And theres no denying the Mormon Church has preached some very hate-filled spiritual guidance.
Even if its spiritual guidance you are asking Obama to reject, which he has many, many times and not religious doctrine; Romney still has much stronger ties to the Mormon spiritual guidance, a guidance hes never once been asked to reject or define, than Obama does to Rev. Wrights crazy talk. The difference for me is the fact that Romney is a priest while Obama is a member. Moreover, not only is Romney a priest but also a supposed prophet. Obama is neither and has rejected and denounced as many times as he possible can to convince people that his political philosophy isnt tainted by a wacko preacher.
I also absolutely reject the notion Obama aligned with Rev. Wright in order to solidify the black vote. Obama is a black man with many black friends. He joined the church in 1986 after first moving to Chicago when he was a grassroots organizer and not an elected official. Sure he had political ambitions but dont we all. While a member of Wrights church, which you say was to solidify the black vote; Obama lost a Congressional primary race against another black man splitting the black vote entirely. I dont know why a black Democrat would have to join a black church in order to solidify a Diaspora that already votes 90% Democratic.
In other words, or maybe Im jumping the gun here, youre saying you dont believe Obama to be sincere when he speaks about his faith, his politics and what does and doesnt guide him. Thats a fair opinion to have. Im just not sure I can grasp why he would need to join a black church or be bound by spiritual guidance hes rejected for years now.
Just for the record, I havent seen the SNL skit at all. I watch sports and thats about it.
The argument that the Obama people seem to have settled on is almost breathtakingly unbelievable, that somehow Obama was never present during these speeches and that he essentially had no idea as to the extent of Wrights anti-American rhetoric. I dont know where Obama people have said that he was never present. In fact today, Obama said he had been present when Wright said things about America he didnt agree with.
Well, what it is that Wright said thats so bad? OK he said bad stuff, but hes really more like Obamas crazy Uncle. Kolob, Kolob, Kolob Obama was never present during any of these speeches. I like that..that was funny. Its always better when theres a sense of humor involved.
I guess I see your point a little bit better now but I still dont see how you can separate Romney from his spiritual guidance and not Obama, or vice versa.
I was trying to be funny when I said ‘How Mike Huckabee of you’ but it seemed to piss you off instead of amuse you.
Through the process of discussion, I learn things. I perform fine tuning and adjustments to my arguments based upon what new information has come to light or been discussed. This is perhaps the primary function of writing for me as blogger and someone who discusses politics.
My initial point about ‘issues’ had to do with me not buying the argument that you and other Obama supporters seemed to be making which was seeking to marginalize the controversy by implying that one’s religious beliefs can be separated from their overall philosophy and world view.
I don’t believe that this is the case with Obama or Mitt Romney. Both men have to be at least effected by both the doctrine of the church they attend and whatever lectures and sermons go on there. Those last two things are different by the way. I think you have acknowledged that a church’s doctrine is not the same thing as what a given preacher spouts off about.
I don’t think I have ever attempted to make the argument that Romney is not influenced by his religion.
Influenced yes. But should he have to answer for each and every precept of his church’s doctrine? Absolutely not. That is an impossibly high standard that I would never ask Obama to hold up under. If I was I’d be demanding that Obama go through each chapter of the Christian bible and explain which passages he believes to be literally true and which are hyperbolic.
I don’t really care to investigate the minutia of any particular religion’s doctrine in order to make a political point as you have done with Romney.
But having a close associate and mentor like Wright is concerning, quite apart form any religions concern at all. This is why I say that Obama’s relationship is about issues. By issues I mean important stuff, central themes. I don’t mean religious issues.
I just don’t see where you get the notion that I’m attacking Obama because of his religion (as you are doing to Mitt Romney). And you can attack Mitt for his religion and demand that he answer for each precept and all past transgressions of his faith all day long, because Romney has never had the need to “distance” himself from his preachers or his religion.
Obama was making the argument yesterday on Keith Olbermann that he really wasn’t present during the controversial comments. Today in his speech, he admitted that he was there to listen (but apparently did not do much in reponse). He did a 180. The Obama campaign is no longer making “he wasn’t present” argument but at least the first few people who spilled out of the conference room that I imagined including Obama himself had been making that argument as recently as yesterday.
I’m glad that he ultimately settled on a more believable (albeit more confusing) explanation.
The new argument made just today in the speech involves both a denouncement of Wright and an endorsement. Obama today both praised and chastised his mentor.
If he can pull off this rhetorical ninjitsu, then he will have satisfied everyone. Every disparate interest group can point to passages of the speech that satisfies them. Those seeking a denouncement got their denouncement. Those seeking for Obama to defend Wright got their defense.
Obama denounced Jeremiah Wright but did not throw him under the bus. It was a very nuanced explanation I suppose.
If you insist that Obama being a member of this church has nothing to do with politics and political motivations, then I’m back to wondering why it is then that Obama stayed a member of the church while at the same time being aware of and ostensibly doing nothing about the “god damning” of America and countless other un-patriotic and racist declarations.
Didn’t Obama have a responsibility to try to at least get Wright to tone down the racist stuff? As someone who preports to believe in racial unity with all his heart, did not Obama not feel passionately enough about the topic to address the issue with his fellow parishioners at least, if he couldn’t reason with the pastor for some reason?
Was Barack afraid of Wright or was he too respectful perhaps to do the right thing and at least try to set him straight. And failing that withdraw from the church, certainly if is of absolutely no political value as you argue.
Wow, Lisa. Get some comments on your blog, baby.
I don’t think BO did himself any favors today. I’m sure it looked great on paper, and he delivered it with typical aplomb. But he ain’t offering change anymore. In fact, he’s kinda hopeless at the moment and we’ve learned that he has extraordinarily bad judgment in picking churches and friends.
Time to play the race card. And I don’t know about you guys, but I can’t wait to hear about how racist America is (and by extension, Republicans) from now until November. Won’t that be fun? Won’t that bring the country together?
Here’s my problem: I’ve never attended a church where I didn’t agree with the pastor. And I wouldn’t attend a church where I didn’t share the same theology. Call me crazy, but I think going to a church makes absolutely no sense whatsoever if you disagree with what’s being said from the pulpit. I mean, what’s the point in that? If you’re there for the right reasons, it makes no sense.
BO clearly is close to Wright. But that closeness makes me believe that he might also share Wright’s views and his statements today and last week don’t change that opinion. It certainly appears that Michelle Obama shares at least some of Wright’s views of America. It certainly wasn’t mere coincidence that she said what she said about ‘not being proud of America’ a few weeks ago. And “The Audacity of Hope,” comes straight from one of Wright’s ‘sermons.’
I’ve attended a black church in LA several times with my buddy Harlan and I can tell you that the services are long and exhaustive and emotional and moving and high powered. But they have never been profane. The pastor — Brother Michael — wouldn’t dream of saying ‘God Damn America.’ He loves America and he loves God. He also knows Jesus wasn’t black. Jesus was a Jew. He was white. What kind of idiot says Jesus was black? What kind of idiot would believe it? I’ve seen the clips on cable the past week, and apparently, a group of people, at Barack Obama’s church, do.
Liberals blow a freaking gasket whenever a GOP candidate gives a speech @ Bob Jones University. They cry ‘church-and-state, church-and-state’ whenever President Bush speaks of his faith, but they don’t give two craps that the likely ‘Democratic’ (unless you live in Florida or Michigan) nominee for President might be just as nutty as a Mormon. Or, as much of an opportunist as Mitt Romney, take your pick.
Now, depending on your perspective, you might really admire BO for not throwing Wright under the bus, as they say. But I wonder… why did he throw his dead white grandmother under the bus? BO can’t remember what services he attended and what services he didn’t attend the past 20 years at Trinity United, but he remembers with great clarity being offended by racial things his grandmother said when he was a boy?
And this guy wants to be the President of the United States?
Jaz, I thought the Huckabee comment was funny, I just didn’t think it was intentional.
I suppose I still think that if it’s impossible to separate issues from philosophy then it applies to everyone, including Hillary and Huckabee.
“But having a close associate and mentor like Wright is concerning, quite apart form any religions concern at all. This is why I say that Obamas relationship is about issues. By issues I mean important stuff, central themes. I dont mean religious issues.”– That’s why I say Romney’s relationship is also about issues. Romney’s relationship is his priesthood and his supposed prophet status in the church.
Like I said on my site, not only is Romney an ordained priest in the mormon church, he’s also a prophet and a spiritual leader in his own right. Obama’s merely a member of a church– a member who has routinely rejected his former pastor’s comments and actions. If a priest is believed to be only “informed” of his faith and guidance on issues how can a member be held to a higher standard? If anything, one would think a priest would be much more inclined to use his relationship to spiritual guidance as advisement to political issues than say a layperson.
If Obama’s relationship with a minister is reason for concern, then Romney’s relationship is also.
I’m not sure I can add much more than that.
Also, Obama has said that he wasn’t present the day of the GD America sermon. Not that he has never been present during any inflammatory services. That’s not a 180.
Obama goes to church where he chooses. Obviously the inflammatory sermons have never caused him concern before. Or at least not enough concern for him to quit going. Questions about why he does what he does is up to him to answer. I don’t see much of a difference between Obama’s relationship to a crazy preacher and Romney’s relationship to a crazy church. Of course I think it’s possible to separate issues from religion and spiritual guidance. You were the one saying it’s not possible for Obama to do so.
Kent, Jesus wasn’t white. He was a Nazarene. Modern day Palestine/Israel. He was Mediterranean no doubt about that.
I just heard Deval Patrick, my governor, defending this situation by saying that he imagines that there are plenty of Right wing candidates who listen to “hateful” right wing talk radio. And by ‘hateful’ he’s probably referring to a discussion about being against illegal immigration, but that’s another matter.
This is a fairly imaginative defense offered by Deval, who is an attorney after all.
The problem with the defense is that it starting to point out to me a pattern of how Obama’s supporters are defending this situation.
Obama blamed his grandmother, as Kent points out. Deval blames nameless right wing candidates who listen to right wing radio, and Chris, you blame Mitt Romney.
The point is, is it possible to defend Obama with out referencing the behavior of others?
To argue essentially that, “Yeah Obama was wrong to associate with this guy, but look at this behavior by other people that is equally indefensible.” is to me a weak defense.
Its the old Bill O’Reilly axiom of “Don’t justify bad behavior by pointing to other bad behavior”
Although, on a side note I still don’t see where Mitt Romney has done anything bad, per se but whatever.
I just think it’s funny that people don’t seem to be able to defend Obama based soley on the merits of this particular situation. I don’t recall highlighting the behavior of Mitt’s political opponents when I was trying to defend his position on abortion. I kept my arguments strictly confined to his direct situation.
Its just a different way of arguing something I suppose.
I misspoke in my comment above regarding Obama’s grandmother. According to the always reliable James Taranto from the WSJ, she is still alive.
Here I am over here, standing corrected.
Jesus was Jewish. No parsing, no shades of gray.
Obama did not blame his grandmother and I did not blame Romney. I compared Romney’s situation to Obama’s. You said it was impossible to separate Obama’s spiritual guidance from his issues. I then said if that’s the case, then the same applies to Romney’s relationship to his spiritual guidance. I didn’t blame anyone, nice try though.
Nor did I argue that what Obama did was wrong and then excuse it by referencing others. I don’t believe Obama’s relationship with Rev. Wright is wrong at all. And I don’t believe Romney’s relationship to a church that believes God lives on planet Kolob to be wrong. Again, all I said was if Obama must be held to the relationship of his spiritual guidance then so should Romney.
There’s plenty of hate on right wing radio that Republicans listen to everyday, and none of it has anything to do with illegal immigration.
Kent, not all Jews are Caucasian. Being Jewish doesn’t make you white. There are plenty of black Jews and dark skinned Jews.
Kolob, Kolob, Kolob… Where is your evidence that I am applying a double standard? If Mitt Romney was to have been revealed to have been best friends with an America hating racist I would have the same if not more concerns and questions for him to answer about the situation.
I still think that bringing up Romney in the context of this discussion is way of confusing the issue to the point where really no conclusions can be fairly made of Obama and his relationship with Wright.
And by your silence on many of my other points, about Obama’s speech and such, I assume that you agree with what I have said.
Oh yeah, and I have just today heard the audio of Obama’s 180. On Monday he said something to the effect of, “I was never present during any of the most controversial comments. ” Then on Tuesday in the speech he conceded, “Was I present during controversial remarks? Yes.” When you hear the two statements back to back, its very difficult for anyone to square this circle.
Clearly the tactics and arguments on how to handle this situation coming from Obama and his campaign have been of an evolving nature, to be kind.
Shortly after controversial portions of Wrights sermons were played on television last week, Obama issued a carefully worded response, saying, The statements that Rev. Wright made that are the cause of this controversy were not statements I personally heard him preach while I sat in the pews of Trinity or heard him utter in private conversation. In Philadelphia today, Obama conceded that his earlier statement did not answer all the questions about the issue, and he said he had indeed heard Wright make what are often referred to as fiery statements. Did I ever hear him make remarks that could be considered controversial while I sat in church? Obama said. Yes.
Oh my. You said it was impossible to separate issues from the philosophy that guides issues. And then you said “[s]omething as transcendent as someones spiritual guidance and philosophy cannot simply be compartmentalized and then dismissed.” Then when I said okay the same applies to Romney, who’s relationship is his priesthood and sainthood in the mormon church, you then said it didn’t apply to Romney because he is merely only ‘informed’ by spiritual guidance whereas Obama’s can’t be separated.
You said it wasn’t parallel because Obama’s relationship to a crazy preacher was different than Romneys; who you said isn’t bound by doctrine. But I disagree. Romney is a priest, who most assuredly is bound by mormon doctrine. In the Mormon Church he is also a prophet meaning his relationship to his spiritual guidance is much stronger than layperson Obama. True Obama and Rev. Wright are close, I wouldn’t say best friends, but close I’ll agree. But Romney is much closer to the craziness of the mormon church making his relationship to his spiritual guidance– which can’t be separated remember– as close as anything Obama has to Wright. Saying Obama is bound by his relationship to his spiritual guidance because he’s friends with a crazy preacher and then saying that a priest and prophet isn’t also bound is a double standard. In essence, being friends with a crazy preacher represents stronger ties to a philosophy than being an actual priest of that philosophy. I totally disagree.
I’m not muddying the waters at all.
“On Monday he said something to the effect of, I was never present during any of the most controversial comments. – He said that or something to the effect of that?
Obama said he wasn’t present at the GD sermon. I’ve never heard him say that he has never been present at any controversial sermons.
What other points have I remained silent on?
In order to put to rest the side bar discussion concerning Mitt Romney, I hereby reject and denounce any and all statements that I may have made that led you to believe that a different standard should be applied to Mitt Romney than should be applied to Barack Obama.
There you have it. You can feel free to apply the exact same standard to both men.
Now, can we get back to more relevant matters concerning candidates who are actually still in the presidential race?
The following questions/arguments have remained unanswered or unresolved:
#1. Obama in the first prepared statement released after the controversy broke said,
The statements that Rev. Wright made that are the cause of this controversy were not statements I personally heard him preach while I sat in the pews of Trinity or heard him utter in private conversation.
Then in Tuesday’s speech Obama asked and answered this question he posed to himself,
Did I ever hear him make remarks that could be considered controversial while I sat in church? Yes.
There’s your 180.
#2 The question of, is it possible to defend Obama with out referencing the behavior of others? The pattern I have identified where Obama, Deval, and Chris all have chosen to reference and attempt to draw parallels about others in order to somehow equivocate Obama’s situtaion with other examples.
#3 What of the new argument made in the speech which involved both a denouncement of Wright and an endorsement. How Obama both praised and chastised his mentor, which if thought to have been successfull, will result in satisfying every interest group who can all point to passages of the speech that satisfies them. Those seeking a denouncement got their denouncement. Those seeking for Obama to defend Wright got their defense.
#4 If you insist that Obama being a member of this church has nothing to do with politics and political motivations, then Im back to wondering why it is then that Obama stayed a member of the church while at the same time being aware of and ostensibly doing nothing about the god damning of America and countless other un-patriotic and racist declarations. Didnt Obama have a responsibility to try to at least get Wright to tone down the racist stuff? As someone who purports to believe in racial unity with all his heart, did not Obama not feel passionately enough about the topic to address the issue with his fellow parishioners at least, if he couldnt reason with the pastor for some reason? Was Barack afraid of Wright or was he too respectful perhaps to do the right thing and at least try to set him straight. And failing that withdraw from the church, certainly if is of absolutely no political value as you argue.
This is really what I’m wondering, because no smart politician (which I had assumed Barack was) would have stayed a member of a church that he had to have known would, somewhere down the line, cause him these problems unless there was some kind of even the vaguest of political advantages at some point in his political career.
Obama’s connection to this church, as it turns out, defines him. His wife is a believer in the Black Liberation theology that is preached there and Obama, for one reason or another, never decided to take a stand against this kind of divisive rhetoric or at the very least, take his two young daughters and leave the church.
Did he stay loyal to the church out of fear or obedience to his wife or Jeremiah? Was it out of a sense of pure loyalty to the man who had essentially made him as a politician? …who supported him back in the days before he was an international rock star of the left?
If his relationship with this church has nothing to do with politics, then a lot of questions like this will linger unresolved all the way up and through the general election…
Jaz, there really was no side bar discussion concerning Mitt Romney. And neither did you may have made statements that led me to believe that a different standard should be applied to Romney than Obama. The discussion was unequivocally a main point discussion and you wholly stated that [i]ts dismissive to attempt to separate Obamas stance on issues and the philosophy behind what shapes his stance. Further concluding that [s]omething as transcendent as someones spiritual guidance and philosophy cannot simply be compartmentalized and then dismissed. That was the discussion, nothing side bar about it.
It was only after I agreed and said the same standard must also apply to Romney that you said it didnt because Romneys relationship to his philosophy only informs his issues. The difference being that Romney is a priest in the Mormon Church whereas Obama is only a member of a church. According to you, a priest is able to separate issues from the philosophy that shapes his stance but not a member. Just doesnt add up to me. However, Ill take your retraction as concession that the Jaz Standard must be applied universally or its not much of a Standard.
On to your questions, or at least an attempt.
#1, this morning I was watching a TPM podcast roundup of the Obama/Wright coverage and I saw a clip where Steve Doocy of Fox News played a clip of the exact same Obama quotes you just referenced and then after the clips he declared them an Obama 180. Im not saying youre borrowing material here; I just thought it odd that it was the exact same statement you are trying to make. Nonetheless, FNC isnt exactly the best place to borrow talking points.
On March 14, when the Wright GD America controversy broke, Obama issued a statement that he had not been present during that particular sermon, which was The statements that Rev. Wright made that are the cause of this controversy were not statements I personally heard him preach while I sat in the pews of Trinity or heard him utter in private conversation. On March 18 he gave a nationally televised speech where he said that there were times he had been present during what could be considered controversial statements. The March 14 statement refers only to the GD America sermon. The March 18 quote from his speech refers to other statements Wright has made. In summary, there is more than one controversial Wright sermon. Obama admitted to being present at some, but not the GD America sermon. Thats not a 180. Even in the March 14 statement Obama admits to being present during some controversial remarks, just not the GD America remarks. He didnt flip flop, but facts are something Fox News isnt concerned with.
#2, I thought you said we were going to move on to more relevant matters concerning candidates that are still in the race? Again, you were the one applying a double standard, not me. Its perfectly relevant to draw parallels when bogus standards are being applied.
#3, Obama is a politician. A good politician will leave everyone feeling a little bit satisfied. Like Tip ONeil said, all politics is local.
#4, first of all Obama wasnt present during the GD America sermon. So I dont know what you expect him to do in regards to what is being preached at a sermon he was thousands of miles away from. Secondly, I fail to see how attending this church can be considered a political move by Obama. If he was going to attend church for political reasons he would attend a Methodist or Episcopalian church. I have no idea why he goes there. I went there once with him. It didnt seem all that bad to me. There wasnt anything controversial said when I was there. Everyone was nice and there was no hatred of me because Im white. The music was awesome. As a member of a church I dont think Obama had any responsibility whatsoever to get Wright to tone down his sermons. I think you think that every Sunday there was a hate sermon preached or something. There is/was no more hate preached at Obamas church than is preached at John Hagees or Rod Parsleys, both of whom actively endorse John McCain.
I love this statement by you Jaz. I think it sums up totally what weve been going back and forth on. Obamas connection to this church, as it turns out, defines him. Youve moved from Obama cant be separated by the philosophy that shapes his stance on issueswhich youve recanted– to he is now defined by this church. If thats the case then, as you must by now know, the same applies to Mitt Romney who is defined by a church that believes God lives on the planet Kolob, believes women and blacks are second class citizens, is the only organized religion to ever take up arms against the American government, believes Jackson County, Missouri is the place of the Garden of Eden and the very place where Jesus will return to setup his New Jerusalem. And also believes that the Bible is only one book amongst three others written by Joseph Smith to be the real Gospel of Jesus. This is what defines Mitt Romney according to the rules laid out by Jaz.
Have a Happy Easter! 🙂
Before I read anything else, let me just declare that I do not even have cable TV anymore. I was sick of paying Comcast hundreds of dollars so I only have basic cable which I never watch. Like you, I barley watch TV anymore. (I may have stolen that idea from you.)
I knew that ‘defines him’ line would drive you crazy, but what I really mean had more to do with the fact that, up until this point Obama has remained undefined.
In keeping with my “tabula rasa” theme, Obama has managed to be that blank canvas unto which all could project their deepest hopes and desires for this country. In its own way a beautiful thing. Beautiful… but in way untenable, or at least unsustainable.
Because, as we have seen this week, the first major controversy to break which could be somehow used a means of understanding Obama ends up defining him.
I’m not the first to have this theory BTW, but as you know I’ve considered BO to be a ‘tabula rasa’ for many months. (I also believe that the reality is is that he is liberal but that’s another story.)
Obama’s involvement with and how he handles this situation not only is the first major test he’s faced this cycle, it has provided some of the only real evidence voters can consider when trying to understand the man’s character.
I don’t believe that Obama agrees with Wright’s more hateful sound bytes, I believe that Obama’s response to this controversy is now, for the first time, giving me at least (if no one else) some real insight into perhaps how he’d be as president.
I admit that the wording of ‘defines him’ was provocative, but at least it gave you a chance to mention Kolob one more time.
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