Apr 302008

I’m not going to be happy with anyone who wins the presidency in November.  Not one of them will defend the Constitution.

I’ve said that from time to time, I know.  I’ve also said (a bunch) that purely from a theatrical perspective, this is the most exciting race of my lifetime.  So far, it hasn’t disappointed.

Hey, let’s rev Jeremiah Wright up some more, want to?  Woohoo!  Let’s hear some more about the feddle gummint cooking up AIDS to kill the black man, and cockamamie racial brain theories, and “God damn America,” and all that good stuff.  You can’t make it up this good, boys and girls!

Barack Obama initially tried to deflect all of this by comparing Wright to an erratic relative.  That’s something to which most of us can relate, I think.  We’ve shared Thanksgiving with someone for whom the best response is polite nodding and smiling.

‘Cept see, your batshit crazy uncle eventually gets up from the table, shuffles off to the living room, and goes to sleep.

Anyone want to lay odds on whether Jeremiah Wright’s going to sleep anytime soon?  Yeah, right.  He has the opportunity of a lifetime.  He is, today, a major part of the dialogue.  What preacher, however wrongheaded, will pass that up?

Folks, don’t underestimate the gravity of what’s happening:  Obama is badly wounded.  As a student of communication, I’m really interested in his next move, because from here he looks really stuck.  He can’t go scorched earth, because he’s based too much of his campaign on what he says Wright has meant to him.  (A Wright sermon named his book, fercryinoutloud.)  But clearly, he can’t tread too lightly.  The guy’s a babbling lunatic.

Obama might just bleed out.  Could anyone have guessed that two months ago?

Pass the popcorn.

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 Posted by at 9:07 pm

  8 Responses to “Oh, that wacky Uncle Jeremiah”

  1. I’m amazed so many people, including the press, gives a crap what a minister thinks or says. I know I don’t care. How can we expect people who make a living off of other folks’ superstitions say anything that’s not loony? NOTE: So I don’t have to come back to apologize for this, my opinions about “religion” are my own, and I feel free to express them whenever I want to, as do the deists of various stripes floating around.

    Obama is no more “wounded” by what this nutcake Wright says than Clinton is by her self-aggrandizing lies.

  2. Don’t declare the man dead yet. If you’ll remember a couple of months ago–when the media began giving Clinton mouth-to-mouth (Unfortunately the American Medical Association hadn’t released the study showing the ineffectiveness of that action yet)–the voting public was becoming increasingly nervous over the prospect of Obama’s “change.” I think the same thing might just happen in reverse. Now that Obama is injured, there is a real prospect of “no change” and that’s a true jolt to the nerves. Case in point–the prominent DNC’er who hurled himself off the Hillary ship this morning because he realized a vote for Hill is a vote for McCain.

  3. I disagree that Obama is not wounded by Wright. The Obama camp wouldn’t be seeking to distance themselves (discreetly, of course) from Wright if they didn’t think he was a liability.

    Religion aside, it matters a lot to me who is whispering into the left ear of the President. I prefer any President not to be taking counsel from ummm… let’s call it “questionable sources”… be it husband, wife, spiritual leader, or corporate investor. Most of the time we, the people, are not really privy to that information. In this case, it’s kind of hard to ignore.

  4. Gerry: The point is he’s not just a run-of-the-mill nut case. He is Obama’s “mentor” (his word). He loves (loved?) this guy. Surrogate father. Spiritual leader. Now we’re supposed to buy this “oh, shit, this guy’s nuts! I had no idea!” routine?

    Incidentally, I think your comparison is largely valid. Clinton’s less-than-honest behavior has definitely and sustainedly hurt her.

    sjanzen: Delighted to see you! Welcome. I’m sorry your comment languished all day because I didn’t check the queue. It won’t happen in the future; your comments will show up immediately.

    I’ve done plenty of wrong guessing so far, and I certainly respect and appreciate the perspective you bring to the discussion. We’ll see. I’m enjoying the spectacle of Obama under real strain. We’ve not seen that guy yet. He’s not nearly as cool as the audaciously hopeful smiling guy, is he?

    Lea: Michelle was spinning the hell out of it this morning. Let’s move beyond Wright, indeed.

  5. I’m with Lea on this, though I think, like most things, it’s been blown way out of proportion. There is, and has been for quite some time, a great deal of scrutiny about our political leaders’ religious lives (which I think is wrong to begin with, but let’s not go there). When Kennedy was running, everyone was afraid that he would be the puppet of the Pope (okay, maybe not EVERYONE, but you get my meaning).

    The point I’m making (and badly, it seems) is that Wright isn’t running for president. Obama is. Write can go off and spout his madness all he wants – HE’S not the one we’re voting for. Just because someone sits in a pew doesn’t mean that s/he buys everything the church is selling (do YOU? See what I mean?). I think it’s unfair to speculate on the kind of leader Obama would be based on his unfortunate association with a nutjob.

  6. Mrs. Chili: You’re right that we’re not considering a vote for Wright himself. We are, however, considering a vote for a man who called him his mentor; a man with whom he has had a close and spiritual relationship for 20 years.

    And no, I don’t buy everything my church sells, but my church also doesn’t sell government AIDS conspiracies, government drug conspiracies, “God damn America,” baseless off-the-wall racial brain theories, and equating Israel with apartheid South Africa (oh and by the way, did you know that South Africa and Israel worked together on a bomb that kills blacks and Arabs?).

    This is so not JFK being Catholic. This is not legitimate concern about a president deferring to the Pope. This is an off-the-rails LUNATIC who obviously means (meant?) something quite significant to Obama for a very long time.

    About the man spouting all of this, Obama said last year:

    “What I value most about Pastor Wright is not his day-to-day political advice. He’s much more of a sounding board for me to make sure that I am speaking as truthfully about what I believe as possible and that I’m not losing myself in some of the hype and hoopla and stress that’s involved in national politics.”

    What he said the day before yesterday:

    “I am outraged by the comments that were made, and saddened over the spectacle that we saw yesterday.”

    “The person I saw yesterday was not the person that I met 20 years ago. His comments were not only divisive and destructive, but I believe they ended up giving comfort to those who prey on hate.”

    Apparently Obama would have us believe Wright is a TOTALLY different person now.

    The association is fair game and deserves close scrutiny. It’s a big deal. Obama made it so.

    And students and observers of political communication are loving the show. Will he fall? How far? Will he recover? Bring it on. This is entertainment.

  7. Okay, I see where you’re going there. Still, I find it less of an issue than you do, it seems.

    Could it be that Wright has gone off the rails BECAUSE of his association with Obama? We know for sure that people are different in private and in the limelight, and there’s certainly a bright and shiny light being shined on the good reverend right now. I don’t discount the possibility that Wright IS a different person now than he was 20 years ago (hell, I’m a different person now than I was 6 months ago). There’s something about television cameras and public attention that makes some people snap, and snap hard, too.

    It could well be that Wright has always had the potential for crazy – it may well be that he’s always been closer to the edge than most folks, but it may also be that he never actually crossed that line until recently.

    Last term, a student of mine – a former soldier who served in Iraq – was talking to me about that potential. He had two men in his battalion go over the edge in combat; he saw them do things and heard them say things that shocked, sickened and saddened him. His point was that, before whatever happened that broke these guys’ chains happened, he considered them friends.

    I DO see what you’re saying about the closeness of Obama’s relationship with Wright, though. Even my student was astute enough to see that the two who lost it were a little “hinkey” (his word) to begin with. Obama’s a smart guy – he shoulda seen this coming.

  8. As a follower of Christ, but not necessarily of everything my Pastor says or my denomination espouses, I definitely think this has been blown out of proportion. My Pastor growing up and even the man that married me, baptized me, and has played a large role in helping me out professionally and personally is someone I adore and love, but does not begin to hold the same political views as I do. When is the last time ANY of us heard something at church or in a meeting that we disagreed with and had the guts to get up and walk out (geez, Hillary, really??) I was raised that you show loyalty and honor your elders and especially your mentors (Wright lead Obama to Christ many moons ago and opened up his Godless world to a higher calling) and for their contributions show respect. Has anyone thought about the flip side of this which is that Obama has now had to denounce the actions of someone so special to him and has done it with respect and decency? The Obamas have refused to jump on the “let’s blast Wright” bandwagon and have asked to move on. Can’t we try??

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