Barack Obama’s moral equivalence-fest

Posted by: ST on March 18, 2008 at 7:30 pm

Just got done reading BO’s big speech on race he made earlier today, as well as some of the many blogger reax to it. As you can see from that link, there’s no shortage of opinions out there on this continually developing controversy. You can view the full 35 minute speech here:

My initial assessment of the speech is that it accomplished nothing, and was filled with moral equivalences galore, such as him saying he could no more disown Rev. Wright than he could his own white grandmother, who made comments about black people in the past that made Obama “cringe.” Same same for the black community. Disowning the Rev. to him would be like disowning the black community. He also implied in parts of the speech that we all knew people – black and white – who have made racist comments but who were/are also essentially good people who meant/mean no harm. IOW, Rev. Wright is overall a wonderful man, but he makes mistakes sometimes with how he talks, as do most people, on issues of race, so like, no one in this country can claim the high ground.

Barack Obama is doing now what he did in South Carolina last October after the controversy erupted over his invitation of “anti-gay” pastor Donnie McClurkin – who is black – to be a part of his “Embrace the Change” tour. Gay groups were bigtime upset and let him know it. While BO didn’t pull McClurkin off the tour, he added to it an openly gay white pastor, which upset some black gays. He was attempting to please everyone, and in the end he only impressed black evangelicals. The gay community wasn’t satisfied.

The same thing will happen here, I think. He’ll please the people who already support him, but his speech won’t have much – if any – positive impact on most anyone else. Frankly, I resent Barack Obama’s duplicity on this issue as much as I resent how his campaign played the race card against Hillary and Bill Clinton prior to the SC Dem primary. He’s claimed in the past that he’ll be the candidate who can help bridge the racial and religious divide, but apparently he’s been unwilling to do it in his own church until it became front page news for a sustainable period of time. I’m not buying for a second that he never heard Rev. Wright disparage a white man or a Jew based on his race or religion. Disparaging the white man is what the black liberation ‘theology’ Rev. Wright practices and preaches is all about. The only way BO supposedly missed all this is if he wore ear muffs to church every Sunday. And what about his kids? What did they hear?

Obama The Walking Contradiction has acknowledged that he has indeed heard some of Wright’s controversial remarks … just not the ones that have been reported in the press (uh huh), which stands to reason that his daughters, too, were likely exposed to Wright’s incendiary preachings. Will they grow up thinking America is just “downright mean,” too?

James Taranto gets to the heart of the matter:

So here we have, on the one hand, an old white woman who would be completely ordinary and anonymous but for her grandson’s astonishing political success, and who harbors some regrettable prejudices; and, on the other, a leader in the black community who uses his pulpit to propagate an ideology of hate.

Obama said this morning, “I have asserted a firm conviction–a conviction rooted in my faith in God and my faith in the American people–that working together we can move beyond some of our old racial wounds, and that in fact we have no choice if we are to continue on the path of a more perfect union.”

But if he cannot speak out unequivocally against the public, organized bigotry of his spiritual mentor, how can he possibly live up to this promise?

Exactly. What Barack Obama wants people to do is to “hope” he will live up to his promises to bridge the racial and religious divides, to have “faith” that he will put his plan into action. But what he unknowingly did today was to show people that he was unwilling to do so in his own church. In other words, the nudge nudge wink wink his campaign gave to the Canadian Consulate General regarding NAFTA is exactly what Barack Obama has been doing all along on the issue of race. Saying one thing in public, while doing nothing in private with the man he calls his “spiritual mentor.”

Just words? Yes. Once again, just words.

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  • 30 Responses to “Barack Obama’s moral equivalence-fest”

    Comments

    1. Christian Prophet says:

      Barack Obama would be better if he didn’t want to both have his cake and eat it. It’s good he would like to see America rise above race and religion. But he sabotages himself by trying to hide the non-race aspects of his personal THEOLOGY. See:
      LINK

    2. Chief says:

      I really do not want to call “it” a speech. What Barack Obama did was so much more than give a speech. While it did not equal The Gettysburg Address primarily because it was six or seven times longer, it far surpassed JFK’s inauguration speech.

      This was the first step of solving , no acknowledging in public, this intractable problem the United States has of treating all people of color including Native Americans and Hispanics as second class citizens.

      This was not a speech, nor a manifesto, nor a lecture but an attempt at starting a dialogue among disparate Americans on the one issue that will not go away.

      Whatever one wants to call it, it is well beyond anything else I have ever heard a politician say.

    3. Fat Tone says:

      There is nothing more painful to me … than to walk down the street and hear footsteps and start thinking about robbery, then look around and see somebody white and feel relieved. – the Reverend Jesse Jackson, as quoted in US News, 3/10/96

    4. Severian says:

      Yeah, an attempt to start a dialog by blaming everyone’s problems on evil corporations and the GOP. Right, gotcha there Chief, thanks for playing, but no ceeegar. It was exactly what a politician would do, 5000 words that say absolutely nothing except to attempt to weasel out of his support for racism and perpetual victim-hood. The only unifying aspect of it was his feeble attempt to get everyone else, white, hispanic, Indian, etc. to jump on the victim bandwagon and blame everyone else for their problems. C’mon guys, it’s worked so well for the black community, c’mon on over and join us. Victim-hood means never having to either say you’re sorry or take responsibility for your own actions.

      His speech had less in common with either Lincoln or Christianity than it did with classical Marxism.

    5. T-Steel says:

      And saying he “threw is grandma under the bus” is terribly unfair. He acknowledge his deep love of her (and vice-versa). But has said she’s made “remarks” also yet he still loves her. He wasn’t equating her to Rev. Jeremiah Wright at all.

      And I wholeheartedly agree with what Chief said:

      This was not a speech, nor a manifesto, nor a lecture but an attempt at starting a dialogue among disparate Americans on the one issue that will not go away.

      Whatever one wants to call it, it is well beyond anything else I have ever heard a politician say.

      Yes it was. And he is extremely brave for saying what he said. But I still fill he’s not going to get the nomination much less the presidency. Senator Clinton will be successful in swinging the superdelegates. But Senator Obama has made a great contribution to the dialog on race in America without be hateful and resentful. He’s the first black person I heard that HONESTLY address white resentment. That in itself is damn near a miracle.

    6. T-Steel says:

      The only unifying aspect of it was his feeble attempt to get everyone else, white, hispanic, Indian, etc. to jump on the victim bandwagon and blame everyone else for their problems.

      You know, that statement gets thrown around (especially in the right) like it is the definitive truth. While a sizable portion of our lives are determined DIRECTLY by what we do to ourselves, another sizable portion is the result of something else. Look at Bear Sterns collapse. There were some hard working people that did not factor into the collapse yet they are out of work. One guy was damn near in tears since he lost 17 years of 401k due to his collapse. He’s a victim of stupid decision making in Bear Sterns leadership. So it’s his fault he’s out of work? Stop it.

      “No man is an island”. Plain and simple. You can’t blame EVERYTHING or EVERYONE for your problems. No can you say that your lot in life is directly your fault. It’s not black and white. And that isn’t a liberal/conservative issue. It’s an issue.

    7. Tom TB says:

      I am one day older than Al Sharpton, and grew up as he did in the NYC area. I didn’t hear Obama say a single thing yesterday that I haven’t heard many times before during the 1960’s. My take on Barack Obama is that he grew up confused after his Kenyan father abandoned the American family for his prior African one; was further confused when his mother married another foreign student and moved the family to Indonesia, divorced again, and returned to Hawaii. Perhaps he found in Jeremiah Wright a father figure who re-awakened the African side of his being, so now Barry becomes Barack, and can complain about his white American grandmother, and white America in general. We can learn from history, but we can’t change it, and we should move on. Sharpton and Wright want their followers to be prisoners of the past; it’s in their self interest.

    8. Neo says:

      Come on now .. Barack Obama has expanded our universe.

      By his example, there is now the “Obama-Wright escape” clause for those embarrassing situations where you can now say .. “I can no more likely renounce him/her than Obama could renounce Rev. Wright.

      Wow. Doesn’t that make the world a better place ?

      Or .. I would like to invoke my “Obama-Wright escape” clause rights.

      Ranks right up there with the 5th amendment and has the Constitutional feel.

      Example:
      Dick Cheney could no more likely renounce Haliburton than Obama could renounce Rev. Wright.

      Yeah. That feels right, doesn’t it ?

      Perhaps we should all automatically consider this repsonse the next time we consider demanding a repudiation of someone.

    9. LOL – Excellent points, Neo! :))

    10. Yes it was. And he is extremely brave for saying what he said.

      T-Steel, how was what any of what he said yesterday “brave”? It doesn’t take bravery to use your grandmother and the “black community” in an attempt to morally equate them to the extremist, hateful rhetoric of Wright.

      If Barack Obama wanted to have a real discussion about race, then he would have addressed in detail how the Great Society programs implemented in the 60s by Democrats have hurt black families in near immeasurable ways by helping to destroy the family unit. But he can’t go too far with that, because his own ideas represent a vast expansion of those same policies, policies which de-emphasized the family unit and took personal responsiblity for ones own actions and shoved it off onto the government, creating the crippling cycle of dependency we see today, which disproportionately affects the black community. There wasn’t a huge poverty problem in the US when Democrats passed the Great Society programs, but there certainly has been since.

      And another thing – if BO really wanted to “talk” about race, he wouldn’t have waited until his back was up against the wall in order to do so. He had 20 years of listening to Rev. Wright to do something in his own church to bridge the racial divides. Instead, he carefully mapped out his political career by going to a very popular and influential black church, sitting by silently while his pastor preached about how awful the racist white man is and how we supposedly created AIDS to destroy black people, etc, and only spoke out about it when Wright’s hateful sermons became national news. That’s not brave. That’s wishing it would go away, something he said in his speech he couldn’t be accused of doing. What a crock.

    11. Lisa says:

      Obama’s speech was challenging. He assumed that his audience could hear his words and and think about them. He assumed people could get beyond simple narratives, sound bytes, and jerking knees.

      The premises [the speech] lays out require you to be an adult, and I’m not convinced that most Americans are adults, at least when looking for a candidate to support. . . .

      Sister Toldjah, don’t prove this guy wrong. You may or may not think he is some kind of socialist asshole. But I LIKE the way he assesses our country as a place full of deep thinkers rather than stupid pavlovian fools waiting for the next soundbite to get us slavering and barking rabidly.

      Whether you like the guy or not, give him credit for being the only candidate in MANY years to give the American public enough credit to talk to us like we have two brain cells to rub together.

    12. Lisa says:

      Sorry, I meant to credit those two statements in bold: They are from two assessments – The first from Barbara O’Brien, the second from blogger Steve M.

      L.

    13. Severian says:

      Ja, I may be a Nazi, and I vas in Nuremburg, but I never, ever heard Hitler say anything Anti-Semitic! I must haf not been there that day. Ja, that’s the ticket!

      Can you imagine anyone of the people tried at Nuremburg for war crimes coming up with that defense, and it actually working? That passes the smell test just as much as Barry’s “I never heard him say those racist things” does. Some things are so ludicrous only a true kool-aid drinker can believe them.

      You can’t hide from the fact that he attended that church for 20 years. Either he completely agrees with the “reverend” in which case he’s a bigot masquerading as a liberal moderate, or he is so cynically power hungry he was willing to be quiet and pretend to agree just to insinuate himself into the black political community there. Neither says anything good about ol’Barry’s ethics or personality.

    14. Tom TB says:

      Will Hillary complain about “A vast Wright-wing conspiracy”? (couldn’t resist)

    15. Tony says:

      The young Barack cringed when his grandmother expressed fear of a young black man.

      I wonder what would have happened if Barack had engaged his grandmother…

      Barack: Gramma, why are you afraid of that man?

      Gramma: Because he goes to Rev. Wright’s church, and I believe he hates me because I’m white.

    16. Leslie says:

      Well, I don’t think Obama scored a knockdown in this round against, really, the media, but I’ll give the round to him 10-9 anyway. He sure outpunched ‘em.

      What I think he managed to do, by challenging America to discuss these issues intelligently rather than through soundbites, was to get the mediots off their game.

      Going in, the media narrative was “in order to win, he has to denounce the reverend” (they were all primed with their nonsensical instapolls that have but one rational response–such as “if your pastor made remarks like that in your church, synagogue, or mosque, would you have walked out?”).

      But he didn’t do that, and so the mediots were at first ready to pounce on that, but then either they took a look at the transcript and actually figured out what Obama said, or they started hearing from We the People, and they backed off. In fact, now it appears they don’t know what to think (check Howie Kurtz’s roundup today in the Washington Post).

      So, all in all, as I said, Obama wins this round 10-9, but there are many more to go ‘ere we have a decision.

      :-?

    17. Mike says:

      “We’ve gotta cut some slack to people who grew up being called names; being told you have to sit in the balcony when you go to the movie; you have to go to the back door to go into the restaurant; you can’t sit out there with everyone else, there’s a separate waiting room in the doctor’s office; here’s where you sit on the bus .. . And you know what? Sometimes people do have a chip on their shoulder, and resentment, and you have to just say, “I probably would, too. I probably would, too. And in fact, I may have had more of a chip on my shoulder had it been me.” ….

      -Mike Huckabee

    18. Great White Rat says:

      So exactly what did Senator Obama say that has the MSM so orgasmically thrilled? Well, for example, after talking about his parents, his upbringing, and his schooling, he says this:

      I have brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, uncles and cousins, of every race and every hue, scattered across three continents, and for as long as I live, I will never forget that in no other country on Earth is my story even possible.

      All very true, and very inspiring. In fact, you’d think that would be enough to make a person proud of America, wouldn’t you? You know, to do things like proudly salute the flag, show respect during the national anthem, and not associate with racist pastors. So why isn’t that true in Obama’s case? I can think of a volume of possible reasons, none of which reflect well on the Senator.

      On the other end, we’ve heard my former pastor, Reverend Jeremiah Wright, use incendiary language to express views that have the potential not only to widen the racial divide

      Former pastor? Former since when? Since all hell broke loose over Wright’s hateful tirades?

      And you gotta love the understatement here. Wright’s language has the “potential” to widen the racial divide. REALLY, Sherlock? Is Obama saying there’s some chance Wright’s invectives will NOT widen the racial divide?

      I have already condemned, in unequivocal terms, the statements of Reverend Wright that have caused such controversy. For some, nagging questions remain. 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

      Did I ever express this disagreement openly before Wright’s ugly rants became public? Well, no….

      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.

      Whoa….what?? Sister Toldjah could have written that part. How did that slip in there? Especially those last two words. Anyone else ever hear Obama refer to “radical Islam” before? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller? Or do you think Obama is finally waking up to the fact that radical Islam exists – a fact that even the least politically knowledgable have understood since a clear September morning six and a half years ago.

      My guess: this is a one-time insertion designed to separate him from Wright on this one detail. Don’t expect to hear it again, especially during the remaining primaries. Too many hard-left Democrats frankly agree with Wright – America and Israel are the bad guys, and the Islamofascists not so bad – and Obama won’t want to alienate them while he still needs their delegates.

      As such, Reverend Wright’s comments were not only wrong but divisive, divisive at a time when we need unity; racially charged at a time when we need to come together to solve a set of monumental problems – two wars, a terrorist threat, a falling economy, a chronic health care crisis and potentially devastating climate change; problems that are neither black or white or Latino or Asian, but rather problems that confront us all.

      Translation: I’m about to change the subject. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.

      But the truth is, that isn’t all that I know of the man. The man I met more than twenty years ago is a man who helped introduce me to my Christian faith,

      OK, someone help me here. I can’t find anything in the New Testament that says violent, hateful racism is compatible with the teachings of Christ. If anyone has a passage that proves otherwise, please set me straight.

      who for over thirty years led a church that serves the community by doing God’s work here on Earth – by housing the homeless, ministering to the needy, providing day care services and scholarships and prison ministries, and reaching out to those suffering from HIV/AIDS.

      So…if you do these other things, then you get a pass for racism? Bulletin for the good Senator: my church does the same things. But if one of my pastors got up and spewed the same sort of venom that Wright does, I’d be out of there before the sermon ended and would never return. I wouldn’t mull it over for 20 years.

      But, to the left, a lot of evil can be overlooked if you provide day care, among other things. There’s a striking similarity between those Obama remarks and these:

      “He’s been out in these countries for decades, building schools, building roads, building infrastructure, building day-care facilities, building health-care facilities, and the people are extremely grateful. He’s made their lives better. We have not done that.”

      Who said it? Washington state’s dimwitted Senator Patty Murray. Who was she talking about and making excuses for? Osama bin Laden.

      Not once in my conversations with him have I heard him talk about any ethnic group in derogatory terms, or treat whites with whom he interacted with anything but courtesy and respect.

      So he may have said it in public, from the pulpit, but not in a one-on-one with you. Oh, well, I guess everything’s hunky-dory then. How completely Clintonian of you, Senator.

      There’s a long section going over the problems of the black community in America – terrible schools, high crime, lack of jobs, among others. All of these are real problems. But Obama gives not a word to the fact that left-wing policies have made each and every one of those problems worse, and in some cases created new problems.

      What does he find wrong enough to earn his disapproval? Give a listen:

      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.

      So we have the most left-wing, partisan Democrat in the Senate beating up on the free enterprise system and the eeevil rich. Yawn…and here I thought his candidacy was supposed to be about “change”.

      One final item:

      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

      No, the profound mistake was not that he spoke about racism…the mistake is that what he speaks is racism. Apparently, after all this, Senator Obama still doesn’t get it.

    19. trrll says:

      Can you imagine anyone of the people tried at Nuremburg for war crimes coming up with that defense, and it actually working? That passes the smell test just as much as Barry’s “I never heard him say those racist things” does. Some things are so ludicrous only a true kool-aid drinker can believe them.

      How, specifically, is this a “defense?” He certainly has acknowledged that this is not the first time he has heard the Reverend express views that he disagrees with. Is he saying that now that he has heard those words, he is going to do something that he would have done previously if he had heard those words? He doesn’t plan to leave the church, or demand that Reverend Wright do so. He says that he disagrees with some of the Reverend’s attitudes and rhetoric, but respects the man for his achievements and his character. Would the decision to stay with the church in spite of the Reverend’s rhetoric somehow be more meritorious if he had had made the same decision earlier?

    20. Lorica says:

      He certainly has acknowledged that this is not the first time he has heard the Reverend express views that he disagrees with.

      Not Orignally. – Lorica

    21. NC Cop says:

      He doesn’t plan to leave the church, or demand that Reverend Wright do so.

      And yet he demanded that Imus be fired. I believe that’s called hypocrisy.

      Is that Obamas idea of open dialogue? Say something that he doesn’t agree with and you should be fired? That will sure get people to speak honestly about race.
      8-|

    22. trrll says:

      Is that Obamas idea of open dialogue? Say something that he doesn’t agree with and you should be fired? That will sure get people to speak honestly about race.

      So did the preacher say something that I haven’t heard, a demeaning sexual racial slur directed at whites comparable to “nappy-headed ‘ho’s?” Or are you simply arguing that all statements that somebody “doesn’t agree with” are equivalent?

    23. Lorica says:

      Trrll, he is a preacher, by his own oath he is suppose to be above this sort of thing. Are you comparing Wright’s code of ethics, to Imus’??? – Lorica

    24. trrll says:

      Trrll, he is a preacher, by his own oath he is suppose to be above this sort of thing. Are you comparing Wright’s code of ethics, to Imus’???

      I am shocked, shocked, to learn that some preachers do not live up to the standard of Jesus Christ.

      And no, I don’t think there is any reasonable comparison to be made between the use of a sexually demeaning racially-based slur by a “shock jock” who makes money primarily based on a reputation for saying outrageous things on the air and a minister with a long record of community service who used some ill-considered rhetoric in expressing sentiments held by much of his community regarding the long history of repression of black Americans.

    25. NC Cop says:

      So did the preacher say something that I haven’t heard, a demeaning sexual racial slur directed at whites comparable to “nappy-headed ‘ho’s?”

      My goodness no, nothing quite that offensive. He only said that 9/11 was the United States fault, God Damn America, and equated the U.S. to Al Qaesa, that’s all. I’m afraid it was nowhere near as offensive as the term “Nappy Headed Ho’s”.

      Life’s not safe for a black man in this country, Barack. Never has been. Probably never will be.”

      White supremacy controls the economic system in America, the healthcare system in America and the educational system in America. Hurricane Katrina has pulled the blinders off of all Americans and shown us what white supremacy means at its ugly core and what it has done to the fabric of these “still-yet-to-be-United States”

      Fact number seven: we do not care if poor black and brown children cannot read and kill each other senselessly.

      Fact number eight: we started the AIDS virus, and now that it is out of control we still put more money in the military than in medicine. More money in hate than humanitarian concerns.

      But at least he hasn’t called anyone “Nappy Headed Ho’s” for surely THAT would be racist.

      Or are you simply arguing that all statements that somebody “doesn’t agree with” are equivalent?

      I’m arguing that Obama’s mentor and moral compass is a hate monger. A man who preaches hate and educates hate. Yet Obama is “offended” by Imus statements?

      Pathetic.

    26. Lorica says:

      Ok whatever you are attempting to say, it is either very late, or you don’t make sense. I think you are giving this “preacher” way to much latitude, but what do you expect from your side. Bill could do no wrong, Bush can do anything right….

      some ill-considered rhetoric

      Yeah that’s it. It isn’t perpetuating hate and pandering to that same emotion in the hopes of getting more in the offering plates. Noooooo. It is that same pandering that helps to keep this community in this attitude. Nope, It is all just rhetoric. =)) God the depths you people will go to make excuses for your side. Perhaps you can show me where Christ said that it was all whities fault?? That’s the same attitude that will eventually lead people to anti-semitism.

      Also, what about this typical white person line of BO. Talk about painting with the broad brush of racism. I guess I am just to typical to understand the nuances of the latest Democratic presidential nominee. – Lorica