Wednesday, April 30, 2008

"Is There a Radical In the House?"

Here are the pictures that the Clinton and McCain campaigns don't want you to see: Reverend Jeremiah "God-Damn-America" Wright assisting President Lyndon Johnson's heart by-pass surgery in 1966. And a letter from the White House thanking Reverend Jeremiah "Too-Radical-for-North-Carolina" Wright for his help.
When President Bill Clinton was undergoing his personal crisis after the Monica Lewinsky affair, he invited a group of religious leaders, including the Reverend Wright, to come and pray with him (Reverend Wright visited the White House twice during this period). It was at this meeting that Clinton said he had sinned and at which he mentioned Monica Lewinsky by name. Hillary was present at this meeting, as was Al Gore. Rev. Wright received his second letter of thanks from the White House following the meeting.
These facts paint a more complex, more compassionate picture of the Reverend than the continuing incessant replays of "God damn America!" do. Apart form the constantly-replayed sound bite, I've never heard one of Wright's sermons, and I'm guessing that you probably haven't either, but I imagine that more goes on in his church than constant refrains of "God damn America." ("Hi. Welcome to Trinity United Church. God damn America!" "Nice seeing you today. Death to the Great Satan!").
What the Clinton campaign is doing is relying on the nation's abundant capacity to confuse and muddle facts (Iran/Iraq, Tibet/Nepal, whatever) and make Jeremiah Wright into Louis Farrakhan, since Barack Obama has emphatically rejected Farrakhan's message. But doesn't "God damn America!" sound like something Farrakhan would say? Don't underestimate the stupidity of the public - it won't be long before some people will be thinking that Rev. Wright is the leader of the Nation of Islam.
These are Willy Horton-style tactics. Rev. Wright isn't running for office. But every afternoon, as one of my coworkers here in Atlanta listens to Sean Hannity's radio show in his office, he hears Hannity air the "God damn America" sound bite about every 30 seconds. He just can't get enough of it.

Rise above this, America. The Reverend Jeremiah Wright is not the Reverend Louis Farrakhan. The anger and rage expressed in the Reverend's sermon are not the emotions of Barack Obama, who has explicitly stated that he disagrees with Wright's statement. But when I pointed this out to my Hannity-listening co-worker, he said, "Yeah? Well why did he meet with a member of the Weather Underground?"
In 1995, State Senator Alice Palmer introduced Barack Obama, her successor, to a few of the district’s influential liberals at the home of two well known figures on the local left: William Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn. While Ayers and Dohrn may be thought of in Hyde Park as local activists, they’re better known nationally as two of the most notorious — and unrepentant — figures from the violent fringe of the 1960s anti-war movement. To read anything more into this unremarkable gathering on the road to a minor elected office as part of some conspiracy ("God damn America!") is as ridiculous as saying Ronald Reagan was a communist because he met with Mikhail Gorbachev. You rise high enough in politics and you're going to meet a lot of people - unfortunately, not all of them are going to be pleasant (e.g., Tom Delay).
The right must be awfully afraid of Obama's message and policies, because they're doing everything they can to talk about everything else but these.


GreenSmile said...


So much noise and distortion in the MSM we don't even know what we are missing.

In some contexts it is not polite to point but, if you don't mind, I will link this one.

We're you mentioning Richardson for VP? sounds good. and it checks off that ol' "gotta have one for the north and one for the south" criteria for the party ticket

Shokai said...

Don't worry about politeness - link away.

Richardson for VP work for me, but I'm afraid a ticket consisting of a black and a Hispanic is more "change" than the American public is ready for. I heard a panelist on Bill Maher's show call it a "stinko ticket." Unelectable.

Better, I suppose, to wait until after the election and put Bill into a high-level cabinet position, say, Secretary of State.

M.R.F said...

As far as the Rev. Jeremiah Wright stuff, great post! It's buried by the pundit class that this man was serving his country (first in the USMC, then the Navy) from 1961 to 66. And consider all the good charity work he's done through his church. Sad that a few soundbites have reduced this decent man to an America-hating black "separatist" in the eyes of so many.

On VPs: I've been thinking first-term Virginia Senator Jim Webb would make a good VP choice for Obama. Vietnam combat vet and a harsh critic of the Iraq War/Occupation, son is currently serving in armed forces, architect of the revamped GI Bill, First-termer not yet corrupted by the Beltway, definitely a fighter/attack dog who can go after McCain, etc, etc.

Richardson as Sec. of State sounds good too. I've also been thinking Obama needs to roll out a dream slate of luminaries that will serve as cabinet officials early and mention them often in the general election. I think it would be great to redeem Colin Powell by giving him the job of Sec Def in the Obama administration. Despite his horrible role in the lead-up to the Iraq War and the new allegations of giving his "thumbs up" to torture, Powell still has the respect of a lot of independents, center/right so-called "Reagan" dems and moderate republicans that Obama might need to win the general election.