You Make the World Seem Fresh and Clean

I thought one of the nice touches in Barack Obama's race speech the other day was how he basically absolved Geraldine Ferraro of racism, and (rightly, in my judgment) painted that particular kerfuffle as ultimately trivial in the course of human events. How did Mondale's better half return the favor?

"To equate what I said with what this racist bigot has said from the pulpit is unbelievable," Ferraro said. "He gave a very good speech on race relations, but he did not address the fact that this man is up there spewing hatred."

Awesome. Whole thing here; found through L.A. Observed. Bonus link: Tim Cavanaugh's oddly prescient yet perceptively strange political Me-a culpa (which, if nothing else, illustrates how daily exposure to a big city's politicos and activists will blast you cause you to break on through the doors of perception). Excerpt:  

Perhaps it was hubris to touch the third rail of American politics. I freely admit my Achilles' heel was that I ignored the elephant in the room. But I could not let a rogue actor continue to thumb his nose at the international community, while handing money hand over fist to the same old tunnel vision and short-term thinking. This is not about politics; it goes to who I am. To understand my decision, you'd have to go back to my recently discovered Jewish ancestor Madam Valdez, who arrived on the Mayflower. Those are the kind of deep roots and local values I brought to the Capitol. At a hastily called prayer breakfast, I consulted my deeply held beliefs, and mistakes were made.

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  • ||

    Ferraro, like a lot of Obama's political opponents, looks incredibly petty for slapping away an olive branch.

  • ||

    Damned Republican operative.

    What do you mean she's a Democrat?

  • highnumber||

    Wow. Ferraro really ought to shut her yap. Although, especially since she takes umbrage at the part about Obama's g'ma, I think she's still functioning as a Clinton operative, speaking to or for subconsciously racist white Democrat voters.

  • ||

    I don't think she slapped it away, joe, she whittled a point at the end of the branch and stabbed him in the chest with it.

  • ||

    This speech hasn't seemed to move him much in Pennsylvania.

    They're already spinning it as playing well to "elites" but not in the "REAL America" whatever that means.

  • ||

    Ferraro said she had "no clue" why Obama would include her in his speech...Ferraro also said she could not understand why Obama had called out his own white grandmother for using racial stereotypes that had made him cringe

    You have no idea why he mentioned you in a speech about race relations and politics? None, at all? Really, Geraldine? And you have no idea why, in the section of the speech where he was talking about personal relationships trumping politics, and about seeing through racial grievances to a common humanity, he would mention his white, prejudices grandmother? You have no idea? Do you actually expect anybody to believe that?

    I didn't realize how sick and tired I am of seeing politicians insult my intelligence, until I watched Obama's speech, and realized what it sounds like when one of them doesn't.

  • ||

    Cesar,

    We have one day of polling.

  • Episiarch||

    Ferraro has to be in full Clinton operative mode or she's lost her marbles.

    Maybe a little of both?

  • ||

    I hope they do move, just so the George Allen-esque schtick about the "real world of America" can start dying.

  • ||

    Of course the good thing for Obama is that he has weeks and weeks to recover from whatever damage this has done.

  • ||

    Episiarch, is there a difference?

  • thoreau||

    I didn't realize how sick and tired I am of seeing politicians insult my intelligence, until I watched Obama's speech, and realized what it sounds like when one of them doesn't.



    Yep. I'm still not in the "OMG! He's so great!" camp, but I give him points for not insulting us. As Jon Stewart said "Finally, a Presidential candidate talked to the American people about race as though we're all adults."

  • ||

    highnumber, I think Ferarro was speaking to white grandmothers.

    White grandmothers LOVE Hillary Clinton.

  • Episiarch||

    Episiarch, is there a difference?

    Clinton operatives operating with full faculties stuff National Archive papers in their pants, destroy them, and get a slap on the wrist.

    Ferraro is running head-on into a turbo-prop. That's why I say "maybe both".

  • ||

    Old people period love Hillary. In the Democratic Primary, the only precinct she won in my region was located in a retirement home.

  • Abdul||

    I thought Ferraro made a good point here:

    Obama appeared to allude to Ferraro once more when he said that it would be wrong to "pounce on some gaffe by a Hillary supporter as evidence that she's playing the race card."
    It was Obama's campaign that drew the most attention to Ferraro's remark last week and suggested it fit with a pattern of racial comments by Clinton surrogates.
    "That's exactly what he did," Ferraro said. "It was their campaign that started this."

  • ||

    Jon Stewart said "Finally, a Presidential candidate talked to the American people about race as though we're all adults."
    More like takling about race without actually saying anything of substance, that might offend anyone or answer any questions.

  • ||

    "Finally, a presidential candidate who talked to the American people as though we are all adults." Yep, but too bad he didn't find the time over all those years to talk to Rev. Wright as if he were an adult.

  • PC||

    That speech didn't help him one damn bit in PA. It helped remind the white Dems in PA why they won't be voting for him.

    Ferraro is probably losing her mind due to age, either that or she is really Obama's grandmother.

  • PC||

    "White grandmothers LOVE Hillary Clinton."

    "Old people period love Hillary."

    I think you are looking at this the wrong way. (See Obama's Grandmother)

  • I can say this because I\'m pa||

    So, Geraldine Ferraro really is just a dumb old racist Italian lady?

  • ||

    I think Ferraro just desperately wants to see a woman in the White House. And Hillary is the only real shot for the forseeable future.

  • ||

    Nah, she just plays one on TV.

  • ||

    cause you to break on through the doors of perception

    Clever.

  • ||

    Ferarro, I mean. I/R/T "I'm Italian."

  • ||

    Yep, but too bad he didn't find the time over all those years to talk to Rev. Wright as if he were an adult.

    says creech, who's never actually dressed down a clergyman, but who, by golly, just knows he woulda.

    He also woulda totally hid people in his basement if he'd lived in Germany in the 30s, and woulda ben all "BAM! KAPOW!" if he'd been there when the Virginia Tech shooter attacked the classrooms.

  • Episiarch||

    So, Geraldine Ferraro really is just a dumb old racist Italian lady?

    No, if that were the case she would have called Obama a melanzane.

  • ||

    Old people period love Hillary.



    Well the Democrats have generally worked on convincing geezers that Republicans will sit around lighting their fatcat cigars off the Benjamins in the Social Security Trust Fund and, well, I mean, Obama does smoke, doesn't he? Draw your own conclusions.

    And did it occur to anyone else when Obama talked about his Grandma being frightened around black men that Jesse Jackson once admitted that he, too, was sometimes scared around young black men?

    Several years ago a survey of black cab drivers in DC showed that they were hesitant to pick up young black men as fares. This does not seem to be a terribly reliable test for racism.

  • .||

    I think Ferraro just desperately wants to see a woman in the White House. And Hillary is the only real shot for the forseeable future.

    I agree, although I don't think its a "forseeable future" problem as much as its a "in Ferraro's lifetime" problem. The majority of college students today are women, and they aren't engineering majors. I forsee a lot of women with political power in the future. I wouldn't be suprised if 20-30 years from now, the majority of people holding political office in this country were women.

  • ||

    Yep, but too bad he didn't find the time over all those years to talk to Rev. Wright as if he were an adult

    Who the fuck goes out and chides their clergy?

    I have known many religious people who don't agree and have cringed at some of the things their clergy have stated, and NONE of them felt compelled to chide/rebuke/reprimand them, nor did they feel they personally had to answer/take responsibility for the opinion of their priest.


    basically absolved Geraldine Ferraro of racism, and (rightly, in my judgment)

    Ferraro wasn't being racist, she was playing the race card. She was basically saying that Obama wouldn't be in this race at all if he wasn't black.

    Which is rather funny becayse early in the campaign she was quoted as saying that Obama's being black is going to hurt him in the campaign.

    Some people will say anything when their side is losing.

  • ||

    I'm still waiting to hear from a single person who has done what every single one of Barack Obama's political opponents agree that any decent person would have obviously done in his place - gotten all up in their pastor's grill and chewed him out for saying things they didn't like in his sermons.

    I want a first-hand account. It shouldn't be too hard, if it's so obviously what any decent person would have done.

  • ||

    Well, heres one joe.

  • ||

    Breaking news! Obama just named Eliot Spitzer as his VP!

    Just kidding. Spitzer's actually found a real job more appropriate to his background.

  • ||

    Cesar,

    I'm not talking about leaving a church you just started going to, as that National Review writer claims to have done.

    I'm talking about denouncing the pastor you've been going to for more than a decade because of a sermon.

    Anyone can pick and choose after they went to a church once. Heck, I've done that. But when you've been a part of the church community for years and years, been married there, your kids were baptized there, you know your fellow congregants. You just don't walk away from that because the old man who's about to retire is going overboard in his sermons.

  • ||

    "I think Ferraro just desperately wants to see a woman in the White House. And Hillary is the only real shot for the forseeable future."

    Hillary thinks she's predestined to be the most famous woman in history, anyway, that's what she told Peter Paul, the one currently on trial for illegal fund raising in Hillary's 2000 Senate campaign.

  • PC||

    Well Obama should have chewed out the Democratic Party not his pastor. He was planning on being your typical city politician, taking advantage of conditioned racism in the city for political advantage. So he gets together with the whitey hating fundraisers, some call them preachers and community organizers, and keeps his mouth shut while the good pastor keeps the fires burning. This is how the Dems keep 90-100% of the African American vote, they take advantage of them just like the other politicians take advantage of their voters. It's the same reason why the Supreme Court will always be 5-4 either way so the public can be divided and fight amongst themselves.

    But anyway if Obama knew he was going to be a Presidential Candidate five years ago, let alone twenty, he would have done things differently. He thought he was going to be an urban hustler for the Democratic Party and who can blame him for misjudging his potential?

  • ||

    Better to denounce the family pastor in public? I mean, I think the guy deserved denouncing, but I don't think you're going down a good road with this argument.

  • ||

    PC,

    Could you please write "city" "black" "urban" and "hustler" a few more times?

    I'm not sure everyone got it.

  • highnumber||

    PC,
    If Obama was planning on being "your typical city politician," why did he run for the US Senate?

  • ||

    "This speech hasn't seemed to move him much in Pennsylvania."

    I wonder if the new revelations coming out in relation to the just released First Lady calendar will help him in Pennsylvania by hurting her. It reveals a speech in which she was campaigning for passage of NAFTA. She told Ohio blue collar voters that she had been opposed to NAFTA at that time as well as now. Attendees of that meeting said they were very surprised when she told that lie. Hopefully, this will have legs and make Pennsylvania blue collar workers have second thoughts about voting for old thunderthighs.

  • ||

    highnumber,

    To be fair, Obama could be argued to be the Senator from Chicago.

  • PC||

    joe | March 20, 2008, 3:47pm | #

    Politics is the most racist, atheist game out there. The party establishments see people as being gullible and open to exploitation. I'd say by looking at the results that they are right.

    The same goes for rednecks. Whenever you have a Dwayne "Dog" Chapman moment when some idiot spews some racist crap they always write a "but the other side does this too" apologist piece for the racist. The way they set up the argument, they wish to strengthen and firm up the bases of opposing sides, not come to any resolution on the matter.

    With the white churches, they have Hagees and other evangelical ministers that are deeply connected to the Republican political machine to grab hold of the white people. Also you have the racist southern strategy that has been used from time to time. Politicians need racism and hate to direct to their opponents, usually mixed with a decent helping of "God".

    I didn't write the rules of the game, I just observe them. They are all criminals and hustlers, city politicians seem to be much better at this since they have one party rule.

  • ||

    PC,

    Politics is the most racist, atheist game out there. The party establishments see people as being gullible and open to exploitation.

    It doesn't have to be. You, personally, with your own behavior, are either part of the problem, or part of the solution.

  • ||

    Out side of Philly, PA is just hillbillies and yinzers.

    In other words, it is as fucking dumb as most of the US.

  • PC||

    highnumber | March 20, 2008, 3:52pm | #

    Like I said, when he hooked up with his pastor I don't really think he thought he would rise as high and as fast as he did. He gave a good speech in 2004 and shot out of nowhere.

  • PC||

    "It doesn't have to be. You, personally, with your own behavior, are either part of the problem, or part of the solution."

    I would think if more people looked at politicians the way I do we wouldn't have "the problem." I made statements on how I think politics is run, not on whether I agree that it is acceptable or not.

  • highnumber||

    ProGLib,

    Though he's from Downstate, Durbin is such a party hack that he seems more like a Chicago pol.

    And anyway, the Senate is not the place they go to represent Chicago in DC. That's what the House is for. I know that seems obvious, since they represent specific districts there, but I mean all the shit gets pulled in the House. In the Senate, they really do have to appear to represent the entire state. Downstaters (everyone not in the city or collar counties) can tip the scales in statewide elections.


    PC,
    Your cynicism borders on offensive. I honestly don't believe you understand why people (for all politicians are people too) choose to belong to their faith communities.

  • ||

    Though he's from Downstate, Durbin is such a party hack that he seems more like a Chicago pol.

    I'll second that

  • ||

    If all people looked at politics the way you do, PC, they'd just shrug their shoulders at the most manipulative, exploitive elements and let the figures who engaged in them skate.

  • PC||

    highnumber | March 20, 2008, 4:19pm | #

    It was offensive to me when I first read it too, even with the flowery rhetoric and beautiful prose that those gifted writers used.

    Why people join faith communities? Common people do it either for a sense of community, to fill a void, or because that is how they were raised. They used to run hospitals and orphanages and other services but taxes have been sucking those donations away from the churches. I don't think most politicians should be considered common by any means. Look at McCain, he openly sought out a politician that preaches that the end of the world is coming soon and we have to conform our foreign policy around that belief even though he doesn't believe in that view. One would have to be an atheist to exploit religion like that, to support the open exploitation of people in that manner. How can he believe in God if he treats him so cheaply?

  • PC||

    joe | March 20, 2008, 4:31pm | #

    If all people looked at politics the way you do, PC, they'd just shrug their shoulders at the most manipulative, exploitive elements and let the figures who engaged in them skate.

    ----------------

    So things would remain as they currently are, except the voters would do the same things consciously as opposed to being manipulated?

  • ||

    ...and no one would ever call politicians out for their crap, and nothing would ever get better.

  • hee hhe||

    damn that cavanaugh. he funny. why he leave?

  • ||

    Yeah, am I the only one who thinks finding out what drugs Cavenaugh is on is the only point of interest here?

  • JD||

    I don't know why I bother arguing with you, joe, but I'd like to point out one thing: you seem to think that it's totally unreasonable for Obama to privately talk to his minister about objectionable speech. But we know that Obama just called his minister stupid on national TV, because we saw it. So, joe, he can't be expected to privately talk to the guy while he will disparage him publicly? That makes sense to you? Me, I'll choose Option B: Obama's just another politician, who didn't think anything particular about Wright's words until it became apparent that the rest of America did, at which point he had to say the politically appropriate thing.

  • Russ 2000||

    the Senate is not the place they go to represent Chicago in DC. That's what the House is for.

    I don't think that's as true as it used to be. Certainly when Rostenkowski was in the House he did the heavy lifting for the city; and Carol Mosely Braun was utterly useless. Emmanuel's got Rosty's Ways and Means seat, but he's got zilch for lakeshore lobby money in his map like Rostenkowski had; the 9th district rep is from Evanston which doesn't help the city as much as Rosty did.

  • Episiarch||

    Obama's just another politician

    Nooooooooooo...it can't be! Obama is dreeaaaaammmyy!

  • Russ 2000||

    Obama is dreeaaaaammmyy!

    He's the senatorial version of Barry White. His point is made in 10 seconds, but you just can't get enough of his love, babe.

  • ||

    JD, you have to realize that Joe and Chicago Tom just don't get it. Or maybe we don't get it. I just find it hard to believe that morally committed people wouldn't privately confront their pastor if he started spouting racially divisive nonsense that went against the supposed core of their being. I live near a Quaker meetinghouse that spun off from another when their views on abolitionism weren't sufficiently adopted. But maybe Joe etc. wouldn't. And maybe evil triumphs when good people remain silent.

  • Russ 2000||

    I'm wating for BO's 15-minute monologue about real estate.

  • Someone Who Doesn\'t Want to L||

    I'm the math professor version of Barry White, except I'm five feet tall and white.

  • ||

    I don't know, personally, I think Huckabee had a good take.

    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2008/3/19/72716/0494/229/479797

  • ||

    Yeah, Huckabee had a pretty good take.

  • Someone Who Doesn\'t Want to L||

    I'm not talking about leaving a church you just started going to, as that National Review writer claims to have done.

    joe, it doesn't read that way to me. He does say that two of his children were baptized at that church, which makes it hard for me to see how he could have just started going to. I guess it's remotely possible that he'd been going there almost exactly nine months, but it seems almost like it'd have to have been longer.

    I'm not saying that you should immediately abandon any old friends or family for racism or other nutty or vile views. If I did that, I probably wouldn't have much family left. Not attending a church (or even really understanding what people get out of it), I don't know if a pastor or minister fits in this same category, but for many people, I suspect they would. The National Review writer is clearly not among them.

  • ||

    JD, you have to realize that Joe and Chicago Tom just don't get it.

    I get it all right.

    It's stupid and silly to demand that Obama or any church going person be held to that standard...but I get it.

    And let's be clear here. If Obama had "talked to him privately" what difference would it have made?

    What if he did talk to Wright privately about that type of rhetoric and Wright said "look, this is what I believe, this is how i preach -- I respect your opinion, but I don't tell you how to legislate and you don't tell me how to preach" -- Would that have been sufficient to you?

    Essentially your point seems to be that unless Obama abandoned that church he is endorsing EVERYTHING that the preacher is saying.

    That's beyond dumb.

    As I said before on other threads...it's not just the preacher he would be abandoning. It would be the church, the congregation, and many members of that community. And it isn't just Obama -- it's his wife and children too.

    I don't think anyone has a right to demand he do that. There is nothing contradictory about disagreeing with your pastor on certain things yet continuing to go to the same church. Catholics do it all the time and no one demands they leave every time a priest says something nutty.

  • .||

    As for the private conversation thing:

    Maybe my mind is inventing things, correct me if it is, but didn't he mention something along those lines in his speech?

    Or did he say the comments were wrong, etc, with no mention of conversations with the pastor about it?

  • Geotpf||

    ChicagoTom | March 20, 2008, 6:45pm | #

    Catholics do it all the time and no one demands they leave every time a priest says something nutty.


    Or touches an altar boy's nuts.

  • ||

    you seem to think that it's totally unreasonable for Obama to privately talk to his minister about objectionable speech

    Actually, no, JD. I think it's totally unreasonable that people like you stick you big noses into his business and decide that he needed to make a big public show of calling out his minister in order to make you feel better.

    How do you know who he talked to privately? Oh, right: you don't care.

  • ||

    Essentially your point seems to be that unless Obama abandoned that church he is endorsing EVERYTHING that the preacher is saying.

    Because, of course, everything that church did, everything that minister said, and everything those parishioners believe is summed up in 25 seconds of videotape edited together by his political opponents.

    Ergo, JD knows all he needs to know about those people, and what they should have done.

    Are this naive about how the media works, JD and creech? Are you this easily manipulated, that you think you have the right to put yourself between a man and his pastor, when you've only seem them either one of them on television?

  • ||

    "...between a man and his church, when you've only seen either one of them on television?"

    Don't pass off your gullibility as worldliness. It doesn't make you special that you can be made to dislike a politician.

  • ||

    Hey,

    Obama should leave his church because his pastor spews nonsense?

    Does that mean Geraldine Ferraro and I should leave America because Bush Lied us into war?

    I love my country even if the president is an idiot.

  • Jumbie||

    Weren't Lewis and/or Clark racists?

  • alan||

    Of course I'm pretty sick of this story and can't wait for the next pol to drop his pants to rev up another news cycle, but out of curiosity, I did a little research.

    The item I found most disturbing is a comment made by Donna Brazile on This Week with Stepho~ where she stated that what Wright said, his words and style, were typical of the churches of Black America, and in comparison he was one of the more moderate preachers.

    Fortunately, this is a pretty easy matter to test, as in my area there is a metro population consisting of over a million people and a large number of blacks. There also happens to be a public access channel devoted entirely to the clips from sermons of black pastors from our local ministries. I TiVo'd seven half hour segments of sermons over the week and watched.

    There is really nothing controversial to report. The rhetorical style of most of the pastors was closer in kin to The Power of Positive Thinking than to Elijah Mohammad. I'm sure my local churches are pretty typical of what occurs nationwide, and there seems to me to be a bit of defamation of the predominately black denominations going on this week.

  • ||

    alan,

    Watch the cable access channel for a decade.

    Find the most inflammatory 30 seconds over the course of that decade and edit it together.

    That's what we're talking about here.

  • ||

    I think this sums it up. From William Saletan's "Lessons Learned" from his support for the Iraq War:


    2. Suspicion can become gullibility. I'm all for suspicion, particularly in foreign relations. The world is full of bad people, and bad people are more likely to claw their way to power in other countries than good people are. But past a certain point, suspicion can make you credulous. This is what happened to Dick Cheney. He was so suspicious of Saddam that he bought-and spread-rumors, lies, and exaggerations about Iraqi WMD. Worse, he failed to recognize his credulity, since he thought he was being suspicious. The next time somebody feeds you rumors in the name of vigilance, remember this.

    Reflexive reactions are the opposite of thoughtful questioning. This is true, even when your reflexive reaction is couched as world-weary cynicism. It can be just another reason not to think.

  • ||

    I'm still waiting to hear from a single person who has done what every single one of Barack Obama's political opponents agree that any decent person would have obviously done in his place - gotten all up in their pastor's grill and chewed him out for saying things they didn't like in his sermons.

    Most people aren't in Obama's position (thay don't have pastors who say crazy, divisive, shit like Rev. Wright, which they claim to strongly disagree with) so they don't have any reason to get all up in his/her grill.

    The rhetorical style of most of the pastors was closer in kin to The Power of Positive Thinking than to Elijah Mohammad.

    When I lived in Richmond, and to a lesser extent in Dallas, I would listen to radio aimed at the sizable black community. It was fascinating; although I don't recall a lot of preachers, most of what I heard was more in line with a positive empowerment message than a racial resentment message.

  • alan||

    joe | March 21, 2008, 8:52am | #
    alan,

    Watch the cable access channel for a decade.

    Find the most inflammatory 30 seconds over the course of that decade and edit it together.

    That's what we're talking about here.


    Joe, don't assume that the only material I have in my possession of Wright's statements and sermons are the Youtube videos. Those clips were not out of context. He is a victimology agitator of the most rank disposition.

  • alan||

    and there seems to me to be a bit of defamation of the predominately black denominations going on this week.

    In other words, some of Obama's partisans have been building up Wright by tearing down other black congregations.

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