To the Max!

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Reporters are scouring old tapes and notebooks for evidence of Barack Obama in the pews during one of the Jeremiah Wright sermons he claims he never saw. Over the weekend Newsmax.com's Ronald Kessler claimed to find a nut:

In fact, Obama was present in the South Side Chicago church on July 22 last year when Jim Davis, a freelance correspondent for Newsmax, attended services along with Obama. [See: "Obama's Church: Cauldron of Division."]

In his sermon that day, Wright tore into America, referring to the "United States of White America" and lacing his sermon with expletives as Obama listened. Hearing Wright's attacks on his own country, Obama had the opportunity to walk out, but Davis said the senator sat in his pew and nodded in agreement.

The story's getting around, launched by Bill Kristol in the New York Times. The problem, according to March Ambinder: It's not true. Obama was headed to Miami during Wright's July 22 sermon. (And the July 22 wasn't even one that Obama denied attending. Very lawyerly, he's said "the statements that Rev. Wright made that are the cause of this controversy were not statements I personally heard him preach.") The whole affair put me in mind of another Ambinder post from November, about how Newsmax's chief Christopher Ruddy, a former Arkansas Project apparat, had mellowed on Bill Clinton and gotten a friendly interview from him for the magazine.

Ruddy himself conducted the interview. In an introduction, he writes that the ex-president is doing "exemplary" work.

To anyone familiar with the partisan wars of the 90s, the hair on the back of your neck just stood up.

November 2007 seems like such a different time. Hillary Clinton was winning the black vote; John Edwards was ahead in Iowa; the Clintons were so obviously going to reclaim the throne that the right was starting to adapt to them. For a few months the arrangement was shaken up, and conservatives seemed pleased that they'd finally be rid of the Clintons, but I think her George Romero-esque inability to stay dead has shifted the arrangement again. Organizations like Newsmax, which depend on checks from agitated conservatives, are hoping for a return of that 1990s dynamic tension.  And personally, Scaife and Ruddy see Bill Clinton as a man they can do business with.

Another odd cultural quirk I've been paying attention to: the Hatfield-McCoy war between Clintonian and Obaman factions in the left-wing blogosphere. MyDD, the blog where Daily Kos blogger Markos Moulitsas got his start, has mutated into a partisan pro-Clinton blog whose members post stuff like, uh, Newsmax stories. Daily Kos, which was actually dominated by Edwards supporters during his heroic bid for the big job, has become so pro-Obama that Clinton fans are boycotting it.

NEXT: Wiretapping: Not Always Right and Just, Surprisingly

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  1. but I think her George Romero-esque inability to stay dead

    Hillary has Vince Foster’s reanimated corpse in the basement and refers to him as “Bub”.

  2. Ah, but where is the partisan pro-Paul blog? Certainly not Reason!

  3. In fact, Obama was present in the South Side Chicago church on July 22 last year when Jim Davis, a freelance correspondent for Newsmax, attended services along with Obama.

    Freelance correspondent = Some random asshole we just found?

  4. I watched a bit of the attempt to make this a story on Fox and CNN yesterday.

    Couldn’t even find an angle that allowed me to understand what kind of person cares, let alone cares enough to not vote for Obama because of something someone (not Obama) said once.

  5. Jim Davis, a freelance correspondent for Newsmax, attended services along with Obama.

    Boy, that cartoonist for Garfield is getting really desparate for material. Give it up dude, you’ve gone downhill since “Garfield at Large.”

  6. Obama is certainly getting a bit of a raw deal here. But that doesn’t mean his people aren’t engaging in some dastardly deeds.

    Recently, I’ve gotten the same pro-Obama chain mail a few times, and seen the same thing posted in various comment threads at various blogs. The email supposedly “compares” the senate records of Clinton and Obama. Basically, it compares the bills that Clinton has gotten “signed into law” with anything that has ever come out of Obama’s office, whether it became law, failed on the floor, or was a joke from the start.

    I guess the Obama people are getting acquainted with being disingenuous via cutting and pasting.

  7. Who the heck is that guy in the John McCain for President ad on the right of my screen?

  8. Dear white america,

    Black people don’t like you. They say many things among themselves that they don’t say in front of you, things you would find critical and disturbing. Get used to it. You still have all the money.

    Smoochies,
    ObviousMan

  9. And Bill Kristol quoted Kessler. Yes, Newsmax was sourced in the NYT. Big surprise that it was inaccurate.

  10. If you can’t trust a freelance reporter for NewsMax, who can you trust?

  11. Wright: “America is run by rich white men.”

    Challenge: Prove Wright’s statement is inaccurate.

  12. And remember folks…this is an attempt to make something Obama may have heard into an indictment against him.

  13. joe,

    If you’re not out there doing the hard work of following potential presidential candidates a year and a half before the election to church on the off chance the minister might say something controversial, then I don’t see you as being in any position to complain.

  14. Can we all agree that today only, it’s O’Bama?

  15. Sixstring:

    Isn’t that Go! Bama!

    ROLLLLLLL TIIIIIDE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  16. Challenge: Prove Wright’s statement is inaccurate.

    Am I allowed to use the “All men are John” fallacy?

  17. Ok, there’s a lot of problems and it appears this election is going to be about flag lapel pins and crazy preachers. Or Clinton nostalgia.

    Speaking of crazy preachers, seeing John Hagee finally get some MSM exposure is like when your favorite indie band makes it big. Second favorite because Jack Van Impe can’t be topped.

  18. Whatever happened to hating O’bama because he’s a socialist jackass? C’mon people, don’t hate the playah, hate the GAME.

  19. I heart Jack van Impe.

    What’s in the news, Rexella?

    There was an earthquake in Turkey. The Bible says there will be earthquakes at the end time…

  20. BARAK

    Gender: Masculine
    Usage: Biblical, Jewish
    Other Scripts: ????? (Hebrew)
    Pronounced: BER-ak [key]
    Means “lightning” in Hebrew. This was the name of a military commander in the Old Testament.

    HUSSEIN
    Gender: Masculine
    Usage: Arabic
    Other Scripts: ???? (Arabic)
    Pet form of HASAN. Husayn ibn Ali (also called Al-Hussein) was the son of Ali and the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad. Al-Hasan was his older brother. The massacre of Husayn and his family caused the split between Shiite and Sunni Muslims, which continues to this day. In more recent times this was the name of a king of Jordan.

    Damn…even the guy’s name crosses barriers…

  21. It’s basically inconceivable to think that Obama hasn’t heard this shit from his preacher, so it was dumb for Obama to say he never had.

    Maybe he can get away with it, in that no one anywhere will have him on video. Maybe he’s telling the truth (I doubt it).

    But if something is found, he will have been directly outed as a liar, which isn’t good for him.

    It’s kind of a dumb subject anyway, but (probably) lying about it made it potentially bigger.

  22. They all look the same to me.

  23. Funny how fast the allusions to Islam stopped once this Christian Church video came out.

    Your TV is an echo chamber. Turn to the History Channel and flush your remote down the toilet…

  24. Turn to the History Channel Food Network and flush your remote down the toilet

    But otherwise, yes, you’re right.

  25. Rexella needs a more high-profile newscasting position. I like her cheerful reading of news items from Jane’s Defense.

  26. Turn to the History Channel Food Network and flush your remote down the toilet

    But otherwise, yes, you’re right.

    Not BET?

  27. Well a great way to drag the dialogue about Obama’s pastor out is create a related scandal and you get a few more days. While the wonks go back and forth as to whether Obama was at his “crazy,racist,etc.” pastor all the common folk hear is that Obama has a “crazy,racist,etc.” pastor.

    Kristol would not appear to be so smart when he makes such glaring errors as citing Newsmax over something that most people who did minor fact checking would find out not to be true.

  28. “Couldn’t even find an angle that allowed me to understand what kind of person cares, let alone cares enough to not vote for Obama because of something someone (not Obama) said once.”

    Surely you can understand the desire to at least pursue the “close association” angle.

    “Challenge: Prove Wright’s statement is inaccurate.”

    Cherrypicking. Plus, even if you proved that it’s accurate, what would doing so get you?

    “And remember folks…this is an attempt to make something Obama may have heard into an indictment against him.”

    Not entirely. It’s also an attempt to understand what’s he’s heard over the twenty years, versus what he’s claiming he’s heard. You might reasonably include that information in deciding a couple of things about Obama.

  29. This whole “controversy” is laughable. Crazy shit being said in a church?
    Come on. Only rational people go to church. Perfectly sane believers in the supernatural.
    The kind of people we want for president.

  30. Kristol is so fullllll of BS. Never forget he’s an operative commenting from a
    perch at the Times, coy in his disinterested stance, sugar wouldnt melt in his mouth. I
    especially love the line ‘conservatives have no dog in the democratic fight’ — he’s
    really counting on no NYtimes readers ever bothering to watch his desperate Hilary advice
    on foxnews. By soft pedaling it in the Times he thinks he can sway a few moderates back
    to Hilary, by screaming bloody murder on Foxnews, he thinks can sway a few Hilary
    advisors on how to attack Obama. And this Pastor business makes his job much easier.

  31. Turn to the History Channel and flush your remote down the toilet…

    Moder Marvels: Sippy Cups

    or

    Secret Underground UFOs?

  32. Surely you can understand the desire to at least pursue the “close association” angle.

    Not really.
    I am not voting for Wright.
    He is not likely to be appointed to O’Bama’s cabinet.
    What’s it matter?

    Plus, even if you proved that it’s accurate, what would doing so get you?

    About as much as proving it is inaccurate. The point is that it is that people express opinions like this all the time. The claim that it is outrageous is disingenuous.

    It’s also an attempt to understand what’s he’s heard over the twenty years, versus what he’s claiming he’s heard. You might reasonably include that information in deciding a couple of things about Obama.

    So, let’s say, I find out that O’Bama has been hearing this stuff regularly for 20 years. Am I supposed to conclude what? That he agrees with the guy. I’ve got close associations with people…even good friends…that believe some ridiculous shit. Is O’Bama supposed to be some sort of Zombie with no will of his own that must believe anything someone says in his presence?

    Like I said.
    I don’t see how anyone can actually care about Wright’s statements in regards to O’Bama

  33. Surely you can understand the desire to at least pursue the “close association” angle.

    Oh, I can understand the desire, all right. Since you can’t actually make Barack Obama look like a scary black radical based on his own beliefs and statements, you have to pursue an ‘angle’ that allows you to impute to him other statements and beliefs from which he has long and loudly dissented.

    Don’t worry, we understand the desire just fine.

    BTW, I’ve choses to associate myself with a bunch of looney-assed radical libertarians for the past seven years. What’s that make me?

  34. It’s basically inconceivable to think that Obama hasn’t heard this shit from his preacher, so it was dumb for Obama to say he never had.

    Well, yeah…except Obama didn’t say he never had heard “this shit”.. He said he wasn’t there when the remarks were made that have been played on TV 75,000,000,000,000,0000 times this weekend.

    Kristol has revealed again his utter incompetence. The guy uses inaccurate Newsmax stories (are there any other kind in Newsmax?)as a source in his New York Times column. Is it possible to be lazier or sloppier than that? How much they pay this guy? He should be arrested for grand theft.

  35. I think it’s valid to raise the issue. If O’Bama could be shown to share just some of Wright’s views, he’d definitely be inappropriate as a candidate, right? Though I agree that simple association alone shouldn’t be enough to harm O’Bama.

    To me O’Bama’s response to the media noise is more disturbing than the underlying furor. O’Bama shouldn’t get any more of a free pass than a white guy named, say, O’Bama would when associated with some pastor spouting equally racist nonsense.

    More importantly, what’s O’Bama’s position on Ireland?

  36. BTW, I’ve choses to associate myself with a bunch of looney-assed radical libertarians for the past seven years. What’s that make me?

    Retired?

  37. Kristol would not appear to be so smart when he makes such glaring errors as citing Newsmax over something that most people who did minor fact checking would find out not to be true.

    Making demonstrably false statements in a public forum hasn’t hurt Kristol (or his Generalissimo) yet, so why should he stop? I mean, he was one of the false prophets who led us into the Iraq war, and everything he said turned out to be wrong, and the result was his getting a cushy job at the Paper of Record!

  38. Moder Marvels: Sippy Cups

    or

    Secret Underground UFOs?

    My apologizes, should be:

    History International

    It’s the only channel left that still runs documentaries and hasn’t gotten all reality-showy…

  39. First, let me say that I will be voting for Obama in November in spite of his plans to raise taxes and his socialized medicine proposal because I’m tired of the warmongering Republicans, but regarding Obama’s pastor, I agree with what Jack Kemp said on Hannity’s radio program on Friday. He said that he doesn’t want Obama to be defeated on the basis of guilt by association. He prefers that Obama be defeated on the basis of the issues such as his tax increase plans and plan for socialized medicine.

  40. To me O’Bama’s response to the media noise is more disturbing than the underlying furor.

    Could you elaborate on this point.

    What is distrubing about

    http://firstread.msnbc.msn.com/archive/2008/03/14/770776.aspx


  41. BTW, I’ve choses to associate myself with a bunch of looney-assed radical libertarians for the past seven years. What’s that make me?

    Unless you have a memoir entitled “Not a REAL Libertarian” based on a post by URKOBOLD, this is an inapt analogy.

  42. I believe that Americans will judge me not on the basis of what someone else said, but on the basis of who I am and what I believe in; on my values, judgment and experience to be President of the United States.

  43. I’ve sat in Mass a few times while various priests said abortion is OK and the death penalty is much worse anyway, the Eucharist was just a symbol, God is our Mother, and priests should not be celibate. I vehemently disagreed with all these things, but I never walked out.

    Needless to say, I really, really doubt Obama believes the things this nut was saying, and it’s plausible that he simply sat there and rolled his eyes like I did, not wanting to make a scene.

  44. McCain causes a row when he calls religious extremists “agents of intolerance.” The conservative pundits hit him hard.

    O’Bama causes a row by not calling a religious extremist an “agent of intolerance.” Conservative pundits hit him hard.

  45. There’s no way, no how, that O’Bama was unaware of what Wright was saying. If he’d said that he knew, but that Wright was a good man aside from some loony moments, I’d figure the whole matter was adequately settled (barring something more, like O’Bama jumping up and saying the the Man engineered 9/11 or something).

    From my perspective, this is noise and not a serious issue. It’s just not a non-issue, either. I oppose O’Bama because of his socialist tendencies, etc., not because of his associations. Incidentally, those who intend to vote for him, I sure hope one of the houses goes back to the GOP. Otherwise, it’ll be a legislative bonanza. “America was willing to spend stupid amounts of money on the war? Good, move that over to fund our stupid ideas.”

  46. The preacher calling for condemnation (gawd damn amerika)of the U.S. for her sins is biblically based. His seeing the sins as racist in nature is somewhat accurate. His anti- white america rhetoric fills seats and collection plates which these days is the number one requirement for any preacher of the gospel. Being affiliated with this congregation has possibly benefitted Obama in his district politically.
    Does he believe the bullshit he hears from the pulpit? Who knows?
    Has he ignored some of it for political gain? Maybe.
    Would this hurt his ability to perform as potus? Only if other leaders think he agrees with the rev.
    Will it be used to crucify him in the political arena runnng up to the convention.
    Yes of course. His only mistake I can see is saying that he never heard these sermons and if he had he would have left the church. That will come back to haunt him.

  47. Wright has been the preacher at Obama’s chosen church for twenty years. Is it not valid to be concerned about some of the views being expressed in that church?

    Suppose McCain’s preacher could be shown ranting about how America deserved 9-11 and saying nasty things about black people. Would you all just snicker, “What’s the big deal?”

  48. I find it amusing that some here can actually summon the energy to get mad about how Obama is being treated.

    First, who gives a shit? He’s politician–and therefore a liar–and if this torpeoes him, why do you really care? It’s not like he’s actually substantively different from Hillary despite what his supporters (and her enemies) want you to think.

    Secondly, of course he’s going to get hit hard on this, because it’s juicy and has somebody saying bad things about the US of A and racist diatribes against white people. That anyone could think that his opponents wouldn’t sieze upon this because it’s “guilt by association” must have just started paying attention to politics yesterday.

  49. Newsmax lies, Bill Kristol cheerleads, and the New York Times enables. Nothing surprising here.

  50. Racist diatribes against white people? Really?

    Care to back that up?

    When has the Reverend EVER denounced white people?

  51. Racist diatribes against white people? Really?

    Joe is off in lala land again…

  52. If it were to come out that McCain had been attending a church run by a guy who was continually made pro-white supremacy comments over a 20 year period the “he’s just a guy he knew” argument wouldn’t even see the light of day, because at least in theory the church you join reflects at least some of your beliefs. So the content of Wrights speeches and the general tenor of the church he’s gone to for two decades is fair game for criticism and inquiry. It’s not just a guy he knew; its a guy who was his spiritual adviser.

  53. joe,

    So if someone says that the country is run by Jews, that’s not anti-Semitic?

  54. joe,

    From Wiki alone: “The government lied about inventing the HIV virus as a means of genocide against people of color. The government lied.”

    Guess it might not be white people that are behind that in the reverend’s mind. That’s a stretch, but it could be true. There are plenty of other statements along the same lines. If you want to say such rhetoric is justified, go right ahead, but don’t expect everyone to agree with you. I don’t–racism against blacks doesn’t justify this type of nonsense.

    O’Bama has publicly refused to go along with some of Wright’s statements (he’s condemned Farrakhan, for instance). I think you’re on safer ground saying that O’Bama doesn’t follow Wright, not in defending Wright. Again, I’m not going to condemn O’Bama for his mere association with Wright unless something meatier comes along. But his throwing Wright under the bus today isn’t all that impressive, either. Politicians are great at betraying their friends when their ambitions are endangered.

  55. Who cares about Newsmax or Bill Kristol?

    The fact is that the man who might be the next president of the United States has fairly close ties to people who extol a black nationalist worldview.

    Also, it’s not particularly important whether Obama attended this or that sermon of Wright’s. The fact is that he has been a member for twenty years and has donated a lot of money to it ($22,500 in 2006). He also devotes twenty pages of his autobiography to Wright. So it’s normal that he should be held accountable to some extent for the views expressed in this church.

  56. joe, you are often thick-headed so I will explain this for you. I don’t give a shit what was actually said, I am pointing out that this is the way it’s being spun (true or no), and of course his opponents are going to try and use it.

    Your hero-worship of Obama is making you defensive.

  57. Maybe Obama could just come out and say he really doesn’t give a shit about the church he was in, he was just there to make connections with civil rights leaders.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if that were the truth.

  58. I’ve sat in Mass a few times while various priests said abortion is OK and the death penalty is much worse anyway, the Eucharist was just a symbol, God is our Mother, and priests should not be celibate. I vehemently disagreed with all these things, but I never walked out.

    What, did you trip and fall into a New Jersey Episcopalian church?

  59. Once again we are forced to ponder the conundrum of our age: Why isn’t Bill Kristol wearing a paper hat and asking “Would you like frys with that” as his intellect merits?

  60. A black nationalist worldview might prove to be a refreshing change.

    But will they try to change the name of the white house?

  61. Three things:

    1. I disagree with things I hear at my church all the time. I have never walked out because our opinions differed, and I still have a lot of respect for the ministers who have preached there. This is really silly.

    2. Are y’all saying that Wright did/did never denounce white people as a whole, or that he did/did not ever denounce any white people?

    3. O’Bama met with the reporters and editorial boards of the Sun-Times and Tribune (separately) Friday. I have not read the Trib’s coverage, but, interestingly, to the Times’ writers O’Bama made the point of saying that Tony Rezko is his friend. O’Bama did not throw Rezko under the bus. He did give the caveat that if Rezko is convicted, that he was not the man that O’Bama thought he was. My point being that O’Bama appears to not be the kind of guy who ditches friends when they are in trouble.

    Bonus!
    4. Paint the White House Black (for brotherben)
    Notice who picks up the red phone!

  62. Elemenope,

    Nope, these were full-fledged Catholic priests. The Diocese of Rochester isn’t known for their orthodox tendencies.

  63. This won’t be an issue in the general election, when the Democrats will have the black vote automatically locked up, but right now, couldn’t Clinton force O’Bama to take positions on some issues that would make him lose black or mainstream votes? For instance, what are O’Bama’s views on slavery reparations? That’s likely a third rail for him–oppose it, and lose some black votes, favor it, and lose some white votes (and pay some in the general election).

    Politics sure is a nasty business. I’d hate to have some of my not-necessarily-well-thought-out posts here thrown back in my face if I ran for office.

  64. Why the Rev. Wright thing matters:

    (1) The Obamas were financial supporters of this guy. I would be very interested to know how much they gave to this church while they were members. If they tithed like good church-goers, it could be north of $100,000. And I personally would like to hear the reason they were writing checks to Wright when, according to Mrs. Obama, they were struggling to pay off student loans.

    Would anyone care to say that providing financial support for a racial extremist like Wright is irrelevant?

    (2) It provides some insight into Obama’s claim to be a uniter and a healer. If that’s the case, why has he been a member (and supporter) for 20 years of a racialist fruitcake like Wright? Jeebus, if Oprah Winfrey has the sense to leave this guy’s church, why doesn’t Obama?

    (3) Watching Obama respond to this provides additional insight into his character and skills. So far, its not impressive. He combines a weaselly evasion (“I wasn’t actually in the pews, as far as any of you know”) and pandering over-repudiation (“I reject anything that anybody might find offensive”). Its positively . . . Clintonian.

  65. highnumber,
    thanks. that was , ummm ,
    funkadelic!

  66. I’d hate to have some of my not-necessarily-well-thought-out posts here thrown back in my face if I ran for office.

    Pro Libertate, that’s why prudent folks use handles in internet forums.

  67. I know–I’ve trashed the Libertate name for everyone else.

  68. Why the Rev. Wright thing matters:

    Matters to whom?
    You? Me? O’Bama supporters? Clinton supporters? McCain supporters?

  69. Clinton can’t force Obama to do anything. Basically, all Obama has to do from now on is to not fuck up, and the nomination is his. He does have a significant lead, after all. And when I say “not fuck up”, I mean “don’t do a Spitzer”. Anything less than that doesn’t hurt him enough to lose the nomination.

    The timing of this scandal actually helps Obama, in a way. It will be old news by the time the general election happens. Hell, it will be old news by the next primary happens (which is in, what, six weeks-and it’s one he was always going to lose anyways).

  70. First lets get one thing straight. This is not simply a “guilt by association” tactic. If Pastor Wright were simply a friend of Obama’s and that were the only linkage, that might be true. Obama and his wife chose to go to his church with him as a Pastor (and the congregation that cheers him on during his racist, America-damning tyrades) for 20 years and donated $22,500 to it. Then he put Pastor Wright on his campaign. I’m sorry, that is not simply, politely rolling your eyes while the preacher talks about politics. This matters for someone who is running for the highest office in America (the place that Pastor Wright wants God to damn) and anyone who says it doesn’t is not thinking straight.

  71. Matters to whom?

    Anybody who cares about who the next President will be?

  72. Yeah, man. This isn’t just “guilt by association” — it’s guilt by mega-association!

  73. The timing of this scandal actually helps Obama, in a way.

    In one way, the timing is bad – with the next primary several weeks away, this is a dead spot in the news cycle, so it will get lots of coverage.

    At a time when Hillary seems to be doing will in PA. If she pulls off a good majority in PA because Obama caught a bunch of negative news cycles, then the Dem nomination is still up in the air and the bloodbath continues.

    I think the audience that is probably most concerned about all this are the superdelegates, though. They’re finally getting a look at some of Obama’s dirty laundry, and how he handles it, and it can’t be making any of them more inclined to tilt his way.

  74. For some reason this all makes me think of those discussions that start with a statement along the lines of …

    “More blacks are arrested for crimes in the US than whites.”

    This time the statement is

    “Rich whites have more power in the US than other groups.”

    For some reason, factual statements that rely upon racial categorizations of people are very difficult to discuss.

    Why?

    I think it is because people assume that if you are categorizing by race, you are implying that it is race that underlies the behavior in question.

    Wright may very well be a racist.
    The topic of his sermon, however, might be an interesting one to explore…intellectually.

    Wouldn’t it be interesting if Wright’s statements were used as a way for Clinton and O’Bama to have a serious discussion about race and power in the US?

    Too bad it’ll never happen.

  75. Suppose McCain’s preacher could be shown ranting about how America deserved 9-11 and saying nasty things about black people. Would you all just snicker, “What’s the big deal?”

    You mean if he went to Falwell’s church? Do you think conservatives would be flipping out like this?

  76. And given that it is O’Bama, shouldn’t we use McClinton today?

  77. We could change “Rodham” to “Riordan”

  78. highnumber,

    Is the river extra green today?

  79. St. Patrick’s Day, when everybody is a little bit Irish…except the gays and the Italians.

  80. R C Dean-The nomination is not up in the air.

    1. Barring a live boy/dead girl sized scandal (which this ain’t), Obama will have more pledged delegates at the end of the process than Clinton.
    2. The Superdelegates aren’t going to overturn the will of the people, represented by said pledge delegates.

    It sure as heck appears, at first glance, to be up in the air, but once you do the math, it isn’t. Due to the way the delegates are split, a 60-40 split in a state doesn’t net you much. You have to win in a blow out, or win a bunch in a row, to move the numbers significantly, and Clinton’s not really going to do either. Also, all the delegate news for Clinton has been bad lately. She’s lost a few Superdelegates lately while Obama has been gaining them in bunches. Plus, every time there’s a final, final, final count of the non-Superdelegates, it seemingly ends up favoring Obama. For example, apparently, the final results came in for Iowa (yes, just now), and Clinton lost one delegate and Obama gained nine.

    Obama is the Democratic nominee. This became certain sometime during his eleven win streak before Ohio/Texas. It’s been pointless kabuki theather since then-Clinton can’t win and should have dropped out weeks ago.

  81. I almost hate to say this but here goes.

    There is a certain amount of belief mong christians I have been around that when bad things happen it is because God has withdrawn His protection due to the ungodly behaviour of a person or group of people.
    When Wright calls for the damnation of the U.S. for her sins or Falwell claims that Katrina is a result of our collective sin, it resonates with some believers and is “proof” that God’s word is true.
    I am too lazy today to provide biblical support but there are many instances in the Bible where God has allowed terrible things to happen in response to people ignoring or turning away from Him.

    That being said, I have to repeat what I have said in earlier threads. A true christian has no place in politics because their beliefs require them to ignore the laws of the land and that is contrary to the teachings of Jesus.
    Give to God what is His and give to Caesar what is Caesars.

  82. ProGLib,
    I haven’t seen the river since Monday last week. Have to assume it is, tho.

  83. The Obamas were financial supporters of this guy.

    Is that accurate?

    Or are they supporters of the community-based activities undertaken by Trinity United?

    O’Bama has made some mention of the church’s willingness to be a positive agent in the community as part of the reason he got involved with Trinity.

  84. The way for a christian to change you heathens and stop you from your sinful behaviours can’t be accomplished through legislation. I must bring you some Jesus so that you will see the error of your wicked ways and submit to willingly to live according to God’s will.
    Trying to legislate christian morals just alienates you non-believers and tends to piss you off.

  85. I’d say they have done just fine legislating God’s will. Isn’t God’s will all about letting people walk all over you, hating your own instincts, and hoping for the best?

  86. Geotpf,

    HRC hasn’t ruined O’bama’s chances of getting elected yet. She’s in this thing until she accomplishes that. Then she can bulk up a big Gore-gut and snipe from the sidelines at the McCain administration and bide her time until 2012.

    “See, I told you so.”
    -Hillary Rodham Clinton
    April 4, 2010
    First Day of Operation Iranian Clusterfuck

  87. During what was apparently a drunken web surfing episode, I signed up for Newsmax.com news alerts. DO NOT DO THIS!!! Every day I have to delete 10 or so useless news alerts from these jokers. I’m gonna have to figger out how to get off their E-mail list.

    Learn from my mistake. You have been warned.

  88. J sub D,
    report them as spam and your mail thingy will block it?

  89. Suppose McCain’s preacher could be shown ranting about how America deserved 9-11 and saying nasty things about black people.

    I don’t think you have to worry about this. My impression is that you won’t find McCain in any church unless it is to pick up the endorsement of some nutcake preacher. Nothing wrong with that, just saying.

    Since so much was said by Obama’s preacher that was objectionable, and it was, he should have walked out and disassociated himself from the church. Of course, it was also somewhat objectionable that so many Catholic priests rutned out be child molesters or enablers of child molesters. I would think anyone opposed to child molesting would have got up and left the church.

  90. J sub D,
    report them as spam and your mail thingy will block it?

    My inner voice just can’t get through reading that without a disturbing mental image of J sub D and a can of meat.

  91. report them as spam and your mail thingy will block it?

    I dunno. I’m an internet tyro. Anytime I want to do anything new, I have to stumble around, bruising my digital shins on cyber furniture that is NEVER where it is supposed to be. But I’ll check out that possibility the next time I visit mail.

    Salamat.

  92. J sub D
    I just mentioned it because both my email accounts have it as an option along with save or delete. I can hit “report as spam” and they no longer let mail from that addy come thru.

    it is real handy for me due to my former job as a porn star. The actresses I worked with won’t leave me alone. “Best ever” and such. You know…

  93. Obama is done. History. His main appeal was that he was a different kind of black candidate. He was a black candidate that didn’t play the white guilt card and offered white people the chance to vote for a black candidate who wasn’t a race hustler. It didn’t matter that he was a socialist. People were willing to vote for him just to vote for a black person who might have some hope healing some of the racial divide in this country. All that is shot now.

    Obama didn’t just know this guy or show up at the church once in a while. He went there for years. Got married there. Got the title of his book from one of the sermons. Gave 10s of thousands of dollars. Wright was one of Obama’s closest advisors. Yeah, I dont’ agree with everything the church I go to says. But if they didn’t admit black members and started talking about how black people started AIDS and the US got what it deserved on 9-11 I would tell them to fuck off and never go back again. The idea that Obama either didn’t know about this or that it is just like a pro choice person going to a Catholic church is bullshit. These views were beyond the pale and anyone with any moral compass should have stood up and left. Obama didn’t.

    Either one of two things is true here. Either Obama really believes this crap and has been lying to white America. Or he doesn’t believe any of it but went to the church because he was a half white guy trying to get into politics in the black community and this was a good way for him to get his street creed. I think it is probably the latter, which means that Obama is nothing but your typical jive ass politician who mao maos with the Jeremiah Wrights of the world when he needs to and talks about the “audacity of hope” when he thinks that will get him ahead. Either way, this episode has reveal Obama to be anything but what he claims to be. Only beta male guilty white people like Weigel would vote for him now.

  94. I’m shocked, shocked! that insanity, hatred and racism could be occuring in a church.

  95. But if they didn’t admit black members

    Dunno…Jane Fisler Hoffman looks kinda white to me. Still, the church seems pretty segregated to me.

  96. John,

    Honest question.

    Did this incident change your opinion about O’Bama?

    Or did it change your reason for not supporting O’Bama?

    This only does damage if those who support/would possibly support O’Bama change their mind.

    I think the “Obama’s done” is a bit of projection.

  97. John-Nope, Obama isn’t done. As I pointed out, he’s the Democratic nominee for President. Now, that doesn’t mean he’ll win in November (in fact, during the last few decades, being the Democratic nominee for President usually meant you would lose in November), but he ain’t done. Not by a long shot.

    In any case, I can’t figure out the exact angle needed to jam this into a slimy 30-second ad aired by some anti-Obama 527. The general theme of the attacks so far (that Obama is an America-hating Muslim who goes to a Christian church run by American haters and his skin is kind of darkish) is actually rather silly if one steps back a second and look at the overall picture.

    SugarFree-Clinton isn’t really trying to make Obama look bad so he’ll lose and she’ll run in 2012. Her ego is just so big she doesn’t realize that she already lost now, in 2008. In any case, it’s obvious to me that neither Obama nor Clinton will be the Democratic nominee in 2012 if the Democratic nominee in 2008 doesn’t win. It’s obvious to Obama, too-he’s made multiple comments that this is his one shot. Now, Clinton lives in another universe, so maybe she does think she can win in 2012. But she also still thinks she can win in 2008.

  98. “Since so much was said by Obama’s preacher that was objectionable, and it was, he should have walked out and disassociated himself from the church. Of course, it was also somewhat objectionable that so many Catholic priests rutned out be child molesters or enablers of child molesters. I would think anyone opposed to child molesting would have got up and left the church.”

    First a lot did. Second, there is a difference. The Catholic church knew it was wrong and when it came out admitted as much and paid millions in civil settlements to make amends. This church has never disavowed or any way contradicted this stuff. They seem to actually believe it versus the Catholic Church who despite their failings at least understand what their failings are.

  99. I hear that Obama has also hired Washington Gubernatorial Staffer Mike Donnelly to help with his campaign.

  100. “Honest question.

    Did this incident change your opinion about O’Bama?

    Or did it change your reason for not supporting O’Bama?

    This only does damage if those who support/would possibly support O’Bama change their mind.

    I think the “Obama’s done” is a bit of projection.”

    I wouldn’t have voted for him because his views are way to far left for me. But frankly there was a time when I thought he was an honest guy and a different kind of politician. I also thought that people would vote for him for that reason. Most people are not political geeks. Most people don’t pay that much attention to politics. For that reason, most of Obama’s support outside of the Democratic party is pretty soft. It basically is people looking at the guy and seeing a black guy who is a good speaker and who doesn’t race bait the way other black politicians do. That is political gold in this country. Most people do not think of themselves as racists and would like nothing better than to vote for a black candidate who could heal some of the racial division in this country. When Obama looked like that guy, he was a very formidable candidate. His association with Wright takes away his ability to be that guy and kills his chances of winning in November. There is no projection going on my part at all. That is why I think it hurts him so bad. If you don’t, then tell me why instead of throwing out some smug meaningless bullshit like “you are just projecting” whatever that means.

  101. I would just like to thank the righties on this blog for kindly informing what the main message or appeal of Obama’s campaign was.

  102. I don’t think O’Bama’s done. This issue could conceivably hurt him in Pennsylvania, which could result in him not winning the nomination outright. However, unless more comes out about his association with Wright, I don’t think this derails his campaign. I still think he probably wins the nomination.

    If this story has legs, it could hurt him considerably in the general election. But I tend to see that as McCain’s to lose, as much as those words hurt me to type. Too bad neither party has an even somewhat acceptable candidate. Not that many, many people aren’t going to try to bend, fold, and mutilate their candidate of choice into something acceptable in their minds.

  103. But I tend to see that as McCain’s to lose,

    I agree. McCain could lose by somehow in some unforeseen way, shooting himself in the foot. He is fully capable of doing so.

    However, the democrats are at a disadvantage, speaking party wise instead of their candidates, because of their own timidity. They had a chance to turn the screws on the Bush Administration, deny funding, investigate the hell out of them, even impeachments of Administration officials involved in some of the shady matters like torture and domestic espionage (on that score, the thing that pisses Democrats off the most and they have explored, the attorney firings seem like petty partisan bickering over a matter the president clearly has authority).

    They could have created a more cataclysmic atmosphere in Washington, where the voters feel the urgency to settle these matters by throwing their vote in one direction, and most likely to those who oppose the war.

    But the Democrats did not do anything those who voted for them in ’06 expected of them so why would voters reward them now? I think there is a segment who have resigned themselves to the idea we are in the mess for the long haul, and maybe there are worse possibilities than a McCain presidency (though, personally, I would let you shoot me before I pulled the lever for McCain).

  104. I think you are right Pro. It is McCain’s to lose. the one upside of that is that Matt Welch can be gainfully employed for four more years. Absent McCain, I am not sure the poor guy has anything else to write about.

  105. Hearing Clinton and Obama supporters go at it is really kind of funny: “She’s bad because she will raise taxes 10 percent less than Obama will” “Obama’s bad because chicks should get their token presidency before blacks” etc.

  106. Chris Potter,

    So if someone says that the country is run by Jews, that’s not anti-Semitic?
    It would not be anti-semitic to say that the Israeli government is run by Jews, because it is. It would be anti-semitic to say that the American governmen is run by Jews, because it is not.

    Wright said that the United States government is run by rich white people. And it is. You know what else? The Russian government is run by rich Russian people. Yup. It is.

    Pro Libertate,

    “The government lied about inventing the HIV virus as a means of genocide against people of color. The government lied.” That is a statement about the government – a silly one, but one that doesn’t refer to race. The question was about whether he had made any racist statements about white people.

    Episiarch, there is no need to get pissy just because I called you out and you couldn’t defend your statement.

    Obama and his wife chose to go to his church with him as a Pastor (and the congregation that cheers him on during his racist, America-damning tyrades) for 20 years and donated $22,500 to it.

    Let’s see, that works out to $21 a week. Barack Obama threw a twenty into the collection basket each week at the church he attended. Yawn.

  107. But if they didn’t admit black members and started talking about how black people started AIDS and the US got what it deserved on 9-11

    Well, it’s official: John has neither seen nor even read what Wright said.

  108. brotherben –

    Yes, I can do that spam designate thing. I owe you one.

  109. J sub D, First one is free :-}

    Joe, i would have to contend that in saying the govt is run by rich white folks and the govt lied about aids, he is saying that the white folks lied about inventing aids. and I think I remember that figure being 22,500 dollars in 2006.

  110. Pastor Wright is a gay man… not that there’s anything wrong with that!

  111. here ya go joe. try substituting “white” where it says black and see how it reads.

    http://www.tucc.org/black_value_system.html

  112. It sure as heck appears, at first glance, to be up in the air, but once you do the math, it isn’t.

    Slow down there, big guy. If the Dem panjandrums decide that Obama is too damaged by this, then the superdelegates start going Hillary’s way and allofasudden Michigan and Florida get re-enfranchised. At that point, the math isn’t quite so cut and dried.

    I think everybody’s waiting for PA right now. Many, many news cycles away. This could fester or Obama could give the speech of his life tomorrow and make it go away.

    But he’s stuck between a rock and a hard place. If he comes down too hard on a black pastor, his black supporters aren’t going to like it, and we could be back at the “is he really black, or has he just been having us on” stage. If he doesn’t, he gives the story legs.

  113. The more I see of the Rev Wright, the more this looks overblown. I understand that a lot of white folks feel threatened by something like Black Liberation theology, but they shouldn’t be. It’s not anti white.

  114. John,

    For that reason, most of Obama’s support outside of the Democratic party is pretty soft. It basically is people looking at the guy and seeing a black guy who is a good speaker and who doesn’t race bait the way other black politicians do. That is political gold in this country. Most people do not think of themselves as racists and would like nothing better than to vote for a black candidate who could heal some of the racial division in this country. When Obama looked like that guy, he was a very formidable candidate. His association with Wright takes away his ability to be that guy and kills his chances of winning in November.

    This is what I mean by “projecting.” Your view of who Obama is and what people may find attractive in his candidacy is being projected onto “most people.”

    I am pretty sure that “most people” do not see Obama primarily as “a black guy who is a good speaker and who doesn’t race bait the way other black politicians do.” If that were true, wouldn’t Alan Keyes be doing better?

    But even if they do… I don’t agree that “His association with Wright takes away his ability to be that guy and kills his chances of winning in November.”

    This requires that people strongly associate Obama with the positions that Wright has taken. I don’t see that happening since Obama doesn’t seem to take those positions, and, in fact, comes out directly to denounce them. Only the very paranoid and cynical will see Obama’s open denunciation of Wright’s statements as evidence that he, in fact, supports Wright’s positions.

  115. The very cynical might see Obama using the affiliation with the Reverend Wright for political gain and now that affiliation has become a liability. The question all of us racist bastards are asking is how a person can seemingly ignore such questionable positions from the leader of the church for such a long period of time. And only strongly denounce them when it is politically necessary.

  116. Brotherben,

    Regarding the “Black Value System” link.

    The element it is missing when compared to the typical White Supremacist Value system literature is the Xenophobic threat and the need to actively oppose progress by other groups.

    It assumes that the white power structure is working against the black community, but it doesn’t seem to advocate actions to undermine the white community’s own success. Rather, all of the proposed values are about improving the Black Community.

    Try reading it with “our” in place of “black.”

    “Our community”
    “Activists, soldiers for our freedom and the dignity of all humankind.”

    “Our family circle must generate strength, stability and love, despite the uncertainty of externals, because these characteristics are required if the developing person is to withstand warping by our racist competitive society.”

    “Pledge to Make the Fruits of All Developing and Acquired Skills Available to our Community.”

    Unfortunately, the discussion will never get down to brass tacks about what is right and wrong about their approach to solving the legacy of racism in our country.

  117. Obama may support Trinity because the end results of their wacky philosophy are good for the larger community of which Obama considers himself a part…

    If the best criticism that can be made of Obama’s position on the issues Wright brings up is that he feels the black community needs to raise itself up in the face of its legacy rather than relying on the nation to do it for them, then I am not sure what is wrong with that position.

    Malcolm X said a lot of things that I wouldn’t support, but his basic message that you are stuck with your situation and can only rely on yourself was a pretty good message.

    This seems to be an extension of that thinking.

  118. My view on Trinity’s value system.

    They make an error in logic equating “Our Community” with “Black Community.” Just as White Supremacists do with “the White Race.”

    Politically, Obama just has to show that he does not make the same error in logic.

  119. And that should be easy to do since I don’t see how anyone can construe what Wright says as being a reflection of what Obama thinks.

    I just don’t see it being a connection that very many people will make.

  120. brotherben,

    Joe, i would have to contend that in saying the govt is run by rich white folks and the govt lied about aids, he is saying that the white folks lied about inventing aids.

    It is certainly blaming some subset of white people. Given the membership of white people in the Trinity church, and the membership of the Trinity church in the majority-white UCC denomination, and the complete lack of quotes from Wright discussing white people as a whole – the sort of things you can find in early NOI tracts, for example – the idea that he was denouncing white people as such is untenable.

    And while facile linguistic parallels are a lot of fun, you can’t actually “substitute white for black” in a statement without changing its meaning. The NAACP fought court battles against school segregation, while David Duke’s NAAWP preached in favor of segregation. “The law forbids the rich and poor alike from sleeping under bridges” wasn’t actually a statement about the wonderful equality and fairness of the law, you know.

  121. Neu Mejican writes,

    I don’t see that happening since Obama doesn’t seem to take those positions, and, in fact, comes out directly to denounce them.

    What puts Obama in a strong position to do so is the fact that he has been, in a very public and principled manner, advocating a position like that for years, throughout his public life. He doesn’t have to make up a response or make an argument for the first time – he can point to what he’s been saying about race relations and the generational shift between black people of Wright’s generation and of his own for the past decade.

  122. joe,

    Indeed.

    This reminds me of discussion regarding race I had with my grandfather.

    He was a very principled, honest, and fair man, but his views on race would have been considered quite untoward among my peers. Towards the end of his life his positions changed. He openly credited dialog with myself and my siblings for changing his positions.

    If I had disassociated myself from him because I disagreed with him, his views may not have changed.

    The idea that you sever an association with someone because you disagree with part of their world view seems petty.

  123. I think some of you are close but haven’t quite nailed it yet.

    This is a brilliant PR move by Barak Hussien Obama’s campaign.

    1. He reminds people he is Christian not Muslim (gasp).
    2. 1/2 the christians have probably hear some batshit insane BS coming from preachers (if not their own then some ding-dong on TV). The other 1/2 don’t go to church anymore probably because of some batshit crazy preacher. (Or they at least have a friend that says shit that would make them wince once in a while.)

    3. He gets to blame HRC for dirty campaigning (sp?). Every one knows “that bitch would do something like this”

    Like I said brilliant, Karl Rove would be proud.

  124. If any of you don’t believe me, google “Obama Moses generation.”

    Now, the kid wants to go to pbs dot org.

    G’night.

  125. Quack,
    One thing I hate about the internet is that I can’t tell if name has anything to do with your post. I think I need to get my Irony Detector recalibrated. Too many subtle people around here.

  126. Would any of y’all have a problem if a Catholic Church in a predominately Italian neighborhood proclaimed its Italian-ness?

  127. Or many it’s not that some are too subtle. Maybe it’s the opposite – some are so damn nutty that the ironic posts get lost.

  128. Cesar,

    Or if a Catholic Church in California or New Mexico offered Spanish Language Mass…and declared support for La Raza?

    http://somosunpueblounido.org/press/20060409_Marcha_press_release.html

  129. http://www.askpadre.org/

    Ask a padre.
    He’ll help you decide.

  130. Wright’s own words on the subject

    http://www.tucc.org/talking_points.htm

  131. A substantive discussion of Trinity and Wright.

    The more I learn, the more I find this a non-story.

  132. Or if a Catholic Church in California or New Mexico offered Spanish Language Mass…and declared support for La Raza?

    And if a presidential contender attended said church for 20 years and considered the pastor his spiritual mentor. Damn right it would be story.

    Thou dost protest too much.

  133. Neu Mejican,
    I appreciate your civil demeanor on this topic. I personally disagree with reverend Wright’s teaching. I find no fault in using the word community in the place of the word black. I would be disagreeable if the word white were substituted. I am as vocal here at home with the baptist and methodist churches being segregated racially. Not by law but by choice and tradition. My personal experience suggests that blacks are expected to go to their own churches.

  134. That being said, the average voter is seeing the sound bites and I suspect that more than a few white folks are greatly offended by Wright’s behaviour and subject matter in the pulpit. The fact that Mr. Obama has been in Wright’s flock for near 2 decades will in my opinion suggest to many voters that he shares the same opinions and that Obama’s rebuke now is simply a political response.

  135. Or maybe I should say it like this. When a large group of black folk get whipped into a frenzy by a man talkin about all the harm the white govt has done to the blacks it kindly makes us white folk nervous. And we don’t want a president that feels the same way.

    This is said somewhat tongue in cheek

  136. Damn right it would be story

    It is a story. No question. This could mean a lot of different things. It’s not wholly implausible that someone who attends a church headed by a certain pastor, and who becomes close with that pastor, shares his politics. Then again, it’s not a relationship that is necessarily indicative of a shared set of political beliefs.

    The situations certainly raises questions, and Obama has to answer them. He’s done a good job answering them to date, and he’s going to dedicate a big speech to it tomorrow.

    I think he’s going to put it to bed tomorrow, and make anyone who tries to keep it alive after that look like a h8ter. Because he’s the perfect messenger with the perfect message to handle this particular story.

  137. There’s nothing wrong with nervous, brotherben.

    What Obama’s trying to do here, it’s going to involve some discomfort, some confronting scary things, and some working through them. For everybody.

    That’s what makes it progress.

  138. joe, excuse me while I correct your math. If Barack Obama puts twenty one dollars in the collection every Sunday fifty-two weeks a year, it adds up to 1091 dollars. There’s big difference between 1091 and 22500. Just a friendly reminder not to act like a douche.

  139. I wonder, purely out of curiosity since I’m not religious, how much time Rev. Wright actually spends preaching about Jesus, the Gospels, and all that stuff as opposed to his crazy batshit. And would it really hurt not to work up his voice into a psycho-rant. Or am I being racist again?

  140. I would like to clarify that the 22500 thing was probably a one-time donation, or several large donations in addition to smaller regular donations, since they have an exact figure. I just realized, however, that it’s somewhat arbitrary for me to just say “one year” as my timeframe.

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