Patterico's Pontifications

3/13/2008

Obama’s “Spiritual Advisor”: A Real Political Liability

Filed under: 2008 Election,General — Patterico @ 11:40 am



Tom Bevan:

Brian Ross’s report for Good Morning America on Barack Obama’s pastor, Jeremiah Wright, is potentially a huge problem for Obama. In the piece, Ross has clips of Wright delivering sermons in which he says we should not say God Bless America, but God “Damn” America, in which he calls America the US of KKKA (referring to how racist the country is), and in which he says about September 11 that America’s “chickens have come home to roost.”

As if that weren’t bad enough, Mark Halperin has a Youtube of Wright in which he says Jesus was a black man killed by rich white folks and he drops the N-Word in reference to Hillary.

Jeez. This is Obama’s “spiritual advisor”?

I knew Wright had said supportive things about Louis Farrakhan, and that’s bad enough. But I had no idea it was this bad.

Unless our news media is totally in the bag for Obama, I think Bevan is right. He’s going to face increased scrutiny on this, and it could be a real problem for him.

41 Responses to “Obama’s “Spiritual Advisor”: A Real Political Liability”

  1. Rush was on this today….and as I listened, I could picture a Republican National Committee election advertisement…

    And, all it would have to be would be a picture of Rev. Wright…and his voice-over from his sermon….

    And, a note that says that Barack Obama is a member of his church, and was married by him…

    And, a reminder that this sermon is not about religion….

    reff (bff229)

  2. Obama’s pastor says God should damn America while his wife says this is the first time she’s been proud of America. That won’t play well in the heartland.

    DRJ (a431ca)

  3. With these attitudes toward whites and the realization that whites will be a minority in the US real soon, you know it’s gonna end very badly for white people in this country.

    j curtis (c84b9e)

  4. I am somewhat surprised with the coverage the networks have been giving to Obama as well as Clinton. Not quite like the old days. I think this is more of a sign the young turks are in the senior management positions and are less concerned with 60’s liberal agendas and more focused on ratings.

    Best strategy for GOP faithful is to sit silently and watch it play out. Rush, Ann, Sean and the like will milk it for ratings just as the networks are but if the GOP rank and file just sit back and let the moderate Dems digest it all from the networks…some of those so-called Reagan Democrats may come back to the fold this election.

    voiceofreason2 (10af7e)

  5. Most of BHO’s supporters believe the exact same crap that Wright is shoveling. So does it really hurt BHO that much? BTW, Wright is “retiring” in May.

    gp (72be5d)

  6. With these attitudes toward whites and the realization that whites will be a minority in the US real soon, you know it’s gonna end very badly for white people in this country.

    There is an enormous difference in being a minority (as in Asians make up less than 12% of the population) than to be in a demographic that only makes up 45% of the population.

    Nothing is going to “end badly”.

    voiceofreason2 (10af7e)

  7. This is a HUGE issue that is RIPE for exploitation by 527 groups.

    And its perfectly legitimate. Obama joined this church sometime between 1985 and 1988 according to this: http://www.biography.com/search/article.do?id=12782369&page=3

    That’s 20+ plus years.

    WLS (68fd1f)

  8. Dream on if you think the drive-bys will give this the amount of coverage it deserves.

    CraigC (802489)

  9. Wright is not as big a problem as Michelle. Dorothy Rabinowitz is on the case.

    She recently waxed irate over the American attention to security interests, arguing that we should be “changing the conversation” and building diplomatic relations “instead of protecting ourselves against terrorists.” A minor note, to be sure, though it’s to be hoped that a President Obama will not turn to this closest adviser for her views on the national defense.

    A New Yorker profile published last week quotes numerous stump speech pronouncements, among them Mrs. Obama’s assertion that most Americans’ lives have gotten worse since she was a girl. “So if you want to pretend like there was some point in the last couple of decades when your life was easy, I want to meet you.”

    Our future president and first lady ? We’ll see.

    Mike K (f89cb3)

  10. reff wrote: Rush was on this today….and as I listened, I could picture a Republican National Committee election advertisement…
    BUZZZ! Sorry, not gonna happen. Remember, with McCain taking the reins as alpha-pubbie, it’s all Senatorial respect, all the time.

    My friend.

    L.N. Smithee (b048eb)

  11. I do no think we should apply the same level of scrutiny to such religious matters as to a man’s purely political associations and to his own stated positions. Church and religious associations are about emotions and community, and often have little to do with one’s stance on political issues.

    While a church freely chosen, and then kept with, may reasonably be hung on a man somewhat more than a church one was born into, and then kept with, Obama was a mere 23 years old (pre-Harvard Law) when he started his association with Wright.

    It is only a little more reasonable, IMHO, to hang Wright on Obama than it is to hang all the teachings of the Mormon church on Romney, or even all of the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church on Senator Kennedy.

    No one attacks Kennedy as “anti-choice,” because his words and actions show that he is quite the opposite; I understand that Obama has similarly distanced himself from various of Wright’s pronouncements. I also doubt the implication of some of these articles, that such controversial teachings constitute a big portion of Wright’s weekly sermons, or are even as central to his church as, say, opposition to abortion is to the Roman Catholic Church.

    No one expects Kennedy to leave his church because he disagrees with it. Why should Obama have to leave his church to prove that he disagrees with Wright?

    DWPittelli (2e1b8e)

  12. No one expects Kennedy to leave his church because he disagrees with it. Why should Obama have to leave his church to prove that he disagrees with Wright?

    How about a “Bob Jones University” level of detailed questioning from the press? Would that be OK?

    capitano (03e5ec)

  13. Wright was primarily responsible for Obama’s conversion to Christianity. Wright is much more than just a pastor to him. It’s entirely relevant to explore whether Wright was preaching the same message 20 years ago, and whether Obama was attracted to Wright because of, or in spite of, that rhetoric.

    The combination of Wright’s long-demonstrated antipathy for white America, for America itself, and Michelle Obama’s beyond stupid statements, will make for some very difficult times for a candidate Obama. She won’t be able to chalk up her “proud of my country for the first time” statements as inartful phrasing, not what she really meant, when they constantly match up with the antagonistic, anti-American rhetoric which constantly comes from Rev. Wright.

    And Smithee, it won’t matter what the RNC does or what the McCain campaign itself does. There will be plenty of 527s out there in this race, and they won’t feel the need to heed the “respect” message.

    PatHMV (653160)

  14. So if Obama gets to be president who is still for a more powerful executive, unhampered by those pesky congressmen?

    EdWood (c2268a)

  15. PatHMV wrote: And Smithee, it won’t matter what the RNC does or what the McCain campaign itself does. There will be plenty of 527s out there in this race, and they won’t feel the need to heed the “respect” message.

    I’m wondering who it is that will pony up the dough for them, since heretofore Mac is not inspiring a lot of cash from the base.

    L.N. Smithee (b048eb)

  16. DWPitelli, it is perfectly legitimate to connect Obama with Wright.

    Chicago Tribune:
    January 21, 2007

    “When Obama sought his own church community, he felt increasingly at home at Trinity.

    Later he would base his 2004 keynote speech to the Democratic National Convention on a Wright sermon called “Audacity to Hope” – also the inspiration for Obama’s second memoir, “The Audacity of Hope.”

    Though Wright and Obama do not often talk one-on-one, the senator does check with is pastor before making any bold political moves.”

    It would seem that Wright has a immense influence on Obama. Obama felt at home at Wright’s church, a church that has been Afro-centric since Wright took over, Obama was so impressed by a Wright sermon he named his book after it, and Obama consults with Wright before he makes “any bold political moves.”

    To discredit Wright’s influence on Obama is to be just plain drunk on Koolaide.

    Wright’s bio shows that he is the son of a Baptist minister, but could not get a church as he was too “radical”. From the same article:

    “Wright was hired by Trinity United when he could find no Baptist church to take him. The congreation on 95th Street, then numbering just 87, had recently adopted the motto “Unashamedly balck and unapologetically Christian.” The did not mind his fiery red Afro and black power agenda.

    One has to ask why Obama was so drawn to Wright and United Trinity under Wright. And why, when Wright has been a “black powerist” since he took over Trinity, Obama, if he disagreed with Wright, stayed at Trinity.

    And don’t give me that “Catholics did not leave their churches when priests were found to be pedophiles” crap. Those priests did not preach pedophilia from the pulpit. Nor were they allowed to stay at those parishes when they were outed. My own priest was involved in a drunk driving incident and we, the parishioners, demanded that he be removed from our church. So the comparison is not the same.

    If Obama is such an inclusive kinda guy, he should have voted with his feet at Trinity. Instead, Barack was married at Trinity. His children were christened at Trinity. He gave over $2,000 in just one year to Trinity. And when the rumors started that he was a Muslim, he touted his 20 year association with Trinity. And Trinity IS the Rev. Mr. Wright.

    Mitt Romney was drug through the coals because he is a Morman. He was attacked because his grandfather had multiple wives. Where has the scrutiny been over Obama’s racist (yes, Wright is a racist) minister?

    [Retire05 – I edited your comment, but only to fix the bold and italics codes. — DRJ]

    retire05 (d69608)

  17. Retire05,

    1) Please do not strawman me. I did not refer to “crap” such as “Catholics did not leave their churches when priests were found to be pedophiles.” I referred to Catholics not being tied to their church’s position on abortion — something which, unlike pedophilia, is indeed preached from the pulpit.

    2) I was opposed to the attacks on Romney based on his religion. Indeed, when he ran for Senate against Ted Kennedy years back, I sent Kennedy a letter saying that his brother — the first Catholic President — was likely spinning in his grave because of Ted’s appalling attacks on Romney’s Mormonism.

    3) I agree that Obama’s joining a church at age 23 (or 26, for the formal joining and baptism), says something about Obama’s views at that time. However, exactly what was being preached then, the relative emphases on these various teachings, and exactly what it was that appealed to Obama then, is not known to us.

    4) More to my point, his having joined the church then, I do not think it fair to expect him to leave it later, after, indeed, being a member of the church community for years, and having his marriage and his own and childrens’ baptisms there. As I stated, “Church and religious associations are about emotions and community, and often have little to do with one’s stance on political issues.”

    DWPittelli (2e1b8e)

  18. DW Pittelli,

    Using that analysis, wouldn’t it be unfair to expect white male politicians to withdraw from social club memberships that they’ve held for years, solely because the clubs refuse membership to women or minorities?

    DRJ (a431ca)

  19. Victor Davis Hanson thinks Obama will not be able to stay on the tightrope:

    “In truth, one key to Obama’s success is that, on the one hand, his education, diction, charisma, and mixed racial ancestry reassure white, Asian, and Latino voters that the senator is firmly within the American mainstream while offering a promise of novelty-lite and “change” and “hope” to boot. And for the more elite among them, he raises the additional ante of psychological redemption at little cost—that his election proves that we are not only not currently racist, but also can be given atonement for the sins of our grandparents and beyond. Overseas that magic wand reinvents Americans as a revolutionary society led by the “other”, and not to be targeted any longer and caricatured as the old white oppressor.

    On the other hand, a tripartite name like Barack Hussein Obama, silhouetted at times by the fiery racialist rhetoric of Rev. Wright, and the serial lamentations of Michelle Obama, also provides a clear subtext to the African-American base, and the hard Left — Obama has real fides; he is one of the people; and he expects and enjoys such lopsided racial solidarity.

    Is this tightrope walking sustainable? I doubt it.”

    As they say, there’s much more at the link.

    DRJ (a431ca)

  20. Wright’s damning comments about America bear more than a passing kinship with another religious America-hater, Fred Phelps.

    Bradley J. Fikes (cd3054)

  21. Uh oh…here come the Obamabots again. Time to get new fans for the servers!

    L.N. Smithee (b048eb)

  22. “Church and religious associations are about emotions and community”

    I don’t buy this. The Wright church is not about theology. It is about these views such as “avoiding middleclassness.” What the hell does that mean? Those two guys who killed the UNC student body president didn’t look middle class. Is that what he wants ? I’d like to know.

    If Obama was spending his time explaining his policies, it wouldn’t matter. Trying to understand what this guy is about is like the old Kremlinology. He says nothing but platitudes so you have to get your information about him somehow.

    Mike K (6d4fc3)

  23. I fail to understand how he could have stayed with this church for over 20 years if he did not agree with what was being preached and supported by this fanatic. I am a democrat who will hurt to vote republican, but I do not trust Obama, and I think what we know about him is what he cunningly puts out there. The press has given him a pass and blacks ( I am one) do not care who he is or what he stands for. They will vote for him anyway. Many others have drunk the Koolaid. I am afraid we as voters are not very discriminating, hence Bush and now Obama?

    Arlene (92ffbc)

  24. DRJ# 18 Your analogy would be more equivalent if Obama’s church refused to admit whites… or maybe if the club would admit blacks but the chairman of the club had spoken admiringly of David Duke on a couple or (several?)occasions.

    The “Obama goes to church with a racist minister!!!!! He might be a secret-black-power-undercover brother manchurian-candidate who will get us all!!!!!” meme is kind of over the top but I bet it’s more effective than the “Obama has a funny soundin’ A-rab name!!!! He might be a terrorist mole!” meme. That one was even sillier.

    Has the Rezko thing played out? As a voter I would be more concerned about that.

    EdWood (c2268a)

  25. Oh, DRJ, Im not accusing you of propagating either of those memes. I hope my comment doesn;t read that way.

    EdWood (c2268a)

  26. EdWood,

    I did not take it that way at all, but what I was really trying to do was focus on the “emotions and community” aspect of DW’s comment. Aren’t social clubs largely based on emotions and community? I think they are. Thus, if a person gets a pass on his religious associations because they are founded on emotions and community, there should be a similar pass for social clubs.

    DRJ (a431ca)

  27. “Wright was primarily responsible for Obama’s conversion to Christianity.”

    What comes out of Wright’s mouth is the very antithesis of Christianity so it does make me wonder about this statement. Wright is a racist who uses hate as the perfect tool to win over an already angry group and then seeks to exact a price from everyone else outside these who feel justified. This is not Christianity, period.

    And it really makes me wonder how Oprah remains a member…

    Dana (b76117)

  28. D.W. Pittelli wrote: No one attacks Kennedy as “anti-choice,” because his words and actions show that he is quite the opposite;

    Scuse me? If we’re talking about Ted Kennedy, no, nobody says he’s “anti-choice,” as you put it, because he doesn’t fear going against the hierarchy of his church. If Obama has done the same regarding HIS church, I am not aware of it.

    I understand that Obama has similarly distanced himself from various of Wright’s pronouncements.

    I invite you, as a Obama supporter, to supply this thread with “various” specifics of “Wright’s pronouncements” that Obama has “distanced himself from.”

    I have not read transcripts of every word Oprah-ma has said in the campaign, but I have only seen him say vaguely that he and Wright don’t ‘agree on everything.’ As is his carefully honed style, he finds an artful way to say *nothing* that allows his believers to fill the void with whatever meaning best suits them individually.

    So, to folks like you, when Obama says “Like a member of my own family, there are things he says at times with which I deeply disagree,” he isn’t saying whether that means the parts of Wright’s sermon in which he alleges government plotting to subjugate black men with drugs to fill newly-built prisons, or when Wright said “God DAMN America” rather than “God Bless America” or when Wright intimated that the nation had it coming on 9/11. You are free to assume he disclaims those wacky remarks, but he will refuse to actually do so.

    L.N. Smithee (b048eb)

  29. DRJ:
    “wouldn’t it be unfair to expect white male politicians to withdraw from social club memberships that they’ve held for years, solely because the clubs refuse membership to women or minorities?

    Personally, I believe there is nothing wrong with belonging to a social club (or attending a university) which restricts its membership to men (or to women). I used to play billiards once a week with a half-dozen guys. The presence of women in the room would have killed the particular ambiance we sought. I see no reason why a club of 600 male golfers should be any less acceptable than one of 6 pool-players, although I understand the logic of all-men clubs having to have a “no business deals on site” rule to defeat arguments about women being excluded from power.

    I also know that it can be very hard to find or keep a black person in certain types of clubs, such as expensive golf clubs. I knew the manager of one such, who was always afraid that the club’s sole black member would quit, at which time he’d be faced with the dilemma of whether to hunt down a token, and give him a special pass to avoid the wait-list (a multi-year wait). If he did, this would of course be a slap to everyone else who had to wait. And if he did not, the club would be slapped with the “all-white” epithet, and politicians and other members in public life might have to quit.

    All the above said, I recognize that many clubs used to (and no doubt some still do) discriminate against minorities (or even against all non-WASPs).

    I would not join a club which actually excluded black (or white) people who otherwise seemed to meet the club’s criteria, and I would hold it against a politician if I believed he knowingly joined such a group. This would indeed include a church, if someone could plausibly point to an actual person refused membership due to race, and to reason to believe that the politician would have been aware of the policy. (I suspect that if none of the Wright church’s 10,000 members were white, we would have heard of this fact.)

    DWPittelli (2e1b8e)

  30. The timing of this story – and no, I don’t think it was deliberate – is almost perfect for McCain.

    It’s just in time to help Hilary win over the superdelegates with an “Obama can’t win the presidency” message, but late enough that the Obamites already have their hopes way up, and so they would sit out the election in droves if HRC gets the nod.

    At this rate, is McCain gonna have to campaign at all?

    ras (fc54bb)

  31. By the way, L.N. Smithee,

    I am not actually an “Obama supporter.”

    Like Clinton, he is a socialist, while I am a classical liberal (closer to a libertarian).

    I did vote for him in the primary because I have sworn that I would walk barefoot through broken glass if such were necessary to vote against the corrupt and mendacious Clintons. (If Obama wins the nomination, I do not know whether I will vote for McCain, a third-party candidate, or no one, or maybe Obama if McCain says something new and sufficiently frightening; If Clinton is the nominee, I will vote for McCain).

    But why must you assume that defending someone against a specific charge must be the result of supporting him more broadly — especially when I have also defended Romney against similar charges? (I live in Massachusetts.)

    DWPittelli (2e1b8e)

  32. Dana wrote: And it really makes me wonder how Oprah remains a member…

    Oprah may think she’s a worshipper, when in fact, like Obama, she is a member of her own personal cult.

    Last year, she pumped the worldwide bestseller The Secret, the overwhelming success of which may have been an indicator of how ready the planet was for A Leader About Nothing. Now, she’s enrolled hundreds of thousands in an online metaphysical education course based on the some whoozat guru’s book A New Earth. Scripture? It’s too restrictive, divisive, and boring by itself. Echkardt Tolle is like Religion Helper.

    And make no mistake about it; nobody — be it a civilian or a politician or a celebrity — gets on the Oprah show without drinking and regurgitating the Oprah Juice of touchy-feely feel-good positivity. She can no longer deal with people who don’t. To wit: Oprah had Dr. Laura Schlessinger on the show in 1998 as she promoted her book on the Ten Commandments. Throughout the show, it seemed Oprah couldn’t take Laura, and for the last ten minutes, O didn’t address her at all, speaking with members of the audience instead. One spectator gushed all over Oprah for some reason I’ve forgotten, and there was Oprah and that woman in an embrace, with Dr. Laura on stage in the background, ignored completely.

    One last thing about Winfrey — Whenever she retires, she will have done so without ever interviewing the most powerful black person in the United States since 1991: Clarence Thomas. Bet on it.

    Let me interject at this point that I am a black man.

    L.N. Smithee (b048eb)

  33. “Spiritual Advisor.”
    What a cute euphemism for “Racist Hate Monger”

    Perfect Sense (b6ec8c)

  34. #17, yes, you can expect Obama to leave his church when he gains some experience and becomes more worldly. Wright preaches against “white middleclassness” (what ever the hell that is) yet the Obama’s don’t seem to mind making six figure salaries. Obama might have bought into the whole “all the ills of the black community are the fault of whitie” when he was in his 20’s but he is no longer in his 20’s, now is he? And he has been accepted on such a level that could not have been acheived in the 40’s.

    Obama could have found another church, a church that preaced the love of Jesus and the Gospels, not hatred for white America. He could have just not gone to church. There were options open to him; he chose to stay with Trinity and Wright even going so far as to donate $22,500.00 to Trinity in 2006.

    Obama has two children. Would you stay in a chuch whose pastor preached such vile hatred to only expose your children to that kind of talk? If so, then you are no better than those who put their children in Phelp’s church.

    And sorry, while Wright’s sermons are full of emotions, they are all about politics. The politics of racism.

    retire05 (d69608)

  35. Dream on if you think the drive-bys will give this the amount of coverage it deserves.

    Don’t worry. This is the kind of “viral” item that will spread on YouTube whether the lamestream media wants people to see it or not.

    It’s accessible to people who don’t have a very deep knowledge of politics (everybody understands what the pastor is saying, and why it matters) and it’s controversial. By the time the election rolls around, most voters will have seen it or at least heard about it.

    Daryl Herbert (4ecd4c)

  36. which he says we should not say God Bless America, but God “Damn” America

    I watched this on GMA. It just hit me that he stole his line from Steppenwolf’s “Pusher Man” — those old timers like me remember that song. The way he delivered it was similar.
    Okay only half serious….
    And for the young’uns a link to the lyrics

    http://www.steppenwolf.com/lyr/thpshrr.html

    voiceofreason2 (0796b4)

  37. The Politico blog is discussing Mark Penn’s claim that Obama can’t win the general election. Most comments are pro-Obama and focused on how much better and nicer he is, but this commenter apparently had enough:

    “I feel like I’m living in an alternate universe here. Why is everyone talking about this race as if a 2000 lb bomb hasn’t exploded in the middle of it? If the media actually gets around to covering it, this nomination fight will be measured pre-Wright and post-Wright. Obama had an uphill road already as a black man, but in light of the videos of Wright yelling “God damn America” and saying we deserved 9-11, there is no way the superdelegates can allow Obama to have the nomination. All the Republicans have to do is run videos of those sermons during the weak before the election and Larry Craig could beat Obama. This race is over.

    Posted By: Albert | March 13, 2008 at 08:34 PM”

    I don’t want Hillary to be the nominee but Albert’s comment still made me laugh. (Politico link here.)

    DRJ (a431ca)

  38. From Obama’s ‘spiritual advisor’…

    “The black church is probably the only space in America where black men can have unquestioned authority,” he said.

    This might be problematic for Obama as he seeks to become the most powerful leader of the free world…a job where unquestioned authority is absolutely essential. On so many levels its time for Obama to shop for a new ‘spiritual advisor’.

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/custom/religion/profiles/chi-070121-relig_wright,0,5184608.story?page=1&coll=chi_news_custom_religion_promo

    Dana (b76117)

  39. I agree with Arlene.

    I am no prude, and I don’t regularly attend church, but this pastor’s tapes absolutely floored me. I am used to far left rhetoric (working at a university) but this was absolutely disgusting. I have also attended the First AME Church in LA, and it did not resemble in the least this screed. The maniacal glee and venom and sex talk with which Wright attacked America and Hillary and even Bill–“he did us like he did Monica Lewinsky, riding dirty”–will echo across the country for years to come.

    No rational person will vote for Obama, a man who sat and listened and approved raw hate, hate, hate. In a house of worship!! What is Wright saying when he thinks no one is listening?!

    Patricia (f56a97)

  40. Well, I only occasionally attend KKK ralleys, myself.

    J. Peden (63f30b)

  41. Maybe its time they told him to eather tone down his ranting or all those who come to his church will simply walk out and have absolutly nothing more to do with him ever

    krazy kagu (9e308b)


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