[Guest post by DRJ]
I don’t like politicians who parse words and, even though I know they all do it, some do it more than others. (I’m looking at you, Bill Clinton.) I think Barack Obama is parsing words over Jeremiah Wright.
Yesterday on a taping of The View that aired today, Obama had this to say about Wright and his church:
“Had the reverend not retired, and had he not acknowledged that what he had said had deeply offended people and were inappropriate and mischaracterized what I believe is the greatness of this country, for all its flaws, then I wouldn’t have felt comfortable staying at the church.”
I’ve searched high and low and I cannot find anywhere that Jeremiah Wright “acknowledged that what he had said had deeply offended people and were inappropriate.” Forgiveness and understanding is reserved for those who admit they are wrong, not for those who won’t admit it but have a surrogate say they did.
In addition, how have Wright’s words been “mischaracterized”? There’s video. We all heard his words and saw him say them. For Obama to claim that Wright has been mischaracterized is disingenuous at best. All reasonable people know what statements like “God Damn America” mean.
Having said that, true believers are also spinning Wright’s statements. One example of spin was on Fox News this afternoon when commentators argued over Wright’s words “God Damn America.” The Republican strategist criticized Wright, a pastor, for invoking God’s name in vain. The other commentator said there was a comma in the phrase and that Wright actually said “God, Damn America” so he did not use God’s name in vain. I didn’t hear a comma in Wright’s statement but if there was one, it’s a comma without meaning. The point is that Wright believes America should be damned and it doesn’t matter if he wants God, Allah, Wiccans or his congregants to do it.
UPDATE: Fox News reports that Obama also said this about Wright:
“What they spoke to was, I think, a brilliant man who was still caught in a time warp back in the ’60s, early ’70s and the ’50s, where he grew up, and had a sense of where America was and didn’t have a good enough sense of how it had changed.”
Wright can’t tell how America has changed? Wright has been pictured meeting with Bill Clinton when he was President. He lives in a large US city, traveled throughout the US, and presided over a church with 8000 members. Further, his parishioners, Barack and Michelle Obama, are excellent examples of how things have changed in America.
Parsing is one thing but for Obama to think any reasonable person would believe this is just lame.