Monday, March 24, 2008


I avoided a long discussion of Obama's Speech (you know the one--where he wanted to start a conversation about race and since then has moved on as quickly as he could to other issues) mostly because I didn't have the energy. For all the lovely words, I found it at heart dispiriting and dishonest.

I'm still not going to go over it bit by bit, but I do want to respond to a comment I got. Here it is, in relevant part (if you want the rest, try the first link above):

He said some things that I've never heard any other politician say about how associations with other individuals, even loved ones, don't necessarily dictate our own points of view, and that it's still okay to remain close to them. Everyone has a story similar to the one he told about his grandmother, but while most politicians would try to hide their gaffe-prone grandmothers, Obama puts his out there & tells it like it is. Whether or not you agree with his politics, or whether or not you intend to vote for him, you have to give him credit for being among the more honest and well-intentioned public figures we've encountered in a long time.

So he's in trouble for associating with someone, and he makes a speech saying "you know what--it doesn't really matter who you associate with." Some profile in courage.

That's really the trouble with the speech as a whole. He gets in trouble and decides this means it's time to teach us important lessons.

As to most politicans not discussing ugly stories about their grandmother, I would hope so--it shows they still have some sense of shame. But Obama was willing to exploit his grandmother for political gain. It was probably the low point of the speech.

Note, in addition, like so much of his general argument, it's based on false equivalency--as if some questionable statements made in private from an older ("typical white person") blood relative can compare to an ugly, nutty, racist worldview expressed consistently over the years on many different subjects in front of thousands seeking spiritual guidance by a man whom you've voluntarily chosen to be your mentor for two decades.

Regarding Obama's honesty and intentions, as I've said before, I'm not a mind reader. If you forced me to guess, based on their words and actions, I'd say President Bush is far more honest and well-intentioned than any of the candidates today. But who cares? A good man with bad ideas would make a rotten President. If Obama's elected, I can only hope he's lying about quite a few things.


Anonymous Lawrence King said...

I feel worse for Geraldine Ferraro than for Obama's grandmother. Perhaps he phoned his grandmother and told her in advance that he was going to do this, but Ferraro is clearly upset about being equated to Wright.

If Obama were a single adult, then perhaps he could be confident that he could distinguish Wright's wise comments from his foul comments. But while Obama has been going to this church for "15 years" or "20 years" (depending on which speech of his you believe), his daughters have been going there for their whole lives. How could he do that to them?

As Charles Krauthammer wrote:

. . . . Obama was supposed to be new. He flatters himself as a man of the future transcending the anger of the past as represented by his beloved pastor. Obama then waxes rhapsodic about the hope brought by the new consciousness of the young people in his campaign.

Then answer this, senator: If Wright is a man of the past, why would you expose your children to his vitriolic divisiveness? This is a man who curses America and who proclaimed moral satisfaction in the deaths of 3,000 innocents at a time when their bodies were still being sought at Ground Zero. It is not just the older congregants who stand and cheer and roar in wild approval of Wright's rants, but young people as well. Why did you give $22,500 just two years ago to a church run by a man of the past who infects the younger generation with precisely the racial attitudes and animus you say you have come unto us to transcend?

12:11 AM, March 25, 2008  

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