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The Obama Phenomena
Topic: The Obama Phenomena (Read 122147 times)
Re: The Obama Phenoma
Reply #50 on:
March 18, 2008, 10:14:03 AM »
Ah, if only I were a reporter at the press conference. "Senator Obama, if you are elected president, would you stop the US government from spreading the HIV virus to the African-American community?"
Re: The Obama Phenoma
Reply #51 on:
March 18, 2008, 10:32:04 AM »
The Obama Bargain
By SHELBY STEELE
March 18, 2008
Geraldine Ferraro may have had sinister motives when she said that Barack Obama would not be "in his position" as a frontrunner but for his race. Possibly she was acting as Hillary Clinton's surrogate. Or maybe she was simply befuddled by this new reality -- in which blackness could constitute a political advantage.
Jesse Jackson and Barack Obama, June 4, 2007.
But whatever her motives, she was right: "If Obama was a white man, he would not be in this position." Barack Obama is, of course, a very talented politician with a first-rate political organization at his back. But it does not detract from his merit to say that his race is also a large part of his prominence. And it is undeniable that something extremely powerful in the body politic, a force quite apart from the man himself, has pulled Obama forward. This force is about race and nothing else.
The novelty of Barack Obama is more his cross-racial appeal than his talent. Jesse Jackson displayed considerable political talent in his presidential runs back in the 1980s. But there was a distinct limit to his white support. Mr. Obama's broad appeal to whites makes him the first plausible black presidential candidate in American history. And it was Mr. Obama's genius to understand this. Though he likes to claim that his race was a liability to be overcome, he also surely knew that his race could give him just the edge he needed -- an edge that would never be available to a white, not even a white woman.
How to turn one's blackness to advantage?
The answer is that one "bargains." Bargaining is a mask that blacks can wear in the American mainstream, one that enables them to put whites at their ease. This mask diffuses the anxiety that goes along with being white in a multiracial society. Bargainers make the subliminal promise to whites not to shame them with America's history of racism, on the condition that they will not hold the bargainer's race against him. And whites love this bargain -- and feel affection for the bargainer -- because it gives them racial innocence in a society where whites live under constant threat of being stigmatized as racist. So the bargainer presents himself as an opportunity for whites to experience racial innocence.
This is how Mr. Obama has turned his blackness into his great political advantage, and also into a kind of personal charisma. Bargainers are conduits of white innocence, and they are as popular as the need for white innocence is strong. Mr. Obama's extraordinary dash to the forefront of American politics is less a measure of the man than of the hunger in white America for racial innocence.
His actual policy positions are little more than Democratic Party boilerplate and hardly a tick different from Hillary's positions. He espouses no galvanizing political idea. He is unable to say what he means by "change" or "hope" or "the future." And he has failed to say how he would actually be a "unifier." By the evidence of his slight political record (130 "present" votes in the Illinois state legislature, little achievement in the U.S. Senate) Barack Obama stacks up as something of a mediocrity. None of this matters much.
Race helps Mr. Obama in another way -- it lifts his political campaign to the level of allegory, making it the stuff of a far higher drama than budget deficits and education reform. His dark skin, with its powerful evocations of America's tortured racial past, frames the political contest as a morality play. Will his victory mean America's redemption from its racist past? Will his defeat show an America morally unevolved? Is his campaign a story of black overcoming, an echo of the civil rights movement? Or is it a passing-of-the-torch story, of one generation displacing another?
Because he is black, there is a sense that profound questions stand to be resolved in the unfolding of his political destiny. And, as the Clintons have discovered, it is hard in the real world to run against a candidate of destiny. For many Americans -- black and white -- Barack Obama is simply too good (and too rare) an opportunity to pass up. For whites, here is the opportunity to document their deliverance from the shames of their forbearers. And for blacks, here is the chance to document the end of inferiority. So the Clintons have found themselves running more against America's very highest possibilities than against a man. And the press, normally happy to dispel every political pretension, has all but quivered before Mr. Obama. They, too, have feared being on the wrong side of destiny.
And yet, in the end, Barack Obama's candidacy is not qualitatively different from Al Sharpton's or Jesse Jackson's. Like these more irascible of his forbearers, Mr. Obama's run at the presidency is based more on the manipulation of white guilt than on substance. Messrs. Sharpton and Jackson were "challengers," not bargainers. They intimidated whites and demanded, in the name of historical justice, that they be brought forward. Mr. Obama flatters whites, grants them racial innocence, and hopes to ascend on the back of their gratitude. Two sides of the same coin.
But bargainers have an Achilles heel. They succeed as conduits of white innocence only as long as they are largely invisible as complex human beings. They hope to become icons that can be identified with rather than seen, and their individual complexity gets in the way of this. So bargainers are always laboring to stay invisible. (We don't know the real politics or convictions of Tiger Woods or Michael Jordan or Oprah Winfrey, bargainers all.) Mr. Obama has said of himself, "I serve as a blank screen on which people of vastly different political stripes project their own views . . ." And so, human visibility is Mr. Obama's Achilles heel. If we see the real man, his contradictions and bents of character, he will be ruined as an icon, as a "blank screen."
Thus, nothing could be more dangerous to Mr. Obama's political aspirations than the revelation that he, the son of a white woman, sat Sunday after Sunday -- for 20 years -- in an Afrocentric, black nationalist church in which his own mother, not to mention other whites, could never feel comfortable. His pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, is a challenger who goes far past Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson in his anti-American outrage ("God damn America").
How does one "transcend" race in this church? The fact is that Barack Obama has fellow-traveled with a hate-filled, anti-American black nationalism all his adult life, failing to stand and challenge an ideology that would have no place for his own mother. And what portent of presidential judgment is it to have exposed his two daughters for their entire lives to what is, at the very least, a subtext of anti-white vitriol?
What could he have been thinking? Of course he wasn't thinking. He was driven by insecurity, by a need to "be black" despite his biracial background. And so fellow-traveling with a little race hatred seemed a small price to pay for a more secure racial identity. And anyway, wasn't this hatred more rhetorical than real?
But now the floodlight of a presidential campaign has trained on this usually hidden corner of contemporary black life: a mindless indulgence in a rhetorical anti-Americanism as a way of bonding and of asserting one's blackness. Yet Jeremiah Wright, splashed across America's television screens, has shown us that there is no real difference between rhetorical hatred and real hatred.
No matter his ultimate political fate, there is already enough pathos in Barack Obama to make him a cautionary tale. His public persona thrives on a manipulation of whites (bargaining), and his private sense of racial identity demands both self-betrayal and duplicity. His is the story of a man who flew so high, yet neglected to become himself.
Mr. Steele, a research fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution and the author of "A Bound Man: Why We Are Excited About Obama and Why He Can't Win" (Free Press, 2007).
Re: The Obama Phenoma
Reply #52 on:
March 18, 2008, 01:42:48 PM »
Here's BO's speech in response to the gathering firestorm over his reverend's rabblerousing and related matters:
OBAMA SPEECH IN FULL: A MORE PERFECT UNION
Tuesday, March 18th, 2008/ 10:17:53 ET
“We the people, in order to form a more perfect union.”
Two hundred and twenty one years ago, in a hall that still stands across the street, a group of men gathered and, with these simple words, launched America’s improbable experiment in democracy. Farmers and scholars; statesmen and patriots who had traveled across an ocean to escape tyranny and persecution finally made real their declaration of independence at a Philadelphia convention that lasted through the spring of 1787.
The document they produced was eventually signed but ultimately unfinished. It was stained by this nation’s original sin of slavery, a question that divided the colonies and brought the convention to a stalemate until the founders chose to allow the slave trade to continue for at least twenty more years, and to leave any final resolution to future generations.
Of course, the answer to the slavery question was already embedded within our Constitution – a Constitution that had at is very core the ideal of equal citizenship under the law; a Constitution that promised its people liberty, and justice, and a union that could be and should be perfected over time.
And yet words on a parchment would not be enough to deliver slaves from bondage, or provide men and women of every color and creed their full rights and obligations as citizens of the United States. What would be needed were Americans in successive generations who were willing to do their part – through protests and struggle, on the streets and in the courts, through a civil war and civil disobedience and always at great risk - to narrow that gap between the promise of our ideals and the reality of their time.
This was one of the tasks we set forth at the beginning of this campaign – to continue the long march of those who came before us, a march for a more just, more equal, more free, more caring and more prosperous America. I chose to run for the presidency at this moment in history because I believe deeply that we cannot solve the challenges of our time unless we solve them together – unless we perfect our union by understanding that we may have different stories, but we hold common hopes; that we may not look the same and we may not have come from the same place, but we all want to move in the same direction – towards a better future for of children and our grandchildren.
This belief comes from my unyielding faith in the decency and generosity of the American people. But it also comes from my own American story.
I am the son of a black man from Kenya and a white woman from Kansas. I was raised with the help of a white grandfather who survived a Depression to serve in Patton’s Army during World War II and a white grandmother who worked on a bomber assembly line at Fort Leavenworth while he was overseas. I’ve gone to some of the best schools in America and lived in one of the world’s poorest nations. I am married to a black American who carries within her the blood of slaves and slaveowners – an inheritance we pass on to our two precious daughters. I have brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, uncles and cousins, of every race and every hue, scattered across three continents, and for as long as I live, I will never forget that in no other country on Earth is my story even possible.
It’s a story that hasn’t made me the most conventional candidate. But it is a story that has seared into my genetic makeup the idea that this nation is more than the sum of its parts – that out of many, we are truly one.
Throughout the first year of this campaign, against all predictions to the contrary, we saw how hungry the American people were for this message of unity. Despite the temptation to view my candidacy through a purely racial lens, we won commanding victories in states with some of the whitest populations in the country. In South Carolina, where the Confederate Flag still flies, we built a powerful coalition of African Americans and white Americans.
This is not to say that race has not been an issue in the campaign. At various stages in the campaign, some commentators have deemed me either “too black” or “not black enough.” We saw racial tensions bubble to the surface during the week before the South Carolina primary. The press has scoured every exit poll for the latest evidence of racial polarization, not just in terms of white and black, but black and brown as well.
And yet, it has only been in the last couple of weeks that the discussion of race in this campaign has taken a particularly divisive turn.
On one end of the spectrum, we’ve heard the implication that my candidacy is somehow an exercise in affirmative action; that it’s based solely on the desire of wide-eyed liberals to purchase racial reconciliation on the cheap. On the other end, we’ve heard my former pastor, Reverend Jeremiah Wright, use incendiary language to express views that have the potential not only to widen the racial divide, but views that denigrate both the greatness and the goodness of our nation; that rightly offend white and black alike.
I have already condemned, in unequivocal terms, the statements of Reverend Wright that have caused such controversy. For some, nagging questions remain. Did I know him to be an occasionally fierce critic of American domestic and foreign policy? Of course. Did I ever hear him make remarks that could be considered controversial while I sat in church? Yes. Did I strongly disagree with many of his political views? Absolutely – just as I’m sure many of you have heard remarks from your pastors, priests, or rabbis with which you strongly disagreed.
But the remarks that have caused this recent firestorm weren’t simply controversial. They weren’t simply a religious leader’s effort to speak out against perceived injustice. Instead, they expressed a profoundly distorted view of this country – a view that sees white racism as endemic, and that elevates what is wrong with America above all that we know is right with America; a view that sees the conflicts in the Middle East as rooted primarily in the actions of stalwart allies like Israel, instead of emanating from the perverse and hateful ideologies of radical Islam.
As such, Reverend Wright’s comments were not only wrong but divisive, divisive at a time when we need unity; racially charged at a time when we need to come together to solve a set of monumental problems – two wars, a terrorist threat, a falling economy, a chronic health care crisis and potentially devastating climate change; problems that are neither black or white or Latino or Asian, but rather problems that confront us all.
Given my background, my politics, and my professed values and ideals, there will no doubt be those for whom my statements of condemnation are not enough. Why associate myself with Reverend Wright in the first place, they may ask? Why not join another church? And I confess that if all that I knew of Reverend Wright were the snippets of those sermons that have run in an endless loop on the television and You Tube, or if Trinity United Church of Christ conformed to the caricatures being peddled by some commentators, there is no doubt that I would react in much the same way
But the truth is, that isn’t all that I know of the man. The man I met more than twenty years ago is a man who helped introduce me to my Christian faith, a man who spoke to me about our obligations to love one another; to care for the sick and lift up the poor. He is a man who served his country as a U.S. Marine; who has studied and lectured at some of the finest universities and seminaries in the country, and who for over thirty years led a church that serves the community by doing God’s work here on Earth – by housing the homeless, ministering to the needy, providing day care services and scholarships and prison ministries, and reaching out to those suffering from HIV/AIDS.
In my first book, Dreams From My Father, I described the experience of my first service at Trinity:
“People began to shout, to rise from their seats and clap and cry out, a forceful wind carrying the reverend’s voice up into the rafters….And in that single note – hope! – I heard something else; at the foot of that cross, inside the thousands of churches across the city, I imagined the stories of ordinary black people merging with the stories of David and Goliath, Moses and Pharaoh, the Christians in the lion’s den, Ezekiel’s field of dry bones. Those stories – of survival, and freedom, and hope – became our story, my story; the blood that had spilled was our blood, the tears our tears; until this black church, on this bright day, seemed once more a vessel carrying the story of a people into future generations and into a larger world. Our trials and triumphs became at once unique and universal, black and more than black; in chronicling our journey, the stories and songs gave us a means to reclaim memories that we didn’t need to feel shame about…memories that all people might study and cherish – and with which we could start to rebuild.”
That has been my experience at Trinity. Like other predominantly black churches across the country, Trinity embodies the black community in its entirety – the doctor and the welfare mom, the model student and the former gang-banger. Like other black churches, Trinity’s services are full of raucous laughter and sometimes bawdy humor. They are full of dancing, clapping, screaming and shouting that may seem jarring to the untrained ear. The church contains in full the kindness and cruelty, the fierce intelligence and the shocking ignorance, the struggles and successes, the love and yes, the bitterness and bias that make up the black experience in America.
And this helps explain, perhaps, my relationship with Reverend Wright. As imperfect as he may be, he has been like family to me. He strengthened my faith, officiated my wedding, and baptized my children. Not once in my conversations with him have I heard him talk about any ethnic group in derogatory terms, or treat whites with whom he interacted with anything but courtesy and respect. He contains within him the contradictions – the good and the bad – of the community that he has served diligently for so many years.
I can no more disown him than I can disown the black community. I can no more disown him than I can my white grandmother – a woman who helped raise me, a woman who sacrificed again and again for me, a woman who loves me as much as she loves anything in this world, but a woman who once confessed her fear of black men who passed by her on the street, and who on more than one occasion has uttered racial or ethnic stereotypes that made me cringe.
These people are a part of me. And they are a part of America, this country that I love.
Some will see this as an attempt to justify or excuse comments that are simply inexcusable. I can assure you it is not. I suppose the politically safe thing would be to move on from this episode and just hope that it fades into the woodwork. We can dismiss Reverend Wright as a crank or a demagogue, just as some have dismissed Geraldine Ferraro, in the aftermath of her recent statements, as harboring some deep-seated racial bias.
But race is an issue that I believe this nation cannot afford to ignore right now. We would be making the same mistake that Reverend Wright made in his offending sermons about America – to simplify and stereotype and amplify the negative to the point that it distorts reality.
The fact is that the comments that have been made and the issues that have surfaced over the last few weeks reflect the complexities of race in this country that we’ve never really worked through – a part of our union that we have yet to perfect. And if we walk away now, if we simply retreat into our respective corners, we will never be able to come together and solve challenges like health care, or education, or the need to find good jobs for every American.
Understanding this reality requires a reminder of how we arrived at this point. As William Faulkner once wrote, “The past isn’t dead and buried. In fact, it isn’t even past.” We do not need to recite here the history of racial injustice in this country. But we do need to remind ourselves that so many of the disparities that exist in the African-American community today can be directly traced to inequalities passed on from an earlier generation that suffered under the brutal legacy of slavery and Jim Crow.
Segregated schools were, and are, inferior schools; we still haven’t fixed them, fifty years after Brown v. Board of Education, and the inferior education they provided, then and now, helps explain the pervasive achievement gap between today’s black and white students.
Legalized discrimination - where blacks were prevented, often through violence, from owning property, or loans were not granted to African-American business owners, or black homeowners could not access FHA mortgages, or blacks were excluded from unions, or the police force, or fire departments – meant that black families could not amass any meaningful wealth to bequeath to future generations. That history helps explain the wealth and income gap between black and white, and the concentrated pockets of poverty that persists in so many of today’s urban and rural communities.
A lack of economic opportunity among black men, and the shame and frustration that came from not being able to provide for one’s family, contributed to the erosion of black families – a problem that welfare policies for many years may have worsened. And the lack of basic services in so many urban black neighborhoods – parks for kids to play in, police walking the beat, regular garbage pick-up and building code enforcement – all helped create a cycle of violence, blight and neglect that continue to haunt us.
This is the reality in which Reverend Wright and other African-Americans of his generation grew up. They came of age in the late fifties and early sixties, a time when segregation was still the law of the land and opportunity was systematically constricted. What’s remarkable is not how many failed in the face of discrimination, but rather how many men and women overcame the odds; how many were able to make a way out of no way for those like me who would come after them.
But for all those who scratched and clawed their way to get a piece of the American Dream, there were many who didn’t make it – those who were ultimately defeated, in one way or another, by discrimination. That legacy of defeat was passed on to future generations – those young men and increasingly young women who we see standing on street corners or languishing in our prisons, without hope or prospects for the future. Even for those blacks who did make it, questions of race, and racism, continue to define their worldview in fundamental ways. For the men and women of Reverend Wright’s generation, the memories of humiliation and doubt and fear have not gone away; nor has the anger and the bitterness of those years. That anger may not get expressed in public, in front of white co-workers or white friends. But it does find voice in the barbershop or around the kitchen table. At times, that anger is exploited by politicians, to gin up votes along racial lines, or to make up for a politician’s own failings.
And occasionally it finds voice in the church on Sunday morning, in the pulpit and in the pews. The fact that so many people are surprised to hear that anger in some of Reverend Wright’s sermons simply reminds us of the old truism that the most segregated hour in American life occurs on Sunday morning. That anger is not always productive; indeed, all too often it distracts attention from solving real problems; it keeps us from squarely facing our own complicity in our condition, and prevents the African-American community from forging the alliances it needs to bring about real change. But the anger is real; it is powerful; and to simply wish it away, to condemn it without understanding its roots, only serves to widen the chasm of misunderstanding that exists between the races.
In fact, a similar anger exists within segments of the white community. Most working- and middle-class white Americans don’t feel that they have been particularly privileged by their race. Their experience is the immigrant experience – as far as they’re concerned, no one’s handed them anything, they’ve built it from scratch. They’ve worked hard all their lives, many times only to see their jobs shipped overseas or their pension dumped after a lifetime of labor. They are anxious about their futures, and feel their dreams slipping away; in an era of stagnant wages and global competition, opportunity comes to be seen as a zero sum game, in which your dreams come at my expense. So when they are told to bus their children to a school across town; when they hear that an African American is getting an advantage in landing a good job or a spot in a good college because of an injustice that they themselves never committed; when they’re told that their fears about crime in urban neighborhoods are somehow prejudiced, resentment builds over time.
Like the anger within the black community, these resentments aren’t always expressed in polite company. But they have helped shape the political landscape for at least a generation. Anger over welfare and affirmative action helped forge the Reagan Coalition. Politicians routinely exploited fears of crime for their own electoral ends. Talk show hosts and conservative commentators built entire careers unmasking bogus claims of racism while dismissing legitimate discussions of racial injustice and inequality as mere political correctness or reverse racism.
Just as black anger often proved counterproductive, so have these white resentments distracted attention from the real culprits of the middle class squeeze – a corporate culture rife with inside dealing, questionable accounting practices, and short-term greed; a Washington dominated by lobbyists and special interests; economic policies that favor the few over the many. And yet, to wish away the resentments of white Americans, to label them as misguided or even racist, without recognizing they are grounded in legitimate concerns – this too widens the racial divide, and blocks the path to understanding.
Reply #53 on:
March 18, 2008, 01:43:34 PM »
This is where we are right now. It’s a racial stalemate we’ve been stuck in for years. Contrary to the claims of some of my critics, black and white, I have never been so naïve as to believe that we can get beyond our racial divisions in a single election cycle, or with a single candidacy – particularly a candidacy as imperfect as my own.
But I have asserted a firm conviction – a conviction rooted in my faith in God and my faith in the American people – that working together we can move beyond some of our old racial wounds, and that in fact we have no choice is we are to continue on the path of a more perfect union.
For the African-American community, that path means embracing the burdens of our past without becoming victims of our past. It means continuing to insist on a full measure of justice in every aspect of American life. But it also means binding our particular grievances – for better health care, and better schools, and better jobs - to the larger aspirations of all Americans -- the white woman struggling to break the glass ceiling, the white man whose been laid off, the immigrant trying to feed his family. And it means taking full responsibility for own lives – by demanding more from our fathers, and spending more time with our children, and reading to them, and teaching them that while they may face challenges and discrimination in their own lives, they must never succumb to despair or cynicism; they must always believe that they can write their own destiny.
Ironically, this quintessentially American – and yes, conservative – notion of self-help found frequent expression in Reverend Wright’s sermons. But what my former pastor too often failed to understand is that embarking on a program of self-help also requires a belief that society can change.
The profound mistake of Reverend Wright’s sermons is not that he spoke about racism in our society. It’s that he spoke as if our society was static; as if no progress has been made; as if this country – a country that has made it possible for one of his own members to run for the highest office in the land and build a coalition of white and black; Latino and Asian, rich and poor, young and old -- is still irrevocably bound to a tragic past. But what we know -- what we have seen – is that America can change. That is true genius of this nation. What we have already achieved gives us hope – the audacity to hope – for what we can and must achieve tomorrow.
In the white community, the path to a more perfect union means acknowledging that what ails the African-American community does not just exist in the minds of black people; that the legacy of discrimination - and current incidents of discrimination, while less overt than in the past - are real and must be addressed. Not just with words, but with deeds – by investing in our schools and our communities; by enforcing our civil rights laws and ensuring fairness in our criminal justice system; by providing this generation with ladders of opportunity that were unavailable for previous generations. It requires all Americans to realize that your dreams do not have to come at the expense of my dreams; that investing in the health, welfare, and education of black and brown and white children will ultimately help all of America prosper.
In the end, then, what is called for is nothing more, and nothing less, than what all the world’s great religions demand – that we do unto others as we would have them do unto us. Let us be our brother’s keeper, Scripture tells us. Let us be our sister’s keeper. Let us find that common stake we all have in one another, and let our politics reflect that spirit as well.
For we have a choice in this country. We can accept a politics that breeds division, and conflict, and cynicism. We can tackle race only as spectacle – as we did in the OJ trial – or in the wake of tragedy, as we did in the aftermath of Katrina - or as fodder for the nightly news. We can play Reverend Wright’s sermons on every channel, every day and talk about them from now until the election, and make the only question in this campaign whether or not the American people think that I somehow believe or sympathize with his most offensive words. We can pounce on some gaffe by a Hillary supporter as evidence that she’s playing the race card, or we can speculate on whether white men will all flock to John McCain in the general election regardless of his policies.
We can do that.
But if we do, I can tell you that in the next election, we’ll be talking about some other distraction. And then another one. And then another one. And nothing will change.
That is one option. Or, at this moment, in this election, we can come together and say, “Not this time.” This time we want to talk about the crumbling schools that are stealing the future of black children and white children and Asian children and Hispanic children and Native American children. This time we want to reject the cynicism that tells us that these kids can’t learn; that those kids who don’t look like us are somebody else’s problem. The children of America are not those kids, they are our kids, and we will not let them fall behind in a 21st century economy. Not this time.
This time we want to talk about how the lines in the Emergency Room are filled with whites and blacks and Hispanics who do not have health care; who don’t have the power on their own to overcome the special interests in Washington, but who can take them on if we do it together.
This time we want to talk about the shuttered mills that once provided a decent life for men and women of every race, and the homes for sale that once belonged to Americans from every religion, every region, every walk of life. This time we want to talk about the fact that the real problem is not that someone who doesn’t look like you might take your job; it’s that the corporation you work for will ship it overseas for nothing more than a profit.
This time we want to talk about the men and women of every color and creed who serve together, and fight together, and bleed together under the same proud flag. We want to talk about how to bring them home from a war that never should’ve been authorized and never should’ve been waged, and we want to talk about how we’ll show our patriotism by caring for them, and their families, and giving them the benefits they have earned.
I would not be running for President if I didn’t believe with all my heart that this is what the vast majority of Americans want for this country. This union may never be perfect, but generation after generation has shown that it can always be perfected. And today, whenever I find myself feeling doubtful or cynical about this possibility, what gives me the most hope is the next generation – the young people whose attitudes and beliefs and openness to change have already made history in this election.
There is one story in particularly that I’d like to leave you with today – a story I told when I had the great honor of speaking on Dr. King’s birthday at his home church, Ebenezer Baptist, in Atlanta.
There is a young, twenty-three year old white woman named Ashley Baia who organized for our campaign in Florence, South Carolina. She had been working to organize a mostly African-American community since the beginning of this campaign, and one day she was at a roundtable discussion where everyone went around telling their story and why they were there.
And Ashley said that when she was nine years old, her mother got cancer. And because she had to miss days of work, she was let go and lost her health care. They had to file for bankruptcy, and that’s when Ashley decided that she had to do something to help her mom.
She knew that food was one of their most expensive costs, and so Ashley convinced her mother that what she really liked and really wanted to eat more than anything else was mustard and relish sandwiches. Because that was the cheapest way to eat.
She did this for a year until her mom got better, and she told everyone at the roundtable that the reason she joined our campaign was so that she could help the millions of other children in the country who want and need to help their parents too.
Now Ashley might have made a different choice. Perhaps somebody told her along the way that the source of her mother’s problems were blacks who were on welfare and too lazy to work, or Hispanics who were coming into the country illegally. But she didn’t. She sought out allies in her fight against injustice.
Anyway, Ashley finishes her story and then goes around the room and asks everyone else why they’re supporting the campaign. They all have different stories and reasons. Many bring up a specific issue. And finally they come to this elderly black man who’s been sitting there quietly the entire time. And Ashley asks him why he’s there. And he does not bring up a specific issue. He does not say health care or the economy. He does not say education or the war. He does not say that he was there because of Barack Obama. He simply says to everyone in the room, “I am here because of Ashley.”
“I’m here because of Ashley.” By itself, that single moment of recognition between that young white girl and that old black man is not enough. It is not enough to give health care to the sick, or jobs to the jobless, or education to our children.
But it is where we start. It is where our union grows stronger. And as so many generations have come to realize over the course of the two-hundred and twenty one years since a band of patriots signed that document in Philadelphia, that is where the perfection begins.
Re: The Obama Phenomena
Reply #54 on:
March 18, 2008, 03:55:50 PM »
Speaking truth to the panderers.
Re: The Obama Phenomena
Reply #55 on:
March 18, 2008, 05:05:17 PM »
Hypocrisy, thy name is Obama.
Re: The Obama Phenomena
Reply #56 on:
March 19, 2008, 01:42:58 AM »
Newt was on Hannity tonight so I recorded it so I could watch that segment. He pithily dissected the bimbette that Fox had as subsitute punching bag for Alan Colmes many times, including a comment that if BO had not spotted his Reverend's politics after 20 years he certainly wasn't ready to be President
WSJ: Discovering Obama
Reply #57 on:
March 19, 2008, 11:06:34 AM »
March 19, 2008; Page A16
The political tide for Barack Obama was inconceivable as recently as a few months ago, and it may still carry him into the White House. A mere three years out of the state legislature, the Illinois Senator has captured the Democratic imagination with his charisma, his silver tongue, and most of all, his claims to transcend the partisan and racial animosities of the day.
But the suddenness of Mr. Obama's rise allowed him, until recently, to evade the scrutiny that usually attends Presidential campaigns. If nothing else, the uproar over Reverend Jeremiah Wright has changed that. In Philadelphia yesterday, the Senator tried to explain his puzzling 20-year attendance at Reverend Wright's Chicago's Trinity United Church of Christ, while also using his nearly 5,000-word address to elaborate on the themes that have energized his candidacy. It was an instructive moment, though not always in the way the Senator intended.
Mr. Obama, of course, is in the midst of a chiefly political crisis. No one honestly believes he shares his minister's rage, or his political and racial beliefs, which have been seen all over cable news and reveal a deep disgust with America. Mr. Obama's fault, rather, was to maintain a two-decade entanglement with Mr. Wright without ever seeming to harbor qualms about the causes espoused by his mentor and spiritual guide.
Such complacency couldn't simply be waved off, as the Senator tried initially to do, because it drills into the core of his political appeal: that he represents new thinking and an attempt to end cultural and racial polarization. Mr. Wright imperils the possibility inherent in the first black candidate who has a genuine shot at the Presidency, in part because race is only an element of the Senator's political character, not its definition.
So yesterday Mr. Obama sought to rehabilitate his image by distancing himself from Mr. Wright's race-paranoia. He talked about his own multiracial background -- son of a white mother and Kenyan father -- and said, "I will never forget that in no other country on Earth is my story even possible."
Mr. Wright's remarks "expressed a profoundly distorted view of this country," Mr. Obama continued, and are "not only wrong but divisive, divisive at a time when we need unity" -- his way of broadening out the discussion to include his political message.
Less uplifting was his attempt to pair Mr. Wright's extremism with Geraldine Ferraro's recent remarks as "the other end" of the spectrum on race. Mr. Wright's sermons are rooted in a racial separatism and black liberation theology that is a distinct minority even among African-Americans. Ms. Ferraro was, at worst, saying that Mr. Obama is helped because many Americans want to vote for someone who is black.
It is also notable that Mr. Obama situated Mr. Wright within what the Senator sees as the continuing black-white conflict and the worst excesses of racial injustice like Jim Crow. He dwelled on a lack of funding for inner-city schools and a general "lack of economic opportunity." But Mr. Obama neglected the massive failures of the government programs that were supposed to address these problems, as well as the culture of dependency they ingrained. A genuine message of racial healing would also have given more credit to the real racial gains in American society over the last 40 years.
The Senator noted that the anger of his pastor "is real; it is powerful," and in fact it is mirrored in "white resentments." He then laid down a litany of American woe: "the white woman struggling to break the glass ceiling, the white man who has been laid off," the "shuttered mill," those "without health care," the soldiers who have fought in "a war that never should have been authorized and never should've been waged," etc. Thus Mr. Obama's message is we "need unity" because all Americans are victims, racial and otherwise; he even mentioned working for change by "binding our particular grievances."
And the cause of all this human misery? Why, "a corporate culture rife with inside dealing, questionable accounting practices, and short-term greed; a Washington dominated by lobbyists and special interests; economic policies that favor the few over the many." Mr. Obama's villains, in other words, are the standard-issue populist straw men of Wall Street and the GOP, and his candidacy is a vessel for liberal policy orthodoxy -- raise taxes, "invest" more in social programs, restrict trade, retreat from Iraq.
Needless to say, this is not an agenda rooted in bipartisanship or even one that has captured a national Presidential majority in more than 40 years. It would be unfortunate if Mr. Obama's candidacy were toppled by racial neuroses, and his speech yesterday may have prevented that. But it also revealed the extent to which his ideas are neither new nor transcendent.
Re: The Obama Phenomena
Reply #58 on:
March 20, 2008, 09:04:58 AM »
March 20, 2008, 5:00 a.m.
The Wright Stand
Judgment, character and Barack Obama.
By Peter Wehner
Several years ago my wife and children attended a Presbyterian church in Washington, D.C. We liked and respected the senior pastor, we had close friends in the congregation, and we felt spiritually nourished by the congregants and the worship. Two of our children were baptized there.
Not long after the attacks of September 11, my wife and I heard two different visitors — one in remarks during a church service, the other while teaching an adult Sunday-school class — that were derogatory of and inflammatory toward Israel.
Upon hearing the words of these two people — which I found both shocking and disquieting — I immediately raised concerns with the senior pastor. He tried to reassure me and then put me in touch with an associate pastor who was in charge of a ministry to Palestinian Christians (one I had been previously unaware of). I engaged in conversations and written correspondence with the associate pastor and the head of the board of elders over this issue; in the process, I discovered that our church hosted an annual conference which featured only speakers who were highly critical of the state of Israel. For the first time it became clear to me that the church we attended was deeply biased against the Jewish state. When what we deemed to be adequate counter steps were not taken, we left the church, in good measure because of this matter and how it was handled.
I thought of this episode in our lives in the aftermath of learning about the bigoted and vicious anti-American statements by Barack Obama’s pastor, friend, and spiritual adviser, the Reverend Jeremiah Wright Jr. of United Trinity Church of Christ.
I don’t for a moment believe that Senator Obama shares Wright’s manifold and manifest hatreds. What bothers me — particularly as one who has had good things to say about Obama in the past — is why Obama apparently never raised any concerns with Wright about his rhetoric or the black liberation theology being practiced at United Trinity. This was the obvious and appropriate thing to do.
Reverend Wright clearly preaches from a particular cast of mind, one with which Obama was surely familiar. If Obama isn’t willing to voice his concerns and objections with Wright and stand up for his country as it is being slandered by his pastor, what can we expect from Obama when he is asked to stand up against some of the world’s worst dictators?
The options aren’t particularly good for Senator Obama. He either agreed with the views and core beliefs of Reverend Wright, which would essentially disqualify him as a serious candidate for the presidency; or he didn’t agree with Wright but for decades sat passively by and accepted Wright’s teaching and rants. Didn’t Obama consider, even once, pulling Wright aside and pointing out — as any true friend would, in a civil but forceful way — that hailstones of hate simply have no place in a church and that the “social gospel” is not synonymous with preaching bigotry and anti-Americanism?
Beyond that, Senator Obama’s speech on Tuesday, for all the praise it has garnered in many quarters, created additional doubts about Obama’s candor and his willingness to speak up and speak out against a charismatic, forceful, and pernicious figure.
ABC News reports that earlier this month Obama, at a community meeting in Nelsonville, Ohio, said, “I don’t think my church is actually particularly controversial.” Obama went on to say, “[Wright] has said some things that are considered controversial because he’s considered that part of his social gospel; so he was one of the leaders in calling for divestment from South Africa and some other issues like that.”
Last Friday, as Senator Obama was making the round on cable TV trying to explain Wright’s remarks that were being replayed over and over again, Obama indicated that he had never heard his pastor of 20 years make any comments that were anti-American until last week. But in his Philadelphia speech two days ago, Senator Obama seemed to change his explanation:
I have already condemned, in unequivocal terms, the statements of Reverend Wright that have caused such controversy. For some, nagging questions remain. Did I know him to be an occasionally fierce critic of American domestic and foreign policy? Of course. Did I ever hear him make remarks that could be considered controversial while I sat in church? Yes. Did I strongly disagree with many of his political views? Absolutely — just as I’m sure many of you have heard remarks from your pastors, priests, or rabbis with which you strongly disagreed.
But the remarks that have caused this recent firestorm weren’t simply controversial. They weren’t simply a religious leader’s effort to speak out against perceived injustice. Instead, they expressed a profoundly distorted view of this country.
This is where things begin to get sticky for Obama. In half-a-month we’ve gone from Wright and his church being essentially non-controversial; to Obama implying that the venomous statements by Wright came as news to him; to admitting that he was in the pews when Wright spoke as a “an occasionally fierce critic” of American domestic and foreign policy. Those remarks were so fierce that even Obama, himself an orthodox liberal who has scorched the Bush administration, was clearly made uncomfortable by what Wright said.
It also begs the question: What exactly did Wright say that Obama strongly disagreed with? Was Wright in fact presenting a “profoundly distorted view of this country”? The odds are a good deal better than even that he was. But Obama has yet to answer those questions — and he probably won’t, at least with any specificity, unless he’s forced to do so. This story, which seemingly changes in every re-telling, is beginning to resemble nothing so much as Bill Clinton’s evolving explanation about his draft notice. It was then that most of America was introduced to “Slick Willie.”
Senator Obama’s speech on Tuesday was a brilliant effort to deflect attention away from what remains the core issue: what did Obama hear, when did he hear it, and what did he do about it? The answers, as best we can tell at this stage, is that Obama heard some very harsh things said from the pulpit of Trinity United Church of Christ; that Obama heard them said a long time ago and probably repeatedly; and that he did little or nothing about it. This from a man who tells us at almost every stop along the campaign trail that he has the “judgment to lead.”
One always wants to be careful about making sweeping conclusions about any individual, particularly one as interesting and compelling as Senator Obama. All of us, in replaying our lives, would change certain things. We would all hope to show more integrity, more courage, more honor. Nevertheless, in a presidential campaign we have to judge based on the available evidence. And given his deep and long-standing association with Reverend Wright, it is fair to ask whether Senator Obama — a gifted writer and speaker and a man of obvious intelligence and appeal — has the appropriate judgment and character to lead this nation. Spending 20 years at Trinity United Church of Christ under the leadership of Jeremiah A. Wright Jr. doesn’t tell us everything we need to know about Barack Obama — but it may well tell us enough.
— Peter Wehner, former deputy assistant to the president, is a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center.
National Review Online -
Re: The Obama Phenomena
Reply #59 on:
March 20, 2008, 09:26:35 AM »
From the Los Angeles Times
Obama blew it
What the candidate should have said about race.
By Michael Meyers
March 20, 2008
Tim Rutten's column, "Obama's Lincoln moment" and The Times editorial, "Obama on race" both miss the mark.
In my considered judgment as a race and civil rights specialist, I would say that Barack Obama's "momentous" speech on race settled on merely "explaining" so-called racial differences between blacks and whites -- and in so doing amplified deep-seated racial tensions and divisions. Instead of giving us a polarizing treatise on the "black experience," Obama should have reiterated the theme that has brought so many to his campaign: That race ain't what it used to be in America.
He should have presented us a pathway out of our racial boxes and a road map for new thinking about race. He should have depicted his minister, the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr., as a symbol of the dysfunctional angry men who are stuck in the past and who must yield to a new generation of color-blind, hopeful Americans and to a new global economy in which we will look on our neighbors' skin color no differently than how we look on their eye color.
In fact, I'd say that considering the nation's undivided attention to this all-important speech, which gave him an unrivaled opportunity to lift us out of racial and racist thinking, Obama blew it.
I waited in vain for our hybrid presidential candidate to speak the simple truth that there is no such thing as "race," that we all belong to the same race -- the human race. I waited for him to mesmerize us with a singular and focused appeal to hold all candidates to the same standards no matter their race or their sex or their age. But instead Obama gave us a full measure of racial rhetoric about how some of us with an "untrained ear" -- meaning whites and Asians and Latinos -- don't understand and can't relate to the so-called black experience.
Well, I am black, and I can't relate to a "black experience" that shields and explains old-style black ministers who rant and rave about supposed racial differences and about how America ought to be damned. I long ago broke away from all associations and churches that preached the gospel of hate and ethnic divisiveness -- including canceling my membership in 100 Black Men of America Inc., when they refused my motion to admit women and whites. They still don't. I was not going to stay in any group that assigned status or privileges of membership based solely on race or gender.
We and our leaders -- especially our candidates for the highest office in the land -- must repudiate all forms of racial idiocy and sexism, and be judged by whether we still belong to exclusionary or hateful groups. I don't know any church that respects, much less reflects, my personal beliefs in the absolute equality of all people, so I choose not to belong to any of them. And I would never -- as have some presidential candidates -- accept the endorsement of preachers of the gospel according to the most racist and sexist of doctrines.
But someone's race or religion is not mine or anybody else's concern. I couldn't care less that Wright is a Christian or that Louis Farrakhan professes to be a Muslim. I couldn't care less whether the hateful minister who endorsed John McCain is, deep inside, a decent man or a fundamentalist. But I do care about these pastors' divisive and crazed words; I do care that their "sermons" exploit and pander to the worst fears and passions of people based on perceptions and misperceptions about race. I hate that these preachers' sermons prejudge people's motives or behavior based on their race or ethnicity. I hate the haters, and I expected Obama to make a straightforward speech about what has become the Hate Hour -- and the most segregated hour -- in America on Sunday mornings.
I expected Obama, who up to now had been steering a perfect course away from the racial boxes of the past, to challenge racial labels and so-called black experiences. We're all mixed up, and if we haven't yet been by the process of miscegenation, trans-racial adoptions and interracial marriage, we sure ought to get used to how things will be in short order.
That would have been the forward-looking message of a visionary candidate. But Obama erred by looking backward -- as far back as slavery. What does slavery have to do with the price of milk at the grocery store? He referenced continuing segregation, especially segregated public schools, but stopped short. What is he going to do about them? How does he feel about public schools for black boys or single-sex public schools and classes? What does the gospel according to Wright say about such race-based and gender-specific schemes for getting around our civil rights laws?
We can't be united as a nation if we continue to think racially and give credence to racial experiences and differences based on ethnicity, past victim status and stereotypical categories. All of these prejudices surrounding tribe-against-tribe are old-hat and dysfunctional -- especially the rants of ministers, of whatever skin color or religion, who appeal to our base prejudices and to superstitions about our supposed racial differences. The man or woman who talks plainly about our commonality as a race of human beings, about our future as one nation indivisible, rather than about our discredited and disunited past, is, I predict, likely to finish ahead of the pack and do us a great public service.
Michael Meyers is executive director of the New York Civil Rights Coalition and a former assistant national director of the NAACP. These views are his own.
And then, there is this
Reply #60 on:
March 21, 2008, 03:37:20 AM »
Words fail , , ,
Re: The Obama Phenomena
Reply #61 on:
March 21, 2008, 10:22:54 AM »
There is much I disagree with here, but I always consider what Peggy Noonan has to say-- especially so in this case; after all she was an outstanding speechwriter for Ronald Reagan-- which is why I suspect she is so soft on BO.
A Thinking Man's Speech
March 21, 2008
I thought Barack Obama's speech was strong, thoughtful and important. Rather beautifully, it was a speech to think to, not clap to. It was clear that's what he wanted, and this is rare.
It seemed to me as honest a speech as one in his position could give within the limits imposed by politics. As such it was a contribution. We'll see if it was a success. The blowhard guild, proud member since 2000, praised it, and, in the biggest compliment, cable news shows came out of the speech not with jokes or jaded insiderism, but with thought. They started talking, pundits left and right, black and white, about what they'd experienced of race in America. It was kind of wonderful. I thought, Go, America, go, go.
You know what Mr. Obama said. The Rev. Jeremiah Wright was wrong. His sermons were "incendiary," and they "denigrate both the greatness and the goodness of our nation." Mr. Obama admitted that if all he knew of Mr. Wright were what he saw on the "endless loop . . . of YouTube," he wouldn't like him either. But he's known him 20 years as a man who taught him Christian faith, helped the poor, served as a Marine, and leads a community helping the homeless, needy and sick. "As imperfect as he may be, he has been like family to me." He would not renounce their friendship.
Most significantly, Mr. Obama asserted that race in America has become a generational story. The original sin of slavery is a fact, but the progress we have lived through the past 50 years means each generation experiences race differently. Older blacks, like Mr. Wright, remember Jim Crow and were left misshapen by it. Some rose anyway, some did not; of the latter, a "legacy of defeat" went on to misshape another generation. The result: destructive anger that is at times "exploited by politicians" and that can keep African-Americans "from squarely facing our own complicity in our condition." But "a similar anger exists within segments of the white community." He speaks of working- and middle-class whites whose "experience is the immigrant experience," who started with nothing. "As far as they're concerned, no one handed them anything, they've built it from scratch." "So when they are told to bus their children to a school across town," when they hear of someone receiving preferences they never received, and "when they're told their fears about crime in urban neighborhoods are somehow prejudiced," they feel anger too.
This is all, simply, true. And we are not used to political figures being frank, in this way, in public. For this Mr. Obama deserves deep credit. It is also true the particular whites Obama chose to paint -- ethnic, middle class -- are precisely the voters he needs to draw in Pennsylvania. It was strategically clever. But as one who witnessed busing in Boston first hand, and whose memories of those days can still bring tears, I was glad for his admission that busing was experienced as an injustice by the white working class. Next step: admitting it was an injustice, period.
* * *
The primary rhetorical virtue of the speech can be found in two words, endemic and Faulkner. Endemic is the kind of word political consultants don't let politicians use because 72% of Americans don't understand it. This lowest-common-denominator thinking, based on dizzy polling, has long degraded American discourse. When Obama said Mr. Wright wrongly encouraged "a view that sees white racism as endemic," everyone understood. Because they're not, actually, stupid. As for Faulkner -- well, this was an American politician quoting William Faulkner: "The past isn't dead and buried. In fact, it isn't even past." This is a thought, an interesting one, which means most current politicians would never share it.
The speech assumed the audience was intelligent. This was a compliment, and I suspect was received as a gift. It also assumed many in the audience were educated. I was grateful for this, as the educated are not much addressed in American politics.
Here I point out an aspect of the speech that may have a beneficial impact on current rhetoric. It is assumed now that a candidate must say a silly, boring line -- "And families in Michigan matter!" or "What I stand for is affordable quality health care!" -- and the audience will clap. The line and the applause make, together, the eight-second soundbite that will be used tonight on the news, and seen by the people. This has been standard politico-journalistic procedure for 20 years.
Mr. Obama subverted this in his speech. He didn't have applause lines. He didn't give you eight seconds of a line followed by clapping. He spoke in full and longish paragraphs that didn't summon applause. This left TV producers having to use longer-than-usual soundbites in order to capture his meaning. And so the cuts of the speech you heard on the news were more substantial and interesting than usual, which made the coverage of the speech better. People who didn't hear it but only saw parts on the news got a real sense of what he'd said.
If Hillary or John McCain said something interesting, they'd get more than an eight-second cut too. But it works only if you don't write an applause-line speech. It works only if you write a thinking speech.
They should try it.
* * *
Here's what didn't work. Near the end of the speech, Mr. Obama painted an America that didn't summon thoughts of Faulkner but of William Blake. The bankruptcies, the dark satanic mills, the job loss and corporate corruptions. There is of course some truth in his portrait, but why do appeals to the Democratic base have to be so unrelievedly, so unrealistically, bleak?
This connected in my mind to the persistent feeling one has -- the fear one has, actually -- that the Obamas, he and she, may not actually know all that much about America. They are bright, accomplished, decent, they know all about the yuppie experience, the buppie experience, Ivy League ways, networking. But they bring along with all this -- perhaps defensively, to keep their ideological views from being refuted by the evidence of their own lives, or so as not to be embarrassed about how nice fame, success, and power are -- habitual reversions to how tough it is to be in America, and to be black in America, and how everyone since the Reagan days has been dying of nothing to eat, and of exploding untreated diseases. America is always coming to them on crutches.
But most people didn't experience the past 25 years that way. Because it wasn't that way. Do the Obamas know it?
This is a lot of baggage to bring into the Executive Mansion.
Still, it was a good speech, and a serious one. I don't know if it will help him. We're in uncharted territory. We've never had a major-party presidential front-runner who is black, or rather black and white, who has given such an address. We don't know if more voters will be alienated by Mr. Wright than will be impressed by the speech about Mr. Wright. We don't know if voters will welcome a meditation on race. My sense: The speech will be labeled by history as the speech that saved a candidacy or the speech that helped do it in. I hope the former.
Re: The Obama Phenomena
Reply #62 on:
March 21, 2008, 12:41:28 PM »
As a speech writer, Peggy Noonan is impressed mostly with the speech, given the situation Obama was in. She doesn't address the underlying problems that a) Wright's form of hate speech is popular with a segment and b) Obama chose to associate himself and his family with it. Or that he threw his Grandmother who chose to raise him 'under the bus' in the speech and called her "a typical white woman" in a radio interview since.
By Thomas Sowell
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
Did Senator Barack Obama's speech in Philadelphia convince people that he is still a viable candidate to be President of the United States, despite the adverse reactions to statements by his pastor, Jeremiah Wright?
The polls and the primaries will answer that question.
The great unasked question for Senator Obama is the question that was asked about President Nixon during the Watergate scandal; What did he know and when did he know it?
Although Senator Obama would now have us believe that he is shocked, shocked, at what Jeremiah Wright said, that he was not in the church when pastor Wright said those things from the pulpit, this still leaves the question of why he disinvited Wright from the event at which he announced his candidacy for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination a year ago.
Either Barack Obama or his staff must have known then that Jeremiah Wright was not someone whom they wanted to expose to the media and to the media scrutiny to which that could lead.
Why not, if it is only now that Senator Obama is learning for the first time, to his surprise, what kinds of things Jeremiah Wright has been saying and doing?
No one had to be in church the day Wright made his inflammatory and obscene remarks to know about them.
The cable news journalists who are playing the tapes of those sermons were not there. The tapes were on sale in the church itself. Obama knew that because he had bought one or more of those tapes.
But even if there were no tapes, and even if Obama never heard from other members of the church what their pastor was saying, he spent 20 years in that church, not just as an ordinary member but also as someone who once donated $20,000 to the church.
There was no way that he didn't know about Jeremiah Wright's anti-American and racist diatribes from the pulpit.
Someone once said that a con man's job is not to convince skeptics but to enable people to continue to believe what they already want to believe.
Accordingly, Obama's Philadelphia speech -- a theatrical masterpiece -- will probably reassure most Democrats and some other Obama supporters. They will undoubtedly say that we should now "move on," even though many Democrats have still not yet moved on from George W. Bush's 2000 election victory.
Like the Soviet show trials during their 1930s purges, Obama's speech was not supposed to convince critics but to reassure supporters and fellow-travelers, in order to keep the "useful idiots" useful.
Best-selling author Shelby Steele's recent book on Barack Obama ("A Bound Man") has valuable insights into both the man and the circumstances facing many other blacks -- especially those who were never part of the black ghetto culture but who feel a need to identify with it for either personal, political or financial reasons.
Like religious converts who become more Catholic than the Pope, such people often become blacker-than-thou. For whatever reason, Barack Obama chose a black extremist church decades ago -- even though there was no shortage of very different churches, both black and white -- in Chicago.
Some say that he was trying to earn credibility on the ghetto streets, to facilitate his work as a community activist or for his political career. We may never know why.
But now that Barack Obama is running for a presidential nomination, he is doing so on a radically different basis, as a post-racial candidate uniquely prepared to bring us all together.
Yet the past continues to follow him, despite his attempts to bury it and the mainstream media's attempts to ignore it or apologize for it.
Shelby Steele depicts Barack Obama as a man without real convictions, "an iconic figure who neglected to become himself."
Senator Obama has been at his best as an icon, able with his command of words to meet other people's psychic needs, including a need to dispel white guilt by supporting his candidacy.
But President of the United States, in a time of national danger, under a looming threat of nuclear terrorism? No.
Re: The Obama Phenomena
Reply #63 on:
March 22, 2008, 01:55:00 PM »
Re: The Obama Phenomena
Reply #64 on:
March 22, 2008, 06:54:43 PM »
I find myself riffing in my head on this little episode on BO's ability to deal with extremism in his own church as a parable for his probably approach to dealing with Muslim extremism.
Re: The Obama Phenomena
Reply #65 on:
March 22, 2008, 08:13:39 PM »
Re: The Obama Phenomena
Reply #66 on:
March 24, 2008, 09:56:15 AM »
March 24, 2008, 5:00 a.m.
The Obama Crash and Burn
If he acts as if the Wright controversy is behind him, it's over for Obama.
By Victor Davis Hanson
The latest polls reflecting Obama’s near-collapse should serve as a morality tale of John Edwards’s two Americas — the political obtuseness of the intellectual elite juxtaposed to the common sense of the working classes.
For some bizarre reason, Obama aimed his speech at winning praise from National Public Radio, the New York Times, and Harvard, and solidifying an already 90-percent solid African-American base — while apparently insulting the intelligence of everyone else.
Indeed, the more op-eds and pundits praised the courage of Barack Obama, the more the polls showed that there was a growing distrust that the eloquent and inspirational candidate has used his great gifts, in the end, to excuse the inexcusable.
The speech and Obama’s subsequent interviews neither explained his disastrous association with Wright, nor dared open up a true discussion of race — which by needs would have to include, in addition to white racism, taboo subjects ranging from disproportionate illegitimacy and drug usage to higher-than-average criminality to disturbing values espoused in rap music and unaddressed anti-Semitism. We learn now that Obama is the last person who wants to end the establishment notion that a few elite African Americans negotiate with liberal white America over the terms of grievance and entitlement — without which all of us really would be transracial persons, in which happiness and gloom hinge, and are seen to do so, on one’s own individual success or failure.
Instead there were the tired platitudes, evasions, and politicking. The intelligentsia is well aware of how postmodern cultural equivalence, black liberation theory, and moral relativism seeped into Obama’s speech, and thus was not offended by an “everybody does it” and “who’s to judge?/eye of the beholder” defense. But to most others the effect was Clintonian. Somehow Obama could not just say,
There is nothing to be offered for Rev. Wright except my deepest apologies for not speaking out against his venom far earlier. We in the African-American community know better than anyone the deleterious effects of racist speech, and so it is time for Rev. Wright and myself to part company, since we have profoundly different views of both present- and future-day America.
The more the pundits gushed about the speech, the more the average Americans thought, “Wait a minute — did he just say what I thought he said?” It’s not lost on Joe Q. Public that Obama justified Wright’s racism by offering us a “landmark” speech on race that:
(1) Compared Wright’s felony to the misdemeanors of his grandmother, Geraldine Ferraro, the Reagan Coalition, corporate culture, and the kitchen sink.
(2) Established the precedent that context excuses everything, in the sense that what good a Wright did (or an Imus did) in the past outweighs any racist outburst of the present.
(3) Claimed that the voice of the oppressed is not to be judged by the same rules of censure as the dominant majority that has no similar claim on victim status.
What is happening, ever so slowly, is that the public is beginning to realize that it knows even less after the speech than it did before about what exactly Obama knew (and when) about Wright’s racism and hatred.
Even elites will wake up to the fact that they’ve been had, in a sense, once they deconstruct the speech carefully and fathom that their utopian candidate just may have managed to destroy what was once a near-certain Democratic sweep in the fall. And a number of African-Americans will come to resent that they are being lumped into a majority akin to the Rev. Wright, millions of whom the majestic Sen. Obama has nobly chosen not to “disown,” despite their apparently similar embarrassing racialism.
Over the past four days, I asked seven or eight random (Asian, Mexican-American, and working-class white) Americans in southern California what they thought of Obama’s candidacy — and framed the question with, “Don’t you think that was a good speech?” The answers, without exception, were essentially: “Forget the speech. I would never vote for Obama after listening to Wright.” In some cases, the reaction was not mild disappointment, but unprintable outrage.
The blame, such as it is, for all this goes to the Obama campaign “pros,” who, in their apparent arrogance over Obamania (a phenomenon due to the candidate’s charisma, not their own savvy), simply went to sleep and let the senator and his wife resort to their natural self-indulgence — itself the offspring of the Obamas’ privilege and insularity. Any amateur handler could have scanned that speech and taken out just 8-10 phrases, called for a tougher stance on Wright, a genuine apology, and put the issue behind them.
Now it’s too late. Like Hillary’s tear, one only gets a single chance at mea culpa and staged vulnerability — and he blew it.
Where are we now? At the most fascinating juncture in the last 50 years of primary-election history.
Superdelegates can’t “steal” the election from Obama’s lock on the delegate count. And they can’t easily debase themselves by abandoning Obama after their recent televised confessionals about abandoning Hillary.
But they can count and compute — and must try to deal with these facts:
(1) Obama is crashing in all the polls, especially against McCain, against whom he doesn’t stack up well, given McCain’s heroic narrative, the upswing in Iraq, and the past distance between McCain and the Bush administration;
(2) Hillary may not just win, but win big in Pennsylvania (and maybe the other states as well), buttressing her suddenly not-so-tired argument about her success in the mega-, in-play purple states. Michigan and Florida that once would have been lost by Hillary in a fair election, now would be fairly won — and Clinton is as willing to replay both as Obama suddenly is not; and
(3) The sure thing of Democrats winning big in the House and Senate is now in danger of a scenario in which a would-be Senator or Representative explains all autumn long that the party masthead really does not like Rev. Wright, whose massive corpus of buffoonery no doubt is still to be mined. (The problem was never “snippets,” but entire speeches devoted to hatred and anger, often carefully outlined in a point-by-point format).
What is the remedy?
I would go buy about 10,000 American flags to blanket every Obama appearance, have a 4x4 lapel-button flag custom-made for the senator, have Michelle finish every appearance by leading a chorus of “God Bless America,” draft every middle-of-the-road crusty drawling Democratic veteran (the knightly Harris Wofford doesn’t cut it) to criss-cross the country — and try to Trotskyize Rev. Wright from the campaign.
Oh, and no need for any more Obama half-conversations about race and “typical white person” clarifications. All that does far more damage to the country than even to Obama himself.
— NRO contributor Victor Davis Hanson is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and author, most recently, of A War Like No Other: How the Athenians and Spartans Fought the Peloponnesian War.
National Review Online -
BO on Israel
Reply #67 on:
March 25, 2008, 08:32:06 AM »
By JAMES TARANTO
March 24, 2008
On Friday we noted that Barack Obama's "spiritual mentor," the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, had reprinted a Hamas op-ed in his church bulletin. It turns out that Obama issued a quiet condemnation of Wright's editorial decision, as the Jewish Telegraphic Agency reports:
"I have already condemned my former pastor's views on Israel in the strongest possible terms, and I certainly wasn't in church when that outrageously wrong Los Angeles Times piece was re-printed in the bulletin," Obama said in a statement emailed to JTA late Thursday, and referring to critics who noted that Obama had been in church when Wright had made controversial statements. "Hamas is a terrorist organization, responsible for the deaths of many innocents, and dedicated to Israel's destruction, as evidenced by their bombarding of Sderot in recent months. I support requiring Hamas to meet the international community's conditions of recognizing Israel, renouncing violence, and abiding by past agreements before they are treated as a legitimate actor."
That could hardly be clearer, could it? But a year-old article from ElectronicIntifada.com suggests that Obama has, fairly recently, held views on the subject that are completely at variance with those he now espouses. The author, Ali Abunimah, is a co-founder of the site:
I first met Democratic presidential hopeful Senator Barack Obama almost ten years ago when, as my representative in the Illinois state senate, he came to speak at the University of Chicago. He impressed me as progressive, intelligent and charismatic. I distinctly remember thinking "if only a man of this calibre could become president one day." . . .
Over the years since I first saw Obama speak I met him about half a dozen times, often at Palestinian and Arab-American community events in Chicago including a May 1998 community fundraiser at which Edward Said was the keynote speaker. In 2000, when Obama unsuccessfully ran for Congress I heard him speak at a campaign fundraiser hosted by a University of Chicago professor. On that occasion and others Obama was forthright in his criticism of US policy and his call for an even-handed approach to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
The last time I spoke to Obama was in the winter of 2004 at a gathering in Chicago's Hyde Park neighborhood. He was in the midst of a primary campaign to secure the Democratic nomination for the United States Senate seat he now occupies. But at that time polls showed him trailing.
As he came in from the cold and took off his coat, I went up to greet him. He responded warmly, and volunteered, "Hey, I'm sorry I haven't said more about Palestine right now, but we are in a tough primary race. I'm hoping when things calm down I can be more up front." He referred to my activism, including columns I was contributing to the The [sic] Chicago Tribune critical of Israeli and US policy, "Keep up the good work!"
Abunimah argued that Obama, in an effort "to woo wealthy pro-Israel campaign donors," had made an "about-face":
He is merely doing what he thinks is necessary to get elected and he will continue doing it as long as it keeps him in power.
It is possible that Obama had a sincere change of heart--that he came to see the merits of the Israeli side of the argument. It is also possible that Obama has no sincere views on the subject--that when he was traveling in radical-chic Chicago circles, he told people like Abunimah what they wanted to hear, and now that he has gone national, he has switched to telling a more mainstream Democratic constituency what it wants to hear.
But what does Obama really believe--about the Middle East, about Wright's "black liberation theology" or about any other complicated and sensitive topic? The question is a Rorschach inkblot; the answer reveals more about one's emotional response to Obama than about Obama's intellectual response to the world.
If Obama makes you feel good about yourself, you will give him the benefit of the doubt and assume that his beliefs are similar to yours. See, for example, Obama enthusiast Marty Peretz expounding on Obama's sympathy for the Jewish state, or Douglas Kmiec, a judicial conservative and onetime Romney adviser, explaining that even though Obama has shown no sign of agreeing with him on "important fundamentals," he is "convinced based upon [Obama's] public pronouncements and his personal writing that on each of these questions he is not closed to understanding opposing points of view, and as best as it is humanly possible, he will respect and accommodate them."
Re: The Obama Phenomena
Reply #68 on:
March 25, 2008, 01:40:16 PM »
The statements of clergymen like Jeremiah Wright aren't controversial and incendiary; they're wicked and stupid.
By Christopher Hitchens
It's been more than a month since I began warning Sen. Barack Obama that he would become answerable for his revolting choice of a family priest. But never mind that; the astonishing thing is that it's at least 11 months since he himself has known precisely the same thing. "If Barack gets past the primary," said the Rev. Jeremiah Wright to the New York Times in April of last year, "he might have to publicly distance himself from me. I said it to Barack personally, and he said yeah, that might have to happen." Pause just for a moment, if only to admire the sheer calculating self-confidence of this. Sen. Obama has long known perfectly well, in other words, that he'd one day have to put some daylight between himself and a bigmouth Farrakhan fan. But he felt he needed his South Side Chicago "base" in the meantime. So he coldly decided to double-cross that bridge when he came to it. And now we are all supposed to marvel at the silky success of the maneuver.
You often hear it said, of some political or other opportunist, that he would sell his own grandmother if it would suit his interests. But you seldom, if ever, see this notorious transaction actually being performed, which is why I am slightly surprised that Obama got away with it so easily. (Yet why do I say I am surprised? He still gets away with absolutely everything.)
Looking for a moral equivalent to a professional demagogue who thinks that AIDS and drugs are the result of a conspiracy by the white man, Obama settled on an 85-year-old lady named Madelyn Dunham, who spent a good deal of her youth helping to raise him and who now lives alone and unwell in a condo in Honolulu. It would be interesting to know whether her charismatic grandson made her aware that he was about to touch her with his grace and make her famous in this way. By sheer good fortune, she, too, could be a part of it all and serve her turn in the great enhancement.
This flabbergasting process, made up of glibness and ruthlessness in equal proportions, rolls on unstoppably with a phalanx of reporters and men of the cloth as its accomplices. Look at the accepted choice of words for the ravings of Jeremiah Wright: controversial, incendiary, inflammatory. These are adjectives that might have been—and were—applied to many eloquent speakers of the early civil rights movement. (In the Washington Post, for Good Friday last, the liberal Catholic apologist E.J. Dionne lamely attempted to stretch this very comparison.) But is it "inflammatory" to say that AIDS and drugs are wrecking the black community because the white power structure wishes it? No. Nor is it "controversial." It is wicked and stupid and false to say such a thing. And it not unimportantly negates everything that Obama says he stands for by way of advocating dignity and responsibility over the sick cults of paranoia and victimhood.
That same supposed message of his is also contradicted in a different way by trying to put Geraldine Ferraro on all fours with a thug like Obama's family "pastor." Ferraro may have sounded sour when she asserted that there can be political advantages to being black in the United States—and she said the selfsame thing about Jesse Jackson in 1984—but it's perfectly arguable that what she said is, in fact, true, and even if it isn't true, it's absurd to try and classify it as a racist remark. No doubt Obama's slick people were looking for a revenge for Samantha Power (who, incidentally, ought never to have been let go for the useful and indeed audacious truths that she uttered in Britain), but their news-cycle solution was to cover their own queasy cowardice in that case by feigning outrage in the Ferraro matter. The consequence, which you can already feel, is an inchoate resentment among many white voters who are damned if they will be called bigots by a man who associates with Jeremiah Wright. So here we go with all that again. And this is the fresh, clean, new post-racial politics?
Now, by way of which vent or orifice is this venom creeping back into our national bloodstream? Where is hatred and tribalism and ignorance most commonly incubated, and from which platform is it most commonly yelled? If you answered "the churches" and "the pulpits," you got both answers right. The Ku Klux Klan (originally a Protestant identity movement, as many people prefer to forget) and the Nation of Islam (a black sectarian mutation of Quranic teaching) may be weak these days, but bigotry of all sorts is freely available, and openly inculcated into children, by any otherwise unemployable dirtbag who can perform the easy feat of putting Reverend in front of his name. And this clerical vileness has now reached the point of disfiguring the campaigns of both leading candidates for our presidency. If you think Jeremiah Wright is gruesome, wait until you get a load of the next Chicago "Reverend," one James Meeks, another South Side horror show with a special sideline in the baiting of homosexuals. He, too, has been an Obama supporter, and his church has been an occasional recipient of Obama's patronage. And perhaps he, too, can hope to be called "controversial" for his use of the term house nigger to describe those he doesn't like and for his view that it was "the Hollywood Jews" who brought us Brokeback Mountain. Meanwhile, the Republican nominee adorns himself with two further reverends: one named John Hagee, who thinks that the pope is the Antichrist, and another named Rod Parsley, who has declared that the United States has a mission to obliterate Islam. Is it conceivable that such repellent dolts would be allowed into public life if they were not in tax-free clerical garb? How true it is that religion poisons everything.
And what a shame. I assume you all have your copies of The Audacity of Hope in paperback breviary form. If you turn to the chapter entitled "Faith," beginning on Page 195, and read as far as Page 208, I think that even if you don't concur with my reading, you may suspect that I am onto something. In these pages, Sen. Obama is telling us that he doesn't really have any profound religious belief, but that in his early Chicago days he felt he needed to acquire some spiritual "street cred." The most excruciatingly embarrassing endorsement of this same viewpoint came last week from Abigail Thernstrom at National Review Online. Overcome by "the speech" that the divine one had given in Philadelphia, she urged us to be understanding. "Obama's description of the parishioners in his church gave white listeners a glimpse of a world of faith (with 'raucous laughter and sometimes bawdy humor … dancing, clapping, screaming, and shouting') that has been the primary means of black survival and uplift." A glimpse, huh? What the hell next? A tribute to the African-American sense of rhythm?
To have accepted Obama's smooth apologetics is to have lowered one's own pre-existing standards for what might constitute a post-racial or a post-racist future. It is to have put that quite sober and realistic hope, meanwhile, into untrustworthy and unscrupulous hands. And it is to have done this, furthermore, in the service of blind faith. Mark my words: This disappointment is only the first of many that are still to come.
Christopher Hitchens is a columnist for Vanity Fair and the author of God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything.
Re: The Obama Phenomena
Reply #69 on:
March 26, 2008, 11:04:15 AM »
Some Obama fabulism as well?
POSTED AT 11:30 AM ON MARCH 26, 2008 BY ED MORRISSEY
We have had a field day with the Tuzla Dash and the exposure of Hillary Clinton as a fabulist over the last few days, although I have been writing about this since December. In truth, though, finding a Clinton untruth is something akin to shooting fish in a barrel. At this stage, political investors have, as they say in Wall Street, factored dishonesty into the Clinton stock price.
However, Barack Obama has promised a new kind of politics. Unfortunately, he has the same problems with calculating birth dates as Hillary does. In his speech commemorating the 42nd anniversary of the march on Selma, Alabama, he credited the march with his existence — even though he was almost 4 years old at the time:
What happened in Selma, Alabama and Birmingham also stirred the conscience of the nation. It worried folks in the White House who said, “You know, we’re battling Communism. How are we going to win hearts and minds all across the world? If right here in our own country, John, we’re not observing the ideals set fort in our Constitution, we might be accused of being hypocrites.” So the Kennedy’s decided we’re going to do an air lift. We’re going to go to Africa and start bringing young Africans over to this country and give them scholarships to study so they can learn what a wonderful country America is.
This young man named Barack Obama got one of those tickets and came over to this country. He met this woman whose great great-great-great-grandfather had owned slaves; but she had a good idea there was some craziness going on because they looked at each other and they decided that we know that the world as it has been it might not be possible for us to get together and have a child. There was something stirring across the country because of what happened in Selma, Alabama, because some folks are willing to march across a bridge. So they got together and Barack Obama Jr. was born. So don’t tell me I don’t have a claim on Selma, Alabama. Don’t tell me I’m not coming home to Selma, Alabama.
The first march on Selma took place on March 7, 1965 (there were three of them). At the time, Barack Obama was three and a half years old. Now, Obama also mentions the Birmingham march as part of this speech — but that took place in May 1963. Obama would have been 20 months old when Dr. King led that demonstration.
That’s not the only bit of fabulism here. Obama’s birthdate is August 4, 1961. It doesn’t take a doctor or a math whiz to calculate his conception as sometime in 1960 — before John Kennedy took office. In fact, it might have taken place on Election Day, when Kennedy won the presidency. That would tend to indicate that Mom and Dad met sometime before the African airlift that Obama credits for his birth.
So what does that mean? It could mean that his father and mother found hope in America even before the election of John Kennedy. It might mean that hope and change had already started because a broad class of Americans had already found racism intolerable and had started working to end it. It certainly doesn’t mean that Obama owes his existence to the marches on Selma and Birmingham, and his appropriation of those marches reeks of something other than hope, change, or “new politics”.
Perhaps the Democrats need to add positions to the staff of presidential candidates, just to handle the difficult task of calculating birth dates and world events. Between Obama’s Selma conception and Hillary’s Mount Everest naming, the Democrats look hopelessly inept at history on both a global and personal scale. (h/t: HA reader Stoo)
BO's paternal grandmother
Reply #70 on:
March 28, 2008, 01:30:08 AM »
BO's paternal grandmother
Reply #71 on:
March 28, 2008, 05:30:25 PM »
Where Does Obama Invest His Money?
March 27, 2008 10:26 p.m.
Barack Obama gave a major economic speech Thursday in New York, where the financial markets have been rattled in recent weeks, to put it mildly. That makes it all the more curious that Mr. Obama's tax returns, which he released this week, apparently show that he and his wife Michelle have next to no stake in the investor class.
Ryan Ellis of the American Shareholders Association has examined the Obama returns for calendar years 2001 to 2006 and found that, in all of those years, the couple reported a mere $1,188 in dividends in 2006 and another $2,754 in dividends in 2005. In the previous years, they reported no dividends of any kind.
Indeed, even though Michelle Obama had income from the University of Chicago's Hospital System that exceeded $1 million during the period the tax returns were filed, she appears to have neither a 401(k) plan nor an IRA for retirement contributions. In another sign the Obama household wasn't into building a nest egg, the couple cashed out $6,260 from a pension or 401(k) plan in 2000.
Given all this, Mr. Ellis asks why the Senator is so "hell-bent on pursuing punitive taxes on capital that would wreck America's retirement savings?" His answer: Perhaps it's "because, by and large, he doesn't have any skin in the game."
-- John Fund
Re: The Obama Phenomena
Reply #72 on:
April 04, 2008, 10:52:30 PM »
I came across two negative pieces about Obama that I hesitantly share here. First is a site called
which has a 68 item list of statements where they think the candidate is less than fully forthcoming (okay, they use the word 'liar' quite a bit). Second is a cute video that takes Obama to task on 5 of his claims:
Even if each of these claims is somewhat petty by today's political standards, you can't IMO avoid seeing that this candidate is a more-of-the same politician, not something new. Worst case is that something from Rezko to Rev. Wright or something we don't know yet will bring him down - like so many others.
Speaking of audacity, if Hillary Clinton had moved to her real home state of Illinois instead of becoming a pretend-Yankee fan, she wouldn't likely have Senator Obama to deny her now.
Re: The Obama Phenomena
Reply #73 on:
April 05, 2008, 01:45:33 AM »
I'm on lousy connection during a very busy few days, so I have not had time to read the URLs in Doug's post; I post only to note that I have read that BO has once again come out against CCW.
Also here is this-- of which I have no idea what to make:
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Stalking Jim Scoutten
Interesting Article on Obama...
Interesting article in IsraaelInsider...
Is Barack Obama a Muslim wolf in Christian wool?
By Reuven Koret March 27, 2008
The glib handling of criticism of his relationship with the anti-American ("God Damn America!") and anti-Israel ("a dirty word for Negroes") Reverend James Wright may have bought him a little time. But the legacy of dissimulation about his long-concealed identity is about to come crashing down around the ears of Barack Hussein Obama, courtesy of the assembled testimony of his family, friends, classmates and teachers.
The accumulated research indicates that Obama was in his childhood a devout Muslim, the son of a devout Muslim, the step-son of a devout Muslim and the grandson and namesake ("Hussein") of a devout Muslim. He was registered in school as a Muslim and demonstrated his ability to chant praise to Allah in impressive Arab-accented tones even as an adult. Just as he has not disavowed his "uncle" Jeremiah, neither has he disavowed his Muslim faith that he was born into, raised with, celebrated and never abandoned. He just covered it over with a thin veneer of his own self-styled "Christianity."
Although as an adult he would register as a Christian, and occasionally attend a Christian Church (but apparently not often enough to listen to the preaching of his pastor, or so he would claim) this was a necessary step for a man who from earliest boyhood has nurtured the precocious ambition to be President of the United States.
He was entered into the Roman Catholic, Franciscus Assisi Primary School, in Jakarta, Indonesia, on January 1, 1968, registered under the name Barry Soetoro, an Indonesian citizen whose religion was listed as Islam. Catholic schools accept non-Catholics worldwide. Non-Catholic students are typically excused from religious instruction and ceremony.
In kindergarten, Senator Obama wrote an essay titled 'I Want to Become President.'"Iis Darmawan, 63, Senator Obama's kindergarten teacher, remembers him as an exceptionally tall and curly haired child who quickly picked up the local language and had sharp math skills. He wrote an essay titled, 'I Want To Become President,' the teacher said." [AP, 1/25/07]
Three years later, in 1971, Obama enrolled in the Besuki Primary School, a government school, as Barry Soetoro, Muslim. In third grade, Senator Obama wrote an essay titled 'I Want To Be a President.' His third grade teacher: Fermina Katarina Sinaga "asked her class to write an essay titled 'My dream: What I want to be in the future.' Senator Obama wrote 'I want to be a President,' she said." [The Los Angeles Times, 3/15/07]
All Indonesian students are required to study religion at school and a young Barry Soetoro, being a Muslim, would have been required to study Islam daily in school.
He would have been taught to read and write Arabic, to recite his prayers properly, to read and recite from the Quran and to study the laws of Islam.
In his autobiography, "Dreams From My Father," Obama mentions studying the Koran and describes the public school as "a Muslim school."
"In the Muslim school, the teacher wrote to tell mother I made faces during Koranic studies."
According to Tine Hahiyary, one of Obama's teachers and the principal from 1971 through 1989, Barry actively took part in the Islamic religious lessons during his time at the school. "I remembered that he had studied "mengaji" (recitation of the Quran)" Tine said.
The author of the Laotze blog writes from Jakarta: "The actual usage of the word 'mengaji' in Indonesian and Malaysian societies means the study of learning to recite the Quran in the Arabic language rather than the native tongue. "Mengagi" is a word and a term that is accorded the highest value and status in the mindset of fundamentalist societies here in Southeast Asia. To put it quite simply, 'mengaji classes' are not something that a non practicing or so-called moderate Muslim family would ever send their child to. To put this in a Christian context, this is something above and beyond simply enrolling your child in Sunday school classes."
"The fact that Obama had attended mengaji classes is well known in Indonesia and has left many there wondering just when Obama is going to come out of the closet."
"As I've stated before, the evidence seems to quite clearly show that both Ann Dunham and her husband Lolo Soetoro Mangunharjo were in fact devout Muslims themselves and they raised their son as such."
The Obama Campaign told the LA Times he wasn't a "practicing Muslim." (3/14/2007). But his official website says: "Obama Has Never Been A Muslim, And Is a Committed Christian" (11/12/2007)
That's not what his friends and classmates have said. Classmate Rony Amiris describes young Barry as enjoying playing football and marbles and of being a very devout Muslim. Amir said, "Barry was previously quite religious in Islam. We previously often asked him to the prayer room close to the house. If he was wearing a sarong, he looked funny," said Rony.
Amiris, now the manager of Bank Mandiri, Jakarta, recently said, "Barry was previously quite religious in Islam. His birth father, Barack Hussein Obama was a Muslim economist from Kenya. Before marrying Ann Dunham, Hussein Obama was married to a woman from Kenya who had seven children. All the relatives of Barry's father were very devout Muslims"
Emirsyah Satar, CEO of Garuda Indonesia, was quoted as saying, "He (Obama) was often in the prayer room wearing a 'sarong', at that time."
"He was quite religious in Islam but only after marrying Michelle, he changed his religion."
So Obama, according to his classmates and friends was a Muslim until the confluence of love and ambitious, caused him to adopt the cloak of Christianity: to marry Michelle and to run for President of the United States.
In "Dreams," Obama sheds light on his formative years and the political views of his mother, an anthropologist and Islamophile who hated America and subsequently "went native." (It was her mother -- Barry's "other" grandmother who cared for him in his druggie teenage years -- that he would describe as a "typical white person" who was, he said scoldingly, fearful of black men and prone to making stereotypical racial remarks.)
Obama Senior also had three sons by another woman who are all Muslim. Although Obama claims Senior was an atheist, Senior was buried as a Muslim.
Barack Obama's brother Roy opted for Islam over Christianity, as the Senator recounted in his book when describing his 1992 wedding. "The person who made me proudest of all," Obama wrote, "was Roy. Actually, now we call him Abongo, his Luo name, for two years ago he decided to reassert his African heritage. He converted to Islam, and has sworn off pork and tobacco and alcohol."Abongo "argues that the black man must "liberate himself from the poisoning influences of European culture." He urged his younger brother to embrace his African heritage.
In Kenya while he was a Senator, Obama stumped for his cousin, opposition leader Raila Odinga, the son of Senior's sister, a direct first cousin and nephew of Obama's father.
On August 29, 2007, Raila Odinga and Shiekh Abdullah Abdi, chairman of the National Muslim Leaders Forum of Kenya signed a Memorandum of Understanding in which it pledges the support of Kenyan Moslems for Raila's election. In return, as President of Kenya, Raila agrees ... within 6 months re-write the Constitution of Kenya to recognize Shariah as the only true law sanctioned by the Holy Quran for Muslim declared regions [and] within one year to facilitate the establishment of a Shariah court in every Kenyan divisional headquarters -- everywhere in Kenya, not just in "Muslim declared regions" -- and to popularize Islam, the only true religion ... by ordering every primary school in Kenya in the regions to conduct daily Madrassa classes.
an interview with the New York Times, published on April 30th, Maya Soetoro-Ng, Obama's younger half sister, told the Times, "My whole family was Muslim, and most of the people I knew were Muslim."
Obama describes his new found "Christian" faith as: (1) Suspicious of dogma (2) Without any monopoly on the truth (3) Nontransferable to others (4) Infused with a big healthy dose of doubt, and (5) Indulgent of and compatible with all other religions.
On February 27th, speaking to Kristof of The New York Times, Barack Hussein Obama said the Muslim call to prayer is "one of the prettiest sounds on Earth at sunset."
In an interview with Nicholas Kristof, published in The New York Times, Obama recited the Muslim call to prayer, the Adhan, "with a first-class [Arabic] accent."
The opening lines of the Adhan (Azaan) is the Shahada:
"Allah is Supreme! Allah is Supreme!
Allah is Supreme! Allah is Supreme!
I witness that there is no god but Allah
I witness that there is no god but Allah
I witness that Muhammad is his prophet? "
According to Islamic scholars, reciting the Shahada, the Muslim declaration of faith, makes one a Muslim. This simple yet profound statement expresses a Muslim's complete acceptance of, and total commitment to, the message of Islam. Obama chanted it with pride and finesse.
An American Expat in Southeast Asia blog, written by an American who has lived in Indonesia for 20 years and has met with both the Taliban and al-Qaeda, contains the following:
"Barack Hussein Obama might have convinced some Americans that he is no longer a Muslim, but so far he has not convinced many in the world's most populous Muslim country who still see him as a Muslim and a crusader for Islam and world peace."
"Barack Hussein Obama's race, his staunch opposition to the war in Iraq, his sympathy to Islam and Muslims worldwide and his Muslim heritage receive the Indonesian media coverage. There is no mention of his apostasy."
"A good example of how some of the Indonesian media is reporting on Obama's religion can be found in the following."
"What I found interesting in the article was the use of the word 'mengaku' when refering to Obama's conversion from Islam to Christianity. The word 'mengaku' in Indonesian means "claimed" and as such leaves the insinuation to the native Indonesian reader being that Obama might actually still be a Muslim.
But this is how Indonesians see Obama, they don't see him as an apostate at all, they see him as a crusader for the cause of Islam."
Obama wants it both ways, has always wanted it both ways. Black and white, Indonesian and American, Muslim and Christian. He loves playing one off the other, using one to hide the other even as the traces of the truth may be assembled to reveal the whole cloth of deception and self-promotion he has been weaving so skillfully since his childhood. No wonder he is a man of change. He IS a changeling, a veritable chameleon, adapting and amending his life story to fit the circumstances.
The charm may have worked once. It still works on some. It won't work forever in the age of the Internet. The fog of ambiguity and dissimulation is dissipated by the harsh, unforgiving and scrutiny of the blogosphere and its unlimited access to historical facts and time-stamped testimony.
Many have been puzzled why Obama could claim not to be familiar with Wright's rants. It turns out the TrinityChurch, like many African-American churches, happily accepts believing Muslims within its congregation. And evidently many Muslims have no problems surrounding themselves with an anti-American, anti-Israel preacher who week in and week out wins the amens of his adoring congregation.
On Feb 15/08, Usama K. Dakdok, President of The Straight Way of GraceMinistry called Obama's Church and reported the following conversation: " I then asked the person who answered what I needed to do to join. She told me that I needed to attend two Sunday School classes in a row and then I would walk the aisle. I replied, "That sounds easy. One last question please. If I am Muslim and I believe in the Prophet Mohammed, peace be unto him and I also believe in Jesus, peace be unto him, do I have to give up my Islamic faith to be a member in your church? She answered: "No, we have many Muslim members in our church."
Like I said above, I have no idea what to make of this, but we know extraordinarily little of a man who stands a serious shot at being president.
Question: Was BO ever baptised? When? Where?
Last Edit: April 05, 2008, 02:01:39 AM by Crafty_Dog
Is Barack more like J. Wright then he lets on? Coulter on BO's own book
Reply #74 on:
April 06, 2008, 10:25:14 AM »
I am not such a Coulter fan anymore since her remarks on Donny Deutsh about Jews, but she does raise my eyebrows with these excerpts from a book I didn't know BO wrote:
This part does make me a little uncomfortable. Are whites just being conned by BO and is he really another angry Black man more akin to Jesse Jackson and Jeremiah Wright. For me I would have to hear more proof this guy has risen above this anger and as far as I am concerned reverse bigotry to even consider him as my President. If anyone thinks Hillary's attacks on BO are severe then I would agree with those who say "we ain't seen nothing yet" and wait till "the Republicans go at him". This piece is just for openers (I guess):
***When his mother expresses concern about Obama's high school friend being busted for drugs, Obama says he patted his mother's hand and told her not to worry.
This, too, prompted Obama to share with his readers a life lesson on how to handle white people: "It was usually an effective tactic, another one of those tricks I had learned: People were satisfied so long as you were courteous and smiled and made no sudden moves. They were more than satisfied, they were relieved -- such a pleasant surprise to find a well-mannered young black man who didn't seem angry all the time."***
***OBAMA'S DIMESTORE 'MEIN KAMPF'
April 2, 2008
If characters from "The Hills" were to emote about race, I imagine it would sound like B. Hussein Obama's autobiography, "Dreams From My Father."
Has anybody read this book? Inasmuch as the book reveals Obama to be a flabbergasting lunatic, I gather the answer is no. Obama is about to be our next president: You might want to take a peek. If only people had read "Mein Kampf" ...
Nearly every page -- save the ones dedicated to cataloguing the mundane details of his life -- is bristling with anger at some imputed racist incident. The last time I heard this much race-baiting invective I was ... in my usual front-row pew, as I am every Sunday morning, at Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago.
Obama tells a story about taking two white friends from the high school basketball team to a "black party." Despite their deep-seated, unconscious hatred of blacks, the friends readily accepted. At the party, they managed not to scream the N-word, but instead "made some small talk, took a couple of the girls out on the dance floor."
But with his racial hair-trigger, Obama sensed the whites were not comfortable because "they kept smiling a lot." And then, in an incident reminiscent of the darkest days of the Jim Crow South ... they asked to leave after spending only about an hour at the party! It was practically an etiquette lynching!
So either they hated black people with the hot, hot hate of a thousand suns, or they were athletes who had come to a party late, after a Saturday night basketball game.
In the car on the way home, one of the friends empathizes with Obama, saying: "You know, man, that really taught me something. I mean, I can see how it must be tough for you and Ray sometimes, at school parties ... being the only black guys and all."
And thus Obama felt the cruel lash of racism! He actually writes that his response to his friend's perfectly lovely remark was: "A part of me wanted to punch him right there."
Listen, I don't want anybody telling Obama about Bill Clinton's "I feel your pain" line.
Wanting to punch his white friend in the stomach was the introductory anecdote to a full-page psychotic rant about living by "the white man's rules." (One rule he missed was: "Never punch out your empathetic white friend after dragging him to a crappy all-black party.")
Obama's gaseous disquisition on the "white man's rules" leads to this charming crescendo: "Should you refuse this defeat and lash out at your captors, they would have a name for that, too, a name that could cage you just as good. Paranoid. Militant. Violent. Nigger."
For those of you in the "When is Obama gonna play the 'N-word' card?" pool, the winner is ... Page 85! Congratulations!
When his mother expresses concern about Obama's high school friend being busted for drugs, Obama says he patted his mother's hand and told her not to worry.
This, too, prompted Obama to share with his readers a life lesson on how to handle white people: "It was usually an effective tactic, another one of those tricks I had learned: People were satisfied so long as you were courteous and smiled and made no sudden moves. They were more than satisfied, they were relieved -- such a pleasant surprise to find a well-mannered young black man who didn't seem angry all the time."
First of all, I note that this technique seems to be the basis of Obama's entire presidential campaign. But moreover -- he was talking about his own mother! As Obama says: "Any distinction between good and bad whites held negligible meaning." Say, do you think a white person who said that about blacks would be a leading presidential candidate?
The man is stark bonkersville.
He says the reason black people keep to themselves is that it's "easier than spending all your time mad or trying to guess whatever it was that white folks were thinking about you."
Here's a little inside scoop about white people: We're not thinking about you. Especially WASPs. We think everybody is inferior, and we are perfectly charming about it.
In college, Obama explains to a girl why he was reading Joseph Conrad's 1902 classic, "Heart of Darkness": "I read the book to help me understand just what it is that makes white people so afraid. Their demons. The way ideas get twisted around. I helps me understand how people learn to hate."
By contrast, Malcolm X's autobiography "spoke" to Obama. One line in particular "stayed with me," he says. "He spoke of a wish he'd once had, the wish that the white blood that ran through him, there by an act of violence, might somehow be expunged."
Forget Rev. Jeremiah Wright -- Wright is Booker T. Washington compared to this guy.
COPYRIGHT 2008 ANN COULTER
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Re: The Obama Phenomena
Reply #75 on:
April 12, 2008, 12:09:51 PM »
The audacity of contempt.
Re: The Obama Phenomena
Reply #76 on:
April 12, 2008, 04:42:02 PM »
20 Questions for Barack Obama
By John Hawkins
Friday, April 11, 2008
So far, because the mainstream media is smitten with him, Barack Obama has been able to get by running a campaign based on hope, change, unity, love, and rainbows made of cuddly kittens.
However, before we get around to coronating Barack as our new President/Cult of Unity Leader, there are a few questions he should have to answer before America starts drinking his Kool-Aid.
Granted, many members of our esteemed press seem to consider it crass to expect Obama to actually answer questions about unimportant things like his agenda, his character, and what he actually wants to do when he becomes the leader of the free world. That's why he would probably get away with doing what slick politicians like him always do when they're asked tough questions: lie, misdirect, and dodge.
But still, wouldn't it be great if there were some members of the mainstream media that at least had enough integrity to ask him the tough questions in the first place? Ok, you can stop laughing now. Let me put it another way: if there are any Hillary Clinton fans in the press who'd like to help derail Obama so that your preferred liberal candidate can win, start putting questions like these to him:
* You've made unifying the American public and putting our political divisions behind us one of the central themes of your campaign. Yet, National Journal ranked you as the single most liberal senator in 2007. So, which liberal beliefs of yours are you willing to give up for unity's sake?
* Along the same lines, John McCain has been behind numerous pieces of prominent bi-partisan legislation. So, if voters are looking for a candidate who can unify the country, wouldn't he be a better choice than you?
* If you didn't agree with Jeremiah Wright's racist and anti-American views, why did you take your own children to his church and expose them to what he had to say?
* If I may steal a question from Peter Weher, "With which elements, if any, of black liberation theology — as represented by Reverend Wright and Trinity United Church of Christ — do you strongly disagree? Do you think any of the core tenets of black liberation theology are racist?"
* Could black voters trust a white candidate to fairly represent their interests even if he attended an anti-black church and was close friends with a prominent white minister who was famously hostile to black Americans?
* John Conyers has said that he intends to "move legislation that could lead the federal government to apologize for slavery and pay reparations" if you become President. Would you support that legislation?
* Given our budget deficit, how can you justify giving away 845 billion dollars of our tax money to other nations over the next 13 years via your Global Poverty Act?
* In 2004, you said that you opposed the Defense of Marriage Act, which is designed to keep gay marriage from being imposed on the country by judicial fiat. Do you think the American people and their representatives should have a right to decide whether or not they want gay marriage in their states? If the answer is "yes," how can you possibly square that with your opposition to the Defense of Marriage Act?
* Given that you're pro-partial birth abortion, would you support overturning the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003?
* You claim to support the 2nd Amendment, but why should people believe you when, in 1996, you supported "banning the manufacture, sale and possession of handguns?"
* Many people believe your plan for Iraq would be viewed as a huge victory for Al-Qaeda in much of the world, would lead to the collapse of democracy in that country, would boost Iran's standing in the region, and would lead to genocide on a massive scale. Do you believe that those things won't happen or do you believe that those are prices we should be willing to pay to leave Iraq?
* You've often spoken about what the positive effects of pulling out of Iraq will be, but what do you think the negative consequences of your choice to lose the war in Iraq will be?
* Given that we're fighting a war on terror, why do you think it's appropriate for you to continue to personally associate with terrorists like William Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn who bombed buildings on American soil, attempted to murder Army officers, and even today, publicly say that they have no regrets about their actions?
* Can you give a more convincing explanation for why you no longer wear a flag pin and why you famously chose not to hold your hand over your heart for our National Anthem?
* Your campaign has suggested that you should receive half the delegates from the state of Michigan even though your name wasn't even on the ballot. Given that your supporters helped thwart a re-vote, isn't that extraordinarily hypocritical, arrogant, and undemocratic of you?
* Given your past history of using cocaine, which is extremely addictive, would you be willing to regularly take drug tests during the campaign and when you're in the White House to insure Americans that you're not still using?
* You claimed that you "never saw or approved" an "Illinois voter group's detailed questionnaire" that had you taking some embarrassingly liberal stands "on gun control, the death penalty and abortion." You chalked up those answers on the questionnaire to an overzealous aide. Yet, it turned out that you were blatantly lying and were actually interviewed for the questionnaire and even sent in your own handwritten notes. So, if you're willing to tell such a bald-faced lie to cover up your liberal positions, why should the American people believe you now when you claim, on issue after issue, to have flip flopped to a more moderate position than you held just a few years back?
* You personally, along with your campaign, have continuously and consistently lied and claimed that John McCain wants to fight a war in Iraq for the next 100 years. However, what he actually said -- and has repeated many times is, "Maybe (we'll be in Iraq for) 100 (years)...We've been in Japan for 60 years, we've been in South Korea for 50 years, that'd be fine with me as long as Americans are not being injured or harmed or wounded or killed." Why have you continued to knowingly lie about this issue and why should voters trust what you say if you're going to deliberately try to mislead them in this fashion?
* After engaging in a crooked land deal with Tony Rezko, a man who donated $10,000 from (an) alleged kickback scheme to your campaign, how can voters trust you to act in an ethical fashion in the White House?
* According to an April 23, 2007 article from the Chicago Sun-Times called "Barack Obama and his slumlord patron, "Obama, who has worked as a lawyer and a legislator to improve living conditions for the poor, took campaign donations from Rezko even as Rezko's low-income housing empire was collapsing, leaving many African-American families in buildings riddled with problems -- including squalid living conditions, vacant apartments, lack of heat, squatters and drug dealers." Do you have any regrets about teaming up with a slumlord to further your own political career on the backs of the very poor people you claimed to be helping?
John Hawkins is a professional blogger who runs Conservative Grapevine and Right Wing News.
Re: The Obama Phenomena
Reply #77 on:
April 13, 2008, 12:46:52 AM »
Some very good ones in there GM.
Re: The Obama Phenomena
Reply #78 on:
April 14, 2008, 08:57:57 AM »
Quote from: Crafty_Dog on April 13, 2008, 12:46:52 AM
Some very good ones in there GM.
Too bad the MSM is too busy bowing and scraping before him to ask any of those questions.....
Re: The Obama Phenomena
Reply #79 on:
April 14, 2008, 09:00:12 AM »
What's the Matter With Obama?
THE FOUR SINS OF "CLING."
By Mickey Kaus
Updated Monday, April 14, 2008, at 5:19 AM ET
Nein, bitter: There would seem to be four distinct, major problems with Obama's "cling" gaffe.
1) It lumps together things Obama wants us to think he thinks are good (religion) with things he undoubtedly thinks are bad (racism, anti-immigrant sentiment). I suppose it's logically possible to say 'these Pennsylvania voters are so bitter and frustrated that they cling to both good things and bad things,." but the implication is that these are all things he thinks are unfortunate and need explaining (because, his context suggests, they prevent voters from doing the right thing and voting for ... him). Yesterday at the CNN "Compassion Forum" Obama said he wasn't disparaging religion because he meant people "cling" to it in a good way! Would that be the same way they "cling" to "antipathy to people who aren't like them"--the very next phrase Obama uttered? Is racism one of those "traditions that are passed on from generation to generation" that "sustains us"? Obama's unfortunate parallelism makes it hard for him to extricate him from the charge that he was dissing rural Pennsylvanians' excess religiosity.
2.) Even if Obama wasn't equating anything on his list with anything else, he did openly accuse Pennsylvanians of being racists ("antipathy to people who aren't like them").
3) He's contradicted his own positions--at least on trade and (says Instapundit) guns.. Isn't Obama the one trying to tar Hillary as a supporter of NAFTA? Is that just 'boob bait.'
4.) Yes, he's condescending. It's not just that in explaining everyone to everyone Obama winds up patronizing everyone. He doesn't patronize everyone equally. Specifically, he regards the views of these Pennsylvanians as epiphenomena--byproducts of economic stagnation--in a way he doesn't regard, say, his own views as epiphenomena.** Once the Pennsylvanians get some jobs back, they'll change and become as enlightened as Obama the San Franciscans to whom he was talking. That's the clear logic of his argument. Superiority of this sort--not crediting the authenticity and standing of your subject's views--is a violation of social equality, which is a more important value for Americans than money equality. Liiberals tend to lose elections when they forget that.
Please note that Obama's characterization of Pennsylvanians as "bitter" doesn't even make the top four. (See Instapundit: "Bitter is the least of it" Patrick Hynes: "it's not about the bitter.") At this point, the MSM and Hillary are only doing Obama a favor by focusing on the "bitter" dispute. ... Anyway, maybe he meant "bitter" in a good way!
P.S.: Andrew Sullivan and John Rosenberg both say that Obama's "cling" argument comes from Thomas Frank's economistic "What's the Matter with Kansas?"--which seems semi-tragic to me. The great achievement of Republicanism over the past decade, I'm convinced, was getting average Americans to think that it was the Democrats who were the snobs. The person who convinced me of this (in a highly persuasive lecture) was Thomas Frank. Now Frank's theories--if you follow Rosenberg--are on the verge of convincing millions of average Americans that the Republicans were right, at least about the likely Dem nominee. ...
See also this 2004 interview, in which Obama appears totally aware of the condescension problem--though I don't think he avoids it there either. His now-familiar go-to idea--that men spend time hunting and women go to church because of deindustrialization, as opposed to because they like to hunt and believe in their religion--seems inherently condescending (see below).
**--You might argue that this was the same 'it-will-go-away' attitude Obama had toward the anger of parishioners of Rev. Wrights's church--which would reinforce the "he condescends to everyone" theory of Obama. But the parallel isn't there. Obama describes ongoing black anger about racism as an artifact of racism--it's an epiphenomenon only in the sense that it will eventually disappear when its legitimate cause disappears. Obama describes white anger--indeed white anger, white racism, white religiosity, white NRA membership and white opposition to comprehensive immigration reform--as an artifact of something unrelated, namely the loss of good industrial jobs. It''s fundamentally inauthentic, Obama suggests, because (unlike black anger) it isn't caused by what those who express it say it is caused by.
And Obama never describes his own views as the products of anything except an accurate perception of reality. Come to think of it, has he ever expressed any doubt about--let alone apologized for--his views? He certainly didn't apologize in his "race" speech. He presents himself as near ominscient, the Archimedian point from which everyone else's beliefs and behavior can be assessed and explained, and to which almost everyone's beliefs will revert after the revolution. ... sorry, I mean after President Obama has restored hope! ... 10:59 P.M. link
Saturday, April 12, 2008
Watch that Myth: Hillary Clinton had apparently stopped losing ground in PA polls before Obama's "cling" fling in Frisco. It's a bit unfair to say that 'Obama had been gaining ground until ...," though I think I've heard that nascent myth being spread at least three times today. ... P.S.: Obama's lead on Rasmussen (11 points a week ago) has gone and disappeared. Note that the slide began pre-gaffe. ... 7:29 P.M.
Strike 2.5--They're bitter, left-behind, and have their little traditions: Don't think this digs Obama out of his hole. Might even dig it a bit deeper. ... 9:23 A.M.
Friday, April 11, 2008
Ann Coulter is reading Obama's autobiography and comes up with a not-implausible interpretation of the famous Racist Grandma incident:
As recounted in Obama's autobiography, the only evidence that his grandmother feared black men comes from Obama's good-for-nothing, chronically unemployed white grandfather, who accuses Grandma of racism as his third excuse not to get dressed and drive her to work.
Cling Along with Barack: The always-suspect Michael Lind nevertheless sends around a useful commentary on Obama's gruesomely off-key condscension toward downscale Rustbelt voters:
According to Obama, working class (white) people "cling to guns" because they are bitter at losing their manufacturing jobs.
Excuse me? Hunting is part of working-class American culture. Does Obama really think that working-class whites in Pennsylvania were gun control liberals until their industries were downsized, whereas they all rushed to join the NRA ...
I used to think working class voters had conservative values because they were bitter about their economic circumstances--welfare and immigrants were "scapegoats," part of the false consciousness that would disappear when everyone was guaranteed a good job at good wages. Then I left college. ...
P.S.: Because Obama's comments are clearly a Category II Kinsley Gaffe--in which the candidate accidentally says what he really thinks--it will be hard for Obama to explain away. [He could say he was tired and it was late at night?--ed But he was similarly condescending in his big, heartfelt, well-prepared "race speech" when he explained white anger over welfare and affirmative action as a displacement of the bitterness that comes when whites
are anxious about their futures, and feel their dreams slipping away; in an era of stagnant wages and global competition ...
Obama's new restatement confirms the Marxist Deskwork interpretation of the race speech, removing any honest doubt as to his actual attitude.
Rather than trying to spin his way out, wouldn't it be better for Obama to forthrightly admit his identity? Let's have a national dialogue about egghead condescension!]
P.P.S.: Note that guns are not the only thing Obama says "white working class" people "cling" to for economic reasons:
t's not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations. [E.A.]
Hmm. Isn't Obama the one who has been clinging to religion lately? Does he cling to his religion for authentic reasons while those poor Pennsylvania slobs cling to it as a way to "explain their frustrations"? ... They worship an awesome God in the blue states because they're bitter about stagnant wages! I think that's what he said in his 2004 convention address ... 4:41 P.M. link
Reply #80 on:
April 14, 2008, 01:41:36 PM »
The Whistle Blower and the Wind Surfer
Everyone knows that Barack Obama got caught on tape accusing Pennsylvania primary voters of being people who "cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them." What isn't well known is that his campaign tried to prevent Mayhill Fowler, the HuffingtonPost.com blogger who broke the story, from getting into the San Francisco mansion where the candidate made the remarks.
Unlike three other events Mr. Obama attended in the Bay Area on April 6 that were priced at the legal contribution limit of $2,300, the soiree at the home of developer Alex Mehran was priced at only $1,000 because it was pitched to donors who had already given to Team Obama. Ms. Fowler somehow snagged an invitation even though the well-known blogger had been turned away from a previous Obama fundraising event a couple of months earlier.
"There's a very basic [fundraiser] rule -- you don't let press in, and anyone with an interest in reporting shouldn't get in," an Obama source told the San Francisco Chronicle. The paper reports that "Obama campaign higher-ups were said to be livid, with fingers pointing at a local fundraising consultant for the slip-up."
They shouldn't be angry. In an age of citizen journalism -- when literally anyone can carry an MP3 recorder and cell phone video camera into an event -- nothing any longer is completely private. And it's not as if Ms. Fowler qualified as an Obama enemy. A previous donor to the Obama campaign, she paid her $1,000 to attend the San Francisco event. Last Friday, she candidly admitted to CNN: "I was not initially going to write about Senator Obama's remarks about Pennsylvanians, because, frankly, I didn't want to bring down the campaign. I gave it more thought and I decided that the remarks bothered me enough that I wanted to write them up."
That admission is a signal that Mr. Obama's remarks really do represent a problem for him since they disturbed even an ardent supporter enough for her to report them.
-- John Fund
Quote of the Day I
"I used to think working class voters had conservative values because they were bitter about their economic circumstances -- welfare and immigrants were 'scapegoats,' part of the false consciousness that would disappear when everyone was guaranteed a good job at good wages. Then I left college...." -- Slate.com blogger Mickey Kaus, mocking Barack Obama's condescending attitude about working class voters, guns and religion.
Quote of the Day II
"Poor wording was not the problem; on the contrary, it was his precision that was so unfortunate, and his ability to pack half a dozen unintended insults into a single sentence uncanny. And in San Francisco, no less? Roger Ailes couldn't have planned it better, unless he'd maybe followed up the event with some impromptu windsurfing in the bay" -- columnist Melinda Henneberger, a former New York Times reporter, writing at Slate.com about Barack Obama's comments.
Re: The Obama Phenomena
Reply #81 on:
April 14, 2008, 09:48:31 PM »
John Fund is one of the most astute journalists in my view.
As for Obama I feel he is fooling a lot of people most of the time.
I suspect his public persona is a fraud and the real BO is an angry guy who really is an American despising liberal.
I for one no longer trust him as far as I can say "Clinton".
Re: The Obama Phenoma
Reply #82 on:
April 17, 2008, 10:16:26 PM »
Quote from: G M on February 17, 2008, 12:06:43 PM
He's for hope, and change! What more do you need to know?
Forgive me if this has already been posted in this thread, but I felt it important to show everyone that you are in fact correct about the hope and change:
Re: The Obama Phenomena
Reply #83 on:
April 18, 2008, 10:47:08 AM »
“Man, once surrendering his reason, has no remaining guard against absurdities... With such persons, gullibility, which they call faith, takes the helm from the hand of reason and the mind becomes a wreck.” —Thomas Jefferson
No ObamaNation Part 2: Disciple of Hate
By Mark Alexander
(Part 2 of 3 on Barack Hussein Obama)
Part One of this series, “Barack who?”, provided insights into how Obama’s tragic childhood formed the pathological foundation for his narcissistic ambition.
This essay examines how Afrocentric Liberation Theology and its message of hate have wedded Obama’s anger and ambition and defined his worldview. This radical belief system is, after all, a hybrid of black supremacist doctrine and “social gospel” Marxism.
In advance of the Pennsylvania primary, Obama displayed his disdain for middle America’s faith and values at a closed-door San Francisco fundraiser: “You go into these small towns in Pennsylvania and, like a lot of small towns in the Midwest... it’s not surprising they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.”
In other words, according to Obama, their faith is a byproduct of bitterness. While this sentiment might have been a hit with the chardonnay-sipping elite of Marin County, it hasn’t played well in Peoria. Or in Pennsylvania, which holds its crucial presidential primary on 22 April.
In the parlance of psychology, this assessment would be classified as projection. Indeed, Obama’s “faith” does have bitter origins, and he assumes, errantly, that such bitterness is the root of all faith.
He also alluded to bitterness in mid-March: “We’ve got a tragic history when it comes to race in this country. We’ve got a lot of pent-up anger and bitterness... The anger is real. It is powerful, and to simply wish it away, to condemn it without understanding its roots, only serves to widen the chasm of misunderstanding that exists between the races.”
To date, Obama has passed on charm alone, all fragrance, no substance. So little is known about Obama that when it was discovered that his mentor, the man he identifies as most influential in his life, has discipled him in Afrocentric Liberation Theology for more than 20 years, that presented an excellent opportunity to gain real insight into Barack Hussein Obama.
That mentor is Jeremiah Wright, just retired as head holy man of Trinity United Church (TUC) of radical black political theology. Wright officiated at Obama’s wedding, baptized their two daughters and is credited by Obama for the title of his book, The Audacity of Hope.
So who is this mentor, this chief spiritual advisor to Obama?
Here is a portrait of Wright in his own words from the pulpit: “The government lied about inventing the HIV virus as a means of genocide against people of color. The government gives [black people] drugs, builds bigger prisons, passes a three-strikes law and then wants us to sing ‘God Bless America.’ No, no, no, g*d d*** America, that’s in the Bible for killing innocent people. G*d d*** America for treating our citizens as less than human. G*d d*** America for as long as she acts like she is god and she is supreme.”
Wright calls America “the US-KKK-A” and says the nation is “controlled by and run by rich white people. Racism is how this country was founded and how this country is still run. We believe in white supremacy and black inferiority and believe it more than we believe in god. And. And-and! God! Has got! To be sick! Of this sh*t!”
“We have supported state terrorism against the Palestinians and black South Africans, and now we are indignant because the stuff we have done overseas is now brought back to our own front yards. America’s chickens are coming home to roost.”
Lest anyone mistake who he felt was to blame for 9/11, and who he felt deserved punishment, Wright elaborated in 2005: “White America got a wake-up call after 9/11. White America and the Western world came to realize that people of color had not gone away, faded into the woodwork or just disappeared as the great white West kept on its merry way of ignoring black concerns.”
How did Obama respond when asked about his pastor’s false and vicious tirade? “It sounds like he was trying to be provocative,” he said.
On Israel, Wright claims: “The Israelis have illegally occupied Palestinian territories for over 40 years now. Divestment has now hit the table again as a strategy to wake the business community and wake up Americans concerning the injustice and the racism under which the Palestinians have lived because of Zionism.”
Perhaps that explains Hamas’ endorsement of Obama?
In December 2007, Wright presented the TUC’s “Jeremiah A. Wright Jr. Trumpeter Award” to a man who “truly epitomized greatness,” Louis Farrakhan, head of the Nation of Islam and a consummate anti-Semite. “When Minister Farrakhan speaks, Black America listens,” says Wright. “His depth on analysis when it comes to the racial ills of this nation is astounding and eye opening. He brings a perspective that is helpful and honest.”
Recently, Wright compared Obama to Jesus, saying, “Barack knows what it means to be a black man living in a country and a culture that is controlled by rich white people. Hillary can never know that. Hillary ain’t never been called a nigger.”
TUC’s mission statement, since removed from its website, noted the congregation’s “Commitment to the black values system,” or as Wright notes, “Similar to the Gospel movement in Nicaragua during the whole liberation theology movement.” The statement continues, “Commitment to the black community... black family... adherence to the black work ethic... supporting black institutions... pledging allegiance to all black leadership who have embraced the black values system.”
That is a very dark mission statement.
A current mission statement notes, “Our roots in the Black religious experience and tradition are deep, lasting and permanent. We are an African people, and remain ‘true to our native land,’ the mother continent, the cradle of civilization.”
Wright was, himself, a disciple of James Cone, one of the original champions of Black Liberation Theology, who wrote the following in his seminal work, Black Theology and Black Power: “Black theology refuses to accept a God who is not identified totally with the goals of the black community. If God is not for us and against white people, then he is a murderer, and we had better kill him. The task of black theology is to kill Gods who do not belong to the black community. Black theology will accept only the love of God which participates in the destruction of the white enemy. What we need is the divine love as expressed in Black Power, which is the power of black people to destroy their oppressors here and now by any means at their disposal. Unless God is participating in this holy activity, we must reject his love.”
Wright quotes Cone on TUC’s website: “The time has come for white America to be silent and listen to black people... All white men are responsible for white oppression... Theologically, Malcolm X was not far wrong when he called the white man ‘the devil’.”
When asked if he would leave TUC (as if that would make everything copacetic), Obama said, “This is somebody who I have known for 20 years [who] led me to Christ. He is a biblical scholar. He is a well regarded preacher and somebody who is known for talking about the social gospel.”
In other words, “No.”
But when pressed, Obama invoked his own version of Bill Clinton’s “I didn’t inhale” defense. Indeed, after 20 years of being fed the Wright stuff, Obama said, “I did not hear such incendiary language myself, personally, either in conversations with him or when I was in the pew.” Yeah, right.
Clinton’s disclaimer registers much higher on the truth meter.
A prominent member of Wright’s congregation says, “He has impacted the life of Barack Obama so much so that he wants to portray that feeling he got from Rev. Wright onto the country because we all need something positive.”
Wright himself told The New York Times a year ago, “If Barack gets past the primary, he might have to publicly distance himself from me. I said it to Barack personally, and he said ‘yeah, that might have to happen’.”
Translation: Any distance between Obama and Wright is contrived purely for political expedience. All the bitterness and hatred is seething right under the surface.
Now that Obama’s wafer-thin layer of shellac is peeling away, some moderate Demos, and more than a few superdelegates—who hitched their wagon to this most Leftwing of Lefties—are concerned that Obama is leading their party into a black hole. As they learn more, however late, about Obama’s black-nationalist and Marxist roots, they correctly see his election prospects growing dimmer.
At this point, Hillary Clinton is looking better to moderates, but her only chance to become the Demos’ nominee is to turn almost all of the superdelegates at convention, and her campaign can do that only with a bombshell.
(Next week—No Obamanation Part 3: Barack the Radical)
Quote of the week
“There is [a] class of colored people who make a business of keeping the troubles, the wrongs and the hardships of the Negro race before the public. Having learned that they are able to make a living out of their troubles, they have grown into the settled habit of advertising their wrongs—partly because they want sympathy, and partly because it pays. Some of these people do not want the Negro to lose his grievances, because they do not want to lose their jobs... There is a certain class of race-problem solvers who don’t want the patient to get well, because as long as the disease holds out they have not only an easy means of making a living, but also an easy medium through which to make themselves prominent before the public.”—Booker T. Washington in his 1911 book, My Larger Education
“In Barack Obama’s America, rich people who vote on cultural issues rather than economic self-interest are principled and self-sacrificing. People of more modest means who do so are credulous and bitter... With Barack Obama’s ‘postracial’ appeal having proved illusory but Democrats likely to nominate him for president anyway, the party faces a difficult problem: how to persuade Americans to vote for the spiritual protégé of a man who espouses crackpot anti-American and antiwhite views.”—James Taranto
“Why did you give $22,500 just two years ago [and more than $26,000 in 2007] 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?... This contextual analysis of Wright’s venom, this extenuation of black hate speech as a product of white racism, is not new. It’s the Jesse Jackson politics of racial grievance, expressed in Ivy League diction and Harvard Law nuance. That’s why the speech made so many liberal commentators swoon: It bathed them in racial guilt while flattering their intellectual pretensions. An unbeatable combination.”—Charles Krauthammer
Does BO hate America?
Reply #84 on:
April 19, 2008, 08:05:19 AM »
Obama is American liberalism's evolutionary end result. Blame America first because it is a downright mean country. So now we must all come together to make it into something that would Michelle could be proud of:
If one believes this, and I am becoming convinced that it is true then in my view this guy cannot be allowed to run this country.
He is bluffing us. Let's all work together, compromise, we are one nation etc etc. But what we are working for is his vision of America. And that vision is extraordinarily liberal.
Can BO prove to me otherwise?
Re: The Obama Phenomena
Reply #85 on:
April 19, 2008, 10:12:21 AM »
I thought Will did a very good job there of articulating and organizing certain points. Good find.
Re: The Obama Phenomena
Reply #86 on:
April 24, 2008, 10:01:13 AM »
Definitely a hit piece, but interesting nonetheless; another example of unsavory support for BO.
Terrorist Fundraisers for Obama By Patrick Poole
FrontPageMagazine.com | Wednesday, April 23, 2008
Two years ago, Hatem El-Hady was the chairman of the Toledo, Ohio-based Islamic charity, Kindhearts, which was closed by the US government in February 2006 for terrorist fundraising and all its assets frozen. Today, El-Hady has redirected his fundraising efforts for his newest cause - Barack Obama for President.
El-Hady has his own dedicated page on Barack Obama's official website, chronicling his fundraising on behalf of the Democratic Party presidential candidate (his Obama profile established on February 19, 2008 - two years to the day after Kindhearts was raided by the feds). Not only that, but he has none other than Barack Obama's wife, Michelle Obama, listed as one of his friends (one of her 224 listed friends).
But his leadership of Kindhearts is not the only thing that has brought him scrutiny by federal law enforcement officials. Last summer, El-Hady was questioned by the FBI concerning his knowledge of possible conspirators in a UK-based terror plot.
Hatem El-Hady's interest in "change" is understandable. Following the closure of Kindhearts, he said in response to the government's closure of his organization:
"It's dirty politics," said Dr. Hatem Elhady, chairman of the board of KindHearts, which raised $5.1 million in 2004. "They do not like the way things are going in Palestine. They do not like the election results. But that is not our problem. Our problem is providing aid to people in desperate need of help."
The Department of Justice had a very different version of events. According to the DOJ, Kindhearts assumed the role of lead terrorist fundraising in the US after the government had closed other such Islamic "charities":
"KindHearts is the progeny of Holy Land Foundation and Global Relief Foundation, which attempted to mask their support for terrorism behind the façade of charitable giving," said Stuart Levey, Treasury Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence.
Not only was Kindhearts engaged in providing funds for HAMAS in Lebanon and the West Bank, it had hired as a fundraising specialist the man identified as the designated HAMAS bag man in the US, Mohammed El-Mezain.
And as investigative reporter Joe Kaufman revealed, "The Black Hearts of Kindhearts", a number of other Kindhearts officials were tied to terrorist fundraising and support:
KindHearts’ Director of Domestic Programs, Khalifah Ramadan. Ramadan was a training and evaluation consultant for the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) and the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), two large Muslim organizations based in the United States that have links to overseas terror groups.
KindHearts’ Representaive, Omar Shahin. Shahin was an Imam for the Islamic Center of Tucson (ICT), the former home of numerous terror operatives, including Wael Jelaidan, who later helped found Al-Qaeda.
KindHearts’ Representative, Wagdy Ghuneim. Ghuneim, an Egyptian cleric, has been featured in KindHearts fundraising dinners for 2002, 2003 and 2004. During a rally at Brooklyn College, in May of 1998, Ghuneim attempted to persuade the crowd to support violent jihad and labeled Jews as “descendants of the apes.”
KindHearts’ Representative, Hatem Bazian. Bazian is an Islamic Studies instructor and a member of the faculty of Near Eastern Studies at UC Berkley. In April of 2004, during a San Francisco anti-war rally, Bazian, a native Palestinian, called for an “intifada” against the United States. This was just two months prior to Bazian being featured in a KindHearts Fundraising Dinner, entitled ‘Palestinians in agony!’
KindHearts’ Manager in Lebanon, Haytham Maghawri (a.k.a. Haytham Fawri). Maghawri, the past Social Services Director for HLF, according to the Treasury Department, “collected [KindHearts] funds and sent them to Hamas and other Salafi groups.” [One of the recipients of KindHearts funding was Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT) Usama Hamdan, a leader of Hamas in Lebanon.]
And two months before Kindhearts closure by the US government, Beila Rabinowitz had revealed that the South Asia Division Coordinator for Kindhearts, Zulfiqar Ali Shah, had known ties to al-Qaeda, even conducting a 10-day tour with officials for the Tablighi Jamaat organization, which the New York Times had described as "a springboard for militancy" and a "recruitment" center for Al-Qaeda.
Barack Obama has promised change. And as indicated by the public support that his candidacy has received by accused terrorist fundraiser Hatem El-Hady, Obama's version of change that terrorists and their US supporters can believe in.
Re: The Obama Phenomena
Reply #87 on:
April 25, 2008, 11:16:10 AM »
Reply #88 on:
April 29, 2008, 10:17:45 PM »
Barack Obama's Muslim Childhood By Daniel Pipes
FrontPageMagazine.com | Tuesday, April 29, 2008
As Barack Obama's candidacy comes under increasing scrutiny, his account of his religious upbringing deserves careful attention for what it tells us about the candidate's integrity.
Obama asserted in December, "I've always been a Christian," and he has adamantly denied ever having been a Muslim. "The only connection I've had to Islam is that my grandfather on my father's side came from that country [Kenya]. But I've never practiced Islam." In February, he claimed: "I have never been a Muslim. … other than my name and the fact that I lived in a populous Muslim country for 4 years when I was a child [Indonesia, 1967-71] I have very little connection to the Islamic religion."
"Always" and "never" leave little room for equivocation. But many biographical facts, culled mainly from the American press, suggest that, when growing up, the Democratic candidate for president both saw himself and was seen as a Muslim.
Obama's Kenyan birth father: In Islam, religion passes from the father to the child. Barack Hussein Obama, Sr. (1936–1982) was a Muslim who named his boy Barack Hussein Obama, Jr. Only Muslim children are named "Hussein".
Obama's Indonesian family: His stepfather, Lolo Soetoro, was also a Muslim. In fact, as Obama's half-sister, Maya Soetoro-Ng explained to Jodi Kantor of the New York Times: "My whole family was Muslim, and most of the people I knew were Muslim." An Indonesian publication, the Banjarmasin Post reports a former classmate, Rony Amir, recalling that "All the relatives of Barry's father were very devout Muslims."
Barack Obama's Catholic school in Jakarta.
The Catholic school: Nedra Pickler of the Associated Press reports that "documents showed he enrolled as a Muslim" while at a Catholic school during first through third grades. Kim Barker of the Chicago Tribune confirms that Obama was "listed as a Muslim on the registration form for the Catholic school." A blogger who goes by "An American Expat in Southeast Asia" found that "Barack Hussein Obama was registered under the name ‘Barry Soetoro' serial number 203 and entered the Franciscan Asisi Primary School on 1 January 1968 and sat in class 1B. … Barry's religion was listed as Islam."
The public school: Paul Watson of the Los Angeles Times learned from Indonesians familiar with Obama when he lived in Jakarta that he "was registered by his family as a Muslim at both schools he attended." Haroon Siddiqui of the Toronto Star visited the Jakarta public school Obama attended and found that "Three of his teachers have said he was enrolled as a Muslim." Although Siddiqui cautions that "With the school records missing, eaten by bugs, one has to rely on people's shifting memories," he cites only one retired teacher, Tine Hahiyari, retracting her earlier certainty about Obama's being registered as a Muslim.
Barack Obama's public school in Jakarta.
Koran class: In his autobiography, Dreams of My Father, Obama relates how he got into trouble for making faces during Koranic studies, thereby revealing he was a Muslim, for Indonesian students in his day attended religious classes according to their faith. Indeed, Obama still retains knowledge from that class: Nicholas D. Kristof of the New York Times, reports that Obama "recalled the opening lines of the Arabic call to prayer, reciting them [to Kristof] with a first-rate accent."
Mosque attendance: Obama's half-sister recalled that the family attended the mosque "for big communal events." Watson learned from childhood friends that "Obama sometimes went to Friday prayers at the local mosque." Barker found that "Obama occasionally followed his stepfather to the mosque for Friday prayers." One Indonesia friend, Zulfin Adi, states that Obama "was Muslim. He went to the mosque. I remember him wearing a sarong" (a garment associated with Muslims).
Piety: Obama himself says that while living in Indonesia, a Muslim country, he "didn't practice [Islam]," implicitly acknowledging a Muslim identity. Indonesians differ in their memories of him. One, Rony Amir, describes Obama as "previously quite religious in Islam."
Obama's having been born and raised a Muslim and having left the faith to become a Christian make him neither more nor less qualified to become president of the United States. But if he was born and raised a Muslim and is now hiding that fact, this points to a major deceit, a fundamental misrepresentation about himself that has profound implications about his character and his suitability as president.
Mr. Pipes (
), director of the Middle East Forum, is the Taube/Diller distinguished visiting fellow at the Hoover Institution of Stanford University. © All rights reserved by Daniel Pipes.
Re: The Obama Phenomena
Reply #89 on:
May 07, 2008, 10:23:26 PM »
Article of Ayers, including recent foto of him standing on US flag:
Reply #90 on:
May 09, 2008, 08:16:59 PM »
By JAMES TARANTO
May 9, 2008
(Note: We'll be traveling and thus absent the early part of next week.)
For all the hype about Barack Obama being some new kind of politician, in one respect he is very similar to recent Democratic presidential nominees: He takes criticism very badly, responding to it by getting both defensive and nasty. It is a most unattractive quality.
CNN reports on a case in point:
"This is offensive, and I think it's disappointing," Obama told [Wolf] Blitzer, when asked his thoughts about McCain's comments that the terrorist organization Hamas wants Obama to be president. "Because John McCain always says 'I am not going to run that kind of politics,' and to engage in that kind of smear is unfortunate, particularly because my policy toward Hamas has been no different than his.
"I've said it's a terrorist organization and we should not negotiate with them unless they recognize Israel, renounce violence, and unless they are willing to abide by previous accords between the Palestinians and the Israelis. So for him to toss out comments like that I think is an example of him losing his bearings as he pursues this nomination. We don't need name calling in this debate."
Commentary's Abe Greenwald has the background on the so-called smear:
Jennifer [Rubin, a Commentary blogress] is too modest to mention it, but she played a considerable role in the "smear" to which Obama [yesterday] referred. It was during a blogger conference call on April 25 that she, in fact, asked John McCain to comment on Hamas's preference for Obama above the other presidential candidates. As it happens, I was on that call as well. And it's worth noting the nature of McCain's response to Jennifer. He began his reply by saying, "All I can tell you, Jennifer, is that I think it's very clear who Hamas wants to be the next President of the United States."
Considering the situation, this is about the most delicately phrased response that one could have expected. It was not in the least a smear. Jennifer introduced Hamas's very real preference into the conversation. John McCain essentially chose to let the facts speak for themselves.
As we noted last month, Hamas leader Ahmed Yousef did in fact endorse Obama, in an interview with WABC-AM's John Batchelor. McCain's statement that "it's very clear who Hamas wants to be the next president" is far less of a smear than Obama's characterization of McCain as having "lost his bearings," plainly an attempt to stereotype the septuagenarian McCain as suffering from dementia. No wonder Hillary Clinton does so well among superannuated primary voters.
Obama's perturbability in the face of criticism was also evident in his response to the various comments by Jeremiah Wright*. Sept. 11 was chickens coming home to roost? Hey, we all have uncles who say crazy things. "God damn America"? He meant it in the best possible way. Barack Obama is acting like a politician? That got him angry, although it was almost as indisputably accurate as McCain's statement about Hamas.
One difference between Obama's and McCain's policies toward Hamas, as The Weekly Standard's Michael Goldfarb points out, is that Obama is eager to meet with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the public face of Iran's revolutionary Islamic regime, which is the terror group's chief patron. The purpose of the meeting is unclear, but Obama seems to suggest that he would somehow charm Ahmadinejad into submission. Can there be any doubt, though, that Ahmadinejad is now taking note of how easily rattled his prospective interlocutor is?
* The man of whom Barack Obama says, "He was never my quote-unquote spiritual adviser," although he served on the Obama campaign's quote-unquote spiritual advisory committee.
Elect Me, I'm Electable
Yesterday we noted Hillary Clinton's unfortunate comment in an interview with USA Today: "There was just an AP article posted that found how Senator Obama's support among working, hard-working Americans, white Americans is weakening again. . . . I have a much broader base to build a winning coalition on."
Peggy Noonan quotes an Obama supporter as saying of Mrs. Clinton's remark, "Even Richard Nixon didn't say white, even with the Southern strategy." We suppose Nixon was a smoother politician than Mrs. Clinton, and using the word "white" was (as we told her yesterday) a mistake. But there is a reason she is speaking in these terms.
The Tampa Tribune's William March reports that Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz released a statement making essentially the same point, although without being explicitly racial about it:
Senator Clinton continues to demonstrate that she has what it takes to win the Presidency . . . while Senator Obama does well in areas and demographic groups that the Democratic nominee will win anyway.
It isn't only Mrs. Clinton's side that is insulting Democratic voters. These remarks are of a piece with Barack Obama's statement about "bitter" working-class Pennsylvanians. Jay Cost of RealClearPolitics had an insightful take on that:
Mr. Obama presumed to explain the behavior of the voters he is courting. We might not know for sure exactly how he was explaining them, but we know that he was trying to. This is something that is best left to political scientists, not candidates. They should never speak of voters in any but the most flattering terms. Otherwise, there is a risk of alienating them. When you analyze people, you are signaling that you are separate from them. You are an "other." What is more, nobody likes to feel that they are being analyzed. The analyst can come across as haughty. "Who the hell does he think he is to explain me?"
Why are they insulting voters? Because at the moment, they are not trying to appeal to voters but to so-called superdelegates, the elected and party officials who will actually decide the Democratic nominee. Both candidates are trying to persuade the superdelegates that they have better prospects in November, and that is why they are referring to the voters in the third person.
In the olden days, of course, these conversations would have taken place in smoke-filled rooms, not in public. Being dragged through this is a fitting punishment for the woman who banned smoking in the White House.
Reply #91 on:
May 10, 2008, 08:45:33 AM »
Obama Promises Germany-Plus
By GABOR STEINGART
May 10, 2008; Page A9
When I begin to feel homesick for Germany, I have discovered a cheap and easy way out. I simply turn on the TV and listen to a Barack Obama stump speech.
The promised land of universal health care, secure pensions, a lot of green-collar jobs and stable bridges brings me back to my home country. My grandma, who has worked in a post office all her life, enjoys her pension without having ever observed the stock market. Everyone who travels through the countryside can see thousands of windmills, but never a collapsed bridge. And the best: My mom, my friends and everyone around them have access to first-class medical services.
Sometimes it appears to me that Mr. Obama wants to trump all that. He has promised not only a $160 billion program for new green-collar jobs, a higher minimum wage, affordable health care for everybody, a massive investment in infrastructure and tax-free status for pensioners who make less than $50,000. All these nice things come with no tax increase for 95% of Americans. Wow! That's Germany-plus!
I've been in the U.S. for a while, but if I remember my home country correctly, all the German comforts come with a price. My grandma has paid 10% of her salary to the public pension system, and her employer has matched the contribution. For our health insurance everyone has to sacrifice 7% of his or her earnings, which again is matched by the company. Fashionable windmills go along with extra taxes for fuel. A gallon of regular gas in Munich or Berlin costs – fasten your seat belt – more than $8.
Not all of my fellow Germans are happy with this, but the overwhelming majority of my fellow countrymen made their decision a long time ago. They prefer big government. They have learned to live with growth rates far behind and an unemployment rate far above the U.S.
Maybe I am being unfair to Mr. Obama. But it seems to me that the agent of change was window-shopping in Germany without looking at the price tag. You should ask him for the bill.
Mr. Steingart is the senior correspondent in Washington, D.C., for Der Spiegel news magazine and author of the "The War for Wealth – The True Story of Globalization" (McGraw Hill, 2008).
Historical ignorance or Orwellian lie?
Reply #92 on:
May 12, 2008, 11:30:03 AM »
“In his victory speech after the North Carolina primary, Sen. Barack Obama...[defended] his stated intent to meet with America’s enemies without preconditions...: ‘I trust the American people to understand that it is not weakness, but wisdom to talk not just to our friends, but to our enemies, like Roosevelt did, and Kennedy did, and Truman did.’ That he made this statement, and that it passed without comment by the journalists covering his speech indicates either breathtaking ignorance of history on the part of both, or deceit. I assume the Roosevelt to whom Sen. Obama referred is Franklin D. Roosevelt. Our enemies in World War II were Nazi Germany, headed by Adolf Hitler; fascist Italy, headed by Benito Mussolini, and militarist Japan, headed by Hideki Tojo. FDR talked directly with none of them before the outbreak of hostilities, and his policy once war began was unconditional surrender. FDR died before victory was achieved, and was succeeded by Harry Truman. Truman did not modify the policy of unconditional surrender. He ended that war not with negotiation, but with the atomic bomb. Harry Truman also was president when North Korea invaded South Korea in June, 1950. President Truman’s response was not to call up North Korean dictator Kim Il Sung for a chat. It was to send troops... Sen. Obama is on both sounder and softer ground with regard to John F. Kennedy. The new president held a summit meeting with Soviet leader Nikita Khruschev in Vienna in June, 1961. Elie Abel, who wrote a history of the Cuban missile crisis (The Missiles of October), said the crisis had its genesis in that summit... Mr. Abel wrote, ‘There is no evidence to support the belief that Khrushchev ever questioned America’s power. He questioned only the president’s readiness to use it.’... It’s worth noting that Kennedy then was vastly more experienced than Sen. Obama is now. A combat veteran of World War II, Jack Kennedy served 14 years in Congress before becoming president. Sen. Obama has no military and little work experience, and has been in Congress for less than four years... History is an elective few liberals choose to take these days... The lack of historical knowledge among journalists is merely appalling. But in a presidential candidate it’s dangerous. As Sir Winston Churchill said: ‘Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it’.” —Jack Kelly
Re: The Obama Phenomena
Reply #93 on:
May 17, 2008, 01:00:40 AM »
May 10, 2008
Jews can't vote for Obama and be pro-Israel at the same time
By Ted Belman
ted-4.jpgIn the poll of Jewish voters (conducted April 1-30), it showed
Obama getting 61% of the Jewish vote against John McCain (32%). Yet in the
same poll Hillary Clinton beat Obama among Jewish voters 62% - 38%. So
obviously Jews are lifelong democrats who will vote for Obama, whom they
rejected in the primaries, rather than vote for McCain. Thus, for them,
party loyalty is preferable to Israel loyalty.
Recently I posted two articles by Yarom Ettinger, former Israeli Ambassador
to the US, The Prospects of a Palestinian State and National Interests of
the United States and It's American interests, stupid, both of which clearly
demonstrate that keeping Israel strong is to keep America strong. Thus to be
pro-Israel is to be pro-America.
Now some would argue that most Jewish Americans are not one issue voters but
they must realize that to favour a basket of issues or the Democratic Party
above favouring Israel, makes them less pro-Israel and thus less
pro-American. This I am sure will get howls of protest from the J-Street
Lobby which represents progressive Jewry, who would have you believe that by
forcing Israel to capitulate, they are acting in the best interests of
Israel and the US. I hope you don't buy their thinking. These articles fly
in the face of such thinking. Consider them carefully it is important.
While most Jews favour Obama in a run off with McCain because he is a
Democrat, they ignore how pro-Palestinian and anti-American he is.
Let me list the ways.
- Obama said "Nobody is suffering more than the Palestinian people,"
- Obama said "If there is an Arab American family [in the US] being
rounded up without benefit of an attorney, those are my civil liberties!"
- Everyone on Obama's foreign policy team, McPeak, Hamilton, Kurtzer,
Brezezinski, are anti- Israel and The Israel Lobby. Their policies are
closely aligned with Carter's and Baker's.
- Obama has been in bed with Jew haters and Islamic jihad for years.
Farrakhan and his dear friend Reverend Wright, Obama's spiritual guru, is a
vile Jew hater.
- Obama is the first Presidential candidate endorsed by Hamas. He is
the toast of the Islamic world. Obama's church posted a Hamas manifesto.
- Obama has been endorsed by William Ayers (Weatherman Underground
bomber, unrepentant domestic terrorist) (Member Communist Party USA, Early
mentor to Obama) Jeremiah Wright (Black Liberation militant, racist, and
Pastor) Tony Rezko (Corrupt Financier, ties to Terror Financing) Louis
Farrakhan (Nation of Islam Leader, racist, anti-American) Hamas Terrorist
Organization (Islamic Terrorist Organization) Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades
(Islamic Terror Irganization) Raila Odinga (Fundamental Islamic Candidate,
Kenya, Obama's Cousin) Daniel Ortega (Marxist Sandinista Leader. Nicaragua
Raul Castro (Hard-line Communist Leader, Communist Party Illinois (US
Communist Political Party) Socialist Party USA (Marxist Socialist Political
Party) The New Black Panther Party (Black Militant Organization,
anti-American and racist Mosques are preaching for Obama (muslims vote
- We know from this blog entry by the pro-Palestinian blogger Ali
Abunimah at The Electronic Intifadah, that Obama has moved to a move
pro-Israel position as his national aspirations developed. "The last time I
spoke to Obama was in the winter of 2004 at a gathering in Chicago's Hyde
Park neighborhood," Abunimah writes. "He was in the midst of a primary
campaign to secure the Democratic nomination for the United States Senate
seat he now occupies. But at that time polls showed him trailing. "As he
came in from the cold and took off his coat, I went up to greet him. He
responded warmly, and volunteered, "Hey, I'm sorry I haven't said more about
Palestine right now, but we are in a tough primary race. I'm hoping when
things calm down I can be more up front.' He referred to my activism,
including columns I was contributing to the The Chicago Tribune critical of
Israeli and US policy, 'Keep up the good work!"
- Ralph Nader agrees."(Obama) has run a brilliant tactical campaign.
But his better instincts and his knowledge have been censored by himself..He
was pro-Palestinian when he was in Illinois before he ran for the state
Senate, during he ran-during the state Senate."
- Obama served as a paid director on the board of a nonprofit
organization that granted funding to a controversial Arab group that mourns
the establishment of Israel as a "catastrophe." (Obama has also reportedly
spoken at fundraisers for Palestinians living in what the United Nations
terms refugee camps.). The co-founder of that Arab group, Columbia
University professor Rashid Khalidi, is a harsh critic of Israel who
reportedly worked on behalf of the Palestine Liberation Organization when it
was labeled a terror group by the State Department. Khalidi held a
fundraiser in 2000 for Obama's failed bid for a seat in the U.S. House of
- Ten years ago Obama went to a pro-Palestinian dinner at which Edward
Said was the guest speaker and they sat at the same table.
- Obama employed and continues to employ several Farrakhan acolytes in
high positions on his Illinois and U.S. Senate campaign and office staffs.
- Obama very recently and previously referred to the "cycle of
violence" in the Middle East. He thereby equates Arab criminal violence with
legitimate Israeli self-defence.
- Obama's Church reprinted the outrageous claim that Israel planned an
"ethnic bomb" to kill blacks and Arabs.
All items listed above cannot be characterized as a smear as they are all
How can Jews ignore all this or dismiss it as inconsequential? I don't get
ADDENDUM ( found this article after writing mine.)
A Curious Kind of Friendship; Barack Obama's dubious record on Israel
MARK HEMINGWAY, NRO
On April 21, Barack Obama found himself at a diner in Scranton, Pa. The
Illinois senator hadn't been available to the press in ten days, so a
reporter approached him.
Perhaps Obama was in a bad mood because he foresaw a drubbing - the next
day, Pennsylvanian primary voters went for Hillary. Or maybe he just didn't
like the reporter's question: "Senator, did you hear about Jimmy Carter's
trip? He said he could get Hamas to negotiate."
Looking down at his breakfast, the senator snapped back, "Why can't I just
eat my waffle?"
The week before, two important things had happened. One, Obama had declined
to condemn Carter's meeting with Hamas, though Secretary of State
Condoleezza Rice had opposed the trip. Two, the Palestinian terrorist group
took the unusual step of endorsing him. When asked about the endorsement,
Obama's chief strategist, David Axelrod, was flattered that Hamas compared
his candidate to JFK: "We all agree that John Kennedy was a great president,
and it's flattering when anybody says that Barack Obama would follow in his
Republican nominee John McCain quickly took note. "We need change in
America, but not the kind of change that wins kind words from Hamas," he
The day following Wafflegate, Obama told the press it was a "bad idea" for
Carter to meet with Hamas, as it gave the group "a legitimacy that was
It's understandable that Obama would rather do just about anything than talk
about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Questions about Obama's support for
Israel have percolated in Jewish publications and elsewhere for more than a
year, and now they threaten to spill over into the mainstream media. In
March, speaking to reporters in Texas, Obama defended his record: "Nobody
has ever been able to point to statements that I made or positions that I've
taken that are contrary to the long-term security interests in Israel and in
any way diminish the special relationship we have with that country."
Trouble is, this claim is simply not true.
Obama has been battling the perception that he is insufficiently supportive
of Israel since last year, when he told the Des Moines Register, "Nobody is
suffering more than the Palestinian people." An Iowa Democrat and member of
the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), David Adelman, called
Obama's comments "deeply troubling." Obama claimed the remark was taken out
of context, but the Politico noted that talk of Obama's comment was one of
many reasons that a "real, if kind of inchoate, skepticism" dominated
discussions of Obama at AIPAC's annual policy conference in March of last
Whatever the context of that specific remark, many subsequent revelations
have given ample reason for skepticism: Obama has repeatedly claimed to
support Israel, but his record doesn't jibe with his rhetoric. Last year, he
announced he would vote against an amendment in the Senate declaring Iran's
Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps - which has long supported Hezbollah
terrorists and otherwise abetted the murder of Israelis - a terrorist group.
The resolution passed 76-22, with the support of Hillary Clinton, Illinois
senator Dick Durbin, and a host of other reliable liberals. Obama missed the
vote while campaigning in New Hampshire, but he attacked Clinton on the
issue, saying the non-binding amendment might exacerbate tensions with Iran.
What's more, his life is marked by ties to anti-Israeli causes. A recent
report in the Los Angeles Times detailed Obama's close relationship with
Rashid Khalidi, a professor of Arab studies at Columbia University. In the
late 1970s Khalidi worked with WAFA, the official news agency of the
Palestinian Liberation Organization; during this period, the PLO and its
engaged in acts of terrorism. In 2005 Khalidi gained national attention when
he argued that, under international law, Palestinians have a right to
violently resist Israeli occupation.
While teaching at the University of Chicago, Khalidi co-founded the Arab
American Action Network (AAAN), an organization with a history of churning
out anti-Israeli propaganda. AAAN's current projects include "The Arab
American Oral History Project." The group's website asks, "Do you have
photos, letters or other memories you could share about Al-Nakba-1948?" "Al
Nakba" translates as "the catastrophe," and 1948 is the year in which Israel
Khalidi held a fundraiser for Obama's failed congressional bid in 2000,
while Obama was a state senator representing the liberal Hyde Park area of
Chicago. In 2003, Obama attended a tribute dinner for Khalidi where,
according to the Los Angeles Times, a speaker likened "Zionist settlers on
the West Bank" to Osama bin Laden.
The largess flowed in both directions. From 1999 to 2002 Obama served on the
board of directors of the Woods Fund, a grant-making foundation with assets
of $68 million whose nominal goal is "to increase opportunities for less
advantaged people and communities in the [Chicago] metropolitan area."
According to tax forms and annual reports, in 2001 and 2002 the Woods Fund
gave AAAN a total of $75,000 in grants. Bill Ayers, a former (and
unrepentant) member of the left-wing terrorist group the Weather
Underground, sat on the board with
The aforementioned Politico article also noted "[anti-Israeli] sentiment .
.. circulating largely on private email lists and in chatter about a posting
on the pro-Palestinian blog Electronic Intifada, which claimed (with little
evidence) that Obama was once on the Palestinian side." For some time
Electronic Intifada co-founder Ali Abunimah has been saying that, in private
conversations, Obama expressed unequivocal pro-Palestinian views. Abunimah
is an activist in Chicago's Palestinian community, and is on the board of
AAAN, with which he has a long history of involvement. Given Obama's own
involvement with Khalidi and AAAN, Abunimah's claim to have had such
conversations with Obama seems plausible.
There have also been flaps over campaign advisers. Zbigniew Brzezinski,
Jimmy Carter's national security adviser, has recently endorsed and
campaigned with Obama. Brzezinski was singled out recently for defending The
Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy, a book arguing that "the United States
has been willing to set aside its own security in order to advance the
interests of another state [Israel]." After a campaign press release
described Robert Malley, an adviser to the Clinton administration on the
Arab-Israeli conflict, as an Obama adviser, the campaign sought to distance
itself from Malley - whom New Republic editor-in-chief Marty Peretz has
called "a rabid hater of Israel."
When it comes to Israel, perhaps the most controversial member of Obama's
campaign is his chief military adviser and national-campaign co-chairman,
Gen. Merrill McPeak. In 1976, McPeak wrote an article for Foreign Affairs
criticizing Israel for not returning to its 1967 borders and handing the
Golan Heights back to Syria. McPeak accused Jewish and evangelical voters of
placing their interest in Israel above U.S. interests in a 2003 interview
Oregonian. When asked what was holding back world peace, McPeak responded,
"New York City. Miami. We have a large vote . . . here in favor of Israel.
And no politician wants to run against it." Obama disavowed McPeak's stance
on Israel, but stands behind the campaign's relationship with the general.
Then there's Obama's pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright: "The Israelis have
illegally occupied Palestinian territories for over 40 years now. . . . [We
need to] wake Americans up concerning the injustice and the racism under
which the Palestinians have lived because of Zionism." Last year, the
bulletin at Wright 's church reprinted an article by a Hamas official.
Given Obama's past and current relationships, the Jewish community is taking
his rhetoric with hefty portions of sodium chloride. One well-known Jewish
Democratic strategist says that with Obama running, McCain could equal or
even surpass the 39 percent of the Jewish vote that Ronald Reagan captured
against Jimmy Carter in 1980. This could be a major factor in swing states
with significant Jewish populations, notably Florida and Pennsylvania.
According to Pennsylvania-primary exit polls, Jews went for Hillary, 62 to
There are two ways of looking at all this. Perhaps Obama is privately
hostile to Israel. Or perhaps he comes from a Hyde Park milieu so leftist
that he saw these relationships as normal political connections. In a sense
it doesn't matter: Regardless of why Obama tolerates terrorist sympathizers,
the fact that he has a history of doing so could destroy his candidacy. On
the national stage, and particularly in the Democratic party, Jews play a
"A normal liberal politician wouldn't get near this - the political instinct
would be, 'I don't want to touch this' - but none of it offended his
sensibilities," the Jewish Democratic strategist said. "He sat there in
rooms where Israel was likened to Osama bin Laden. He didn't walk out."
Posted by Ted Belman @ 12:07 pm |
Re: The Obama Phenomena
Reply #94 on:
May 17, 2008, 02:00:31 AM »
- Obama said "If there is an Arab American family [in the US] being
rounded up without benefit of an attorney, those are my civil liberties!"
**I'd like to know when and where any American citizens of arab ancestry were "rounded up" and not given legal representation. Sounds like typical CAIR propaganda.**
Re: The Obama Phenomena
Reply #95 on:
May 19, 2008, 08:40:31 AM »
Iran not a “serious threat”?
POSTED AT 9:15 AM ON MAY 19, 2008 BY ED MORRISSEY
Barack Obama gave an interesting description of Iran and the threat it poses to the United States and our national interests at an appearance in Oregon last night. “They don’t pose a serious threat to us in the way the Soviet Union posed a threat to us,” Obama told a cheering audience, explaining why he doesn’t think we need to worry about “tiny” countries like Venezuela, Cuba, North Korea, and Iran. Obama also displays a weird sense of history when he suggests that the Berlin Wall fell because we engaged Mikhail Gorbachev:
Wow. Where to begin with this silliness?
Let’s start with the Soviet Union. We talked with the Soviet Union because they also had nuclear weapons. Obama seems to forget that the entire point of our Iran policy is to prevent being put in the position of having to cut deals with a terrorist-supporting, radical Islamist non-rational state. When the enemy already has the capability of destroying you several times over, negotiations are needed to keep one side from initiating a war. Only an idiot would think that the negotiations intended on disarming the Soviets, or they us. The same dynamic applies to our engagement with Mao Zedong and Red China; Mao was smart enough to hold himself out as a potential partner in a power balance against the Soviets.
The Soviet Union collapsed economically; they did not just decide to capitulate. The Berlin Wall did not fall as a result of negotiations, but because the regime propping it up ceased to exist. Why did the Soviet Union collapse? Because Ronald Reagan won an economic war with Moscow, forcing it to spend more and more and falling further and further behind. The Strategic Defense Initiative provided the coup de grace to the Soviets, who knew they could never match us in missile defense, and tried negotiating an end to the economic war instead, with disastrous results.
That would be the same SDI that Democrats staunchly opposed, sneeringly called “Star Wars” and proclaiming it a threat to peaceful coexistence. They wanted a decades-long series of summits instead of the end of communism, which sounds strikingly familiar in Obama’s speech. Reagan had to fight the Democrats to beat the Soviets, not through presidential-level diplomacy but through economic isolation and military strength.
Listen to Obama talk about the “common interests” supposedly shared between the US and the Iranian mullahcracy. What interests would those be? The destruction of Israel, the denial of the Holocaust, the financial and military support of Hamas and Hezbollah, or the killing of American soldiers in Iraq? And please point out the presidential-level, unconditional contacts that brought down the Berlin Wall. Our “common interests” didn’t exist between the East German and American governments; they existed between the people of East Germany and America in the promise of real freedom. When the Soviet power structure imploded, it was the people of East Germany who tore down the wall, not Mikhail Gorbachev, who watched it happen impotently.
Furthermore, the danger in Iranian nuclear weapons has nothing to do with the capacity of its Shahab-3 ballistic missiles. Iran’s sponsorship of terrorist organizations will allow them to partner with any small group of lunatics who want to smuggle a nuclear weapon into any Western city — London, Rome, Washington DC, Los Angeles, take your pick. That’s the problem with nuclear proliferation; it doesn’t take a large army to threaten annihilation any longer, which is why we work so hard to keep those weapons out of the hands of non-rational actors like Iran. The Soviets may have been evil, but they were rational, and we could count on their desire to survive to rely on the doctrine of Mutually Assured Destruction. The Iranians believe that a worldwide conflagration will have Allah deliver the world to Islam, so a nuclear exchange may fall within their policy, and that’s assuming we could establish their culpability for a sneak nuclear attack to the extent where a President Obama would order a nuclear reprisal.
This speech reveals Obama to have no grasp of history, no grasp of strategic implications of a nuclear Iran, and no clue how to secure the nation and handle foreign policy.
WSJ: Obama and the Jews
Reply #96 on:
May 20, 2008, 08:55:45 AM »
Obama and the Jews
May 20, 2008; Page A21
America's Jews account for a mere 2% of the U.S. population. But they have voted the Democratic ticket by margins averaging 78% over the past four election cycles, and their votes are potentially decisive in swing states like Florida and Pennsylvania. They also contribute an estimated half of all donations given to national Democratic candidates.
So whatever his actual convictions, it is a matter of ordinary political prudence that Barack Obama "get right with the Jews." Since Jews tend to be about as liberal as the Illinois senator on most domestic issues, what this really means is that he get right with Israel.
And so he has.
Over his campaign's port side have gone pastor Jeremiah Wright ("Every time you say 'Israel' Negroes get awfully quiet on you because they [sic] scared: Don't be scared; don't be scared"); former National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski ("I think what the Israelis are doing today  for example in Lebanon is in effect – maybe not in intent – the killing of hostages"); and former Clinton administration diplomat Robert Malley (an advocate and practitioner of talks with Hamas).
The campaign has also managed to clarify, or perhaps retool, Mr. Obama's much-quoted line that "nobody is suffering more than the Palestinian people." What the senator was actually saying, he now tells us, is that "nobody has suffered more than the Palestinian people from the failure of the Palestinian leadership to recognize Israel, to renounce violence, and to get serious about negotiating peace and security for the region."
Still more forthrightly, Mr. Obama recently told the Atlantic Monthly that "the idea of a secure Jewish state is a fundamentally just idea, and a necessary idea, given not only world history but the active existence of anti-Semitism, the potential vulnerability that the Jewish people could still experience."
I can think of no good reason to doubt the sincerity of Mr. Obama's comments. Nor, from the standpoint of American Jewry, is there anything to be gained from doing so: The fastest way to turn whatever dark suspicions Jews may have of Mr. Obama into a self-fulfilling prophecy is to spurn his attempts at outreach.
Yet the significant question isn't whether Mr. Obama is "pro-Israel," in the sense that his heart is in the right place and he isn't quite Jimmy Carter. What matters is whether his vision for U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East – and the broader world view that informs it – will have ancillary effects favorable to Israel's core interests.
Take Hamas and Hezbollah, which pose the nearest threats to Israel's security. Mr. Obama has insisted he opposes negotiating with Hamas "until they recognize Israel, renounce terrorism and abide by previous agreements." He also calls Hezbollah a "destabilizing organization."
But if Mr. Obama's litmus test for his choice of negotiating partners is their recognition of Israel and their renunciation of terrorism, then what is the sense in negotiating without preconditions with Iran and Syria?
Alternatively, if the problem with Hamas and Hezbollah is that neither holds the reins of government, what happens when they actually do? Hamas won the Palestinian parliamentary elections in January 2006; Hezbollah sits in the Lebanese cabinet. Would Mr. Obama be willing to parley if, in the course of his administration, either group should come to power?
Or take Iran, which Israelis universally see as their deadliest enemy. Yes, there are arguments to be made in favor of presidential-level negotiations between Washington and Tehran – perhaps as a last-ditch effort to avert military strikes on Iran's nuclear facilities. But does anyone seriously think Mr. Obama would authorize such strikes?
Instead, Mr. Obama says he favors "tough diplomacy," including tighter sanctions on Iran's Revolutionary Guards Corps. Last fall, however, he was one of only 22 senators to oppose a Senate resolution calling for the IRGC to be designated as a terrorist organization, a vote that made him a dove even within the Democratic Party. Mr. Obama argued at the time the amendment would give the administration a pretext to go to war with Iran. It was an odd claim for a nonbinding resolution.
Or take Iraq. Israelis are now of two minds as to the wisdom of the invasion of Iraq, mainly because they fear it has weakened America's hand vis-à-vis Iran. Maybe. But is it so clear that a U.S. withdrawal from Iraq wouldn't further strengthen Iran's hand, and consolidate the so-called Shiite crescent stretching from southern Iraq to the hills overlooking northern Israel?
Finally, there is Israel itself. In the Atlantic interview, Mr. Obama declared that "my job in being a friend to Israel is partly to hold up a mirror and tell the truth," particularly in respect to the settlements. Yes, there are mirrors that need to be held up to those settlements, as there are to those Palestinians whose terrorism makes their dismantlement so problematic. Perhaps there is also a mirror to be held up to an American foreign-policy neophyte whose amazing conceit is that he understands Israel's dilemmas better than Israelis themselves.
Re: The Obama Phenomena
Reply #97 on:
May 20, 2008, 03:57:00 PM »
More on Barry-O's cluelessness.....
Re: The Obama Phenomena
Reply #98 on:
May 20, 2008, 10:34:33 PM »
**explaining why he doesn’t think we need to worry about “tiny” countries like Venezuela, Cuba, North Korea, and Iran**
BO doesn't say it, but he also thinking Israel in the same sentence.
A nuclear Iran will likely spur a regional arms race:
Re: WSJ: Obama and the Jews
Reply #99 on:
May 21, 2008, 07:42:14 AM »
Quote from: Crafty_Dog on May 20, 2008, 08:55:45 AM
Obama and the Jews
May 20, 2008; Page A21
So whatever his actual convictions, it is a matter of ordinary political prudence that Barack Obama "get right with the Jews." Since Jews tend to be about as liberal as the Illinois senator on most domestic issues, what this really means is that he get right with Israel.
And so he has.
It certainly may be that some of Obama's Pro Israel Support is politically expedient.
However, Obama's ties to Jewish Community began way before he ran for President. Obama has had a lot of Jewish Support since the primary contest of his senate run. He spoke at several Pro Israel events and was given the maximum donation allowed by at least two Pro Israel 527 Groups as well as other individual contributions from the Jewish Community. Admittedly some of the thinking at the time for the large support he received was that he was definitely going to win anyway. One of challengers in the primaries was rumored to beat his wife and the other was involved in a sex scandal. The hubris that makes Obama think h knows how to handle Israel's problems better than Israelis themselves is widespread in politicians and commentators. It is shared by anyone who waltzes in the region holds some peace talks and thinks that is going solve problems that are hundreds or thousands of years old.
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