Monday, April 28, 2008

The Wright Stuff

I held my breath as I watched Barack Obama eat a waffle on TV last week. It was from one of Jeannie Most’s always amusing video essays on CNN, this one about the left-over waffle and sausage from Obama’s breakfast in a Pennsylvania coffee-shop photo-op being offered on eBay (final bid: $10,000 before the diner’s owner put a stop to it).

Obama was sitting there peacefully, with an entire bank of reporters and cameras trained on his every move. He cut the waffle and turned his fork upside-down to pick it up. No, I thought. Don’t do it, man! Thankfully, he turned the fork around and took the food in his mouth like an American man, with the prongs pointing up; not down like some effete European wannabe. Thus did we escape a week of discussion on issue-starved cable TV about how Obama hangs around with elitists, talks like an elitist, eats like an elitist...

The Obama Destruction project being conducted by the right-wingers continues, with the full cooperation of the easily-manipulated nervous-nellies of the mainstream media, who think they have to take this nonsense seriously or they’ll be called "liberal". The result is that even faithful Obama-inclined Democrats are wondering whether Hillary Clinton has a point about his electability in light of the right-wing’s all-too-successful attempts to define him in a negative light before he gets a chance to define himself. We may end up thanking the wing-nuts for letting their various cats out of their bag before Obama had the nomination completely in his, but they just couldn’t help their hot-headed selves. They used to be so much better disciplined.

If Obama’s innocent friendship with former, unrepentant ‘60s radicals who happen to live in his neighborhood is not enough for you, there is still plenty of Jeremiah Wright to go around. Those keeping the video and audio of Rev. Wright shouting "god damn America" from his former pulpit running on a permanent loop now have lots more grist for the mill. The reverend spent most of the past several days providing fresh quotes and antics for those who like to feign outrage about such things, especially when they are trying to generate irrelevant distractions to destroy a candidate who would otherwise clean their candidate’s proverbial clock (and still might).

It wouldn’t take more than an hour of internet research to find all kinds of offensive, reactionary right-wing preachers supporting McCain specifically or Republicans generally spouting offensive nonsense. What’s the difference between the pathetic Falwell and Robertson blaming 9/11 on feminists and gays and Wright saying "the chickens were coming home to roost"? But the Gotcha Preacher game doesn’t work both ways – since Bakker and Swagert, etc., we expect right-wing preachers to say idiotic things while they root around in their parishioners’ pockets. As always, left-leaning churches are held to a higher standard, if only because they are rightly taken more seriously.

"For we have a choice in this country," said Barack Obama’s towards the end his terrific speech on the issue of race back on March 18th. "We can accept a politics that breeds division, and conflict, and cynicism...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 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.’"

Yeah, right. Obama is more hopeful than naive; hoping rather than expecting things to change. With Rev. Wright being very much his unapologetic self on his own personal campaign trail, Obama is stuck with the media narrative that could lead to Wright being perceived as his personal doppelganger. Since mainstream radio and Fox "News" will continue to whore for the GOP, granting unearned legitimacy to all sorts of ridiculous notions, Obama needs to find a solution, and fast.

And then, he needs to get ready for the next personal attack, because these people just don’t quit.


krshorewood said...

Why abandon personal attacks when we all know the facts have a liberal bias.

Anonymous said...

I've seen you level the charge of "building a straw-man" at conservative talkers, Mike, so it's pretty hypocritical that you are doing so here. Like anyone was really going to criticize him for using a fork a particular way.

I suppose it would very convenient if the level of criticism were so mundane. Many people, including me, believe it does say a lot about his character that he freely admits to having a friendship with an unrepentant terrorist.

You also try to liken Wright's comments to those of Falwell and Robertson, but the big difference that you are trying desperately obscure is that McCain never referred to either one of them as a mentor, nor did he attend their churches for 20 years.

Other Side said...

Fork = sarcasm. Lighten up, Roland.

Two words for you Roland. Chuck Hagee.

And, what does it say about Bush and conservatives who are so closely aligned with a nation that abuses its women so ... Saudi Arabia. It's funny that the Saudis are usually excluded from those nasty comments made about Muslims.

And as someone else astutely noted, it is not Wright who is running for president. Last I heard, his comments were still considered free speech just like Falwell and Robinson's.

Other Side said...

One other thing: You guys are a trip. I think Obama was 8 when the Weather Underground was upset with America. So he went to their home ONCE. They were never charged or convicted of anything.

But if we're going to play the guilt by association game, let's not forget Rumsfeld's meetings with Saddam Hussein (a number of times). And let's not forget how cozy Rummy and Shrub have been.

Go ahead and run with it. But bring the troops home first.

Anonymous said...

Here's the problem Mike. Strangely enough, Roland is right about you building a straw man. Its not the right who is pushing this Reverend Wright crap. (I think a lot of catholics might sympathize with distasteful church leaders, btw, or did the diocese close down when we found out about Father Weakland?).

It is the media (ALL OF IT- not just Fox) who is beating on this horse-- and it is your girl's campaign who is most gaining from it and most pushing it.

And it is your hated wingnuts who are pushing your girl's campaign now. Did you see Limbaugh telling his people to follow her? Did you see Kristol editorialize about how underrated Hillary is? How about Murdoch? How about Scaife?

Don't blame the wingnuts for this BS, Mike. They're right with you.

Anonymous said...

What I love is the implication that every gaff or questionable associatite of a conservative hasn't been disected for every scrap of hate or bigotry or insensitivity. Of course people are going to discuss the creeps--Wright, Ayers (the stalwart terrorist),and Rezko--that Obama keeps company with. We'll also discuss the scum that McCain associates with. But to expect some sort of unilateral truce after the smearing of Clinton and the smearing of Bush is ridiculous. Obama did make a mistake today--if I heard correctly--in deciding now to renounce Wright; that demonstrates neither leadership nor that he stands above this type of fray. Its just pandering. I had to respect him for not throwing someone he called a mentor under the bus.

But when all these things are finished, despite what they may have done to people's opinion of his character, Obama has two larger problems. The first is that he claims to be a leader, but doesn't appead to have demonstrated leadership on any issue. McCain can point to the painfully costly positions he took regarding immigration and the 'gang of 14'. Obama also claims to be above partisanship, but aside from the occasional nod to Reagan, he's done nothing to demonstrate he can do so. McCain, on the other hand, has a long track record of taking stances that confound conservatives and working with liberals. He'll leave Obama as the empty suit he is.

AnotherTosaVoter said...

I see the challenge to actually come up with a policy idea was too much for you.

Fair enough.

On this week's version of "everything bad that happens to a Democrat is the result of evil Republicans and talk radio and big media and all the other monsters out to get me; but if the tables were turned it would be ok and there's nothing wrong with that" you manage to stumble across some good points. Though they are obvious points so the credit you deserve is limited.

Yes, the 24-hour cable news media is trumping this story up to be more than it is. Yes they are ignoring real issues on which it would behoove them to educate us instead of engaging in this pathetic hackery. Yes Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity and all the other brainless right-wing partisans who represent side of the coin opposite you are reveling in it for their own perceived gain.

Oh and just as stunning and original, the sun came up in the east this morning.

Pathetic journalists and political hacks like you focus on this crap and twist it depending on if it helps or hurts your side. That's the way it is because we haven't figured out a way to imprison partisan hacks yet.

The problem is Mike it's not just those usual suspects. It's also the campaign of some lady who's trying to prevent Sen. Obama from defeating her who's reveling in this and using it - albeit much more subtley - than the other clowns. It's also the case that Mr. Wright is obviously a publicity-seeking loon who is enjoying his 15 minutes regardless of the political effects.

This is how the most powerful nation on earth chooses it's CEO.

Think about that for a moment.

It's quite scary isn't it.

Other Side said...

I love people who "challenge" legitimate bloggers to come up with "valid" policy ideas, but at their blog have nothing to say like tosavoter.

Anonymous said...

What part of "it's never the fault of a democrat when the chinks of his/her armor are revealed" don't you understand?

It cracks me up when lefties bring up Rumsfeld and, FYI, neither of them will be on the ballot come November.

Anonymous said...

OK really should take a deep breath and count to 10 before leaping (without looking apparently) to the defense of your favorite attorney.

You clearly have fallen into the category of "Liberal-Frothing-At-The-Mouth-With-Hatred-For-Bush." You snub criticism of Obama by saying guilt-by-association is wrong and besides Wright-Rezko-Ayers aren't running for President. (Well no $#it, I didn't know that.) You then proceed to cite your own example of guilt by association where NONE of the parties are running for President. My gawd man.

Anonymous said...

Otherside, your reference to "Chuck Hagee" was the first time I heard the name, so I googled it. Aside from references from Liberal Wacko weblogs, like Daily KOS, and your post at TexasHoldEm, I wasn't able to find much internet material on Chuck Hagee, so maybe you can help me, otherside.

How long was McCain a member of Hagee's congregation?

Did McCain proclaim Hagee to be a mentor?

Did McCain ever write a book with material borrowed from Hagee?

Did Hagee baptize McCain's children?

Also, I believe your comments about the Obama-Ayers friendship are disingenuous. If McCain admitted a friendship with an unsavory type...for argument's sake, let's say...a former KKK member who is unrepentant about burning down a black church, we all know McCain would be immersed in a whirlwind of criticism. Deserved criticism I would argue. Wouldn't you agree?

So when you say that a Presidential candidate's association with unsavory people has no bearing on their qualifications or character, you only want that standard to apply to your guy/gal.

Who you choose to be your friend, your mentor DOES speak to your character.

Anonymous said...

Hey Melnick,

if you never heard of Chuck Hagee before, why is it you know all the talking point questions already? We can all give you the answers, or you can use the internet to advance your tired thesis.

But if you haven't heard of Chuck Hagee there's gotta be a lot of other things you don't know. Did you hear Brett Favre retired?

Did you hear that some of John McCains friends include George Bush? Charles Keating? His first wife? His second wife's shrink, plastic surgeon, and banker?

Get out there man, there's so much left for you to learn.

Anonymous said...


Start here.

Anonymous said...

The reason why I never heard of "Chuck Hagee" is because the guy's name is "JOHN HAGEE." But thanks for your jackass comments, Matt.

Anonymous, I did go to the Media Matters link posted above. It was full of nutty comments made by Hagee and another guy named Rod Parsley. And they have said they support McCain. SO WHAT?

What the article DOES NOT SAY is what, if any, connection there is to McCain. The only thing mentioned is one rally appearance where Parsley endorsed McCain and McCain supposedly referred to Parsley as a "spiritual guide."

Big deal. Like I said before, are there any substantial references out there that don't come from Liberal propaganda sources (Mother Jones) or fronts for Hillary (Media Matters)?

Are either of those nutjob reverands, Parsley or Hagee tied to McCain to the same degree that Wright is tied to Obama?

Roland Melnick said...

Matt, OS and anonymous 2:16, your silence speaks volumes.