The Ohio Debate's Farakhan Segment

During our live-blog of tonight's debate, Big Tent Democrat thought Hillary should have praised Obama when she had a chance to respond to his answer about whether he would reject Lewis Farakhan's support and endorsement. I didn't think she needed to do that. I thought he was trying to have it both ways -- not alienating his Jewish supporters or Farakhan's.

While many think Hillary's distinction between denouncing and rejecting was artificial, Don Frederick at the LA Times disagrees. I think he makes a good case that Obama was waffling. Hillary just called him on it. See below:

Obama: "You know, I have been very clear in my denunciation of Minister Farrakhan's anti-Semitic comments. I think they are unacceptable and reprehensible. I did not solicit this support. He expressed pride in an African American who seems to be bringing the country together. I obviously can't censor him, but it is not support that I sought. And we're not doing anything, I assure you, formally or formally with Minister Farrakhan.

Russert: "Do you reject his support?"

Obama: "Well, Tim, I can't say to somebody that he can't say that he thinks I'm a good guy."

Frederick says,

True enough, but probably not the answer most Jewish Americans wanted to hear. As a result, Obama risked creating the perception for some that he might be somewhat reluctant to completely throw overboard a controversial leader who is not without some stroke within the black community (witness the 1995 Million Man March).

Clinton clearly saw it that way, and sought to put Obama on the spot. She interjected that, during her initial Senate run in 2000, she was endorsed by a splinter party in New York that "was under the control of people who were anti-Semitic, anti-Israel. And I made it very clear that I did not want their support. I rejected it. ... And there's a difference between denouncing and rejecting."

Obama responded: "I have to say I don't see a difference between denouncing and rejecting."

He needs to check a dictionary on that.

Afterwards, as Frederick points out, Obama conceded the point and stated he both denounces Farakhan and rejects his support.

"But if the word 'reject' Sen. Clinton feels is stronger than the word 'denounce,' then I'm happy to concede the point, and I would reject and denounce."

It was a smart final move by Obama, but it shouldn't be overlooked that the question was whether he would reject Farakhan's support and it took Hillary calling him out to get him to answer.

< Post Debate Thread | What Digby Said About Russert And NBC >
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    Lets be clear (5.00 / 3) (#14)
    by Virginian on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 12:13:34 AM EST
    Obama called Farakhan's COMMENTS reprehensible...but said he "couldn't tell a guy to not say nice things about me" (paraphrasing)...that is the same as saying

    "Yeah, he's a bigot, but I'll take all the votes I can get, bigots are okay if they vote for me"

    Contrast that with Edwards earlier in the campaign saying "If you vote for me cause I'm the white guy...I don't want your vote"

    HRC forced BO to make an Edwards statement, and to his credit, he stood up and did it....

    hillary did seek independence party support (5.00 / 1) (#53)
    by Patriot Daily on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 02:06:43 AM EST
    Obama stated clearly that he did not support Farakhan and has not actively sought his endorsement.

    On the other hand, in 2000, Hillary did seek support from the Independence party while also stating her objection to their hateful policies.

    Hillary "sought the endorsement of the fractious Independence Party," while also attacking the group for the ''anti-Semitism, extremism, prejudice and intolerance of a few shrill voices on both the right and the left.''

    Mrs. Clinton added that she welcomed the endorsement of the party, but said emphatically that she would not accept it if the party supported Patrick J. Buchanan for president. ''I cannot and will not as the price for any endorsement embrace or excuse those who use hateful rhetoric that separates and divides,'' she said. ''So let me be just very clear: I will not run on a line with Pat Buchanan on the top of the ticket.''

    At a news conference afterward, Mrs. Clinton did praise the Independence Party for its ''important and constructive role in political dialogue,'' particularly with its support of campaign finance reform, but she said pointedly later that her criticism of anti-Semitism in the party was meant to include Ms. Fulani.

    There had been disagreement among Mrs. Clinton's advisers about whether she should speak to the party at all, but they said she decided that she might appear aloof or politically timid if she avoided the gathering. She and her advisers also decided that an attack on the party could promote her as a principled candidate in contrast to the mayor.

    Well (none / 0) (#147)
    by tek on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 09:32:28 AM EST
    spin it however you want, but the fact check was up on this and showed that she did reject the support of that group and called them out on who they really were.  But, of course, nothing Hillary says is ever spot on for the Obama people.

    Virginian (none / 0) (#116)
    by Bob In Pacifica on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 08:45:56 AM EST
    When things get tough, there's nothing like putting words in Obama's mouth. Perhaps if they'd brought Farrakhan out on the stage and handed Obama a gun people could have complained about the bullet placement.

    I don't think that it's a coincidence that this morning David Duke endorsed Obama. Thanks, everyone, for playing.


    The entire line of questioning was inappropriate (5.00 / 1) (#33)
    by Baal on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 12:50:26 AM EST
    but if it was asked, and if it is ok to have guilt by association, than why was Hillary not asked about those of her major donors currently under indictment?  I would prefer that we not start parroting GOP talking points.  

    Both missed a golden opportunity (none / 0) (#41)
    by lobary on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 01:12:32 AM EST
    Russert's question was reprehensible and insulting to the millions of viewers and future primary voters tuned in. Why is either candidate expected to field questions about the behavior of controversial individuals who may or may not support them? I thought Obama handled the question ok, but I also thought he was boxed in by his need to be the Superhero Who Will Unite Us All. His unity/change schtick prevented him from attacking the legitimacy of the question head-on.

    When Clinton interrupted Russert after Obama's answer, I leaned forward expecting her to hit it outta the park. She nailed Russert on his Iraq hypothetical crap, so I thought she was about to take the high road and defend Obama by condemning the question.

    I wish she had, because her comments were very unwise.


    agree completely (none / 0) (#105)
    by desert dawg on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 08:14:21 AM EST
    So did I.  Whether Obama was hedging or not (which I got the distinct feeling he was in his carefully chosen words, plus the repeated use of "Minister"),the question is what the politically advantageous course of action HRC should have taken.  And it was not the one she chose. As an HRC supporter, I was praying she would take the high road. Piling on instead of defending blew a one in a million chance of turning her campaign around.  It's over.

    Hillary had no relationship (none / 0) (#43)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 01:19:56 AM EST
    with her donor, if Norman Hsu is who you are referring to. Obama had a 20 friendship/professional relationship with Tony Rezko. So far, I see no illegal conduct between them. But Her donors were just that donors, not people she had outside relationships with.

    The reason Hillary was not asked about (none / 0) (#47)
    by LatinoVoter on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 01:36:50 AM EST
    the donor (Hsu) is because Obama took money from him too and in fact they sought him out when they were putting the funding together for his presidential run.

    His hands are dirty with Hsu money too if they weren't you better believe Hillary would be asked about it at every debate and every campaign stop.

    Bringing up Hillary's baggage doesn't do you any good 'cause Sen. Obama has a matching set.


    Look, is there anyone outside of (none / 0) (#112)
    by frankly0 on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 08:31:42 AM EST
    Obama's own family to which he has a closer, and more longstanding relationship than Jeremiah Wright?  Obama has made it 100% clear that he considers Jeremiah Wright to be a very close friend and mentor. The very words "The Audacity of Hope" came from the man.

    And yet this man has been an absolutely unabashed and fully public admirer of a rabid anti-Semite and racist.

    Given the symbolism of associations with a potential President, that is an enormous problem, and a perfectly legitimate issue.

    Honestly, if John McCain attacks Obama on that point, I'll be supporting McCain on that particular accusation.

    All Obama has to do is walk away from his association with Jeremiah Wright to demonstrate that he realizes the significance of the issue.


    Exactly (none / 0) (#118)
    by Bob In Pacifica on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 08:50:01 AM EST
    Donors under indictment? (none / 0) (#149)
    by tek on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 09:34:21 AM EST
    Did I just read that correctly?  Didn't hear Rezko's name come up once.  It'll come up on Mar. 3 and Obama's name will be right there with him.  Obama took money from an IRAQI billionaire.  How do you think that 's going to play in Peoria.  Oh, and wait til the Repug pundits combine it with Obama's middle name.

    Farrakhan and other debate moments.. (5.00 / 2) (#50)
    by Oje on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 01:54:45 AM EST
    An email exchange I had tonight has caused me to rethink the past two days.

    I tried to find digby's post about Karl Rove and the Republican "twofer" smear from about 2months ago, but with no luck. In that article, digby noted a novel attack by Rove in which he slimed both Obama and Clinton at the same time. The hit piece mentioned something salacious about Obama, and attributed it to the Clinton campaign as an example of her willingness "to do anything to win."

    What we have seen the last two days is that the MSM has embraced this tactic at the end of the Democratic nomination cycle. First, yesterday, on the word of Matt Drudge, the networks carried images of Obama in Somali nomad's garb, while wringing their hands about the Clinton campaign's tactics. It gave the media an opportunity to obliquely traffic in the "Obama is a Muslim" slur, while also denouncing Clinton's character.

    Tonight, throughout that debate, Tim Russert and Brian Williams repeatedly went to clips or quotes that were meant to do the same thing. Hillary questioning Obama's foreign policy experience. Hillary satirizing Obama's campaign sloganeering about hope and unity. Etc., etc. There were any number of points (when Tim Russert was not just trying to squelch debate in order to move to the next salacious image or quote), in which both parties were intended to look bad (NAFTA) after Russert interjected.

    I have been upset the past two days about the Drudge piece getting so much play in the blogosphere. I really think now I was, and we were, played for the fool(s). The MSNBC fiasco tonight is meant to get Clinton supporters and Obama supporters completely at each other's throats about Farrakhan, mocking hope, transparency, or any number of issues in which both Obama and Clinton received the "twofer" smear.

    I hope maybe we can stop the divisiveness in the blogosphere to get back to the real work of ending Tim Russert's career, as digby suggests, and if only for the next week while we see the outcome of the Ohio and Texas primaries. It seems like, by my own blogging behaviors and others' posts, the blogosphere is balkanizing. This MSNBC debate could greatly accelerate that process if we do not begin to speak more measuredly about the intentions and actions of both candidates.

    But, the candidates and the candidates' supporters are not destroying each other or the party; it is the MSM that continues to do its vile work on the Democratic candidates and the Dmeocratic party as a whole.

    So, I really hope that exchange was not just about political points or calculated denunciations and rejections based on racial politics. I think we need to recognize it for what it was: a Rovian media wedge to force the Clinton and Obama campaigns into a series of recriminations, while placing the most nasty memes and prejudices against their characters at the top of the news hour. This debate was planned for at least one month, despite the fact that the images come from the past week.


    The problem.... (5.00 / 1) (#56)
    by Alec82 on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 02:39:04 AM EST
    ...is that I am not sure all of the media is biased the way you perceive it to be.  Fox is, undoubtedly.  The Obama campaign shut it out and forced the Nevada Democratic Party to end the Fox debate.  Noble.  But the media is searching for a narrative, and it is trying to find the right one with Senator Obama.  Senator Clinton's narrative was played out in the 90s and in the new century with the Iraq war and her senate campaigns.  

     Additionally, there is a difference between sensationalism and political bias (although as the Republicans have become the party promoting sensationalism in all things there may be some trouble even here).  For example, MSNBC was criticized in the wake of the Virginia Tech murders for displaying the videos produced by the killer.  

     I do think the media has been hard on Senator Clinton, but it is not just the media.  Her campaign managers have not made the issue any easier.  



    Well, at the hands of the good 'ole boys, (5.00 / 2) (#64)
    by Oje on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 03:43:48 AM EST
    The MSNBC debate was designed to flame Clinton while scorching Obama. But, I am just riffing on something that I think digby raised for the first time, the "twofer" smear.

    That has been the substance of the network coverage for the past few days. MSNBC talks about unstable Hillary by airing her multiple criticisms of Obama without comment (do the criticisms stand then?). CNN runs images of Obamas in Somali garb, repeatedly, and then talks endlessly about the Drudge report without noting the conference calls by Wolfson or others throughout the day.

    It does not take a conspiracy. Just two ideological predilections rolled into one set of imagery, twice as shiny as the typical meme: Obama "the foreigner" and Clinton "the b___h." The novelty of it is that one side of the smear is barely discussed, just presented for Americans' viewing pleasure. The other side, is widely denounced as a detriment to the Democratic party.


    I think you are spot on right... (none / 0) (#155)
    by Maria Garcia on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 09:47:40 AM EST
    ...it is all about the twofer. I am a Clinton supporter but I was righteously pissed on behalf of both candidates yesterday. The one advice I would give to Obama is to not turn his back to these jackals cause they have their knives ready for him once they get done feasting on Hillary.

    AFter watching (none / 0) (#150)
    by tek on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 09:37:20 AM EST
    the first half of this thing, I thought Hillary probably should have refused to debate on MSNBC.  It was ridiculous to think it would be an kind of intelligent forum.  I approved of her disgusted look throughout.  Why not?  Being gracious and civil hasn't played to her advantage.  Why not be honest?  It won't hurt her.

    It is NOT a fact that Obama's church is racist (5.00 / 1) (#51)
    by sonya on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 01:59:25 AM EST
    Where is the link to support such an allegation?  

    The last thing I want to do is defend the innocuous Obama, but I can't let you libel him and his church, the well-regarded Trinity United Church of Christ.

    I agree with you, which is the reason that even (none / 0) (#72)
    by Florida Resident on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 06:42:27 AM EST
    and I invite anyone to read their mission is available in their web page.  The fact that a church is Afro-centrist does not make it racist or anything else. Link

    Agreed. It is highly racialized (none / 0) (#74)
    by Cream City on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 06:59:36 AM EST
    with its statements (on its website) but that is not the same. However, racialization is offensive to some, and it does not seem helpful for a candidate. (The church has taken steps to take some statements off its website, though, that may ameliorate that.)

    I deleted the comment (none / 0) (#146)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 09:30:25 AM EST
    accusing his church of being racist. If I missed any, let me know.

    Barack Obama is a member (5.00 / 1) (#63)
    by DemBillC on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 03:39:26 AM EST
    of Chicago's Trinity United Church of Christ. Its minister, and Obama's spiritual adviser, is the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr. In 1982, the church launched Trumpet Newsmagazine; Wright's daughters serve as publisher and executive editor. Every year, the magazine makes awards in various categories. Last year, it gave the Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr. Trumpeter Award to a man it said "truly epitomized greatness." That man is Louis Farrakhan. Maybe for Wright and some others, Farrakhan "epitomized greatness." For most Americans, though, Farrakhan epitomizes racism, particularly in the form of anti-Semitism.

    Six degrees of separation (none / 0) (#81)
    by RiderOnTheStorm on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 07:28:46 AM EST
    You do realize that by using similarly tortured logic it's possible to demonstrate that Senator Clinton supports Rush Limbaugh?

    Not six degrees of separation (none / 0) (#104)
    by frankly0 on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 08:12:29 AM EST
    Look, Obama has very longstanding and powerful bonds to the pastor of his church by his own quite open admission. Again, the very title of his book, "Audacity of Hope" comes from Jeremiah Wright, as one example. If Obama has a closer friend and mentor outside of his own family, I don't know who it might be.

    Yet Jeremiah Wright is an unabashed, and very public admirer of a rabid anti-Semite and racist, Farrakhan.

    Obama aspires to be the President of the United States. The symbolism of the associations of the President of the United States is extremely powerful. Does any honest person really imagine that if, say, George W Bush, or John McCain were to attend a church led by a pastor who expressed great praise for David Duke, that they would not be immediately and vehemently denounced? Does anybody think that the American people would not be repulsed by this association, and rightly so?

    While most people seem to think it's Rezko that's going to hurt Obama, I think it's far more likely that the Jeremiah Wright connection is going to harm him. The American people as a whole have zero tolerance for open racism, and that is the exact problem raised by Obama's association with Jeremiah Wright.


    For example: I play chess, and I've always admired Bobby Fischer, even before his historic match with Boris Spassky.  His books on chess (or books about his chess) are on my bookshelves; I've recommended them to students, endorsed his playing strategies, tried (usually futilely) to emulate his style, and so on.

    So should we presume that this means I also endorse or support or accept his politics?

    Of course not.  I find nearly all of what he had to say incredibly hurtful, racist, bigoted, and unacceptable.

    The point I'm making it is that it's completely possible to admire someone for one dimension of their persona while having nothing to do with others (or rejecting them outright).  It is a huge leap of illogic to presume that just because X admires or takes advice from or looks up to or listens to or reads Y, that X automatically agrees with everything Y has to say.


    Did you have dinner with Fischer? (none / 0) (#138)
    by Kathy on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 09:15:35 AM EST
    Did you have him in your home?  Did you listen to his sermons every Sunday and take notes?  Did you seek spiritual counseling from him?  This is not six degrees--it's two degrees, and very close ones at that.

    If one of my closest friends called as honorable a person who publicly states that the Holocaust didn't go far enough, I would have a real problem with that.

    Heck, I had a problem with my best friend in high school thinking that WHAM! was cooler than Billy Idol.  I can't imagine having a friend-let alone a counselor-who publicly states that a rabid separatist should be honored as man of the year.

    I think some of you are missing the greater point here.  Democrats have a problem with this-not just republicans.  This is a huge issue.  Farrakhan is loathed for a reason, and those same older dems that have been going for Clinton lived through the rising of Farrakhan and know what a horrible pig he is.

    The truth is that Obama is, as usual, trying to play it to both sides with the "reverend."  We'll see how this plays out, but I have said all along that this church thing is going to get nasty.  Religion is sacrosanct in political elections.


    Uh (none / 0) (#124)
    by Bob In Pacifica on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 08:59:17 AM EST
    Again, was Obama on stage handing out the award? I bet if anyone here ran for President investigators could find friends, relatives, acquaintances, people you've done business with, ministers, old girlfriends or boyfriends who've done something wrong. And they could find people who claim to have done things wrong with you.

    No one here can seriously think that Obama either shares any of Farrakhan's beliefs or wants his endorsement.

    People should stop doing the Republicans' work for them unless they want a Republican.


    Hillary helped Obama (3.66 / 3) (#5)
    by sonya on Tue Feb 26, 2008 at 11:58:43 PM EST
    Although many, if not most, black people disagree with Farrakhan's views, they don't like to see him disrespected.  Obama knows this.  Hillary forced him to say what a lot of his white supporters needed to hear.  

    There's a big difference between denouncing what someone says and rejecting the person altogether.  Tonight, Obama rejected Farrakhan.  This was major because Obama's political persona is based upon not offending anyone, which you simply cannot maintain if you have any kind of principled beliefs.  

    I don't think this will lose him any votes from black people in the remaining primaries, but it did offend more than a few.

    I disagree (5.00 / 1) (#19)
    by misc on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 12:18:59 AM EST
    The majority of black people most certainly disagree with Farrakhan.  He's a strident Muslim, and a radical.  Not many black congregations meet that description.

    Good grief (3.00 / 2) (#45)
    by sonya on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 01:24:30 AM EST
    You don't understand.

    What I know for a fact is that many, if not most, black people disagree with Farrakhan's views but they respect him.  Obama's church is not the only black congregation that welcomes him.  When he travels around the country, baptists, methodists and all other denominations of black Christians flock to see him.  They don't go because they agree with everything he says, but because they consider him the only black man in this country who says exactly what's on his mind and can be counted on to uplift black people.

    Farrakhan is always treated with respect by black audiences at gatherings like the State of the Black Union sponsored by Tavis Smiley.

    Like I said, Obama offended some black people tonight, but I don't think he lost any of their votes.


    Based on? (none / 0) (#127)
    by Bob In Pacifica on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 09:03:51 AM EST
    I am old enough to remember people saying that Negroes heads were shaped differently so they couldn't be as intelligent as white people. Those people invariably had no scientific background to help form their conclusions. They started with their conclusions and worked back.

    So I am glad to have such sociological observations based on thorough research here. Because we should always know what "they" are like.


    I deleted a comment (3.00 / 2) (#15)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 12:16:35 AM EST
    that used the pronoun "he" in calling Farakhan anti-semitic. Some readers thought the commenter was calling Obama anti-semitic, which is absurd, and also not allowed on this site. I first responded by saying I assumed the commenter was talking about Farakhan, who has a history of well-documented anti-semitic statements, but then decided that to avoid others misreading the comment (assuming it was a misread) I deleted it, and those in reply.

    You may not call anyone a racist or anti-semitic here. Name-calling is not allowed. It's also potentially libelous.

    personal minister (3.00 / 2) (#20)
    by bigbay on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 12:19:12 AM EST
    Obama's got a problem with his minister friend. I don't have friends who are bigots; BO apparently feels it's OK. Yell all you want, but that will be an issue in the general election.

    plural (none / 0) (#80)
    by Nasarius on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 07:28:36 AM EST
    After Donnie McClurkin, make that two ministers who are bigots. Because as a Democrat, you really want to alienate Jewish people and gays.

    Hmmm (none / 0) (#117)
    by Bob In Pacifica on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 08:49:08 AM EST
    After Obama talks about the importance of Jews in the Civil Rights movement and how he's working to heal that wound people now promise that what someone else said is Obama's position and that that should be a campaign issue?

    Concern for the feelings of gays and Jews (none / 0) (#120)
    by JJE on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 08:51:15 AM EST
    must have motivated HRC to appear on Pat Robertson's TV network.

    C'mon people.  There's no stopping Tweety and the gang from acting like this nonsense is important, but we don't have to follow their lead.


    Just to keep the record clear (none / 0) (#122)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 08:54:19 AM EST
    Obama ALSO appeared on Robertson's network....prior to Hillary's appearance.

    (just saying because some people distort issues by forgetting the 'Obama did it too' factor.)


    your point ? (none / 0) (#134)
    by bigbay on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 09:09:54 AM EST
    sorry my personal pastor wouldn't be and isn't a nut case. And I'm not even running for president.

    Why? (none / 0) (#141)
    by Bob In Pacifica on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 09:20:15 AM EST
    First, how much of a friend is he? Do they go out and play basketball together? Go drinking together? How much time have the two spent together?

    Finding someone who may be divisive or repugnant and then building a bridge to your target is the typical kind of slanderous propaganda that the Right likes to use.

    Why should that happen here at TalkLeft?


    Hmmm... (3.00 / 4) (#21)
    by Alec82 on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 12:22:24 AM EST
    ...a racist black church with an outreach to gay people? Okkk....a church that is just predominantly African American is racist by virtue of that fact?  

     What has Senator Clinton done to change the homophobic policies of the UMC?  Senator Obama joined a gay-friendly church in the beginning.

     You want to play identity politics, race baiting and religion with no facts to buttress your argument, I suggest you tread very carefully.

    Ugh really (none / 0) (#23)
    by Virginian on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 12:28:51 AM EST
    this is bordering on shilling/trolling

    A single church is very different than a denomination (see the Anglican church for reference)

    What has Senator Clinton done to change the homophobic policies of the UMC?  Senator Obama joined a gay-friendly church in the beginning.

    This is deflecting, has no bearing on what Obama does, or what issues Obama faces with the GLBT community. (Not to mention the UMC is fairly progressive, not as much as the UCC or Presbyterian USA, but definately more left of center than many, and moving in the left direction on GLBT issues)


    Please... (5.00 / 1) (#26)
    by Alec82 on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 12:34:18 AM EST
    ...tell me how Senator Obama's church is racist?  Without any facts to support such assertions, it is close to being a racist comment in and of itself that, if this board was ever consistent, would have been removed on sight.

    Some people are offended by some (none / 0) (#31)
    by Virginian on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 12:47:56 AM EST
    of what his church stands for...which can be found here

    This was scrubbed off this site in March of 2007 and now looks like this.

    Do I personally find it racist? No...but I do see how others do. If it were a predominately white church with similar bullet points it would without question be offensive...


    Hmmm.... (5.00 / 2) (#35)
    by Alec82 on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 12:54:16 AM EST
    ...would that apply to a gay church, feminist theology, Native American and Asian churches with similar approaches?  

     This is a progressive (all-around) denomination and congregation, situated within a black community and responding to the needs of that community.  

     The next thing you know anti-Obama forces will be denouncing liberation theology (and I guess the Gospel) as "divisive" and promoting class warfare.


    I don't understand the connection (none / 0) (#79)
    by KellyK on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 07:23:24 AM EST
    Does being pro-gay rights mean that you are incapable of racism?

    Also... (none / 0) (#28)
    by Alec82 on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 12:40:08 AM EST
    ...that question did not raise any concerns gay voters may have over Senator Obama?  Senator Clinton certainly did not take the time to "reject" his homophobic views. Of course, an educated gay voter would know way more about the relative differences between not only the denominations but also the individual churches, particularly since they fouled up early in the primary season.  Maybe they're just another voting bloc (swing states, African Americans, educated voters, white voters, men) that no longer matter in Mark Penn's world.

    Huh? (none / 0) (#34)
    by Virginian on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 12:53:48 AM EST
    Senator Clinton certainly did not take the time to "reject" his homophobic views.

    Again, deflecting...this isn't CLINTON's problem, it is Obama's problem...

    Of course, an educated gay voter would know way more about the relative differences between not only the denominations but also the individual churches, particularly since they fouled up early in the primary season.
    Then why did you conflate the two above?

    Maybe they're just another voting bloc (swing states, African Americans, educated voters, white voters, men) that no longer matter in Mark Penn's world.
    How in the heck did this get twisted around to be about Penn's hackery? Really?! It is about Obama's problem with denouncing people's words but accepting their support...to his credit, tonight he put his foot down!

    Because... (5.00 / 1) (#37)
    by Alec82 on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 01:01:16 AM EST
    ...she immediately pointed to the Independence Party and her rejection of antisemitic parties and people.  But when you check the context the reality is quite different, and there was plenty of political manuvering.  I do not have a problem rejecting the question and its tone; I have a problem with using that very different episode, steeped as it is in political posturing, grandstanding and calculation (you will note she did still speak before the party) to score political points.  

     If the media is as biased against her as some people on this board feel, I should expect to see headlines on this tomorrow.  But I have a feeling I will not.


    Shilling? (none / 0) (#30)
    by AdrianLesher on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 12:47:05 AM EST
    I have just noted this new label of opprobrium here. Each time it has been applied to an enthusiastic Obama supporter.

    Has anyone been banned, deleted or otherwise "disciplined" for similar praise of Hillary?


    No no (none / 0) (#32)
    by Virginian on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 12:49:37 AM EST
    Clinton supporters can shill too...sorry I did not include that disclaimer... :)

    shilling is when (none / 0) (#42)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 01:17:44 AM EST
    you chatter in multiple comments, always praising your candidate and do little more than promote his candidacy.

    If (none / 0) (#136)
    by Bob In Pacifica on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 09:13:25 AM EST
    If the United Methodist Church is progressive, then they must have patched up the schism over whether or not being the Old Testament counts anymore when it comes to gays. A few years ago various churches were threatening to leave over this issue. I used to be a member of a church in the San Francisco Bay Area and was amazed at the anger of otherwise Christian people who thought that being gay was damnable.

    No matter what a church's official position, or the minister's personal opinion, each candidate should be judged by his or her own opinion about the alignment of the heavens. Now if you want to make a judgement about a candidate by who he/she chooses as an advisor, that's a little different.


    If (none / 0) (#153)
    by tek on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 09:40:56 AM EST
    his church is gay-friendly, why did Obama campaign with the minister who said he was anti-gay?  Doesn't make sense.

    Barack and Arabs (1.00 / 1) (#60)
    by Stellaaa on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 03:27:15 AM EST
    Barack conveniently dropped all his pro Palestine and early support of the Arab community when he started running for Office.  He realized Arabs were inconvenient, but I guess the money was not.  
    He went head long into AIPAC.  In the General Election, if he wins, he will start losing other inconvenient friends.  

    Grounds for Obama to Play Victim (none / 0) (#2)
    by cdalygo on Tue Feb 26, 2008 at 11:50:40 PM EST
    However, all his surrogates tonight are complaining that she called him an "anti-Semite." Man, I can't wait until they try to play this victim card in the General. (Hopefully it won't come to that because it means Hillary lost. Shrug.)

    Actually she gave him good advice, regardless of her intention to score points. Obama can't afford to consort with folks who trade in hate. We must leave that to the Republicans and ensure our hands are clean when we attack them.


    Distinction (none / 0) (#3)
    by NYMARJ on Tue Feb 26, 2008 at 11:53:37 PM EST
    People may not be comfortable with Hillary's response to Obama'a answer - but I found a clear distinction in his discussion of the issue.  He was very clearly being careful not to anger his minister and possible Farakhan supporters while at the same time expressing  support for the Jewish voters.  When Hillary started speaking, I was wondering how she was going to bring that up.

    IWhen it was HRC's turn to comment on (none / 0) (#4)
    by oculus on Tue Feb 26, 2008 at 11:57:54 PM EST
    on Farakhan's statement, it was not immediatly clear what, if anything, she sould say.  She took the opportunity to speak out against anti-semitism.  Barack Obama deftly ended that segment.

    It was a forced segue for HRC (none / 0) (#16)
    by Virginian on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 12:18:02 AM EST
    Obama had just donimated the talking time on that for so many minutes (meandering, waxing poetic, saying the same thing over and over in different ways, really good-bad Hemingway), it was almost like she wasn't there...she could have done without all the extraneous segue and said;

    "You're denouncing the antisemitism, but not rejecting his endorsement Barack. Which is it?..."


    It isn't Senator Obama... (none / 0) (#7)
    by Alec82 on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 12:00:01 AM EST
    ...who needs to check a dictionary:


    1. to refuse to have, take, recognize, etc.: to reject the offer of a better job.  
    2. to refuse to grant (a request, demand, etc.).  
    3. to refuse to accept (someone or something); rebuff: The other children rejected him. The publisher rejected the author's latest novel.


    1. to condemn or censure openly or publicly: to denounce a politician as morally corrupt.  
    2. to make a formal accusation against, as to the police or in a court.  
    3. to give formal notice of the termination or denial of (a treaty, pact, agreement, or the like).  

      So please...how is the latter less of a condemnation than the former?  If anything it implies a formality, openness and publicity that "reject" lacks.  But this was given to us by a campaign building on touting the experience of someone who assisted someone who once infamously debated the definition of "is" (a topic we covered in my legal ethics course, believe it or not).  

     I see that a number of people are suggesting that Senator Obama leave his church over this, because of his pastor.  To those who believe that this kind of political posturing is remotely healthy, I wonder how many will demand Senator Clinton leave the United Methodist Church?  After all I do not remember her "rejecting" their position on homosexuality publicly.  Of course, Senator Obama's church is pro-gay...I guess identity politics can get pretty radioactive when you go down this road, huh?  A lesson for MSNBC and Senator Clinton.  

    Context (its still important) (5.00 / 1) (#13)
    by Virginian on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 12:09:13 AM EST
    Obama said he denounced Farakahn's antisemitism, but he didn't reject the endorsement...

    In fact he joke that he couldn't tell a guy to not like him...

    Clinton was spot on on this, she basically called him on his trying to have it both ways, and he in turn clarified and REJECTED the endorsement and DENOUNCED the antisemitism...


    Oh yes... (none / 0) (#18)
    by Alec82 on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 12:18:52 AM EST
    As I explained when talking about Senator Clinton's analogy to her "rejection" of support from the Independence Party, context is indeed important.  

     How does one reject an endorsement? He didn't offer anything to reject.  What do you say, I don't want your endorsement that I didn't solicit when you didn't make any attempt to offer formal or informal support besides saying "you got my vote" without it being awkward?  Denouncing his antisemitism was presumably what Senator Obama felt was called for; the Nation of Islam's record on gays is also horrible but no real concern for Senator Clinton on that.  It wasn't a Machiavellian question posed to bring the identity politics back into the fray that Senator Obama has worked to downplay, while Senator Clinton's campaign managers have managed to elevate it to a strategical imperative?  


    Bleah (5.00 / 2) (#22)
    by Virginian on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 12:24:07 AM EST
    How does one reject an endorsement? He didn't offer anything to reject.  What do you say, I don't want your endorsement that I didn't solicit when you didn't make any attempt to offer formal or informal support besides saying "you got my vote" without it being awkward?

    Edwards did it without even getting an endorsement...and the answer is YES, rejecting Farakahn's endorsement isn't awkward, explaining WHY you didn't reject his endorsement IS

    I'm going to ignore the rest of your comment, because it is just an attempt to pick a fight; Obama's hands aren't any cleaner than Clinton's (on race or any other host of slime). I'll leave it at that.


    Nor was her rejection... (none / 0) (#25)
    by Alec82 on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 12:30:29 AM EST
    ...of the Independence Party the principled stand she claimed it was, unless the NY Times did not get the information they claimed they had from her advisers in the 2000 campaign.  

     Ignore my observations about identity politics at your peril.  The gulf between Senator Clinton and black voters would not be near what it is without President Clinton's screw-up in South Carolina.  Her only good surrogate has been her daughter in this campaign.  When Senator Clinton loses this campaign, she will only have herself to blame for not immediately firing the likes of Mark Penn.


    you really are (none / 0) (#66)
    by kangeroo on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 04:40:49 AM EST
    trying to pick a fight here, aren't you?

    Boogeymen are convenient (none / 0) (#82)
    by KellyK on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 07:31:56 AM EST
    That evil Mark Penn! He's just bad!

    Yes, he should have left the church (none / 0) (#24)
    by Foxx on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 12:29:10 AM EST
    I do not want, a majority of voters will not want, a president whose close spiritual adviser is an enthusiastic admirer of Farrakhan and went with him to visit Khadaffi.

    Clinton's campaign would never even have gotten off the ground if her close spiritual adviser was an admirer of an avowed white racist.

    She should leave the United Methodist church. I'm shocked she is a member of such a church. But that doesn't diminish Obama's problem, which is huge. And it's too late to fix it.


    Just FYI (5.00 / 1) (#27)
    by Virginian on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 12:37:48 AM EST
    The sliming of the UMC is a bit of histrionics

    The UMC is not fully embracing of GLBT issues, but it is moving that direction much faster than most other denominations (with a few exceptions), and of course like many denominations moving that direction, it has its own internal struggles between the conservatives and liberals.

    See here, here, here, here, here and google for more.


    Conveniently.... (1.00 / 1) (#29)
    by Alec82 on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 12:43:31 AM EST
    ...leaving out this.  But I guess the fact that the ruling body of the UMC approved the previous pastor's decision has no bearing on its direction?

     In Virginia, no less.

     Point is, open up identity politics and we'll be here to correct it.


    Ugh... (none / 0) (#36)
    by Virginian on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 01:01:08 AM EST
    I didn't conveniently leave out anything...and your suggestion as such is more than a bit of slander.

    I didn't post EVERY article one can find...but I also don't understand why you're so bent on tearing down the UMC of all denominations? It is, as I've said, tacking left on these issues much faster many other denominations. (This is rhetorical, since the answer is clear, this has to do more with HRC than with the UMC) What about the various Baptist denominations, or some of the independent churches affiliated with Ralph Reed, etc?


    Hmmm.... (none / 0) (#38)
    by Alec82 on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 01:04:34 AM EST
    Maybe because

     1) I was raised in the UMC and was fourteen when it had pamphlets touting "ex-gay" therapy.
     2) It is attracting evangelicals by touting its opposition to homosexuality, and growing in the South.
     3) Conservatives leaving the Episcopal Church flock to it.
     4) My parents left it in 2005, when it became clear their own congregation, in that rabid "red" state Michigan, was headed in the same direction.

     But what perspective do I have?


    links? (none / 0) (#39)
    by Virginian on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 01:06:01 AM EST
    You can start... (none / 0) (#44)
    by Alec82 on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 01:24:20 AM EST
    ...with the correction issued in the Times article I provided a link to:

    Correction: Nov. 3, 2005, Thursday:

    An article on Oct. 21 about divisions in the United Methodist Church over its policy on gays referred incorrectly to votes by the church's General Conference on a rule to ban "self-avowed, practicing homosexuals" from the ministry. It was passed by a margin of 640 to 317 at the 2000 conference, and by a margin of 674 to 262 at the 2004 conference. The margin was not "slimmer and slimmer" at each conference.



    Additionally.... (none / 0) (#40)
    by Alec82 on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 01:10:16 AM EST
    ...my point is not to suggest either Senator Clinton or Senator Obama should leave their faith traditions.  It is offensive to even make those suggestions.  And the use of the word conveniently was a bit over the top, but my point was that I do not think you are capturing the demographic and theological trends in the church.  My larger point is that attempts to infuse identity politics into the campaign have been, from my perspective, used more by Clinton supporters than Obama's supporters. I believe this blog's comments and posts often reflect unprincipled bias.    

    Eh (none / 0) (#85)
    by KellyK on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 07:38:03 AM EST
    "My larger point is that attempts to infuse identity politics into the campaign have been, from my perspective, used more by Clinton supporters than Obama's supporters."

    First of all, that's not true. Obama's claim that he  his particular makeup makes him the one that can reach across racial divides is identity politics.

    Identity politics is properly defined as "political action to advance the interests of members of a group supposed to be oppressed by virtue of a shared and marginalized identity (such as race, gender, or sexual orientation)."

    Second of all, Tim Russert brought up the question, not Clinton. If you think Tim Russert is in cahoots with Clinton then perhaps you need to pay more attention.

    Third of all, who cares? This is absolutely irrelevant stuff. At most, it's practice for Obama for the general. He will be getting these questions and a lot more in the general.

    Be a fighter, not a whiner.


    When white politicians and media (none / 0) (#88)
    by Geekesque on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 07:42:39 AM EST
    figures are trying to pit one African-American against another.

    That's when the distinction matters.

    Anyone trying to make hay out of this ought to go register with the RNC.


    right (none / 0) (#106)
    by Dr Molly on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 08:22:15 AM EST
    when male media idiots are using misogyny to pit democrats against each other - and you're an apologist for it - should you go join the RNC?

    I left (none / 0) (#145)
    by Bob In Pacifica on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 09:29:40 AM EST
    The position of the United Methodist Church over its anti-gay policy made it easy for me to leave (although it also helped that my position on the existence of God also helped).

    From the arguments made here that makes me better than H. Clinton. People actually stay in their churches and work to change them, or publicly speak out against their positions. Me, I left. I think that it's past time trying to figure out another way to sleaze either candidate. To do so only aids the Republicans.


    Josh Marshall is REALLY pissed (none / 0) (#9)
    by maritza on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 12:04:19 AM EST
    That Farrakhan was even brought up in relation to Obama.  He thinks that it was like trying to smear Obama.  Read his post.

    I think that Obama's answer was fine.  Maybe he didn't see the difference between reject and denounce but Obama did say that he both denounced AND rejected Farrakhan. Since he did both according to Joe Klein on Time online, he was in the clear.

    I agree (none / 0) (#148)
    by Bob In Pacifica on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 09:33:23 AM EST
    Back during the Jimmy Carter years John Wayne Gacy, the serial child murderer, attended a Democratic function and had his picture taken with Rosalyn Carter, President Carter's wife. Connection made. Degenerate Demos, raping and killing boys and burying them under the floorboards.

    I suggest everyone here read Christopher Simpson's THE SCIENCE OF COERCION. It explains the beginnings of mass propaganda in post-WWII America.


    It is moments like these (none / 0) (#46)
    by facta non verba on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 01:34:15 AM EST
    that make me question Obama's judgment and show his inexperience. This is similar to his statement on Pakistan. He is careless with his wording at times.

    As for Josh Marshall being pissed, who cares? He has his agenda and it's well known. That's why I am here and not there on TalkingObamaPoints. This issue of Farrahkan and the Reverend Wright is going to come up again. Tonight was just the opening act. The GOP will be far worse.

    His choice of words (none / 0) (#48)
    by Edgar08 on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 01:41:37 AM EST
    on Diplomacy has also been careless.

    And, yes, the GOP will run ads, I would have been happy to stick up for Obama when that time came except that his campaign has already undermined my ability to do so.


    To be fair... (none / 0) (#49)
    by Alec82 on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 01:49:44 AM EST
    ...do you actually believe that Senator McCain's campaign was measured in his desperate attempt to reach out to conservative voters?  Do you think that McCain will have the grassroots support Senator Obama enjoys?  Remember he succeeded through a bizarre strategy engineered in no small part by campaign surrogates motivated in part by an intense personal dislike of Mitt Romney.  

     Senator McCain cannot run a negative campaign.  He must be very careful about his running mate.  He must convince the American people to see the war as he sees it.  And he must convince the conservative base to show up and vote for him, to convince them that straight talk express 08 is genuine, while straight talk 99/00 was just, you know...principled?  And all the while juggle the moderates and independents.  



    Not Really (none / 0) (#52)
    by Edgar08 on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 02:00:46 AM EST
    All he has to do is keep feeding the freak show.

    By that I mean the media.  

    There's a chance you might be right, if the media stays in Obama's corner.

    And if they do that, then they could put Reagan back in his prime, run him against Obama, and Obama would win.

    I do not expect McCain and Republicans to pull punches.

    Remember.  It doesn't have to come from McCain, it can come from 527s while McCain floats above it all.  

    You see, I think in 1999 McCain's innate sense of morality would have got in the way.  

    I don't think it will now.  He's got the angry blank stare of someone who'll do anything to win.  Anything.  

    It's all in the media's hands.  They allowed it to happen to Gore.   They allowed it to happen to Kerry.  There's nothing empirical yet that shows me they won't allow it to happen to Obama.


    Who allowed it to happen? (5.00 / 1) (#54)
    by diplomatic on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 02:14:19 AM EST
    You say the media allowed it to happen to Gore and Kerry but isn't it really the Democratic Party that allowed it to happen by not galvanizing and rallying around our candidates against the media smears with an unrelenting and solid voice?  Look at how the Republicans close ranks against the "liberal media" and beat them back time and time again successfully.

    We have had very timid press relations and at times complete silence on the cable news shows when it comes to sticking up for our own people.

    You hardly ever see our party elders and leaders out there shaming the media into getting their act together.  Where is Howard Dean?  What about Ted Kennedy?  Remember how hardly no one came to John Kerry's defense back in 2004?  The blogosphere sniped at him often and the real high profile Democrats were nowhere to be seen.

    That's who really let it happen.

    Think about it, that's what really helped McCain push back against the New York Times -- it certainly wasn't his own press conference/defense.  All he said was: "I'm disappointed"  Pretty weak stuff.  If that had been Kerry responding to the swift boaters we would have laughed.  But see it wasn't up to McCain to fight the entire battle.  Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Fox, the right wing blogs, etc etc all came to his defense.

    We lack that kind of cohesion.


    I Can't Say You're Wrong (5.00 / 1) (#55)
    by Edgar08 on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 02:34:41 AM EST
    More to the point, I think we're due for a repeat there.

    Just got off the phone with my mom who also supported Clinton, and she has always loved Olbermann devoutly.   loved him.  Now she can't watch him anymore.  and while I'm sure all the Obama folks will call us such horrible names (as if we care) for not rally behind Obama, the simple fact is just about Clinton supporter I know has some sense of misgiving about how all this went down.

    So we are looking at entering the General Election as a divided party, yet again.

    Just speaking for myself, at this time, subject to change, it would be impossible for a republican attack on Obama to make me feel outraged.

    Obama's first test, as a uniter, will be to re-unite the democratic party.

    If he can do that, then I might even start considering the possibility he can unite the country.


    Let's see what happens on March 4th first (none / 0) (#57)
    by diplomatic on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 02:46:45 AM EST
    Obama is not ready to take on the Republican machine as the head of our ticket so I am hoping that Hillary can push that fighter meme to victory and at least give us one more month to pick our nominee.

    Yeah Yeah Yeah (none / 0) (#58)
    by Edgar08 on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 02:54:22 AM EST
    People like their movements, apparently.

    Sticking up for Democrats (none / 0) (#90)
    by wasabi on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 07:49:39 AM EST
    How'd the party do when Clinton was getting such uneven treatment from the press?  Did they stick up for her and denounce the sexist attacks?
    Oh.  They're gonna start doing that now...

    McCain won't run (none / 0) (#59)
    by facta non verba on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 03:02:42 AM EST
    a negative campaign. Freedom Watch will. They have $200 million ready to go. So will other 527 groups.

    I think you overestimate the support Obama enjoys. He will be lucky to get 55% of the Hispanic vote, break-even is more probable. Asian-Americans love McCain. He is the one GOP guy they adore. People like myself will not vote for Obama because frankly I don't like his policies and I think him naive, so I am going for Nader or writing-in Edwards. Next, while it is marginal no doubt, Obama has been getting Republicans voting for him because they hate Hillary. Those folks won't be voting for Obama come November.

    Obama's best hope is an economic collapse. Barring that he will likely lose. Whether it is his fault or not, this race has embittered many. Many Clinton supporters will not vote for Obama. You have a problem but for whatever reason you don't see it. Others do including some of the TalkLeft bloggers. There is a lot of ground to cover before November so who knows what can happen but as of right I am not optimistic on the Democratic chances to win the White House. I've voted Democratic since 1984 (Anderson in 1980) and the fact that Obama has turned me off should be a red flag to you.


    Others might not see it this way but... (none / 0) (#68)
    by goldberry on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 06:10:30 AM EST
    if there was going to be a telling moment as to why you would want one over the other, that was it.  It wasn't a trivial distinction and she schooled him.

    The talk in the bagel shop (none / 0) (#111)
    by Cream City on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 08:29:56 AM EST
    this morning from Jewish friends was that Clinton did good, that Obama didn't get the distinction in the terms, which are crucial in the Jewish community. She did her homework on it, he didn't.

    The Jewish Community? (none / 0) (#131)
    by squeaky on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 09:09:37 AM EST
    Which one are you referring to. The right wing one? Or the left wing one, or the ones that are somewhere in the middle.

    In my experience the Majority of the (none / 0) (#135)
    by Florida Resident on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 09:12:52 AM EST
    Jewish community is liberal.

    I agree (none / 0) (#143)
    by squeaky on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 09:25:39 AM EST
    But to suggest that the "Jewish community" is uncomfortable with  Obama because of the way Obama handled his endorsement by Farrakan is absurd. There evidently are some who are not happy with it, but this Jew, namely me,  sees through it immediately as having less to do with Farrakan and more to do with partisan warfare.

    The bottom line is that you cannot stop people from endorsing. Should the candidates be given a list of hateful people and asked their opinion of them?


    AIPAC? (none / 0) (#151)
    by Bob In Pacifica on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 09:39:14 AM EST
    Most Jews I've been acquainted with have been liberal/progressive because those are the circles I've been in. They are working class. I'll take a survey and get back to let people here know how the Jewish Community reacted to the Farrakhan moment.

    Let's be honest ... (none / 0) (#73)
    by Robot Porter on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 06:54:08 AM EST
    antisemitism is a problem for any black politician.   Because there's a perception, not wholly unjustified, of antipathy between the black and Jewish communities.

    And Obama wasn't forceful enough in his statements on Farakhan.  At first he seemed to be parsing.  And  his conflating of "reject" and "denounce" may have scored him cheap debating points; but it left the impression of him making light of more vehement rejection of antisemitism.

    As a Jew, I felt it.  Obama seemed "tone deaf" on the issue of antisemitism. He knows the words he's supposed to say, but can't get the melody right.

    What about (none / 0) (#76)
    by andrewwm on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 07:09:49 AM EST
    his emphatic statement about the importance of Israel and his statement that he wouldn't be here today if it weren't for the Jews who selflessly volunteered to help the civil rights movement, and the importance of rebuilding the black-Jewish coalition?

    Good words ... (none / 0) (#83)
    by Robot Porter on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 07:33:50 AM EST
    but would have been better if they hadn't been part of an answer about Farakhan.

    I know many people view antisemitism as some mystical thing that happened a long time ago, and is only espoused today by marginal extremists.

    But if you're Jewish you have to deal with it, in big ways, and small ways. Sometimes even from friends.

    Obama's "tone deaf" moment wasn't a dealbreaker for me.  I'll still be able to support him if he gets the nomination.  But I found it unfortunate and disappointing.


    The question is pointless (none / 0) (#77)
    by RiderOnTheStorm on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 07:18:06 AM EST
    Asking Senator Obama whether or not he accepts Louis Farrahkan's support is like asking Senator Clinton whether she accepts Bob Cunningham's support.  (The latter is the foaming racist wingnut who introduced McCain yesterday, and later in the day announced his support for Senator Clinton -- after being smacked down hard by McCain.)

    After all, Cunningham is a white person who just announced his support for Senator Clinton; Farrahkan is a black person who announced his support for Senator Obama.  If we are to presume that Senator Obama is somehow accountable for what other people (who do not work for him) say simply because they're both black, should we not make the same presumption about Senator Clinton and anyone who's white?

    All candidates attract supporters they'd prefer not to have (for a variety of reasons).  While they can take some active steps to distance themselves (such as refusing or returning contributions, or removing them from campaign staff positions), they can't stop them from speaking -- or from working on their behalf.  To ask a candidate about the unwanted support of one person -- one person in a nation of 300 million -- when there are far more pressing issues to be discussed  is a waste of airtime.

    I don't think it would take Hillary (none / 0) (#121)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 08:51:23 AM EST
    2 seconds to renounce and reject Cunningham.  She wouldn't have hesitated.

    Antisemitism (none / 0) (#78)
    by Florida Resident on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 07:22:28 AM EST
    My problem with the use of this word is that it has been become synonymous with anti-Jewish.  Semites are a diverse group which includes both the Hebrews and Arabs.  To me it is this misuse of the language and others like it that makes it so hard sometimes to have intelligent discussions.  It is like when I hear people say that the church Obama attends is racist because they are proud of their race, forget that in their mission statement they are clear about the inclusion of all, just grab on to Pride in their African Heritage part and call them racist.  Its bad enough when I hear the Limbaugh's of this world spew this venom it's worse when I hear Progressives repeating it.  Let me be clear, I think Hillary is the better candidate, but I'll be damned if I will base my judgement on lies and innuendoes on Obama and his belief.

    I'm glad Obama ... (none / 0) (#84)
    by Robot Porter on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 07:36:13 AM EST
    didn't say something like this.  That would have been a deal breaker for me.

    Why?? (none / 0) (#101)
    by Florida Resident on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 08:08:03 AM EST
    The comment ... (none / 0) (#107)
    by Robot Porter on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 08:23:17 AM EST
    about the word "antisemitism" is the deal breaker.  It's divisive and regularly used by antisemitic political figures.

    If Obama had said that I think his future in American politics would be over. It would be for me at least.

    You may have an honest linguistic problem with the term.  But the argument, which I've heard many times, almost always comes from tacitly or directly antisemitic sources.


    Being that I am Jewish and a Semite (none / 0) (#119)
    by Florida Resident on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 08:50:16 AM EST
    I find it hard to understand your point of View.  I am not surprised just that I find it hard to understand since it shows that there is a huge misunderstanding of History and Religion not necessarily by you but by people in general.  To me when you appropriate the term semitic to just mean the Jewish people that is racist and anit-semitic. But then, that is a discussion for another thread not this one.

    This "down in the weeds" ... (none / 0) (#139)
    by Robot Porter on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 09:15:39 AM EST
    as they say.

    And if we were in a history forum we could go into it in some detail.

    But this is a political forum.  And had Obama said what you said, it would have been political suicide.

    And that's regardless of the fact that there is some linguistic and historic validity to your statement.

    But, probably to his benefit, neither of us control Obama's public statements.


    So true (none / 0) (#142)
    by Florida Resident on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 09:24:04 AM EST
    anyway, my objections to Obama have nothing to do with him being either anti-semitic or racist which he is neither.  My objection is he is selling himself as being a new type of politician while practicing some good old time politics all the time. Hopefully whoever wins the nomination can come out and beat the Repug.  America can not take more of this.  I also object to supporters of both candidates acting like limbaugh and insulting the candidates instead of discussing the assets of their candidate.  It's so unbecoming of true Liberals

    Geek, really? (none / 0) (#89)
    by Robot Porter on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 07:45:44 AM EST
    That seems very dismissive. I don't feel I'm demagoguing.  I had an honest, emotional reaction as a Jew.

    It seems unfortunate that you'd label such a reaction as "demagoguing."

    Jeralyn (none / 0) (#91)
    by frankly0 on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 07:55:45 AM EST
    I just have to point out something that you said that is just obviously wrong: "While many think Hillary's distinction between denouncing and rejecting was artificial"

    Look, it was OBAMA who made that distinction at first - he was asked a direct question as to whether he "rejected" Farrakhan's support, and he simply refused to take that step. He may have "denounced" Farrakhan's views, but, for whatever reason, would not come out with a rejection of Farrakhan's support.

    So are we clear that it was Obama who was making that distinction? If it was "artificial", who was responsible for that artificiality? Why on earth blame it on Hillary, who simply called on Obama to take the additional step of "rejecting" Farrakhan's support?

    Really, people should demanding of Obama a full and coherent explanation of why he hesitated in the slightest in rejecting Farrakhan's support. Farrakhan is an anti-Semite -- why would Obama even think about parsing words here?

    Obama (none / 0) (#156)
    by Bob In Pacifica on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 09:50:17 AM EST
    talks in measured statements. That's the way he wins debates. That's why 70% said that Obama won the debate.

    I do not for one minute think that Obama particularly cared for or wanted Farrakhan's support. It's miniscule and having it precludes support of much larger bases of support.

    However, I do believe that Clinton supporters would like to paint Obama with the Farrakhan brush.

    It was Clinton who was parsing after Obama said "reprehensible." To call someone reprehensible is pretty much a rejection in the real world.


    How is it a double-standard? (none / 0) (#98)
    by Robot Porter on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 08:05:27 AM EST
    This is a unique singular issue which many books and articles have been devoted to.  There was even a recent PBS documentary examining the history of this issue.

    Even Senator Obama has acknowledged the issue in last night's debate and earlier.

    I realize you're a strong advocate of your candidate.  And that's great. But I don't think you do him any service by amplifying the tone deaf nature of his comments.

    I'm a tolerant person, and I don't condemn him for his statements.  But I did not like them, and I wish he hadn't tried to score cheap debating points on such a serious issue.

    I'm not following ... (none / 0) (#103)
    by Robot Porter on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 08:10:20 AM EST

    Do people harass Jewish politicians (none / 0) (#114)
    by Geekesque on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 08:40:47 AM EST
    about racism in the Jewish community?

    No, they do not.  


    Sure they do ... (none / 0) (#123)
    by Robot Porter on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 08:57:40 AM EST
    at least here in NYC.  Mayor Koch had to deal with this issue a lot. Especially at the time of the Crown Heights riot in 1991.

    And Jewish politicians are often asked to comment on the more extreme Zionist figures and groups.

    So I see no double standard.

    I'm sure if a Jewish politician every came as close as Obama has to getting the nomination, he'd be asked these questions about these matters as well.


    that's ok geek, (none / 0) (#108)
    by cpinva on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 08:23:39 AM EST
    i find the failure of sen. obama to quickly and forcefully reject "rev." farrakhan's endorsement and denounce the "rev." and his group's repugnant policies and views repulsive.

    you're quite correct: desperate times do call for desperate measures. this failure by sen. obama indicates just how desperate his campaign's become.

    Yes, because "renouncing" is such an (none / 0) (#125)
    by Geekesque on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 09:01:52 AM EST
    ambiguous response.

    Y'all are reading off the RNC script, and every non-aligned progressive blog recognizes it.


    he was stumbling (none / 0) (#140)
    by bigbay on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 09:18:44 AM EST
    I watched the debate. He parsed that sucker up.

    Geek, quit while you're behind! (none / 0) (#144)
    by Robot Porter on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 09:27:59 AM EST
    You're obviously much more tone deaf (and ill-informed) on this issue than your candidate.

    This tactic of calling Jews (or those sensitive to Jewish positions) right wing or Republican, because they speak out about antisemitism is old news.

    It's an attempt by some progressives or people of the left to "keep us in line."

    I consider myself a person of the left, but I won't go along with this.  And it's one place where I part company with the left.


    It is only a fair question if HRC (none / 0) (#110)
    by Baal on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 08:28:37 AM EST
    is also asked to repudiate every shady supporter she has ever had (a topic which makes the rounds of wingnut-o blogosphere, who get all frothy about Norman Hsu).  She was not asked.  I can't stand Farakhan, but like it or not, most in the African American community regard him as some sort of civil rights leader.  I don't dislike  him more than Pat Robertson, and I do wonder why HRC appeared on the 700 Club.

    By the way Jeralyn, if you think I am trolling, than you are being trolled from the Left.

    Endorsements (none / 0) (#113)
    by Kate Stone on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 08:37:58 AM EST
    Hillary Clinton has never been asked to defend the endorsement she seeks and receives from the Satmar Dynasty in New York.  The Satmars are insular, anti-social, anti-secular, patriarchal, anti-Zionists.

    Thread cleaned of (none / 0) (#152)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 09:39:20 AM EST
    over the top comments calling various people or groups racist and anti-semitic. Also of some wildly off-topic comments.

    I'm closing the comments on this one, if it's a major topic in the news today (it's only 8:30 am here) there may be another one or an open thread.

    Geekesque is warned, his comments had personal attacks in them. If he continues, he'll be suspended or  banned.

    Comments closed here (none / 0) (#157)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 10:01:55 AM EST
    There is an open thread up where you can continue to discuss this if you want. But again, no calling people or groups racist or anti-semitic.