Final Thread: Obama's Speech

Two threads on Barack Obama's speech are now full. Here's a third and final one, before we move on to other topics of the day.

Update: Thanks to all for your comments. There are over 600 of them on our three threads. I'm closing this one now as it's over 200.

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    you go to war with the ammunition you have (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by Capt Howdy on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 11:35:55 AM EST
    not the ammunition you wish you had.

    It was an effective speach (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by vj on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 11:38:00 AM EST
    He basically got free advertising for half an hour or so.  The MSM loved the speach, so he gets some positive coverage.

    But I think for those inclined to be very upset about the Wright comments, this speech might not have been enough.

    does it matter? (none / 0) (#19)
    by mindfulmission on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 11:40:27 AM EST
    Serious question... does it matter that those "inclined to be very upset about the Wright comments" would not have seen enough in this speech?

    I am not sure that this specific segment of people would be voting for Obama anyway.


    I doubt he ever had the (5.00 / 0) (#26)
    by oculus on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 11:42:03 AM EST
    people with the America, love it or leave it bumper stickers.

    I don't know (none / 0) (#31)
    by vj on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 11:44:09 AM EST
    the segment in question probably contains a lot of republicans and people who watch fox news, who would not be potential Obama voters, but it could well contain some potential Obama voters.

    That's a bad assumption (none / 0) (#61)
    by dianem on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 11:52:53 AM EST
    There are a lot of people who would consider voting for Obama who would not consider voting for a Presidential candiate whose most cherished advisor says hateful things about America. Rightly or wrongly, patriotism runs deep in Americans, and many people are unwilling or unable to excuse statements like those Wright made, regardles of the reasons behind them.

    most cherished advisor? (none / 0) (#113)
    by Jgarza on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 12:08:23 PM EST
    No? Who, then? Lieberman? Axelrod? (none / 0) (#140)
    by Cream City on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 12:17:02 PM EST
    or where would you rank Obama's minister among his advisors?  Third-most-cherished?  So all is okay now?  Really, who was your question for?

    Not an advisor on policy (1.00 / 0) (#171)
    by MKS on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 12:24:21 PM EST
    But he has already said that....

    For those who do not like Obama, I do not think he could do or say anything that would convince them of his sincerity on issues of race.....

    Obama has cleary attempted to move beyond race....That is the critical point....


    clear to you (5.00 / 1) (#184)
    by SarahinCA on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 12:28:33 PM EST
    but not clear to others who see the racism-baiting as was discussed at length here in the last couple weeks.

    To move beyond race... (5.00 / 2) (#210)
    by Fabian on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 12:37:03 PM EST
    I still don't get that.  Move beyond race?  Whose race?  His race?  My race?  Does race count?  Does race not count?  Is the economic racial gap real?  Should we ignore it?  Should we address it?

    Obama doesn't want his campaign to hinge on race just like Clinton doesn't want her campaign to hinge on gender.

    As far as I can see you can't "move beyond" something that isn't going to go away just because you don't talk about it.  You simply say "Yes, this is an issue but I'd like to talk about other issues as well.".  But "move beyond" seems to translate "ignore an inconvenient truth" to me.  We can no more move beyond the racial divides that exist than we can move beyond Climate Change.


    does it matter (none / 0) (#165)
    by Forlorn Hope on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 12:23:15 PM EST
    Yes it matters. Since Friday, I have had 10 people tell me they will not only not vote for Obama but will vote for McCain. These are all democrats who have never voted for a republican in their lives. I sure some would have not voted for Obama before but neither would they have voted for McCain. McCain could actually end up winning with what he will call a huge mandate. They will not vote for a man they think might secretly hate the United States. They know the US has done many wrong things (as all countries have) but they still love their country and will not vote for a man who would support someone that da**s the US and who blames the victims of 9/11 for their own deaths.

    May be true (none / 0) (#181)
    by MKS on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 12:28:00 PM EST
    Too bad....That view does distort a lot of other things that were going on....and the complexity of relationships in general....

    But, yes, many will boil it all down to someone who hates America...



    Did Obama explain why ... (5.00 / 0) (#14)
    by Alvord on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 11:38:35 AM EST
    ... he had a twenty year relationship with Reverend Wright rather than walk away and find a pastor who didn't hold Wright's views? (I didn't see the speech.)

    yes he did (5.00 / 1) (#28)
    by A DC Wonk on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 11:42:33 AM EST
    and he also explained why he didn't disown his white grandmother for saying things about race he didn't like.

    Full text of the prepared speech here.


    for jeebus sake (4.25 / 4) (#78)
    by smott on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 11:57:01 AM EST
    ...can we quit pretending that a famiy relationship like your grandmother or your crazy uncle is the same as your relationship with your pastor??

    You're stuck with your family.

    You choose your pastor.

    Just like you choose to stay with him for 20 years, choose to have him marry you, choose to have him baptize your kids and choose to title your book after one his sermons.



    it depends upon how close (5.00 / 1) (#89)
    by A DC Wonk on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 12:00:29 PM EST
    one is with one's pastor.  Sometimes a clery-person is like family.  

    I don't doubt that for a minute (5.00 / 0) (#108)
    by smott on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 12:06:32 PM EST
    But I doubt the judgement of someone planning to run for the WH not to distance himself at least a year ago from this. It's beyond politically naive to assume this kind of thing won't come out eventually and bite you in the -ss. Jyst like it has.

    If you're just somebody going to church in Chicago, call your pastor your uncle or your family or whatever. More power to you.

    But if you're trying to make the Mr Unity argument to the nation, you need to get as far away as you can from rhetoric like Wright's. That is Common Sense 101.


    oh, puleeze (5.00 / 1) (#174)
    by A DC Wonk on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 12:25:34 PM EST
    and if he had left the church a year ago none of this would be happening?

    Families you are born into. (5.00 / 3) (#119)
    by Fabian on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 12:10:24 PM EST
    We choose every other relationship.  Twenty years is a long relationship by any standard.  Obama chose that relationship.  

    I have no opinion on whether this was a good choice or not, but it was clearly a choice made freely by both men.


    Yes, he did choose (5.00 / 1) (#228)
    by MKS on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 12:45:36 PM EST
    but he did so for issues of faith....Was it wrong of Obama to have Wright lead him to Christ?--and that is how Obama views it.....

    Wright became family to Obama; and once that happens, you're stuck with him for better or worse....Obama's original sin was becoming friends with Wright in the first place 20 years ago, before he was a politician.....Too late now to throw him under the bus...

    No doubt many agree with you, and that will probably hurt him....Obama did not disavow the man--that would have been dishonest....And, yet, nothing in Obama's own speeches or conduct suggests that he hates America or is racist....


    Did he explain (4.00 / 3) (#93)
    by ding7777 on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 12:01:22 PM EST
    why, if his grandmother said things that made hime "crindge", he chose a pastor who  "would utter" those very same racial or ethnic stereotypes?

    Since you seem ... (none / 0) (#34)
    by Alvord on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 11:44:55 AM EST
    ... to know what his explanation was can you give me a brief encapsulation so I don't have to wade through a long speech?

    he also (5.00 / 1) (#83)
    by A DC Wonk on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 11:59:03 AM EST
    put Wright in context.  Without using so many words, he essentially said that Wright is coming from a previous generation, an era which has left him too bitter and angry.

    There is good and bad in (none / 0) (#53)
    by learningcurve on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 11:50:41 AM EST
    everyone. On balance, Wright is a good man, but he does have some extreme views, just like his grandmother.

    Thanks... (none / 0) (#195)
    by Alvord on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 12:32:23 PM EST
    ... for giving me the encapsulated version. I appreciate it.

    I agree that there is good and bad in everyone. So far so good.

    However, the comparison to his grandmother doesn't cut it because you cannot pick your relatives.

    What continues to trouble me is that the statements by the Reverend are so far beyond the pale that I would have expected Obama to have objected to them before he was forced to by political necessity. If one accepts Obama's explanation as being acceptable it seems that one must also accept Obama's judgement about what constitutes an acceptable balance and his judgement about when it is appropriate to just say "this goes too far." I found the Reverend's comments so offensive I can't buy into Obama's explanation.


    see the last thread (none / 0) (#59)
    by Jeralyn on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 11:52:18 AM EST
    what he said about that is quoted several times.

    A long time ago (5.00 / 2) (#18)
    by waldenpond on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 11:40:19 AM EST
    He should have given this speech in his church years ago, not when he was pushed to the wall by political expediency.

    This is my biggest disappointment in this speech (5.00 / 3) (#48)
    by davnee on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 11:49:28 AM EST
    This is a speech of expedience not courage or conviction.  Obama may very well believe this speech, but he never had the guts to deliver it until his back was against the wall.  He never had the guts to publicly challenge his mentor or his fellow congregants until he ran for president and only then when he got caught.  Why didn't he confess to his own failure?  Admit that he swept his reverend and his white grandma under the rug?  Admit that he was never a leader until now and express regret for that?

    An extraordinarily courageous (none / 0) (#214)
    by MKS on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 12:38:31 PM EST
    speech.....An honest speech.....He laid on the line and did not back away from a friend as a person....

    I have never heard such a frank discussion of race by political leaders....Many will disagree with what he said or the decisions he made in staying in the congregation, but it was a very couragerous speech....

    No one talks about black bitterness or white resentment....not politicians at least.

    Swept his white grandma under the rug?  If you do not like Obama, nothing short of a full confession and resignation from the race would suffice...

    No, the problem with Obama's speech was not that it lacked courage or honesty; rather, it raises unpleasant issues of race.....And voters do not want to think about such things......Many will unfortunately wince and turn away.....


    that depends on how cynical we are (5.00 / 2) (#20)
    by A DC Wonk on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 11:40:33 AM EST
    He's betting that we can move beyond that.  If America is not ready for such a thing, he will lose.  I hope America is ready.  We'll see . . . .

    move beyond what? (5.00 / 1) (#29)
    by frankly0 on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 11:42:57 AM EST
    The refusal of most Americans to listen to someone preaching, "No, no, no, God Damn America", etc.?

    This is something people are obliged to move beyond?


    Yes (5.00 / 1) (#94)
    by digdugboy on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 12:02:11 PM EST
    The US isn't above criticism.

    There is a difference (none / 0) (#104)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 12:05:35 PM EST

    There is a difference between criticism and hatred.  No one is the lease bit concerned with the man's criticism.

    What does Jeremiah Wright hate? (5.00 / 1) (#112)
    by digdugboy on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 12:07:59 PM EST
    Open your ears (none / 0) (#125)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 12:12:52 PM EST
    and hear his words.

    Answer the question, please (5.00 / 1) (#153)
    by digdugboy on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 12:20:05 PM EST
    Open ears wide (5.00 / 1) (#182)
    by KnightErrant on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 12:28:01 PM EST
    I'd like to hear the full context of Jeremiah Wright's sermon before becoming judgmental.

    People should ask themselves.... (5.00 / 1) (#97)
    by kdog on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 12:02:50 PM EST
    why would he say that?  does he have a point?  If the christian god does exist would he/she/it bless us or damn us?

    Reasonable questions, and I tend to side with Mr. Wright...if god exists he/she/it would most definitely be pissed at us, and the majority of humanity for that matter.


    "I tremble for my country... (5.00 / 2) (#198)
    by mike in dc on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 12:33:14 PM EST
    ...when I reflect that God is just."

    --Thomas Jefferson

    Wasn't there some fundie church performing a song entitled "Why Should God Bless America?"
    Have Republican politicians cut all ties to Falwell and Robertson, who blamed 9/11 on gays, liberals and pretty much anyone whose lifestyle or positions they didn't like?

    Obama addressed the underlying anger and resentment that exist in a black man of Rev. Wright's generation, and at the same time he disagreed with those sentiments and asserted progress on race is possible and necessary.  A quintessentially progressive perspective.

    Win or lose, he is to be commended for a speech like this, in my opinion.  


    There are different ways to move beyond (5.00 / 4) (#55)
    by Democratic Cat on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 11:51:13 AM EST
    Americans could be sick of the past and want to change things and still not vote for Obama. It's not true that supporters of Clinton want to remain in the past, simply not true. It's a clever campaign tactic but nothing more.

    The Obama campaign's message (to my ears) is that if you are a good person, ready to move beyond the past, past the racism, past the demagoguing, then you'll vote for him. I feel that I am supposed to vote for him or else I'm just one of those poor, unenlightedned souls--or worse. I don't like feeling like my vote is being coerced as a validation of my goodness. (And I recognize that this is my feeling, it may not be shared by others.)


    I know what you mean. (none / 0) (#160)
    by Maria Garcia on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 12:22:31 PM EST
    I feel a bit like that myself. But I think its what unsettles me most about the Obama campaign.

    Amen! (none / 0) (#166)
    by mg7505 on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 12:23:19 PM EST
    I don't like campaigns that make me judge myself instead of the candidate. Especially when that candidate is an entrenched career politician with just as much baggage as everyone else, and somehow claims to transcend all divisions etc etc.

    Never (5.00 / 1) (#23)
    by Stellaaa on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 11:41:13 AM EST
    Does not work for him.  Only the package of the speech narrative.  He is a story that is written by his campaign, no one else is allowed to write the story.  

    actually, he did do just that (5.00 / 1) (#40)
    by A DC Wonk on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 11:46:02 AM EST
    when he sat down with the editorial guys of the Chicago Tribune vis-a-vis Rezko.  Obama said he would come by and stay and answer every single question no matter how long it took.  He did.  And the Chicago Tribune, a GOP paper, was impressed.

    The Sun-Times was there as well (5.00 / 1) (#87)
    by dmfox on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 12:00:22 PM EST
    Both papers know more about the ins-and-outs of the Rezko scandal than any other news organization.  Both papers came away impressed with Obama's candor.

    Isn't it interesting though.. (5.00 / 1) (#150)
    by cmugirl on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 12:19:21 PM EST
    that these are two long-term relationships Obama has had with people of questionable character that he's had to defend?  And Obama supporters have the nerve to talk about the Clintons?

    The question is (5.00 / 7) (#24)
    by hitchhiker on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 11:41:45 AM EST
    who is paying attention besides us?

    Will Fox stop playing Wright's clips?

    Will somebody find a whole new cache of them?

    Is there really time to have a serious conversation about race between now and next fall?

    And most of all, will people want to have that conversation after being subtly accused of racism for the last few months?

    The Obama campaign has used race issues to its advantage until now.  It will be fascinating to see how successful they are at convincing the public not to go there anymore.

    very well put (5.00 / 2) (#30)
    by Capt Howdy on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 11:43:23 AM EST
    Very well said (5.00 / 1) (#44)
    by Andy08 on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 11:47:38 AM EST

    Who is paying attention? (none / 0) (#50)
    by sweetthings on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 11:49:42 AM EST

    Imagine you're a super. You have a very, very fine line to tread. The whole racial/sexist angle, done badly, has the potential to not only lose the Democrats the White House in '08, but to fundamentally fracture the party, since both Obama and Hillary represent core democratic demographics. Thus, whichever candidate straddles the divide most gracefully is going to have a significant leg up.

    We just saw Obama's attempt, for better or worse. In the coming weeks, we'll see Clinton's.


    I think you're right (none / 0) (#167)
    by badger on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 12:23:31 PM EST
    but for a different reason. This is Obama's version of Nixon's 'Checkers' speech. In 1952, Nixon was in danger of being dropped from the ticket over illegal campaign donations. Obama is in danger of losing superdelegates over Wright. Same reason, same speech.

    If you compare the two speeches, they have a lot of similarities (although Obama's speech is much better speechwriting).


    One question doesn't matter, one does (none / 0) (#60)
    by zzyzx on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 11:52:51 AM EST
    Will Fox stop playing Wright's clips?

    Will somebody find a whole new cache of them?

    The first isn't as important as it might seem.  There are only the 5 or 6 clips and playing them over and over again would bore the press, especially when there are other, bigger issues to go on.  The way that scandals build is when the reaction to the scandal is suboptimal and then the news can report on the reaction and then there can be some reaction to the reaction.

    Ultimately, if there's nothing new here like the second question implies, then it's going to be hard to keep this story going.  Odds are they got the worst of them already, but maybe they saved enough for a round two.  If they had though, the time to do it would be before Obama's speech.  Get fresh clips in before the counterpunch started.

    Obama didn't blow up or do anything stupid.  The only thing that could happen is if his poll numbers plummet and continue to do so next week.  That will be the crucial moment.

    If Obama can survive the next two weeks in the polls the last obstacle between him and the nomination is probably gone.  


    Sure (none / 0) (#98)
    by hitchhiker on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 12:02:51 PM EST
    The nomination is not the problem, though.  It's being able to win in the fall.

    I spend to much time reading TL and a few other sites where people are decent to one another and trying hard to be fair and fully informed.  I have no sense, really, of how any of this plays to the great majority of voters, who --let's be honest--get their news from headlines and Newsweek and Leno.

    Politics to them is like football to me . . . I watch the SuperBowl, maybe, if I'm not busy.  I read while it's on, though, and I don't care how the teams got there.  


    Winning in the fall is now secondary. (none / 0) (#118)
    by sweetthings on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 12:10:21 PM EST
    To preserving party unity as a whole.

    Don't get me wrong, winning the fall is important. But there are worse things than losing in November - like having core constituencies within the Democratic party so mad at each other than they start cutting off noses to spite faces.

    That is the scenario that must be avoided at all costs. Even at the cost of McCain.


    This is a horrifying statement -- (5.00 / 1) (#155)
    by Cream City on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 12:20:25 PM EST
    sorry, but it is.  The Dean-and-Brazile House is more important than the White House?  The party more than the presidency?  Explicate, please.

    I think the Democrats (5.00 / 0) (#187)
    by zyx on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 12:30:01 PM EST
    could have and should have nominated a much better candidate than Obama.  I always thought he was far too inexperienced at this point in his life and career to be President.

    But you don't have to worry about MY vote in November--I am pure Yellow Dog.  You have to worry about swing voters.

    Obama is going to lose.  And not because of voters like me.


    He hasn't been nominated yet (5.00 / 0) (#208)
    by Anne on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 12:35:40 PM EST
    so there's still time to end up with a nominee who can win...  :)

    My problem with that is.... (5.00 / 1) (#193)
    by Maria Garcia on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 12:31:34 PM EST
    ...that it's too late. The so-called core constituencies were pitted against each other when it became race against gender and from my viewpoint it seems like it's women who are being asked to step back, stay in line and support the party.  

    MUST VOTE OBAMA!!! (5.00 / 1) (#230)
    by ricosuave on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 12:48:06 PM EST
    It is the only way to preserve party unity!  We must preserve party unity at all costs!

    That's creepy in a Mao-ish sort of way, and probably the worst reason I have ever heard for why we should nominate Obama.


    Yeah, I'm not sure (none / 0) (#144)
    by hitchhiker on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 12:17:18 PM EST
    about that.  If we lose in the fall, it will be because we failed at the party unity thing.  I can't even imagine what the Democratic party would be like if it gets defeated by a 72-year-old Iraq war hawk with no expertise on the economy.

    Who would even want to be a member of such a pathetic organization?  I think if we lose to McCain, there will be no end to the recriminations and rage.


    Good Speech But? (5.00 / 4) (#25)
    by Saul on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 11:41:53 AM EST
    unfortunately it would have carried more weight if he was giving the speech for any other reason than trying to quell a controversy.  

    Racism In America (5.00 / 1) (#56)
    by squeaky on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 11:51:28 AM EST
    Is an ongoing controversy that is rarely discussed except in the confines of segregated groups. And that discussion is usually not about reconciliation, but about perpetuating division and stereotypes.

    That this controversy has come up in mixed company is a good thing, it is sad to see that you see it as anything different.


    I wish it could have come up... (none / 0) (#75)
    by dianem on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 11:56:31 AM EST
    ...when the nation wasn't in such a mess and the Democrats didn't really need a win in the election this fall. Healing racial divisions takes time. We just don't have that kind of time right now.

    You make time.... (5.00 / 2) (#139)
    by kdog on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 12:16:59 PM EST
    the issue is on the table now, let's address it.

    Mr. Wright said his god ain't happy with us, if I shared his belief in that god I would agree.  I don't share his belief, but I agree with the sentiment...we are not as righteous as we can be, and should strive to do better.  Strive to make peace, strive for social justice, strive for economic justice, strive for true equality in the eyes of the law and our fellow man.  Advocate for the poor, the imprisoned, the left out, the left behind.

    There is a reason we never address this stuff...it's hard to take a good look in the mirror.  We should all thank the slimeball media for this "gotcha", and reflect on what kind of country we want to be...one the christian god would bless, or damn.


    I don't mind talking about it (5.00 / 1) (#231)
    by dianem on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 12:48:33 PM EST
    But this isn't the kind of issue that you can just talk about over a beer and then forget the next day. This nation has been battling racial demons since before it was a nation. And the issue isn't just race, it's also about poverty, ethnicity, religion, gender, and human nature. We aren't going to magically resolve all of issues that face us just because somebody opens a dialogue.

    And I don't think that these issues can be fairly addressed within the context of a highly charged Presidential campaign. Anything people say right now is interpreted through a political filter. Everything is about the campaign - Obama couldn't even give his speech today without making campaign references. Anything he says right now has one goad: Getting himself elected President. That is how it has to be. That is how it should be. If he wanted to debate racial unity, the proper time would have been anytime he wasn't running for President.


    Obama never seemed to make time (5.00 / 3) (#233)
    by ricosuave on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 12:55:19 PM EST
    The argument is that I should support him and his efforts to heal the racial divide now?  OK, so in this speech did he lay out what to do to accomplish this other than vote for him?  No.  Did he lay out how he has worked tirelessly to fight the forces of racism in his community and his church over the last 20 years?  No.  Did he cite any credibility or efforts on this issue other than (as he says in the speech) that he has roots in the black and the white worlds and has seen the racism on both sides? No.

    If Obama has not made the time to fight this over the last 20 years (or over his lifetime), why do you argue that we must address this now.  It didn't just rear its ugly head on Friday when we all saw the videos--it just became a campaign issue for Obama, who has tried to avoid it until now.

    Or, in short, why should I trust him to lead on this issue, and where is he going to lead me?


    And then (4.00 / 0) (#196)
    by badger on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 12:32:25 PM EST
    when someone like Ferraro expresses their point of view in this dialog you want to have, everybody on the other side gets to jump up and down and scream racist? That'll be productive.

    There are two sides (at least) to a dialog on race and both sides need to be treated respectfully for any progress to be made. Even if you believe God is on the side of one of the groups.

    I'd give credit to Obama for noting that in his speech - it's something very few liberals or even liberal politicians ever take note of.


    wow (none / 0) (#122)
    by Jgarza on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 12:11:39 PM EST
    Healing racial divisions takes time. We just don't have that kind of time right now.

    Thats a pretty insulting premise.  


    Why? (5.00 / 0) (#173)
    by dianem on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 12:25:11 PM EST
    Why is this an insulting premise? Obama's campaign has torn open racial wounds that were gradually healing. We are now faced with the task of healing those newly opened wounds in time to win a crucial election. He didn't have to do this. He could have given the Clinton's and Ferraro and Cuomo the same benefit of the doubt that he gave Wright. He could have simply run on his qualifications - but he didn't. He had to paint his opponents as racist, dividing this nation in the process. We don't have time to be picking up the pieces right now.

    You may think they were gradually healing (5.00 / 1) (#212)
    by CST on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 12:37:18 PM EST
    But there are a lot of people who would disagree with you.  I don't think discussing race is the same thing as tearing open racial wounds.  If this isn't the time to "pick up the pieces", when will be?

    not insulting (none / 0) (#133)
    by A DC Wonk on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 12:14:39 PM EST
    I would have used the word "cynical"

    Which is ironic - because a premise of Obama's campaign is that the American public should stop being so cynical about being able to accomplish things.


    Woah (none / 0) (#43)
    by Edgar08 on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 11:47:33 AM EST
    Good point.

    This is damage control.

    "Four scores and seven years ago," as far as I know.  It wasn't damage control.


    Say what? (5.00 / 1) (#85)
    by Deconstructionist on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 12:00:10 PM EST
      Did you not hear that the Gettysburg Address was delivered at a critical juncture of the Civil War and was intended to counter the voices of those opposed to Lincoln and promoting the idea that preserving the Union was not worth the costs such as all the men who lost lives at Gettysburg.

    I mean (5.00 / 1) (#127)
    by Edgar08 on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 12:13:17 PM EST
    Personal Politics Damage control.

    Like Bill starting putting "I did not have sex with that woman" in the middle of some long speech about how our fore fathers came together to form a more perfect union.


    Before the advent of the modern media. (none / 0) (#146)
    by Arbitrarity on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 12:17:36 PM EST
    I don't think there was 'personal politics damage control.'

    I know (none / 0) (#163)
    by Edgar08 on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 12:22:51 PM EST
    Lets just put this way.

    This was a campaign speech.

    "Four score and seven years ago" was not.


    Actually it was (5.00 / 1) (#123)
    by fuzzyone on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 12:12:41 PM EST
    At the time there was a significant anti-war movement in the North as casualties mounted.  The anti-war faction of the democratic party (yes we were the bad guys back then) planned to strongly contest the 1864 election.  The speech is considered part of the reason he won that election (though union victories in 1864 were probably more significant).

    Not that it really matters, sorry for the history geek digression, I now return you to your regularly scheduled current events.


    It was damage control (5.00 / 1) (#131)
    by Edgar08 on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 12:14:27 PM EST
    About the issue.

    Not about the person.

    Lincoln wasn't trying to repair his image with a big speech about our founding fathers.

    Unless he was.  


    Exactly (5.00 / 1) (#35)
    by Edgar08 on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 11:44:56 AM EST
    I was discussing this with a kossack.  This person said, "my pastor rails against homosexuals."

    I dont' agree with him.

    I didn't have the heart to ask "why don't you walk out of the church?"

    I think that cuts too close to home.

    Agreement or disagreement isn't the issue.

    It's the sense of belonging.

    Yes (5.00 / 1) (#38)
    by zyx on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 11:45:36 AM EST
    My ministers never were so over-the-top.  Admittedly, my churches have always been pretty white-bread, I guess.  But the kinds of things that my ministers said that I might have disagreed with would probably tend to be, at least half or more of the time, doctrinal...in any case, if the guy in the pulpit overheated to that extent, and said sharply divisive things, then this is not something "most Americans" are going to relate to.  

    At least, not a lot of swing voters.

    Immediately after Martin Luther King (5.00 / 1) (#49)
    by oculus on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 11:49:34 AM EST
    was murdered, I attended a Protestant Lutheran--not Missouri Synod) church in Norfolk, VA, that I had attended before.  There was absolutely no mention during the service, including in the sermon, of the fact of MLK's death.  I stopped attending the church.  The minister pd. a call to my home and asked why I hadn't been there recently.  So I told him.  He sd. it was better in that place at that time (1968) not to mention it.  

    Lutheran churches tend to avoid politics (none / 0) (#229)
    by DaleA on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 12:46:39 PM EST
    Given the history of the Lutheran Church in Germany, this is understandable. Given the history of the state churches in Scandanavia, it also makes sense. There is a long series of tragic politics involving the Lutheran Church. So, in the US, they tend to avoid the topic. I grew up in a time and place where which province of Sweden your grandparents came from was an important Lutheran concern.

    He's mixing pastors and grandmothers (5.00 / 2) (#41)
    by ding7777 on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 11:46:58 AM EST
    I can no more disown [Rev Wright] than I can my white grandmother...

    You didn't need to disown him, but you made an affirmative choice to associate with him for 20 years.

     p.s. You chose your pastor but you can not chose your relatives.

    Obama implores us to talk about this (5.00 / 0) (#45)
    by DandyTIger on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 11:48:04 AM EST
    I'm happy with the part of the speech where Obama exposes some of the underlying issues many americans have. And he tried to give some validity to those uncomfortable feelings. Both from blacks like in his church and whites who have problems with affirmative action. That was really good, and I hope a dialog comes of this.

    Having said that, of course this was politics first and foremost. For example suggesting that perhaps Ferraro may have a deep seated racism. Especially when all she did is say what Obama himself said previously. Of course Ferraro was a political idiot for saying such things, but to equate her with Wright is pure politics at its worst. And then of course to defend Wright and the members for some of the anti american hate speech will not play well in many areas. But just the same, I think this is the best speech he could have made.

    I'm not all surprised that the MSM is touting him as the second coming and this is the greatest speech on race ever given in the world, etc., etc. Maybe that will work and he will get past this. It's early to tell I think.

    where did he say that (5.00 / 1) (#58)
    by A DC Wonk on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 11:52:04 AM EST
    "For example suggesting that perhaps Ferraro may have a deep seated racism"

    Where did he say that?  He was saying that's what we should not do.

    Here's the quote:

    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.

    And then he goes on to say that we shouldn't do those things.  It seemed concilatory to me.


    He's using that 'some have said' construct (5.00 / 0) (#200)
    by ruffian on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 12:33:27 PM EST
    That Bush uses all the time.  To paraphrase, he is saying 'some have said Ferraro has a deep-seated racial bias.  That is wrong.'  He gets a false straw man out there that he can knock down.  Who is it that is saying Ferraro has a deep-seated racial bias?  I never heard that in the last two weeks.

    Well it's all well and good that Obama's (5.00 / 1) (#47)
    by tigercourse on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 11:49:21 AM EST
    speech won over the pundits and maybe even stopped the story for now. We'll be seeing it again in October.

    Question: (5.00 / 1) (#52)
    by Andy08 on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 11:49:52 AM EST
    Why was Obama's speech carried live on TV ?

    There was a speech of fundamental importance yesterday by "another" candidate which was not carried live (except at on the cnn website) and I still have to hear this being discussed at depth.

    His use of term (5.00 / 1) (#64)
    by suisser on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 11:53:53 AM EST
    "former Pastor" was infuriating. Gave BO the appearance of having walked away from Wright when Wright actually retired from post.
    Excellent example of BO's skill in manipulating and framing through language.  

    Wright is retired (5.00 / 1) (#72)
    by A DC Wonk on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 11:56:08 AM EST
    doesn't that make him the former paster of the Church?

    Rev Wright rertired 2/10/2008 - 5 wks ago (5.00 / 1) (#120)
    by ding7777 on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 12:11:13 PM EST
    but the statements were made when he was the pastor

    I'll repeat my question here (5.00 / 1) (#77)
    by Manuel on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 11:56:55 AM EST
    Do you all think that Obama truly believes that the Clinton campaign has exploited race?  His speech excused everyone except politicians.  The other thing that struck me aout the speech is that ther was no call to action except for the implied need to vote for Obama.

    He's a pol, not a leader. (5.00 / 4) (#102)
    by Fabian on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 12:04:38 PM EST
    That's my impression anyway.  

    Leaders take risks.  Politicians minimize risks.

    Can't risk losing those votes.  And yes, the speech is pretty much about Obama and Obama is about getting votes.

    Politics at this level is simple.   They will always decide in favor of more votes.


    I think he is a very talented pol (none / 0) (#135)
    by Manuel on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 12:14:52 PM EST
    So I expect him to lead.  This speech did a great job of framing the issues but he doesn't ask anyone to act.  There was no call to stop labeling everythig as racist, for example.  He just engaged in validating everyone's feelings but that is only the start.

    of course he was! (none / 0) (#147)
    by A DC Wonk on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 12:18:35 PM EST
    His speech had a whole litany what to to do to get beyond our racial divisions.

    As for the comment that the speech took no risks -- it certainly did.  The easy thing to do would be to throw Wright under the bus -- instead he tried to put Wright's comments in context.  That was a risk, because it's impossible to explain it in a mere sound bite.


    Like what? (none / 0) (#157)
    by Edgar08 on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 12:21:12 PM EST
    Is there an example?

    here's one example (5.00 / 1) (#203)
    by A DC Wonk on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 12:34:19 PM EST
    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.

    This is a clear call to move to move beyond "victimology" and to realize that "we are all in this together."  As he says, we must "[bind] our particular grievances... to the larger aspirations of all Americans"  He goes on to reiterate that we can't just be focused on our own aggrieved group, etc.


    Yes (5.00 / 0) (#209)
    by Edgar08 on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 12:36:49 PM EST
    Those are the goals.

    How are those goals accomplished?

    Does listening to the sermons of Rev. Wright accomplish those goals?


    I would prefer to hear (none / 0) (#179)
    by Anne on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 12:27:31 PM EST
    Reverend Wright put his own comments in context and not have to have them delivered through the Obama filter.

    It will never happen, though, because that would be risky.


    The Speech (5.00 / 1) (#111)
    by chrisvee on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 12:07:54 PM EST
    I think it was well-delivered and quite cleverly crafted. The media reaction was predictable. It's very Obama for me.  There's a little bit of everything and people can take away from it what they want.  If someone needs Obama to condemn Wright's remarks, he does it. If someone needs Obama to defend Wright's life work, he does it.  If someone needs Obama to admit he knew about the remarks, he does it. If someone needs Obama to distance himself from the remarks, he does it.

    The Ferraro remark is a misstep IMHO; it will harden feelings against Obama in some quarters and it was unnecessary.

    The part that jumped out at me was when he took Wright and connected him first to himself, then to the black community, then to his family (in particular his white grandmother which is of course quite a clever choice of an example), and then to all Americans.

    That's the case for unity IMO and so now he's immunized against attack.  He is once again the post-racial candidate.  Disowning Wright is like disowning America. We are all part of the big American conversation.  

    I'm wondering how effective it will be?  Or will people think to themselves, 'This isn't how I am or how my family is, or how my church is.'  Will people connect or see a disconnect?

    Excellent reaction (none / 0) (#189)
    by andgarden on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 12:30:07 PM EST
    This speech was a real test of the efficacy of the Unity Shtick. We know it works on the media, but will it work on voters?

    Wright and Obama together (5.00 / 0) (#115)
    by waldenpond on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 12:09:33 PM EST
    It is now being proposed they should come out together to address the issue.

    Was Obama using the term 'bawdy humor' to refer to the mocking of the Clinton's, where a couple of people came up laughing and slapping the pastor on the back?

    I would prefer to see Wright and Ferraro (5.00 / 1) (#192)
    by MarkL on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 12:30:57 PM EST
    appear together for a friendly chat.

    By the way, I'm not really joking. (none / 0) (#206)
    by MarkL on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 12:35:37 PM EST
    Putting them together makes a lot of sense; furthermore, people will be able to make a judgment about who is a hateful racist when they are side by side. Maybe both? Maybe neither?

    and then we can continue (5.00 / 1) (#211)
    by A DC Wonk on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 12:37:06 PM EST
    the guilt-by-association game!

    On the other hand, I find guilt-by-association to be somewhat petty, and definitely tiresome.


    Hoping BTD will write a post about (5.00 / 1) (#141)
    by oculus on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 12:17:04 PM EST
    his take on the speech and how effective it was in quelling negative reactions to Obama/Wright connection.  

    Speech was good, but not enough (5.00 / 1) (#177)
    by Universal on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 12:26:11 PM EST
    Great work by you, Admin. Love this post!

    I just wrote a short new diary over at MyDD about how BHO's speech was good, but not enough:


    Please read it and recommend it if you like it. People need to see the reality here, not fall for empty rhetoric.

    Thanks! :)

    Sorry for the first line (none / 0) (#183)
    by Universal on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 12:28:02 PM EST
    I had put this message on another site, and forgot to omit the first line here, sorry about that.



    Obama talks the talk, but he never walks (5.00 / 1) (#188)
    by MarkL on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 12:30:04 PM EST
    the walk in this race.
    He's so understanding and accepting of his white grandmother, despite her racism, yet the slight---and I mean SLIGHTEST--hint of racism from any level of the Clinton campaign and his campaign gets out the elephant gun.
    Didn't his campaign actually call Ferraro's boss and ask that she be fired? The woman has terminal cancer, for god's sake.
    What I see in Obama is the ability to use race to his advantage in many different contexts.. but the ability to transcend race? This speech TALKED about it, which is good, but the damage has been done. He can't be believed.

    the more i see of Obaam (5.00 / 1) (#201)
    by CentristDemocrat on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 12:33:50 PM EST
    ... the more I see that he really is substanceless, it's almost funny that he really is just a combination of flowery prose and variegated 'inspiring' catch-phrases.

    looks our education system is more degenerate then we suspected if the "educated" peoples fall for this nonsense.

    It seems the only people who see this, (5.00 / 0) (#213)
    by oculus on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 12:37:53 PM EST
    though, are "low information voters."

    I'm wondering if Obama's reference today to how the poor quality of public schools attended by AAs is a barrier to AA success in life--is this related to a his wavering on school vouchers?


    As I mentioned earlier (5.00 / 1) (#218)
    by Bob In Pacifica on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 12:39:35 PM EST
    no Catholic I know supports child molestation. For that matter, there's plenty, maybe a majority of Catholics, who support a woman's reproductive rights.

    Anyway, if you haven't heard it, you should listen to the speech. The best speech on race that I've heard going back to Martin Luther King and the sixties.

    He's going to make a good President.

    isn't it true (5.00 / 1) (#219)
    by dem08 on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 12:39:38 PM EST
    that we have learned people hear what they want to hear?

    If one is a supporter of Hillary (and side issue: I wish she wouldn't officially go by her first name) or a supporter of Republicans, Pastor Wright is a godsend (God, capital, perhaps).

    Otherwise there are two issues: one which Jeralyn wrote about, Obama's Judgment; and two, Is Obama a person who shares Pastor Wright's harsh critique of America?

    Full Disclosure: I was a huge fan of Robert Kennedy (I am old). I have heroes with clay feet. This campaign has taught me to hate politics because people I admire seem awful to me and people I oppose, McCain and the Republicans, seem even worse.

    Jeralyn and Big Tent know I teach at a Catholic College (my e-mail address for Dem08). I love my faith. I disagree with that faith's position on homosexuality, I cannot imagine why God cares if people are homosexual, and Ordination, again, why would God deny women the power to consecrate the Host?

    But every Sunday, come to the 11:30 Mass at St. Jospeh's and you will find me there (on vacation, I look around and often go to Methodists Services); three times a year, or more, you will find me at some combination of Kairos, Emmaus, and/or The Men's Retreat; many times a day, you will find me praying for people I don't like as well as my company of love.

    This is a good wedge issue to drive Obama out of the race, and that is sad.

    Talk about his hypocrisy and judgment and I agree; talk about Pastor Wright ruling Obama out of The Public Square and I say judge and evaluate Obama by Obama.

    I am beginning to realize I don't have the stomach for American Politics. I won't say g-darn them, but I will say, the money and passion is wasted.

    Frankly0 (5.00 / 2) (#226)
    by tek on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 12:44:51 PM EST
    Intersting comment.  My husband got up and walked out of a Sunday morning sermon wherein the pastor of his longtime congregation began to diss gays.  Removing his membership from that church cost him vital family relationships, but he refused to return.  Little bit different from Obama's response.

    Yes and isn't it the root of the bias to (5.00 / 0) (#238)
    by Salt on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 01:39:34 PM EST
    Assume or accuses others of participating in the same hate the same bigotry.  And maybe he really doesn't understand that most churches don't tear down their followers into this hopelessness of fear and hate instead of goodness collectively and evils collectively without racial blame.  I'm not even sure I was taught to fear the devil.

    no right? (3.60 / 5) (#4)
    by A DC Wonk on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 11:35:31 AM EST
    He was saying not to dismiss Ferraro as a crank, which is what some have!

    Sheesh!  He was being conciliatory!

    Wrong (5.00 / 0) (#124)
    by Andy08 on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 12:12:47 PM EST
    he was saying : on the one hand we have Ferraro, while on the other we have Wright.
    As okay then we are even. That was preposterous.

    A cheap (none / 0) (#128)
    by Andy08 on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 12:13:22 PM EST
    attempt to water down Wright.

    Yes (none / 0) (#151)
    by chrisvee on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 12:19:55 PM EST
    I think it was part of the strategy to take what is perceived as 'his' problem (judgment issue re: relationship with Wright) and redefine it as 'our' problem (race relations in America). It seems to connect for me with the whole Wright-black community-grandmother-America progression elsewhere in the speech.

    Exactly chrisvee (none / 0) (#175)
    by Andy08 on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 12:25:35 PM EST
    you nail it, in a nutshell -- and better than I :-)

    Truth in Senator Obama's Words (3.50 / 2) (#68)
    by TalkRight on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 11:55:31 AM EST
    Did I ever hear him make remarks that could be considered controversial while I sat in church? Yes.

    -- But he said otherwise while on various cable media just over the weekend.

    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 just over the weekend he said, "had I heard this before, I would have quit" !!

    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.

    -- Justifies Rev Wright.. but no such words for Ferraro..

    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.

    -- faults the controversy to our union.

    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.

    -- but it is he and his campaign that is pouncing on Hillary's so called gaffe.

    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.

    -- Makes case for vote for Obama !

    it is his (5.00 / 4) (#79)
    by americanincanada on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 11:57:44 AM EST
    bringing Hillary into that speech that offends me the most. There was no point in that, not if he really wants to move past all this.

    His campaign is the one who jumps on every little thing she or her supporters say and cry "racism". I didn't see him admitting that.


    There it (5.00 / 3) (#99)
    by Andy08 on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 12:04:01 PM EST
    lies what is so cynical and calculation about these
    planned event. It was a very cheap shot at Clinton and Ferraro that had no place in  his attempt to explain his 20 years relationship with his mentor and pasto Jeremiah Wright.

    Meant (none / 0) (#101)
    by Andy08 on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 12:04:33 PM EST
    "this" planned event (speech)

    Expectations.......... (5.00 / 0) (#86)
    by TalkRight on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 12:00:13 PM EST
    His speech sets the expectation from the nation... does he tell what to expect from HIM????

    A new low for Obama (2.67 / 3) (#1)
    by learningcurve on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 11:32:56 AM EST
    He had no right to mention Ferraro.

    Learning Curve (none / 0) (#21)
    by Jeralyn on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 11:40:52 AM EST
    you seem to be new here. I have had to delete several of your comments as being personal attacks on Barack Obama. Civility is paramount here. Do not engage in name-calling or character attacks.

    OK, (none / 0) (#42)
    by learningcurve on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 11:47:25 AM EST
    But when did I do that?

    IRRC, I was called a troll after accidentally posting twice. My comment was the mainstream pro-Hillary take on the speech, repeated without commentary.


    You were not posting it as a quote (none / 0) (#62)
    by JoeA on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 11:53:16 AM EST
    but as your own statement.

    You made several bizarre posts in the last thread,  one of which I was trying to reply to, to ask if you were joking, when Jeralyn presumably deleted it as I couldnt post my reply.


    CNN scums to Obama's Axelrod's pressure (2.00 / 1) (#142)
    by TalkRight on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 12:17:05 PM EST
    CNN Headline:
    Obama: Constitution stained by 'sin of slavery'
    After protest from Axelrod, the changed it to
    Obama: We can move beyond racial wounds.

    How funny...

    This is a little like (5.00 / 1) (#154)
    by Anne on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 12:20:06 PM EST
    the person who started the fire wanting credit for showing up with a fire truck and a hose.

    why is that scum? (none / 0) (#158)
    by A DC Wonk on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 12:21:17 PM EST
    The original headline was quite misleading.  CNN was correct to change it.

    In fact, if you actually read the speech, a great deal of it was, precisely, about "We can move beyond racial wounds."


    that is not the point (5.00 / 1) (#169)
    by TalkRight on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 12:24:12 PM EST
    You may not think it to be appropriate but CNN thought it... the point is who the Axelrod and company are manipulating the media... so much for the independence of the media..

    pffft (none / 0) (#176)
    by waldenpond on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 12:25:41 PM EST
    Sheesh... I thought he wrote the speech.  I thought he had slavery in the speech though?  I'll have to go read it again.

    I don't know Wright (2.00 / 1) (#224)
    by zyx on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 12:42:49 PM EST
    so I don't know about "the content of his character".  But I have seen his angry, divisive words delivered to a congregation as a message of ministry.

    This may be, politically, just fine--or even advantageous--for a guy in Chicago or even Illinois politics.  It isn't fine for a guy running for national office.  Sorry.  At this point we're not talking about the kind of "character" that you mean when referring to Wright.

    Obama is an excellent deliverer of the (none / 0) (#6)
    by oculus on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 11:36:14 AM EST
    words carefully crafted by him and his skilled speech writers.  And the news media is lauding the speech, as is Jesse Jackson.  Mission accomplished.  

    actually (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by A DC Wonk on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 11:37:52 AM EST
    Marc Abminder just wrote:
    This wasn't a speech by committee... Obama wrote the speech himself, working on it for two days and nights.... and showed it to only a few of his top advisers.

    Why do I have to believe it? (5.00 / 2) (#27)
    by Stellaaa on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 11:42:23 AM EST
    you don't have to (5.00 / 1) (#32)
    by A DC Wonk on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 11:44:31 AM EST
    but I don't see any evidence to disbelieve it

    Are we really all that cynical?  Is it really true that Obama can't do a single thing that can meet with the slightest amount of approval here?


    Cynical? (5.00 / 2) (#54)
    by Stellaaa on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 11:51:01 AM EST
    No, I call it judgement.  I don't believe 90% of what politicians say and particularly when they are trying to get elected.  

    Obama is a story.  A well controlled story.  Part of the story is that he is the writer of his story.   The story got away from the story handlers.  They are trying to very carefully bring it back under control.  Obama started writing his story early on, the early biographies.  He cannot afford to have the story line taken away.  

    Most stories are written after someone has done something, Obama has always been in the process of writing his story.  The speech was tidying up of the pieces that got a bit messy, a sort of middle of the play re-write.  The writers are a committee of handlers with Axelrod as the lead and a team that was put together.  

    If he is elected president it will get scary, cause no one has the story line for what happens then.  He will have to improvise and he is not good at that.  


    Yes, yes, yes! (5.00 / 1) (#110)
    by Anne on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 12:07:21 PM EST
    The sad thing is that there aren't a lot of people who can see that, even if it seems so obvious to us.

    I said on the last thread that I still have no idea who Obama really is - he keeps reinventing himself to the point where I no longer hear authenticity when he speaks.  I think that the Wright clips, though, give people the opportunity to wonder a little themselves - whether they will be convinced that he means what he says, or can live it in his campaign, remains to be seen, but could be a tipping point for some people - if nothing changes, a lot of them will be convinced that the Obama who has had a 20-year relationship with Rev. Wright is the "real" Obama and will not vote for him.

    For myself, I do not expect this speech to mark the end of the stranglehold he has on all issues that are race-related, and as long as no one else feels they can speak on the subject, there will be no healing or unity or change.  

    As an aside, I'm also pretty sick of all the free air time he gets when he makes these speeches - where were the breathless and googly-eyed media when Clinton was giving a major speech on Iraq?  


    Agree (5.00 / 2) (#156)
    by Andy08 on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 12:20:38 PM EST
    100% with your post. Well said. I just asked the same question; there was a  speech on Iraq yesterday that was fundamental important for this country.

    Today, we had damage control for a 20 years relationship of Obama with Wright. Obama speech about race would have been nice if it was unrelate dto Wright and had his campaign not yelled "racist" every time anyone try to talk honestly about the issues: like Clinton's speech at the MLK memorial, when she spoke about the "understood partnership" that LBJ and MLK had (of public vs. legislative). The Obama campaign made a horrendous mess out of that.

    Personnaly, I cared much more about what will happen with Iraq than about Obama's explanations of his relationship with Wright.


    PS-- (none / 0) (#161)
    by Andy08 on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 12:22:33 PM EST
    Obama's 20 years relationship with Wright and Wright's sermons are what they are; and people
    will judge them for what they really are; regardless of a speech. 20 years of your life speak louder than
    (how many) words in a speech.

    Yes (5.00 / 1) (#71)
    by Deconstructionist on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 11:55:37 AM EST
    and yes.

    You don't have to believe (none / 0) (#33)
    by Arbitrarity on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 11:44:50 AM EST
    Anything that you don't want.  

    But it's there.


    Because Obama Said So (none / 0) (#37)
    by MO Blue on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 11:45:08 AM EST
    and we all know that Obama has never had to back track on anything he has ever said.

    FOX headline (5.00 / 0) (#17)
    by Capt Howdy on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 11:39:23 AM EST
    Obama Condemns Pastor's `Incendiary Language' But Explains and Defends Continued Relationship

    they will not be dropping this story.
    others will follow where the audience is.
    whatever they say now.


    That headline's accurate though (none / 0) (#65)
    by magster on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 11:54:54 AM EST
    I just hope people dig deeper to hear the explanation.

    Ambinder. (none / 0) (#12)
    by Arbitrarity on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 11:38:06 AM EST
    Media loves it... (none / 0) (#9)
    by TalkRight on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 11:37:49 AM EST
    Obama blows away the chattering class with Philadelphia speech.

    Delivers historic remarks on race in address that was wide-ranging, personal, and (at times) passionate.

    Widespread praise from anchors/pundits/reporters for sweeping remarks drawing on American history and his own biracial upbringing to explain struggle of race in the country.

    Suggests his campaign can help unify a long-divided nation.

    No, not really. (5.00 / 2) (#36)
    by Fabian on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 11:45:02 AM EST
    Obama did at least one thing right.

    He pointed out that economic troubles create resentment.

    There's only one little problem.  We have a whole boatload of "economic troubles" coming right at us.

    What is he planning on doing about that?

    I thought he was clever to work that into his speech, because it is true.  But if economic troubles are the real problem, then the answer is more than healing racial divisions - the answer is to solve the economic troubles for everybody.



    If it's such a hit with (5.00 / 1) (#220)
    by Warren Terrer on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 12:40:21 PM EST
    the media, I wonder if he'll be able to recycle the speech if he ever feels the need regarding Tony Rezko?

    I can just hear it now: "I can no more disown Tony Rezko than my own grandmother, who occasionally engaged in shady real estate deals that made me cringe".


    At the old message board (none / 0) (#15)
    by zyx on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 11:38:48 AM EST
    where the pro-Obama guys drove me away (I still peek and read), they don't talk about Wright at all.

    No comment.

    It's like there's a blackout there.  But they did have a lot to say about Ferraro.

    like CNN and the NYTimes (none / 0) (#22)
    by Capt Howdy on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 11:41:08 AM EST
    like I said.  they did not start this story and they will not end it.

    Jeralyn, have you seen this? (none / 0) (#39)
    by diplomatic on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 11:45:38 AM EST
    All points of view are welcome here (5.00 / 2) (#80)
    by Jeralyn on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 11:58:05 AM EST
    We already have several pro-Obama commenters.

    At least the diary reminds them to be civil and not insult and to be factual.

    No one should refer to these sites insultingly, but rather should work to counter incorrect assumptions wherever they lie.

    I suspect those who come over for that purpose won't follow this site's rules of civility, no profanity, name-calling or personal attacks and no shilling for  a candidate, and they'll be gone quickly. Those that want to engage in substantive discussion are welcome.


    You say not to be insulting (none / 0) (#96)
    by A DC Wonk on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 12:02:43 PM EST
    and then say: "I suspect those who come over for that purpose won't follow this site's rules of civility"

    Yea we have a good mix here (none / 0) (#114)
    by diplomatic on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 12:08:47 PM EST
    They're just bored having no one to argue with at big Orange, me thinks.

    on my goodness! (none / 0) (#46)
    by A DC Wonk on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 11:48:40 AM EST
    So, in response to the intentional unilateral silence of Clinton bloggers, the appropriate response should not be more hatred and isolation - it should be love, and embrace!

    My goodness!  How absolutely awful!  What a terrible conspiracy plot!!


    I thought it was funny (none / 0) (#63)
    by diplomatic on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 11:53:46 AM EST
    and a sign of how far the blogs have jumped the shark.

    It depends on the purpose. (none / 0) (#66)
    by Fabian on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 11:55:26 AM EST
    If they want to have an honest dialogue, fine.
    If they want to carpet bomb other blogs with gushy, uncritical prose - no thanks.  I've had enough of the "Hope! Unity!" types, thank you very much.

    As I said at DKos...it was just a speech... (none / 0) (#51)
    by citizen53 on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 11:49:48 AM EST
    and it will change nothing because the reality is that Americans are too lazy to address the matter.

    Obama said this:

          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.

    And there is the rub.  Where is the risk?  I do not see it here, among the faithful.  It's like the way we fight a war, without sacrifice.  It's like almost everything we do in America.  We want it without sacrifice.

    I don't see things changing until people actually take to the streets and are willing to sacrifice for this cause of what causes the division in real terms.  We cannot just pretend, from the comfort of our computers, that a speech will get us to equality and beyond the promise of our ideals and the reality of the time.

    Sadly, in most regards, we are moving in the wrong direction, despite this feel good moment in time.

    do we all have to take to the streets? (5.00 / 1) (#67)
    by A DC Wonk on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 11:55:29 AM EST
    Perhaps all we need to do is get off our duff and vote -- vote at the voting booth for progressive candidates, vote with our pocketbooks in not supporting things we don't want, vote with our actions, and so forth.

    You believe that "Americans are too lazy to address the matter."

    Obama is betting that Americans are better than that.  If he's wrong, he'll lose.  Nothing ventured, nothing gained.  I hope, however, he is right, and that Americans can shake of their cynicism that we can't change anything.


    Voting does little... (none / 0) (#106)
    by citizen53 on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 12:05:54 PM EST
    in truth.  It's sacrifice that matters.

    The real leaders, sadly, often gave their blood and sweat and tears.  Some gave their lives.  They did not pontificate on the computer.


    Forgot (none / 0) (#57)
    by Andy08 on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 11:51:32 AM EST
    that TV loves public "mea-culpas".

    More like (5.00 / 1) (#70)
    by americanincanada on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 11:55:35 AM EST
    tv loves Obama.

    Yep (5.00 / 1) (#84)
    by Andy08 on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 11:59:59 AM EST
    that too...

    That's exactly what I thought (none / 0) (#69)
    by hitchhiker on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 11:55:32 AM EST
    When I disagree with my pastor, it's about things like choice of hymns, style of prayer, temperature in the sanctuary . . . I think white Americans are asking themselves if this kind of stuff is common in AA churches.

    And I'm UCC, by the way.  It's a slightly left, usually upscale denomination in which every individual congregation has full authority to hire, discipline, and fire its own clergy & staff.

    Barack was a player in this church, as evidenced by his close friendship with the senior pastor and his very large $$ contributions to its funding.  He approved of Wright's message, is what I take from that.  That's how it works.

    Don't know how that fits with the speech today, but this stuff about an "uncle" is hogwash.  

    I disagreed with my church... (5.00 / 1) (#172)
    by Maria Garcia on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 12:24:55 PM EST
    ...about female clergy and choice...so I left it.

    Judgement (none / 0) (#73)
    by Stellaaa on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 11:56:12 AM EST
    Any mention of judgement?  Hmm.  I thought if he had it, this would be a slam dunk.  

    Comment by Flyerhawk (none / 0) (#92)
    by Jeralyn on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 12:01:17 PM EST
    deleted for saying readers here aren't "even briefly" discussing what Obama said in the speech. That's false and an insult.  It also contained race-bating.

    Believe what you want. (none / 0) (#100)
    by flyerhawk on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 12:04:16 PM EST
    I have no idea how you think I was race-baiting.  How bout you look about 5 posts up for EXACTLY the accusation I was referencing?  Or if you were referring to my Liberal comment that had NOTHING to do with race.

    The speech is about race-relations in America.  Discussing race, sometimes in ugly terms, in unavoidable.  


    Somehow I think (none / 0) (#152)
    by Edgar08 on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 12:19:56 PM EST
    Some get to be uglier than others when it comes to this discussion.

    DemBill's comment was deleted (none / 0) (#95)
    by Jeralyn on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 12:02:28 PM EST
    for calling Rev. Wright an unacceptable name.

    Read the comment rules please, all of you.

    reality calling... (none / 0) (#180)
    by smott on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 12:27:56 PM EST
    Rev Wright's character is beside the point. The point is how the majority of voters needed by BO are going to react to an endless stream of GOP 527s wherein we get to hear Obama's Crazy Uncle ranting about God damn America.

    Check out the YouTube link I posted earlier.

    Obama and Wright together (none / 0) (#190)
    by waldenpond on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 12:30:32 PM EST
    Now... here is one more, Wright needs to come out and say how Obama has changed his heart.  That would not be considered phony.

    Would not be considered phony? Surely you jest (5.00 / 0) (#222)
    by ruffian on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 12:41:41 PM EST
    That would be considered about as sincere as his perfectly timed retirement.

    Nice (none / 0) (#204)
    by JJE on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 12:34:32 PM EST
    I haven't seen a Godwin's law violation in a while.

    I know (none / 0) (#215)
    by waldenpond on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 12:38:53 PM EST
    that.  I thought the poster was referring to the most inflammatory statements.  I understand he was inconsistent and I stated before that I felt he was trying to get out in front of more tapes coming out showing he was present for less controversial statement (but ones that would make some people uncomfortable.)

    For Obama it is a new idea (none / 0) (#216)
    by ding7777 on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 12:39:11 PM EST
    because wasn't too "invested in the 60's

    Comments Now Closing (none / 0) (#223)
    by Jeralyn on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 12:41:58 PM EST
    More than 600 comments on our three threads and more than 200 here. Thanks for your thoughts, this topic is ending for now.

    No This Is About A Speech (none / 0) (#227)
    by squeaky on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 12:45:31 PM EST
    Not Obama's record. This is about a speech that, imo, is meant to invite discussion about race in America. And reconciliation starts with individuals, so my question is hardly a cheap shot.

    Most of us have not sat around in a group of  AA's and Whites to discuss what it is like to be living in a racist country. Obama is to be applauded for opening that door.

    Once Again, comments closed here (none / 0) (#235)
    by Jeralyn on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 01:02:49 PM EST
    Thanks to all. I've semi-cleaned the thread of race-baiting insults and name-calling, and in one case a false accusation of what Obama said.

    Over 200 comments (none / 0) (#236)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 01:06:55 PM EST
    in 90 minutes.

    That must be a record!

    Grandma got run over.... (none / 0) (#239)
    by Stellaaa on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 08:12:01 PM EST
    cannot help it, all day I have been hearing this old song in my head....Grandma got run over by some reindeer