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Reverend Wright redux…Obama goes for the thermonuclear option… April 30, 2008

Posted by WorldbyStorm in United States.

With friends like this Obama can hardly wish any new enemies, for as CL notes “Wright thrown under bus: is Obama finished?” and in the Irish Times we read that:

Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama denounced his former pastor in his strongest language to date today, saying he was outraged by Reverend Jeremiah Wright’s assertions about the US government and race.

“His comments were not only divisive … but I believe that they end up giving comfort to those who prey on hate,” Mr Obama told reporters.

And lest the good reverend think that there is wriggle room in that for their continued friendship…well, best not to count on it…

“Whatever relationship I had with Reverend Wright has changed as a consequence of this,” Mr Obama said.

And all this on foot of Wright attempting to get out of the hole he had been inadvertently dug into by the dynamics of the US Presidential nomination campaign, by recourse to… er… further digging.

So it was that he suggested that:

…the US government as imperialist and stood by his suggestion that the United States invented the HIV virus as a means of genocide against minorities.

“Based on this Tuskegee experiment and based on what has happened to Africans in this country, I believe our government is capable of doing anything,” he said.

Now this is impolitic stuff, to be sure and as also reported, it is potentially worse for the Senator, for Wright decided to do a bit of looking into, well, not his own heart but that of Obama and came out with…

“If Senator Obama did not say what he said, he would never get elected,” Rev Wright said. “Politicians say what they say and do what they do based on electability, based on sound bites, based on polls.”

Now, whatever one thinks of the these matters, this is supremely odd as statements go during election campaigns. Odd, to the point of destructive of his supposed friends campaign. Which makes one wonder why these sentences were uttered. Is this the cuing up of a sort of sub-Kinnock Militant moment where Obama can shine as he slays a dragon? The danger is that this sort of talk is uncontainable, that it feeds into a discourse of ‘we always knew that’s what he believed, how he felt, etc’…

Certainly Obama’s response has been sharp and rapid, damage limitation at its best (but perhaps most ineffective):

“What became clear to me is that he was presenting a world view that contradicts who I am and what I stand for,” Mr Obama said. “And what I think particularly angered me was his suggestion somehow that my previous denunciation of his remarks were somehow political posturing. Anybody who knows me and anybody who knows what I’m about knows that I am about trying to bridge gaps and I see the commonality in all people.”

Ouch. I think Reverend Wright should forget about Christmas cards this year.


1. Ed Hayes - April 30, 2008
2. Starkadder - April 30, 2008

Strikes me he should have done this as soon as the scandal
broke. You can’t afford any liabilities in running for the
President of the USA.


3. Eagle - April 30, 2008

Is this the cuing up of a sort of sub-Kinnock Militant moment where Obama can shine as he slays a dragon?

I was thinking something similar. And, as you say, this sort of thing can easily get beyond manageable. I also think that you’d have to be pretty soft in the head to somehow believe that what Wright has said recently is any more shocking than what he’s said in the past, even in Obama’s presence. The question inevitably is, why now is he so offended?


4. WorldbyStorm - April 30, 2008

Reading all the details, it’s not so much that Obama threw Wright under the bus, more like Wright threw himself… So, that begs the question Eagle is this very very calculated then? I’d agree incidentally Starkadder… the time to have done this was months ago. On the other hand, it might give some political cover to him just when he needs it most by making the statements of him retreating from Wright get airplay again and again and again. Problem is I don’t get US TV so I don’t know if that is the prevailing dynamic or is it Wrights comments? Anyone know?


5. Eagle - April 30, 2008

The NY Post says Wright’s out to do Obama down because he feels Obama has betrayed him. Hmm. I can’t come up with any other possible explanation because Wright must have known that his remarks were going to damage Obama.


6. slw - April 30, 2008

right…. that’s why Obama sat in Wright’s congregation & listened to his messages for 20 years. but now he’s running for President, therefore his views have suddenly changed? come on.


7. Hugh Green - April 30, 2008

I think you are being far too optimistic about Obama’s chances of being a decent president, slw.


8. ejh - April 30, 2008

Problem is I don’t get US TV

Very rarely considered a problem, that.


9. James McNaught - April 30, 2008

Sad to say Obama chances of being elected President, assuming he is the Democratic nominee, have slipped slided away not so much because of Wright, but because Obama associated with Wright in the first place. However, if Clinton is the nominee and Obama agrees to be the Vice-Presidental candidate, the Democrats would win in November. Otherwise, McCain will be elected President and the USA will become even more divided than it is today.


10. Eagle - April 30, 2008

Otherwise, McCain will be elected President and the USA will become even more divided than it is today.

In what way?


11. Sal - May 3, 2008

Obama has 20 years of explaining to do.

Obama validated Rev Wright’s bigotry, hate-mongering, seditious racist lies as a Sitting US Senator by remianing as a member of that Anti-American “church”.

Not only did he validate the that man and his Ant-Americanism and declare him his “Spiritual Advsor” but allowd his 6 and 9 year old daughters to sit in the pew and be exposed to that filth snd language! Cursing from the pulpit!

That’s good sound, ,moral and ethical “judgemnet”?

Anyone hearing that filth would leave and he is a sitting US SENATOR and he stayed validating the same by his presence now suddenly it’s not convenient? What hypocrisy!

You decide … I already have.


12. WorldbyStorm - May 3, 2008

Clearly you have Sal. I wonder though if context is also important… in the US the influence of preachers who say remarkably hateful things is considerable and far from restricted to Obama or the Democrats. Indeed, for a state which prides itself on separation of church and state the linkages are – on the personal level – fascinating.

Incidentally, I think it’s also possible to hear something, and disagree entirely with it, and yet remain on good and courteous terms with people. Friendships and suchlike build up across unlikely lines, people change and develop and yet don’t want to offload others, lifes pretty complex…


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