Thoughts on the Obama Speech

Watching Barack Obama's speech and reading through the prepared text, I came away with a decidedly different view than Jerome. Far from this speech marking "a new low" in the campaign as a result of Obama's mention of Geraldine Ferraro in passing during his renunciation of the inflammatory and plain wrong remarks of Jeremiah Wright, I saw this as a clear attempt to move beyond the tit-for-tat and come to a real understanding. The speech truly fit in with the overall belief driving the Obama campaign -- that in the end, we are all not so different, and we can still come together as Americans to form a more perfect country.

The real comparison Obama made here was not between Wright and Ferraro, although he did mention her a single time to dismiss the notion that she "[harbors] some deep-seated racial bias." The much more important juxtaposition in this speech was between Wright at Obama's own white grandmother, who loved Obama "as much as she loves anything else in this world" but "who on more than one occasion has uttered racial or ethnic stereotypes that made [him] cringe." This is not to say that Obama believes his grandmother's statements were as divisive as those of Wright, or that they were otherwise on the same level. What is is to say, however, is that race is still an issue in this country.

Some might, and unfortunately do still use race in a divisive manner. This is a reality we cannot ignore. But just as some will use these issues to divide, there also lies within them the capacity to unite. When Obama points to the words spoken by Wright or his grandmother, he does so to illustrate that the sometimes external debates and conflicts in our society also occur as internal struggles in many Americans, including himself. And just as there may be a drive for individuals to take polarizing positions, so too is there room for people to come together.

This, fundamentally, is what the Obama campaign -- and indeed Barack Obama's political life, at least since his speech in 2004 and probably even earlier -- has been about: The hope of bringing people together. Yes, this is a hope. We are not there yet. But is is something noble to strive for. Obama said today, "This union may never be perfect, but generation after generation has shown that it can always be perfected." We may never completely get there. But that does not mean that we should not strive to be the shining city on the hill. And indeed that hope, that struggle, that effort is what America is about.

Great speech.

Update [2008-3-18 12:22:39 by Jonathan Singer]: You can watch the whole speech here in case you missed it.

Tags: America, Barack Obama, race (all tags)

Comments

178 Comments

Thanks for the reality check, Jonathan...

I sometimes wonder what rabbit hole I've fallen down around here sometimes...

by Vermonter 2008-03-18 08:08AM | 0 recs
Re: Thanks for the reality check, Jonathan...

I agree.  - But still you have to admit that whats really going on smacks of desperation.

I have a black female minister in my church. And she's made statements i disagree with . She's kind of a hippie.

I mean, we spent last sunday waving palm fronds?
WTF?

But I have in contact with my life - a person who cuts my hair, a postman, a minister, a next door neighbor, a best friend.

The best friend is bugfuck nuts. I love him to death.

Quote from anyone? Why not. Obama didn't say what Wright said. And he doesn't tend to say what
wright says.

Who cares what wright says?
Seriously this whole thing smacks of campaign
desperation - a last ditch attempt to smear obama.

So. I take it in stride. I have thick skin

by Trey Rentz 2008-03-18 08:13AM | 0 recs
Re: Thanks for the reality check, Jonathan...

1.  The Wright stuff does not come from the Clinton campaign.  You implied that it does, and that's just wrong.  The Wright stuff comes from Republicans, and if you can't see that, you need to take your blinders off.  They're the true enemies.

2.  Do you, er, honestly not know why people "wave palms around" on Palm Sunday?  Out of curiosity?

by mgee 2008-03-18 08:40AM | 0 recs
The wright stuff comes from wright

Jeremiah Wright said and did repugnant things. The wright stuff comes from wright. he said it, why should it be secret. Obama calls him his mentor. And he is a big homophobe.

http://www.advocate.com/exclusive_detail _ektid44651.asp

by maxstar 2008-03-18 08:46AM | 0 recs
Re: The wright stuff comes from wright

Wow...  he's a racist AND a homophobe...???

Certainly explains why he took the African American community to task, while in a black church in Atlanta, for homophobia within that community...

Geez Louise people...  This place is going to look interesting if Obama gets the Democratic nomination..

by JenKinFLA 2008-03-18 08:53AM | 0 recs
Re: Thanks for the reality check, Jonathan...

Agree (and I'm an Obama supporter). This doesn't come from the Clinton campaign.

And, more importantly, it's true. This isn't trivia such as Rezko, or made-up falsehoods like NAFTAgate.

But Obama's response is just as true, and very powerful. The speech was a home-run.

Blaming Clinton for this is wrong, and honestly, at this point blaming the right-wingers is also wrong. This isn't made-up swiftboating. It's real. It happened.

Obama has a very powerful defense of it, and a more powerful still defense of his own values. This is an electoral non-issue; I suspect that the speech today has transformed it into an electoral bonus for him.

by Texas Gray Wolf 2008-03-18 08:52AM | 0 recs
Re: Thanks for the reality check, Jonathan...

I haven't seen the speech, and have read excerpts, otherwise skimming it.  I agree, it's a great, powerful speech, but I don't think it's reasonable - today - to declare that the speech today made Wright a non-issue, or even a "electoral bonus" for him.  We don't know that.  We just have to wait and see.  

by mgee 2008-03-18 09:01AM | 0 recs
Re: Thanks for the reality check, Jonathan...

Obviously those were my opinions, and I was clear that I'm not completely convinced it's a bonus. I think it will be, though. It gave him a chance to appear very much the President we want him to be (we being more than just Obama supporters, but clearly not encompassing Hillary supporters, at least not yet).

I do think Wright is very close to a non-issue. Yes, it will cost him some low-information voters, and yes, it'll cost him the Democrats-hate-America vote.

I think he's reframed it in a way that makes it extremely different to swiftboat him on this issue, and the media coverage of the speech seems to be slamming the door, as we speak.

by Texas Gray Wolf 2008-03-18 09:44AM | 0 recs
A good speech

I agree, I have a really hard time seeing how this speech is divisive as some have tried to say. I think that this was a truly honest discussion of race. I thought it was very well handled.

by Obama08 2008-03-18 08:08AM | 0 recs
Did he say anything about economics-based

affirmative action?

We need a new kind of affirmative action (perhaps in addition to whatever we have now) that gives people from single parent families, people from poor and middle class backgrounds OF ALL RACES AND NATIONALITIES help in going to and getting into college. Even if it means spending a LOT of money on all low-functioning schools, to bring them higher. (That needs to be Federal money, NOT an unfunded mandate.)

Sort of like what Martin Luther King wanted.. he was against quotas..

The kind of affirmative action we have now was dreamed up by Nixon as a way of dividing the working poor coalition.

If Obama came out in support of an idea like MLKs, he would get attention in a good way..

by architek 2008-03-18 08:16AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama ain't MLK

Unfortunately, Obama didn't.

by KnowVox 2008-03-18 08:17AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama ain't MLK

That's.... a really absurdly high bar you are setting there, friend.

Why does he HAVE to be MLK? Because all black leaders have to be MLK to be great?

Well, HRC is no Joan of Arc. See? I can say retarded things too...

by Darknesse 2008-03-18 11:31AM | 0 recs
Re: Did he say anything about economics-based

Yes, he did mention that.  I can't remember his exact words but it was something about the welfare system perpetuating the problems.  Didn't go into detail, was in leading up to why we need to look at the real culprits and stop blaming each other for the problems in America.  Well done.

by GFORD 2008-03-18 08:46AM | 0 recs
Re: A Very Poor Speech

That Wright stands as a contradiction to everything Obama has stood for in the primary season is why Obama is giving this speech today.

This is a first step on a long road for Senator Obama. It's the beginning of a challenge for him, not the ending.

But in the end, one question still may remain no matter what Senator Obama says today: Will the voters forgive Senator Obama for remaining so close with someone who so obviously is preaching a message of division on one of the most contentious issues in American politics? One speech won't be enough to answer that question, or make people trust Senator Obama with the biggest job in the world.

Excellent analysis from TaylorMarsh.com

by KnowVox 2008-03-18 08:16AM | 0 recs
Wright stands as a contradiction

No he doesn't...the Wright clip jobs stand as a contradiction but those don't define the man (unless you're only interested in swiftboating Obama).

Obama pulled what was good about Wright and his church (Black pride, social activism, community responsibility) which far outweighed his flaws.  

by JoeCoaster 2008-03-18 08:31AM | 0 recs
Re: Wright stands as a contradiction

And being the magnanamous person he is, failed to do the same with Ferarro.

Sorry, but it's hard to hear Obama's words when his actions speak so loudly. He maintained a close relationship with Rev. Wright for 20 years. Even now, he still sings his praises. Yet, his campaign has slapped down others for much less offensive statements, and he continues in attack mode.

What is Obama doing to create a "more perfect union?" Nothing.

by KnowVox 2008-03-18 08:49AM | 0 recs
Re: Wright stands as a contradiction

"Sorry, but it's hard to hear Obama's words when his actions speak so loudly. He maintained a close relationship with Rev. Wright for 20 years. Even now, he still sings his praises. Yet, his campaign has slapped down others for much less offensive statements, and he continues in attack mode."

Yes, and it really galls me to hear all these Obama supporters defend Wright and insist that everyone should see him in context, as a whole human being, when they were so busy screaming "Racist!" at Geraldine Ferraro, who had a few sentences pulled completely out of context and completely distorted to sound like they were saying something they weren't, after a lifetime of her working for the civil rights of all. Her remarks were not at all what they were made out to be, only by lying about what she was saying could they be twisted into something that could smack of racism.

Wright's hate speech is outright racism, and drawing any equivalence between the two is spurious.

Context is extremely important, not just when your candidate stands to gain.

by 07rescue 2008-03-18 09:01AM | 0 recs
Not sure where you're getting that.

Obama said that we should understand where Ferraro is coming from and not jump on one comment to say that she's racist.

Obama is being far more generous to Ferraro than I have been, and it shames me a little.

by Dracomicron 2008-03-18 09:26AM | 0 recs
TRUST?

Taylor Marsh asking us of trust?  When was the last time the Clintons said anything without twisting, parsing or lying?  Please.  Trust?  I trust Obama 2000% over Clinton anyday.

by tracey webb 2008-03-18 08:42AM | 0 recs
Re: A Very Poor Speech

Taylor Marsh...???????

Seriously, talk about an echo-chamber...!

Obama could have given a speech that was a combination of the Declaration of Independence, the Preamble to the Constitution, AND the Gettysburg Address and Taylor Marsh would trash him for it!

Got any actual independent views?

by JenKinFLA 2008-03-18 08:56AM | 0 recs
Re: A Very Poor Speech

Silly me! I didn't get the memo that the only independent source of information is BarackObama.com!

by KnowVox 2008-03-18 11:35AM | 0 recs
A great speech

30 years from now students will study this speech.

by Lefty Coaster 2008-03-18 04:26PM | 0 recs
Does he have a backbone?

Let's not mince words.

Obama now admits he heard his pastor use divisive language, stuff that made him cringe, stuff that he totally disavowed in this campaign, and yet he:

allowed this man to marry him, baptize his children, titled his two books after him, contributed money to his church, appointed him to his presidential spiritual advising committee, etc...

Yes Barack, you don't get to choose your grandmother. And we all heard members of our family say things that are mean, even racist.

But we get to CHOOSE our pastor. And who you choose to associate with, for over 20 years, demonstrates what supreme LACK OF JUDGMENT you have.

by njsketch 2008-03-18 08:10AM | 0 recs
hello there.

Let me ask? do you have any republican friends?

by kindthoughts 2008-03-18 08:11AM | 0 recs
Re: hello there.

no kidding. Republicans get into church and... ok.. I swear I am not making this up I have seen one republican church (it really was a republican church) pray their thanks for having a god fearing president in the white house.

The sermons are sometimes taken word for word from the republican talking points memorandum.
the GOP can't play this game in the general election or the dems will blow them out of the water. The republicans are way worse than this.

by Trey Rentz 2008-03-18 08:15AM | 0 recs
which is why I do not

see wright issues overflowing redstate.com

They do nto know what to do with it. They can nto start denouncing pastors because it opens the door to repub pastors beign denounced.

by kindthoughts 2008-03-18 08:47AM | 0 recs
Re: which is why I do not

Good point. Lots of us have pastors that say nutty things on occasion.  A church is more than just a pastor, it is a community.  You don't just quit because you disagree with pastor's politics. Well, you can, but politics isn't the reason you go to church, community is.  So you abandon the community because you don't like the pastor's politics? That is dishonorable in my opinion.

I am torn.  I don't think it was a great speech but I don't think he should have to abandon Trinity just to prove he doesn't subscribe to Wright's strident views.

I think the way to do it properly is to specifically denounce the individual claims Wright made about Mandela, Israel, AIDS, Hiroshima, etc.  

by dMarx 2008-03-18 03:53PM | 0 recs
Re: Does he have a backbone?

Obama answers the question of why he chose that church, that pastor in his speech.  You must have missed that part.

by GFORD 2008-03-18 08:14AM | 0 recs
Re: Does he have a backbone?

Unfortauntely, he really didn't answer the question -- and it will be one that folks continue to ask throughout this primary season.

by KnowVox 2008-03-18 08:19AM | 0 recs
Re: Does he have a backbone?

Yes, he did answer the question.  See comment below with the clip from text of his speech he asks and answers that very question.

by GFORD 2008-03-18 08:23AM | 0 recs
Re: Does he have a backbone?

No, he doesn't answer the question about why he idly stood by and did absolutely nothing while these racist, hate-filled comments were made by his own pastor.

by KnowVox 2008-03-18 11:37AM | 0 recs
You didn't really listen to the speech did you?

by Obamagirl2327 2008-03-18 08:27AM | 0 recs
You always have an excuse for Obama, don't you?

by KnowVox 2008-03-18 11:39AM | 0 recs
Re: Does he have a backbone?

Hell, my dad and my Rabbi got into a shouting match over a speech about Palestinians he gave DURING MY BAR MITZVAH.

Totally was the best part of the Bar Mitzvah.

Often times, I would think the rabbi didn't agree with his own points, but sometimes heavy things need to be thrown out there to get people to think, evaluate and understand their faith.

Hopefully America will understand the difference more than some of the posters here...

by Lettuce 2008-03-18 08:17AM | 0 recs
Right on.

Because as soon as someone we know says something we think is stupid or ignorant, they are gone from our lives. Never mind whether or not the rest of their lives are devoted to the worthiest of causes, once they put a foot over the line they are dead to us.

We certainly don't have an honest disagreement with them on those points but accept that the balance of their lives makes them worthwhile human beings we should continue to associate with. That's just crazy talk.

Yeesh.

by Purplepeople 2008-03-18 08:18AM | 0 recs
Re: Right on.

If any of my friends ever said that they thought XYZ ethnical or religious group was responsible for producing AIDS to kill black/gay people I think I would have to a. try to convince them otherwise and then b.  if they didn't see the error of their ways I would have to reconsider whether or not I wanted that type of person in my life.. around my children... etc.

by JustJennifer 2008-03-18 08:21AM | 0 recs
And you would make that decision...

... based on everything you knew about them and their lives, and hopefully not on a two-minute youtube clip.

by Purplepeople 2008-03-18 08:23AM | 0 recs
Re: And you would make that decision...

No.. if they made that kind of statement I would seriously reconsider the friendship.  Almost 17 years ago I had a half black child.  Some of my family members were rude enough to be outraged - told me "the races shouldn't mix".  You know what.. I have never spoken to those people again.

by JustJennifer 2008-03-18 08:36AM | 0 recs
Fair enough

I can't say that I wouldn't have done the same thing, and am certainly in no position to judge your decision.

Which is mostly the point I was trying to make above. Only you know the depths of your relationship with those family members, only you know where the line is past which you can no longer be associated with them. I know nothing about your relationship with your family, just as I know essentially nothing about Obama's relationship with his pastor. I know that I personally have gritted my teeth and held my tongue at some pretty offensive comments from friends and family because they are friends and family and I loved them despite the ignorant remark they just made. There are people in my life I would do that for and people I wouldn't and there are very few people who are in a position to second guess whatever choice I make.  

by Purplepeople 2008-03-18 09:16AM | 0 recs
Re: Fair enough

Well, since my family members were making comments that directly related to my own child I think there is some comparison that could be made here.  When Obama heard his minister talk about white people, those comments were made about some of Obama's own blood relations.  

by JustJennifer 2008-03-18 09:30AM | 0 recs
Re: Fair enough

But you have to add some context. If the family members that you were talking about had been seriously assaulted by african americans in the past, you might just give them a pass.

Honestly, that's how some African Americans (me included) think about America. It's like what Chris Rock said. It's like that uncle that paid your way through college.. but Molested you.

by Darknesse 2008-03-18 11:37AM | 0 recs
Quoting Obama:

Given my background, my politics, and my professed values and ideals, there will no doubt be those for whom my statements of condemnation are not enough. Why associate myself with Reverend Wright in the first place, they may ask? Why not join another church? And I confess that if all that I knew of Reverend Wright were the snippets of those sermons that have run in an endless loop on the television and You Tube, or if Trinity United Church of Christ conformed to the caricatures being peddled by some commentators, there is no doubt that I would react in much the same way

But the truth is, that isn't all that I know of the man. The man I met more than twenty years ago is a man who helped introduce me to my Christian faith, a man who spoke to me about our obligations to love one another; to care for the sick and lift up the poor. He is a man who served his country as a U.S. Marine; who has studied and lectured at some of the finest universities and seminaries in the country, and who for over thirty years led a church that serves the community by doing God's work here on Earth - by housing the homeless, ministering to the needy, providing day care services and scholarships and prison ministries, and reaching out to those suffering from HIV/AIDS.

In my first book, Dreams From My Father, I described the experience of my first service at Trinity:

"People began to shout, to rise from their seats and clap and cry out, a forceful wind carrying the reverend's voice up into the rafters....And in that single note - hope! - I heard something else; at the foot of that cross, inside the thousands of churches across the city, I imagined the stories of ordinary black people merging with the stories of David and Goliath, Moses and Pharaoh, the Christians in the lion's den, Ezekiel's field of dry bones. Those stories - of survival, and freedom, and hope - became our story, my story; the blood that had spilled was our blood, the tears our tears; until this black church, on this bright day, seemed once more a vessel carrying the story of a people into future generations and into a larger world. Our trials and triumphs became at once unique and universal, black and more than black; in chronicling our journey, the stories and songs gave us a means to reclaim memories that we didn't need to feel shame about...memories that all people might study and cherish - and with which we could start to rebuild."

That has been my experience at Trinity. Like other predominantly black churches across the country, Trinity embodies the black community in its entirety - the doctor and the welfare mom, the model student and the former gang-banger. Like other black churches, Trinity's services are full of raucous laughter and sometimes bawdy humor. They are full of dancing, clapping, screaming and shouting that may seem jarring to the untrained ear. The church contains in full the kindness and cruelty, the fierce intelligence and the shocking ignorance, the struggles and successes, the love and yes, the bitterness and bias that make up the black experience in America.

And this helps explain, perhaps, my relationship with Reverend Wright. As imperfect as he may be, he has been like family to me. He strengthened my faith, officiated my wedding, and baptized my children. Not once in my conversations with him have I heard him talk about any ethnic group in derogatory terms, or treat whites with whom he interacted with anything but courtesy and respect. He contains within him the contradictions - the good and the bad - of the community that he has served diligently for so many years.

I can no more disown him than I can disown the black community. I can no more disown him than I can my white grandmother - a woman who helped raise me, a woman who sacrificed again and again for me, a woman who loves me as much as she loves anything in this world, but a woman who once confessed her fear of black men who passed by her on the street, and who on more than one occasion has uttered racial or ethnic stereotypes that made me cringe.

These people are a part of me. And they are a part of America, this country that I love.

by Ramo 2008-03-18 08:20AM | 0 recs
Re: Take the cotton out of your ears.

Obviously your ears were closed by your political agenda.

You failed to hear one of the greatest moral teachings of our lifetime.  This speech will go down in history as a turning point in this campaign and in the history of race relations in this country.

Go back and listen to this speech with the political cotton out of your ears.  It is truly profound, in forty minutes he explained race relations in this country and called us all to do better. Will you answer the call?

by upper left 2008-03-18 08:21AM | 0 recs
Re: Does he have a backbone?

A major American politician in a close race for the Presidency goes out and tackles race head-on, and you wonder if he has a backbone?

Because it's just so easy to tackle race relations in this country?

Okay.

by Texas Gray Wolf 2008-03-18 08:57AM | 0 recs
Re: Does he have a backbone?

"Yes Barack, you don't get to choose your grandmother. And we all heard members of our family say things that are mean, even racist."

In my family, we threw out anyone who espoused racist sentiments. jokes, or whatever. Period. They didn't get to come back until, they apologized to all and promised they would never say or do anything racist again. Anywhere.

by 07rescue 2008-03-18 09:04AM | 0 recs
Re: Thoughts on the Obama Speech

This speech has become a Rorschach test for the MyDD community (as well as a reading comprehension test).  It reveals a great deal about the writers' psychologies.

by rfahey22 2008-03-18 08:11AM | 0 recs
Re: Thoughts on the Obama Speech

yeah. I hate the speech but love obama. I dont think race is such a big issue.

that said I am tired of the desperation coming from the clinton campaign. negative attack ads in Texas and she still lost by delegate count.

now clinton is trying to stop the delegate convention from taking place so she can avoid the publicity. woof!

so.

how is this a rorschach test? suppose I dont like the speech but think Obama is just fine and this isn't a new low.

Does that make me an independent?

by Trey Rentz 2008-03-18 08:17AM | 0 recs
Re: Thoughts on the Obama Speech

I think it's a Rorshach test for some here, because they twist it into whatever forms fit their preconceived opinions about Obama.

by rfahey22 2008-03-18 08:52AM | 0 recs
Re: Thoughts on the Obama Speech

very true.

Out of the gate Jerome highlights the tit-for-tat Ferraro point and characterizes it as a low blow. Almost as if he didn't hear or care about the rest of the speech.

Now along comes Todd with this thoughtful evaluation of the speech. And in between all the Hillary supporters care about nothing except for did he denounce or reject Wright.

It's a spectrum of how people try to process complex conflicts in our society. Some people just don't.

by thejives 2008-03-18 08:19AM | 0 recs
Re: Thoughts on the Obama Speech

Yeah.  This sort of simplistic reasoning isn't a Republicans-only phenomenon.

by rfahey22 2008-03-18 08:24AM | 0 recs
Re: Thoughts on the Obama Speech

Just the fact that anyone could see that as a tit-for-tat comment is part of the Rorschach. I heard it as a refusal to simply pave things over and move on, as happened with Ferraro.

It wasn't equating the remarks. It wasn't equating the people. It was distancing himself from the denounce-and-reject-and-move-on political game playing.

by Texas Gray Wolf 2008-03-18 09:00AM | 0 recs
Re: Thoughts on the Obama Speech

"It's a spectrum of how people try to process complex conflicts in our society. Some people just don't."

Nonsense. It was really offensive how he eve brought up Ferraro as thought she were in any way equivalent to Wright. It's outrageous. His campaign twisted and distorted her comments, took them completely out of context and gave lie to their meaning, and presenting that example as in any way equivalent to Wright's hate speech is offensive. I share Jerome's reaction. She spent a lifetime working for the civli rights of all, and trashing her is outrageous.

He said he was leaving and didn't have time to say any more about the Obama speech, so you are attacking him without merit.

The rest of the speech was OK, nothing new. Those of us who actually have worked in the civil rights movement have heard all this many times. I don't see how this is going to change race relations in this country. Yes, we know the Golden Rule. If all we had to do was invoke it, and ask everyone to have empathy and love each other and help each other blossom in life then we would have all these issues between us. It takes actual WORK, action and actually SHARING resources in fair and generous ways to make it real, and get people to trust each other, and to really be united. That's what I need to see - real progressive policies and programs for creating real equality for everyone. That's why I support Hillary Clinton. She is about really making it work!

by 07rescue 2008-03-18 09:15AM | 0 recs
Re: Thoughts on the Obama Speech

"It was really offensive how he eve brought up Ferraro as thought she were in any way equivalent to Wright. It's outrageous."

Not really.  He didn't equate the level of hate of the two controvercial figures, he just said that they both said things that were deemed controvercial, and then attacked the unhelpful mentality that leads to parsing people down to soundbites and not studying why they believe what they do.

He was defending Ferraro.

"His campaign twisted and distorted her comments, took them completely out of context and gave lie to their meaning, and presenting that example as in any way equivalent to Wright's hate speech is offensive. I share Jerome's reaction. She spent a lifetime working for the civli rights of all, and trashing her is outrageous."

They didn't need to twist her comments, she went on every news show and expounded in great detail about how similar her situation, being an Affirmative Action selection by Mondale (her belief, not mine) was somehow similar to Obama's, a man who wasn't "chosen" by any one person and fought every step of the way.  She made it sound like, whether she intended it or not, that the only reason Obama had any chance against Clinton was that he was some novelty choice, like a photographer choosing the dark-haired Asian isntead of the blonde Caucasian because he wants an "exotic" look.  

Regardless of whether or not she meant it that way (and I tend to think that she didn't, but that there is a certain level of 70s-era catagorical sentiment in Ferraro that finds comfort in breaking people down into identifiable groups), it was taken that way, and she didn't help matters by taking her case to the talk shows (particularly her employers at Fox News... the epicenter of "YOU'RE NOT HELPING!" as Jon Stewart would say).

Obama hears Ferraro and Wright, then listens to somebody like me who points out how damaging it is to say such things, and then comes out above all three of us by saying that we need to be honest about race in this country, and that demonizing people who don't ascribe to the politically correct norm is not the way to fix things.

Like I said in a previous post, he's shamed me a bit.

by Dracomicron 2008-03-18 09:50AM | 0 recs
Re: Thoughts on the Obama Speech

"She made it sound like, whether she intended it or not, that the only reason Obama had any chance against Clinton was that he was some novelty choice,"

Her comments were made in the context of a private lecture (not a campaign talk at all) in which she was discussing the maturation of the civil rights movement and particularly the new coalescing of the black community around his candidacy in a manner never seen before. She was discussing it in a highly complimentary fashion, describing it as the fruition of generations of work, sacrifice, and dreams. She was not making any reference to his (or her own) qualifications for the jobs they were running for. Simply talking about this new time dawning in which a black man could run and actually be a viable candidate.

Twisting that into some kind of backhanded, racist comment about an affirmative action candidate is a total distortion of what she was talking about. There was no implication of that at all in her talk. And she had every right to be pissed off afterward at being trashed as a racist by people who know her personally and know better. She even said it when she wrote to Hillary to quit her campaign - saying Axelrod should have called her, he was a friend, but no, they were going to use it to hurt Hillary, and she wasn't having any of it. We want people to know the truth about him, not to take his fancy wordsmithing at face value.

These ugly tactics are politics as usual. That is why many of us listen to Obama's pretend high minded rhetoric with a jaundiced eye. We don't get the same inspiration from it that others who don't know what is really going on do, it just looks very hypocritical. In that sense, no, we don't hear or see the same speech, all it is to us is a cover up for some vile betrayal.

by 07rescue 2008-03-18 10:58AM | 0 recs
Re: Thoughts on the Obama Speech

Ferraro probably didn't deserve to get called out on the original remark (however boneheaded it might have been), but what she was clearly in the wrong to go on every talk show and spew off about it and prove her detractors right.

Seriously, she got ten times worse with the righteous indignation after being called on it, and her resignation letter that you mentioned basically said that she was just going to continue going off about it.  I'm not sure if Clinton needed Olbermann to open her eyes to it or if she was going to stop Ferraro anyway, but thankfully it ended after a couple cycles.  I like to think that Ferraro just realized that she wasn't helping and stopped on her own.

People claiming Ferraro is totally innocent here are fooling themselves.  The kids on the playground might have pushed her down first, but she didn't need to grab a stick and start wailing on them.

by Dracomicron 2008-03-18 12:46PM | 0 recs
Re: Thoughts on the Obama Speech

"The kids on the playground might have pushed her down first, but she didn't need to grab a stick and start wailing on them."

Ferraro had every right to defend herself against this rot, and to try to put a stop to them doing it to anyone else. I applaud her courage in going against the lying bullies in the Obama campaign.

by 07rescue 2008-03-19 02:13AM | 0 recs
thank you Jonathan

for reminding me why I still manage to wade through the bile and piss that passes for content on this site.

Not because i'm an Obama supporter, but because you give clear and well reasoned analysis, not out of context attack dog hit pieces.

by neutron 2008-03-18 08:11AM | 0 recs
Re: thank you Jonathan

Jon is good. Jerome is also good but I suspect right now he's sort of in the clinton camp. I can't know this for sure ...

I miss Chris Bowers.

by Trey Rentz 2008-03-18 08:19AM | 0 recs
open left baby...

best blog on the net hands down.

by omar little 2008-03-18 08:26AM | 0 recs
Re: thank you Jonathan

open left

by orion1 2008-03-18 08:29AM | 0 recs
Thanks

The speech was really quite something.  I get why there's real resistance to it.  What he did was incredibly honest and open and to anti-Obama partisans, it's got to have hit hard.

by juliewolf 2008-03-18 08:15AM | 0 recs
Re: Thanks

It was nuanced and deep and far from simplistic.

So when you see attacks that boil down to stripping one comment from the full argument and context, not even acknowledging the complexity of what was said, you know that the person either wasn't paying attention or they want to mischaracterize what was said.

by politicsmatters 2008-03-18 08:21AM | 0 recs
Did it change people's thoughts on the matter?

Good speech, but I don't think it changed people's views on Wright or their new found fears about Obama.

I think this speech was aimed at keeping AA's with him and an attempt at bringing middle america white voters back to him.  I think he succeeded at keeping AA's with him, he will keep his diehard Obama fans with him but I don't see this changing the majority of white's views that Wright is racist and Obama is of the same cloth.  To do that he needed to completely distance himself from Wright and he didn't do that.

It is up to the MSM to deal with it now.  They will decide if Obama is done or not.

by Scope441 2008-03-18 08:15AM | 0 recs
Done? He's WINNING.

And the MSM can suck it.

by cypruspoint 2008-03-18 08:19AM | 0 recs
Re: Did it change people's thoughts on the matter?

I just listened to an hour of talk radio about the speech (not right-wing). 90% of the callers said that Obama had won them over. It's talk radio, so it's hard to tell, but only one sounded AA. Male-female about an equal split.

I disagree with your take on it. I suspect he just picked up a very large number of moderate and independent voters. Anyone who could listen to that speech, or even the sound bites that I've heard repeated on the news, and still believes that Obama believes what Wright believes was never going to vote for Obama anyway. They were going to invent a reason not to vote for him.

by Texas Gray Wolf 2008-03-18 09:15AM | 0 recs
G-G-G-G-Gennntttllllemen.....

staaart.... yourrr.... pre-fabricated stock comments!

3...
2...
1...

"OBAMA IS FINISHED. DONE!"
"TWENTY YEARS TOO LATE."
"YOU LET THIS MAN OFFICIATE AT YOUR WEDDING AND BAPTIZE YOUR CHILDREN?"

----

I just hope a couple people take the time to read the speech. Whether you support Obama or not, it truly is honest, intelligent, and thought-provoking.

by Max Fletcher 2008-03-18 08:15AM | 0 recs
don't forger

EATS BABIES

by kindthoughts 2008-03-18 08:18AM | 0 recs
Re: Thoughts on the Obama Speech

Some might, and unfortunately do still use race in a divisive manner. This is a reality we cannot ignore.

Yes, I agree. Barack Obama is one of them. He has used it to deeply divide the Democratic base. First he smeared Edwards as a racist, then he smeared Bill and Hillary as racists.

The hypocrisy of this man is astonishing.

Had he given this admittedly terrific speech at the beginning of his campaign, he would have been at the top of my list for Democratic candidates.

Too little, too late.

by madamab 2008-03-18 08:15AM | 0 recs
Back it up

When did he smear Edwards, Hillary, and Bill as racists again? I must have missed that.

by grover738 2008-03-18 08:18AM | 0 recs
Re: Thoughts on the Obama Speech

And yes he has indeed smeared the Clintons as racist.  First by using Jackson Jr and then in his own words when he mentioned that he thought Hillary was passing around the African garb picture in Mississippi.  Will the real Obama please stand up?

by JustJennifer 2008-03-18 08:18AM | 0 recs
Re: Thoughts on the Obama Speech

Oh.... Dear.....God....

We have begun to reach....  well, we began a while ago....

by JenKinFLA 2008-03-18 09:06AM | 0 recs
Re: Thoughts on the Obama Speech

I worked for Edwards campaign.  I think if Obama had accused Edwards of being a racist, I would have noticed.

by juliewolf 2008-03-18 08:29AM | 0 recs
the talking heads disagree.

i win.

by omar little 2008-03-18 08:17AM | 0 recs
agree on the Ferraro comment

I didn't see his Ferraro comment as Jerome did, either. Obama was talking about people's reactions to Wright, and strongly implying that those who believe that Ferraro harbors "some deep seated racial bias" are WRONG.

by grover738 2008-03-18 08:17AM | 0 recs
Re: agree on the Ferraro comment

Exactly.  I don't think some of the commenters even watched the speech.  They are just repeating the same old talking points they use all the time.

by GFORD 2008-03-18 08:19AM | 0 recs
Re: agree on the Ferraro comment

" I don't think some of the commenters even watched the speech.  They are just repeating the same old talking points they use all the time."

Nonense. I watched every tedious moment of his speech.

You forget that all these politicians know each other, and they know what they have done to each other. David Axelrod knows Geraldine very well, but they still crucified her, to the advantage of their campaign. They know she is about as far from being a racist as any white person can be, and that her remarks were not what they were saying they were about. They knew it was all BS, but went ahead condemning them. It's all an ugly game, and very disingenuous. That's why we "hear" the speech so differently, we hear it in the context of disliking the impression of equivalence he is trying to create in the minds of people who will not know the difference. It you don't understand the underpinnings of the campaigns and just take it all on face value it sounds very splendid, and that in and of itself can be very irritating to us. The disparity between the nice speechifying and the reality of the conduct is just too hypocritical for us.

Bringing up Geraldine as though her comments were some sort of tit for tat with Wright is outrageous.

by 07rescue 2008-03-18 09:35AM | 0 recs
Re: agree on the Ferraro comment

It is clear from the text, which some here want to ignore completely.  

by rfahey22 2008-03-18 08:21AM | 0 recs
Re: Thoughts on the Obama Speech

Keeping hope alive I see.

by kasjogren 2008-03-18 08:17AM | 0 recs
Re: Thoughts on the Obama Speech

I thought it was a good speech too.  However, he has tripped himself up with too many inconsistencies IMO and this will cause him a lot of problems if he gets to the GE.  .  

by JustJennifer 2008-03-18 08:17AM | 0 recs
I am sure people

can parse it to show it that he eats babies.

by kindthoughts 2008-03-18 08:20AM | 0 recs
Re: I am sure people

You know, she said nothing like that.  She's viewing the speech through a partisan lens just like you are, but she's not being outrageous.  You might want to save leaden sarcasm for someone who is actually going too far, or read your tag line before your post in response to someone who has an opposing view.  

by mgee 2008-03-18 08:52AM | 0 recs
ok,

well it was observational. But I concede, you are right, my friend, the comment was too much.

by kindthoughts 2008-03-18 08:01PM | 0 recs
Re: Thoughts on the Obama Speech

You obviously did not watch the speech.  Obama took no shots at anyone.

by GFORD 2008-03-18 08:17AM | 0 recs
Re: Thoughts on the Obama Speech

You obviously didn't hear OR read the speech. He blamed just about everything and everybody (ie, slavery, Ferarro, etc.) Everyone but himself.

by KnowVox 2008-03-18 08:22AM | 0 recs
is this VoxPopuli?

if so, you have fallen my friend.

by omar little 2008-03-18 08:31AM | 0 recs
Outstanding

This may be the most honest political speech I've ever heard.  I expected him to denounce Wright, and talk about the need for unity.  I didn't expect the level of detail, the extremely personal nature, and the honesty about America's racial challenges and what it will take to meet them.  This was absolutely outstanding.

by dmfox 2008-03-18 08:17AM | 0 recs
Re: Outstanding

I was pleasantly surprised.  He didn't give a purely political speech, take the easy route by denouncing, denying, etc.  Instead he took on the issue of race relations in this country above and beyond the effect on the elections.  It was a gutsy thing to do and something I really admire.

by GFORD 2008-03-18 08:59AM | 0 recs
Fantasy. The speech was fabulous.

The desire to win an election has stripped Hillary's supporters of all sense of judgement.

by cypruspoint 2008-03-18 08:18AM | 0 recs
Re: Thoughts on the Obama Speech

OH NO THE SKY IS FALLING

by sorrodos 2008-03-18 08:18AM | 0 recs
if Universal says it was a great speech.

it was a great speech.

by omar little 2008-03-18 08:18AM | 0 recs
its not just his speaking ability...

its the most serious discussion of race by a national politician i've ever seen.

by omar little 2008-03-18 08:32AM | 0 recs
Thanks Jonathan

As I pointed out in the other thread - Jerome read what he wanted to read.... and his fanbois happily jumped on board.

How anyone can see his creative snipping as anything other than CLEARLY trying to wring a different meaning than intended is beyond me.

This isn't a soundbite speech - not today.   It's a sweeping address that doesn't claim to play damage control, or put 'an issue' or a 'controversy' to rest.

For better or worse, Barack Obama - his campaign and his supporters - have cast their lot with the theory that Obama is more than just another President, just another candidate.  That's not to say he's a messiah or Jesus -- it's to say that every so often, America finds itself with an extraordinary leader.   Once you start down that path, you need to deliver.

That's what Obama has continued to do here.  This is a carbon copy "I reject and denounce" mea culpa -- it couldn't and shouldn't be.   It's exactly what he set it out to be... a larger discussion of the underlying issues around the last few weeks of this campaign - and the undercurrent that's really been a trickle since 2007.

BTW... It's worth reading the entire section that Jerome hackishly snipped apart for his own purposes.  Read it all - and tell me you don't see the section differently than Jerome's original hackish portrayal.


On one end of the spectrum, we've heard the implication that my candidacy is somehow an exercise in affirmative action; that it's based solely on the desire of wide-eyed liberals to purchase racial reconciliation on the cheap.  On the other end, we've heard my former pastor, Reverend Jeremiah Wright, use incendiary language to express views that have the potential not only to widen the racial divide, but views that denigrate both the greatness and the goodness of our nation; that rightly offend white and black alike.  

I have already condemned, in unequivocal terms, the statements of Reverend Wright that have caused such controversy.  For some, nagging questions remain.  Did I know him to be an occasionally fierce critic of American domestic and foreign policy?  Of course.  Did I ever hear him make remarks that could be considered controversial while I sat in church?  Yes.  Did I strongly disagree with many of his political views?  Absolutely - just as I'm sure many of you have heard remarks from your pastors, priests, or rabbis with which you strongly disagreed.  

But the remarks that have caused this recent firestorm weren't simply controversial.  They weren't simply a religious leader's effort to speak out against perceived injustice.  Instead, they expressed a profoundly distorted view of this country - a view that sees white racism as endemic, and that elevates what is wrong with America above all that we know is right with America; a view that sees the conflicts in the Middle East as rooted primarily in the actions of stalwart allies like Israel, instead of emanating from the perverse and hateful ideologies of radical Islam.

As such, Reverend Wright's comments were not only wrong but divisive, divisive at a time when we need unity; racially charged at a time when we need to come together to solve a set of monumental problems - two wars, a terrorist threat, a falling economy, a chronic health care crisis and potentially devastating climate change; problems that are neither black or white or Latino or Asian, but rather problems that confront us all.

Given my background, my politics, and my professed values and ideals, there will no doubt be those for whom my statements of condemnation are not enough.  Why associate myself with Reverend Wright in the first place, they may ask?  Why not join another church?  And I confess that if all that I knew of Reverend Wright were the snippets of those sermons that have run in an endless loop on the television and You Tube, or if Trinity United Church of Christ conformed to the caricatures being peddled by some commentators, there is no doubt that I would react in much the same way

But the truth is, that isn't all that I know of the man.  The man I met more than twenty years ago is a man who helped introduce me to my Christian faith, a man who spoke to me about our obligations to love one another; to care for the sick and lift up the poor.  He is a man who served his country as a U.S. Marine; who has studied and lectured at some of the finest universities and seminaries in the country, and who for over thirty years led a church that serves the community by doing God's work here on Earth - by housing the homeless, ministering to the needy, providing day care services and scholarships and prison ministries, and reaching out to those suffering from HIV/AIDS.

In my first book, Dreams From My Father, I described the experience of my first service at Trinity:

"People began to shout, to rise from their seats and clap and cry out, a forceful wind carrying the reverend's voice up into the rafters....And in that single note - hope! - I heard something else; at the foot of that cross, inside the thousands of churches across the city, I imagined the stories of ordinary black people merging with the stories of David and Goliath, Moses and Pharaoh, the Christians in the lion's den, Ezekiel's field of dry bones.  Those stories - of survival, and freedom, and hope - became our story, my story; the blood that had spilled was our blood, the tears our tears; until this black church, on this bright day, seemed once more a vessel carrying the story of a people into future generations and into a larger world.  Our trials and triumphs became at once unique and universal, black and more than black; in chronicling our journey, the stories and songs gave us a means to reclaim memories that we didn't need to feel shame about...memories that all people might study and cherish - and with which we could start to rebuild."

That has been my experience at Trinity.  Like other predominantly black churches across the country, Trinity embodies the black community in its entirety - the doctor and the welfare mom, the model student and the former gang-banger.  Like other black churches, Trinity's services are full of raucous laughter and sometimes bawdy humor.  They are full of dancing, clapping, screaming and shouting that may seem jarring to the untrained ear.  The church contains in full the kindness and cruelty, the fierce intelligence and the shocking ignorance, the struggles and successes, the love and yes, the bitterness and bias that make up the black experience in America.

And this helps explain, perhaps, my relationship with Reverend Wright.  As imperfect as he may be, he has been like family to me.  He strengthened my faith, officiated my wedding, and baptized my children.  Not once in my conversations with him have I heard him talk about any ethnic group in derogatory terms, or treat whites with whom he interacted with anything but courtesy and respect.  He contains within him the contradictions - the good and the bad - of the community that he has served diligently for so many years.

I can no more disown him than I can disown the black community.  I can no more disown him than I can my white grandmother - a woman who helped raise me, a woman who sacrificed again and again for me, a woman who loves me as much as she loves anything in this world, but a woman who once confessed her fear of black men who passed by her on the street, and who on more than one occasion has uttered racial or ethnic stereotypes that made me cringe.

These people are a part of me.  And they are a part of America, this country that I love.

Some will see this as an attempt to justify or excuse comments that are simply inexcusable.  I can assure you it is not.  I suppose the politically safe thing would be to move on from this episode and just hope that it fades into the woodwork.  We can dismiss Reverend Wright as a crank or a demagogue, just as some have dismissed Geraldine Ferraro, in the aftermath of her recent statements, as harboring some deep-seated racial bias.

Shame on Jerome.

That was cut, excerpt, and skew worthy of Rush Limbaugh.

by zonk 2008-03-18 08:19AM | 0 recs
Re: Thanks Jonathan

Jerome has had better days. I bet it would be great if we just lashed Jerome and Jon's wrists together and put a knife in each of the others two hands and then throw them into arena and tell them two go in, one comes out.

Think..?

by Trey Rentz 2008-03-18 08:22AM | 0 recs
Re: Thoughts on the Obama Speech

Obama did not distance himself from his radical kook spiritual adviser. He praised him.

He is divisive and full of crap.

Unity my ass.

Get real.

by gotalife 2008-03-18 08:19AM | 0 recs
I bet you did not listen to

or read the speech.

by kindthoughts 2008-03-18 08:20AM | 0 recs
Re: I bet you did not listen to

of course not....  does not fit the narrative that the poster has already embraced....

by JenKinFLA 2008-03-18 09:08AM | 0 recs
Re: Thoughts on the Obama Speech

Please explain how the Ferraro reference "took a shot" at her.  You have completely ignored the text and are seeing only what you want to see.  Which, I suppose, is not surprising.

by rfahey22 2008-03-18 08:19AM | 0 recs
Re: Thoughts on the Obama Speech

He mentioned her! In the same speech as Wright! It's guilt by association, that's how its a shot.

It's also why the same people who are offended at the Ferrarro mention are extra mad at Obama for knowing Wright.

Whoever called this a Rorsacht test nailed it. Very educational responses to a very powerful and important speech.

by Lettuce 2008-03-18 08:23AM | 0 recs
Re: Thoughts on the Obama Speech

Thanks - that was me, too.  :)

by rfahey22 2008-03-18 08:25AM | 0 recs
Re: Thoughts on the Obama Speech

Gtreat speach - this is the litmus test for people who want change for the better or who want to go back to business as usual.

very emotional, honest and deeply thought through.

A politician with depth. What a novelty

by dbeall 2008-03-18 08:19AM | 0 recs
Re: Thoughts on the Obama Speech

I was upset at some of the stuff on MyDD the other day and wrote a post swearing I was not coming back.

I just read the text of Obama's speech, however, and it reminded me of why I love politics at its best.  

Amazing speech.  Covered it all.

by mady 2008-03-18 08:20AM | 0 recs
Re: Thoughts on the Obama Speech

Try not to read Jerome's post, below, if you want to keep those good feelings.

by rfahey22 2008-03-18 08:22AM | 0 recs
Re: Thoughts on the Obama Speech

Jerome's not that bad! Come on, dude.
He's worse. heh heh.

... Just kidding Jerome!  ():-)

by Trey Rentz 2008-03-18 08:23AM | 0 recs
Re: Thoughts on the Obama Speech

So rather than discuss Wright's comments and examine the country's problems that lead to comments like Wrights, you'd rather have him meekly apoligize and make it about Barack Obama.

Obama took a divisive moment and made it a opportunity to address real racial issues on the public stage. He made intelligent and reasoned arguments for the existence of racism, and offered real first steps to combat it.

If that's not enough -- then yes, Obama's campaign is doomed. Any real leaders' campaign would be.

by Lettuce 2008-03-18 08:20AM | 0 recs
Re: Thoughts on the Obama Speech

Deep depth.  He's got it.

I didn't watch him give the speech, but just the text was amazing.

When someone as smart as Jerome describes it as 'ugly and unfair,' I can only say, "which alternate universe were you in when he gave that speech?"

by RT 2008-03-18 08:22AM | 0 recs
Truly great speech.

by bartimaeus blue 2008-03-18 08:23AM | 0 recs
Re: Thoughts on the Obama Speech

Sound analysis Johnathan.

As Obama said there are those who WILL want to continue to use race...and some of them are right here at mydd, sadly enough.

Obama DEFENDED Ferarro for cryin' out loud.  HE DEFENDED her!  I think the mere mention of her name drove some pople here right over the edge.

Game-changer.  He was already ahead in delegates, votes, states, and SD momentum (a new one today in IL)...this is going to remind folks of why he was considerda transformative figure in the first place.  It has already begun in fact.

Have you HEARD the pundits?

I think he may have sent Fineman an advance copy.  He DID everything and more Fineman said he must!

by a gunslinger 2008-03-18 08:23AM | 0 recs
Re: Thoughts on the Obama Speech

"Obama DEFENDED Ferarro for cryin' out loud."

Obama trashed her earlier, in full knowledge of who she is, an icon who worked her entire life for the civil rights of all people. These people know each other, and have no business making up crap and trashing her the way they did. She is a 72 year old liberal icon who is dying of cancer and has already given her life working to help achieve exactly the world of equality and unity that all Obama has done is talk about.

He should not have brought her up at all, as a comparison to Wright, there is no equivalence between the two. He had no business trashing her to begin with. If he says anything at all about Geraldine Ferraro it should be to apologize to her for the completely unjustified and deceitful hit job his campaign did on her. That's a separate speech, not when he should be explaining this Wright debacle..

by 07rescue 2008-03-18 09:45AM | 0 recs
Re: Thoughts on the Obama Speech

He wasn't comparing the two of THEM...he was saying that the races should not point to the other and hate for comments that were wrong.

Again...he defended her. If that is wrong, then clearly the gaersw of hell have opened.

by a gunslinger 2008-03-18 10:09AM | 0 recs
Re: Thoughts on the Obama Speech

"He wasn't comparing the two of THEM"

He certainly was, he was presenting it as a tit for tat, like his campaign had one (Wright) and the Clinton campaign had one (Gerry Ferraro), sort of creating the impression that they should cancel each other out. That is atrocious, there is no comparison.

by 07rescue 2008-03-18 11:03AM | 0 recs
No, not really.

He cited two recent examples.  That is all.

by Dracomicron 2008-03-18 12:52PM | 0 recs
Re: No, not really.

"He cited two recent examples.  That is all."

He has now been called out on this issue by many pundits reviewing his speech. It was LOW.

by 07rescue 2008-03-19 02:16AM | 0 recs
Huh

Which pundits?

Most of the pundits I've seen are pretty impressed, barring Fox's hack artists.

by Dracomicron 2008-03-19 01:00PM | 0 recs
Just another speech

But what has Obama really done for racial equality?  

This is what I want to know.

by Sieglinde 2008-03-18 08:23AM | 0 recs
Re: Just another speech

He was a civil rights lawyer who defended minorities in cases of persistant discrimination.

by AC4508 2008-03-18 12:18PM | 0 recs
my priest is not hateful

I have already condemned, in unequivocal terms, the statements of Reverend Wright that have caused such controversy. For some, nagging questions remain. Did I know him to be an occasionally fierce critic of American domestic and foreign policy? Of course. Did I ever hear him make remarks that could be considered controversial while I sat in church? Yes. Did I strongly disagree with many of his political views? Absolutely - just as I'm sure many of you have heard remarks from your pastors, priests, or rabbis with which you strongly disagreed.

This is the disconnect between me and Obama. I have not heard my priest make remarks that are in any way similar to Rev. Wright's, or for that matter similar to Jerry Fallwell's or John Hagee's. I would not attend mass with a priest who made such comments, because I believe those kinds of comments are morally wrong.

by souvarine 2008-03-18 08:24AM | 0 recs
Re: my priest is not hateful

Obama's minister is old.  He comes from a time before desegregation when blacks were still being beaten and hung in the south...when they couldn't go to white 'public' schools.  Obama talks about how the man has lingering anger and many others of his generation do too.  He also talks about Wright's mistake in thinking that the racial situation in American is static, not recognizing that things have changed and are continuing to change.

Here's a personal story:
My grandparents were both nearly deaf.  My mother took them to the doctor for checkups and a black
man was in the waiting room with them.  When they got out in the hall my grandmother said something, in that loud way hard of hearing people speak, about that 'colored fella'.  As my mother was trying to get her to be quiet, my grandfather started saying, even louder, 'cauliflower?  what cauliflower?'

My point, if I have one, is during my grandparents lives, things were different with regard to race.  Amos and Andy was still on tv, for crying out loud.  So people of that generation, white and black, see things differently.

by GFORD 2008-03-18 08:34AM | 0 recs
Re: my priest is not hateful

That's hilarious.

by Steve M 2008-03-18 08:37AM | 0 recs
Re: my priest is not hateful

My grandmother supports Obama, though she openly wonders whether he will favor black people should he become the president.  God bless her, she's about as liberal as an 80-year-old can be.

by rfahey22 2008-03-18 08:38AM | 0 recs
Re: my priest is not hateful

Rev. Wright is 67 years old. My priest is older. For that matter there are many older religious leaders, black, white and whatever color, who would never use such hateful language.

Again, there are older religious leaders who do, or did, use such hateful language. Fallwell and Hagee were both born before Wright. But neither their age nor their life experiences, nor even their good works excuse their statements, and I would never attend their services.

I cannot go with minimizing and excusing hatred from religious leaders because they are "old." You choose the spiritual tradition and leaders you wish to follow. You don't choose your grandfather.

by souvarine 2008-03-18 08:54AM | 0 recs
Re: my priest is not hateful

As Obama said in his speech, sometimes they don't talk about it in polite company.

by GFORD 2008-03-18 09:03AM | 0 recs
Re: my priest is not hateful

Considering that my priest has worked on civil rights and religious reconciliation his entire life, no, he is not a closet racist. He says the same things on the pulpit that he says privately, it's what we call integrity. That is what I don't see from Obama.

When Obama says "resentments aren't always expressed in polite company" he is referring to the anger within the black community and some working and middle class segments of the white community. And yes, people can have legitimate anger that leads them to illegitimate resentments. None of that excuses religious leaders who stoke the anger and feed the resentment, nor does it excuse the political leaders who give those religious leaders a pass.

If you read closely, though, that is what this speech is about. Obama is defending his exploitation of the legitimate anger of the black community. It is a clever speech, it continues his sly and largely successful effort to brand the Clinton campaign as racist while defending and reinforcing his own campaign's use of race to attack any critic.

by souvarine 2008-03-18 09:30AM | 0 recs
Re: my priest is not hateful

I think you went into it with an assumption that Obama would use the speech to attack Hillary.  Then as you read along, you looked for places that seemed to agree with that assumption and where his speech disagreed, you concluded he was covering up his true motives.

I suggest a zen moment.  Clear your mind of all assumptions and then listen to the speech with an open mind, no assumption about motives.  Pretend he's not running in the primary against your favorite candidate.  Then you'll take away the important message which had nothing to do with Obama vs. Clinton.

by GFORD 2008-03-18 10:28AM | 0 recs
Re: Thoughts on the Obama Speech

I really thought this was a brilliant speech.

I've seen many politicians place a bet on the fundamental intelligence and good will of the American electorate and lose that bet.  Obama's bet is of a slightly different sort and I certainly hope he wins it.

Anyone who didn't just fall off the turnip truck knows how this story is "supposed" to end.  Wright is just too divisive a figure, the sound bites are just too incendiary, there's no way to prevent it from overcoming Obama's candidacy and dooming it.  That's the usual political narrative in this country.  It's the picture of Willie Horton all over again.

But as Obama says, our society can make progress.  We obviously still have major issues concerning race in this country, but that doesn't have to mean we've gotten nowhere on them.  Maybe he's right that we've at least reached a point where we don't have to let a divisive racial issue like this one completely drown out every issue that actually matters.  Maybe yes, maybe no - that's the bet he's making.  In a sense that was the bet of his whole candidacy all along.

This is the first time I've really gotten a sense of Obama's overall campaign narrative, the idea that he's calling on us all to become something better.  It's a powerful idea.

by Steve M 2008-03-18 08:24AM | 0 recs
Re: Thoughts on the Obama Speech

'Amen.

by Shaun Appleby 2008-03-18 09:03AM | 0 recs
Re: Thoughts on the Obama Speech

You just wrote the most concise and articulate summary of this speech and Obama's larger campaign narrative that I've read.  Seriously, well said.  

I have no idea if Obama's bet will pay off either, but my father -- a white, suburban, blue collar Hillary supporter -- said he thought it was one of the most powerful speeches he's ever heard.  Either way, I'm proud of my candidate today.  However it plays out.

by HSTruman 2008-03-18 09:30AM | 0 recs
Good Speech

Again, it was a good speech, but I don't see how this has eased white people's fears of Wright and now Obama.

How will this speech make a middle america white voter no longer question Wright or Obama's close relationship to him?  

Yes, we all know race is still a problem in this country.  But middle america white voters will still think that Wright is over the top and that Obama is in the same parish as Wright.  Obama didn't ease that fear in my opinion.

Still a major problem for him in the GE and perhaps the remander of this primary.

by Scope441 2008-03-18 08:24AM | 0 recs
I'm Very Glad I Didn't See/Hear Speech Yet!

I've done some websurfing on reaction to this, however.

And, all I can say is this:

Anyone that equates/equivocates a former Dem V.P. candidate's (let alone the first female to cross that threshhold) distorted comments from a paid, personal appearance (that had nothing to do with her campaign activities) with those of a videotape of someone essentially unknown to the American public is pretty darn desperate about something, IMHO.

It's an irrational comparison, from a purely subjective standpoint. And, it's one that will rub a lot of perfectly rational folks the wrong way.

It's apples to oranges. Period.

I really don't need to know anymore. I'm sure the rest of Obama's speech was compassionate, powerful and convincing. But, the guy blew his opportunity here by choosing to make a comparison that many voters will find unconvincing. IMHO, this is an implausible comparison--at a very basic level--to a lot of people.

He missed the proverbial shot. I don't think I really need to know much more.

I believe his polling nos. will bear this out over the next 72 hours, too.

Donna Brazile & Co are going to have to do some serious re-strategizing due to this implosion now.

That's the thing about politics...as Forrest Gump said it: '...ya' never know what yer' gonna' git.'

The timing couldn't be worse for the O-man, either.

by bobswern 2008-03-18 08:25AM | 0 recs
Re: I'm Very Glad I Didn't See/Hear Speech Yet!

You really need to either watch the speech or read its text, then.  Quite frankly, the only thing that Obama did was criticize those people who would call either Wright or Ferraro racists because of their recent comments.  His point was that those statements do not reflect their true beliefs.  I really think you should carefully review the speech itself before you run around shooting from the hip about this.      

by rfahey22 2008-03-18 08:31AM | 0 recs
Re: I'm Very Glad I Didn't See/Hear Speech Yet!

Emotion only goes so far in a political communications effort. It reaches a wall of support where it can't go any further, barring other efforts to succeed at that (efforts beyond the emotive).

Today he has, undoubtedly, alienated those that will find the comparisons between Ferraro and Wright to be implausible.

Will that be overshadowed by the power of his speech? I don't know. I will check it out. But, based upon reaction on the blogs, and reading the full text of what he said, this is my "shoot-from-the-hip" response.

All this blathering means little. Let's see what the numbers say over the next 72 hours. That is really what matters most. Everything else is truly just subjective ranting.

by bobswern 2008-03-18 08:41AM | 0 recs
Re: I'm Very Glad I Didn't See/Hear Speech Yet!

Anyone who can see anything in what Obama said that equates Ferraro and Wright really watched a different speech, or failed to watch the same one.

He was talking about rejecting the reject-and-denounce school of politics and actually tackling an issue.

Ferraro's remarks were never really addressed, they were just rejected and allowed to fade from view. Obama was rejecting the same approach for Wright's.

There was no equating of the remarks or of the people.

by Texas Gray Wolf 2008-03-18 09:04AM | 0 recs
Praise from "The Page"

"The Page" describes and defines how things are seen by the punditocracy.  They have often framed things in ways the Clinton people like.  This is what they say --

Obama Rises to the Occasion on Race and the Race

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.

One key topic: his relationship with the Rev. Wright. Click above to watch excerpt.

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.

by politicsmatters 2008-03-18 08:26AM | 0 recs
Yes, it was a great speach

We know he gives great speaches, but his actions don't always match his rhetoric.  I think he said some terrific things, but how much credit should we give for rhetoric?  How much do we dismiss actual life choices?

Obama supporters are asking the nation to just trust him because of his words.  Even prior to these racial issues, there have been serious doubts among non-supporters about his level of preparedness for the presidency.  Now, we have serious doubts about whether he has prepared himself enough for this post-racial unity his followers are so sure he will deliver.

Again, my answer for Obama's candidacy remains that he really should spend at least another four years (or eight depending upon the results of this election) preparing for this nation's top leadership position.  Is that really so much to ask of him?

by lombard 2008-03-18 08:26AM | 0 recs
Re: Yes, it was a great speach

It will be up to the rest of the Democratic electorate to decide if they think he needs more time.

Personally, I don't think he does.  After all, the most experienced presidents in history have usually ranked quite low, in part because they THOUGHT they knew everything and didn't deal with with valuable criticisms.

by politicsmatters 2008-03-18 08:29AM | 0 recs
Re: Thoughts on the Obama Speech
It was an "interesting" speech. I'm actually re-reading it. One thing that stood out to me as significant was that Obama put Ferraro and Wright on different ends of a spectrum. I presume he intended to mean one end was bad/wrong while the other good/right. If that's the case, Obama really didn't identify which end of the spectrum Ferraro and Wright belonged.


I believe in reality and Ferraro is, at least partially, correct. Obama's candidacy is viable because of our "wide-eyed" interest in racial reconciliation. But, Reverend Wright is on the wrong end of the spectrum because of:

"..incendiary language to express views that have the potential not only to widen the racial divide, but views that denigrate both the greatness and the goodness of our nation; that rightly offend white and black alike...."


by zenful6219 2008-03-18 08:26AM | 0 recs
Re: Thoughts on the Obama Speech

I believe the distinction between Wright and Ferraro was on the political-response spectrum.

Ferraro was simply rejected and denounced. Obama was saying he could have done the same, but instead chose to take it on and look at the whole issue.

Whether Ferraro is even partly correct or not is not the issue. Her statements weren't a thoughtful look at race in the election. If they were, when she was informed that people might look at them askew, when they were challenged, when her own candidate rejected them, she would have realized she was being hurtful, by mistake, apologized, maybe rephrased, and life would've gone on. Instead she chose to take them on right-wing talk radio.

The right thing for Clinton to do really was to reject and denounce them; Ferraro's remarks are, in the end, a destructive bit of dog-whistling, but Clinton would have gained nothing to take them on. It was politically expedient, but it was also right, given who she is, who Ferraro is, and context in the race. It would also have been politically expedient for Obama to reject, denounce, and move on.

But the right thing for Obama to do was to just reject and denounce, and rather take on the larger issues; not just Wright, but race overall. Obama did the right thing.

by Texas Gray Wolf 2008-03-18 09:27AM | 0 recs
If Hillary Clinton:

Paraphrasing from Andrew Sullivan, who used John McCain, but I substituted Hillary Clinton. And now tell me your honest answer.

If Hillary had spent twenty years hanging with Pat Robertson, describing him as her mentor, attending Robertson's church, having Chelsea baptized by Robertson, having Robertson officiate at her wedding, giving him the inspiration for the title of her career-making autobiography, collaborating with him in political organizing, and then tried  to dismiss criticism  by calling Robertson her lovable uncle who sometimes goes too far, what do you think the reaction would be?

by njsketch 2008-03-18 08:27AM | 0 recs
Re: If Hillary Clinton:

Around here, it would be complete and unequivocal support from Jerome and crew.

by rfahey22 2008-03-18 08:33AM | 0 recs
Re: If Hillary Clinton:

We'd be hearing glowing testimonials about Robertson's unique and powerful worldview and his many years of accomplishment.

by Texas Gray Wolf 2008-03-18 09:28AM | 0 recs
Re: If Hillary Clinton:

If Robertson was a hard core progressive activist (like Rev. Wright) that said stupid things once it a while I would have not problems with it. It's not a black white thing.... Robertson is unacceptable because of his politics not his color.

by JoeCoaster 2008-03-18 08:47AM | 0 recs
Re: Thoughts on the Obama Speech

This was possibly the most deeply honest speech about race and America I have ever heard, while it may have lack the eloquent beauty of some of his earlier speeches, this was his finest work. I am 25 years old and I can honestly say that this may have been the most historically important speech of my lifetime (the only other one I can think of is frighteningly by Dubya-the post 9/11 speech due to circumstances), not for its effects on his canidacy but for what it could mean about America, this could really be the healing of the divde which has scored this country since its founding.

by Socraticsilence 2008-03-18 08:32AM | 0 recs
Re: Thoughts on the Obama Speech

This could bridge the divide?

Are you kidding me? If he wanted to heal racial tensions, he could have given this speech before it blew up in his face.

If he wanted to heal racial tensions, he could have not associated with this person for over 20 years.

What action backs up this speech?

by njsketch 2008-03-18 08:35AM | 0 recs
Re: Thoughts on the Obama Speech

If he'd brought the race issue up out of nowhere, he would have been laughed out of the election like Jackson.

Clearly he had to wait until people were actually invested in the issue.

I think he would have rather not had to give the speech at all.

by Dracomicron 2008-03-18 12:56PM | 0 recs
Laughed out of the election like Jackson?

The NY Times called 1988 "the Year of Jackson," nobody laughed Jesse Jackson out of anything. Jackson did far better among working class white Democrats than Obama has been able to.

The violence Obama and his supporters do to our history is really astounding. No wonder Jackson is so ambivalent about Obama's campaign.

by souvarine 2008-03-18 07:10PM | 0 recs
Re: Thoughts on the Obama Speech

It was a good speech, but a few things noted:

1. In order to move past racial divisness in our country - only Barack Obama can "cure" us?  

I kind of felt like he was stating that he's the "official" person that can heal us and only he was capable of that - a bit of arrogance on his part.

2. Now he admits he was there when Wright said some of those controversial things. So, when he said before he wasn't, was that a lie? Or what?

3. While he explained away Wright's beliefs based on the era he grew up (50's/60's) - I'm not sure Obama really distanced himself from Wright's comments.  I understand he can't throw him under the bus, but he still seemed to be saying that it's understandable for him to feel/think the way he does.

4. The slave blood running through Michelle's veins was an attempt to explain some of her anger in my opinion, but not sure that really worked.

5. It was good that he brought up immigrants and the understanding that there are divides amongst immigrants and the black community.

All in all I thought it was a good speech, but I'm not sure it will help him in a GENERAL election (maybe among democrats).

by nikkid 2008-03-18 08:32AM | 0 recs
Re: Thoughts on the Obama Speech

I think for your question (2) the reality is that Obama was attending that church for 20 years, and likely heard something similiar - and also , the sermon may have been part of a series that he was in attendance for.

However, I think the official statement from the Obama campaign was that he was not actually there the sunday that Wright delivered the particular sermon that is being used for this smear .. er.. um.. i mean... useful debate about race.

by Trey Rentz 2008-03-18 08:40AM | 0 recs
Re: Thoughts on the Obama Speech

"1. In order to move past racial divisness in our country - only Barack Obama can "cure" us?"

1) A doctor can't cure you if he or she doesn't know what the problem is.  Obama knows what the problem is.  Another doctor (Clinton or McCain) theoretically could, but there's always the chance that they'll make a misdiagnosis.  McCain, for example, might think that the problem is that large companies don't have enough tax breaks, so they can't employ more poor blacks.

"2. Now he admits he was there when Wright said some of those controversial things. So, when he said before he wasn't, was that a lie? Or what?"

Read more carefully.  He was there for some controvercial things, on the order of when your rabbi or priest gives a sermon you don't personally agree with, but he wasn't there for the truly vile stuff that's been cherry-picked for YoutTube consumption.  The facts have been backing him up on this so far.

"3. While he explained away Wright's beliefs based on the era he grew up (50's/60's) - I'm not sure Obama really distanced himself from Wright's comments.  I understand he can't throw him under the bus, but he still seemed to be saying that it's understandable for him to feel/think the way he does."

Yes, he said exactly that.  He said that racists have reasons for feeling the way that they do, and, while they are wrong, the real debate is discussing why they feel that way and trying to adjust the social problems that gives rise to that discontent.

"4. The slave blood running through Michelle's veins was an attempt to explain some of her anger in my opinion, but not sure that really worked."

The whole "angry Michelle" trope is silly; she's been cherry-picked as badly or worse than Ferraro.  Regardless, anything about the slavery connection in this speech was less about explaining his wife's behavior as it was tying himself to the plight of blacks in American culture.  This is more about him being "not black enough" than anything else.  His wife and children come from slavery heritage.  He understands.

"5. It was good that he brought up immigrants and the understanding that there are divides amongst immigrants and the black community."

This we agree on.

by Dracomicron 2008-03-18 10:31AM | 0 recs
Two counterpoints:

1.   You wrote:  "Some might, and unfortunately do still use race in a divisive manner. This is a reality we cannot ignore."

Yes, and no one in this campaign has done a more thorough job of using race in a divisive manner than Obama himself, and his campaign manager David Axelrod.  See these three articles on Axelrod's calculated race approach:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB12053667 7319031953.html?mod=opinion_main_review_ and_outlooks

http://www.tnr.com/politics/story.html?i d=aa0cd21b-0ff2-4329-88a1-69c6c268b304

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/04/01/magazi ne/01axelrod.t.html?ref=magazine&pag ewanted=all

2.  You wrote:  "The hope of bringing people together. Yes, this is a hope. We are not there yet. But is is something noble to strive for."

Here Obama dismisses several generations of white involvement in civil rights, justice, and poverty issues.   True progressives like Jesse Jackson, Andrew Young, Al Gore, and Bill Clinton have worked together arm in arm for decades.  Jewish people from the north came down to the south and got themselves killed for civil rights in the 60s.  

Nowhere in any Obama speech do you see even a nod to this.   Obama speaks as though he invented the notion of racial harmony for the first time in history.   What an arrogant, ill-informed, and insulting position to take.

by mnicholson0220 2008-03-18 08:35AM | 0 recs
Re: Two counterpoints:

If you're going to use past reamkrs and such shouldn't you also use Obama's past remarks about the deep bond between the black an jewish community over the civil rights movement?

by Socraticsilence 2008-03-18 09:14AM | 0 recs
Good points

I'm trying to think of a precedent for this speech.

Bill Clinton did a racial intiative campaign 1997 but it did not fully take off. There's some good lines in that link, thought.

Does anyone have any other instances addressing race and resentments and how they work to hold us back like this?

by kid oakland 2008-03-18 08:36AM | 0 recs
Example

this was a good Bill Clinton line and typical of his strengths:

Mr. Clinton called for a $350 million program over five years to provide scholarships and other assistance to help train teachers who agree to serve at least three years in poor urban and rural school districts.

''We will have a special emphasis on recruiting minorities into teaching, because while a third of our students are minority, only 13 percent of their teachers are,'' he said.

Barack opened things up on a personal and honest level that addressed resentments and offered a way out of patterns that repeat.

It was a very frank speech. John Kerry and Al Gore did not talk like that.

Clinton never quite went all the way there. But, like I said, was great at retailing a point.

by kid oakland 2008-03-18 08:40AM | 0 recs
It blows me away how many cool comments

are on this thread, in such a short amount of time. Man. MyDD is jumpin' today!!

by Trey Rentz 2008-03-18 08:37AM | 0 recs
he did.

by omar little 2008-03-18 08:38AM | 0 recs
Re: he did.

You don't honestly believe he wrote that speech all by himself? If so, that's very naive, but I'm not surprised. Many people connected to the Obama campaign, either directly or as a supporter, are way too naive especially about the primary process. This is off-topic, but you actually think the primary process is supposed to be fair.

by zenful6219 2008-03-18 08:45AM | 0 recs
by omar little 2008-03-18 09:33AM | 0 recs
Re: he did.

Obama wrote the speech.  He wrote his 2002 Iraq speech and his 2004 convention speech.  He wrote the MLK day speech.  He has lots of imput on all of his speeches even now that he has a hotshot young speech writer.

Crazy thing; Obama turns out to be a law professor with tons of experience in writing speeches.  Imagine a politician that knows how to read, speak, AND write!

by Dracomicron 2008-03-18 10:09AM | 0 recs
Re: Thoughts on the Obama Speech

Ace in the hole. This speech should go in the history books. This candidacy should (and will) go in the history books. This was one of the most "presidential" speeches I have ever heard a candidate give in my life, if not THE most. It challenges every American to be better, from top-down and bottom-up. He didn't dance around issues as most politicians and people in the public light do. If you didn't feel challenged to be a better American after listening to this speech, you were not paying attention.

by ListenNOW 2008-03-18 08:38AM | 0 recs
Re: Thoughts on the Obama Speech

I honestly wish that Bill Clinton would have looked into the camera and said, when asked. Yes. ok. I got a blowjob from Monica Lewinsky.
When that all went down.

Then again, if he had, maybe we wouldn't have seen moveon.org founded to censure him and later
become the force that its become. Eli Pariser
might still be looking at pictures of flying toasters screensavers...

You can't beat around the bush, if you're planning on beating up bush republicans.

More time to you!

by Trey Rentz 2008-03-18 08:43AM | 0 recs
Re: Thoughts on the Obama Speech

I didnt see BO so i have not commnent on speech.  But the real problem for BO is that "race" is now a central theme of his campaign even through he has been smart about not letting that happen up until super Tuesday and the TX, OH, RI results.  And the dkos crowd has done BO no favors in this regard by constantly being up race the wed after super Tuesday.

Elections are about what the voters think and race cuts both ways and this is most true for working class white voters.  These voters think enough has been done to address race.  These voters (and this is not speaking for myself) no longer agree with the need for things like afirmative action, etc or that racism exists in any significant way.

And remember these are working class voters who are often two working parent families that are just, and i mean JUST getting by, and they are really sick and tried of hearing about race and in there opinion expected to suffer from some kind of collect guilty about slavery or seperate but equal.

That is the problem for BO.  These voters see comments like his, and my guess this speech, as more about PC than racism and race in america.  BO hasnt done well with these voters and my guess is after the whole Wright issue and this speech these voters will continue to move away from BO.  The truth is these voters are sick of hearing about race and want someone to address what they see as their own issues of being working class families living pay check to pay check and keeping their jobs.

david

by giusd 2008-03-18 08:38AM | 0 recs
Re: Thoughts on the Obama Speech

Wait until you see the speech.  You will be pleasantly surprised that he addressed the issue correctly, not as an excuse to bash any other candidate.

by GFORD 2008-03-18 08:42AM | 0 recs
I think it did turn the corner

Scandals have two trajectories.  They either rise and rise which causes the press to report on the effect of the scandal which causes them to rise some more and it becomes a feedback loop.  If that doesn't happen, they tend to dampen quickly because the press gets bored with the story and wants to cover something else.

Coming into February, I was worried about two things, Rezko and Wright.   I didn't see the damage in either case, but I still can't believe that Dean was brought down by poor microphone placement in a room in Iowa.  So I was worried.

The press relieved some of my fears in their post game comments.  They were talking about turning the corner and the narrative being changed.  It then comes down to next week's polls.   If the damage is stopped (and especially if it's reversed), then this "issue" is largely defused.  If Obama can get past this, I don't know what's left to cause issues.

It doesn't mean a free November win, but I'm feeling better today than I did yesterday.

by thezzyzx 2008-03-18 08:46AM | 0 recs
Re: Thoughts on the Obama Speech

The speech was pretty good as far as those things go.

I can't help but to think he brought all this drama upon himself.  Before this Wright thing blew up in his face he was more than willing to toss around cries of "the race card" as if it was rice at a wedding.  

So, he gets no sympathy from me b/c he chose to play this way.

by BRockNYC 2008-03-18 08:47AM | 0 recs
Re: Thoughts on the Obama Speech

David/giusd,

You couldn't be more right.  What you stated are exactly my thoughts, only you wrote it much more eloquently.

Great speech, but did nothing for working class white voters.  These are the voters he is beginning to lose and I don't see this stopping the bleed.

Obama will probably still win the primary, however if this happened sooner, he would not have won the primary.  I don't see how he can possibly win the GE though.  

by Scope441 2008-03-18 08:49AM | 0 recs
Re: Thoughts on the Obama Speech

Thanks,

But as for the GE the BO campaign thinks it can off set losing reagan dems by bring in new young voters and winning big with Indies.  We shall see if that is the case.  If he was running against Rommey this would work but against McCain BO may not do well enough with indies to make up for what he will lose with working class voters.  IMHO his only real chance of winning is to put HRC in the VP slot but IMHO his dkos crowd would never go for this.

david

by giusd 2008-03-18 09:02AM | 0 recs
Re: Thoughts on the Obama Speech

Obama seems to be unable to disown Wright solely based on his racially divisive comments, but Obama is perfectly willing to disown Ferraro because of her comments. Her comments were not nearly as divisive as Wright's, yet he practically demanded her head. Could someone explain this disparity?

by zenful6219 2008-03-18 08:52AM | 0 recs
Re: Thoughts on the Obama Speech

This speech is all about not disowning, disavowing, denouncing, or rejecting Ferraro, Wright, or anyone that has a view that might not be politically correct.

by Dracomicron 2008-03-18 10:35AM | 0 recs
Re: Thoughts on the Obama Speech

youtube link for those who wish to listen before they put foot in mouth

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pWe7wTVbL UU

by beachbum bob 2008-03-18 08:52AM | 0 recs
Re: Thoughts on the Obama Speech

Admittedly, I am a Hillary supporter but I have no trouble supporting him should he walk away with the nomination.  Still don't because I think the Supreme Court is a very big issue coming up.  However, I have reservations with him in the general.  I know some idiots who have openly stated that they will vote for McCain if Obama is the dem nominee based on their perception that he is less patriotic and more prone to go against Israel if elected.  Can he win in the general when we know the GOP will be using every means to paint him as a Wright subordinate and possibly driving away any white male support?  I am not sure and fear losing the WH in November.  Time will tell if this speech, as electrifying as it is, can undo that perception.  The PA vote may tell the story in the end.  

by Pat J 2008-03-18 08:55AM | 0 recs
Can You Say "Lynch Mob?"

"That uppity colored has insulted the honor of Missy Ferraro!"

Is it really all about defending white women from predatory black men? Ferraro herself claims she is being attacked "because she is a white woman," which was a strikingly Klan like dog whistle.

by bernardpliers 2008-03-18 08:55AM | 0 recs
Great Post.

A reminder of why I still wade around in the much here at times.

by Brillobreaks 2008-03-18 09:06AM | 0 recs
Yes n/t

by Roberta 2008-03-18 09:18AM | 0 recs
Re: Thoughts on the Obama Speech

Truly a historically significant speech.

Ranks with anything given in the last 50 years.  

Not since JFK's inauguration have we seen such statesmanship.

Obama acknowledged why Wright's comments upset people and why they were wrong.  But he could not throw Wright under the bus, and it is this kind of loyalty, so lacking in opportunistic politicians  like The Clintons, that will appeal the most to the crossover voter, the white working class male.  Those people know about loyalty.  

Thankfully, finally we have seen some honest and forthright dialog about race in our political culture.  Truly, only Obama can absorb and reflect both sides of this issue because of his heritage.

The Clinton Kool-Aid drinkers must shrivel up and blow away in the face of this oratorial magnificence.  Hilary's campaign is over.  This is the moment that historians will point to in the future as marking Obama's inevitable march to the Presidency.  Count on it.  

by Reluctantpopstar 2008-03-18 09:32AM | 0 recs
Re: He betrayed the memory of his Grandmother

Comparing her private conversations to his minister's repeated attacks on  the Government, Jews and  whites in general is not only not analogous it is a disgrace to the memory of his Grandmother. People that respect their families don't drag out minor indiscretions to further their own gains. Horrible and it shows how much he values the relationship with Wright.

by coolofthenight 2008-03-18 09:33AM | 0 recs
Re: He betrayed the memory of his Grandmother

I agree. My sweet mother would use a phrase or word not even analyzing where it came from - gyping someone perhaps from Gypsies? She never meant to offend my Jewish husband by using "jewing down" for bargaining. She loved him to death and he never took offense. She was just repeating what her parents said. All that was in family. My mother wasn't a public figure that shouted it to an audience.

by ellend818 2008-03-18 11:51AM | 0 recs
Re: Thoughts on the Obama Speech

Yes, you missed that part. You missed the part about Wright being a very influential speaker. You missed the part about him treating every white person he was around with dignity and respect. You missed the part about Wright being a very strong spiritual leader.

You've probably missed that a school of divinity in Dallas is honoring Wright next week, after school officials went back over all of the sermons and double-checked.

Wright definitely crossed a number of lines in the inflammatory remarks he's made. No question. Obama made that exceedingly clear, and that he did not in any way agree with them.

Wright is also very clearly a highly spiritual person, most of whose teaching is very uplifting, and who's done an enormous amount of good.

As Obama himself said: if all you knew of Wright was the remarks on YouTube, of course you wouldn't associate with them, and he wouldn't have.

But there's far more there than those remarks, and to his credit, Obama acknowledged it and moved the debate from one pastor to our entire society.

by Texas Gray Wolf 2008-03-18 09:38AM | 0 recs
Re: Thoughts on the Obama Speech

No, Ferraro's comments were WORSE than Wright's.

She should know that it's just not true that Obama wouldn't be in the position he's in if he was a white man, or a woman of any color, which is what she said.  That's a load of garbage.

He is where is because he's an expert politician, a very talented speaker, and here's the part where jealousy comes in...he actually inspires his followers and invokes passion instead of shrugs and mere nods of the head.  

Geraldine Ferraro, and you can take this as an insult if you like, is merely a competent run-of-the-mill politician.

Wright's comments come from a long history of deprivation and frustration.  We should be lucky that people like Wright are merely screaming out their frustrations, not doing anything worse than that.

Ferraro's comments were those of a desperate supporter of a losing candidate lashing out at her opponent in the most childish and destructive of ways.

by Reluctantpopstar 2008-03-18 09:44AM | 0 recs
Re: Thoughts on the Obama Speech

"Ferraro's comments were those of a desperate supporter of a losing candidate lashing out at her opponent in the most childish and destructive of ways."

You have absolutely no idea what you are talking about. The lies and deceit of the Obama campaign in trashing Geraldine Ferraro will alienate many of us from ever supporting him under any circumstances.

by 07rescue 2008-03-18 10:12AM | 0 recs
Defended the status quo

Do I understand why some people liked some of this speech?  Yes.  Do I understand why some people did not like some of this speech?  Yes.  Was this a speech that actually proposed real change, maybe audacious change?  No.

Did he offer something truly new, truly big - like he would work to sunset all legislation that extends preferential opportunity based on race; and seek to replace it with legislation that extends preferential opportunity based on economics (i.e., help the lower class).  No he did not.

Instead he essentially defended the status quo.  And if you object to that characterization, then please take a look at how he ended his speech.  Specifically the story he told about Ashley Baia, and the "Perhaps somebody..." sentence.

"There is a young, twenty-three year old white woman named Ashley Baia who organized for our campaign in Florence, South Carolina. She had been working to organize a mostly African-American community since the beginning of this campaign, and one day she was at a roundtable discussion where everyone went around telling their story and why they were there."  "Now Ashley might have made a different choice. Perhaps somebody told her along the way that the source of her mothers problems were blacks who were on welfare and too lazy to work, or Hispanics who were coming into the country illegally. But she didn't. She sought out allies in her fight against injustice."

Would anyone care to argue that suggesting imaginary "facts" - "facts" that will anger certain racial groups - is not part of status quo racial politics?

Would anyone care to argue that the inclusion of an imaginary Hispanic slight was not an attempt to establish an "us versus them" sentiment (i.e., status quo racial politics)?  

Lastly, could that story have been told without the imaginary racial slights?  Yes.  So why didn't he tell it that way - and why did he end his speech with this story?

by just0me 2008-03-18 03:37PM | 0 recs

Diaries

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