Foreshadowing the Jeremiah Wright Scandal

If Barack gets past the primary, he might have to publicly distance himself from me. I said it to Barack personally, and he said yeah, that might have to happen.

- Jeremiah Wright, April 2007

Today, former Reverend Jeremiah Wright is nationally infamous as the controversial former head of President Barack Obama’s former church. During the primary campaign, tapes of Mr. Wright’s sermons did deep damage to Mr. Obama’s candidacy, to which Mr. Obama later responded with a unique and heartfelt speech about race. To this day the Wright affair remains the most damaging scandal the president has encountered.

ABC’s news report, however, was not the first time that a news organization reported about Mr. Wright’s controversial statements. Take, for instance, this fascinating New York Times story – a report written a full year before the Jeremiah Wright scandal exploded.

The story is titled “A Candidate, His Minister, and the Search for Faith.” Generally the report is about what the title says it is – Mr. Obama’s experience with religion and the black church. Given Mr. Wright’s involvement with the latter, he is also a presence in the report.

The Times cannot help but note several of Mr. Wright’s controversial stances, including his support for black liberation theology. It quotes a professor who says that “Some white people hear it [black liberation theology] as racism in reverse.” Later, a long quote goes:

Mr. Wright’s political statements may be more controversial than his theological ones. He has said that Zionism has an element of “white racism.” (For its part, the Anti-Defamation League says it has no evidence of any anti-Semitism by Mr. Wright.)

On the Sunday after the terrorist attacks of 9/11, Mr. Wright said the attacks were a consequence of violent American policies. Four years later he wrote that the attacks had proved that “people of color had not gone away, faded into the woodwork or just ‘disappeared’ as the Great White West went on its merry way of ignoring Black concerns.”

Presumably the reporter had read Mr. Wright’s statement that “America’s chickens are coming home to roost,” or something quite similar.

What is most interesting about this report is what happened afterwards: nothing. No controversy broke out. Fox News did not take up the report. The story disappeared into the black hole of history, even though it expressed concern about many of the same things ABC News later would.

There are reasons for why this happened. A written description of a controversial statement holds much less power to incite than actually hearing said statement on video. This is especially true with Mr. Wright, who preached in a particularly passionate and inflammatory manner. And Mr. Obama’s candidacy was barely known in April of 2007; he still trailed far behind Ms. Clinton at the time, and most did not believe the candidate had a chance of becoming president.

The story finishes with a distinctly prophetic statement – the quote at the beginning of the page. More than a year before the Jeremiah Wright controversy exploded, Mr. Wright himself predicted that Mr. Obama “might have to publicly distance himself from me.”

And that is exactly what happened.




Crabs In A Barrel

     There is a saying in the black community that blacks cannot improve as a people because like crabs in a barrel whenever one tries to climb out of the barrel the other ones will pull him back down. The reaction of some of the so-called black leaders to the success of Senator Barack Obama seems to bear out this analogy. It seems like the closer he gets to making history the more the "haters" try to sabotage him. The sad part about this whole episode is that the same leaders who are critical of the Senator today, should he get elected will be at the White House the day after the inauguration looking for handouts.

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How does Obama explain this ?

Seriously, folks, as students of politics, please tell me how Senator Obama explains this away. ves/2008/06/barack-obamas-theolgy-an-int er.html

Full transcript of interview: ck-obama-2004-god-factor-interview.html

Do you still attend Trinity?

Yep. Every week. 11 oclock service.  

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So much for no Coattails

   Hillary Clinton's win in West VA is a good win for her. Though I wonder now if the Clinton supporters will stop the bullshit argument that Obama victories in red states don't matter, as Hillary supporters are certainly offended at the notion that West VA is meaningless. I'm glad they don't like it so much, so hopefully that garbage won't be spouted any more.

  Now on to another Hillary argument made in recent days that has been clearly disproven. That is the argument that Obama would be a detriment to down ticket races, that Obama's ties to Jeremiah Wright will kill us in November and that Hillary is the stronger candidate for down ticket candidates.

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Never Gonna Give Him Up?

Over the past few months, and even more so over the past few weeks, the establishment media has obsessed and obsessed and obsessed about comments made by Jeremiah Wright and the potentially deleterious affects those comments could have upon the presidential ambitions of Barack Obama. Nary an interview went by with the Illinois Senator where he was not asked about his former pastor, and a significant portion (roughly the first third) of the most recent debate centered on Wright and Wright-like insinuations. Wright even received more coverage in the elite media last week than did Hillary Clinton.

But for as much talk and print was dedicated to Wright, his impact on actual elections has been remarkably minimal. Certainly there is a decent proportion of voters telling pollsters that they care about Wright when prompted by the media (though whether they would name Wright as a major concern of theirs in more-properly worded open ended question that did not beg a certain result remains unclear). (It's also unclear as to which voters really care about Wright -- if it's Democratic voters or Independents who would otherwise vote or consider voting for the Democratic nominee, or if it is predominantly the conservative Republican base that would vote for the GOP nominee no matter what.) Yet proof that Wright had a long-lasting negative affect upon Obama, or the Democratic Party for that matter, is decidedly absent in actual election results.

In the run up to the special congressional election in a very Republican-leaning district in Louisiana over the weekend, Republicans and groups supporting the GOP expended hundreds of thousands of dollars -- perhaps even over a million -- trying to tie Democratic nominee Don Cazayoux to Obama (as well as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi) in the hopes of painting Cazayoux as a wrong fit for the district. Although the ads in Louisiana did not feature Wright specifically, the implication was clear, particularly given the fact that Wright dominated the news coverage that week (as noted above). Despite these attacks (or perhaps in spite of them) and despite the fact that the district, which tended to lean about 7 points more Republican than the nation as a whole in presidential elections, had been in Republican hands for more than three decades, Cazayoux nevertheless won by a healthy 3-point margin.

Leading into yesterday's primary elections in Indiana and North Carolina there was likewise a significant amount of talk and speculation about whether Wright would sink Obama. Indeed, when prompted by exit pollsters as to whether Wright impacted their vote, about half of Indiana voters yesterday said yes (although, again, I would caution against reading too much into a question that prompts a response like this and would instead wait to see if Wright showed up significantly in an open-ended question in which respondents actually named Wright over other issues like the economy or Iraq before biting too hard). Nevertheless, Obama exceeded expectations in both North Carolina and Indiana, winning the first by a solid margin (by more popular votes than Clinton won Pennsylvania, for instance) and only narrowly losing in the second (by just under two percentage points).

If weeks upon weeks upon weeks of Obama being pummeled in the media couldn't stop him from doing what he needed to last night, and if in the wake of the coverage Obama still isn't a drag on Democratic candidates down ballot -- even in some of the redder areas of the country -- isn't it about time for the media to stop speculating about Obama's potential Wright problem, and in fact just stop talking about Wright altogether? Haven't voters made it clear enough that they care about gas prices and the economy and Iraq -- and George W. Bush, for that matter -- more than they do about a presidential candidate's former pastor? Or are those in the elite press never gonna give him up?

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