Want Unity? Start By Condemning Hate-Speech
by alegre, Fri May 30, 2008 at 03:55:21 PM EDT
Ya know, I hear all this talk about wanting to bring our party together once our nominee is chosen at the convention in Denver, but when this latest in a long string of incidences of hate-speech crop up, all we get are more of the same half-assed statements ("deeply disappointed") from camp Obama distancing himself from... (fill in the blank).
(Credit goes to NoQuarter for first posting this - it's all over the net now and the networks are starting to air it as well)
Howard Wolfson spoke to this issue in a statement yesterday, in which he noted that Obama has yet to condemn this guy...
"Divisive and hateful language like that is totally counterproductive in our efforts to bring our party together and have no place at the pulpit or in our politics. We are disappointed that Senator Obama didn't specifically reject Father's Pflegler's despicable comments about Senator Clinton, and assume he will do so."
It's not like this is just a casual acquaintance of Obama's either. From Jake Tapper...
Father Michael Pfleger, a fiery liberal social activist and a white reverend at an African-American church -- St. Sabina's Catholic Church on the South Side of Chicago -- is a longtime friend and associate of Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, having known him since the presidential hopeful was a community activist. In September, the Obama campaign brought Pfleger to Iowa to host one of several interfaith forums for the campaign.
Their relationship spans decades. Pfleger has given money to Obama's campaigns and Obama as a state legislator directed at least $225,000 towards social programs at St. Sabina's, according to the Chicago Tribune.
He then goes on to describe how the current pastor of Obama's church praised Pfleger after he delivered that sexist diatribe from his pulpit
The tape, which just shows this one controversial part of Pfleger's sermon, then cuts to Moss thanking Pfleger: "We thank God for the message, we thank God for the messenger, we thank God for Father Michael Pfleger," Moss says.
Tapper then goes on to note that since this video's seen the light of day outside his church, Sen. Obama's campaign has scrubbed their web-site of any mention of Pfleger. Do you think he's worried this longstanding association with this hate-monger will in any way, shape, or form damage his chances of securing the nomination? Especially among women voters?
You want unity guys - start by issuing a no-holds-barred condemnation specifically aimed at what this hate-monger said. Tell the world in no uncertain terms that you will not be associated with these hateful and sexist rants - attacks that are directed against a fine and decent woman and public servant. Stand up to the haters - tell them that attacks on your colleagues in the US Senate are an attack on you and you condemn them without hesitation or equivocation.
Make it clear that you want nothing to do with the speaker or those who would cheer him on.
One thing seems clear though, Obama's apparent tolerance for these sexist and hateful attacks on Hillary - or women in general is definitely hurting him among that demographic of the electorate. You'd think - since he doesn't seem to care about how a woman is attacked by his friends and associates - that winning us over at the polls would at least cause him to condemn Pfleger's hate-speech.
Barack Obama's favorability ratings among white women has declined significantly in recent months, particularly among Democrats and independents, presenting an immediate obstacle for the likely Democratic nominee as he moves to shore up his party's base.
According to a new report by The Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, half of white women now have a negative perception of Obama.
Forty-nine percent of white women view Obama unfavorably, while only 43 percent hold a favorable opinion. In February, 36 percent of these women viewed Obama unfavorably, while 56 percent had a positive perception of the likely Democratic nominee.
White women as a whole now prefer John McCain over Obama, by 49 percent to 41 percent. Last month, Obama was ahead of McCain among white women, 49 percent to 46 percent.
"There is no question that white women were -- especially older women, not young women -- Hillary's Clinton's base in the primary, and there is going to be some repair work that has to be done," Democratic analyst Anna Greenberg said.
So he's clearly got his work cut out for him in winning us over should he prevail in Denver. His relative silence in the face of the hateful and sexist tone of this campaign doesn't just affect his popularity with white women. It seems his strong-arm tactics in Texas may hurt his chances with one of his own supporters.
From the Houston Chronicle...
Texas Democratic Party Vice Chairwoman Roy LaVerne Brooks is a superdelegate who endorsed Barack Obama in March.
The longtime party activist from Fort Worth is also running to unseat current state party Chairman Boyd Richie.
Imagine her surprise Tuesday when she received a disturbing phone call from a national Obama operative who is part of a group that parachuted into Texas to work on this weekend's state party convention.
Roy says the operative, Rudy Shank, told her that unless she drops her candidacy to unseat Richie at the state convention she will not be going to the national convention as a superdelegate.
There are ironies in the request by an Obama operative that Brooks back off the chairman's race.
One is that she is an African-American. The state Democratic chairman has traditionally been a white male, with an occasional white female slipping in.
All of this begs the question: Why would the national Obama campaign involve itself in a state race?
Thursday night, two nights after Shank made his call to Brooks, Richie announced his endorsement of Obama.
Brooks said she told Shank she would stay in the race.
"I made the comment that I may need to jump over to Hillary's side because I'm not going to be treated like a dish rag," she said.
I asked if she was serious.
"I'm very serious if they keep trying to get me out of the race and I learn that Obama is behind it," she said.
Frankly, I hope she tells them to take a hike and goes with the candidate who doesn't try to shove women aside in a political contest.
I've always said I'll support whoever the nominee is and that probably still stands. But I'm pretty pissed at seeing yet another example of hateful speech that gets only a lukewarm response from the guy who wants to lead our party in the general election.
Women are pissed off - it's time BO either condemned this hate-speech or stopped all this talk of unity.
He needs to condemn this shite whenever and wherever it crops up in our discourse.
Oh and one other thing... his top advisor might want to cut his ties with Plfeger's church...
David Axelrod, Obama's top advisor, is on the Raising the Roof for St. Sabina Committee.
He is third in line from the top after the Mayor and Pfleger. This is a committee to raise 1.5 million for repairs to the church.
Raising the Roof for St. Sabina Committee (information)
Richard M. Daley
Rev. Michael L. Pfleger
Ald. Ed Burke
Obama's got a lot of work to do if he wants to win over Hillary's supporters and the sooner he gets serious about getting that work done, the better.
In the meantime, we're going to fight like hell to make sure she gets the nomination because if he's in this much trouble with a huge chunk of Democrats (and shows little or no interest in standing up to hate-speech directed at one of us), then what's that say about his chances with the voters overall if he makes it in to the general election?
He needs us so he'd better start acting like he wants our support. There's an old saying in politics - people like to be asked for their vote.
Well Obama's talking a good game but so far all I've seen are empty words. It's time for action when it comes to hate-speech like this. He needs to condemn Pfleger and cut all ties with him.
And he needs to do it now.