Spiegel Interview with Barack Obama's Pastor
by jg40, Tue Mar 13, 2007 at 09:01:20 AM EDT
It seems as if the supposed 'rift' between Obama and Rev. Wright may have been overstated or blown out of proportion. At any rate, he still seem to be very supportive of him even if he has doubts he can win.
SPIEGEL: Barack Obama has been criticized as a so-called "post-racial politician" who shies away from those interests traditionally important to black voters in the United States...
Wright: I think that criticism is unjustified. It's a cute term, but he shouldn't be criticized for who he is -- a person who doesn't "play the race card," but who instead talks about the issues. Look at it this way. Nobody wants their wives to live in fear of getting from the house to the grocery store or to her job. Whether they're black wives or white wives isn't the issue. I don't care what color they are. The bullets don't discriminate. We've got to do something to make sure they have a safe environment. Now to call that post-racial is unfair. We've got some common needs that we need to address. How do we put policies in place that will ensure their safety in the future? That's the kind of politician Barack is.
SPIEGEL: Do you think he will be President in two years?
Wright: No. Unless Barak pulls off nationally what he was able to pull off locally, and wins the hearts and minds of people who have been perennially anti-black. Racism is so deeply engrained in this country that he could be flawless in terms of his policies. But he's still a black man in this country, which has a sorry history in terms of how it sees African-American males. That's my 65-year-old, jaded perception of where this country is. I was pleasantly surprised in the Senate election. I would like to be as pleasantly surprised in the presidential election.
There is also this interview from last month, a few days before he announced, that suggets a greater understanding and sensitivity by Wright of the politcal realities that Obama has to deal with than the NYT article last week suggests:
That kind of negative imaging I said might be harmful to him in terms of what he was trying to do in building coalitions and getting other churches to do things, again, for the benefit of the people. That would never happen just because they're going to associate your name with mine. That could be detrimental, I told him back then. It holds just as true, even more so, now. In fact, I just shared with, I was trying to remember who it is, somebody in public life was asking me about Barack, and I said listen, Barack might be forced by the media and/or by supporters to be very absent from this church and to put distance between our church and himself. As a politician, he might be forced into that. I have not talked to him about that at all. It's just that my read just of the blogs and what the right-Christian-wing leaders have said about him being a part of our church over past three months says this is -- you think it's ugly now, it's going to get worse, it's going to get much worse. For survival's sake, as a politician he just might have to not -- not that I love you less, I love me more. I'll never get elected as long as they keep harping on this. And that's -- again, I haven't talked to him about that at all.
Q: How do you feel about that?
A: I would understand. I really would. I would understand. For instance ... he can't afford the Jewish support to wane or start questioning his allegiance to the state of Israel because I'm saying the position we've taken in terms of Palestinians is wrong, and I think we need to revisit that. Just that kind of statement would cause negative repercussions in some quarters in terms of some supporters, in terms of some people he needs to support his election campaign.
Q: So you're willing to distance?
A: Yeah. I don't want to hurt him. ...