Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Barack Can't Hide

The New York Times goes front page today with an attempt by TV reporter Alessandra Stanley to minimize the effect of Jeremiah Wright by turning him into Billy Carter. President Carter's brother happily played the family's black sheep when he realized he could turn his red neck status into money via exploits like Billy Beer.
Mr. Wright revealed himself to be the compelling but slightly wacky uncle who unsettles strangers but really just craves attention.
He's just a silly, endearing old guy who you have to chuckle at, isn't he? This attempt to gloss over the impact and importance of Reverend Wright is cynical and completely off the mark.

Wright is important for two reasons - first, for the reason he claims - he is our conduit to the "black church" in America, and now that the door has been opened, the nation gets to see the racism and contempt for the country that is routine behind those doors.

Second, Wright is important because he provides a vivid opportunity to see the core discomfort with this country that is foundational for liberals. Many of the Wright views, outrageous to most, elicit only shoulder shrugs from the liberal establishment. Move-on.org has no problem with his statements, as his name doesn't even appear on the site's front page today. The dailykos.com angle is "Still bashing Obama on Fox."

Yup. Its all the Fox News Channel's fault.

The outrageous portrayal of Wright that Barack and Wright have both claimed was the result of poor context has now been shown to be entirely accurate, not the result of a sound bite war against him.

Wright gave context to those sound bites yesterday when speaking to the National Press Club yesterday in Washington:

But for the third time in four days, Mr. Wright made a high-profile public appearance to discuss and repeat some of his more controversial statements, this time at the National Press Club in Washington. Mr. Wright suggested that the attacks of Sept. 11 were at least in part a response by terrorists to terrorism practiced by the United States abroad. “You cannot do terrorism on other people and expect it never to come back on you,” he said.

He stood by his suggestion that the United States might have invented H.I.V., the virus that causes AIDS. He defended the Rev. Louis Farrakhan — whom he referred to at times just by his first name — noting his large appeal among African-Americans.

In his appearance Friday with Bill Moyers (what a poor excuse for a journalist this guy is), Reverend Wright was presented in context from the same sermons that were so upsetting out of context. Moyers was apparently biased enough to think that showing a longer segment would make things better, but my blood was boiling watching this:

As for context, Bill Moyers played a long clip from the post-9/11 "America's chickens are coming home to roost" sermon. Wright said that America had taken its land by terror from the Indians; had enslaved Africans; had bombed Hiroshima and Nagasaki (weren't we in a death struggle with Japan, which had attacked Pearl Harbor?); had bombed Iraq, Sudan and Panama; and had backed state-supported terrorism against the Palestinians.

Remember Barack's first, half-back statement rejecting Wright's comments when the clips hit the news cycle in mid-March? These are from the Keith Olbermann interview:

But these particular statements that had been gathered* are ones that I strongly objected to and strongly condemned. Had I heard them in church, I would have expressed that concern directly to Reverend Wright. So, I didn't familiar with these until recently.

But I have to say that the comments that have been played are ones that are contrary to what I believe,** what I think of this country, the love that I have for this country and, you know, are ones that anger and distress me.

But Wright cannot be pushed into the closet as a familial embarrassment. While the news stories of recent days try to make this look like bad news for Obama because Wright is stealing the news cycle, its much worse than that. It demonstrates clearly, as does Barack's friendship with William Ayer, that Obama is quite comfortable traveling in the circles that these guys travel in, and we can rightly infer that he's quite comfortable with their disdain for this country.

This is Barack's problem with Reverend Wright. The record is clear - there's no where to hide.

* "that had been gathered" - This phrase kills me - it shows Barack trying to confuse with odd tenses as well as putting himself into the position of being victimized by those who did the gathering, rather than being a victim of his own poor judgement.

** "the comments that have been played are ones that are contrary to what I believe." Again, some tricky use of the language to make it appear, quite falsely we now know, that these clips are anomolous outrages rather than the standard Wright radicalism.

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