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Obama’s Teachable Moment

Posted on Mar 18, 2008

As the controversy over remarks by his former pastor continues to get play in the media, Barack Obama escalated the damage control by giving a major speech on the subject of race and politics. His ability to distill the conflict and character of America into moving rhetoric is as impressive as ever, but will it be enough to weather this storm?

Some initial reviews of the speech—mostly positive—can be found here.

Also, Hillary Clinton says she’s “very glad” Obama gave the speech, though she hasn’t heard it.

Watch it:


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By Mike W, March 24, 2008 at 2:49 pm Link to this comment

The rev. and his HIV comments.

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By Michael Shaw, March 23, 2008 at 8:55 pm Link to this comment

I agree with you about the handgun issue but I don’t see that as a determining factor. I’m not trying to cheapen the issue believe me. But I believe the greatest determining factor is Bush himself. He may well go down in history as the greatest uniter of them all. Regardless of the color of the skin, religion or culture, the majority of the working class are getting screwed and they know by whom. They also seem to be getting behind the candidate they believe has the best chance to beat McCain, who as you know is only another link in the corporatist-MIC, “stay the course” chain of mentality.

Like you I supported Kucinich and believe in fact it will ultimately take someone like him(lack of charisma or not) to get us out of this deep mess we’re falling into. That said and just as you said, time will tell. Regardless of what does happen or whomever eventually does get elected, I think people will collectively echo a sigh of great relief once the neocongameartists are out the door.

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By cyrena, March 23, 2008 at 8:17 pm Link to this comment

Paolo and all who may be interested,

I’ve just finished an excellent piece by a familiar author that would appear serendipitous to the discussion here. While it is useful to my own broader studies, as well as that of some of my colleagues who teach or study constitutional law, it is also germane to our discussion here. (Actually, that is the purpose of the article…to evaluate the foundation of the remarks from Jeremiah Wright).

Anyway, in the piece, (to which I’ve included a link and a few excerpts) the author also addresses this alleged comment about the AIDS, and he goes on to address the real incident of the Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment, so he and I were apparently on the same brain wave in that interpretation. 

Anyway, it is a somewhat lengthy piece, (5 pages) that may or may not be of interest to you, particularly at the onset, because he does do an excellent evaluation of the legal foundation (based in the Constitution) for slavery and the history that developed from it to form the social conditions that exist today.

The point is to put into context, (based on the truths of the foundation of the U.S) the statements by Rev. Wright.

So, here are just a few excerpts, and you can read the entire thing if you like. I think it is very informative.

“.. Most of the discussion and commentary about Dr. Wright’s sermons have come from a predominantly white media. The points of discussion have centered on what they consider to be the “vile, racist and un-American things” said by Dr. Wright. Very few, if any, of the discussions have focused on the historical basis and accuracy of what Dr. Wright actually said..”

“…The major problem with the discussions is they have been largely one-sided. The media have used the imagery of Dr. Wright, clad in African garb, shouting in the cadence of an old-time fire and brimstone minister and playing to the camera as a scare tactic.. The reporting and commentary on Dr. Wright’s words have been presented from the perspective of people who either have no appreciation for the African-American historical experience or a personal agenda when it comes to presenting these issues.”

Then he gives an excellent breakdown, to finish up with this:

“I can understand people being uncomfortable with the comments made by the Rev. Dr. Jeremiah Wright. White Americans have also been lied to, miseducated and desensitized about the plight of African-Americans. With the help of the social conservative agenda, many have developed a “deaf ear” when it comes to issues regarding race. The truth, especially an ugly truth that forces Americans to examine the precepts of America, “with liberty and justice for all,” and compare them with the hypocrisy of the American reality can be troubling. For far too long, Americans have been lulled into a false sense of security. Americans have believed history as told by the oppressor and failed to understand the reality of the oppressed.”

“Dr. Wright is not un-American. He embodies what America was founded upon, the free exchange of ideas in the public space, speaking truth to power, challenging America to be the best that it can be. The Rev. Dr. Jeremiah Wright’s views might not reconcile with many Americans’ PERCEPTIONS of America, but they must not be discarded as the ranting of an angry man. His statements were founded in the historical truths that African-Americans have and continue to live through.”

(my emphasis on the perceptions, since that is the crux of the discussion, at least IMHO).

Dr. Wilmer J. Leon III:
The Rev. Dr. Jeremiah Wright
and the Audacity of Truth

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By Paolo, March 23, 2008 at 6:50 pm Link to this comment

Change the subject? My goodness, Joe in Maine—perhaps you should give someone a chance to RESPOND to you before you talk about “changing the subject.” Just a suggestion. Do try to be reasonable.

In fact, it is YOU who “changed the subject” by bringing up Hitler in a really poor analogy.

Your comment on Hitler’s final solution is a great example why poor analogy is the weakest form of argument. Reverend Wright has not called for the extermination of white people. Reverend Wright, as I pointed out, often states the facts correctly, and often draws the right conclusion. The alleged comment about AIDS (see Cyrena’s comment also regarding this) is best characterized as “loopy” if in fact he ever said it. In the context of Tuskeegee and other blatantly racist practices in the USA in the 20th century, I can understand his context, though I would disagree.

In like manner, if a Jewish person said, “God Damn Germany” I would understand his point of view, though I would disagree. If that person is open to rational discussion, he would probably take back the remark after discussing many of Germany’s great accomplishments.

It’s called building a bridge to someone else’s context. I would not be surprised to find that Reverend Wright might modify some of his viewpoints if he were to engage in a friendly, reasonable discussion about these issues.

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By Leefeller, March 23, 2008 at 6:38 pm Link to this comment

Thanks for filling in the blanks.  Choosing for the best of the worst is something I am getting tired of.

For me Obama provides a different face, only because I really do not want to see the haggard old Clintons on TV, and I do not even watch TV.

Has McCain or Hillary filled in on the “Heller v. DC”?

Let’s face it, look what happened to Kucinich, special interests made sure he and Gravel and John Paul did not even make the early rounds.  We both know why.

We the people are serfs to the eliete, just of a slightly different time from the dark ages, we are still cannon fodder and used to enhance the wealth of the wealthy.

As an atheist, I find Wrights comments enlightening,  not unifying. Of course the separation of state and Church is important to protect some of us who do not feel obligated to that line of reason.

Thanks, J.F. Refreshing comments.

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By Paolo, March 23, 2008 at 6:29 pm Link to this comment


You may well be right. I haven’t heard any audio cut in which Wright actually says AIDS was created by the government. I probably heard it from the right-wing echo chamber.

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By cyrena, March 23, 2008 at 3:02 pm Link to this comment


Thanks for this excellent essay. It is much appreciated when any American, (and specifically an anglo-American) makes it a point to view any situation from the position of ‘the other’.

Now I have a question, (and it is only a question – because I’m uniformed on this) regarding this statement specifically:

•  “A few of his claims are a bit loopy, such as the idea that the US government created AIDS in order to kill black people.”

I ask because I’ve never heard the part(s) of any of Wright’s sermon’s that specifically made this claim in reference to AIDS (or HIV is what we should probably call it, since it is the virus that creates the disease/disorder AIDS) and blacks. That’s not to say that he did not, but only that I didn’t hear or read this specifically.

I mention this because, as we know, things do ‘change’ in a pass-the-word sort of a way. I specifically remember claims of the US government being responsible for the creation of this disease, as FAR BACK AS 1985, which is a good way back. It was back when AIDS was just coming to the attention of Americans, and at the time, the claim was that it’s victims were primarily homosexuals, IV drug users, and people with already compromised blood disorders. Remember, we’re talking about over 2 decades ago, not long after the first celebrity death attributed to the disease. At or around the same time, there was also a movie produced, (based on a book maybe?) that made the same suggestions…that this virus had either been produced by the US government, or had been allowed to infiltrate. There was also the claim that the virus had been allowed into the US by a monkey from somewhere in Africa. Again…this all dates way back, and from my own memories, nothing was ever more than conspiracy stuff. On the other hand, the same could be said of many things.

That said, this connection between the US gov. and the AIDS virus, is not a new thing, and it’s made other connections to other groups in the past. I know of nothing myself, that would substantiate this story about the US creating the virus.

HOWEVER, there was an ‘experiment’ conducted by the US government (PHS) on black men who had contracted syphilis. They were not DELIBERATELY infected with the thing, but they were deliberately left untreated for the purposes of experimentation.

I believe, (though I cannot be certain) that it is THIS EVENT, to which Rev Right was speaking, and NOT to any claims of HIVAIDS, as having been designed to use on black people. That’s why it’s worth re-examining what it was that Wright actually said, because there is a huge difference. There is a link below, to the actual experiment that DID take place, to which I believe he was speaking.

The Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment

“The United States government did something that was wrong—deeply, profoundly, morally wrong. It was an outrage to our commitment to integrity and equality for all our citizens. . . . clearly racist.”

—President Clinton’s apology for the Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment to the eight remaining survivors, May 16, 1997

For forty years between 1932 and 1972, the U.S. Public Health Service (PHS) conducted an experiment on 399 black men in the late stages of syphilis. These men, for the most part illiterate sharecroppers from one of the poorest counties in Alabama, were never told what disease they were suffering from or of its seriousness. Informed that they were being treated for “bad blood,”1 their doctors had no intention of curing them of syphilis at all. The data for the experiment was to be collected from autopsies of the men, and they were thus deliberately left to degenerate under the ravages of tertiary syphilis—which can include tumors, heart disease, paralysis, blindness, insanity, and death. “As I see it,” one of the doctors involved explained, “we have no further interest in these patients until they die.”

And, thanks for the essay.

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By Leefeller, March 23, 2008 at 11:37 am Link to this comment

Any candidate who argues gun control is doomed to lose.  Gun control would be a good thing, but seems may never happen.  Death is a minor player in politics, we have seen that from the War comments.

As the political picture unfolds, I am seeing more in common between the contenders then differences.

When you say so many issues dropped by Obama, what others are you addressing besides the ones you talk about?

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By Joe Sixpack, March 23, 2008 at 8:06 am Link to this comment

“Meantime, maybe you should grow a thicker skin. If you perceive attacks as ‘personal’ maybe you should check the tone of your own posts, to consider if others might perceive yours in the same vein.”

While the tone of Obama supporters on Truthdig may be somewhat more civil, that is definately not the case elsewhere in the blogosphere. If you haven’t been to dailykos in a while, I encourage you to take a sample of the hateful vile. I was a poster there until a couple of weeks ago when someone suggested strongly that they had obtained (or at least tried) to find me through my ip address. I guess the intent was to ‘mess me up’ and that’s thuggary. Not unlinke my personal experience at the Maine caucus which the Obama precinct captain took over our caucus and bullied my neiighbors into supporting Obama. It’s not so bad here, which is why I enjoy being here. Hope you understand I have a family to consider. Politics is not as personal for me as it seems to be to others.

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By Joe Sixpack, March 23, 2008 at 7:52 am Link to this comment

“most thinking people”

Since when do a majority of voters fall into the above catagory?

You Obamabots are elitist and flat out wrong.

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By Joe Sixpack, March 23, 2008 at 7:48 am Link to this comment

So in your estimation Hitler’s final solution should be considered, “A hair anti-social” to further your personal political beliefs?

Should Obama be allowed to pass off this pastor’s incredibly divisive language and strong beliefs that he supported financially for 20 years as being the same thing as an old woman’s private fears that would have remained private if Obama hadn’t informed the world of it?

Go ahead and try to change the subject.

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By Paolo, March 23, 2008 at 7:41 am Link to this comment

Although I think Obama is less likely to harm the country than war-hawks Clinton or McCain, I am hardly an ardent supporter. Nonetheless, I think he has taken the right position regarding Reverend Wright.

First of all, Wright is often right, even if he expresses himself in a way that makes some people uncomfortable. In the audio cut I’ve heard the most, he states that the US nuked Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

This is true; we did in fact nuke those two cities.

He states that many more were killed in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, than were killed in 9-11. This is also undeniably true.

He states that the US has given uncritical, unquestioning support to Israel. This is also definitely true.

He stated that, on 9-11, many of our foreign policy “chickens” came home to roost. This is also true, unless you buy the line that people commit suicide and mass murder because they “hate freedom.”

A few of his claims are a bit loopy, such as the idea that the US government created AIDS in order to kill black people. However, given the context of black people, who have had to endure racism on the part of the government since the Civil War, I can understand his point of view, while I disagree with him.

His other remark, calling the USA the “US KKK of A,” is incendiary, but certainly arguable from a black person’s perspective. Certainly, many local government officials cooperated with or winked at the Klan during lynchings.

Finally, there is the “God Damn America” remark. Again, try to understand the other person’s perspective. Would you condemn a Jewish person who said, “God Damn Germany” after the Nazis killed his family? Or a Native American who might say “God Damn America” after General Sherman conducted a raid on his tribe, killing women and children? How about a Chinese person who might mutter “God Damn Japan” after the Rape of Nanking?

Actually, I think Reverend Wright might be an interesting fellow to have a conversation with. I would bet that, if you gently suggested that there are some things America can be proud of, he would agree (as would be the case with Japan and Germany).

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By cyrena, March 21, 2008 at 6:12 pm Link to this comment

Frank, herein lies your incorrect interpretation, which most thinking people fortunately do not share.

“...His rationalizing the racism of Wright is going to hurt him..”

It’s in the language Frank. First of all, Wright is NOT displaying RACISM. There is nothing RACIST about Wright’s comments, so that’s a huge blunder right there.

Since that alone is a totally incorrect perception, it follows that Obama wasn’t RATIONALIZING anything!!

If Obama had chosen to distance himself from this man for the simple reason that he was TELLING THE TRUTH about social injustices in America, (as if we don’t already know they exist) then THAT would reflect very poorly on Barack Obama.

Actually, if Barack Obama HAD indeed distanced himself, or otherwise chosen to ‘disown’ Rev. Wright as a result of his speaking the SAME TRUTHS that have been addressed by other brilliant humanists before him, (Martin Luther King Jr comes to mind) then I would have needed to revamp my own approval of his (Obama’s integrity and strength of character).

So, you don’t get it, and it is really not from voters like you, that Obama needs support.

At the end of the day, you and others like you will end up benefitting as well, from the leadership of someone with actual integrity. Just because..that’s the way it works.

Doesn’t seem fair, but…that’s life.

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By Frank Cajon, March 21, 2008 at 4:16 pm Link to this comment

Nice speech. Too bad that a man as obviously intelligent as Obama didn’t have the common sense to realize that 1) Running for President in an environment where every person you have ever known is going to be under the scope 24/7 on 20 channels of round the clock news TV shows; and 2) That racism is a two-way, zero tolerance street so cut and run from everyone, no matter how close a friend the minute any whiff of impropriety is in the wind (in Wright’s case that would have been at least a year or two ago).
What is really unfortunate is that by acting too late and not strongly enough, he is going to give this thing back to Bubba’s unelectable proxy candidate. His eloquence in the speech was unquestionable, his charisma is probably unmatched by any candidate to hit the national stage since the Kennedys. His rationalizing the racism of Wright is going to hurt him no matter how well-reasoned, and once again the Democrats find a way to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, as both Obama and Billary now are behind the bumbling fool McCain in polls despite his inability to figure out why he wants to start a war with Iran. Nice speech, though.

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By Michael Shaw, March 21, 2008 at 10:32 am Link to this comment

I’d like to add that I see the so called term of “fair and balanced” as a fancy storefront to censorship. When news reporters aren’t allowed to tell the story as they see it and must doctor it up to make it fair and balanced, then they are not reporting the news.

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By Michael Shaw, March 21, 2008 at 10:22 am Link to this comment

Frankly I see no real significant difference in the context between what Wright said and what Imus said beyond the fact that Imus was making a national broadcast and Wright was talking to his congregation. His speech became a national broadcast thanks to media and no doubt some behind the scenes political motivations. Also Imus wasn’t arrested for speaking his mind so his civil rights were not violated. Yes he was fired but anyone in the workplace anywhere could easily be fired for the same reasons. People have a right to say what they wish, but as I’ve been saying here, there are sometimes consequences. Especially in the workplace where racial slurs are generally not tolerated.

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By Michael Shaw, March 21, 2008 at 10:11 am Link to this comment

Leefeller, I agree with you. One thing that does worry me is how he’ll be able to handle the Washington boys club once he’s elected. Look what they did to Carter! He was an outsider too just as Obama is. I think it should also be interesting to see how he deals with the MIC. Hopefully he won’t be a yes man like most of his predecessors.

Although he is an outsider, he has some big military contract money behind him and some energy corporations too. I still believe he is the best and most significant candidate but I must confess I’d have felt a whole lot better had Kucinich won the nomination.

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By Leefeller, March 21, 2008 at 6:48 am Link to this comment

I used Wright as an example of all divisions, not just race.  All the problems we see as people will never be addressed by the powers that be, unless we get someone who sees the problems and will unify us to address them.

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By Joe Sixpack, March 21, 2008 at 6:34 am Link to this comment

And how does the scrutiny of Obama differ from the scrutiny (or lack thereof) of every man, woman, or villiage idiot that’s ever run for the highest office in the land. This is not a city council election. The winner of this race will be hired for the most powerful job in the world at a critical moment for this country and all of the nations of this earth. I think you have to put this race crap in the proper context. There are larger and more important questions than race in this election. Yet we’ve become terribly distracted by hate, race and division. Do you see any of that changing if we’re forced to confront our worst racial problems at the same time we have to solve so many other critical issues at thesame time?

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By Leefeller, March 21, 2008 at 6:24 am Link to this comment

Obamas most unifying speech, places him so far ahead of his competitors.  He has shown a higher degree of enlightenment and reason, he blows the others out of the water.  Sincerity by his actions and what he says and how quickly he says it make the unifying quality of a great leader very scary to those opposed to change.

Status quo Washington crowd, are comfortable in their standard mundane protocols and pecking orders.  Lobbies have undue influence on our representatives, to the point our become their representatives, lackeys of special interests. 

Corporate interests direct and promote most of the lobbies,  corporate agendas have extraordinary control over decisions that direct our nation.  Hand writing on the wall, is the reestablishing of monopolies by the constant buy outs competition becoming less and less.  Capitalism with out competition.

Giving Corporations the same rights as individuals has established a very uncomfortable program for the people of the nation, but a very comfortable one for the corporate interests.  Establishment of NAFTA was lobbied for by the same interests that destroyed our jobs here at home in the USA. 

Dividing the people is in the important for the special interests, for the elite and the wealthy, it makes for easy control over the people.  This manipulation of the laws to give perks to the wealthy is and has been an ongoing program of dividing and separating the people so they can never unify. A necessary plan of control, especially with the Bush Administration.  Fear is a great tool used to scare simple folks into believing anything and expect the government to help protect them.  How about War on Terror?

We have seen how this protection works, after Ktraina, how it was mishandled by the three ringed circus in Washington, especially the ring leaders.  Our National Guard is fighting a war of Terror,  they are helping fight terror. 

This classic ignoring and dividing of the people is beneficial to the status quo, the established clones in the Washington.  Few people in Washington,  people who want to do something about this tying of hands by special interests are without any support and outnumbered by the greedy and supported by ignorance.

Hammering on Obama for his real or imagined problems, is what will be done ruthlessly, wright or wrong,  truth or lies it does not matter, this constant harping, making the shit stick on the wall, in the minds of the small people every where.  Needed division to keep the status quo.  For, we cannot have Obama,  this potential unifier in Washington, for the disruption will never do.

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By Joe Sixpack, March 21, 2008 at 4:36 am Link to this comment

People seem to forget the fact that Imus is a comedian radio host. He was trying to be FUNNY! He missed at his attempt rather badly in my mind, but the fact remains he is a comedian. He wasn’t the first person to ever use a racial slur in an attempt to be funny, but he may be the last white man to try. what’s the difference between Imus and Wright? Both were trying to impact the racial sensitivities of their audience. Only the motives were different.

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By Dr. Knowitall, PhD, PhD, March 21, 2008 at 3:56 am Link to this comment

Sue, you don’t think that what Wright said in his sermon is true?

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By cyrena, March 20, 2008 at 8:59 pm Link to this comment

“…..but I am so turned off by the hate of the Obamabots and I know I’m not alone. I get attacked personally for my political support of a woman I’ve met and admire. Why do Obama supporters feel the need attack with such venom? It’s really vile. … I hear from lots of folks getting really put off by the tone on the blogs. I’m not alone.”

Joe in Maine…

Reposting the above from you, I’d like to address these statements, and I’m hoping that would be most efficiently accomplished by asking you to just re-think what you’ve stated, or at least point out some specifics that would maybe substantiate these claims/statements.

First, if you feel that you’ve been ‘personally attacked’ (and that may or may not be true, but if that’s how you perceive it, than that’s how we’ll look at it) do you believe that it’s BECAUSE OF your ‘political support’ of a woman that you’ve met and admire?

I ask because it might be worth another examination on your part. I don’t honestly believe (or interpret) the somewhat negative responses to your posts are ONLY because of your support of Hillary Clinton. As a matter of fact, if you read through these and other comments, there isn’t that much in the “attack category” of Hillary Clinton herself.  So, if people are not, (overall) attacking Hillary, why would they be attacking YOU, BECAUSE OF YOUR POLITICAL SUPPORT for her?

Actually Joe, I didn’t realize until just this post, (and one before it) that you even WERE in support of Hillary, or even a democrat. Now I realize that I may not have read ALL of your posts, but of those that I have read, it has not been immediately evident that you’ve actually been a ‘supporter of Hillary’. So, why are you suspecting that others have ‘attacked you’ because of your support for her?

I think, in all sincerity, that MANY of the comments on this and other threads of late, (including yours) are actually very negative comments about Barack Obama, and it is for THAT reason that you and many others may come under attack.

The REALITY is that while there may in fact be some vile or venom directed at Hillary Clinton, that is relatively new, and it is…for the most part, a REACTION to developments in what has turned into a very nasty campaign of mudslinging and gutter-play, FROM THE HILLARY CLINTON CAMP!

Admittedly, while there has been a measure (very limited) of negativity directed at her, it was initially from those handful of folks that could also be identified as those who have hated her from well over a decade ago, with or without any real legitimate reason.

Setting aside that handful of original ‘haters of Hillary’ there has been little defamation of her from Obama supporters, that has NOT come as a result of the nastiness that has been directed at HIM!

For many of us now supporting Barack Obama, he was not necessarily our very first choice. (I always liked Kucinich myself, and I would have been OK with Edwards as well). Again, my point is that what you are calling attacks from the Obamabots, are very likely to be a reaction to exactly that…your reference to his supporters as…OBAMABOTS.

Since you’re just tuning in, THESE kinds of ‘hate attacks’ (toward those who have supported him) have been on-going for months. Supporters have been called a ‘cult’ or ‘Obamamaniacs’ in addition to similar and/or worse. And, that was BEFORE the kitchen sink of the Hillary camp began to be hurled at him.

So, if you think that you’re somehow ‘turned off’ by what YOU perceive as hate from Obama supporters, I’d first ask you to re-check your perception. I don’t know that it’s hate at all. I will acknowledge that there has definitely been a defensive reaction by many supporters of Barack Obama, to the obvious (and sometimes not so obvious) hate that has been directed at him.

Meantime, maybe you should grow a thicker skin. If you perceive attacks as ‘personal’ maybe you should check the tone of your own posts, to consider if others might perceive yours in the same vein.

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By Douglas Chalmers, March 20, 2008 at 8:56 pm Link to this comment

Well, how do ya like that? The YouTube videos on Barack Obama’s statement about Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount as “...a passage that is so radical that it is doubtful whether our own Defense Department would survive its application” have been withdrawn.

What does that mean? It is something which should be investigated along with a number of other strange anomalies which have obviously been influenced by The Ring and Obama supporters coercing or otherwise inducing people to shut up about his errors and shortcomings, uhh!

Here is ANOTHER video link to the same speech from BO’s own website hypocritically purporting to “reconcile faith with our modern society” - 10 Questions: Religion in America

“Which passages of scripture should guide our public policy…?” Perhaps Obama should have considered telling us how the Rev. Wright’s version has guided him? Or perhaps he should have explained what he is going to do about implementing Jesus’ “sermon on the mount” regardless of the impact it must have on the war-mongering society known as the USA?

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By Leefeller, March 20, 2008 at 8:55 pm Link to this comment

Well Doug, thanks for reminding me why I find your inane superficial comments supported by your classic nasal sound so annoying.

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By Douglas Chalmers, March 20, 2008 at 8:25 pm Link to this comment

Didn’t go much on the sermon by Rev. Wright attacking Hillary Clinton for being white. What was worse, he went out of his way to smear her despite Obama having a white mother.

If the Rev. Wright is reading this, I would like to hear his homily about Barack Obama’s white mother or white grandmother, eh! Did she ever have to “miss being picked up by a taxi” because she wasn’t white enough?

It IS true that some of Wrights words WERE racist. Unfortunately, they were not the statements Obama was excusing in his speech. If every white person has to be made guilty, then there is a smear campaign going on…....

That has already been happening for some years with some members of the Jewish community and particularly with respect to the Israeli Zionists supporting AIPAC. Now, we have almost the same kind of movement within the African-American community.

Just like our Truthdig blogger, Mike Mid-City, the Rev. Wright is a bigoted and biased ex-marine who has developed some kind of personality disorder. One wonders then why Obama went along with that for the last 20 years if it didn’t accomodate his own personal agenda?

Jeremiah Wright - Hillary Clinton ain’t never been called…

The again, we also know that Obama is NOT a genuine Christian anyway, uhh. He refers to Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount as “...a passage that is so radical that it is doubtful whether our own Defense Department would survive its application” !!!

You can add that to “I don’t oppose all wars” and “the crucible of the sword” from his so-called anti-war speech of 2002 to make your own conclusions about how duplicitous this person really is….....

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By Michael Shaw, March 20, 2008 at 8:16 pm Link to this comment

Well Joe, my argument to that would be that FOX News has always given equal bashing time to liberals. In fact to all liberal while they constantly praise their conservative compatriots. That isn’t fair and balanced. It is overwhelmingly askew.

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By michael Shaw, March 20, 2008 at 8:07 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Absolutely Cyrena!

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By Michael Shaw, March 20, 2008 at 7:59 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Thank you Cyrena. It looks as though we have finally found some middle ground.

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By Joe Sixpack, March 20, 2008 at 7:43 pm Link to this comment

I didn’t see the two teleprompters Obama used for the speech before he took the stage and I was looking for them specifically. I tuned in at 10AM to hear the run up to his schedulled start time of 10:15 AM. There was a technical issue that delyed the speech by nearly 30 minutes. It was reported by Andrea Mitchell of MSNBC that it was a “microphone issue” and so I watched the camera operators fix focus over and over as stand ins took the stage to test the mics and provide a subect for focus and white balance. The whole time I never saw the tell tale angled glass screens on which the text is displayed. It wasn’t until nearly half way through the speech, that CNN pulled very wide to show an oblique of the side of the stage did I see them. The teleprompters were positioned left and right and at least twice as far away from the podium as you normally see them.

I wanted to know if he was using a prompter because I believe this speech has been planned for quite a long time. He may have polished it, as reported and freshened it to include all of the details needed, but I believe the language and theme of this speech has been in the can certainly since Iowa when it was clear that the Wright thing would eventually come out. There is no doubt it was a great speech delivered by a terrific orator. If you believe he went out there and winged it, fine. I happen to believe that the themes and specific language of the speech were written long ago, tested on focus groups, refined, tested again, refined some more and then put on the shelf when it was ready. This issue is one of the three big potential dealbreakers for Obama. Not to have researched the best way to explain it would have been irresponsible for a professional political campaign. It needed to be perfect and it was. Good job done.

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By cyrena, March 20, 2008 at 4:18 pm Link to this comment

I agree Michael. Not even close to enough Americans are paying attention, and it’s because of course, of the MSM.

Now I admit that I have frequently thought back to the much more complete coverage of these atrocities as they occurred in Viet Nam. Americans were pretty much FORCED to confront those realities, whether they wanted to or not. Needless-to-say, that isn’t happening now, and we all know that.

On the other hand, I’m wondering now, if it would make any difference? Back then, this brought protesters to the streets in droves..on campuses, and everywhere we looked.

And NOW? Well, it’s done the same thing I would say. I mean, it isn’t so much that Americans aren’t paying attention, and Lord knows we’re out their in protest mode, doing demonstrations and the like. But, as you pointed out in another post, we’re getting hit with wooden bullets, tased, subjected to spying and blacklisting, etc, etc, etc…But when IF EVER, is any of this being made available to the greater American ‘audience’ via the MSM?

The anti-war demonstrations that occurred WORLD WIDE, BEFORE the Iraq war was launched, were the largest ever, in the history of the world or the US. And yet, there was next to NO coverage of those events in the US main steam media. And now, searching through multiple archives from that day, (Feb. 15th, 2003) there is next to nothing to give any indication that those demonstrations ever even occurred.

So, it would appear that our media has been state controlled since the beginning of the gangster regime, and we know of course, that any dissent since, has been treated the same as it is in all states that are controlled by an authoritarian tyranny.

Dissent becomes treason, (because the thugs in power can call it anything they want) and the media is one of the first things hit. Such as it’s been here, since the coup took place in December, 2000.

So, while there are many of us who are paying attention, I’m willing to accept that for many, being ‘aware’ isn’t necessarily an easy thing. One can purchase a home that they can’t afford far easier than they can get an accurate view of our political state, (including the atrocities taking place in Iraq and Afghanistan).

Alternative media has certainly helped to bridge that gap. I don’t really know where we’d be without it. Still, it’s come at major risk to many.

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By cyrena, March 20, 2008 at 3:53 pm Link to this comment

Great response Michael Shaw…


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By mitt, March 20, 2008 at 1:04 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Even that isn’t true.  Re his book he said he may have made a mistake. Re interview in 2004 he was probably on the same page as GWB. Again another FAIRY TALE !!!!

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By Michael Shaw, March 20, 2008 at 12:56 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Holding someone else responsible for the actions of others is what is hypocritical here. There is nothing hypocritical in realizing free speech is an action that sometimes has consequence. That is why it should be used wisely and bear the best interests of the general public. Imus’ statements were not wise nor did they serve the best interests of our society. In fact they actually gave ammunition to those who contend freedom of speech should be limited. IE the Bush Administration!

Belittling any race as Imus has done is not freedom of speech unless blatant racist lies and hurting mis-characterizations aimed at one group of humanity are considered free speech. What about the bullies who verbally terrorize some kids to suicide? Dehumanizing and demeaning a race on a national broadcast is not free speech, it’s a hate crime!

What I find fascinating(and hypocritical) is how some people go out of their way to defend a loser like Imus, telling us by doing so they are defending our freedom of speech rights, yet say nothing about the government setting up free speech zones were peaceful protesters are intentionally shuffled out of the public eye or have been in several cases either arrested or blacklisted or both. Many of these same people also think FOX News is fair and balanced and had gone out of their way to support George Bush while he trashed the entire Bill of Rights(beyond the second amendment). They tell us this is war time and he is a war time president doing his duty. That’s what FOX News told us and continue to tell us while they go out of their way trash the only real candidate left in this election.

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By Joe Sixpack, March 20, 2008 at 12:31 pm Link to this comment

They have right-wing agenda no doubt about it. She’s right though. At least Fox is evenhanded in criticism of both Obama and Hillary.

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By Sue Cook, March 20, 2008 at 12:08 pm Link to this comment

Ahh my friend, in response.

Paragraph 1,  Freedom of speech?  All this happened because of racial overtones.  It was the core subject!

Paragraph 2,  An advocate of free speech?  And you justify the firing of Imus?  That’s a huge contradiction if I’ve ever heard one!

Paragraph 3,  (last sentence), And Rev. Wright’s statements?  (rantings?)

Paragraph 4,  No comparrison.  We’re talking race speeches here.

Paragraph 5,  The point of my post was to bring my views of Obama not separating himself and his family from the likes of Rev. Wright knowing of his rantings purely and surely with huge racial overtones about them, not because he only denounced what he said.  Case in point; your last sentence about Obama;  “A uniter who is opposed to drawing race lines”.

Obama preaches being a “uniter” wanna be, but when he stays married to someone who clearly preaches the racial divider sermon, that my friend is a hypocrite!

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By Michael Shaw, March 20, 2008 at 12:05 pm Link to this comment

“They bash Obama and Hillary equally.” When do they bash McCain?

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By Christopher Robin, March 20, 2008 at 11:44 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Dear Truthdig, with much respect and admiration due, I think you may have posted the wrong speech with this story?

On the day before the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday, Sen. Barack Obama delivers a speech to the congregation of Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia.
  January 21, 2008 34mins YouTube

I know the media is fawning over his recent speech comparing him to JFK FDR…etc. But in my humble opinion, this one was much more powerful,and he spoke of bigotry in the black church and empathy.

Last January.

This is the speech which the MSM has overlooked, or doesn’t have the attention span anymore to cover, so busy covering the latest mud slung.

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By Michael Shaw, March 20, 2008 at 10:53 am Link to this comment

I’d like to point out Sue that what got Imus fired had nothing whatsoever to do with freedom of speech as much as it had to do with a massive boycott of sponsors and a loss of revenue for NBC. The credibility(and the bottom line) of the company was at hand.

That said and as an advocate of free speech, I believe the firing of Imus was justified. Companies have rights too(though clearly their actions had little to do with racial commentary as they did money). Obama could have played it safe and taken no stance on the matter. Instead he chose to address the issue and speak up about it at his own peril. I would call that courageous.

The real bottom line is, we are all ultimately responsible for our actions. If Imus wishes to yell the N word publicly, I am in no position to stop him, nor would I even try to stop him though by doing so he could be endangering himself and others. We can’t yell fire in a movie house either unless there really is one. Imus’ statements were uncalled for, counter productive and unnecessary.

Now some might call Obama hypocritical because of this. I know that’s what Rush Limbaugh and FOX News are calling him. But look at the source and then ask yourself, “Who truly are the real hypocrites?” These are the same people (along with Ann Coulter) telling republicans to vote for Hillary.

Just ask yourself if Imus’ comments were directed at Jews, Asians or Hispanics would the reactions be or should they have been any different? Then ask yourself if Obama’s denouncing of Imus was any different than his denouncing Reverend Wright? I don’t think it was. Nor do I consider him a hypocrite. A uniter who is opposed to drawing race lines is more like it!

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By Joe Sixpack, March 20, 2008 at 10:27 am Link to this comment

You make a solid arguement. To underestimate McCain is a huge mistake. I never took W seriously even when I could see the election being stolen from us. I never quite got the idea that Americans would be so collectively stupid. That’s why I am so interested in the political leanings of the good ol boys, you know, the guys who vote for who they’d prefer to play hoops with or have a beer with.

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By Sue Cook, March 20, 2008 at 10:21 am Link to this comment

Of all the news media, Fox is pretty much what they boast, “fair and balanced” I find.  They bash both Hillary and Obama equally.

MSNBC is all anti Hillary, CNN too, but not quite as bad.

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By oisille, March 20, 2008 at 10:12 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I’m sorry but until you have one of your white grandparents call your black father a nigger to his face, and until your white grandfather refuses to let you into his house (I was 6 years old at the time. SIX.), then please reserve judgement on Obama’s or anyone else’s comments on their racist family members. Do I love my white grandparents? ABSOLUTELY. And I tell them so in every single birthday, Christmas and Easter card I send. Do I repeat their racial slurs to others? I do. Because everyone should be repulsed by racism - whether it’s from one’s own family or…let’s say…the REVERAND Bob Jones. When are we going to start condemning our current 2-term POTUS for his association with Falwell, Robertson, Hagee, Schaffer, umm…Haggard…do I need to continue?

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By Michael Shaw, March 20, 2008 at 10:07 am Link to this comment

What I find fascinating Tommit are the neocon right who call the liberals, Vets Against the War in Iraq and anti war activists in general wimps, defeatists, cowards and traitors. We are the folks getting arrested and shot at with wooden bullets and being spied upon and blacklisted while our counterparts relax safely unscathed in their posh offices. This same deferred(or AWOL in wartime) group of warmongering vagabonds are telling us we need to spend more money on the military then the rest of the entire world to keep us safe. What a joke! And beyond the obvious agenda in feeding the MIC monster with our tax dollars, to me what that really boils down to is hysteria and paranoia and it makes them the wimps and cowards, not us. Also by their inept handling of our economy and their purposeful destruction in The Bill of Rights, it is they who have defeated us, not the brave folks who oppose them and risk far more then they ever would.

Many nations have adequate defense and enjoy relatively peaceful and economically sound existences. We could be(and should be) doing the same, even if we cut military spending by 30 percent. When pigs fly as they say.

You are right about Florida and Ohio. I would add we should be worrying about more then the corrupt elections process in those two states. Let’s not forget the Supreme Court either who handed Bush the 2000 election. Now that they are stacked with federalist society stooges, a close election will give McCain the presidency(and dictatorship) on a silver platter.

I think you’re right about Obama as far as that goes. I only hope this preacher’s commentary doesn’t hurt his chances and close the playing field.

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By Joe Sixpack, March 20, 2008 at 10:05 am Link to this comment

The day after his race speech much more attention was given to the story of Clinton’s records being released than the story of Obama losing nearly all of his support among Reagan dems and indies. They want to, “...wait a week or two to see if there really has been an drop” Please! I watched two networks, CNN and MSNBC spend entire 20 minute segments openly trying to guess the worst things that MIGHT be contained in Hillary’s public records. What might be found? What’s the juiciest tidbit likely to emerge? What terrible fact will emerge to discredit this bitch and make her get out is what they were really asking. Fair? Balanced? Not to me. That’s way beyond argumentum ad personam. That’s pushing an agenda. Too many media outlets are in Obama’s tank, especially MSNBC. Even CNN is at least trying to acknowlege the Obama bias of MSNBC promoting it’s own programming as being “unbiased”. Saying it and doing it are two different things. I have to say that MSNBC has done an amazing thing this month. Chris, Keith and Mika have moved me, hater of all things Fox, over to at least glance at (gasp!) Bill O’Reily to see, dare I say, a more honest, fair accounting of the post Wright conditions of this race. The MSM has by and large been satisfied with Obama’s speech, most of them openly gushing again. O’Reily at least is still asking some questions that white males might still have and that might play a role in deciding PA and Indiana.

I find it really interesting to see the MSM come off a week of honest reporting on Wright and putting Obama on the hot seat to the post-speech, pre-Wright fawning that seems to totally dismiss the idea that Obama hasn’t had a bit of momentum since TX and Ohio. He’s losing support big time according to several national polls and yet the MSM is content to go back on the Hillary attack. I’ll never look at the media the same way again after this race. The same media outlet that would demand Hillary leave the race if she was a member of an all-white country club faster than you can say “Nah Nah Nah!!!” have given a free pass to Obama after first denying hearing the hatred in church then admitting it less than a day later. The press that was calling for Bill’s head because he dared to question Obama’s war voting record is refusing to question what is in the heart of one of three people who could be elected president. That’s astounding to me.

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By oisille, March 20, 2008 at 9:55 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

...did he say he was astonished because Obama is black? No. Grow up.

I am astonished he has done as well as he has while not having completed one full term in the Senate.

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By Joe Sixpack, March 20, 2008 at 9:54 am Link to this comment

There’s a reason they sell it in 30-packs.

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By Joe Sixpack, March 20, 2008 at 9:49 am Link to this comment

Sure. I was really pissed about what happened in FL and Ohio. I think it was an organized mugging of the the elections. My point in saying that shouting “voter fraud!” from the highest rooftops never seems to make any difference, does it? Coaches often say after a game, and I must agree, that the game should never have been that close for one bad call or in the case of Ohio and Florida a few thousand votes to be the difference in the game. That’s all I meant. I wanted Gore to blow it out by three touchdowns not lose it by allowing a field goal. It’s likely a flawed analogy, but it’s all I could think of.

On John McCain. Do you really think he’ll be that easy to beat? Really? Sure he has vulnerabilities like any candidate. I was trying to suggest he shouldn’t be taken so lightly. Maybe not so much pointing at anything you’ve written Outragged, but a general theme I see in plenty of posts. I don’t think McCain would be nearly the disaster Bush has been. He doesn’t think global warming is a myth, that’s a start, right? He can put three sentances together, right? Sure he’s too old and made a mistake the other day in Iraq. I can’t really see myself voting for him at this point, but I am so turned off by the hate of the Obamabots and I know I’m not alone. I get attacked personally for my political support of a woman I’ve met and admire. You don’t like my ideas? Fine. Don’t read them. Why do Obama supporters feel the need attack with such venom? It’s really vile. Please keep in mind you Dems might be fine without my vote, but I hear from lots of folks getting really put off by the tone on the blogs. I’m not alone.

I try to see things from the ground up. The average income here in Maine is very low. Most of the people here are far from the intellectual elite of the democratic party.

I’m not a drunk, nor do I appreciate the accusation from you or cyrena. I’ve been very civil when I don’t agree with what’s been posted. I don’t default to name-calling or using profanity to attack those that I disagree with. What’s your problem? I bet you love getting right in the faces of people you disagree with. Does that make you feel a little something special in your shorts?

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By Sue Cook, March 20, 2008 at 9:32 am Link to this comment

Ya know, Obama made a masterful speach… again!

It’s almost like he uses his gift of gab whenever he feels the need to feed the unsettled flock, to help calm them down.

He knows he has this entrancing eloquent speaking gift that has helped bring him to where he is today.

It works!, he’s no dummy.

The “speach”, though agreeably supurb, lacked Obama’s need to explain himself on where he truly stands with this guy?  Why was he not as angry as the controversy itself brought about?

I’m sorry, but it makes me wonder where this man’s true allegiance lies.  I don’t think he needed to make a speach on race in general as much as he needed to explain himself on where his emotions took hold (if at all) on what Rev. Wright said.

Just denouncing his remarks, but remaining buds with him just don’t cut it with me.  Just like he agreed with the firing of Imus and the “knappy headed hoe” debacle.  Sounds hypocritical to me on his part.

He may have doomed his candidacy, polls are already showing so.

He still hasn’t learned that pretty speach alone don’t amount to substance too.

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By Michael Shaw, March 20, 2008 at 9:30 am Link to this comment

Well Cyrena I’m glad you are paying attention and realize others are too but my comment was based upon the fact that since the major media is not giving us a peep about it, most Americans are not hearing this valuable testimony, just as they failed to hear much of the original Winter Soldier testimony until John Kerry finally got national attention when he debated swift boat dweeb John O’Neill on the Dick Cavett Show. Sadly they had forgotten that testimony in the last presidential election, where swift boaters got all of the media, making Kerry and the other winter soldiers look like a bunch of traitors.

Where else will you hear about who the real enemy is? It isn’t the Iraqi’s or Afghans, it’s the CEO’s who lay us off for profit and give our jobs to slave labor overseas. It’s the bankers who profit on mortgage foreclosures, the people who make us homeless and helpless and destroy our civil liberties. The same folks who have created this current economic mess and who have lied us into war.

As heartbreaking as it is to hear this, it must be heard by all. Seeing children in Baghdad with their arms and legs blown off is heartbreaking too. No small wonder the media didn’t bother showing us that and chose to broadcast the fireworks of shock n awe instead.

As one lance corporal put it, “We should be patrolling the beltway, not Baghdad!” I would have added Wall Street as well!

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By Joe Sixpack, March 20, 2008 at 8:56 am Link to this comment

You might even say he’s lucky to have gotten where he is today, right? I’m sure I’ve heard that somewhere. Wait. It’s OK when YOU say it, right? Because you’re a long time supporter and all.

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By robert puglia, March 20, 2008 at 8:21 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

sound, fury, nothing

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By Leefeller, March 20, 2008 at 6:11 am Link to this comment

Experience is over rated, in Washington experience usually means good old boys. Status Quo.  It has been listed before the better presidents we have had in the past were the ones from out of the Beltway.  Corruption and indifference to the people is usually a given for many on the inside.  Sort of like an elite prison.

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By Barry, March 19, 2008 at 10:10 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

In a word, marvelous! 

That’s not to say I agreed with everything Obama said .. there were a few problems I will mention shortly .. but over all, this was a speech of a type of leader we can hope to have while we still think we need leaders.  This was a speech with the emotional, intellectual and spiritual (not Obama’s “religious” spirituality, but no one’s perfect), power of a Lincoln, of which I have not heard in my lifetime from a president or potential president (I was born in Dec of ‘63). 

Obama showed a maturity and understanding of his role in a way neither ‘I-must-be-in-control-of-the-nation’ Hillary, or the conservative backwardness of the Republican Party, could only hope to (if the Republicans indeed hoped for any sort of healthy society in the first place). 

Obama’s understanding of race, immigration, poverty, corporate capitalism, and even the mind of ordinary Americans was refreshing.  No other white or black politician running for high office that I can recall has been able to come close. 

As for the areas of contention I found, they can be articulated in three words… Wright, Israel, and Capitalism. 

One would not expect someone running for president to really show how the latter is the core reason for all the economic woes he listed (for blacks and whites), but if he can at least reform capitalism to where we can exist at least as well as much of Europe does, that would be a start.  Can that happen with NeoLiberal Global Capitalism?  I doubt it; but if we don’t make some real changes here at least, and soon, things will get far, far worse for many of us. 

As for dismissing criticism of Israel and putting the blame of terrorism squarely on “radical Islam,” well we all know that the power of the ‘Israel Lobby’ controls his possible policies there.. at least for now. That is, no one would become president (since 1947) if they challenged Israel to become a well-behaved global citizen and end the apartheid against the Palestinians.  But even if Obama himself is aware of all this - and based on who he is, I can only think he is very well aware - if he wants to help bring an end to Islamic terrorism and bring peace to the middle east, he will have to address the Israeli-Palestinian conflict objectively, as well as the U.S.‘s role in creating the conditions for terrorism in that part of the world from the past to the present. 

And finally, while the ‘over the top’ sermons of Wright may shock some whites (as Obama said), and may reflect Wright’s generation’s take on racism and America (as Obama said)... and even if Obama feels cynicism and anger is not the way to fix the problems Wright sees, which are not all in the past (as Obama said)... he must know (surely is wife does) that most of the actual content of Wright’s sermon(s) about America WAS TRUE! 

Of course Obama can’t admit Wright was right (even if he feels it or knows it and is lying or dancing around the truth about his own feelings of the content), and still run for president in this super-patriotic nationalistic country.  But somehow I am sure, in Obama’s heart of hearts, if he could remake America into a nation which does not commit the atrocities Wright rightly pointed out, he would. 

Does that make him an idealist? Maybe. Will he succeed at making some of these ideals, reality? Doubtful, but not impossible.  Would we be better off as a nation with “President Obama?”  Probably ... At least, as compared with McCain or Clinton, we real democrats (not our Founding Father’s sort who’s “democracy” was only for rich white property owners), and progressives will have a chance at changing things bottoms-up. 

Under another government like Bush’s or Bush-lite, we may continue our downward tumble toward fascism and a police state—we the people be damned.

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By cyrena, March 19, 2008 at 7:40 pm Link to this comment

Maani writes:

“…he did make a telepromptered speech sound very sincere and heartfelt, as it obviously was when he wrote it.  (And although he does have speechwriters, this is one speech that I understand he did write completely by himself.)”…

Maani, this is such an excellent example, (without being as horrific as so many of the same) of what we can nearly ALWAYS find in your posts…the negative innuendo at best, and the downright falsehoods at worst…and they basically run the spectrum. In this case we’d call these (politely at least,) “backhanded compliments”.

But, they really aren’t at all. You ‘infer’ that the delivery of Obama’s speech was by ‘teleprompter’. HOW DO YOU KNOW THAT?

Well Maani, you DON’T. I watched him deliver the speech Maani, and he DID, on occasion, like anyone else would do in delivering some a lengthy address, OCCASIONALLY refer to his notes. There would have been NO NEED for somebody like Barack Obama, who has been doing public speaking and has been a lecturer and professor of law, to need a fucking teleprompter.

So I’m very curious why you would suggest that.

Same with you making sure that we know that he DOES have speechwriters. OF COURSE he would. On the other hand, he has said, himself, that HE WRITES MOST OF HIS OWN!!! There is NO reason for us not to believe that Maani, since most people who have done public speaking, or been involved in instructing at the Law School level, (or any academic level for that matter) DO prepare their own lecture material.

So, why would you feel the need to somehow try to suggest that while he did write this particular speech himself, it was somehow an anomaly?

And again, any person who routinely prepares course/lecture material, or public speaking material, doesn’t really need to reference their own notes that frequently, if they wrote the stuff THEMSELVES. And they DAMN sure don’t need a teleprompter.

This is the kind of stuff I’m talking about Maani. It’s a constant with you. And, while it may be subtle enough to escape the notice of many, I definitely pick it up every time.

It’s ugly. Nothing can make it anything other than ugly, because of the inherent deceit.

Teleprompted speech my ass. You are really a slug Maani.

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By cyrena, March 19, 2008 at 7:15 pm Link to this comment


Who would you (among the candidates) compare his legislative history to? And, have you actually checked on any of the bills or other legislature that he’s worked on since his election to the US Senate?

And, are you running together his legislative actions in Illinois with this US Senate action? And which important subcommittee are you referencing when you suggest that it’s been OVER TWO YEARS?

I think that you might be speaking of his membership on the European Affairs Subcommittee, which he has only been on since the beginning of 2007, so NOT over 2 years. I think you may also be unaware of the fact that most of the hearings and business related to Afghanistan (since that’s the criticism about him not convening any meetings) have been held in FULL committee hearings, (of the same committee) and procedure doesn’t allow for any sub-committee to leapfrog the full committee.

So, it’s important to know what you’re talking about, before you repeat rumors.

That’s not to say that he couldn’t or shouldn’t have held these, but it is incorrect to say that he has only rhetoric and no legislative action, because he has sponsored and co-sponsored several bills that have become law, since his time in the US senate.

You can check the library of Congress for his as well as any other elected representative, and make the relevant comparisons.

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By cyrena, March 19, 2008 at 6:50 pm Link to this comment

Ah Outraged,

You’ve provided my heartiest chuckle of the day.

SO THAT’S how they remember their names…Joe in Maine, or Joe Sixpack once he’s had a few. (six-packs that is).

Speaking of which, (and this is just a casual observation on my part)..I’ve always wondered how or why it is that white folks can get drunk off of beer so easily..

Is that just some sort of personal observation without much support, or does it seem that way to anybody else?

I mean, I expect hard liquor drinkers to get drunk after a hefty consumption, but I’ve never been able to figure how folks can get so wasted off of beer, and the only ones I’ve ever seen do it are white folks.

Just curious.

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By cyrena, March 19, 2008 at 6:42 pm Link to this comment

Hi Michael,

I did in fact pay attention to the words of our Winter Soldiers. And, I think many of us have, though admittedly there hasn’t been much talk of it, if only because it is just so very, very, very terribly sad and heartbreaking.

It’s not the first time of course, that we’ve heard from them…at least not for me. And, it’s ALWAYS so terribly heartbreaking, every time that I do.

So, just so you don’t think we’re ALL ignoring them…some of us are in fact paying attention..

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By cyrena, March 19, 2008 at 6:37 pm Link to this comment

I agree…

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By lib in texas, March 19, 2008 at 5:05 pm Link to this comment

I disagree with the Grandmother comments, that was private and did not need to be brought up.  My POINT is Obama didn’t seem to cringe when Rev Wright used the “N” word regarding Hillary.  He disrespected his Grandmother and that is a HUGE SIN in my book.

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By truthreaderaz, March 19, 2008 at 3:14 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Obama is charismatic and gifted orator, however
he, Hillary and McCain are all war mongers and owned and controlled by big Business/Money. The only diffene between them is a slight differenc in style and not substance. The “CHANGE” he keeps talking about will not happen and no matter who is elected, business in Washington will be as usual.

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By tommot, March 19, 2008 at 2:53 pm Link to this comment

I agree. I have often thought that had Stevenson been elected, the Cold War might not have occured with such virulence, and the 56 subsequent years been very different. The military-industrial complex of which President Eisenauer spoke grew mighty but it always needed targets of opportunity and justification. No enemies, no profits. Korea, Vietnam, Iran. And now Iraq.

The incredible cost of the current war, much of which is booked to Iraq but paid to grateful U.S. corporations who in turn are able to subcontract at amazing profits to offshore entities. So even the current disastrous war underpins the complex.

As the U.S. is now the great arms dealer to the world, a change with a thrust to diplomacy and peace is very threatening. I consider Obama the change we need before President Bush and his successors destroy this nation morally and financially.

I am not concerned with Senator McCain since he appears to me on his bad days as senile and on his good days as out of touch. It’s inconceivable that he could remotely contest the election if his opponent is Obama. Our problem is to persist and help Obama present his case to the voters.

One last word of caution. I think it was Joseph Stalin who suggested that “it is not the voters who vote who count, it’s who counts the votes who count”. Florida and Ohio are the Scylla and Charybdis that Rove and his colleagues count on. And great vigilance is needed. Always.

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By nepat, March 19, 2008 at 1:30 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

In the unlikely event that you are sincerely looking for answers to your rhetorical questions:

Obama never said he never heard Wright say controversial things. He said he never heard him say *those particular* controversial things (the clips playing in endless, mind-numbing rotation on Fox News). I reply only because I recognize this is the formulation du jour on that point.

I’m not sure where you heard Obama was beyond brilliant, but “seeing this coming” was not the point. It’s only come now because of how well Obama is doing, and it is sustained by Republicans and Clinton supports alike, in order to kill his campaign before it does any better. There is no point to the issue beyond that.

What has consistently astonished me as a longtime Obama supporter (before a single vote had been cast) was that he has done as well as he has. It’s something of a miracle, quite frankly.

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By Douglas Chalmers, March 19, 2008 at 12:39 pm Link to this comment

War IS the American religion, Liza. I’m tired of pointing that out…....

And don’t forget to tell GWB about how you feel about “God rhetoric”, uhh….

“One (warring) nation indivisible under God”, blah, blah….bullshit, bullshit!

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By Michael Shaw, March 19, 2008 at 11:20 am Link to this comment

I’d like to add Tommit that had the electorate placed Stevenson in there we might not have had an MIC to deal with and the so many imperialistic conflicts we were involved in from then to date. Instead Americans made the mistake of voting for the so called war hero who sat out most of the Second World War safely in the English countryside while the real heroes remained, buried in the hedge country of France and the beaches of Normandy. I certainly hope we do not make that same mistake again with McCain. If military leaders have taught us anything, they have taught us that war is more important than anything. So it goes with McCain’s hundred year pledge to occupation in Iraq.

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By Michael Shaw, March 19, 2008 at 10:34 am Link to this comment

While the media rambles on about Barrack’s preacher or Governors visiting prostitutes, the real news, the testimony of the Winter Soldiers in Springfield, Maryland has been all but ignored. Here comes the testimony of our kids who were on the ground in Iraq and Afghanistan who are telling us the real story about those wars.

I find it very interesting, especially at this moment that Obama must be forced to defend himself because of the words of his(former)preacher, especially when no one forced an explanation out of Bush for some of the comments his preachers, the born again right wing lunatics of the so called moral majority made time and time again. Of course this should come as no surprise since this administration used the power of association to involve us in an illegal, contrive war in Iraq by associating one of Saddam’s diplomats as sharing the same hotel in France as a member of Al Qaida did. Then came the not so slam dunk of Tennant and Powell and the mushroom cloud eulogies of Rice and Cheney that came out in light of a story to the NY Times that was in fact planted by the White House in the first place!

As for Obama, I applaud his efforts in clearing up this potentially damning situation he should not himself be personally blamed for and I hope it does not affect his campaign. But as usual, major media has it all wrong and continues to use the magic slight of hand when it comes to reporting the news and ignoring the real news and the true issues at hand. In this case it’s a double whammy. It not only under foots the best candidate in this election, it also ignores the words of our Winter Soldiers, the horrors of war and the greedy, powerful men who put use there in the first place.

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By Liza, March 19, 2008 at 9:06 am Link to this comment

At the end of the day, McCain is Bush’s third term and he will have a tough time proving himself to be anything but.  I live in Arizona and I can tell you that if he has some interesting thoughts and ideas on the economy, he hasn’t shared them with us.  Oh, yeah, and how about that Republican healthcare?  And do you like perpetual war?  And how do you like the recession?  Concentration of wealth?  More tax cuts for the extremely wealthy? 

Joe, it comes down to this.  If right wing talk radio and Fox News and neoconservative gasbags manage to convince enough voters (like Joe Six Pack above) that we are on the right path and McCain should be president, then so be it.  We are in a death spiral and we will sink further down.  I can’t even allow myself to imagine how bad things could get here in America.

However, in the time between now and November, we have to do whatever we can to reject the fear mongering and disseminate a truthful message.

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By Outraged, March 19, 2008 at 9:01 am Link to this comment

Re: Joe in Maine

Your quote: “The games of 2000 and 2004 should never have been that close in the first place. To accuse voter fraud, rightly or wrongly is a loser’s lament. Like blaming the refs for a poor call late in the game that makes your team lose.”

Voter fraud and “blaming the refs for a poor call” are two entirely different things, don’t you think?  Your “Limbaugh” bullshit is showing again.

Your quotes: “As soon as it becomes a bit more difficult to vote for Obama will the kids still think it’s so cool?”

“This time they have a moving, inspirational personal story of a true American patriot. Whether you happen to like John McCain’s politics or not, he’s a very good man.”

**If you like McCain so much you should vote for him.  Don’t worry about the Dems without YOU, I’m sure they’ll manage.  Oh..and let McCain know….those are Shia, not Sunnis.  And also tell him the American people don’t mind at all that he “knows nothing about the economy”.

**BTW, I’ll let “the kids” know what the GOP is saying, I’m sure they’ll appreciate your input.

Your quote: “Joe Sixpack is much more apt to be swept up in an anti-Obama wave at the polls if the election were next month.

“Joe Sixpack is always going to vote his wallet”

** You seem to know “Joe Sixpack” better than anyone….yep…you sure do… that why you call yourself “Joe in Maine” so as not to confuse yourself..?

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By tommot, March 19, 2008 at 8:47 am Link to this comment

Not often in the life of a country does a figure emerge with the ability to call on the Good in our nature. As a young man in 1952 and again, less so perhaps in 1956, I heard Adlai Stevensen appeal to us with the same calm intelligence. We chose another way then.
Now in a time of unfunded war and collapsing economy, again a leader has arrived, offering a generous and profound message of change to all America. I can only hope that this opportunity will not slip from our grasp. Fittingly in Obama I see a man not unlike that other great President from Illinois, and a chance for America to be once again what it infrequently was before, a true citadel of hope on this tiny rock, 3rd from the sun.

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By Liza, March 19, 2008 at 8:42 am Link to this comment

You never get it.  The US invasion of Iraq was about hegemony and oil.  It’s not about God.  Leave Him out of it.

I’m tired of God rhetoric when it is applied to nations and wars.

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By Liza, March 19, 2008 at 8:38 am Link to this comment

We agree on this.  You are absolutely right.  This is our responsibility.  We have to drown out the noise and make this election about what matters.

But, the speech is historical and I think we can take a moment to let that sink in.  But, we have to act.  You are right.

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By Maani, March 19, 2008 at 7:27 am Link to this comment


I basically agree with your response to Doug.  However, I wanted to make one comment.

To Doug’s comment that “As you already know, I have well-grounded misgivings about BO’s supposed spirituality and especially his convenient pretence at Christianity,” you say, “And the President of the United States is not a position intended for high level clerics. You’re totally out of line in judging ANY OTHER PERSON in terms of their spiritual or theological convictions, and they are not at issue anyway, unless he was running for Pope, or Archbishop of something or other. He’s not. He’s running for President, and the job doesn’t REQUIRE that he pass any ‘spirituality’ test from you or anybody else. It doesn’t even REQUIRE that he be a “Christian”.”

While this is obviously true, I think what Doug was suggesting is that, because the MAJORITY of voters in the U.S. self-identify as “Christian,” Obama wears a “mantle” of Christianity in order to make him more “palatable” to that majority; i.e., that his claimed “faith” is possibly a “ruse” in order to gain votes.

I do not agree with this; I believe Obama’s faith is sincere.  But I think that was Doug’s point; not that faith should be some kind of “test” to become president.

As for GWB, even HIS faith may be sincere; the problem with him is that he has a VERY serious misunderstanding of that faith, and is dangerously misguided because of it.


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By cyrena, March 19, 2008 at 6:48 am Link to this comment

As Douglas writes:

“... I guess it will be up to black Americans whether they want to accept Obama’s denunciations and repudiation of his preacher, though….”

And as Expat correctly responds:

“...Douglas, not just black Americans….we’re all voting so we all have to make our choices…”

It’s true that we ALL are voting, (although I don’t know about Douglas, since he resides on another continent..) so we will all decide, as Americans, even if we’re temporarily located somewhere else.

Meantime, on this from Douglas..

“...As you already know, I have well-grounded misgivings about BO’s supposed spirituality and especially his convenient pretence at Christianity, uhh…”

Over here Douglas, we are still a secular society of multi-religious and ethnic groups. In America, ours is NOT a Theocracy, (like Iran) or a Monarchy/Theocracy like Saudi Arabia.

And the President of the United States is not a position intended for high level clerics. You’re totally out of line in judging ANY OTHER PERSON in terms of their spiritual or theological convictions, and they are not at issue anyway, unless he was running for Pope, or Archbishop of something or other. He’s not. He’s running for President, and the job doesn’t REQUIRE that he pass any ‘spirituality’ test from you or anybody else. It doesn’t even REQUIRE that he be a “Christian”.

Morality, integrity, strength of character, and Christianity are NOT mutually exclusive.

Now, do you doubt George Bushes’ sincerity at claiming Christianity? Well if YOU and GW are any indication of what Christianity is about, one could be forgiven for running to the closest exorcism hall to embrace atheism.

As the son of Mahatma Gandhi once remarked to the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr…

“We like your Jesus, but we DON’T like some of your ‘Christians’”.

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By Pacrat, March 19, 2008 at 6:42 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Obama’s rhetoric is great and what he says is “right on.” His problem is how to translate it into action.

While Barack impresses me primarily because of his community organizing background, I find his legislative history sadly lacking. It just doesn’t match his rhetoric.

Imagine an elected official not even convening a single meeting of an important subcommittee in more than two years! Irresponsible!

Or touting his anti-war attitude when it didn’t count any more than yours or mine since he wasn’t in the Senate when the votes were counted. In fact, he is rarely in the Senate when votes are counted.

Nevertheless, if he surrounds himself with true action people, he can supply the rhetoric if they supply the work!

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By Maani, March 19, 2008 at 6:36 am Link to this comment


This is one of the best posts I have read by you.  Bravo.  Although I could quibble with a point or two, you are so on point here that this should almost be required reading for anyone who heard or read his speech.

I agree that it was a very courageous thing for him to do, and that although he never reached the soaring heights of some of his campaign speeches (much less MLK), he did make a telepromptered speech sound very sincere and heartfelt, as it obviously was when he wrote it.  (And although he does have speechwriters, this is one speech that I understand he did write completely by himself.)

That said, it IS too easy to get caught up in some of the (legitimate and powerful) points he made, and yet miss what he DIDN’T say, or what he said that might have betrayed motives and intentions that were more subtle in nature.

In any case, kudos to you for this.


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By Hammo, March 19, 2008 at 6:12 am Link to this comment

Obama did a good job of addressing the many important issues involved in the ethnic aspects of the political race and America as a whole.

Although Obama’s ethnic background is an issue, many people like him because he opposed the Iraq War, seems to have better judgment than Hillary or McCain, as well as other characteristics he seems to have as a person ... no matter what his ethnic background is.

More on some of these elements in the articles …

“Obama faces Ohio hearts and minds”
February 28, 2008

-  -  -

“Obama’s Iraq position, mixed ethnicity are key factors”
February 22, 2008

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By Leefeller, March 19, 2008 at 6:10 am Link to this comment

Latin: make into a whole. 

Hope, refreshing hope and change even slight change, wake up America, Obama offers more than we could ask for.  Seeming sincerity. 

Options, divisiveness and fear, status quo.

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By Expat, March 19, 2008 at 6:02 am Link to this comment

^ interesting comment/title.  For once in a very, very long time we have somebody operating outside of the “box”.  If memory serves, haven’t we been asking for precisely that?  Here’s somebody taking risks; showing us who he really is.  Not hiding behind some safe persona, false claims of accomplishment, and inflated experience.  We have this moment; don’t let it go.

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By Expat, March 19, 2008 at 5:53 am Link to this comment

^ we’re all voting so we all have to make our choices.  While not my first choice Obama is the best choice now, IMO.

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By Leefeller, March 19, 2008 at 5:46 am Link to this comment

Side note, his comments were insightful some, but are the blunt truth, some people get it, most do not want to. Not the best comments to help someone running for office. Again this was his sermon he was not speaking for Obama or anyone else, his opinions and feelings. Actually like most of us here.

Seems most of the people in America are busy Watching “American idol”, “Jack Ass” and the rest of the tripe on TV.  Mass Media preforms it’s purpose, appeasing the masses, like the Romans throwing the Christians to the Lions.

In the same light Kucinich is a crazy Uncle, for his impeachment stand. High level criminals are off the radar and out of touch. A High Colonic is needed and Obama may just be what the doctor ordered.

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By Expat, March 19, 2008 at 5:42 am Link to this comment

^—And, finally, he needed to establish himself as the candidate best equipped to confront this history and these challenges, moving the nation forward beyond the red state/blue state divide, and the black/white divide.
The Philadelphia speech—part masterful historical narrative of America’s birth, with the “original sin of slavery,” to its ongoing effort to become “a more perfect union;” part social analysis of the way race has impacted both blacks and whites; and part exhortation to “find common ground”—showed Obama’s political instinct and rhetorical skills at their best. To borrow a reference from the recent past, he was at times like Martin Luther King, Jr., rising above rancor; and at times like Lyndon Baines Johnson, challenging the nation to pass the Civil Rights Bill of 1965.
There will be those who will attempt to pick apart the speech, seeing not enough here or too much there. Those who do not want to heal the divide will inevitably find fault. Yet, taken in its entirety, the Philadelphia speech was masterful, a tour de force and a defining moment in presidential politics.
Time and again, Obama has displayed a remarkable instinct and ability to rise above “politics as usual.” Even when goaded, he has not entered the fray. What he demonstrated in his Philadelphia speech was that it is precisely because of Geraldine Ferraro and Jeremiah Wright that America needs to confront the corrosive and persistent issue of race; and that he, Barack Obama has.

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By Expat, March 19, 2008 at 5:40 am Link to this comment

^ what the people in PA think?  It is “Joe in Maine” right?  Anyway, here is an editorial by Zogby that says it better than I do.  It’s in two parts because of length.

James Zogby
Obama’s Philadelphia Address:

“All the “Right Stuff”

In bravely and comprehensively addressing the issue of race in America, its history and its persistent and corrosive impact on our society and politics, Barack Obama demonstrated uncommon leadership.
In recent weeks, the Democratic contest had descended into racially-tinged rancor. Comments by former Vice Presidential candidate Geraldine Ferraro stoked the flames, then came clips of speeches given by Obama’s Pastor Jeremiah Wright, which were used to pour gasoline on the flames.
There were accusations by some that the Clinton campaign’s hesitant and timid response to Ferraro’s words suggested that they were playing the “race card” to their advantage, attempting to marginalize Obama as “the black candidate” in majority-white Pennsylvania. Compounding all of this, the press, like sharks smelling blood in the water, engaged in a feeding frenzy, drawing out the Ferraro story for three days and showing ad nauseam the clips of Wright’s remarks.
While shallower analysts and some opponents saw all of this crippling Obama’s candidacy, the problem was more serious than that. Deepening the racial divide, more than harming just Obama, would do grave damage to the Democratic coalition itself. Growing resentment between some in both the black and white communities would have the effect of driving down turnout, whoever emerged as the eventual nominee. The challenge, therefore, was how to douse the flames and not cause them to spread further.
With Barack Obama having presented himself as a transformational figure who could help reconcile the many divides that plague the American polity, the challenges he faced were clear:
—He needed to both explain the tradition and prophetic voice of the black church, creating a deeper understanding of the historic contribution that church has made to advancing social justice and meeting the needs of African Americans.
—He needed to both firmly distance himself from the verbal excesses of his pastor, while respecting Wright and his otherwise exemplary leadership.
—He needed to examine and help explain the black experience in America, and the roots of the resentment that gave rise to Wright’s comments, while at the same time examining and understanding the source of alienation of working class whites who have become victims of the economic downturn, and have come to see affirmative action and/or illegal immigration as having contributed to their displacement.

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By Aegrus, March 19, 2008 at 5:17 am Link to this comment

No, Joe, you are expecting Barack Obama to apologize for his pastor because for no reason at all. Whatever your reasons, you distrust Barack Obama. I’m not going to make the claim I know why, but I’m going to say you are wrong to believe the way you do.

You don’t speak for all of the “white male voters.” You know, people like me who are working class and are 100% behind Barack Obama, his campaign and his statements yesterday. Last time I checked, Obama won in Maine. Apparently, lots of white males in your area agree with me.

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By Joe Sixpack, March 19, 2008 at 4:45 am Link to this comment

See my reply above. Sorry it didn’t appear here.

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By Joe Sixpack, March 19, 2008 at 4:38 am Link to this comment

I listened to it live and then I read the transcript. The average voter in PA was expecting some form of appology for accusing the USA of introducing the AIDS virus on the black population or for saying the US brought 9/11 on ourselves just 5 days after 9/11 when the firefighters were still missing… Obama gave a great speech, but the white male swing voters were not looking for a lesson on race by a constitutional law professor. They wanted to hear, “That was God awful and I am so sorry you were subjected to the hateful words of a man I still love and respect.”

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By Joe Sixpack, March 19, 2008 at 4:33 am Link to this comment

This was supposed to be a reply to your post. What’s the deal with this software?

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By Joe Sixpack, March 19, 2008 at 4:31 am Link to this comment

The games of 2000 and 2004 should never have been that close in the first place. To accuse voter fraud, rightly or wrongly is a loser’s lament. Like blaming the refs for a poor call late in the game that makes your team lose. Florida was a sham. My head will explode if I think about Kathleen Whatsherface or Jeb Bush’s connection. I just can’t go there again, sorry. I hope you understand.

You’re right on when you say American’s rely on 30 second sound bites, Liza. Yesterday Obama gave a historic speech. I think it took incredible courage to deliver. In the end it will be important for intellectuals and his core supporters. That he chooses to hold his ‘Crazy Uncle’ closer will play badly to an electorate that will be told over and over again by the GOP that the only important uncle during a presidential campaign is Uncle Sam. There are people in democratic swing states like Ohio and PA that voted for WJC twice and then voted twice for GWB simply because that felt like the right thing to do in his gut. We were all sold a bill of goods with W and hopefully that same guy will be more careful in the voting booth this time, but I don’t see any evidence to suggest that he will. For most of this election season I could easily recognize a wave of people voting Obama because it felt good and was the ‘cool thing’ to do. Not much different then the guy who wanted to have a beer with Bush, right? Now what I fear is that that same guy who would have otherwise been swept up in the Obama wave is now far too aware of the “God Damn America” stuff. Joe Sixpack is much more apt to be swept up in an anti-Obama wave at the polls if the election were next month. It’s awfully early for an ‘October Surprise’. Obama has time to recover.

What could the conservatives object to with Obama? LOL Here is literally the list I heard on the Howie Carr show from callers yesterday. I listened to get a sense of the meatheads reaction to THE SPEECH. I heard the usual stuff; Obama never wears a flag pin. He threw his poor, white grandmother under the bus! He might be a secret Muslim. He won’t pledge allegiance to the flag. He’s the most liberal senator in the entire senate. He wants women to kill their babies. Blah Blah Blah. Yeah. I know, it makes me sick too.

As soon as it becomes a bit more difficult to vote for Obama will the kids still think it’s so cool? I’m not so sure of that, are you? Kids are the easiest voting block to discount because they are so quick to move on to the next cool thing. They cannot be counted on to support anything for more than six months. Joe Sixpack is always going to vote his wallet or his flag sticker on the back of his pickup truck. God Damn America is something that broke through to one of his core concerns.

On to your next point. That was true the last two cycles because their guy was so completely unqualified to be POTUS. This time they’ll show a young Midshipman at the academy. They’ll show Lt. McCain in his flight suit standing next to his A-4 on the deck of the carrier. This time they have a moving, inspirational personal story of a true American patriot. Whether you happen to like John McCain’s politics or not, he’s a very good man.  He’ll play to his foreign policy strengths and will surprise many with his thoughts and ideas on the economy.  So in the case of Bush I totally agree with the tear-down strategy and they will do some of that again clearly, but this time they aren’t trying to elect any village idiot. I happen to think that the Dem Machine could do a really good job of convincing the public that McCain is too old. We’ll see.

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By Expat, March 19, 2008 at 3:57 am Link to this comment

^ would he do that?  You might want to listen to Obama’s speech again.

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By Joe Sixpack, March 19, 2008 at 3:28 am Link to this comment

Not sure what your point is? Aside from a cllection of some of my thoughts, what are you getting at? That I accused someone of making assumptions? Oh darn. Ya got me there!

My point was that I don’t believe you can assume who the power brokers of the GOP would rather oppose Clinton in the general election simply because Hillary is better known. It’s frankly naive to believe that Obama would somehow get past McCain without the Hate Machine grinding him up. Not sure how many election cycles you’ve watched, but I’m a democrat and I’m really tired of watching the Dream Catchers and Rainbows wing of my party nominate fatally flawed candidates and put them out to be slaughtered.

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By Douglas Chalmers, March 19, 2008 at 3:25 am Link to this comment

Thanks for your kind response, Expat, but the Rev. Wright isn’t the one running for office, is he? As you say, there is a thread of truth in this…..

I guess it will be up to black Americans whether they want to accept Obama’s denunciations and repudiation of his preacher, though.

As you already know, I have well-grounded misgivings about BO’s supposed spirituality and especially his convenient pretence at Christianity, uhh.

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By Joe Sixpack, March 19, 2008 at 3:14 am Link to this comment

He didn’t appologize did he? Did I miss the part where he said, “I’m sorry that my Pastor said those terrible, hurtful things?”

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By Expat, March 19, 2008 at 2:56 am Link to this comment

^ with much of what you say.  I’m not a Democrat by the way (no party affiliation). 
I was particularly impressed by his refusal to disown Rev. Wright, that took guts and shows character.  I just can’t picture Hillary doing something like that.  He’s telling us he has limits as to what he’s willing to do.  Certainly he has to repudiate some of the Rev’s statements: I happen to agree with some of Wrights statements, but I couldn’t win an election as dog catcher admitting that.  You know very well there is a game to be played and the winnings go to the best player.  I have a gut feeling Obama is very different from the “man/candidate” running for president.  Bravely he said what needs to be said openly and further, as you know; he said we need to move on.

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By Douglas Chalmers, March 19, 2008 at 2:11 am Link to this comment

By Expat, March 18: “Obama’s speech…..  was brilliant and courageous.  I think it’s one of the best speeches by any politician in recent memory…”

PART 1…..

I agree that Obama’s speech was “courageous”, Expat, but not nearly as much as Reverend Wright’s sermon was back in 2003 at the time of the second US invasion of Iraq. It is a typical politician’s speech, though, working both sides of the crowd and effectively resolving only his own pet issues.

At about 15 min, he finally gets to the point on race relations (and applause)... and around 22 min to include white resentments, etc and the ‘political correctness’ problem….. but it was rather long and ran to 37+min. I doubt whether it was all self-written as no politician really has the time during a campaign as well as being a working senator.

One significant moment though, which did shine through were the moving words, “Working together, we can move beyond some of our old racial wounds….and in fact…..we have no choice…”. I believe that Obama really did mean that and I do hope that people will try to take that to heart whether they are voting for him or not. The only problem was that he only considered blacks and whites.

And it was so precious that he only said that the discussion of race has “taken a divisive turn” but not as regards gender or age during this campaign. He even managed a shot at Hillary by referring to some “campaign supporters” remarks on racial undertones although most of the screaming has been from his own rather biased supporters who are quite obtusely PC themselves.

Thus, accusing others of being divisive,  Obama’s own unity is still seriously in question as he never made mention of the Democrats, a party which he supposedly represents, while continuing his own one-man campaign solely for his own sake regardless of the cost to party unity or final chances in the election. The issue of race and of Rev. Wright’s sermons have been turned to his advantage despite the final cost.

It was not true that Obama’s own story is “not possible in any other country on Earth” and that is only one of the gratuitous inaccuracies Americans are given to swallow in their relative ignorance of life elsewhere. And that kind of perverse self-congratulation is carried on with erroneous comments like the reference to the “original sin” of the American colonies which was not slavery but the still-forgotten genocide and land-grab they inflicted upon native Americans.

Obama also couldn’t bring himself to once directly say “Latino” even when referring to “the immigrant struggling to feed his family….”. Hispanics only got a look-in at the end very briefly after everyone else had been mentioned. Was that because of black-Hispanic rivalries or because he wanted to use “illegal immigrants” (who he did mention) as a whipping post? Too bad about any other ethnic minorioties, uhh.

I could sympathise with Obama (and Michelle) as regards their having “cringed “ from statements by their children’s white grandmother as regards ineptly made racial comments as that has happened with my own children (they are not white) and their white grandmother too. That is one other worthwhile point that he did manage to bravely make. But did he not learn that bravery and directness from the Reverend Wright?

.......>>> (see part 2…)

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By Douglas Chalmers, March 19, 2008 at 2:10 am Link to this comment

PART 2…...

“As imperfect as he may be, he has been like family to me….. he strengthened my faith” , Obama said of his preacher as and when it suited him to make such reference but still the main point of his speech was to denounce and to negatively criticize the words of the brave and outspoken Rev. Wright once those words did not suit Mr. Obama’s precious and utterly selfish presidential campaign.

Still smearing his preacher, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, its now alright to “strongly disagree” with one’s spiritual leaders to the point of denouncing them for challenging the worthlessness of the great illusion of the American dream if one wants to manipulate that false dream to one’s own political advantage. Is that really the kind of man you would want ‘answering the phone at 3am’?

Strange that it was the stories of the Old Testamant but not of Jesus which inspired Barack Obama for the last 20 years. Those are not the ideals that Christianity is made of despite the ravings of the religious fundamentalists. It therefore sems rather incongrous that Obama should mention “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” but conveniently ignore the plight of Christian Arabs in Palestine and Lebanon.

But, of course, “stalwart allies like Israel” must always be catered to first and foremost - even in speeches about African Americans. Perhaps that was one thing that the Rev. Wright forgot to inform Obama about, eh? Nevertheless, it was “the perverse and hateful ideologies of radical Islam” which no doubt included the democratically elected HAMAS government and the Hezbollah Lebanese anti-Zionist resistance movement that had to be described as the ever-present ‘evil’ for the sake of Obama’s AIPAC supporters.

In other words, you Democrats are still all being led like little children by the clever Pied Piper from The Ring to a fate which will see you confronting the Republicans in the forthcoming election as a divided and weakened political force regardless of the platitudes expressed today. Yes, even your most fervent hopes and dreams and aspirations will be as nought unless the issue of party unity is once and for all resolved successfully and a VP chosen and included.

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By Douglas Chalmers, March 19, 2008 at 1:01 am Link to this comment

Actually, I agreed with the Rev. Wright generally speaking…... and don’t forget that his sermon was in 2003 around the time of the second invasion of Iraq by the USA, the hypocritically-named “Operation Iraqi Freedom”.

It was weak of Obama to condemn his preacher four years later and that will come back to haunt him far more than Wright’s words. Don’t forget that black church-goers agreed with Rev. Wright as being truthful, too.

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By Douglas Chalmers, March 19, 2008 at 12:54 am Link to this comment

Forget the history books, Daniel, what is needed is positive action by people, not mere lip-service. Whether Hillary or Obama becomes nomineee, there is a lot to be done.

Some of you are already just sidestepping your responsibilities by consigning it all to “the history books” as has been done in the past.

That’s why we are all at the impasse of the racial divide here and now, uhh.

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By Douglas Chalmers, March 19, 2008 at 12:50 am Link to this comment

You mean a pro-Israel speech, Liza. This one was already “positive feedback” for AIPAC, uhh

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By Douglas Chalmers, March 19, 2008 at 12:46 am Link to this comment

Shame! What’s wrong with invoking the name of “God” for something good to happen, Liza?

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By Expat, March 19, 2008 at 12:04 am Link to this comment

^ was brilliant and courageous.  I think it’s one of the best speeches by any politician in recent memory.  Much of the press seems to agree.  I have no idea how the electorate will see it.

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By Liza, March 18, 2008 at 9:34 pm Link to this comment

Inflammatory language just doesn’t improve anything for anyone.  We need to end the occupation, to be sure, and we need to do it without invoking the name of God.

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By Liza, March 18, 2008 at 9:29 pm Link to this comment

Joe, my reply is above and didn’t indent either.

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