Posted by Adam @ 2:12 pm on April 29th 2008

Wright. More Wright. Wrightest

The Reverend Wright farrago continues and Obama has said that he’s going to have a press conference about it.

I’m not sure Obama’s doing himself any good if he revisits this. Of course, Wright isn’t doing him any good either, continuing to talk about it, but one can hardly blame Wright if he believes, rightly or wrongly, that he’s been misrepresented (and/or thrown under the bus by the Obama campaign).

I have said earlier that I personally don’t care much about this and think that expectations that Obama should launch a full-blown attack on Wright were ill-formed. I have, however, little instinctive feel for what political impact this story’s continuation will have; I didn’t grow up with the racial tensions that appear to persist in much of America, nor with the (to me, somewhat bizarre) rigorous and publically expressed patriotism of many Americans. So, I’m interested to see what Obama’s calculation is and whether this press conference is really going to be (as Ben Smith reported it) a “big” one; does Obama have another rabbit to pull from his hat? At this stage he is presumably thinking more about the General Race rather than the nomination race (although, given Clinton’s “electability” strategy for the superdelegates, they’re not decoupled in any case) but he presumably has to exercise some care nevertheless.

17 Comments »

  1. To be honest, Adam, I don’t think most Americans grow up with the sort of racial tensions that you’ve lacked. This is being kept alive by people who grew up in a different era.

    I tend to agree that this does not merit Obama’s additional attention; if he’s going to revisit it, he has to take a tourniquet approach and make it the final time he comments on the subject, come what may.

    Comment by Rojas — 4/29/2008 @ 2:47 pm

  2. Well, most Americans are probably older than me (and did grow up in a different era) and presumably some of those younger than me grew up in some areas that do still have those problems.

    Comment by Adam — 4/29/2008 @ 2:56 pm

  3. Also, I would say that tensions still exist here (they do in parts of the UK too, incidentally, but not where I grew up).

    On a slight tangent, I do like to hear white men whining about how black people get all the breaks. One of my absolute favourite whines, that.

    Comment by Adam — 4/29/2008 @ 3:06 pm

  4. About all I can say on that score is that I grew up at about the same time you did, in a border state, in a city famous for racial discrimination in education. I’ve witnessed racial tension at a minor level (my high school was about 45% caucasian); I myself oppose affirmative action and hold a variety of other views with which Obama and Wright would disagree. And yet the Wright comments mean very little to me, and I don’t encounter people who are aware of them who care about them very much.

    Comment by Rojas — 4/29/2008 @ 3:20 pm

  5. Actually, affirmative action is one of the things I consider as a part of ‘racial tension’, one way and other.

    I think that the biggest problem for Obama from Wright will be the “God-dayum America” soundbite, for what it’s worth.

    Comment by Adam — 4/29/2008 @ 4:11 pm

  6. By the way, I think it’s pretty damn clear, if it wasn’t already (it was), where Obama stands on the whole Wright thing, given his statement today.

    It’ll be an interesting litmus test for the NRO crowd and ilk. If they don’t buy this, there is, I don’t think, literally anything they’ll buy from a black Democrat.

    I’m finally starting to get mildly interested, if for no other reason than to see who this isn’t enough for, and what their stated reasons are.

    Comment by Brad — 4/29/2008 @ 6:01 pm

  7. Nevermind. I just popped over there. Jesus.

    It reminds me of working at the chicken houses in the abbey. 20,000 chickens lined up for a football field’s length, clucking away. But if for some reason you had to do something that rattled the cages, they’d all get to whoopin’ at the same time, and it’d sound like a plane was landing. Ba-GAWK!s and feathers flying everywhere, chicken shit squirting from every orifice.

    That’s what NRO is like today.

    Comment by Brad — 4/29/2008 @ 6:10 pm

  8. If they donít buy this, there is, I donít think, literally anything theyíll buy from a black Democrat.

    Feel free to defend your inclusion of the term “black” in this sentence.

    Do you figure they’d give him a pass if he were white? I sure don’t.

    Comment by Rojas — 4/29/2008 @ 6:11 pm

  9. No, you got me reversed. I think they might give him a pass if he were a Republican.

    How long did it take for Obama to hit the scene before shit about “but how distant is he from Farakhan?” hit, or “Was his mother a communist, since a lot of those hooked up with black guys?” Or “Yes, he talks pretty, but does he hate Jews?” I don’t think the operating “ism” here is “racism”, I think it’s “partisism”. There is literally no answer a black Democrat could make to charges like these that would satisfy.

    Comment by Brad — 4/29/2008 @ 6:18 pm

  10. To put it another way, Republicans have bitched FOR YEARS about how they’d love to see a black Democrat get up there and distance themselves from Sharpton, Jackson, et al, and the politics of identity victimization, and put all that stuff to bed and try to rise above and chart a new path for black political leaders.

    If this isn’t that for them, I really just don’t think any Democrat will ever pass muster. Note particularly that they’re not even considering THE POSSIBILITY. It doesn’t even merit consideration.

    The only question on the NRO crowd’s mind today is “Okay, how is he lying? Don’t let him get away with pretending to rise above. Not on our watch.”

    Comment by Brad — 4/29/2008 @ 6:21 pm

  11. Although, now that I think of it, yes, in response to your original question, I do think they would give him a pass on it if he were white.

    Take race out of this ENTIRELY and bare it down to its essentials. A politician who is running a campaign largely against identity politics, also speaks candidly about his formation as a Christian under such and such a church/order/pastor. Turns out that said church/order/pastor spews a lot of vile shit. Politician says “I don’t agree with that shit, it just got me on the Christian path and they do a lot of good work”.

    Do you think the NRO crowd would be devoting HALF the word count its expended on this? Think it would even be a story much worth covering, to say nothing of dominating every single headline in the country?

    Before you answer, consider that said vile shit might be, instead of “the government created AIDs to use against black people”, “God created AIDs to use against homosexuals”. Replace Obama with Edwards and Wright with Hagee (or any similar analogue).

    Think there’d be a qualitative difference?

    I sure do.

    Comment by Brad — 4/29/2008 @ 6:35 pm

  12. For the record, I wouldn’t make a blanket statement like that about the cornerites; there’s a lot of variety over there, including amongst those that don’t like Obama.

    As I said, I think that the ‘God Damn America’ comment is a big deal for a lot of people and I think that it would be a big deal whatever Wright’s (or Obama’s) colour. So although one might wish to construct a case against individuals, I don’t like a blanket “it’s about race” statement about a group of different individuals. There certainly are issues of race that Wright raises but they are legitimate ones; he’s race-baiting himself, after all.

    Comment by Adam — 4/29/2008 @ 7:56 pm

  13. Indeed. And I’m not not really assigned a why to the question of how race plays into this, just that I think it does, big time. Now that Rojas made me think about it (it wasn’t my original point), I DON’T think this would be anywhere near as big a deal if both players weren’t black. Again, the why of the matter is a question I’m not really prepared to answer. Interestingly, I think I have a better grasp on it as it pertains to Wright and Obama themselves, just not the people watching from the cheap seats.

    I almost noted the exceptions to the Cornerite generalization, but you’ve got to admit, they’re a pig in shit over there by and large. I’ve found that I needn’t even bother going over there on the days when something about Wright is in the news.

    Comment by Brad — 4/29/2008 @ 8:04 pm

  14. I’m still more interested in what’s not in the news, specifically the generals who’s opinions wee used to browbeat critics of the administration, were on the take of the administration. And the media should have suspected this.

    Which makes for an interesting media environment a few years back. You had pundits paid for by the administration,
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A56330-2005Jan7.html
    you had VNR’s, paid for by the administration,
    http://www.nytimes.com/2005/03/13/politics/13covert.htm
    And now you have experts, paid to give informed analysis to the networks, paid for (directly or indirectly) by the administration
    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/20/washington/20generals.html
    This Doug Barstow guy has really been on top of this.

    But anyways, yeah Reverend Wright. What a distraction. “Goddamn America” and all. Good thing the media is there to check those kinds of public figures.

    Comment by thimbles — 4/29/2008 @ 10:35 pm

  15. man, with all those other tidbits of media manipulation I forgot to mention this:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2006/04/09/washington/09leak.html
    I must be slipping.

    Comment by thimbles — 4/29/2008 @ 10:42 pm

  16. In fairness, thimbles, we’re always careful to mention how little we care about the Wright thing, and how unworthy of our attention the issue is, before we go on three day comment-binges about it.

    Comment by Rojas — 4/29/2008 @ 10:51 pm

  17. We’re totally part of the solution dude.

    Comment by Brad — 4/30/2008 @ 12:00 am

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