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Obama, Wright, and the Problem of Nutty Friends:

I've been reding Jim's posts on Obama and Wright as well as chatter here and elsewhere about Obama's acquaintances with Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn. The comments to Jim's posts have been quite interesting also (at least to me). So I thought I'd throw another log on the fire.

I have no inside knowledge of any of this, but here's my impression as to what is going on. I think that much of this commentary is quite unfair to Obama and somewhat misplaced. One issue that has arisen, for instance, is whether Obama's criticism of Wright following his news conference is sincere or not. Another is whether Obama should have done more to "distance" himself from Ayers and Dohrn or denounced them more publicly. Based on what I've read, I think these are unfair to Obama.

By all indications, Obama seems like an extremely decent guy. Everyone who I have talked to who has ever known him personally says that he is a decent guy. He seems like the kind of guy who tends to look for the best in people, rather than the worst, and seems like the kind of guy who is quite ready to forgive the foibles and nuttiness of friends and relatives. I have no reason to know for sure whether this is true, but seems consistent with what I have observed.

I suspect that all of us have friends, relatives, and colleagues who are basically good, conscientious, and kind people, but who have some political views that are pretty nutty. I have an uncle who in 1999 liquidated all of his assets and converted them to gold coins then moved to a remote undeveloped part of Hawaii because he was so afraid of Y2K and that martial law was going to be imposed on the United States. I have a friend who is a self-proclaimed anarchist environmentalist anti-globalization activist. I'm sure that Alan Greenspan didn't agree with everything that Ayn Rand believed and I know a lot of friends of Murrary Rothbard didn't agree with a lot of what he wrote. And just recall all the hubbub about Ron Paul's old newsletters.

Moreover, there is the problem that based on my experience it seems like some people just get nuttier as they get older. From all appearances this may describe Jeremiah Wright, but I'm sure many of us have cranky relatives who this describes as well.

So what? So I think that when it comes to dealing with friends with nutty political views we are friends with them despite their nutty opinions not because of them. When I hear someone go into a diatribe about how the income tax is unconstitutional, how civilization is going to be ruined by global warming, or some other such thing, usually all I do is sigh, roll my eyes, and try to change the topic. If someone is 95% normal (or even admirable) and 5% nut, so long as they keep their nuttiness out of my face most of the time I don't go out of my way to argue with them, correct them, or make a big show out of denouncing them. Why argue with a crazy person? This is especially so if someone is an old friend from way back who I knew in a completely different context of our lives. I think that this is what Obama may have been alluding to when he referred to the fact that Sen. Coburn is his friend despite his apparent view that abortionists should be given the death penalty--Obama is friends with Coburn despite his views on that issue, not because of his views on that issue (leaving aside whether that is an accurate description of Coburn's view). It seems obvious to me that that Obama wasn't seriously comparing Coburn to Ayers (as some have suggested) but simply trying to use an analogy to suggest that he respects and works with Coburn despite what many people believe to be a pretty nutty view.

So, if I had to guess, when it comes to Wright's more inflammatory statements it sounds like Obama seems like the sort of guy who probably pulled the "sigh and roll your eyes" approach. I also suspect that the nutty stuff we are hearing about was not the steady diet served up by Wright, but rather occasional statements or sermons here and there sprinkled in among normal church preaching. Perhaps Wright has gotten more radical or frequent with his rants as he has gotten older. So maybe Obama had to roll his eyes more frequently too.

Friendship is not necessarily based on someone's political views, no matter how goofy or even hateful, especially if the person is not sticking their views in your face all of the time. It is also appropriate not to be friends with someone whose political views you abhore, especially if they are flamboyant about it. But whether someone holds mainstream political views is not the basis on which acquaintances are built. If you have a sincere affection for someone built up over many years, you tend to forgive their occasional lunacies. Especially if it is a person who you came to respect, admire, and befriend many years before, perhaps when that person was not nuts. To me, I don't necessarily see it as a flaw in Obama that he hasn't made a big show of denouncing Wright or Ayers until he was forced to. I do think that he probably is fed up with Wright from the standpoint that he has tried to treat Wright with the respect that he sees owed to a longstanding pastor who is now making a public embarrassment of himself. He has tried to be patient with Wright in hopes that Wright would sober up, but instead Wright just keeps pouring it on, at which point Obama says "enough." So it seems reasonable to me that Obama has been largely sincere through this whole process, first in trying to give Wright an opportunity to clean up his act but then to say "enough" when Wright refused to do so.

As I said, Obama seems like quite a decent guy. I'm not going to vote for him because of his policy views but he still seems like a decent guy. He has a lot of tolerance for nutty political views, but anyone who hangs around academia or any political movement will certainly have friend and acquaintances who have nutty political views. If you are a basically decent and compassionate person you try to look for the best in people and work with everyone, not throw aside friends just because you don't agree with their political views. Moreover, if you have a friend who has idiotic political views you don't run around adding to his embarrassment making a public spectacle out of denouncing those views, but instead I would think that you would hope that the guy would wisen up.

Thus, I also don't think it is fair to ascribe much of any of these relationships to Obama because I haven't seen any shred of evidence that he condones or agrees with any of the views expressed by Wright or Ayers (his wife may be a different story). On the other hand, I do find it somewhat implausible for Obama to imply that he didn't know that Wright held and expressed some nutty views or became more of a nut over time.

T. Gracchus (mail):
Nicely said.
4.30.2008 1:33pm
Commentor (mail):
Great post. What do you call these attacks on Obama, ad ad hominem?
4.30.2008 1:37pm
Rock On (www):
Thank you.
4.30.2008 1:39pm
Bored Lawyer:
IMO, the Ayers association is much more damning than Wright. Ayers is an unrepentant terrorist -- he planted bombs in public buildings, and years later in an interview with the NY Times stated that he was only sorry he had not done more of it. That is not simply a quirky political view, that is an obnoxious, violent political stance.

Obama, I understand, launched his political career (for state Senator?) at a party given by Ayers. The two sit on the same board of an organization. In the recent debates, Obama excused him as simply an English professor who did some radical things 40 years ago when Obama himself was 8 years old.

This, to my mind, highlights a glaring blindspot in Obama's worldview. (One shared, incidentally by much of the left.) Namely, all violence is excused by one of the correct political persuasion.

Imagine the reverse situation. A Republican presidential candidate has close associations with a prominent conservative professor. He launches his political career at the professor's house and sits on the same board as him.

Turns out that 40 years ago, however, the professor was a member of the KKK and was involved in several acts of violence against blacks. And then the professor some 30 years later gave an interview to a prominent newspaper and stated that the only thing he regrets is that he did not bomb more n------s back in the day.

That Republican candidate would be howled out of the race quicker than you could blink an eye.
4.30.2008 1:40pm
Pyrrhus (mail) (www):
I think this is probably pretty fair in reference to Ayers.

It would also be fair if Obama and Wright's relationship was just "friends".

But Obama made a point of saying that he found Wright inspiring, as a preacher. Its as a preacher that Wright is nutty.
4.30.2008 1:40pm
NYU 3L:
It's important to note that the attacks on Obama with respect to Wright and Ayers are different:

Wright: His views are nutty, and we're worried that Obama may actually agree with a few of them because Wright was the guy's pastor and spiritual mentor for 20 years. The views are far from the mainstream and the association is too close for Obama to dismiss Wright as a crazy friend. At best, it seems Obama put up with it out of political expediency to stay in good with the Chicago machine, which doesn't fit his campaign image.

Ayers: No one thinks Obama actually agrees with him, but Ayers is so evil in his actions and words that staying anywhere near him shows terrible judgment.

Both attacks, I think, are fair.
4.30.2008 1:44pm
AntonK (mail):

"...When he finally did view the Washington speech, Obama explained, he was "shocked" and "outraged" and "saddened" because "the person I saw was not the person that I'd come to know over 20 years."

What a load of pure unadulterated horse manure. Anyone with eyes can see that Wright's performances are finely honed, time-tested acts. His anti-white, anti-American, "imperialist"-bashing shtick was not developed overnight or over the past few years. He's been peddling AIDS conspiracies for decades. He's been grievance-mongering about slavery for decades. He's been flirting with the Nation of Islam, which provided security for his speeches, for decades. He's been a shouting left-wing radical for decades.

Obama's best-selling Audacity of Hope is named after the first sermon of Wright's that he heard — decades ago — in which the pastor of racial resentment inveighed against an environment "where white folks' greed runs a world in need, apartheid in one hemisphere, apathy in another hemisphere." Yet, only now has Obama concluded that Wright's sermons are "a bunch of rants that aren't grounded in truth."

Welcome to the Jive-Talk Express.
"
Indeed.
4.30.2008 1:49pm
Hans Bader (mail):
I respectfully disagree with Professor Zywicki. The commentary critical of Obama is entirely fair. Moreover, Obama himself is very quick to judge others and demand their firing when they express legitimate, factually-grounded disagreements with him.

He pushed for the firing of a career Justice Department attorney (not a conservative; indeed, the attorney once worked for Sen. Pat Leahy (D-VT)) because that attorney pointed out the inarguable, statistical fact that laws (e.g., voter ID laws) that discourage elderly people from voting don't have a racially disparate impact, because blacks die sooner than whites on average, meaning that a smaller fraction of blacks than whites are elderly.

For pointing out this unpleasant truth (which was relevant to Voting Rights Act claims), he was deemed a racist by Obama, who sought his scalp. (Under political pressure, he ultimately transferred to another position in a different branch on the Justice Department).

Moreover, Jeremiah Wright is far from the only Obama associate who harbors crackpot racist beliefs.

For example, the race-baiting San Francisco diversity trainer Glenn Singleton, who was the Seattle Schools' diversity consultant, is an Obama donor. He gave Obama at least $2300. That's confirmed both by Newsmeat and the Huffington Post database.

The Seattle Schools' wacky definitions of racism were criticized in footnotes in the plurality opinion and Justice Thomas's concurrence in Parents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle School District No. 1, which struck down the Seattle School's racial quotas (Obama criticized that ruling). The wacky definitions of racism were also discussed back in 2006 in posts at Volokh Conspiracy.

As Vincent Carroll, an editor of the Rocky Mountain News, noted, Glenn Singleton, a wealthy, radical "diversity" trainer hired by many school systems, claims that "white talk" is "intellectual" and "task-oriented," while "color commentary" is "personal" and "emotional."

Singleton believes that racism is ubiquitous among whites and that individualism is a white characteristic. Under his tutelage, the Seattle Schools became increasingly radical and defined individualism as a form of cultural racism, claimed that planning ahead was a racist white characteristic, and attacked colorblindness, all bizarre claims that were criticized in the Supreme Court's decision in Parents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle School District No. 1.

Singleton's wacky beliefs have made him rich, as guilty white liberals like California School Superintendant Jack O'Connell and the Chapel Hill, Madison, and Arlington Schools hire him to promote his weird racial philosophy that blacks inherently think differently from whites.

If Obama is elected, I suspect he will make appointments to judicial and education related positions will share this weird, racist view that blacks inherently think and learn differently from other people.

I have a multipart series on Glenn Singleton and racist and radical diversity training at www.openmarket.org, such as the following post:

http://www.openmarket.org/2007/12/12/
glenn-singletons-racism-and-the-arlington-public-schools/

Glenn Singleton's Racism and the Arlington Public Schools

Posted by Hans Bader, December 12, 2007, OpenMarket.org

Earlier, I wrote about the racist "diversity" consultant Glenn Singleton, who is hired by school officials, like the Arlington, Virginia schools, despite his long record of promoting offensive racial stereotypes, such as claiming that minority students are "emotional" and not "intellectual" or "task-oriented."

What is commonly overlooked about Glenn Singleton's racist approach is who his real victims are: America's minority children. The Maoist indoctrination by Singleton that civil-rights historian and professor David Beito recounts here and here is no doubt humiliating and uncomfortable for the white teachers and professors forced to undergo it, especially given Singleton's claim that racism is "ubiquitous" among whites, and his assertion that white teachers are to blame for minority students' bad grades.

But the biggest losers in the long run from Singleton's approach will be minority students, not the white teachers that Singleton scapegoats for poor performance by minority students. Being subjected to Singleton's "diversity" training won't cost white teachers their jobs, and if such "diversity" training gets too abusive, they may even be able to sue Glenn Singleton or their school system for it, since a federal court ruled in Hartman v. Pena (1995) that a man could sue for discriminatory harassment after being subjected to a humiliating 3-day diversity training seminar. But Singleton doesn't just humiliate white teachers. He also promotes stereotypes about minority children that could aggravate the minority achievement gap.

Singleton claims that "white talk" is "verbal," "intellectual" and "task-oriented," while "color commentary" is "emotional" and "personal." See, e.g., Vincent Carroll, "On Point: The Whiteness Trap," Rocky Mountain News, May 10, 2006, at page 34A. That's exactly the sort of racist stereotype that contributes to the poor performance of some minority students, who believe that studying is "acting white."

The fact that Singleton puts a superficially positive spin on this negative stereotype (by claiming that whites' fous on achievement is coldly "impersonal" and "task-oriented") makes it all the more seductive to those minority students who already perceive studying as "acting white" and being a "grind" (and who taunt studious classmates of their own race by referring to them as "schoolboy," "schoolgirl" and "little miss perfect").

Singleton is hired for big bucks — a "six-figure fee" — to conduct diversity training seminars in order to supposedly remedy the minority achievement gap. But the truth is that his own teachings aggravate and reinforce the minority achievement gap. And America's minority students will be the losers.

For that reason, I was especially saddened to learn in a November 28 letter from Arlington Schools Superintendent Robert G. Smith that Singleton was supposedly hired to remedy "the disparity in achievement between white students and students of color." Hiring Singleton to reduce the minority achievement gap is like hiring a flat-earther to teach astronomy and biology.

In his letter, Dr. Robert Smith admitted that Singleton's bizarre racial theories are "provocative." Provocative, indeed. Singleton's racial theories resemble those of the infamous racist Leonard Jeffries, who was belatedly removed from his position as head of the black studies department at the City University of New York, after he decided to go beyond promoting racism to preaching antisemitism. His racial claims, too, were described as "provocative." But in Jeffries v. Harleston (1995), the federal appeals court upheld his removal from his administrative position because of his bigotry.

Glenn Singleton's racial theories closely parallel those of Leonard Jeffries. Jeffries taught that whites were cold, individualistic, competitive "ice people," while minorities are warm, "communal" "sun people." Similarly, Singleton claims that "white and Asian students are more competitive and individualistic," while minorities have a "collective," communal orientation (see Vincent Carroll, "On Point: 'Culture of Whiteness,'" Rocky Mountain News, October 19, 2005, at page 37A). And he claims that whites are "impersonal," "verbal," "intellectual" and "task-oriented," while minorities are "non-verbal, personal" and "emotional." (See Vincent Carroll, "On Point: The Whiteness Trap," Rocky Mountain News, May 10, 2006, at page 34A). Ironically, Asian students end up being classified as as "majority students" in school systems advised by Singleton, because they have the temerity to succeed academically in a predominantly-white society.

Why Singleton continues to be hired by school systems (like the Arlington County schools) is a mystery, given how much public embarrassment he has caused some of them. Perhaps white school officials harbor so much politically-correct racial guilt that they fixate on his anti-white rhetoric and thus lose sight of how damaging his racial stereotypes are to minority children. Anti-white rhetoric is sometimes rewarded, as Leonard Jeffries showed by obtaining tenure and administrative authority at CUNY as a result of his flagrantly racist "scholarship" and writings.

Singleton recently embarrassed California Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O'Connell. This year, he was hired by the gullible O'Connell to give diversity training. O'Connell then was publicly ridiculed after he repeated an offensive stereotype voiced by Glenn Singleton: that blacks, as a people, are loud, and need to have their loudness accommodated in the schools. (In fact, many minority students express dismay about how loud and disorderly their classes are, finding that to be a major impediment to learning. They want "simple, elusive quiet" so they can study. My Asian, Hispanic, and black relatives are not loud and noisy). The head of San Francisco's NAACP has demanded an apology from O'Connell for spreading this unfounded racial stereotype. Singleton also embarrassed the Seattle Schools in a landmark Supreme Court case.

But Singleton himself continues to be hired, probably because of his anti-white rhetoric. A case in point is the enthusiastic reception that speakers from the anti-white Nation of Islam receive on campus. At both of my alma maters (Harvard Law School and the University of Virginia), a Nation of Islam speaker, Abdul Alim Muhammad, received an enthusiastic reception from predominantly-black audiences, even though he said things that were antisemitic, not just racist. He got away with his anti-semitism as a reward for his anti-white racism. Anti-white racism apparently excuses all sins.

No student newspaper would even criticize the bigoted Nation of Islam speech at U.Va. on November 15, 1990, which lasted for four hours, featured an enthusiastic audience of 600 students, and was filled with racial hatred and antisemitism. Nor would any individual journalist criticize it (except for me), until a Muslim minority student from Bangladesh (Arshad Rahman) publicly condemned the speech on November 28 as a "heretical expression of race hatred." That broke the politically-correct taboo among journalists against criticizing anti-white racism, and suddenly, guilty whites began to gingerly criticize the speech, although they focused not on its racism but on its antisemitism and one arguably antigay remark made by the speaker.

4.28.2008 4:15pm
4.30.2008 1:51pm
Cornellian (mail):
. . . that attorney pointed out the inarguable, statistical fact that laws (e.g., voter ID laws) that discourage elderly people from voting don't have a racially disparate impact, because blacks die sooner than whites on average, meaning that a smaller fraction of blacks than whites are elderly.

The latter doesn't follow from the former. If, for example, only 10% of blacks are elderly as compared to 15% of whites, it doesn't automatically follow that there is no racially disparate impact on elderly blacks. That requires an assumption that the restriction affects all elderly people equally, which may or may not be the case.
4.30.2008 1:57pm
Not Applicable:
A+ post, prof. There are real issues in the campaign, and this ain't one of them.
4.30.2008 1:59pm
samuil (mail):
During a person's adult life, especially if they are involved and open to different people, ect., they will meet and deal with many different kinds of people including some who have a past,like Ayres or were once average but, changed with age.
It's not hard to imagine this man, Wright, may have gone through some changes as he was retiring and Obama, being a senator for 4 years and running for president probably did not go to church all that much.
But, no one can live to the standards of the media these days.
We would never have elected Lincoln or FDR or Kennedy today. They would not have been able to pass the limitus test of the press.
However, it is possible to posture and dazzle them with being a bubba and dolt and acting like a cowboy without common sense or intelligence and get elected these days.
The press demands that a candidate be like Larry the Cable Guy to pass muster according to their standards. But, if you show any class, intelligence (one story I saw was "Is Obama too Smart") and dignity, then they are labled this vague tag of elitist and are vilified by the press day in and day out.
They use the person's associations like a pastor to parade for weeks on end to tear the candidate down by making the pastor look too wacky and therefore guilt by association.
We wonder why our country is in the shape it is in.
Because the press tells voters that to need to elect the guy you want to have a beer with over the man who is capable.
And forget it if he defies their beloved conventional wisdom and succeeds with the voters. He will pay a price for that.
4.30.2008 2:00pm
Prufrock765 (mail):
Is it my imagination or does every comment by Mr Bader contain a link (ie advertisment) for something he has written elsewhere?

What exactly is your objection to Singelton, Mr. Bader?
That he is rich? That he is wrong? That he hoodwinks poor intellectually bereft school superintendents into permitting him a venue?
Those opinions of Singleton, while wacky, are held by, I would wager, a substantial number of faculty in the top-50 undergrad institutions in the USA. He saw a market niche and he filled it--just the thing to warm a libertarian's cockles. Don't blame him if it it offends you that the market niche was there in the first place.

Mr. Zywicki has it right.
BHO is not my cup of tea as far as the race for the White House is concerned. But I understand his appeal, and I do not believe he is a bad person (in fact, as far as his decency, intelligence and integrity are concerned, I prefer him to McCain, but not by a vast margin--and not enough to outweigh my objections to his policy positions.
4.30.2008 2:04pm
DiverDan (mail):
Amen. If there weren't people who will put up with a 5-10% "crazy factor", I'd have no friends at all! (I still think Wright exceeds any reasonable limit on the "crazy factor", and Obama, in keeping him as a pastor, "mentor" and "spiritual advisor" for over 20 years, crossed over the line from "very tolerant" to "bad judgment").
4.30.2008 2:06pm
Watts (mail) (www):
In that long rant about Singleton, I can't help but notice the only connection to Obama is the one-sentence mention that Singleton gave money to Obama's campaign. While I think there's a significant distinction between "associating" with people with nutty views and actively seeking the endorsement of them (cf. McCain and Hagee), "this guy I've written an expose article on gave money to Obama!" is awfully weak tea.
4.30.2008 2:09pm
William Oliver (mail) (www):
"Friendship is not necessarily based on someone's political views, no matter how goofy or even hateful, especially if the person is not sticking their views in your face all of the time."

The problem is that you have framed the relationship to be exactly what it was not. Wright was not a friend who occasionally said things that were weird. Nobody is castigating Obama because of his next door neighbor or golfing buddy. That kind of examination is saved for Republicans.

This was Obama's spiritual advisor and mentor. This was someone he *chose* to be with *because* of his views and guidance, not *in spite of* it. This is a church he was an enthusiastic member of for 20 years that espoused a particular theology and ideology. He did not "roll his eyes" for 20 years over the core beliefs of this church, he adopted and supported them. Would you be saying the same thing if a white supremacist had attended the Aryan Nations church for 20 years -- that theres a lot of good things about White Identity Christianity, and he probably just "rolled his eyes" at the race hatred that was an integral part of the religion? I don't think so.

Certainly one can be a racist and bigot and still be a "pretty nice guy" in most other areas. History is full of such folk, from Martin Luther to Thomas Jefferson. I'm sure David Duke has some very nice qualities, once you get to know him. That does not make these folk any less what they are in those areas, however, and it is not wrong to recognize that they were wrong, particularly when those views will affect their responsibilities. In fact, focusing on such failings is an integral part of Black Theology. It would be profoundly hypocritical to base one's theology on such examinations, yet at the same time demand that they not be applied to you.
4.30.2008 2:10pm
Chicken Little:
OH NOES! He associates with people of varying views, some of which I don't like! This man must not be Commander in Chief!

You all are either intellectual midgets and cover your little genitals in the face of 'scary' ideas or are simply conservative hacks trying to rationalize these ridiculous attacks for political gain. Just face it, Obama was a half-white Harvard law grad who came to Chicago with no connections. He was told Trinity was a good place to meet people, and he attended, probably infrequently. Isn't the fact that Obama has had various life experiences - with one foot in white America and one in black America - and his willingness to listen to differing views a source of strength? The world is complicated and not everyone sees it the way we do. We can't just 'walk out' everytime someone's viewpoint offends or scares us. Just think if this same logic applied to FDR during WWII - meeting and talking with Stalin - not mention allying with him - would be unacceptable.
4.30.2008 2:10pm
Ben Barros:
Great post. Thanks.
4.30.2008 2:11pm
alias:
Re: the uncle who moved to Hawaii with gold coins

I note that Prof. Zywicki does not deny that this uncle is his spiritual and financial advisor.
4.30.2008 2:11pm
samuil (mail):
AntonK,
If you have a memo from Jeremiah Wright to John Yoo showing how we should become a rogue nation, let me know. If you have pictures of Jeremiah Wright voting against the GI Bill, send it to me. If you have evidence of Jeremiah Wright training junior soldiers on the finer aspects of stacking and torturing naked Iraqi captives, pass them on.

Until then, I just can't seem to get all worked up about the crazy scary black preacher that Obama has to "throw under the bus."
O'K, kozel?
4.30.2008 2:11pm
A.C.:
I think there is an important line somewhere in the realm of conspiracy theories. Many of my friends -- most, I think -- hold beliefs I don't share. It's when people start ranting about mysterious groups of "others," conspiring to do things that aren't in their stated positions, that I start to back away. You know, if Lockheed Martin is supposed to be making everyone's dishwashers irradiate them. Things get bad very, very quickly after that point, and my only question then is whether I am responsible for making medical decisions for that person.

We can all see that Wright is somewhere near that line. The question is whether he is:

1) Actually a bit nutty, but on the safe side of the line;
2) Not at all nutty, but pretending to be for some reason;
3) On the further, untrustworthy side of the line, but only just recently so that people who knew him years ago are surprised; or
4) On the further, untrustworthy side of the line, and everyone has known it for as long as he's been preaching.

If it is #1 or #3, Obama's earlier defense of the man makes some sense. If it's #2, then he's a huckster and Obama shouldn't have trusted him in the first place. If it's #4, then it's like #2 except that it's tragic that the man is so unhinged.

People's positions on the Obama/Wright connection seem to depend on which of these views of Wright they take. I don't really know which one is correct, myself.
4.30.2008 2:12pm
SenatorX (mail):
Sorry but it's an issue if people think it's an issue. Each voter gets to decide that in a place no one else gets to go. Is it so shocking that white voters are worried about voting a president who might harbor anti-white feelings? No one expects such a person to come out and say that's what they believe while running for president. We are left with looking at their history and relationships, which don't look good. Deal with it.
4.30.2008 2:12pm
PLR:
Nope, this didn't help stem the proliferation of Obama topics.
4.30.2008 2:12pm
Hans Bader (mail):
Incredibly, the Barrack Obama web site endorses the work of the racist wacko I described above, San Francisco diversity trainer (and maximum Obama donor) Glenn Singleton. Singleton teaches gross racial stereotypes such as that "white talk" is "intellectual" and "task-oriented," while "color commentary" is "personal" and "emotional," and claims that individualism is a white (i.e., racist) characteristic.

Under Obama donor Singleton's tutelage, the Seattle Schools adopted definitions of racism, such as claiming that individualism and planning ahead are forms of cultural racism. The Supreme Court criticized these bizarre definitions in the footnotes of its decision in Parents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle School District No. 1 (2007) (see Chief Justice Roberts' opinion announcing the court's ruling at footnote 14 and Justice Thomas's concurrence at footnote 30).

Databases like Newsmeat show that Singleton made the maximum legal contribution to Obama ($2300).

Below, for example, is a blog post from the Obama web site, touting "Dr. Glenn Singleton," and citing his race-obsessed view that race is the dominant factor in American life ("Dr. Glenn Singleton once said, 'You can't play the race card. Race is the whole deck.'") -- essentially, a claim that our society is inherently racist.

http://my.barackobama.com/page/community/post/naomizf/gGBkSg

Post from Going There:
The "race card"
By Naomi - Mar 13th, 2008 at 5:18 pm EDT
Also listed in: 6 groups

---------------------------------------------------------
Tags: Bill Clinton, RACE, racism

First, a warning. In this post, I am going to attempt to "go there" on the issue of race in America and how it is reflected in the current campaign. I mean "go there" as in "let's not go there." We need to go there. We're already there, we just don't acknowledge it. I do not imagine that my perspective is universal, nor that I will not offend anyone. But if we don't go there, how can we ever imagine we're going to get at the heart of what is ailing this society?

Second, a disclaimer. I am a white woman in her 30's. Unnervingly, that may make some people more willing to listen to what I have to say than if I were, say, an African-American male. And yet, who knows more about race and racism in America than a person of color? More on this later.

Two things that have had a lot of play in the press the last couple of days have really stuck with me. The first was a lot of commentary accusing the Obama campaign of "playing the race card" in responding to Ferraro, and saying that Obama supporters are "injecting race" into this campaign.

The second is today's report that Hillary Clinton apologized for Bill Clinton's comments about Jesse Jackson in South Carolina by saying:

"I want to put that in context. You know I am sorry if anyone was offended. It was certainly not meant in any way to be offensive. We can be proud of both Jesse Jackson and Senator Obama. Anyone who has followed my husband's public life or my public life know very well where we have stood and what we have stood for and who we have stood with." So, let's take these from the top.

I think most of us can see the absurdity of suggesting that, in the Ferraro flack, the Obama campaign introduced the topic of race. This is just factually incorrect, and I'm not going to dwell on it because, frankly, it's too stupid.

However, the issue of "playing the race card" is a real one. It implies that race, like, say, social security, is an issue that one can put on the table and take off in a campaign. But in this country, race is always on the table. It is on the table when we walk down the street and make judgments about whether to hold our valuables close before we even know we're doing it. It is on the table when I can get the attention of the clerk at a motel here in Ann Arbor for assistance when my colleague, an African-American male, better dressed, more distinguished and considerably older than I, cannot.

We liberals like to say we don't see color. But that's baloney. We see it, and we think we can ignore it. But the experience of being a person of color in this society is simply not the same as the experience of caucasians, and to deny that is to deny reality.

Dr. Glenn Singleton once said, "You can't play the race card. Race is the whole deck." He has a point. And in this election, to pretend that race is not a factor unless someone says it is is just absurd. Let's start with the fact that Barack Obama received secret service protection earlier than any presidential candidate in the history of this country except those who already had it before the campaign (like Clinton). I'll give you a hint -- it's not because he's tall that his life is more endangered in this campaign.

To accuse anyone -- anyone -- of playing the race card in this campaign is to deny the simple reality that every voter in America knows that Hillary is white and Barack is a person of color. The fact that we know that indicates that the card has already been played. It is always played in our society. So let's get over ourselves.

Which brings me around to Hillary's "apology."

Apologizing "if anyone was offended" is just about the worst thing you can possibly do if you have offended people. Ditto trying to say that you didn't mean to be offensive. It puts the blame for the offense on the person who was offended rather than on the offender. I can cut Hillary and Bill and every other person in this country a lot of slack for saying offensive things if they're willing to apologize and reflect on how they're going to avoid doing it in the future. But that's not what this was.

The last part of Hillary's apology boggles my mind as well. It is one step removed from "some of my best friends are black." Does she really believe that someone who has done good work on issues of race can't say something racist and have some deep, unconscious racist attitudes? Does this mean that Bill and Hillary can say anything at all, no matter how offensive, and be given a pass? Where does that permission to say stupid things with impunity end? Stereotypes? Epithets?

The judgment of whether a statement is racist and/or offensive lies with the group the statement is made about. If African-American people were offended by the Jesse Jackson comment (or the MLK comment, or Ferraro's comment) then it was offensive. That's the definition of offensive -- that it offends people. White people don't get to decide whether it should be offensive to black people. Who do we think we are?

What Hillary should have said is, "Over the course of this campaign, a number of things have been said that have caused offense to African-Americans and their allies of other races, both by me and by others in my campaign. I deeply regret those statements. As a white woman, I can only begin to understand the hurt that these statements have caused. I appreciate the opportunity to learn from these mistakes, and pledge to make fighting racism a priority, not just in this country, but in my own personal and professional circle."

I'm not holding my breath.
4.30.2008 2:12pm
Anon!:
Will Zywiki renounce his friendship with Volokh over Volokh's offensive views on child-adult sex?
4.30.2008 2:14pm
Horatio (mail):
By all indications, Obama seems like an extremely decent guy. Everyone who I have talked to who has ever known him personally says that he is a decent guy. He seems like the kind of guy who tends to look for the best in people, rather than the worst, and seems like the kind of guy who is quite ready to forgive the foibles and nuttiness of friends and relatives.

If you're going to assert this, at least do it with a recognizable and easily memorized line:

"Barack Obama is the kindest, bravest, warmest, most wonderful human being I've ever known in my life"

Obama is a politician. Politicians seek power - the power to run others' lives.

"Pity the poor, diseased politician. Imagine: to spend your days and expend your efforts making rules for others to live by, thinking up ways to run other lives. Actually to strive for the opportunity to do so! What a hideous affliction!" - From The Second Book Of KYFHO (F. Paul Wilson, "An Enemy of the State")
4.30.2008 2:14pm
Boynton Cousin:
"Jive-Talk Express"? Malkin just negated every point she made with a blatantly racist remark. AntonK, you take this crap seriously?
4.30.2008 2:15pm
SenatorX (mail):
I have an uncle who in 1999 liquidated all of his assets and converted them to gold coins

Crazy like a fox! Dude quadrupled his money AND avoided the dot com bust.
4.30.2008 2:15pm
rbj:
Part of Obama's problem is that there isn't a whole of experience for the rest of us to judge him on. McCain's got 24 years in the Senate (such as the execrable BCRA), Hillary is at least on her second term in the Senate. Sen. Obama has only got 3 years beyond the Illinois statehouse. So I think some voters look to other things in order to judge him. If he didn't know this about his pastor after 20 years, what is his judgment of Iran's president going to be?

I think peripheral issues only become important if there isn't much in the way of main issues.
4.30.2008 2:15pm
Knucklehead (mail) (www):
Obama want us to elect him President of the United States of America, the highest elective office in the USA and a position commonly referred to, even outside the US, as the "Leader of the Free World."

Obama attended the "Reverend" Wright's ministry for, apparently, MANY years and considered Wright his "spiritual mentor". This indicates an appalling lack of personal judgment and integrity and is inconsistent with even minor levels of leadership (at least any sort of leadership the US or the "free world" should be interested in). The Rev Wright's views/rantings were clearly perfectly acceptable to Obama and he took no leadership initiative to either leave the ministry or attempt to correct the lunatic rantings.

The man does not deserve the votes of sensible citizens.
4.30.2008 2:21pm
SIG357:
I suspect that all of us have friends, relatives, and colleagues who are basically good, conscientious, and kind people, but who have some political views that are pretty nutty.

Nope. I don't have any friends who are even in the same ballpark as Ayers and Wright.

And I'm not running for President. The fact is that standards are different for that job. The standards being applied to Obama are no higher than those applied to any other candidate. If anything, they are lower. It's impossible to imagine a white candidate attending a white supremacist church and getting as far as Obama has.
4.30.2008 2:24pm
lostmycookies (mail):
Gee, if only Ron Paul had gotten a little credit, but I guess Obama hasn't alienated beltway libertarians like Ron, so every kindness should be extended to him.
4.30.2008 2:24pm
MariaG89:
For those who object to Wright being Obama's pastor and "spiritual mentor". I'm not sure what "spiritual mentor" means, but I know people with truly nutty worldviews and political opinions who are great for day to day advice on practical issues and ethical dilemmas. Conversely, some people whose worldview I fully share are disgusting in the details of how they live. So again, one thing doesn't negate the other. If anything, it shows Obama hasn't sanitized and vetted every aspect of his life knowing that he would want to run for the Presidency.
4.30.2008 2:25pm
samuil (mail):
Boynton,
antonK takes all crap seriously as long as it is coming from wingnut sources
4.30.2008 2:28pm
Boynton Cousin:
If he didn't know this about his pastor after 20 years, what is his judgment of Iran's president going to be

Probably Obama would use the same judgment that allowed him to correctly call the Iraq War a terrible idea as well as that which enabled him to make correct prognostications about the resulting civil war. Who was it who voted for the war and led us into this awful situation, again? Oh right, his two opponents. But they're more "experienced," so they're by definition better.
4.30.2008 2:29pm
GWLaw08 (mail):
Prof. Zywicki, I couldn't agree more.
4.30.2008 2:31pm
Salaryman (mail):
While I generally agree w/ Prof. Zywicki -- Obama seems like a very likeable guy although I disagree with his policies -- I don't entirely buy his argument here. The fact that Obama maintains a cordial relationship with Coburn a isn't, in my view, equivalent to his relationship with either Wright or Ayres. Political opponents are by definition persons whose views you dispute, and cordiality, even friendship, between political opponents is both desirable and not reasonably construed as endorsement of the opponent's views.

Accepting the active and visible endorsement and support of an unrepentant terrorist like Ayres (or, alternatively, of an unrepentant racist, whether David Duke or Jeremiah Wright) is certainly relevant to evaluating a candidate's judgment and likely inclinations (although I don't think it should be dispositive). (By contrast, the fact that Glenn Singleton or anyone else contributed money to a candidate's campaign is pretty much irrelevant to me.)
4.30.2008 2:32pm
Tom952 (mail):
Hans Bader <- Not afflicted with brevity.
4.30.2008 2:35pm
SIG357:
As I said, Obama seems like quite a decent guy.

You said this, or variations on it, a great many times. But you never mentioned why you think it. What makes him a decent guy as opposed to, say, any other Senator? What makes a person "indecent"?

Is Hillary Clinton decent? John Kerry? Jeff Sessions? Jon Kyle?

I find it more useful to look at what politicians do rather than what image they project. Obama is a left-wing radical, regardless of whether he smiles and talks in a reassuring voice.

I'm willing to assume that Obama does not drown puppies in vats of toxic waste which he then dumps in the Great Lakes. But my expectations for a POTUS are higher than that.
4.30.2008 2:36pm
Roger Schlafly (www):
Obama seems like an extremely decent guy.
Not to me. He appears to have a very long history of anti-American views and associates. Some of the criticisms of Obama seem unfair in isolation, but Obama's defense is alarmingly weak. Who is the real Obama? Is he a kook like Wright who has cleaned up his language in order to play the role of a mainstream politician, as Wright suggested?
The voters need to know.
4.30.2008 2:39pm
Dilan Esper (mail) (www):
There are real issues in the campaign, and this ain't one of them.

This is the worst part of all this. It looks to me like Sean Hannity wants to talk about nothing but Bill Ayres, Jeremiah Wright, and Michelle Obama's comments all the way to November. It's like the country has no issues with health care, the war on terror, the economy, the deficit, Iraq, etc.

If this were just occupying a small space in the campaign, I probably would say it was fair. Obama certainly seems to have attended the church of a kook, and Obama might have shown better judgment in staying away from Ayres.

But the cynicism of discussing nothing but this, 24-7, for months is just breathtaking. It's almost a concession from Republicans that they don't think they can win on the issues.
4.30.2008 2:41pm
Zywicki (mail):
SenatorX:
Unfortunately my uncle converted all of his gold coins back into other stuff when he came back to the mainland. Otherwise he'd definitely be living large right now.
4.30.2008 2:41pm
EKGlen (mail):
The Wright thing is pretty much just a Fox News talking point by now.

The more troubling thing about Obama/Wright is that Obama professes to believe in the superstitions and magical thinking that is Christianity. Shouldn't this be more troubling.

I mean, to any rational person actually believing in these things is batsh*t crazy. Sure it's troubling that Wright apparently believes that the US Govt spread AIDS. But I am even more concerned by the fact that he (and Obama) believe that there were these marvellous miracles a couple of thousand years ago that should inform how we live our lives today.

I understand that there isn't any political points in that for the far right (where insane people like Hagee, Robertson, etc.) are revered, but still.
4.30.2008 2:41pm
SIG357:
The fact that Obama maintains a cordial relationship with Coburn a isn't, in my view, equivalent to his relationship with either Wright or Ayres.

Yes. And the fact that Obama had the stones to try to make that comparision gives the lie to the myth that he is "decent". As does his repulsive treatment of his grandmother. I really don't see that Obama is such a decent guy as people keep saying.

Try this. A Republican Senator with a twenty year long close relationship with a Klansman says that it means nothing, because after all, he has a cordial relationship with a Democratic Senator. (For our purposes, we'll assume the D is not Byrd.)

Does ANYONE in America buy that argument?
4.30.2008 2:43pm
Boynton Cousin:
Can you explain what makes Obama a "left-wing radical"? He's not advocating workers seizing the means of production. He's not advocating farm collectivization. He's not advocating making religion illegal. Serious question here, what is "left-wing radical" about any of his positions? Would you call McCain a "right-wing reactionary" for his unparalleled Iraq War support? What's the standard?

If anything, Obama's positions seem more pragmatic and less ideological than either McCain (Iraq War, gas tax holiday pandering) or Clinton (healthcare mandates, and, er, gas tax holiday pandering), and what he's accomplished in his political tenure thus far backs this up.
4.30.2008 2:45pm
SIG357:
I understand that there isn't any political points in that for the far right

EKGlen, if the Dems run with your idea, I suspect that you'll discover that there are zero political points in for you as well.
4.30.2008 2:45pm
Boynton Cousin:
[Obama] appears to have a very long history of anti-American views

Evidence forthcoming, I'm sure.
4.30.2008 2:48pm
Prufrock765 (mail):
This trope of analogizing Wright to a Klansman really ought to stop.
Wright is at worst a kook and a publicity pimp.
A Klansman is at worst a murderer.
4.30.2008 2:48pm
docweasel (mail) (www):
I have a buddy who "liquidized" all his and his wife's assets during a mid-life crisis, I guess, spent a lot of it at strip joints where he hung out all day while his wife thought he still had a job, then finally ran off with all their savings and one of the strippers to Hawaii where they stayed in a motel on the beach until the money ran out, she left him, and he came home to find they'd lost their house and his wife, who'd been left with their two young sons and living at her Mom's, was divorcing him.

She took him back though.

Just throwin' that one into the mix.
4.30.2008 2:49pm
EIDE_Interface (mail):
Anyone who invokes Fox News is engaging in straw-men and red herrings. They will do anything to avoid the real question.
4.30.2008 2:51pm
eddiehaskel (mail):
Can anyone please explain why Rev. Wright is a "wacko" but why the political rumination of many many white fundamentalists is not.

Methinks thou dost protest too much.

I have not seen any rational repudiation of the basic point made by Rev. Wright (once one strips away some of the more incendiary and immaterial conspiracy theories from his rhetoric): one black preacher stirs up a fire storm echoed by the main stream press; but the sound of crickets is blaring in response to similar rants when made by any number of white reverends or fringe groups.

This is only about Obama because he is black. Let's not be fooled.

In all of the articles I have seen written about Rev. Wright one barely reads of his honorable military service. If this was a white man, the concern trolls would be aghast at how you could trash one of our heroic troops. Moreover, he actually does something for the community he lives in. He is not about amassing a mega church and amassing ungodly amounts of money to promote himself or schools named after himself.

This is about race pure and simple.

If anyone can present a reasoned argument why this is not about race, I would love to read it now.
4.30.2008 2:55pm
SIG357:
Would you call McCain a "right-wing reactionary" for his unparalleled Iraq War support?

If you want to get technical about it that is actually a left-liberal position, given the stated aims of the war. You know, speading liberal democracy to the world at gun-point. I suppose it's right-wing reactionary if you think its a war for oil. Whatever. I can't stand McCain and I'm not defending him.

Obama has one of the most liberal records of any Democrat in the Senate. Among his plans is one to give drivers licenses to all the illegal aliens in America. The people of New York, not usually noted for being right-wing reactionaries, killed off a similar plan, prompting Obama's idea. Yes, I think it's accuate to describe him as being well left of the Senate, and of even liberal states. Let alone the country as a whole.

I suppose that will all change is he is able to repopulate the country with people more amenable to his views. But for now, he's out there.
4.30.2008 2:56pm
EKGlen (mail):
EIDE - so what is the "real question".

Is Wright a nut? Yes. Has Obama denounced him? Yes.

Is John Hagee a nut? I would say that anyone who believes that he and his buddies will soon be raptured from the face of the earth and others (including all those Jews, Hindus, [and probably even Catholics]) will be cast into a fiery pit would qualify as a nut. Would you? If so, do you think that McCain should denounce him for holding these views?
4.30.2008 2:58pm
ed (mail) (www):
Hmmmmm.

It's pretty amazing how aggressively pro-Obama supporters attack anyone who considers the ethical, character and judgment problems Obama has shown.

The fact that so many of you are rushing, screaming and yelling along the way, to excuse a racist bigoted nutcase like Wright in order to prop up Obama just simply disgusts me.
4.30.2008 2:59pm
PC:
I'm wondering when we can all have a serious conversation about Hillary Clinton killing Vince Foster during their lesbian love affair?
4.30.2008 3:01pm
EKGlen (mail):

I suppose that will all change is he is able to repopulate the country with people more amenable to his views.

Yes, Bush has done a bang-up job keeping all the illegal aliens out of the country. Heaven forbid what will happen if Obama gets into office. I'd bet he would allow 10 or 12 million non-citizens to live among us.
4.30.2008 3:01pm
SIG357:
Can anyone please explain why Rev. Wright is a "wacko" but why the political rumination of many many white fundamentalists is not.

1) What did these "white fundamentalists" say? What did Wright say?

2) What is the relationship of these "white fundamentalists" to past or present candidates for President?

If you can point to an instance where a white candidate had a similar relationship with a white preacher of similar views, and it was ignored, then you have a point. If not, you don't.


If anyone can present a reasoned argument why this is not about race, I would love to read it now.


Unless you can provide an answer to my question then it's not about race.
4.30.2008 3:02pm
ed (mail) (www):
Hmmmmm.

@ eddiehaskel

"Can anyone please explain why Rev. Wright is a "wacko" but why the political rumination of many many white fundamentalists is not. "

Got anymore strawmen you'd like gas on about?

Wright is a whacko because he thinks black brains and white brains are structured differently.

Wright is a whacko because, according to him, blacks "clap on 5" while whites "clap on 7".

As for your not so unusual imputation of some generic abstract and entirely unnamed "many many white fundamentalists" many Republicans have, and are constantly and irritatingly, disavowed them previously.

This idiot nonsense comes up all the time by the left in order to smear Republicans. Yet when it's pointed out that a liberal has close associations to fruitcakes all of a sudden it's anathema, a crime and eternal shouting of "oh horrors!".

Grow up.
4.30.2008 3:05pm
Ex parte McCardle:
Boynton Cousin @ 1:45 above makes a good point, and one that outsiders to the US political system see quite clearly. A few weeks ago the US columnist for The Economist, "Lexington," made the point that although it plays well on American talk radio (and often on the Volokh Conspiracy) to portray Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton as radical left-wing socialists, the reality is that the next president of the United States, whether it's either of the Democrats or McCain, will be more conservative than any other member of G8 except for (possibly) Silvio Berlusconi.
4.30.2008 3:05pm
Houston Lawyer:
Obama appears to be the kind of radical who says that terrorists are no more out of the mainstream than the Republican party. He has a history of seeking out and cozying up to Marxists and other lfet-wing radicals.

No terrorist has ever even asked me to lunch. I guess that I'm just too selective in my acquaintances. (I did get a letter from Fidel when I was elected student body president.)
4.30.2008 3:05pm
PC:
I have it on good authority Barack HUSSEIN Obama will make the national language Ebonics, instead of English, if he is elected President. It's part of his stealth Muslim, extremist black Christian, Manchurian candidacy.
4.30.2008 3:06pm
EKGlen (mail):
SIG - how about this, suppose a "white fundamenalist" said that 1) AIDS was God's punishment of Gays, 2) 9/11 was God's punishment of the US, 3) Katrina was God's punishment of New Orleans.

Are those statements batsh*t crazy or not?
4.30.2008 3:06pm
Snowdog99 (mail):
Ridiculous post Professor Zywicki - I mean, cry me a river. As several others have already noted, Obama has framed his relationship with Wright as being that of a "mentor" and "spiritual adviser." Wright has been spewing his tripe for many years. Do you mean to suggest that Obama had absolutely no knowledge of Rev. Wright's views before making him his mentor? I may have friends and acquaintances with a few nutty ideas, but I have the sense not to elevate them to the level Obama has Rev. Wright.

Moreover, Obama is running for PRESIDENT professor. Surely you recognize that when running for such a high office, close relationships like the one between Obama and Wright are going to come under scrutiny. If it's fair to question conservatives on their relationships (anybody remember the Strom Thurmond - Trent Lott fiasco that cost the latter his career?), then Obama should be prepared for similar treatment. If Obama and his supporters (here and elsewhere) can't stand the heat, perhaps they should leave the kitchen.
4.30.2008 3:06pm
JohnO (mail):
My sense is that this is not exactly a case of Obama making friends with people and then basically living with a little nuttiness.

You have to remember that Obama's political career began as an organizer in urban Chicago. I suspect he gravitated toward his church BECAUSE it was a good leaping off point for starting a grassroots political career, and probably viewed Ayers as someone else who was a useful contact in the retail, grassroots populace in which Obama was looking to start a political career. Obama's problem is that his grassroots milieu was pretty far to the left, and the rest of the country is probably far more critical of Ayers and Wright than urban Chicago is.

If that's all true, it migth very well be that Obama (like Prof. Zywicki surmises) is very different from Ayers and Wright, but found them to be very useful supporters when he was a local politician. That would mean that Obama was being a bit politically expedient in his early political career and is now being burdened by the baggage from that prior expediency. And I don't mean "expedience" as a negative here, because every single politician is expedient in dealing with people who can help their career.

The other possibility, though, is that Obama really is like Ayers and Wright and is being expedient by running away from them now that he is on a national stage.

To me, if Obama is going to be elected, I would hope that he was being expedient before, and more true to himself now. But I do think that it's at least fair for the electorate and pundit class to try to get the answer to that question. And, yes, it would be fair game to have similar inquiries regarding the "crazy uncles" in the other candidates' pasts.
4.30.2008 3:06pm
Joe G.:
Rev. Wright is not a "friend" of Sen. Obama, but he was his pastor.

Do folks realize what this relationship is supposed to entail?

We're not talking about the barista who brewed his Americano every morning, or some other peripheral relationship.

Indeed, Sen. Obama has written in detail about the importance of Rev. Wright.

I find the "friendship" argument to be a substantial misunderstanding of the relationship.
4.30.2008 3:07pm
EKGlen (mail):

Obama appears to be the kind of radical who says that terrorists are no more out of the mainstream than the Republican party.

Hmm, do terrorists torture people?
4.30.2008 3:07pm
SIG357:
Yes, Bush has done a bang-up job keeping all the illegal aliens out of the country

I notice that if I point out Obama's failings around here, lots of people jump to the conclusion that I'm a big fan of Bush. I think Bush should have been impeached for his contempt for the borders. If the Dems had shown any interest in that I'd be backing them. I think Bush has been a very poor President in other ways as well. I think he bungled the war, does way too much cronyism, etc.

None of which requires me to turn a blind eye to how bad Obama is. I'm a libertarian, not a shill for either of the two parties.
4.30.2008 3:07pm
Tony Tutins (mail):
The comments threads often puzzle me; I always pick the wrong answer:

A minister of the Gospel is to Barack Obama as a Klansman would be to (Hillary Clinton; John McCain.)

Barack Obama is an unfit Presidential candidate based on his association with (An unjustified invasion of a foreign country that has not benefited the US one iota, while costing us 4,000 lives and half a trillion dollars -- enough money to provide universal health care for years; a campaign contribution from a man who believes black children cannot succeed in school unless teaching methods are adapted to their learning style.)
4.30.2008 3:07pm
ed (mail) (www):
Hmmmmm.

"Are those statements batsh*t crazy or not?"

Sure they are. Now what? Are they running for President? Are they close friends of a candidate for President?

The answer is .... "no".

So what's your point?
4.30.2008 3:09pm
EKGlen (mail):
Thanks ed, now that we have established that Robertson, Falwell and Hagee are batsh*t crazy, let me ask you this: 1) should a presidential candidate seek the endorsement of someone who is batsh*t crazy?

2) should a presidential candidate appear at speeches and sit on a podium and hug someone who is batsh*t crazy?
4.30.2008 3:11pm
ed (mail) (www):
Hmmmmm.

"Barack Obama is an unfit Presidential candidate based on his association with (An unjustified invasion of a foreign country that has not benefited the US one iota, while costing us 4,000 lives and half a trillion dollars -- enough money to provide universal health care for years; a campaign contribution from a man who believes black children cannot succeed in school unless teaching methods are adapted to their learning style.)"

Blah blah Bush blah blah blah blah Bush blah blah blah Bush blah blah blah died! Bush blah blah blah blah Iraq! Blah blah blah blah blah Bush blah blah blah blah nuclkar!!@##

Blah Bush blah blah blah blah blah blah ... etc, etc, etc.

I could go on but that would make me almost as boring as you.
4.30.2008 3:12pm
ejo:
yes, people want to talk about issues, not the unsavory individuals around the Senator. however, ignoring the last debate questions about associations, the Senator was not particularly brilliant or compelling when answering questions about cutting or raising the capital gains tax. While we may all have "nutty" relatives, most of us (99%+) don't hang out with terrorists like Ayers and america haters of the caliber of Wright. Those that do should expect their common sense and moral fiber to be questioned.

As to a preference in debating "issues", when pols say they want to talk about issues, they actually mean platitudes about issues ("I'm for growth", "I'm for energy independence", "I'm for clean socks"). Thus, the actual issues will never get discussed. I am a contrarian-I want to know a lot more about who a person hangs out with and considers a role model. You can probably figure out the issues from there.
4.30.2008 3:13pm
EKGlen (mail):

Are they close friends of a candidate for President?

Are you suggesting that Obama and Wright were lovers?
4.30.2008 3:13pm
SIG357:
EKGlen

SIG - how about this, suppose a "white fundamenalist" said that 1) AIDS was God's punishment of Gays, 2) 9/11 was God's punishment of the US, 3) Katrina was God's punishment of New Orleans.

Are those statements batsh*t crazy or not?





Sure.


Now you are a third of the way there. You just need to tell me which candidate kept this white fundamentalist as his pastor for twenty years, all while he was saying these things.

Then, to finish, you can point to the way the media and blogs ignored all of the above.

Do these things and you'll be spot on. Can you do them?
4.30.2008 3:13pm
ed (mail) (www):
Hmmmmm.

@ EKGlen

"Thanks ed, now that we have established that Robertson, Falwell and Hagee are batsh*t crazy, let me ask you this: 1) should a presidential candidate seek the endorsement of someone who is batsh*t crazy?"

McCain, who I don't support, disavowed the crazy-ass nonsense spouted by these twits.

The same BS answer that Obama gave. Don't like it? Don't care

"2) should a presidential candidate appear at speeches and sit on a podium and hug someone who is batsh*t crazy?"

No. Obama should not have spent the last 17+ years sitting in the pews while Wright spewed out crazy racist hateful bigoted nonsense.

And he most certainly should not have subjected his **children** to it either.
4.30.2008 3:14pm
EKGlen (mail):
Sig357 - actually you miss the point.

Obama has denounced the nutty statements of Wright. McCain never said a word about the nutty statments of those guys.

And it is not, as ed. seems to suggest, because Wright and Obama were lovers.
4.30.2008 3:15pm
Tony Tutins (mail):
I'm sorry you regard the ultimate sacrifice of so many of our brave men and women as boring.
4.30.2008 3:15pm
EKGlen (mail):


McCain, who I don't support, disavowed the crazy-ass nonsense spouted by these twits.

Wrong.
4.30.2008 3:15pm
SIG357:
Are they close friends of a candidate for President?


Are you suggesting that Obama and Wright were lovers?




I think the implication is that they are/were close friends. The tip-off is the words "close friends" in the sentence you quoted.
4.30.2008 3:15pm
EKGlen (mail):

Obama should not have spent the last 17+ years sitting in the pews while Wright spewed out crazy racist hateful bigoted nonsense.

Hmmm, Obama said that he had never heard such statements while attending sermons and that he did not learn of these statements until the controversy and the you-tube clips were posted.

Do you have any evidence to the contrary?

Anything at all?
4.30.2008 3:17pm
ed (mail) (www):
Hmmmmm.

@ EKGlen

"Are you suggesting that Obama and Wright were lovers?"

What on earth are you talking about??

Wright was Obama's **PASTOR**. You do know what a PASTOR is right? You are aware that it was Wright who brought Obama to Jesus and baptized him right? You do know that it was Wright who officiated at Obama's wedding right?

You do know it was Wright who baptized Obama's children right?

WTF? What the hell do you think I mean when I wrote:

"Are they close friends of a candidate for President?"

Where in that sentence do you see the word "lover"??

What is the matter with you?
4.30.2008 3:18pm
SIG357:
"Obama has denounced the nutty statements of Wright. McCain never said a word about the nutty statments of those guys. "





What is the realtionship of Obama to Wright?

What is the relationship of McCain to "those guys"?

If "those guys" have been McCains pastors for twenty years, you have a point. Have they been?
4.30.2008 3:18pm
EKGlen (mail):
Tutins - you are quite right. These people do not realize that we are at war.
4.30.2008 3:18pm
LCDave (mail):
Who a person chooses to have surrounding him becomes of utmost importance for a Presidential candidate. There is quite simply not enough time in the day to personally investigate all matters needed to be decided upon by the President. Here, quickly read this 1500 pages of legislation, go over the 4 SCOTUS opinions, the 12 appellate decisions, appoint about 235 judicial/administrative positions, meet with 6 or 7 heads of state, some Governors are here to see you, address the Congress, there's a war going on in few countries that we're involved in, your wife and kids say hello, and have you seen the latest South Park? Presidents rely on advisers to help them get the RIGHT information in order to make decisions. If you are given bad information, you might do something like send your Secretary of State to the U.N. to talk about stockpiles of wmd that don't exist, or blow the s**t out of an asprin factory.
4.30.2008 3:20pm
EKGlen (mail):

You do know that it was Wright who officiated at Obama's wedding right?

Do you mean that he "officiated" at Obama's wedding "night"?
4.30.2008 3:20pm
SIG357:
Hmmm, Obama said that he had never heard such statements while attending sermons and that he did not learn of these statements until the controversy and the you-tube clips were posted.

Do you have any evidence to the contrary?





Hmmm. That seems rather far-fetched. Do you have evidence that Obama is not simply lying to cover his butt?

Any evidence at all?
4.30.2008 3:20pm
Tony Tutins (mail):

Obama should not have spent the last 17+ years sitting in the pews while Wright spewed out crazy racist hateful bigoted nonsense.

I see. You think the typical Wright sermon was simply the Fox News Wright highlight reel set on autorepeat.
4.30.2008 3:20pm
ed (mail) (www):
Hmmmmm.

@ EKGlen

"Hmmm, Obama said that he had never heard such statements while attending sermons and that he did not learn of these statements until the controversy and the you-tube clips were posted."

This is why I try to avoid debating lefties.

"Do you have any evidence to the contrary? Anything at all?"

"Dreams of my father", Obama's AUTOBIOGRAPHY. He specifically recounts the sermon given by Wright that convinced Obama to get baptized, join TUCC and provided the title to Obama's *second book*.

In the sermon, the sermon that impressed Obama so very much, Wright rails against all the evil in the world that was caused by "white mens greed".

As an example.

Christ on a crutch! You're a supporter of the man and you don't know a bloody thing about him!
4.30.2008 3:21pm
SIG357:
Do you mean that he "officiated" at Obama's wedding "night"?




Huh?

Or as you might say, "Huh?"
4.30.2008 3:22pm
EKGlen (mail):

Hmmm. That seems rather far-fetched. Do you have evidence that Obama is not simply lying to cover his butt?

Sorry, that's not the way it works. If you are going to make dumbass statements that Obama subjected his children to Wright's nuttiness, then you are going to have to show that Obama attended sermons when this nuttiness was said.

Otherwise you are just blowing smoke.
4.30.2008 3:22pm
Christopher Gerrib (mail) (www):
Thank you Prof. Zywicki for this post.
4.30.2008 3:22pm
Ben P (mail):

Try this. A Republican Senator with a twenty year long close relationship with a Klansman says that it means nothing, because after all, he has a cordial relationship with a Democratic Senator.


In the South you really don't have to look that hard to find a present day politician who has supporters and donors and associates who were on that side of the issue 30 or 40 years ago. Maybe not Klansmen, but you have people that certainly were friendly with andassociated with Klansmen.

It's probably harder now than it was in the 80's and 90's, (due to age) but if you start snooping around in records to find who said and did what in the south in the 60's, you find some pretty interesting things.


and I'll say I really don't care. It's a fact of life that there were people in the south who took pretty downright racist positions in the 60's, not a small number of whom stayed in politics almost up to the present day. I consider it similarly a fact of life that Obama probably became associated with wright because wright could help him politically, and I don't fault him for that.
4.30.2008 3:23pm
Beetle (mail):
But people seem to be overlooking the real story uncovered by the Wright controversy - Obama's religious beliefs.

Obama and Wright are devotees of Black Liberation Theology which is condemned by mainstream black Christian ministers as a racist anti-white religion.

They believe:
1. black people are oppressed by white people.
2. Whites are the sole cause of all problems in the black community.
3. White people are the enemy.
4. Jesus was a black man oppressed by white people.
5. Black people must take control of the racist white government.

Black Liberation Theology is a marriage of Black Power (Nation of Islam) and Christianity, according to Rev James Cone, its main proponent in the USA. James Cone is also Rev Wright's mentor and says that Trinity Church, Obama's Church, is the center of Black Liberation Theology in America.
4.30.2008 3:24pm
EKGlen (mail):

In the sermon, the sermon that impressed Obama so very much, Wright rails against all the evil in the world that was caused by "white mens greed".

Is that all you got?

You don't even have a quote. Just that he mentioned "white mens [sic] greed."

That's lame sauce.
4.30.2008 3:25pm
ed (mail) (www):
Hmmmmm.

@ EKGlen

"Sorry, that's not the way it works. If you are going to make dumbass statements that Obama subjected his children to Wright's nuttiness, then you are going to have to show that Obama attended sermons when this nuttiness was said."

How amazing.

"Otherwise you are just blowing smoke."

Do you know what Black Liberation Theology is?

What the Black Value System entails?

Or is it that you have absolutely no idea what the theological or ethical underpinning of Obama's church is like?
4.30.2008 3:25pm
EKGlen (mail):
Beetle - exactly right. The fact that all three of our presidential candidates profess to believe in magical thinking and miracles and other such claptrap is far more troubling than anything that Wright ever said.
4.30.2008 3:26pm
Mike Keenan:
You call him "nutty" but this is not some hermit living in the mountains. He is spouting this nonsense to great applause and much of his "nuttiness" is heartily believed by a majority of African Americans.
4.30.2008 3:28pm
Elliot123 (mail):
I'm not sure what standard of fairness Prof. Zywicki is using. However, if we use the standard that has been employed in American national politics for the last twenty years, the criticism of Wright and Ayers is quite fair. Maybe that's not an ideal standard, but it seems a bit unreasonable to contend Obama should get a pass.

Maybe the whole system is unfair in a larger sense, but it's the game Obama joined, and if he can't handle it, or his supporters think he can't, it's something the voters can decide.

I'd note international relations and Congressional politics aren't fair either. We are electing someone who will be playing in an unfair game from the day he takes office. Sometimes he will have the advantage, and sometimes he won't.
4.30.2008 3:28pm
EKGlen (mail):
ed - I don't know a thing about Black Liberation Theology, but I imagine that it is no more nutty than believing that folks are going to be raptured up to streets paved with gold at any moment? It's all sad and nutty.
4.30.2008 3:28pm
EKGlen (mail):
I can feel the Ron Paul resurgence growing.
4.30.2008 3:28pm
SIG357:
In the South you really don't have to look that hard to find a present day politician who has supporters and donors and associates who were on that side of the issue 30 or 40 years ago. Maybe not Klansmen, but you have people that certainly were friendly with andassociated with Klansmen.





Forget the south. I can look In Washington DC today and see people who are friendly with and associate with former Klansmen. Of couse, the Klansman in question is a Democrat.

And in spite of your general smear, you managed not to answer the question, even though you quoted part of it.

I repeat, show me a white candidate, Rep or Dem, who could get away with a long and close relationship with a virulent white racist without criticism. If you can do that then yes, Obama is being unfairly singled out.
4.30.2008 3:29pm
John425:
It isn't about "friends who have nutty views". Rev Wright along with Ayers and wife Dohrn espouse hate and in the case of Ayers and Dohrn-they actually set off bombs with the intention to kill people and are unrepentant. The bombings may have been while Obama was 8 years old, but if someone who was tried and convicted of attempted murder was a neighbor- would you "pal around" with him if he were as unrepentant about the attempt?
4.30.2008 3:29pm
ed (mail) (www):
Hmmmmm.

@ EKGlen

"You don't even have a quote. Just that he mentioned "white mens [sic] greed." "

Sorry but you're under the misunderstanding that you get to make outrageous statements with zero evidence attached and then demand complete research quality thesis whenever you damn well like.

It doesn't work like that.

Frankly you're a complete loser and I'm not going to waste my time with you. Show me that you have at least a basic understanding of what Black Liberation Theology is and what TUCC's Black Value System entails.

Otherwise you're simply too ignorant to continue discussing this with. I will offer you this:

Trinity United's webpage detailing the Black Value System

Please note #8.
4.30.2008 3:30pm
EKGlen (mail):

You call him "nutty" but this is not some hermit living in the mountains. He is spouting this nonsense to great applause and much of his "nuttiness" is heartily believed by a majority of African Americans.

Oh I know that he is not a hermit. Just turn on the television on a Sunday and you will see tens of thousands of people sitting in neat rows, dressed in khakis and sun dresses, listening to nutbags raving on about the imminent rapture.

You're quite right. It's even more scary that most of these people can hold jobs, and appear normal despite the fact that they believe in such nonsense.
4.30.2008 3:31pm
ed (mail) (www):
Hmmmmm.

For those of you who don't care to go to TUCC's own webpage, here's a sample.

And keep in mind that this is from Trinity's own server *and* Pastor Wright has referred to Trinity's Black Value System quite often, including the 2007 interview with Sean Hannity on Hannity &Colmes.

This is the value system taught at TUCC.

----------------------------------------------------

#8 "Disavowal of the Pursuit of "Middleclassness." Classic methodology on control of captives teaches that captors must be able to identify the "talented tenth" of those subjugated, especially those who show promise of providing the kind of leadership that might threaten the captor's control.

Those so identified are separated from the rest of the people by:


1. Killing them off directly, and/or fostering a social system that encourages them to kill off one another.

2. Placing them in concentration camps, and/or structuring an economic environment that induces captive youth to fill the jails and prisons.

3. Seducing them into a socioeconomic class system which, while training them to earn more dollars, hypnotizes them into believing they are better than others and teaches them to think in terms of "we" and "they" instead of "us."

4. So, while it is permissible to chase "middleclassness" with all our might, we must avoid the third separation method -- the psychological entrapment of Black "middleclassness." If we avoid this snare, we will also diminish our "voluntary" contributions to methods A and B. And more importantly, Black people no longer will be deprived of their birthright: the leadership, resourcefulness and example of their own talented persons.
4.30.2008 3:34pm
Mark Wilkins (mail):
Excellent post, indeed. How many followed up with adding that it is totally irrelevant?

See the issues regarding Obama and everyone in his life is that we don't know who Obama is or what he stands for! For example, did anyone hold it against Al Gore that his father voted against the Civil Rights Act of 1964? No, because Al Gore had 20 years in public office before he ran for President. Would anyone care if Ted Kennedy belonged to a church that is "Caucasian-centrist"? No, because he, too, has a long history in public office to define his beliefs.

Who is Barack Obama? He says he wants change. OK, what kind of change? Where? Is all change good by definition? He says he wants to transcend party politics, but when Chris Wallace asked him - THREE TIMES - to give one hot button issue where he diverged from the Democrat Party on, he was unable to provide one. He says he wants to "unite" us all. Well, he wants to withdraw from Iraq and I believe we should have a military force there until the government can defend itself "...from all enemies foreign and domestic". So how does Obama plan to unite us?

*IF* Obama had answered these questions over a long course of public debates, legislative votes and proven actions no one would care who his friends are or how nutty his wife is (remember how much the LIBERALS liked Tipper Gore when she wanted to label recordings as explicit?).

The problem is that he has no record, he is not speaking about his actual plans for goals he claims to desire for the nation, and he has these nutty friends and relatives. So, given the situation, the only insight into Obama's character is those he chooses to have in his life, regardless of what he now says about those people. If Senator Obama and his supporters think this is unfair, too bad - *HE* chose to run at this point in his career and this is the vetting process everyone goes through.
4.30.2008 3:34pm
Hoosier:
Sorry, that's not the way it works. If you are going to make dumbass statements that Obama subjected his children to Wright's nuttiness, then you are going to have to show that Obama attended sermons when this nuttiness was said.

Otherwise you are just blowing smoke.


EKGlen--Sorry, but I can't walk that far down the road with you. You are right that there is a need for evidence. But the evidence that I would want is simply whether Wright has been speaking about the HIV "conspiracy" and so forth from the pulpit. If so, how frequently and for how long?

I admit that I have no clue what one would find going through the transcripts of his sermons. So I won't pre-judge an answer.

But if he were found to have spoken of this "theory" on a regular basis over the course of some time--say, longer than the Obamas could have conceivably been away from Chicago--then the burden shifts back to Obama's camp. I don't expect anyone can provide time-and-date stamped security camera photos of him sitting in the pew on any given Sunday.

But if this line of preaching was a common occurence, then the argument that one cannot prove Obama was at church on, say, the first, third, and fourth Sundays of June 2006 doesn't carry a lot of weight. Nor that, even if he was there on those dates, no one can prove he didn't get up to use the john when the sermon began. If he was a regular attender, and this vile nuttiness was a regular subject, then I feel safe in assuming he knew of it.

That said, I have not seen Wright's critics producing reams of transcripts from 5 or 6 year old sermons implicating him in bigotry and conspiracy-mongering. So I have to wonder why not. Obama said quite clearly yesterday that he did not recognize the man who spoke in Detroit. I have to assume he did not.
4.30.2008 3:35pm
EKGlen (mail):

Show me that you have at least a basic understanding of what Black Liberation Theology is and what TUCC's Black Value System entails.

You just don't get it, do you? I freely admit that BLT is nutty. Just apesh*t crazy. Insane. I admit that.

It is just as nutty and deranged as anything spouted by folks who believe that the precious baby jeebus is about to rapture all the righteous onto the streets of heaven paved with gold.
4.30.2008 3:35pm
Tony Tutins (mail):

What the Black Value System entails?

The Black Value System entails hard work, study, and the pursuit of excellence. Also family unity and support for the community.

Continuing the chain of influence: Obama was influenced by Wright who was influenced by Cone who was influenced by Reinhold Niebuhr, who had the nerve to criticize Henry Ford and the Ku Klux Klan.
4.30.2008 3:35pm
SIG357:
It's a fact of life that there were people in the south who took pretty downright racist positions in the 60's, not a small number of whom stayed in politics almost up to the present day.


All right.

I consider it similarly a fact of life that Obama probably became associated with wright because wright could help him politically, and I don't fault him for that.

Then the implication is that that you don't fault the aforementioned "people in the south" either. Is that correct?
4.30.2008 3:36pm
ed (mail) (www):
Hmmmmm.

@ EKGlen

"You just don't get it, do you? I freely admit that BLT is nutty. Just apesh*t crazy. Insane. I admit that."

No it's YOU that doesn't get it.

"It is just as nutty and deranged as anything spouted by folks who believe that the precious baby jeebus is about to rapture all the righteous onto the streets of heaven paved with gold."

BLT is entirely about overthrowing and murdering WHITE PEOPLE.

That's it. That's all there is to it. That's why it's called Black LIBERATION Theology.
4.30.2008 3:38pm
EKGlen (mail):
It is obvious that it is not enough for Obama to just make a speech denouncing Wright, as he did yesterday.

Obama should gather up some well-shaped rocks and go stone Wright. I think that is the only answer.

Maybe we should start drafting a petition.
4.30.2008 3:39pm
SIG357:
As much as it wish it to be, EKGlen, the topic here is not religion, but Wright and Obama. Your effort to change topic suggests you are doing poorly at making a case for them.
4.30.2008 3:40pm
EKGlen (mail):

BLT is entirely about overthrowing and murdering WHITE PEOPLE.

Oh my gosh, that is nutty isn't it?

I just thought it was run of the mill nutty. You know like Hagee saying that jews were going to burn in hell for murdering Christ.

But, whoa, killing "WHITE PEOPLE" is just a whole 'nother category.

Killing "WHITE PEOPLE" is just wrong.

You've convince me.
4.30.2008 3:41pm
GV:
Great post.
4.30.2008 3:42pm
ed (mail) (www):
Hmmmmm.

@ EKGlen

Exerpts from Dr. Cone's book "Black Liberation Theology"

Amazon.com

1. "[W]hiteness is the symbol of the Anti-christ."

2. "The goal of black theology is the destruction of everything white, so that blacks can be liberated from alien gods."

3. "The black experience is the feeling one has when attacking the enemy of black humanity by throwing a Molotov cocktail into a white-owned building and watching it go up in flames. We know, of course, that getting rid of evil takes something more than burning down buildings, but one must start somewhere."

4. "Black theology seeks to analyze the satanic nature of whiteness and by doing so prepare all nonwhites for revolutionary action."

5. "We have reached our limit of tolerance, and if it means death with dignity or life with humiliation we will choose the former. And if that is the choice, we will take some honkies with us."

6. "To be black is to be committed to destroying everything this country loves and adores."
4.30.2008 3:42pm
SIG357:
I knew Glen sounded familiar.



But you can't hold a whole fraternity responsible for the behavior of a few, sick twisted individuals. For if you do, then shouldn't we blame the whole fraternity system? And if the whole fraternity system is guilty, then isn't this an indictment of our educational institutions in general? I put it to you, Greg - isn't this an indictment of our entire American society? Well, you can do whatever you want to us, but we're not going to sit here and listen to you badmouth the United States of America.
4.30.2008 3:42pm
EKGlen (mail):

As much as it wish it to be, EKGlen, the topic here is not religion, but Wright and Obama. Your effort to change topic suggests you are doing poorly at making a case for them.

You need to catch up.

I think that the only reasonable thing for Obama to do is to stone Wright.
4.30.2008 3:43pm
ed (mail) (www):
Hmmmmm.

@ EKGlen

A Black Theology of Liberation by Dr. Cone

(please note that mydd.com is an ultra-leftwing liberal website. Even they recognized what disaster Obama is)
MyDD

Quote from book:
""Black theology refuses to accept a God who is not identified totally with the goals of the black community. If God is not for us and against white people, then he is a murderer, and we had better kill him. The task of black theology is to kill Gods who do not belong to the black community. ... Black theology will accept only the love of God which participates in the destruction of the white enemy. What we need is the divine love as expressed in Black Power, which is the power of black people to destroy their oppressors here and now by any means at their disposal. Unless God is participating in this holy activity, we must reject his love.""

Further quote:
"Quote: Black theology refuses to accept a God who is not identified totally with the goals of the black community. If God is not for us and against white people, then he is a murderer and we had better kill him. The task of black theology is to kill all gods who do not belong to the black community. Black theology will accept only the love of God which participates in the destruction of the white enemy. What we need is the divine love as expressed in black power which is the power of black people to destroy their oppressors here and now by any means at their disposal. Unless God is participating in this holy activity, we must reject his love."
4.30.2008 3:44pm
Hoosier:
(Jewish people aren't "White"?)
4.30.2008 3:45pm
Tony Tutins (mail):
BLT is entirely about overthrowing and murdering WHITE PEOPLE.

That's it. That's all there is to it. That's why it's called Black LIBERATION Theology.


Ed -- this is entirely pulled out of the air. Go read Dr. Cone's book and get back to us.

As I read tenet # 8 of the black value system, it suggests that whites might try to flatter talented blacks, telling them "You're not like those others," with an eye to eliminating leaders from the black community.
4.30.2008 3:45pm
SIG357:
Killing "WHITE PEOPLE" is just wrong.

You've convince me.




Let me see if I understand you correctly. You want us to convince you that killing white people is wrong? You regard the matter as undecided?
4.30.2008 3:46pm
ed (mail) (www):
Hmmmmm.

@ EKGlen

Well I'm done. You want to vote for Obama, go right ahead.

Even Hugo Chavez and Robert Mugabe got elected.
4.30.2008 3:46pm
EKGlen (mail):
ed - I am with you on this.

Let the record reflect that I against killing "WHITE PEOPLE".

Will you join me in my petition urging Obama to stone Wright?
4.30.2008 3:46pm
Hoosier:
I think that the only reasonable thing for Obama to do is to stone Wright

Correct me if I'm wong, Glen. But wouldn't they lock him up if he did that?
4.30.2008 3:46pm
PC:
BLT is entirely about overthrowing and murdering WHITE PEOPLE.

That's it. That's all there is to it. That's why it's called Black LIBERATION Theology.


That is a truly crazy belief. I prefer the one where Jesus descends from heaven and raptures all true believers while non-believers are subjected to 7 years of hell on earth. Then the non-believers get to spend the rest of eternity being tortured in the fiery pits of hell.

And I fully support starting a nuclear war in the middle east so we can help these events occur more quickly.
4.30.2008 3:47pm
Prufrock765 (mail):

BLT is entirely about overthrowing and murdering WHITE PEOPLE.

That's it. That's all there is to it. That's why it's called Black LIBERATION Theology.



Time to revoke Gloria Steinem's gun permit
4.30.2008 3:47pm
Ex parte McCardle:
While I certainly view Jeremiah Wright's statements as crazy and nutty and kooky, I've recently received a lesson in how relative those terms are. I had the displeasure of attending church with my mother-in-law, where the minister described the basic concept of natural selection as "just crazy." This coming from a man whose fundamental worldview is based on the following scenario: In an obscure backwater of the Roman empire some two millennia ago, there was a peasant who, it turns out, was the Creator of the Universe. Then somehow or other, the Creator of the Universe was publicly executed, but came back to life. And now this peasant (really the Creator of the Universe) is about to return to earth, perhaps within the next few years, certainly within our own lifetimes, and bring all of history to a glorious end.

Crazy and nutty and kooky irrational beliefs are quite widespread around here (and elsewhere as well, I suspect).
4.30.2008 3:47pm
GrownUpTime:
I really didn't appreciate this post.

Not one bit.

In no way did I want my categorical views of what this blog represents, its biases, leanings, prejudices, etc. exploded by such a post.

For shame. Get back in your box, sir.
4.30.2008 3:48pm
ed (mail) (www):
Hmmmmm.

@ Tutins

"As I read tenet # 8 of the black value system, it suggests that whites might try to flatter talented blacks, telling them "You're not like those others," with an eye to eliminating leaders from the black community."

I see.

And you didn't see:

"1. Killing them off directly, and/or fostering a social system that encourages them to kill off one another."

or

"2. Placing them in concentration camps, and/or structuring an economic environment that induces captive youth to fill the jails and prisons."

So the "suggestion" that whites are deliberately targeting the "talented tenth" of the black population for assassination just whizzed past you?
4.30.2008 3:48pm
EKGlen (mail):

Correct me if I'm wong, Glen. But wouldn't they lock him up if he did that?

If you are Wong, I will correct you.
4.30.2008 3:48pm
SIG357:
(Jewish people aren't "White"?)


It all depends, Hooiser, on what point he is attemping to make at any instant. Jews can vary from white to non-white in the blink of an eye. Everything is a matter of the perspective you chose to employ.
4.30.2008 3:50pm
Hoosier:
Tony Titus--On first reading I was was shocked. (See my above post claiming that there was no evidence out there of this sort of stuff.) But reading it over, it seems that the "connotation" is far stronger than the "denotation" in this statement. Badly written, if one wants to sound like a decent human being. But not actually calling for anyone to do anything that one might find shocking.

If the church is looking for a copy-editor to go over its website, I charge $35/hr.
4.30.2008 3:50pm
EKGlen (mail):
McCardle - it's time to give up all of this "thinking" of yours.

Don't you understand that Obama is all about killing "WHITE PEOPLE"?

Poster ed. almost convinced me with his too subtle hints that Wright and Obama were lovers. That was bad enough.

But now that I understand that they are all about killing Whitey, it's time to start taking this stuff seriously.
4.30.2008 3:52pm
Joe Kowalski (mail):
A few points about Obama's relationship with Trinity UCC:
It isn't entirely clear how consistently Obama attended, especially over the past few years. If Wright had started becoming increasingly whack only over the past few years, Obama then its possible Obama might have been out of the loop.

Next, I'm not sure how often Wright actually spouted his whackery in the pulpit. Obviously, there are the instances that everyone knows about already. But if he's been spouting this stuff for 20+ years, then there should be a lot more of the same types of offensive statements looping 500 times a day on Fox. Instead, we just get the same "greatest hits".

My overall impression is that Wright has had whackier views for a while, but only in the last few years has he been spouting them from the pulpit from time to time. The rest of the time, what he's had to say is probably not too far from what you hear if you went into just about any church with a predominantly black congregation.
4.30.2008 3:55pm
SIG357:
To sum up the pro-Obama faction here - "So what if Obama is in bed with a black-nationalist who wants to kill white people!! AT LEAST HE'S NOT A CHRISTIAN!!"


And the Democrats are amazed when they lose elections. That disproves evolution right there - how could people so stupid have evolved? They'd have been bred out thousands of years ago.
4.30.2008 3:55pm
ed (mail) (www):
Hmmmm.

@ EKGLen

"Poster ed. almost convinced me with his too subtle hints that Wright and Obama were lovers. That was bad enough. "

Subtle enough that they weren't even there.
4.30.2008 3:56pm
SenatorX (mail):
You're wasting your time arguing with ekglen. He has already shown himself capable of all sorts of dishonesty. Don't feed the troll.
4.30.2008 3:56pm
Hoosier:
SIG357--I can't quite agree with you on that. Race is a "social construct"? Of course it is; there's no genetic test for it. But Jews, like other folk who came over from East and Central Europe in droves about a century ago have all be "constructed as white" for a long time.

I suppose you might be refering to something said at a Klan meeting about White Power, which excludes Jews. But that's such a small fringe that I don't think it has any impact upon our use of "white."

In what context would I (Irish-American) be considered "white" and my best friend Marc Stein (Jew) be described as "non-white"? (Keeping in mind that neither of us would be welcome at a Klan meeting, since I am Catholic.)
4.30.2008 3:56pm
Dave N (mail):
I will repeat what others have said. EKGlen is a troll (and I note that while I am a regular Volokh reader, I had never encountered his postings before this week). Ignore him and maybe he will go away. He is not interested in discussion. He is interested in demagoguery.
4.30.2008 3:58pm
Hoosier:
SIG--Keep in mind, evolution does not mean that a species improves. Just that it adapts.
4.30.2008 3:58pm
ed (mail) (www):
Hmmmm.

@ Joe Kowalski

"My overall impression is that Wright has had whackier views for a while, but only in the last few years has he been spouting them from the pulpit from time to time. The rest of the time, what he's had to say is probably not too far from what you hear if you went into just about any church with a predominantly black congregation."

The issue isn't Wright. It's about TUCC itself.

The ethical underpinning of TUCC is the Black Value System, which I outline above.

The theological underpinning of TUCC is the Black Liberation Theology, which I outline above.

Either alone would be sufficient for disquiet. Together they're a toxic combination.
4.30.2008 3:59pm
SIG357:
It was sarcasm, Hoosier. I was mocking Glens immentibly mockable way of looking at the world. Jews are of course white. At least the ones of European extraction.

The habit of using the same word for both an ethnic origin and a religion is an annoying one.
4.30.2008 4:01pm
Tony Tutins (mail):
After rereading, all I can glean from Tenet # 8 is "watch out for whitey."
4.30.2008 4:01pm
Hoosier:
Joe--Good an ya, mate. That's waht I was trying to say above. I don't know for a fact that Obama was not around for the nutty sermons. But perhaps he was not. And I have seen no evidence that the sermons were nutty until recently.

Possibly I'm saying this in ignorance of the facts. But I can't believe that there is actual footage or a transcrpt proving his race-hatred was a topic of sermons, and yet the Hillary opo-research team hasn't bothered to make it known.
4.30.2008 4:01pm
ed (mail) (www):
Hmmmm.

Right now the estimate is that at least 10% of all black churches teach Black Liberation Theology and Black Value System. But Obama has not cut ties with TUCC, only with the *statements* of Pastor Wright, not even Wright himself.

If Obama gets into the White House consider the power and authority he would have, and the influence by association that TUCC would have.
4.30.2008 4:03pm
SIG357:
Hoosier, my evolution comment was likewise a joke. I guess I'll have to explicitly declare them as such from now on.
4.30.2008 4:04pm
AntonK (mail):
Earl Ofari Hutchinson on Obama:

"Finally, and worst of all, no matter how much he protests that Wright doesn't represent him or his thinking, the fact is he sat in his church for nearly two decades, called him a spiritual mentor and family confidant, appointed him to an advisory post in his campaign, and in his so-called race speech refused to disown his two decade experience and relationship with him. This instantly makes his Wright protest sound like the wail of a politician running scared, and who sees the long, arduous, time consuming and patient work he put into building up public trust in him as the nation's great political hope fast washing down the drain."
4.30.2008 4:05pm
Hoosier:
SIG--Oops. Mea maxima culpa. The first thing you must know about Hoosier is that he has spent his entire adult life in academia. He is accostomed to hearing people say, with a straight face, that pregnancy is a construct; that his current university of employ is run as a phallocracy (If true, phallocracy is far, far less fun that it sounds.); and that "imperialism" means "whatever any Ameican does overseas."

"Jews ain't white"? Doesn't even break the Top 20.
4.30.2008 4:06pm
SIG357:
"Black theology seeks to analyze the satanic nature of whiteness and by doing so prepare all nonwhites for revolutionary action."

I'd make a wisecrack about this but I'm afraid Hoosier would not pick up on it. So I'll just point out that this is some seriously sick stuff.
4.30.2008 4:08pm
Hoosier:
SIG: Hoosier, my evolution comment was likewise a joke. I guess I'll have to explicitly declare them as such from now on.

Nope. I was just trying to extend the joke, viz., Demos have not improved, just gone with the times.

I think we are different wavelengths, even though we seem to agree on stuff.
4.30.2008 4:09pm
EKGlen (mail):
DaveN - look you need to step up. A couple of other posters here have laid out the facts and it is pretty clear that Wright (and by implication Obama) is all about killing "WHITE PEOPLE".

I appreciate your concern for keeping the fora troll frei and all, but when we have people who are courageous enough to pore over BLT documents to warn us about this threat, don't you think that we have to do something?
4.30.2008 4:09pm
Ben P (mail):

I repeat, show me a white candidate, Rep or Dem, who could get away with a long and close relationship with a virulent white racist without criticism. If you can do that then yes, Obama is being unfairly singled out.


Without criticism from Republicans or without criticism from Democrats?

Because that's really the point isn't it? Of course they're going to get criticized by the other party, that's how politics works. The problem is that political parties are (and always have been) willing to ignore certain things in individuals they support.

This stuff about Wright generally bores me because I don't consider it important, but I certainly don't consider it unfair. The character of a politician and the character of his associates has always been fair game in politics.
4.30.2008 4:10pm
Hoosier:
I'd make a wisecrack about this but I'm afraid Hoosier would not pick up on it.

Ouch.

I'm hurt.

I'm gonna leave now and go cry in a dark place.

(Actually I have to finish writing a stupid-arse, narrow academic article that no one will ever read. At least it gives me time with my Nirvana CDs.)

Bye.
4.30.2008 4:11pm
SIG357:
I'm glad to see that even EKGlen has seen the light and is willing to join us in stoning Wright and denouncing the murder of white people. It's great when we all get along.

Now, if we can just work on BlueBear .....
4.30.2008 4:12pm
Hoosier:
(oops. Forgot to add(:

At the risk of feeding a troll, I like the image of "poring over BLT documents."

Yummy!
4.30.2008 4:13pm
Cornellian (mail):
This is the worst part of all this. It looks to me like Sean Hannity wants to talk about nothing but Bill Ayres, Jeremiah Wright, and Michelle Obama's comments all the way to November. It's like the country has no issues with health care, the war on terror, the economy, the deficit, Iraq, etc.

Of course he wants to talk about Wright all the way to November - that's the whole point, Hannity (and the Republicans in general) know it's complete electoral suicide to talk about health care, the economy, Iraq or any other issue.
4.30.2008 4:13pm
Q the Enchanter (mail) (www):
I appreciate the uncommon common sense.
4.30.2008 4:13pm
SIG357:
Without criticism from Republicans or without criticism from Democrats?

Either one really. But I'll rewite it for clarity.

Show me a white candidate, Rep or Dem, who could get away with a long and close relationship with a virulent white racist without it becoming a big story in the news.


I notice that nobody has taken me up on this yet.
4.30.2008 4:16pm
PC:
Of course he wants to talk about Wright all the way to November - that's the whole point, Hannity (and the Republicans in general) know it's complete electoral suicide to talk about health care, the economy, Iraq or any other issue.


I can't believe people keep ducking the issue about Obama wanting to kill all white people! Why is everyone so scared to have a serious discussion about Obama's plans for racial genocide?
4.30.2008 4:16pm
Thorley Winston (mail) (www):
4.30.2008 4:18pm
EKGlen (mail):
Hoosier - truth is that I have been on VC for several years now and I just changed my login because I couldn't remember the password for my old one when I set up a new computer.

Up to you to believe that or not, what else would a troll say.

Lets get back to protecting Whitey, shall we?

But, yes, BLTs are yummy and it is lunch time.
4.30.2008 4:20pm
EKGlen (mail):

Show me a white candidate, Rep or Dem, who could get away with a long and close relationship with a virulent white racist without it becoming a big story in the news.

Weren't you just talking about Robert Byrd? Didn't you just answer your own question?

But let me ask you this, I get the sense that you my be reconsidering your support of Obama? Is that right?
4.30.2008 4:22pm
Anderson (mail):
Prof. Zywicki writes like someone who has actually thought about the issue and, more importantly, imagined himself in Obama's place to some extent.

I.e., treating the man as a fellow human being with similar weaknesses and characteristics.

What's striking about the hardline Obama commenters is how little evidence they display of ever having tried to identify with *any* other human being.

If you're a bit troubled by the Obama-Wright connection, that's fair enough. I don't mean "hardline" to apply to that. But there are plenty of examples above of people with no discernible humanity, just prejudice, stereotype, and hatred. (Okay, those *are* sadly human attributes, but most of us manage to counter them with better qualities.)

Bottom line: None of you people were going to vote Democratic, much less Obama, anyway. You will obviously seize on whatever it takes to advance your ideology, because your ideology is all you seem to care about. So your mock outrage is just that. Go comment at Malkin's and impress your fellows.
4.30.2008 4:23pm
EKGlen (mail):

I can't believe people keep ducking the issue about Obama wanting to kill all white people! Why is everyone so scared to have a serious discussion about Obama's plans for racial genocide?

Exactly. This is what all the serious thinkers are talking about now.

And, its what joe lunch pail is worried about, too. I think I can safely say that I do speak on behalf of the average American.
4.30.2008 4:23pm
kidblue:
Good posting Prof! Thanks for something refreshingly sensible. Boo to the pundits!
4.30.2008 4:24pm
Hans Bader (mail):
Obama's nutty friends are in fact highly relevant.

Jeremiah Wright's bizarre and racist teachings are shared by Obama campaign staff and supporters. Those teachings, which the learned professor thinks should not be imputed to Obama (presumably including Wright's claim in his speech to the NAACP that whites and blacks think differently, with whites being coldly logical "left-brain" people, and blacks being warm and emotional "right-brain" people), despite Obama's long association with and veneration of Wright, are in fact shared by other radical Obama supporters whose statements on matters of race are trumpeted by Obama's own web site.

For example, the Obama web site's blog quotes a racist wacko, San Francisco diversity trainer (and Obama donor) Glenn Singleton. Singleton promotes bizarre racial stereotypes, claiming that "white talk" is "intellectual" and "task-oriented," while "color commentary" is "personal" and "emotional," claiming that individualism is a white (i.e., racist) characteristic, and claiming that minority students are loud by nature, which teachers must accommodate. (Documentation of the above statements by Singleton can be found at various posts in late 2007 at www.openmarket.org).

Under Singleton's tutelage, the Seattle Schools adopted strange definitions of racism, such as claiming that individualism and planning ahead are forms of cultural racism. The Supreme Court criticized these bizarre definitions in its decision striking down school racial quotas in Parents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle School District No. 1 (2007) (see Chief Justice Roberts' opinion announcing the court's ruling at footnote 14 and Justice Thomas's concurrence at footnote 30). (Obama criticized that Supreme Court ruling).

Campaign donation databases like Newsmeat show that Singleton, head of the diversity training firm Pacific Educational Group, made the maximum legal contribution to Obama ($2300).

A blog post from the Obama web site, touts "Dr. Glenn Singleton" as if he were an authority on racial matters, citing his race-obsessed view that race is the dominant factor in American life ("Dr. Glenn Singleton once said, 'You can't play the race card. Race is the whole deck.'") -- essentially, a claim that our society is inherently racist.

The text of that blog post is reprinted in my second comment above. It can also currently be found at http://my.barackobama.com/
page/community/post/naomizf/gGBkSg
4.30.2008 4:42pm
EKGlen (mail):

a claim that our society is inherently racist.

Well if killing "WHITE PEOPLE" isn't inherently rascist, I don't know what is.
4.30.2008 4:46pm
Chicken Little:
I love how vigilant all the commenters are about 'racism' here, as if you all really give a shit.
4.30.2008 4:50pm
calmom:
The problem with your analysis is that you presume to know Obama from seeing him on TV. That's a public persona adopted for a presidential campaign. It's much more valid to look at the people he chose to befriend and hang around with BEFORE he knew the eyes of the public and the media were upon him. So far we've seen a swindler (Rezko), a bomber (Ayers) and an anti-American racist (Wright). I don't have any such people as friends. Don't you think it's odd that Obama does?
4.30.2008 4:53pm
Chicken Little:
@ Hans Bader:

are you really that retarded? You are quoting the blog post of some random Obama supporter (not a staffer) in order to make the claim that Obama himself endorses the views of some dude that nobody has ever heard of but that the SC criticized in some footnote? I see - if an Obama supporter accepts or even cites the views of some guy, then Obama himself must in fact support them as well. I see you have a Germanic name. That must make you a Nazi, right?
4.30.2008 4:56pm
Smokey:
Lots of posters are saying similar things as eddiehaskel, so I'll use his statements for my refutation:
This is only about Obama because he is black. Let's not be fooled... This is about race pure and simple...
If anyone can present a reasoned argument why this is not about race, I would love to read it now.
I don't give a hoot about skin color. I would love to have the opportunity to vote for Walter E. Williams, or Shelby Steele, or Clarence Thomas, or Thomas Sowell, or many other African-Americans who share my political view.

But I damn sure don't want anyone who hobnobs with the likes of Bernadine Dohrn, and William Ayres, and Rev. Wright, and any of the many other odious vermin that Obama seems to cultivate as his lifelong friends. Does anyone think Obama will appoint any other types of people, given the chance?

The old saying, "You're known by the friends you keep" applies to Obama.
4.30.2008 4:59pm
Rock On (www):
This comment thread is... totally insane. Just. Wow.
4.30.2008 5:03pm
EKGlen (mail):
Rock On - I don't understand your comment. Are you for or against Obama stoning Wright?
4.30.2008 5:08pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
The nutty uncle analogy fails by about a parsec. I'm told that's a big distance.

I am not blamed when, every Thanksgiving, a nutty uncle shows up and bores us with whatever.

It's DIFFERENT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! if I make it a point to visit said nutty uncle every other weekend for the express purpose of listening to him go on about his nuttiness, have him honcho important family affairs, make it a point for my kids to listen to him, and introduce him as an important influence in my spiritual and intellectual growth.

Isn't it?
4.30.2008 5:09pm
EKGlen (mail):

I don't give a hoot about skin color. I would love to have the opportunity to vote for Walter E. Williams, or Shelby Steele, or Clarence Thomas, or Thomas Sowell, or many other African-Americans who share my political view.

translation: I like black folks who don't like black folks.
4.30.2008 5:10pm
Hoosier:
Anderson: Bottom line: None of you people were going to vote Democratic, much less Obama, anyway. You will obviously seize on whatever it takes to advance your ideology, because your ideology is all you seem to care about. So your mock outrage is just that. Go comment at Malkin's and impress your fellows.

As the man once said: "There you go again."

For the record, I tend to vote Republican for president, though not the last two times. I had thought that I might not do so this year. Then McCain surprised me and won the nomination. I like him for the White House, and so now I cannot see how I will vote Democratic on the presidential line this fall.

That said: I resolved early that I would not vote for Obama or Romney. What's my ideology? That the presidency is not an entry-level job? To the extent that this is an ideology, then I am an ideologue.

Thorley and Mark (above) have it just right: Obama chose to run without any record by which we could jusdge him. This chutzpah is amazing: He has no past public record to look at, and don't you dare investigate his past private life!

Add this to the list of my ideological baggage if you want: I won't vote for a candidate based solely upon his smile.
4.30.2008 5:11pm
EKGlen (mail):

It's DIFFERENT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! if I make it a point to visit said nutty uncle every other weekend for the express purpose of listening to him go on about his nuttiness, have him honcho important family affairs, make it a point for my kids to listen to him, and introduce him as an important influence in my spiritual and intellectual growth.

Are you saying you have an uncle that is all about killing "WHITE PEOPLE"?
4.30.2008 5:12pm
Bored Lawyer:

Prufrock765 (mail):
This trope of analogizing Wright to a Klansman really ought to stop.
Wright is at worst a kook and a publicity pimp.
A Klansman is at worst a murderer.


Prufrock, did you miss the part about Ayers -- who set bombs in public places, and whose only regret is that he did not do more?
4.30.2008 5:12pm
EKGlen (mail):

Anderson: Bottom line: None of you people were going to vote Democratic, much less Obama, anyway. You will obviously seize on whatever it takes to advance your ideology, because your ideology is all you seem to care about. So your mock outrage is just that. Go comment at Malkin's and impress your fellows.

As the man once said: "There you go again."

For the record, I tend to vote Republican for president, though not the last two times. I had thought that I might not do so this year. Then McCain surprised me and won the nomination. I like him for the White House, and so now I cannot see how I will vote Democratic on the presidential line this fall.

Shorter Hoosier, how dare you presume to imply that I am not voting for Obama just because I am a Republican who is voting for McCain.
4.30.2008 5:13pm
Gaius Marius:
"Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering."
4.30.2008 5:15pm
Tony Tutins (mail):
What is important to know about Earl Ofari Hutchinson is that he's totally in the tank for Hillary.

And I would appreciate it if Hans "the bather" Bader would limit his lengthy disquisitions on diversity trainer Glenn Singleton to one per thread. (I see from Mapquest GS lives close to Mitchell's Ice Cream in SF, so he may be obese as well as diverse by now)
4.30.2008 5:18pm
Smokey:
EKGlen:
Hoosier - truth is that I have been on VC for several years now and I just changed my login because I couldn't remember the password for my old one when I set up a new computer.
OK then, what was the former login name? EKTroll? Glen Singleton? Inquiring minds want to know.
4.30.2008 5:19pm
Tony Tutins (mail):

Ayers -- who set bombs in public places, and whose only regret is that he did not do more?

If Ayers is evil personified why did the state of Illinois hire him to teach the teachers of our children? Why did they give him tenure, promote him to full professor, and name him "Distinguished Professor"? Think of THE CHILDREN!

How they met:

- Hi, I'm Barry O'Bama. I just graduated from Harvard Law School, and I just moved into the neighborhood.
- Hi, I'm unrepentant terrorist Bill Ayers. Want me to show you how to make a nail bomb? Better be careful though, I once lost a girlfriend that way. Be quiet though, my in-laws are sleeping upstairs.
4.30.2008 5:28pm
EKGlen (mail):
Was Ayers convicted of anything? I thought that felons couldn't be school teachers?
4.30.2008 5:29pm
PC:
If Ayers is evil personified why did the state of Illinois hire him to teach the teachers of our children? Why did they give him tenure, promote him to full professor, and name him "Distinguished Professor"?


Perhaps the state of Illinois share's in Obama's desire to kill whitey. I wonder just how far this conspiracy extends?
4.30.2008 5:32pm
EKGlen (mail):
Just answered my own question (he was never tried or convicted of anything). Here's something else interesting in the Chicago Sun Times article:


Ayers, 63, spent 10 years as a fugitive in the 1970s when he was part of the "Weather Underground," an anti-Vietnam War group that protested U.S. policies by bombing the Pentagon, U.S. Capitol and a string of other government buildings. Nobody was hurt in the attacks by the defunct organization, which the FBI labeled a "domestic terrorist group."

So all of this bombing didn't even kill anybody?

Is that true.

If, as Sig 357 and ed. post, it is true that Obama is all about killing "WHITE PEOPLE" he really should distance himself from Ayers because he is so ineffectual at doing so.
4.30.2008 5:34pm
Irony:
You know what's funny - conservatives, with HRC's help, are blowing their wad on this issue now. By the time Obama is the nominee, this won't be so 'shocking' anymore. Don't worry, you guys can continue to scream 'racist' after Obama's in the oval office...bitches
4.30.2008 5:35pm
Tony Tutins (mail):
The charges against Ayers were dropped according to what I've read. Dohrn plead guilty to aggravated assault and one other charge and got probation. She later served seven months in jail for refusing to testify against a former associate, Susan Rosenberg, facing an armed robbery charge. Bill Clinton later pardoned Susan, thus closing the Clinton-Obama Weather Underground circle

Hillary's husband also pardoned WU bomber Linda Evans.
4.30.2008 5:37pm
PC:
Bill Clinton later pardoned Susan, thus closing the Clinton-Obama Weather Underground circle

Hillary's husband also pardoned WU bomber Linda Evans.


Obama once shot a WHITE man just to watch him die.
4.30.2008 5:40pm
PLR:
Hillary's husband also pardoned WU bomber Linda Evans.

Understandable error. He thought it was the babe from Dynasty.
4.30.2008 5:42pm
ejo:
haven't the Obamites received the new talking points that it is okay to dump on Wright now-you don't have to keep up with the old ones that it is unimportant, none of anyone's business, doesn't touch on the "issues".
4.30.2008 5:45pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
EK. Planet check: This is Earth.
4.30.2008 5:45pm
EKGlen (mail):
PLR - your last is the best post of this thread.
4.30.2008 5:46pm
Hoosier:
PLR--And now, finally, someone has WON this thread!

In addition, I have been called a "bitch" on VC. Which had long been a dream of mine. Now that this wish has at long last been granted, I'm off to Kos to see if I can get someone there to call me a "homo."
4.30.2008 5:48pm
Hoosier:
EKGLEN and I had the same thought at the same time?!

Wow, PLR! You are a uniter, not a divider!
4.30.2008 5:49pm
Boynton Cousin:
Gaius, Star Wars quotes don't make you look ridiculous enough. I demand 7,000 posts equating Obama with Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Mussolini, coal in your Christmas stocking, rain on your wedding day, R.E.M.'s last couple of albums, and the fact that Whit Stillman hasn't made a movie in ten years--basically anything bad. Are you up to it?
4.30.2008 5:50pm
EKGlen (mail):
Hoosier - I am sure that you will reach many of the same conclusions I have . . . just a little bit later than I do.

(I kid, I kid.)
4.30.2008 5:51pm
Michael B (mail):
What criteria, beyond his 1) speeches (what he says about himself), 2) voting record ( a very junior senator who is further to the left than any other senator in 2007 according to the Natl. Journal) and 3) long term associations (Wright and others) are people suppose to use to evaluate a serious contender for the office of the presidency?

Always good to know what the rules are ... and who exemplifies those rules ...
4.30.2008 6:06pm
EKGlen (mail):
Oh my a "very" junior senator. Junior senators are bad enough . . .
4.30.2008 6:10pm
Perseus (mail):
What's striking about the hardline Obama commenters is how little evidence they display of ever having tried to identify with *any* other human being. ...But there are plenty of examples above of people with no discernible humanity...

So we apparently lack the most important (and soft) virtue of modern Liberals: humanity (sympathy). Precisely what must we do to demonstrate to your satisfaction that we possess that overrated virtue? Say that we "feel your pain"? And why in particular does a messianic demagogic politician warrant such sympathy? I suppose one could write a classic Greek tragedy about Senator Obama's political life, but it would have to end with something like an ignominious election defeat as punishment for his hubris...
4.30.2008 6:15pm
Smokey:
Hey, reposting is fun!...

EKGlen:
Hoosier - truth is that I have been on VC for several years now and I just changed my login because I couldn't remember the password for my old one when I set up a new computer.


OK then, what was your former login name? EKTroll? Glenn Singleton? Inquiring minds want to know.
4.30.2008 6:19pm
EKGlen (mail):
Well put Perseus. Above, I advocated starting a petition to urge Obama to just stone Wright, since that will be the only unequivocal action that will indicate what he really feels about Wright.

But you sound like a man (or woman) of action.

What do you propose?
4.30.2008 6:20pm
EKGlen (mail):
C'mon Smokey, stop flirting.
4.30.2008 6:20pm
Michael B (mail):
EKG,

"Junior senator" is a common term applied to the less senior senator from any given state, so yes, "very junior senator," for someone who's been a senator for merely three years, is apt. The lack of legislative initiatives dovetails with that fact. Or does the "guilt by association" defense cover mundane factual associations as well?
4.30.2008 6:25pm
Glenn W. Bowen (mail):
who cares how nice a guy he is? he's a gun-banning socialist.
4.30.2008 6:26pm
Hoosier:
I just think that making one man stone another is a crazy idea. I mean, that would take forever. And Obama looks a bit scrawny. So he'd have to use fairly light rocks, and take frequent breaks.

Now, if there are doubts about lethal injection being cruel and unusual, this plan really doesn't have a prayer. (No pun intended.)
4.30.2008 6:30pm
Tony Tutins (mail):

he's a gun-banning socialist.

As is Hillary, I'm afraid. McCain is a gun-banning capitalist who crossed the aisle to help stifle NRA members' political speech.

I'm writing in Fred Thompson; I don't care.
4.30.2008 6:33pm
EKGlen (mail):

And Obama looks a bit scrawny. So he'd have to use fairly light rocks, and take frequent breaks.

That is a good point. I seem to recall that Barry kept throwing gutter balls when he tried to bowl recently, so perhaps stoning would not be the way to go.

Maybe stoning by proxy? He could designate some virile man-hunk like Lindsay Graham or Tom Tancredo . . .
4.30.2008 6:38pm
Smokey:
C'mon Smokey, stop flirting.
See, folks? He was lying.


Anyway, this is Odumbo the Chameleon's opposition [from today's WSJ]:

Getting To Know John McCain

It came to me while I was having dinner with Doris Day. No, not that Doris Day. The Doris Day who is married to Col. Bud Day, Congressional Medal of Honor recipient, fighter pilot, Vietnam POW and roommate of John McCain at the Hanoi Hilton.

As we ate near the Days' home in Florida recently, I heard things about Sen. McCain that were deeply moving and politically troubling. Moving because they told me things about him the American people need to know. And troubling because it is clear that Mr. McCain is one of the most private individuals to run for president in history.

When it comes to choosing a president, the American people want to know more about a candidate than policy positions. They want to know about character, the values ingrained in his heart. For Mr. McCain, that means they will want to know more about him personally than he has been willing to reveal.

Mr. Day relayed to me one of the stories Americans should hear. It involves what happened to him after escaping from a North Vietnamese prison during the war. When he was recaptured, a Vietnamese captor broke his arm and said, "I told you I would make you a cripple."

The break was designed to shatter Mr. Day's will. He had survived in prison on the hope that one day he would return to the United States and be able to fly again. To kill that hope, the Vietnamese left part of a bone sticking out of his arm, and put him in a misshapen cast. This was done so that the arm would heal at "a goofy angle," as Mr. Day explained. Had it done so, he never would have flown again.

But it didn't heal that way because of John McCain. Risking severe punishment, Messrs. McCain and Day collected pieces of bamboo in the prison courtyard to use as a splint. Mr. McCain put Mr. Day on the floor of their cell and, using his foot, jerked the broken bone into place. Then, using strips from the bandage on his own wounded leg and the bamboo, he put Mr. Day's splint in place.

Years later, Air Force surgeons examined Mr. Day and complimented the treatment he'd gotten from his captors. Mr. Day corrected them. It was Dr. McCain who deserved the credit. Mr. Day went on to fly again.

Another story I heard over dinner with the Days involved Mr. McCain serving as one of the three chaplains for his fellow prisoners. At one point, after being shuttled among different prisons, Mr. Day had found himself as the most senior officer at the Hanoi Hilton. So he tapped Mr. McCain to help administer religious services to the other prisoners.

Today, Mr. Day, a very active 83, still vividly recalls Mr. McCain's sermons. "He remembered the Episcopal liturgy," Mr. Day says, "and sounded like a bona fide preacher." One of Mr. McCain's first sermons took as its text Luke 20:25 and Matthew 22:21, "render unto Caesar what is Caesar's and unto God what is God's." Mr. McCain said he and his fellow prisoners shouldn't ask God to free them, but to help them become the best people they could be while serving as POWs. It was Caesar who put them in prison and Caesar who would get them out. Their task was to act with honor.

Another McCain story, somewhat better known, is about the Vietnamese practice of torturing him by tying his head between his ankles with his arms behind him, and then leaving him for hours. The torture so badly busted up his shoulders that to this day Mr. McCain can't raise his arms over his head.

One night, a Vietnamese guard loosened his bonds, returning at the end of his watch to tighten them again so no one would notice. Shortly after, on Christmas Day, the same guard stood beside Mr. McCain in the prison yard and drew a cross in the sand before erasing it. Mr. McCain later said that when he returned to Vietnam for the first time after the war, the only person he really wanted to meet was that guard.

Mr. Day recalls with pride Mr. McCain stubbornly refusing to accept special treatment or curry favor to be released early, even when gravely ill. Mr. McCain knew the Vietnamese wanted the propaganda victory of the son and grandson of Navy admirals accepting special treatment. "He wasn't corruptible then," Mr. Day says, "and he's not corruptible today."

The stories told to me by the Days involve more than wartime valor.

For example, in 1991 Cindy McCain was visiting Mother Teresa's orphanage in Bangladesh when a dying infant was thrust into her hands. The orphanage could not provide the medical care needed to save her life, so Mrs. McCain brought the child home to America with her. She was met at the airport by her husband, who asked what all this was about.

Mrs. McCain replied that the child desperately needed surgery and years of rehabilitation. "I hope she can stay with us," she told her husband. Mr. McCain agreed. Today that child is their teenage daughter Bridget.

I was aware of this story. What I did not know, and what I learned from Doris, is that there was a second infant Mrs. McCain brought back. She ended up being adopted by a young McCain aide and his wife.

"We were called at midnight by Cindy," Wes Gullett remembers, and "five days later we met our new daughter Nicki at the L.A. airport wearing the only clothing Cindy could find on the trip back, a 7-Up T-shirt she bought in the Bangkok airport." Today, Nicki is a high school sophomore. Mr. Gullett told me, "I never saw a hospital bill" for her care.

A few, but not many, of the stories told to me by the Days have been written about, such as in Robert Timberg's 1996 book "A Nightingale's Song." But Mr. McCain rarely refers to them on the campaign trail. There is something admirable in his reticence, but he needs to overcome it.

Private people like Mr. McCain are rare in politics for a reason. Candidates who are uncomfortable sharing their interior lives limit their appeal. But if Mr. McCain is to win the election this fall, he has to open up.

Americans need to know about his vision for the nation's future, especially his policy positions and domestic reforms. They also need to learn about the moments in his life that shaped him. Mr. McCain cannot make this a biography-only campaign -- but he can't afford to make it a biography-free campaign either. Unless he opens up more, many voters will never know the experiences of his life that show his character, integrity and essential decency.

These qualities mattered in America's first president and will matter as Americans decide on their 44th president.


[Keep these things in mind when DemocRats repeat their laughable mendacity that the "support the troops."]
4.30.2008 6:43pm
Elliot123 (mail):
Take a moment to review this thread. Listen to radio and TV. Look at the newspapers. Internet blogs. Listen to Obama himself. I'd say Obama's opponents have successfully grafted Wright to Obama's left shoulder. He'll never shake him off.

Just think how different all this would be if we didn't have the video.
4.30.2008 6:45pm
Stash:
My question is, if Obama is to be judged by his close associates, why shouldn't the sane and admirable people who are close to him be taken into account as well?
4.30.2008 6:45pm
EKGlen (mail):

See, folks? He was lying.

Now that is the way to flirt. Much better. C'mon step on my cubes.
4.30.2008 6:47pm
PLR:
PLR--And now, finally, someone has WON this thread!

Now I know how Marisa Tomei felt wghen she won that Oscar...
4.30.2008 6:52pm
PLR:
Now I know how Marisa Tomei felt wghen when she won that Oscar...
4.30.2008 6:52pm
PC:
who cares how nice a guy he is? he's a gun-banning socialist.


Finally, someone that is willing to take on the hard issues, like Obama's desire to nationalize the means of production.

Is that a "kill whitey" I hear?
4.30.2008 7:12pm
LM (mail):
AntonK,

Earl Ofari Hutchinson on Obama

Shouldn't we be even more concerned that AntonK is reading Huffington Post?
4.30.2008 7:58pm
Smokey:
Odumbo

Odumbo's apologists.
4.30.2008 8:15pm
wfjag:

Show me a white candidate, Rep or Dem, who could get away with a long and close relationship with a virulent white racist without it becoming a big story in the news.

I notice that nobody has taken me up on this yet.


SIG, I'll take you up on it. See

Worst Campaign Idea Ever?
Hoosier congressional candidate speaks at birthday party for Hitler, in Chicago

Jason Miller
The News-Dispatch
4/22/2008
at http://thenewsdispatch.com/


[Tony] Zirkle confirmed to The News-Dispatch on Monday he spoke Sunday in Chicago at a meeting of the Nationalist Socialist Workers Party, whose symbol is a swastika.

When asked if he was a Nazi or sympathized with Nazis or white supremacists, Zirkle replied he didn't know enough about the group to either favor it or oppose it.

"This is just a great opportunity for me to witness," he said, referring to his message and his Christian belief.

He also told WIMS radio in Michigan City that he didn't believe the event he attended included people necessarily of the Nazi mindset, pointing out the name isn't Nazi, but Nationalist Socialist Workers Party.

The Crown Point Republican spoke in front of about 56 "white activists" at an event honoring the birth of Hitler. The German leader was responsible for the genocide of millions of Jews and others during World War II.

Zirkle said the group asked him to speak to discuss the effect of pornography and prostitution on young, white women and girls.

Zirkle is running against Republican Luke Puckett of Goshen and Joseph Roush of Plymouth in the May primary. He lost twice before in primaries to former U.S. Rep. Chris Chocola and has made doing away with pornography and prostitution his top campaign plank.

"I told (Channel 16, WNDU in South Bend) in the beginning that I'd speak to any group that wanted me to speak," Zirkle said Monday. He said he's also recently spoken on the subject to a pair of black journalists.


Commenting on this, Just another viewpoint,
Friday, April 25, 2008 at http://dneiwert.blogspot.com, observed:


Actually, it does matter who you speak to if you aspire to publicly elected office: Your presence before any organization lends them legitimacy; and when it comes to neo-Nazis and white supremacists, that's simply irresponsible. That's why it was a problem when folks like Ron Paul and Trent Lott and Haley Barbour spoke before the Council of Conservative Citizens. If nothing else, it speaks of incredibly poor judgment on the part of that official.


I'll let you read for yourself Orac's April 25, 2008 comment at http://scienceblogs.com/insolence. It's entitled "Stupid, stupid burning brightly, or how not to win an election" -- which pretty well summarizes what he thinks about Republican candidate for the 2d Congressional District of Indiana, Tony Zirkle.

(Maybe Hoosier can tell us a little more about this guy. Doesn't know that the "Nationalist Socialist Workers Party" are the Nazis? Hmmmm? Hoosier, did he attend the school you where you teach?).

You see, SIG, I've met your challenge by obliterating the "long and close relationship" qualifier of your challenge. A Republican (white or otherwise) doesn't get the benefit of the doubt so that you can get to the point where you can start questioning a 20 year +/- relationship. One good screw-up is all that's needed.
4.30.2008 8:15pm
PC:
4.30.2008 8:17pm
Boynton Cousin:
[Keep these things in mind when DemocRats repeat their laughable mendacity that the "support the troops."]

Karl Rove (the author of what you posted without credit) was part of the administration that legalized the kinds of punishment used against McCain when he was in captivity. Please, tell us why anyone should keep anything Rove says "in mind."
4.30.2008 8:34pm
LM (mail):
Hoosier,

Anderson: Bottom line: None of you people were going to vote Democratic, much less Obama, anyway. You will obviously seize on whatever it takes to advance your ideology, because your ideology is all you seem to care about. So your mock outrage is just that. Go comment at Malkin's and impress your fellows.

As the man once said: "There you go again."

For the record, I tend to vote Republican for president, though not the last two times. I had thought that I might not do so this year. Then McCain surprised me and won the nomination. I like him for the White House, and so now I cannot see how I will vote Democratic on the presidential line this fall.

[...]

Hoosier, You're quoting him out of context. He also said:

What's striking about the hardline Obama commenters is how little evidence they display of ever having tried to identify with *any* other human being.

If you're a bit troubled by the Obama-Wright connection, that's fair enough. I don't mean "hardline" to apply to that. But there are plenty of examples above of people with no discernible humanity, just prejudice, stereotype, and hatred. (Okay, those *are* sadly human attributes, but most of us manage to counter them with better qualities.)
(my bold)

He obviously didn't have you in mind. But don't you think it's a safe bet he's right about the pre-disposition of anyone who thought Bush should be impeached over immigration? And then when he gets responses like,

So we apparently lack the most important (and soft) virtue of modern Liberals: humanity (sympathy). Precisely what must we do to demonstrate to your satisfaction that we possess that overrated virtue? Say that we "feel your pain"?

[...]

which, among other things, doesn't seem to recognize there's a difference between empathy and sympathy, you have to admit Anderson's got a couple of good points.
4.30.2008 8:38pm
Bored Lawyer:
Here is the link to the Times article about Ayers:

No Regrets

The man admits to planting bombs and is proud of it.

Anyone who is not sick to his stomache at what the man says simply proves the point that leftists have a moral blind spot when it comes to leftist radicals.
4.30.2008 8:46pm
EKGlen (mail):

The man admits to planting bombs and is proud of it.

The Chicago Sun Times article said that none of those bombs killed anyone.

I am having trouble trying to reconcile Obama's friendship with Wright with his friendship with Ayers. Wright (according to posters above) wants to kill "WHITE PEOPLE." Presumably Obama does, too since he was brain-washed by Wright over a 20 year period. Ayers, on the other hand, was white and didn't manage to kill anyone.

How can Obama be friends with Ayers (who is white) when he (Obama)wants to kill "WHITE PEOPLE"?

There just doesn't seem to be an internal consistency here.
4.30.2008 8:56pm
Bored Lawyer:

The Chicago Sun Times article said that none of those bombs killed anyone


Yes, a full exoneration of the man.

Please. Let me repeat:


Anyone who is not sick to his stomache at what the man says simply proves the point that leftists have a moral blind spot when it comes to leftist radicals.
4.30.2008 9:01pm
LM (mail):

Anyone who is not sick to his stomache at what the man says simply proves the point that leftists have a moral blind spot when it comes to leftist radicals.

Really? Anyone? First of all, you must mean any leftist, right? (Query what it might mean if a conservative wasn't sickened by something reprehensible). Anyway, why don't we give you another shot. How many un-sickened leftists do you suppose it takes to prove that leftists generally have a moral blind spot? Because I'm just guessing here, but don't you really think the answer is, "None"?
4.30.2008 9:12pm
Gaius Marius:
Gaius, Star Wars quotes don't make you look ridiculous enough. I demand 7,000 posts equating Obama with Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Mussolini, coal in your Christmas stocking, rain on your wedding day, R.E.M.'s last couple of albums, and the fact that Whit Stillman hasn't made a movie in ten years--basically anything bad. Are you up to it?

Boynton Cousin, "a fool thinks himself to be wise, but a wise man knows himself to be a fool."
4.30.2008 9:21pm
Bored Lawyer:

Really? Anyone? First of all, you must mean any leftist, right? (


Correct.



Query what it might mean if a conservative wasn't sickened by something reprehensible).


That he or she has a moral blind spot. This happens, I am sure, but is generally not the case.




Anyway, why don't we give you another shot. How many un-sickened leftists do you suppose it takes to prove that leftists generally have a moral blind spot? Because I'm just guessing here, but don't you really think the answer is, "None"?


No, what it means is that in my experience leftists go out of their way to excuse or overlook the moral outrages of their fellow leftists. There are many examples of this -- Che Guevara was a brutal terrorist, but his picture has adorned the wall (or T-shirt) of many a leftist. Ditto Stalin, Castro, Mao. You get the point, don't you.

You rarely find people on the right who adorn their walls with pictures of say, Pinochet, let alone Hitler. (Unless they are extremist nut jobs -- who are generally disowned by the mainstream right.)
4.30.2008 9:23pm
LM (mail):
Gaius Marius,

Boynton Cousin, "a fool thinks himself to be wise, but a wise man knows himself to be a fool."

So which one are you?
4.30.2008 9:25pm
Hoosier:
wfjag—Re: Zirkle for Congress—

Well, Tony Zirkle did not go here. It is about the ONLY college that he did not attend. IU-Kokomo; Annapolis; Georgetown; Andrews U.; IUPUI-Law. Not a DUMB guy, per se. Just flighty, and a bad, bad lawyer.

(He is th only lawyer I've ever known of whose office is right behind the plate-glass front window, sidewalk-level, busiest street in downtown South Bend. No need for privacy in the business of criminal/divorce/immigration law I suppose.)

I was called as a juror in a case when at ND—drug dealing near a school—and I just thought to myself: "Aw, sh**! Poor guy probably thinks he got himself a real lawyer." Zirkle just comes across as a total goof. I suspect he has severe, untreated ADHD. Just a guess from a guy who has severe, now-treated AD(H)D. I see a lot that looks depressingly familiar.

Well, more than you wanted to know, I'm sure, about Tony Zirkle qua Tony Zirkle. But check out his campaign website. It's kinda . . . different. Beginning with the OH-fishul campaign photo he always uses, from Annapolis, about 20 years ago.

As for Tony and the GOP, the state party denounced him some years ago—well before this NAZI "event." (I was on the committee that helped Chris Chocola choose nominees for the military academies when I taught a ND. Candidate Zirkle was not taken as a serious threat by the Chocola people)

The Party-endorsed candidate for the nomination refuses to share a stage with him and the other fringe candidate. Those two thus held a one-on-one debate a few weeks ago. I believe three people showed up to hear them. In other words, he won't be the GOP nominee.

Is it possible that he didn't know these characters were NAZIs? Yeah. In Tony's case that is very possible. They don't actually use the name "NAZI." And the idea of Zirkle doing his homework on this sort of thing . . .
4.30.2008 9:37pm
Hoosier:
and the fact that Whit Stillman hasn't made a movie in ten years-

Don't rub it in.

"It is this ideal hamburger of memory that we crave."
4.30.2008 9:39pm
Hoosier:
I looked at my post on Zirkle, and I apologize if I did not make myself, y'know, "clear" about my opinion.

Please Note Well: If you are ever indicted for a crime in St. Joe County, Ideeaner, DON'T ENGAGE TONY ZIRKLE AS YOUR LAWYER. Even if we're talking a Class-D felony, you are likely to get the death penalty. Since the judge can't legally have your lawyer killed, they might take it out on you.

OK. Is that clearer?
4.30.2008 9:44pm
PC:
There just doesn't seem to be an internal consistency here.


That's not a problem. Everyone knows Obama is a stealth Muslim, Manchurian candidate and and extremist black Christian.
4.30.2008 10:07pm
AntonK (mail):
Well, it's difficult not to conclude that what is really going on here is an attempt by Obama and his sympathizers, and Todd Zywicki, to put all discussion of his relationship with Wright off-limits by branding it somehow "inappropriate" or vaguely racist, or just Obama having some odd friends. Ditto his relationship with unrepentant Weather Underground terrorist Bill Ayers and Chicago political bagman Tony Resko. For clarity on this point, simply ask yourself how these same people would react if the tables were turned and McCain had sat passively in the pews for 20 years listening to an unreconstructed Southern Baptist bigot in the pulpit damning America for seeking racial equality, accusing the government of inventing AIDS to punish sinners and extolling KKK Imperial Dragon David Duke for defending the superiority and purity of the white race. The double standard at work here is absolutely breath-taking.
4.30.2008 10:23pm
Perseus (mail):
there's a difference between empathy and sympathy

While analytically distinct, both play big parts in the modern virtue of humanity, which is grounded in such notions of fellow feeling.

In any case, empathizing or identifying with Senator Obama is not enough. One has to make certain assumptions about his character and beliefs. Professor Zywicki proceeds on the assumption that "Obama seems like an extremely decent guy" who "probably pulled the 'sigh and roll your eyes' approach" to Reverend Wright. Some of us take a more cynical view of Senator Obama as a politician (which is perfectly consistent with his treating most other people decently for purely instrumental reasons) and proceed accordingly.
4.30.2008 10:40pm
Smokey:
Here's something guaranteed to get everyone's blood rising: clicky
4.30.2008 11:14pm
Elliot123 (mail):
"Please, tell us why anyone should keep anything Rove says 'in mind.'"

Because he engineered the defeat of Gore and Kerry. In 2004 he even out-organized the Dems at the grassroots level. I would be delighted if the Dems ignored Rove.
4.30.2008 11:34pm
William Oliver (mail) (www):
"My question is, if Obama is to be judged by his close associates, why shouldn't the sane and admirable people who are close to him be taken into account as well?"

Because it's not about his "associates." It's about his world view and theology, which -- even according to Obama -- was molded by his mentor, Wright, and by black Identity Christian theology.

You have a man saying the black equivalent of "Hey, that twenty years I spent circled around burning crosses wearing those white robes and that funny hat -- who knew? And all that racist stuff I nodded my head to for 20 years, I didn't know what I was doing. And that swastika I was wearing on my arm -- hey I just thought it was colorful. Boy, I sure am glad I figured this all out over the weekend. Olly olly oxen free!! Let's have a do-over."

You get to choose whether he's lying now, or if he's been lying for the past 20 years, but it has to be one or the other, and that's important in choosing a president.
4.30.2008 11:44pm
Gaius Marius:
So which one are you?

LM, "...the noblest Roman of them all."
4.30.2008 11:44pm
Hoosier:
PC--No no no. Wake up, Chuck!

The "Manchurian Candidate" thing is for slurring *McCain*.

You know, all those years in Hanoi Hilton getting brainwashed by super-secret ChiCom intel operatives. We established that in South Carolina in 2000.

What's funny is that McCain is gonna win--sorry to tell ya--and then his ChiCom conditioning will kick in the first time he hears the word "ocelot."

But because the Reds got control of his subconscious back while Mao was running the show, he's going to start underminign the world capitalist system like they planned. Which is funny, because the Chinese will be like, Aw CRAP! We forgot the McCain Manchurian Candidate thing! And now he's like repudiating international private debt!

And like don't we hold 90% of the world's bonds and shit?!

And then they'll be all like How do we stop this crazy Commie before he destroys OUR economy? And then they'll all be like Wow! History is SOOOO IRONIC!

And then they'll like light up some oily Thai spleef and draw straws to see who has to call Vice President Palin and tell her how to turn McCain off. And then they'll Google "Sarah Palin," and the bud will have made them all totally horny and shit, and they'll all be like, Wow! WOW WOW WOW! when they see her official picture.

And so they'll be all like OH man I'll go tell her! Shove it, bro--I'm goin' to tell that fine, fine LAY-dee what we did to her homie in Hanoi. And then they'll all bust up laughing because the buzz has REALLY hit by then, and so they'll get the munchies and like go out for Ethiopian but like TOTALLY forget that McCain is still running around Washington pissing on the Wall Street Journal . . .

I mean, that will kind suck too. But it'll also be kinda cool.
4.30.2008 11:46pm
Asher (mail):
Since more or less everyone concedes that Obama doesn't share Wright's views, why does this matter? Do you think it proves he has bad judgment? That assumes that choosing to go to churches with nutty pastors is a bad decision. But that's not the case at all, since nothing really depends on what church you go to. If I were a black Christian, I might go to Wright's church just for the sheer entertainment value of his crackpot sermons. That wouldn't prove I had bad judgment; at the most it would show that I'm not a politician.
5.1.2008 12:16am
Harry Eagar (mail):
I don't concede it.

I watched one of the sermons, and I didn't watch Wright, I watched the congregation, laughing, anticipating the punch lines.

It was obvious that this was the regular fare. Obama is lying. He knew what Wright was up to, because Wright didn't suddenly hone this approach in the last 12 weeks.

I spent a good part of my time dealing with con artists. Obama is one of the best.
5.1.2008 1:03am
LM (mail):
Smokey,

Here's something guaranteed to get everyone's blood rising: clicky

Ann Coulter lies as usual. The tingle went up Chris Matthews' leg, not down.
5.1.2008 1:37am
Tony Tutins (mail):
Candidate Zirkle was not taken as a serious threat by the Chocola people

As if Zirkle's people could take "Count" Chocola as a serious threat.


in my experience leftists go out of their way to excuse or overlook the moral outrages of their fellow leftists. There are many examples of this

In my experience, rightists do this too. We support a country led by several unrepentant terrorists -- at least I don't think Yitzhak Shamir repented over the assassinations of Lord Moyne or UN envoy Count Bernadotte. Nor did he repent of a truck full of explosives driven into a Haifa police station, or bombing the train from Cairo to Haifa. Similarly Menachem Begin did not repent his part in the bombing of the King David Hotel, killing 91 British officers and troops, and local civilians.

Conservatives have also successfully overlooked or made excuses for Israel's supplying arms to apartheid South Africa, and Israel's development of nuclear weapons.

Don't get me wrong -- I support Israel's right to exist and its right to defend itself. I just want to see some moral outrage symmetry.
5.1.2008 1:42am
Hoosier:
As if Zirkle's people could take "Count" Chocola as a serious threat.

Well Chris . . . uh . . . won he nomination. Besides, I don't think Zirkle has "people." Shows up to campaign events himself, don't you know?

We support a country led by several unrepentant terrorists

Huh. I looked up "Israel" on Wikipedia, and it actually doesn't seem that Shamir or Begin "lead" Israel. Further research led me to a page on Begin that claims he is still dead. But Wikipedia isn't always reliable, so he might not be anymore.

I just want to see some moral outrage symmetry.

As do we all, since we are all fine, fine people. But Shamir can't be bustin' up the place these days, and probably can't even whiz by himself. And Begin is, at least to my knowledge, not currently ontologically active. On the other hand, Hamas is killing people right now. Must our outrage be gratuitous as well as symmetrical?
5.1.2008 1:59am
LM (mail):
Bored Lawyer,

I'll tell you what. When you meet anybody, regardless of ideology, who doesn't have a moral blind spot, let me know.
5.1.2008 2:16am
LM (mail):
Gaius Marius,

So which one are you?

LM, "...the noblest Roman of them all."

Cool. How late do you deliver?
5.1.2008 2:32am
Thorley Winston (mail) (www):
I don't concede it.


Me neither, the problem for Obama is that he doesn't have any actual actions to show that the black liberation "church" and the pastor he's embraced for the last 20 years doesn't really reflect his own worldview. His whole history is one of someone who openly embraces leftist radicals at Harvard, when he ran for office, in his church, etc. He's also exhibited an utter indifference and ignorance of people who are different from him as evidence by Bittergate and his equivocation of a terrorist like Ayers with Tom Coburn and a racist demagogue like Wright with a "typical white person" like his grandmother.
5.1.2008 4:32am
rgaye (mail):
Yes we all know nutty friends or have nutty relatives in our lives... however we usually don't consider them as mentors or their words as the foundation for a national best seller on how they have shaped our world view... except perhaps in a negative way. We may not stand up and repudiate them in public. They are for whatever reason our friends and relatives, but we don't follow their nutty idealogy over an extended period of time either. It's something we put up with, not embrace.

I will give you that a politician's threshold for 'embrace' is much lower than a normal person. His/her can always be used against them no matter the actual closeness of the relationship, but the relationship is fair game if we consider them mentors.

Last if Obama was a conservative, he/she would be so plastered with a similar relationship that his campaign for the nomination would already be lost. Even after first winning as many states Obama has won.

For me it is not just his relationship, which is problematic enough. It's the clear double standard.
5.1.2008 7:23am
Richard Aubrey (mail):
First, it was that Wright's views aren't Obama's.
Then it was Wright's views are really kind of okay, if you think ahout it.
Like with the Clintons.
They didn't do it until they admit they did it.
When they admitted they did it, it wasn't a bad thing.
And you're a meanie for pointing it out.

Double standard? That term isn't big enough.
5.1.2008 9:07am
wfjag:
Hoosier - I take it that you're not a donor to Tony's campaign.


I'll tell you what. When you meet anybody, regardless of ideology, who doesn't have a moral blind spot, let me know.


And, LM, your point is what? Is it that when a moral blind spot of your own is identified you shake your finger at the other person and shout "You, too! You, too! You, too!"? Or, do you examine your own belief system and use this new knowledge of yourself to avoid that self-deception in the future? The easiest person in the world for you to BS is yourself. All con artists depend on this. How you deal with being confronted with facts that identify your own shortcomings says much about whether you want to be proactive with your life or remain a victim waiting to happen. It also reflects how, or if, you evaluate Obama -- and Clinton and McCain. They are all professional politicians, and so they and their staffs, employ many of the same techniques used by con artists to get you to give them money and your vote.

What we have to decide among these people is their past. Who they have chosen to advise them in the past is very important, since it is the only evidence about the types of people they will choose in the future to advise them.

And, please don't give me that tired old saw about Wright being taken out of context, or that I'd probably agree with 90% ot 95% of what he said. About 20 years ago, David Duke was running for Governor of Louisiana. A friend (who is Black) and I decided to listen to Duke ("Know your enemy" is good advice). After listening, we decided that we agreed with 90% to 95% of what Duke had said. He's smart, he's charismatic, he's an excellent public speaker, and his skills at rhetoric are very good. However, it was that 5% to 10% that was scary -- the hate-mongering, racist, victimhood parts of his speech. Wright reminds me very much of Duke. And, in evaluating Obama, I won't dismiss the fact that for about 20 years he chose to listen to Wright, and never confronted Wright about the things he now says he disavows.

Hoosier -- What makes you think that because you're Catholic you can't join the Klan? I know 2 Klan members. One is Black and the other Hispanic (&Catholic). They filled out the application forms accurately -- including the questions on race and religion, and sent in the membership fee. In return each got a really impressive looking membership certificate (which they framed and hung in the middle of their diplomas and other certificates) and a very nice letter opener (clear acrylic base that looks like crystal and a letter opener shaped to look like a dagger with the Klan emblem on the handle).

Yes, I have some "nutty friends", too. I'm certain that they have said and done things that will offend someone, somewhere (&I'm certain that I have, also). My "nutty friends", however, don't advocate racism, hate-mongering or victimhood, and don't have much patience with people who do.
5.1.2008 11:02am
Tony Tutins (mail):
This sentence read too tangled for me, so I rewrote it:

To Obama's credit, he doesn't have any actual actions to show that his own worldview reflects black liberation theology or the extreme positions of the pastor he's embraced for the last 20 years.

Hoosier: So you're saying Obama could shake off the taint of associating with Ayers and Dohrn once they're dead? Too bad he's too moral to arrange for a hit.

Also, I'm pretty sure that Israelis consider their Prime Minister to be their leader. It's not like they also have an Ayatollah or a King.
5.1.2008 11:38am
c.gray (mail):

Ayers, on the other hand, was white and didn't manage to kill anyone.


Well, there are the three Weathermen friends (including Ayers girlfriend) who died when one of the bombs he was helping to assemble (to use against an NCO formal dance) went off prematurely. Ayers "failure to kill", if you can call it that, was the result of incompetence, not lack of effort. Other Weathermen had better luck.
5.1.2008 12:28pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Ref. Ayers and his inadvertent innocence: I always think of my sainted mother's advice, "It's the thought that counts, dear."
5.1.2008 1:06pm
David Smith:
Somewhat off the topic, I wonder how many people realize that there *were* a few things that went quite haywire, including some parts of the U.S. defensive systems, on 1/1/00. It wasn't quite the "be embarrassed to have been concerned" whitewash it was made out to be.
5.3.2008 10:46pm