Hamilton, Madison, and Jay

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Location: Mesa, Arizona, United States

Who are we? We're a married couple who has a passion for politics and current events. That's what this site is about. If you read us, you know what we stand for.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The Boston Globe asks Obama "What took you so long?"

HT to Captain Ed who also notes that where the Globe actually got it right unlike the New York Times and the WaPo. Both the Times and the Post act as though Jeremiah Wright just popped up on the radar in the last couple of weeks, rather than being a fixture in Obama's life for twenty years. From The Boston Globe:

The Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr. had said it all before: how God damns America for its unfairness, how American policies brought on the 9/11 attacks, how Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan is a great American, and more.

But for weeks, Barack Obama portrayed such statements as isolated soundbites, deeply offensive to him, but nonetheless taken out of context by political enemies to create a negative impression of an otherwise caring pastor. It wasn't until Wright took to the airwaves over the past week to defend himself and take fresh ownership of the statements that Obama became fed up.

Now, after Obama's uncategorical repudiation yesterday of the man who presided at his wedding and the baptism of his daughters, voters and other political observers will inevitably wonder what took so long - and how Obama could have misjudged someone to whom he was very close.

After all, politicians are constantly confronted with these kinds of controversies. Obama initially chose to offer only a relatively mild condemnation of Wright, and to portray all the hubbub about his comments as an example of the kinds of distractions that mar political life.

Wright, with his defiance in three consecutive appearances over the weekend, made Obama look foolish. And not least because it took him so long to face Wright down.

"Every political strategist says if you have to take your medicine, better to take it sooner than later," said Linda Fowler, a Dartmouth College political scientist.

Obama, who has tried to separate himself from "politics as usual," didn't follow this nostrum. His first attempt to respond to Wright's comments - in his closely watched speech on race last month - aimed to place the offensive comments in the context of America's racial divide.

"It was an important speech for a black man who wants to be president, but it didn't directly address the difficult situation with Reverend Wright," Fowler said.

By maintaining his association with Wright while the controversy percolated, Obama gave his political enemies a chance to tie him to Wright's statements. While his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton, fanned the flames by declaring that she would have walked out of Wright's church, there is little doubt that this is a controversy that would have erupted whether or not Clinton was in the race.

Long ago, Obama had tacitly acknowledged that Wright was destined to become a potential flashpoint by disinviting him to his campaign kickoff in early 2007. But while Obama may have anticipated that the political spotlight would one day focus on some of Wright's fiery sermons - though Obama says he didn't know of the most controversial statements - he surely didn't envision the damage inflicted by Wright himself.

Obama's personal pastor did more than anyone else to take the glow off his campaign by dismissing the Illinois senator as just "a politician."

"He goes out as a politician and says what he has to say as a politician," Wright said in his interview Friday night with PBS journalist Bill Moyers. "I continue to be a pastor who speaks to the people of God about the things of God."

We believe this is really why Obama repudiated him yesterday. It had nothing to do with what Wright said. Obama knew what Wright had said in the past. For those that don't believe that, let me give you some reminders.

Exhibit A -- 6 March 2007:

According to the pastor, Mr. Obama then told him, “You can get kind of rough in the sermons, so what we’ve decided is that it’s best for you not to be out there in public.”

Exhibit B -- 14 March 2008 where Rich Lowry recalls from Obama's own book "Dreams From my Father" the sermon by Jeremiah Wright entitled "The Audacity of Hope" which shows that the Wright we see now is the same Wright that was there for twenty years.

Exhibit C -- 18 March 2008 -- Barack Obama in his own words:

"Did I know him to be an occasionally fierce critic of American domestic and foreign policy? Of course. Did I ever hear him make remarks that could be considered controversial while I sat in church? Yes."

For him to sit there and act as though he had no idea what Jeremiah Wright was saying from the pulpit is preposterous. Did Wright have the same sort of sermons weekly? Likely not. Did he have them more often that Obama admits? Likely yes. There is no doubt, based on his sermons, based on his NAACP speech, based on his address to the National Press Club that Jeremiah Wright does believe and espouse black liberation theology to his congregations.

Barack Obama acts as though he just heard these statements, when the proof I provided above shows that he knew full well what Wright had said in the past. Barack took to the presser yesterday thoroughly upset at Wright because Wright threw him under the bus in the Bill Moyers interview, and continued to be a thorn in his side. That's why Obama was angry and bitter yesterday. (On the bitter note, it's nice to see he can be just as bitter as he believes us to be.) It's OK for him to throw Wright under the bus, but God forbid Wright throw the messiah under the bus.

Of course it wasn't so much that Wright tossed him under the bus as he made him look human; a typical politician with an ambitious nature. He showed voters that Obama was willing to say and do whatever he needs to do to win the presidency. He is just like any other politico out there who wants a higher job.

Does this excuse Jeremiah Wright? Absolutely not. He may be entitled to say what he wants, but in the end he is wholly responsible for what he says. He blames the US for the terrorist attacks on 11 September ("America's chickens are coming home to roost). He blames the US government for AIDS ("The government lied about adventing the HIV virus as a means of genocide against people of color"). In fact, In fact, go read and listen to the sermons, provided in context by Hugh Hewitt. Jeremiah Wright is a racist demagogue. Can we say the same of Barack Obama? I think not.

I say that because he has not uttered the rhetoric that Wright has. Michelle Obama has skirted the line, but her husband hasn't. But it does beg the question the Globe asks -- What took you so long to disavow him? Obama isn't a dumb politician. He had to know that this would become a problem for him; an issue that wouldn't go away, just like Ayers and Rezko. So, why didn't he disavow him in March when he had the chance. He could have easily stated, prior to that worthless speech he gave, that he hadn't attended the church as often as he would have liked and that he just became aware of Wright's controversial sermons; he could have disowned him then, and this little incident wouldn't have come to light. Wright's statements to the NAACP and the NPC would've seemed like little rants that the media could have spun away. But he didn't.

He held onto him.

He stayed connected to him.

And that's what hurt him.

Jeremiah Wright had an axe to grind, and then he planted it firmly in Obama's back.

Publius II


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