Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Obama Chapter and Verse

Barack Obama is a very complex individual. He reminds me of that old Arnold Schwarzenegger movie where a Terminator removes and replaces his damaged electronic and faux parts as he moves along. Obama attacks NAFTA and then his aide contacts the Canadian embassy to reassure them about Obama’s public statements. It’s just politics, he implies. But the colossal lack of judgment shown by Obama’s dealings with the Wright affair is truly indicative of what an Obama presidency would be like.

In February of 2008, when the remarks had become public, Obama said Wright was "like an old uncle who sometimes will say things that I don't agree with." During the same week, Obama said: "I don't think my church is actually particularly controversial.” Wright wasn’t being criticized for his inflammatory racial remarks nor for calling Italians “garlic noses”, according Obama. The real reason Wright was criticized was that “"he was one of the leaders in calling for divestment from South Africa and some other issues like that." Get it? Reverend Wright is noble. Critics of Reverend Wright are reactionary capitalist pigs.

Statement from surrogate in Obama campaign said the senator “deeply disagrees” with Rev. Wright but “now that he is retired, that doesn’t detract from Sen. Obama’s affection for Wright or his appreciation for the good works he has done.” Loyalty, people!.... Where have you seen such loyalty?

Later in the news cycle, Obama absolved himself with this: “The statements that Rev. Wright made that are the cause of this controversy were not statements I personally heard him preach while I sat in the pews of Trinity or heard him utter in private conversation." I can’t hear you! Can you hear me?

Obama, the Harvard lawyer, continues his defense of Wright with: "In fairness to him, this was sort of a greatest hits. They basically culled five or six sermons out of 30 years of preaching." Who is ‘they’? And why the duplicity of “greatest hits?” Why can’t Obama make a simple, direct statement instead of dredging up some third-rate. courtroom antic? Get that one? The media got its cues from dark right-wing conspirators who somehow tricked and bedeviled Wright into making an ass out of himself. It’s an updated version of the “blue-eyed devil” theorem.

So then Obama goes to Philadelphia where he’s making a big pitch for votes in a state he would eventually lose badly. But it is a beginning. For the first time, Obama and his scriptwriters, having tested the winds and smelled something foul in the air, revise the script. Wright’s remarks now “denigrate both the greatness and the goodness of our nation." However, Obama feels it necessary to show loyalty to Wright’s Chicago allies: "I can no more disown him than I can my white grandmother. . . ." Later, of course, he did disown his “white grandmother.” Obama fails to see that many African-Americans find Wright’s remarks repugnant and not reflective of their own feelings and beliefs. Obama’s “loyalty” is to the darkest side of Chicago politics, not to the best of African-American life and culture.

About ten days later, Wright is “retired” and Obama explains why he stayed in Wright’s church for 20 years: “Had he (Wright) not acknowledged that what he had said had deeply offended . . . then I wouldn't have felt comfortable staying there at the church.” What? Obama’s a time traveler, apparently. If, in the future, Wright had not regretted his remarks, then Obama wouldn’t have remained in Wright’s church in the past. Obama’s assertion that Wright “acknowledged” his offenses is a plain lie. Wright did the opposite in a later public appearance at the National Press Club.

Now the ball really gets rolling:

"Whatever relationship I had with Rev. Wright has changed, as a consequence of this. I don't think that he showed much concern for me. More importantly, I don't think he showed much concern for what we are trying to do in this campaign . . . ."
Eventually, Obama threw everyone under the proverbial bus and quit the church, once again exhibiting “change you can believe in.” But everyone knows by now that Obama flies by the seat of his pants, reverses himself routinely, is opportunistic and confused in his political and social opinions. I personally feel sympathy for his confusion, and attribute it to the bewildering series of experiences he was subjected to by his mother, as far from a conservative Kansas farm girl as one could be. I suppose I would have even greater sympathy for Obama if I didn’t feel that he and his peripatetic ideas were so dangerous for America.

And then there is the Obama reversal of the flag pin.

Obama told a radio station he didn’t wear a flag pin because those are “a substitute for…..true patriotism, which is speaking out on issues . . . ." "Senator Obama believes that being a patriot is about more than a symbol," said a campaign spokesperson. Yet, he shows up later in Pennsylvania wearing a flag pin. "I have never said that I don't wear flag pins or refuse to wear flag pins. This is the kind of manufactured issue that our politics has become obsessed with and, once again, distracts us . . . ." Well, duh! Then why distract us with the sudden appearance of a flag pin?

Isn’t there anything simple and direct about this guy? I would suggest he change his slogan from “change you can believe in” to “change you can retreat from.”

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