Saturday, March 15, 2008

Race for the White House- 3/15/08

This week saw the Presidential horse race overshadowed by some very interesting stories and disputes. Disgraced New York Governor Eliot Spitzer of course dominated the news. The jokes could write themselves but I will refrain at this moment. It was a fairly quiet week for Republican nominee John McCain, who raised money and is preparing for an overseas trip, which should be very politically beneficial while the two Democrat candidates are still battling it out among themselves. McCain, who this weekend is celebrating the 35th anniversary of his freedom as a Prisoner of War did gain some notice this week with complimentary comments about former Presidential rival Mitt Romney that led many to believe that the two could possibly wind up running together this fall. Earlier in the week, Romney gave his first television interview since ending his Presidential campaign and made it clear that he would very much like to be McCain's running mate.

But the far more discussed news of the week involved the Democrat candidates. While Hillary Clinton feuded with comedian Sinbad (well sort of), much of the week was dominated by a dispute between the Obama campaign and 1984 Vice Presidential nominee Geraldine Ferraro, who made statements regarding how she believes Obama's race has benefitted him in the current Presidential campaign, that many Democrats considered racist on behalf of their former trailblazing VP candidate. Ferraro vehemently insists she said nothing wrong and refuses to apologize. Nonetheless, she relinquished here role on Clinton's finance committee. The whole brouhaha even overshadowed Obama's expected big win in Mississippi, which was another state that saw a racial divide in support between Clinton and Obama. The win helped push up Obama's lead in pledged delegates, but most are still looking ahead to April's Pennsylvania primary, where polls currently show Clinton holding a solid lead.

The last couple news cycles have not been good one for the Obama campaign, related in part to admissions about his relationship with indicted Chicago businessman Tony Rezko, but what could be far more damaging, perhaps even politically fatal to his Presidential campaign, is Obama's relationship with his pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright.

Since Obama first entered the race last year, there has been talk in some circles and attention paid to the relationship between Obama and the controversial minister, who many accused of preaching a form of racial seperatism and how that was in contrast to the message of the Obama campaign in regards to bringing people together and the whole "One America" deal.

This week though saw the release of video footage of Wright sermons which were extremely harsh in regards to the Clintons, while praising parishioner Obama, but also sermons in which Wright made unbelievably derogatory and inflammatory statements about the United States of America, such as inferring that the attacks of 9/11/01 were somehow deserved.

For the remainder of this blog post, I am not even going to attempt to be remotely analytical, but I am instead going to give my opinion, in pretty direct terms, about this whole controversy:

Conservatives like me have had ample reason to distrust or maybe even dislike the Clintons on a personal level over many years. When it came to Barack Obama though, who is also one of my United States Senators, I have always felt that while I agreed on very little with him, he came across as a pretty nice guy and a fundamentally decent person who was deserving of respect on that level. Maybe he really is. But this whole episode has raised a tremendous number of questions about him and his personal character in my mind.

How in the world could Obama, who has known Jeremiah Wright for over 20 years, and has called him an "inspiration" and considered him his "spiritual advisor" and who placed on on a Presidential campaign committee, can speak of "unity" and "hope" while maintaining these ties to a man I believe he must have realized was hateful, divisive, racist, and anti-American, is absolutely beyond me.

I have absolutely no problem at all with Obama's religious beliefs, his practice of Christianity, or where or how he chooses to worship. The pastor is the problem and Obama should have known far better, a very long time ago. I have an extremely hard time believing that the Jeremiah Wright which has been exposed on television and the internet is the person that has taken Obama by so much surprise. How naive does Obama think people are? He says he was never in the congregation when Wright said these horrible things and that he never heard of most of them later on. If it ever turns out that he is lying about being in the audience, his Presidential campaign is cooked, but even if he was not, he likely knew far more than he is letting on. Wright is now off Obama's religious leadership committee, but only after this story reached critical mass. Now, Obama claims that had he been there when these things were said, he would have left the church. Yet he still chooses to belong to a particular congregation where many parishioners gave the pastor a standing ovation for saying "G-d damn America."

I could go on and on but the bottom line is that this story is very likely to hurt Obama. Just how much it will remains to be seen. Hillary Clinton could certainly benefit from this, particularly if she makes a private appeal to superdelegates about what Republicans and 527 committees might do if Obama is the nominee. Of course, she would be absolutely right and the damage for Obama in Middle America could be enormous.

So, speaking as a partisan Republican, I wish I could find more joy and excitement into the prospect of Obama perhaps going down if he cannot snuff out the flames of this latest story. Yet, it's just dissapointing to me on a personal level that Obama has so much to be ashamed for. To be fair, he has indeed now disassociated himself with specific things Wright has said, and I do not for a second believe that Barack Obama shares those abhorrent beliefs. But as someone who wants to lead America, and who puts himself out there as the ultimate paragon of virtue and unity, it is far too little too late. This all speaks very poorly on Obama's honesty and judgment.

This week saw the downfall of one pious pol, who held himself out as being so much better than anyone else, before getting caught in actual (alleged) criminal conduct. Since he was so disliked by so many people before the scandal broke, few feel sorry for Eliot Spitzer however.

Barack Obama has legions of supporters and fans who view him as more of a cause than a candidate. The die-hards among them will excuse any fault that Obama might have in order to continue to hold them in such an elevated state.

Obama's relationship with Wright was real though. He has far more to answer about it that has yet to be done. He has not even begun to explain how he could have either been so blind to these problems or so willing to overlook them for so long. In my view, this is the week that Barack Obama has been exposed as a fraud. A complete and total fraud.


At 1:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can only wonder what you'd be saying in the defense of Obama if he were a Republican being faced with his pastor's controversial statements. (As if Obama wrote Wright's offensive sermons.)

The only fraud here is your claim to be a halfway credible analyst.

At 9:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

And how about John McCain's endorsement by Rev. John Hagee, who called the Catholic Church a "cult" and the "whore of Babylon"? Should Senator McCain not be held equally accountable for the offensive remarks of his supporters simply because he is your preferred candidate for the presidency, Corey?

The hypocrisy is palpable.

At 10:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

McCain disavowed Hagee for that.

It's one of the dumbest analogies attempted though.

McCain did not have a 20 year relationship with Hagee. He was not his personal pastor or spiritual advisor. McCain had no idea what kind of controversial things Hagee (whom I had never heard of) said before the endorsement.

It is extremely hard to believe that Obama was not aware of what Wright had been doing. The fact is that he had previously taken steps to distance himself from Wright for those very reasons, but yet still named him to a campaign committee position and remained in the church, etc.

None of this has anything to do with Obama and religion. This is about the ties that Obama has to one man.

This is not about faith. This is about Obama's character, judgment, and honesty.

At 10:34 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"This is not about faith. This is about Obama's character, judgment, and honesty."

Blah, blah, blah. You can say that all you want, but you're not convincing anyone except yourself. I've read enough of your analysis to know that everything operates on a double standard with you depending on what party they are. Your pontificating is a joke, and not even a funny one.

At 2:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Then why are you still reading?

Face it Michael, you are threatened by those who disagree with you.

I've been very critical of Republicans, when deserved, both here and elsewhere. You can just read what I have written on here about Jim Oberweis. And I have praised Democrats when they deserve it to.

I simply believe that Obama is deserving of criticism for his ties to a certified hatemonger and the dishonest way he has dealt with this political crisis.

People like me want to see more racial unity in this country. Many thought that was what Obama was all about. But by this association and his actions, he has proven himself to be quite hypocritical.

Perhaps one day, you and others like you will take off the blinders long enough to see the truth.

At 2:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Then why are you still reading?

Face it Michael, you are threatened by those who disagree with you."

Good question. Bye. Maybe if you ever take off your partisan blinders I might find you worth talking to again.

At 4:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I write this after hearing Senator Obama's speech today from Philadelphia. It was probably the most honest speech about race delivered by anyone since Martin Luther King.

The thing about Obama, something that differentiates him from the establishment of both parties, is that he doesn't villify those who disagree with him. He is willing to extend his friendhsip and his ear to those who disagree with him, both right and left.

I think that's what most people want. I have friends who I disagree with strongly, some of them are close friends. I don't think most people choose their friends, even their closest friends, based on politics.

Senator Obama made clear in his speech today that he both disagreed with Rev. Wright and why he was friends with Rev. Wright, the man who introduced him to Christianity.

Some who are cynical on both the right and left are hoping that this will somehow taint Obama. Rev. Wright is the "angry Black man" who they wish Obama was because that would be scary, that is something that fits into their paradigm of a divided America.

But try as they might, that's not who Senator Obama is, and his speech today proves that.

At 4:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

No, people like myself oppose Wright and his associations with Obama because we want a more united America, not a more divided one.

I don't think the two share the same mindset, but Obama has clearly wanted to have it both ways for years. He only chose to seriously distance himself from Wright once he was called on it.

That is not leadership. That is cynical politics.

If Obama so profoundly disagreed with Wright though, why did he appoint him as a campaign advisor?

At 5:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't understand how anyone can listen to Obama's speech and call it divisive.

Obama obviously is friends with and has respect for his pastor. It would have been politically expedient for him to cast him asunder as so many other politicians would have, but he didn't do that.

I know lots of people who respect their clergy very much, who even have had them perform their marriages and other ceremonies but who have profound political disagreements with them. I know Catholics who are pro-choice; I know Jews who have differing opinions about Israel and I know Protestants who think their pastors are too liberal or too conservative.

But should this really be an issue. I'm sure many members of the LDS church disagreed with the Church's policy of segregation when it was in effect, but there was no hue and cry from the right because of Governor Romney's involvement in the church at that time. Should there have been? It would have been at least as legitimate as the issue of Obama's pastor.

Race has always been and will always be the ultimate hot button issue of American society. Senator Obama has shown courage unmatched in any recent political campaign by speaking honestly and forthrightly about the issue and his views. He did not hide, he did not spin, he did not pretend that the issue is less complex than it is, and for that, I think even those who disagree with him politically should give him some credit.

At 11:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This has nothing to do with religious disagreements with a pastor.

The case of Wright involves political extremism and hate language.

Wright is a hatemonger. Obama is not, but he associates with one for his own benefit and once that became exposed he has been far less than honest about the whole matter.

A leader would show what he or she is willing to do to overcome hatred, and not simply make excuses for it.


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