Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Obama's Speech

I'm teaching all day, but I've read Barack Obama's major speech today on race and religion, and I've watched video clips of key excerpts (available on YouTube):

As always, I'm impressed by this man's oratorical power.

Yet for all its brilliance, the speech displayed all the standard Democratic Party talking points of grievance and retreat, on the economy and the war.

But what's most troubling is how miserably Obama failed in divorcing himself from the hatred of Jeremiah Wright's theology at Trinity United Church of Christ. Obama appears woefully ill-advised on the imperative of separating himself from Wright's anti-Americanism, teachings so forcefully expressed this week in the outrageous displays of black liberation radicalism.

Here's Paul Mirengoff at
Although Obama's speech is not without its evasions, I consider it a courageous one by usual political standards. He has refused to walk away from Wright's black liberation theology when it might well have been expedient to do so. The rest of us now should have the courage to take Obama at his word and decide whether it is acceptable to elect as president of the United States someone who carries Rev. Wright around as part of him, and who takes his ranting seriously.
That's key. Obama has not repudiated but reaffirmed as part of his being the very cruelty of which Wright preaches, here, for example:

The church contains in full the kindness and cruelty, the fierce intelligence and the shocking ignorance, the struggles and successes, the love and, yes, the bitterness and biases that make up the black experience in America.

And this helps explain, perhaps, my relationship with Reverend Wright ... I can no more disown him than I can disown the black community ... These people are a part of me.
Actually, he could have disowned him, if that's what he truly wanted. He could have shown not just the courage to embrace liberation doctrine, but true stength to renounce that which renounces America.

Note how
Kathryn Jean Lopez puts it:

The more I think about this speech, the more I think Obama said: Damn straight, Rev. Wright is angry. That's how I wound up at his church. That's why I stay there. I'm mad too, I just control it better. Now let's get electing me president so we can all feel good.

See all the analysis at Memeorandum.


UPDATE: Checking around the blogosphere, it looks indeed that Obama's controversy's not going to bed:

A Blog For All: "Obama's Hope For Changed Circumstances."

Ace of Spades: "Did I Hear Comments That Might Be Considered Controversial? Yes."

American Princess: "Concentrate On Something Else."

Amy Proctor: "Obama Speech Neglected to Address White Americans."

Atlas Shrugs: "Race Speech: Obama Exploits the Racial Divide."

Astute Bloggers: "Barack the Victim Bill Cosby the Victor."

Blond Sagacity: "Obama Claims Ignorance."

Blue Crab Boulevard: "The Big Speech."

Booker Rising: "Booker Rising on Obama's Speech On Race And Religion."

California Yankee, "Wright Is Wrong And So Is Obama."

Captain Ed: "Obama Speech: Effective for a Narrow Audience."

Charlotte Hays: "The Politics of Grievance."

Confederate Yankee: "Barack's "Race" Speech."

Dr. Sanity: "The Inauthentic Self."

Falling Panda: "Obama Changes His Story."

Fausta: "The Obama Speech."

Gateway Pundit: "Just Words - Obama Gives 1st Major Address to G-D*mned America."

Hot Air: "Obama’s Speech: Consider These Goalposts Moved!"

Jawa Report: "Obama's Ward Churchill Moment."

Jules Crittenden: "Obama Wants to Talk."

LGF: "Obama: Rev Wright is 'An Occasionally Fierce Critic of American Domestic and Foreign Policy'."

Lilberty Pundit: "If You Think This Isn’t About Racism, Think Again."

Michael Goldfarb: "Obama as Mortal: Blame America."

Neo-Neocon: "Did Obama save himself?"

Neptunus Lex: "That Speech."

NIce Deb: "Was Obama’s Speech A Success?"

Opinionnation: "Obama: I Don’t Hate Whitey and the Jews!"

Outside the Beltway: "Obama’s ‘More Perfect Union’ Speech."

Pajamas Media: "Obama's Speech Calls for Victimhood Coalition."

Patterico: "My Two Cents about Obama’s Race Speech."

PoliGazette: "A More Perfect Union."

Protein Wisdom: "Does Barack Obama’s Religion Matter?"

QandO Blog: "Obama's Speech: Mixed Bag."

Ross Douthat: "Obama's Speech."

Sister Toldjah: "Barack Obama’s Moral Equivalence-Fest."

The Strata-Sphere: "Obama Fails, and Admits Indirectly to Not Being Honest."

Suburban Guerilla: "Post-Speech."

TigerHawk: "Notes on the Barack Obama/Jeremiah Wright kerfuffle ."

Urban Grounds: "Barack Obama Schucks and Jives His Way Through Racism Speech."

Wake Up America: "Obama Rationalizes Wright's Rhetoric."