Tag Archives: jeremiah Wright

Why Hillary Will Not Be Barack’s VEEP

Over the weekend I met up with an old friend who knows someone in Obama’s inner circle. All the chisme aside, I heard something potentially telling about the Barack-Hillary dance that we are all going to witness over the next several days, weeks, months.  The bottom line is that Obama is not likely to offer Hillary the Veep slot. Here’s why.  

The Clintons have treated Obama miserably since the day he came to the senate in 2005.  They saw him as a threat and sought to weaken him, haze him and otherwise intimidate him into not challenging Hillary for the ’08 nomination.  Apparently, the Clintons indeed felt a sense of entitlement to the ’08 nomination.

I raise this conversation in light of Obama’s latest “pastor eruption,” as I just heard it described on Dan Abrams’ “The Verdict.” A couple weeks ago, Pastor Pfleger, a guest pastor at Trinity went off on an anti-Hillary rant that was mocking in tone and sort of inappropriate.  The Pfleger sermon has been cited as the reason for Obama’s announcement he is leaving the Trinity Church.  

While listening to my friend’s comments, my mind went to Pastor Pfleger.   My friend didn’t draw any connections to Phleger, but the substance of his comments gibed pretty much with how Pfleger suggested the Clinton’s reacted to Obama back in 2005.

See Pfleger’s comments:

Pretty raw sounding stuff at a pretty inopportune moment, but apparently so are the real feelings between the two camps.   Not sure what this bodes for the campaign in the coming weeks and months, except to say there is plenty of work and healing to be done, and the need is dire.  I shall watch the dance starting tomorrow night with Barack in MN and Hillary in NY.  A beginning, tho it is starting with them pretty far apart.

 

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Jeremiah Wright doing Obama a Favor

By acting like the cartoon he has accused YouTubers of making him, Jeremiah Wright may have done Barack Obama a huge favor, if the Obama campaign plays it right.

Before this week, Obama knew that the Jeremiah Wright issue, right or wrong, was going to plague him all the way to the presidency. Wright appeared on Bill Moyers Friday and sounded thoughtful, insightful and reassuring. he underplayed his relationship with Obama and this appearance made it difficult for Obama and others to discount some of Wright’s more outrageous snippets about AIDS. Quite the opposite, Wright’s comments on Moyers challenged America to have the sort of race dialogue that Obama proposed last month in his Philadelphia race speech. Problem is, while Wright sounded pastoral and philosophical, the sniping against Obama for having a relationship with Wright continued.

Well, no more.

The mainstream media does not do well with subtleties. Nor does it do well with meta narratives that fail to play well in sound bites.

It couldn’t handle the possibility that Wright and Obama for that matter were making truth claims that might really challenge the hegemonic master race narrative in 2008 America. This is the narrative that has little institutional memory and almost no recognition of racism as an institutional or structural concept. Since race in america is more prevalently represented as an individualistic concept, the idea of the renogade Wright is something more manageable. The press can deal with Obama shunning his former pastor. Just look at this mornings headlines. Okay, thank you Mr. Wright, you have helped Obama to brush off some some increasingly heavy and distracting baggage.

Jeremiah Wright is Right

Jeremiah Wright has important things to say about race and religion in America. The test for America is whether it is willing to listen and incorporate Mr. Wrights insights into a larger conversation about these topics. Such a conversation would be much more informative than the worthless conversations about “bitterness” and so forth.  The test for the media is whether it is willing to go beyond sound bites to give credence to the context of his remarks. 

Last Friday, BIll Moyers devoted an entire hour to an interview with Jeremiah Wright.  Initial reporting of this interview by the mainstream media focused exclusively on the last 5-7 minutes of the interview, which is the only time Wright mentioned Barack Obama. The media does an injustice to Wright, to Obama and to the country by excluding about 90% of Wrights comments which were insightful, and incredibly informative.

Wright was speaking about the Black Church as a different cultural phenomenon than the White Church.  Not better and not worse but different. He placed the church within the context of slavery, jim crow and civil rights.  What emerged from the interview was a strong rationale for why Obama would have joined the church and stayed with it for 20 years.   The message is one of empowerment and pride.  The key is not black separatism as Chris Matthews at MSNBC and Fox imply. It has everything to do with viewing christianity and the church through the lens of the African American experience.

Can the mainstream press deal with this perception?  Can it deal with something outside its eurocentric comfort zone?  These, i believe, are the real questions, and how the media handles them might well say more about Obama’s chances to win the presidency than we might care to admit.

 

The Media’s Obama (Black Church)- McCain (White Evangelical Church) Conundrum

I just did a couple quick searches on the NYTimes web site and found the following. 0 results mentioning John McCain and Rod Parsley, 3 results mentioning John McCain and John Hagee, AND, 36 articles mentioning Barack Obama and Jeremiah Wright. Then I checked the Washington Post site and found: 17 results for McCain and Hagee; 2 results for Parsley and McCain; AND 59 results for Wright and Obama.

Why the heavier media scrutiny for the candidate-black church relationship than the candidate-white church relationship? Media face less resistance going after black churches.

David Corn describes Rod Parsley, whom John McCain referred to as his “spiritual guide,” as follows:

The leader of a 12,000-member congregation, Parsley has written several books outlining his fundamentalist religious outlook, including the 2005 Silent No More. In this work, Parsley decries the “spiritual desperation” of the United States, and he blasts away at the usual suspects: activist judges, civil libertarians who advocate the separation of church and state, the homosexual “culture” (“homosexuals are anything but happy and carefree”), the “abortion industry,” and the crass and profane entertainment industry.

Further, according to Corn, “Parsley claims that Islam is a “false religion,” and an “anti-Christ religion” predicated on “deception.””

Next is John Hagee, founder of Christians United For Israel, who threw his support behind John McCain, calling him a “man of principle, who does not stand boldly on both sides of any issue.” McCain embraced Hagee, after having courted him for over a year, saying he was honored by the endorsement.

Problem is Hagee has called the Catholic Church, ” the Great Whore,” an “apostate church,” the “anti-Christ” and a “false cult system.”

Back in 2003, Hagee’s television series on Islam was cancelled in Canada for inciting hatred against Muslims. Hagee has also suggested that Hurrcane Katrina was “punishment against gays.”

If you were to watch any number of Hagee speeches on the internet, you see joy on his face as he progosticates war with Iran, and disparages and demonizes Muslims, gays and Catholics.

War and hatred. But say what you will about Parsley and Hagee, these guys love America, and it is this “lapel pin” propagaganda that helps give them a pass from the media. Perhaps also more is that Parsley and Hagee represent a white evangelical constituency, a still potent force in american politics.

Now consider Pastor Wright’s social justice critique of America’s legacy of racism. Wrights message is “unashamedly Black and unapologetically Christian.” It is an “African centered point of view” that has been heard in Black churches for generations, and thus also remains a marginalized social force in american politics. This constituency has never been a potent force in american politics. Wright’s voice is of a legacy that includes such scorned geniuses as Langston Hughes, Paul Robeson, as well as including the final economic campaign days of MLK Jr.

It is an angry voice that holds american institutions and elites to account for a legacy that has excluded african americans from the country’s promises of equality and justice for all.

Here is the relevance for the skeletal media content analysis that started the post. This message, if taken seriously would force media moguls to restructure how their reporters cover the news. They would be forced to investigate the claims that Wright and others have made over the years. Such are questions that the media are structured not to ask.

In other words, Wright’s message threatens the media establishment in ways that Hagee’s and Parsley’s message does not, which explains why the NYT and WaPo would rather demonize Wright and Obama’s relationship, than ask fundamentaly important questions about why white evangelical churches and the candidates they support have received a pass for so many years. It would force such questions of folks who continue to take Hagee’s and Parsley’s support for granted, and only then would McCain receive the sort of scrutiny now being leveled at Obama.