Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Ee plebneesta

By Carl

Barack Obama's speech today is a watershed event in this campaign. Some notes:

1) Usually, when a candidate has to give a single issue speech during the primaries that doesn't deal with the general populace, you can write him off. Think about Mitt Romeny and the Mormon address.

If this speech had happened even a month ago, I'd say that was a possible, even probable, outcome, but despite the fact that NBC news polling indicates that roughly six percent of voters who have voted already would switch votes from Obama to Hillary (
page 17 of this document), it may be too late in the race for this speech to have much impact, positive or negative.

2) “We the people, in order to form a more perfect union.” Whenever you start a speech of with that phrase, you run the risk of turning off your audience, as it is without a doubt the most overused phrase in American speechifying today. You can't stop at a campaign rally for dogcatcher in Bumshmuck, Idaho without hearing "more perfect union" intoned as if it was the call-and-response in a church.

Granted, he probably wrote this speech on the fly at 3AM in a fit of pique, but come one, Senator. You're a man of words and little else! Use your own!

3) Even before the speech was given, moderate Democrats I had spoken to had already decided this was just one more speech, that nothing would change their opinions regarding him or the pastor much.

4) In South Carolina, where the Confederate Flag still flies, we built a powerful coalition of African Americans and white Americans.

While true, that was also the last Southern state he carried with that kind of coalition, and was also the last state that John Edwards was a factor in, which appears to have hurt Hillary more than Obama.

Sorry, this comes dangerously close to a lie, but forgivable as a rhetorical flourish.

5) The fact is that the comments that have been made and the issues that have surfaced over the last few weeks reflect the complexities of race in this country that we’ve never really worked through – a part of our union that we have yet to perfect. And if we walk away now, if we simply retreat into our respective corners, we will never be able to come together and solve challenges like health care, or education, or the need to find good jobs for every American.

I agree. It's a pity Obama didn't factor this stuff in when he decided to be ambitious, rather than constructive. America doesn't like change rammed down its throat, or have we learned nothing from the neo-conservative movement, which rose as a backlash against the progressive changes we liberals sought in the 60s and 70s?

We had people peeking out of corners, looking up instead of down, listening, instead of hearing. Now, admittedly, this was a Christmas day sermon. I'm sure that you weren't in attendance.

After all, you had the Iowa caucuses to run for the following week.

Too, Rev. Wright is his own man and speaks his own mind and doesn't speak for you, I'm sure.

Senator, when I was a kid growing up, I attended an Evnaglical church, until a fateful day: I remember it clearly.

It was during catechism classes. The pastor was discussing Revelations, and leaned into us, and whispered, "You do know who the Anti-Christ is, don't you? It's the Pope."

Which is in keeping with conservative Evangelical Protestant thought, but it also drove me away once I was confirmed. I could not tolerate that kind of hate-mongering from a man of the cloth.

When I think back on the hundreds of sermons and discussions and pastorings I had been party to in that church (my parents were both high lay officials), I see the seeds of that hate sewn all around, like birdseed dropped for the flock to peck at.

I find it hard to believe that, in 20 years, you had no other clue that this hatred of white people existed in your congregation. Of white women, in particular, and in particular, this white woman.

To say that Hillary has never heard the word "nigger" is ludicrous. Yoko Ono said it best: "Woman is the nigger of the world."

6) In case you need a refresher:

We make her paint her
face and dance
If she won't be slave, we
say that she don't love us
If she's real, we say she's
trying to be a man
While putting her down we
pretend that she is above us

Senator, you could have, should have, repudiated these kinds of hateful remarks a long time ago. I can't imagine why you haven't.

7) Everything you said in your speech about race in America can just as easily be said about gender. Period. If you were truly interested in uniting, you'd recognize the struggles that women, white and black, have had to overcome in this country. Is it any wonder that women, especially white women of a certain age and understanding and wisdom, haven't heeded your call?

8) At least the black experience finds its voice in the pews and pulpits of church on Sunday morning. Women do not have that option, generally, because most churches still have this quaint notion that women in church should cook and clean, tend to the hearth but not the heart.

9) Dammit, Senator, how could you be so blind and so deaf? How could you be so blind and so deaf to the plight of women who are black? You speak to half their problem only. That's like curing half a cancer or mending half a limb!

10) You speak lovingly and liltingly and sweepingly about things you know, and that's fine. That's great.

But presidents have to fathom that which they are NOT experienced at, and for someone who's running a race based pretty much solely on not being experienced, of still having that "new pol" smell, you ought to have realized that long before you filed for this goddamned race in the first place! If anything, with this speech, you reveal the precise reasons why Hillary should be the nominee.

At least SHE feels YOUR pain!

(Cross-posted to
Simply Left Behind.)

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  • Wright didn't say Hillary had never heard the N word, just that she'd never been called the N word. The speech today was remarkable. I can't remember any politician who has inspired me the way Obama has. Hillary can't inspire anything because every move she makes and has made for her public life has been one of calculation. Since, you've drunk the Clinton Kool-Aid so completely, isn't about time that you start beating the drum for McCain since Hillary would prefer his victory to Obama's so she can run again in 2012 and doesn't have to wait until 2016, when she'll be pushing 70. The Clintons could care less about the Democratic Party or the U.S. Their sympathies only extend as far as their own power.

    By Blogger Edward Copeland, at 7:13 PM  

  • Carl, I don't mean to be disrespectful. I enjoy reading your non-Obama topics, but everytime you touch this one, it sounds angry and irrational. Worse, the total aggregate of your anti-Obama literature has overtones of OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder). Get a grip before this unhinges you, or change the subject.

    By Blogger Swampcracker, at 9:59 PM  

  • What they said.

    By Blogger creature, at 10:36 PM  

  • Fabulous post! I am thrilled to see that while everyone still rushes to get behind the 'uniter' on this blog, this post addresses what wasn't said: Gender exclusion. Even the forward-thinking liberals on this blog haven't moved past sexism, so that isn't much forward thought there, is there? After all, enlightenment doesn't come in just one flavor. Liberation is supposed to apply to ALL equally. I am glad to see someone address gender issues. Everyone wonders why Hillary is carrying women - this is why. She's the only one treating us as women, not persons slightly different who need to otherwise just follow the will of men.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:49 AM  

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