Are Obama’s Chickens Coming Home to Say They Have Nothing to Apologize For?

Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr., pastor of Chicago’s Trinity United Church of Christ and former pastor of Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., addresses a breakfast gathering at the National Press Club in Washington, Monday, April 28, 2008.
(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

I checked out Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s Hallelujah strut in Amen Corner of the NAACP convention. He’s been making the rounds after an interview with Bill Moyers followed by at a press conference today and another speech to the press club today. And as fascinating as I found the guy, I didn’t think he helped his ace Barack Obama at all. Mostly because Wright, who’s not running for president, was himself in full, unrepentant, proud, defiant, resilient, brilliant and glib, charging that his critics were misguided, miseducated and misinformed.

He was practically basking in the glow of making the white folk uncomfortable.

As I was born a black person, nothing Wright has said is new to me. He doesn’t sound any different from the Dr. Jawanza Kunjufu books I read as a child, given to me by my mother. It didn’t sound any different from the Malcolm X speeches I studied. And not any different from the speeches of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. if you weren’t solo worshiping the end of the “I Have A Dream” speech.

I’ve been inoculated from such blushing surprise. A black man? Complaining about America? I think I got the vapors! But for individuals who never take a stroll in black America, Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s “Fuck You” Tour is not going to set well with those looking for apologies and pleasant, grinning pretensions.

Now I don’t think Wright ever had anything to apologize for. It was his opinion. He is not a public figure. And most people outside of Chicago wouldn’t even know he existed if he had not been the pastor who Baptized the Great Hope Mongerer and his daughters. But this “anti-charm” offensive (or regular charm offensive if you are a like-minded black person), only stoked the fires that Wright was always this colorful in his preaching and Obama’s claim that he’d never heard Wright’s more incendiary words is false.

I always thought that was a major flub when Obama claimed he never heard Wright speak this way (which evolved some when he gave his “race” speech). I don’t even think Bill Clinton could have squared that circle and he professionally lies to people on a daily basis. Of course Clinton, covered in the friendly pall of whiteness could have Rev. Wright’s love child and still get a pass. Obama is daily being taunted by the press and the opposition to throw black America, and all its complexities and inconveniences, under the bus.

Soon he’ll be apologizing for everything from Body Count’s/Ice T’s “Cop Killa” record to Barry Bonds to Nat Turner’s Rebellion. Forced to deny all of us in his bid for the White House, the same community he worked so hard to become a part of.

This is your cross to bear when you run as the post-racial candidate. Especially when no one else is post-racial. Sounds like everyone else is just old fashioned racial, arguing for Obama to pull a King Solomon and split the half-black baby.

So how should Obama handle the fall out of Wright’s “I’m Grown and I Say What the Hell I Want To Say” victory lap? And how many denials does Obama have to do here before he heads into “Peter” territory? When do you cross the post-racial Rubicon, where you can’t go back to tidy up all these fuzzy edges and clear the nuanced gray haze that no one likes in a black or white world?

23 thoughts on “Are Obama’s Chickens Coming Home to Say They Have Nothing to Apologize For?

  1. Hey Snob,you’ve got me addicted to your blog :)I agree with you. Rev. Wright getting all this press time in the media is not going to help Obama at all. I watched his interview with Bill Moyers and learned more about the church and Rev. Wright himself. He’s quite an accomplished person and I was very impressed with the church’s many outreach programs and also the sermons, but I really really really wish he’d stay low until November, coz Faux News and the other MSM are going to resurrect and keep the controversy alive.I hope the Obama camp will have little talk with him very soon. Part of the interview I didn’t like was when Rev. Wright said “…I do what I do. He does what politicians do. So that what happened inPhiladelphia where he had to respond to the sound bytes, he responded as a politician…” I did not like that at all!! I felt like it was a veiled insult to Obama. It really bothered me, when he said that…..what do you make of it?

  2. mimi: I think Rev. Wright is like my 80-year-old granny.He just doesn’t give a crap anymore.So, yeah, I thought he didn’t do Obama many favors with that comment about him “doing what politicians do.” Wright was basically saying Obama’s race speech was more political than personal. And that might be true, but it was definitely off-message.Of course, one could argue Wright was never on message.

  3. Hey Snob…If Rev. Wright is like your 80 yr old granny…we need more elders…After watching the Bill Moyers Journal…I was ready to quit my job, move to Chicago and join his church…and I’m not a christian…I took no offense to the politician statement…because it’s true…We will never be able to grow as a country until white folks lost their psychosis of superior…stop teaching the Columbus lie…and learn that alot of black folks are still pissed, etc…I hope the Rev. Wright comments put us on the path to reconciliation…

  4. It really tells us what type of country we live in when telling the truth is harmful. The Rev. sounds like my ex-militant father. I am really surprised Obama did not put a muzzle on him earlier but you cannot keep some Black men in their place. Great Blog SnobPat-

  5. I’m not religious, but I was certainly getting some “amens” in during the speech. Part of me agrees with you that Obama totally flubbed up how he handled Rev. Wright and the “incendiary” comments. (i swear, if i hear that term one more time…) I think the “disowning” part was whack, but I totally understand why he felt like he had to do it–he absolutely had to play the game that has gotten him this far. On the other hand, I totally understand where Rev. Wright would feel like they totally dragged his character through the mud and would want to try to clear his name. I don’t know if I’d have done it any differently myself if it were me. Getting death threats and having to live under the radar up to now–I wouldn’t have liked that myself. Like you said, he isn’t saying ANYTHING new to so many of us; BUT, I think he could have definitely waited. If he supports Obama the way he claims, he definitely could have waited–if he couldn’t wait until after the election was over altogether, he certainly could have waited until these last primaries were wrapped up. And, I am SO sick of Obama and the denials, as you mentioned. If “they “expect that from him, what the hell do they expect from the rest of us? (without so much as a hint of introspection and consideration of history…)no time to proof–sorry! ;-?

  6. tamra: I just know that this does not help Obama (I was over on DailyKos today trying to discuss it but sometimes … gah, those people. If it isn’t a ‘why Bush sux’ post they don’t understand.)I get the feeling Wright just doesn’t give a doodle. He wanted to defend himself and his church and the reputation he’d worked a lifetime to cultivate. He dumped the pleasantries and that may be because Wright and Obama’s relationship had to change after Obama began his run. Obama had to distance himself from him, relegating him as an “old uncle.” So, I don’t know what Wright was thinking, but his ego and reputation and family and religion is tied up in it, so he’s obviously a little aggressive about it all.

  7. Snob,I was waiting for your take on this weekend’s controversy of jeremiah wright. I woke up this morning and I was the only one on my blogroll that had published something!Granted Wright is truly feeding his own ego and this is clearly an arrogant man (although is this confidence interpreted as arrogance by MSM), I think the fact that Wright has really done more to speak on issues germane to the 92% of the black electorate that voted for Obama so far, does separate him Obama. I think this time, this is truly a connection that is being fuel fed by the media. Clearly Wright doesn’t care if he helps or hinders Obama. And for those that are saying this is subterfuge for Obama, they too, didn’t listen to his NAACP speech close as he said that “A Change is gonna come” and that “we can do it” and went on to a litany of including the different faiths that make up the black community, and he said “if I endorsed a particular candidate I’d say ‘Yes We Can.'” Aside from that, his mention of Arabic being a language and poking fun at Fox Radio’s Bill Cunningham (who was none too pleased on his show last night whining as to why Wright could get away with saying that and he couldn’t) there are volumes of information that the press could have used, but decided not to.Hurt or hinder, I’ve already conceded voting for HRC in the fall, I’ll still survive, Obama’ll be rich and a U.S. Senator still, and could get elected in the state of Illinois for the rest of his life if he wanted to. My response to those that say Wright should have waited, I wonder were these the same people who said prior to Obama’s January 5th Iowa win that he should wait.If not now, then when?

  8. One thing that keeps bothering me is that people constantly want to make Pastor Wright into Obama’s spiritual adviser like he sees and talks to him all the time. His church is huge. Yes, Obama is well known and probably somewhat active in the church, that does not mean that his pastor (or former pastor) is anything more than that. That does not mean his pastor is his best friend. There are other things that bother me about this whole issue, but I will decline to go into that right now.

  9. snob,This is off topic and I don’t know if I should bring it up considering the heat it got last week. Harold Ford just married the Emily chic over the weekend.

  10. But Snob, do you think it’s Wright’s job to help Obama? He’s a pastor. He’s still gon’ be a pastor when McCain takes office! (kidding, sorta.)I respect the heck out of the man for his Magical Media Tour (that’s what I’m calling it, lol) because he’s doing what he feels called upon to do. And he’s right, a lot of this is an attack on the black church.

  11. 1990: Thanks 1990. Also feel free to just email me if you have a tip. There’s a link of the left to my address and I check it several times a day (because I monitor the comments through it).blacksnob (at) gmail (dot) com

  12. shani-o: I don’t think it’s Wright’s job and, as you can tell from my post, I enjoy Wright’s brand of telling you the truth whether you like it or not, but it still isn’t good for the Obama campaign who want this whole issue to die. And it does not help that Wright is being himself, meaning passionate, loud and unrepentant, almost mocking (hell, he WAS mocking of his opponents). While this wins me over, it will not win over the body politic who the Clintons, Republicans and the press are trying to manipulate.So, aside from that, AMEN BROTHER! But I’m sure the Obama campaign did not like this AT ALL.But they can’t do anything about it because Wright is only beholding to his God and his church. That’s why black ministers were ideal activists. They were the only members of the black community during segregation who’s income was provided for by other black people. They didn’t have to worry about “losing their jobs” and their voices represented the voices of the people. Not the Obama Campaign so … Good luck dancing around this one, Barack!

  13. Black Snob I saw your post at DailyKos.The reason they don’t understand is because most of the folks there are white.And like 99.44% of white people they have never taken a second out of their lives to consider the shit they put others through and the natural reaction that will come of that.The Iraq insurgency anyone?Anyway, “Liberal” or not they’re all operating with the same idea of privilege and when you are dealing with that you can’t hope for an honest or sane discussion.

  14. baltogeek: Yeah. DailyKos folks can be beyond insane. When I cross posted my black conservative series people would tell me to take it to Red State and I wanted to say, “MFer! Could you be bothered to READ things before you damn them?”It’s like I’m typing in some special coded language that only Negroes can understand.But I stayed at Kos because there were enough black people and white people who were like “I like your stuff!” where I decided to keep cross-posting things even though I knew most people would take all my jokes seriously and all my serious parts as jokes.Some people at Kos are completely devoid of humor. (The stick is squarely in the ass.) Some took umbrage at my title alone as if “chickens coming home” could never be used in a satirical manner. I mean, how could you NOT see my headline as attention grabbing satire? Really? And the concept of “emotional distance” means nothing to them either. So it does irritate me when alleged Liberals cry “alternative views have no place in Liberal dialog” as if by discussing opposing view points I’m poisoning the well of their lazy thinking. I’m like, yeah. Keep typing McCain sux over and over. We’ll see if that solves anything.

  15. In response to the title – Yes. Papa C agrees with you, that Rev. Wright needs to “sit down and shut up now ‘cuz he ain’t helpin'”. I see it differently.IMHO this “Wright” controversy wasn’t going away. Period. Ever. I know Sen. Obama’s campaign had hoped it would go away and cooler heads would prevail but “da Nile” isn’t just a river in Eygpt. This stuff on Wright has been around since last year on Faux, why do we think it all got amplified across MSM just now? ‘Cuz the magic negro was proving to be just a little tooooo magic if you know what I mean.This stuff is gold – so far its the best thing the right and his political opponents have to consistently beat him around the head with – so they are and they will continue to do so for as long as they can. Will it work? I don’t think so. I don’t think it’s strong enough. I think anyone who basis their political stance on what the candidate’s pastor said was NEVER voting for the negro in the first dang place. I think right thinking people will question whether what Sen Obama’s now retired pastor said, out of context, is as important as his stance on universal healthcare, the improvement of our education system and whether he supports withdrawal from Iraq. The only question is whether there are enough of us right-thinking people paying attention, and getting out the vote?So Sen Obama waits and waits for it to go away and it doesn’t. He gives a historic speech on race and refuses to disown Rev. Wright, and still it persists, because the MSM and other politicos WILL NOT let this story die down. So at this point I think it is time to try something different, something other than laying low and trying to ignore it. Let us not forget that Rev. Wright is a private citizen, not running for office and on the eve of his career (he is now officially retired) has seen the entire 41 years of good works parsed down to two 15 – 30 second sound bites that have been used to slander him as anti-american and racist before God ‘n’ everybody, 24/7. 41 years of good works and this is what he will be remembered for by the majority of Americans. That has got to be heartbreaking for anyone let alone this proud and confident man. Doesn’t the man deserve a chance to fight back? To “clear” his good name, to at least, be allowed to define and defend himself?So as he makes his tour, his various opponents are parsing through every thing the man says and coming up with all kinds of out-of-context “gotchas”, straw men arguments and attacks based on misconstruing his words. And why does this man have opponents anyway – he isn’t running for office – what are they opponents of exactly? God? Christianity? The right of Black people to celebrate and worship as we choose? Why is the whole of Faux news gang-piling on this man?The seasons have changed. It’s no longer silly – it’s now well into absurd.

  16. SnobOnly you could make me laugh at a time like this.I was all for Wright defending against the perception of his sermons being hate speech, against statements regarding his patriotism and anything to do with him personally. To that end, the Moyers interview was enough.The implication that the attacks on him were against the black church completely nullified any real path he might have carved with the Moyers interview.The attack on him was an attack on Obama – period.

  17. I saw and was ok with “the speech” (most of it); but then I saw the other “performance.”Way over the top.Not good. You’re right–that didn’t help at all.

  18. I forgot to add that, for some strange reason, the word “conspiracy” keeps running through my head (I already think the Clintons paid off Stephenopoulos and Gibson to pull a whammy on Obama in that “debate”). This reeks of the same thing to me…

  19. @ Snob and (perhaps more importantly) @ Papa C: Okay Papa – you were right. Rev. Wright DOES need to sit down and shut up now. Once again I have opened up my big mouth (figuratively speaking) and shot it off before I had reviewed all the “evidence”. I hadn’t seen the press club ____ ( I don’t know what to call that hot mess) before I formulated my opinion.You were right Papa (and Snob), he was acting a fool.so okay, I’m just going to sit quietly in a corner here and work on my remedial home training lessons – lesson #1: Listen to your Elders 🙂

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