Well, Obama gave his big speech today to try to make the Wright problem go away. I have not heard it since I was kind of busy today. I have only skimmed the text at this point and read a couple of takes on it from bloggers I respect. McQ at QandO has some serious issues with the speech:
Essentially this will satisfy those who are pro-Obama and not satisfy those who are not for Obama (that would include me, but for reasons ideological, not race.). My question is, how will the big middle, the great undecided, see it?
So, to the speech. I was immediately turned off by this:
I have already condemned, in unequivocal terms, the statements of Reverend Wright that have caused such controversy. For some, nagging questions remain. Did I know him to be an occasionally fierce critic of American domestic and foreign policy? Of course. Did I ever hear him make remarks that could be considered controversial while I sat in church? Yes. Did I strongly disagree with many of his political views? Absolutely – just as I’m sure many of you have heard remarks from your pastors, priests, or rabbis with which you strongly disagreed.
Of course the highlighted sentence directly contradicts his statement made in his Huff Po post just a few days ago:
The statements that Rev. Wright made that are the cause of this controversy were not statements I personally heard him preach while I sat in the pews of Trinity or heard him utter in private conversation.
One of those is a lie. I rarely use that word, and, in fact, have a real problem with those who misuse it routinely. When I use it I mean saying something you know to be untrue. So Obama either never heard him say controversial things about domestic and foreign policy while he sat in church or he did. Two days ago the answer was he hadn't. Today he has? I can only believe the reason the answers are different is he is aware of some proof that will expose his first statement as untrue.
Paul at Powerline points out what he calls the big evasion of the speech:
But here's the problem. If Reverend Wright was so profoundly mistaken about this key issue — the "genius," of America and its capacity to change — why did Obama embrace Wright's church? Why did Wright become his spiritual adviser and "uncle" figure? Why was it Wright who was able to lead Obama to Christ? Why not some other religious figure who understood the full vision Obama is now presenting — America as "bound to a tragic past," but having already changed profoundly for the better and capable of furher positive change? Why not someone in the mold of Martin Luther King, who even prior to America's profound change for the better understood the country's greatness and capacity for redemption?
I'll point out one of Obama's sweeping generalities that is completely, flat wrong:
Reverend Wright and other African-Americans of his generation. . .came of age in the late fifties and early sixties, a time when segregation was still the law of the land and opportunity was systematically constricted….
I grew up in Rochester, New York and I can assure you, in no uncertain terms, that all of my schools from kindergarten through high school were fully integrated. I lived in a mixed race neighborhood where many of the black families at that time were somewhat better off than my family was – many of them owned their homes while we were renters.