The Big Speech

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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.

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8 Responses to The Big Speech

  1. MikeO says:

    I’ve read the speech twice.  The second time through, I left aside all that I know of the events that necessitated this speech.  The speech is a laundry list of why everyone other than the greedy rich is entitled to feel like a victim within an identity group.  The prescription Obama has for the enumerated ills (offshored jobs, no health insurance, crumbling schools, etc.) is for us to unite in victimhood and pull the lever for Obama so that he can provide justice for our grievances against our greedy rich oppressors.

  2. Pingback: Nightly Ramble: Obama’s desperation | BitsBlog

  3. Maggie says:

    Powerline says Obama’s white grandmother, whom he threw under the bus in his speech today, was there with him …

  4. Bithead says:

    I’d forgotten that about you. Giaus.I’m a few miles west of there, myself.

  5. Neo says:

    Come on now .. Barack Obama has expanded our universe.By his example, there is now the “<em>Obama-Wright escape</em>” clause for those embarrassing situations where you can now say .. “<strong>I can no more likely renounce him/her than Obama could renounce Rev. Wright.</strong>”Wow. Doesn’t that make the world a better place ?Or .. <strong>I would like to invoke my “Obama-Wright escape” clause rights.</strong>Ranks right up there with the 5th amendment and has the Constitutional feel.Example: <strong>Robert Byrd could no more likely renounce his involvement with the KKK than Obama could renounce Rev. Wright.</strong>Yeah. That feels right, doesn’t it ?Perhaps we should all automatically consider this repsonse the next time we consider demanding a repudiation of someone.

  6. martian says:

    The simple fact of the matter is that Obama has shown himself to be an outright liar – as much so as Bill Clinton and his "I did not have sex with that woman!"
    As for Gaius’ statement, having grown up in the same neighborhood and attended the same schools I can testify as to its truth. As a matter of fact when the race riots hit in the mid-sixties I had a very hard time as a child understanding what all the fuss was about because I just didn’t see the existence of the problem. In our neighborhood blacks and whites lived next door to each other, attended schools together, sat next to each other on the buses, ate in the same restaurants and worked at the same companies. My father was one of the biggest bigots I have ever known but he was an equal opportunity bigot – he hated everyone who was not of German Christian  ancestory so his not liking blacks didn’t make that big an impression.

  7. PBurns says:

    Great  web posts as always.  Two small bits:

    Obama did not hear Wright give the sermons that are the objects of contention.  He has heard him say things with which he disagreed.  The difference is clear, I think.|
    American schools in the South were not intergrated as late as 1970.  I know — I live in Virginia.  I have to say that it’s always been a bit amusing for me to hear New Yorkers think they know America, especially as it relates to race issues.  Here’s a way to think about it:  When Barack Obama was born, his mother and father could not have been legally married (or live together) in half the states of this country.  In my home state of Virginia, they took this issue to the Supreme Court, which decided it in 1968 (Loving v Virginia).
    Getting better churched would not hurt anyone in this country.  If people knew more, they would recognize that Jeremiah Wright was giving a very old and very normal kind of sermon, which is called a jeremiad — a term derived from the prophet Jeremiah and a reference to the book of the same name to be found in the Bible.  Our country was founded on a Puritan church in which jeremiads were heard every Sunday.  See >> for a fuller explanation.


  8. martian says:

    PBurns, you are missing a few points about Obama. When his parents were together, the family lived in Hawaii – one of the least segregated places in the US. When he moved to the mainland he lived in northern states and in middle class neighborhoods.  He never lived in the south and never experienced southern style segregation. But you go right ahead and keep apologizing for him. To those for whom he is the new messiah, he is perfect and can do no wrong.

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