President Barack Obama’s chief political strategist, David Axelrod, wants America to take the two-decade relationship between Obama, the Reverend Jeremiah Wright, and the Trinity United Church of Christ (TUCC) on Chicago’s south side off the electoral issues table in the 2012 presidential election campaign.
Axelrod said as much in a speech delivered on January 10 as part of the Distinguished Speaker Series of Southern California. There is apparently no evidence that he expressed a similar desire relative to Mitt Romney’s Mormonism, Newt Gingrich’s and Rick Santorum’s Catholicism, or Rick Perry’s evangelical Christianity. What a surprise.
You might think that Axelrod’s argument would be that Obama attempted to personally distance himself from Wright’s black liberation theology-based radicalism and fundamental hostility to his country in late March of 2008, and that he quit TUCC two months later.
Nope. Axelrod made it clear that he is pushing for a full historical “re-Wright” of a critical aspect of Barack Obama’s life when he told his California audience that the negativity surrounding Wright, who when last tracked was targeting a luxurious retirement in the 98% non-African-American Chicago suburb of Tinley Park, is the result of a ginormous media-driven misunderstanding. Axelrod’s axiom is that initial reports about Wright selectively used “ninety seconds of vitriol plucked from thirty years of sermons by some enterprising opposition researcher.”
Axelrod’s implication, of course, is that 90 seconds of “vitriol,” a word which as defined carries an implicit assumption of underlying truth (better words and terms describing the substance of Wright’s rants would include slander, defamation, overt racism, hatred, and lies), is all that could be found. His 90-second limitation quickly leads to what has been and what the left wants to remain as the mother of all 2008 presidential campaign fictions, namely that Obama did not know that Wright was a racist America-hater.
One can almost prove the contention wrong based on other video evidence alone. The March 13, 2008 report broadcast by Brian Ross at ABC (now at YouTube; the incomplete text summary at ABC’s web site, which once had the video, no longer does) stated that it had “reviewed more than a dozen sermons offered for sale by the Church,” and clearly could have provided far more material in its report if more time had been available. In an interview with Fox News’ Major Garrett the very next day, Obama characterized himself as a “regular in spurts” TUCC churchgoer. Thanks to Wright’s abundant variety of Africa-inspired vestments, we know that his most controversial comments occurred in at least a half-dozen separate sermons. The likelihood that frequent attendee Obama didn’t hear any of them, or about any of them, is quite remote.
Then there’s the video shown here, where at the 3:10 mark, Wright tells his congregation:
… one of our members just might … turn the tables on white supremacy and have a black woman sleeping legally at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
We’re supposed to believe that neither Barack nor wife Michelle (assuming they weren’t actually there) could possibly have heard a word about Wright’s perception of their presidential mission.
Beyond that, of course, there are the church bulletins the Obamas would have received at virtually every service they attended during his twenty years of involvement and at least the first sixteen years of her marriage to Barack. The bulletins’ editorials by Wright and others within the church frequently denounced America as a country founded and still based on inhumanity to blacks, as a nation controlled by rich white people, and as the number one killer in the world. Guest commentators in the bulletins’ pages included a Hamas terrorist and several black liberation-spouting clerics.
A TUCC spokesperson who claimed to be in a position to know told me in 2008 that bulletins were distributed each week to attendees before services. So Barack Obama had them, but somehow we’re supposed to believe his claim that he never read them. In March 2007, Ryan Lizza, attending a TUCC service while writing for the New Republic, observed how Obama “watches the preacher carefully and writes notes.” Since he almost certainly received a bulletin upon arrival, and since the bulletins always contained at least one blank but lined page for taking notes, the odds that Obama was taking those notes in a bulletin he supposedly never read are quite high. Lizza never responded to several messages I left in 2008 asking him if he saw where Obama was recording his notes. I think I know why.
Finally, there was Wright’s now-defunct Trumpet Newsmagazine, the place for longer diatribes and features on assorted peacemakers like Louis Farrakhan, Al Sharpton, and White House-visiting misogynist rapper “Common.” Obama was featured on its cover at least three times, but wants us to believe that had no idea of its other contents.
Getting to the details is a column for another time, but the fact is that despite his departure from TUCC, Barack Obama took much of Jeremiah Wright’s mindset into the Oval Office, where it has contributed in both overt and subtle ways to the horrible havoc his administration has wrought.
Sorry David Axelrod. There is no way you should get your way on this one — and hopefully you won’t.