Work and Days

Our New Nixon

A “scholar”

One of the defenses of the Rev. Wright advanced by Sen. Obama was that his (suddenly “former”) pastor is a biblical “scholar”. But one surely doesn’t sense anything scholarly about the firebrand Wright from his public lectures. He uses the notorious “N-word”. He enjoys profanity. “Ain’t” is common parlance. And in the tape when he screams about Bill Clinton “ridin’ dirty” with Monica, Wright then seems to illustrate that by shuddering with his body and right arm in a crude effort to simulate sexual intercourse from the pulpit.

He calls Justice Thomas “Clarence Colon”: and Sec. Rice as “Condamnesia.” Add that to his “God Damn America”, his attacks on “the KKK of America”, and his crackpot notions about AIDs, the idea that cabbies (a vast majority of them of color) who pass by black males reflect white racism, etc. and Wright appears about as unscholarly as one can get.

Untruth upon untruth—our new Nixon?

Almost everything Barack Obama has said about his relationship with Wright is untrue. He is hardly ‘not particularly controversial’. No one needs to “cherry-pick” his sermons to find in them hatred; in some speeches that venom is the entire theme. Obama mentions Wright’s AIDs work—never that Wright blamed America for the AIDs epidemic. Obama mentions Wright’s positive work on apartheid, not that Wright claimed the U.S. put Mandela in jail. And on and on

Obama knew of his extremisms as evidenced by past interviews in which he mentioned Wright’s flair (cf. especially his encomium on 6/5/07), by his church attendance for more than twenty years, by his mention in his memoirs of Wright’s take on Hiroshima and other controversies, and by his admission he took Wright’s tapes to Harvard for inspiration.

So here we have it: a candidate who professes racial transcendence is comfortable with a racist; a candidate who preaches a new candor and transparency reflects the worst of the old Chicago politics of dissimulation, and a candidate, after Ohio, in need of displaying moderation to woo white male voters from Hillary, has almost ensured that he will lose them by his very inability to distance himself from someone who by his own testimony despised just that constituency.

I think Hillary will make the argument to the super-delegates that Obama will lose the election in the fall, that the super delegates should concentrate on the importance and size of her states versus his, and that aggregate popular votes should trump delegate counts, many of them acquired through caucuses rather than through plebiscites. Obama’s current disaster will give Clinton greater margins in the remaining primaries and allow her to gain the greater aggregate popular vote and to use that as well as an argument in the brokering to come. She may succeed but it won’t be pretty and will alienate millions. But then he already has as well.

The Healer

Since the Senator has taken up the role of the healer (I mean that without sarcasm), he should hold a brief press conference on race and apprise us of the rules. He states he would fire anyone who like Imus made derogatory racial remarks (e.g., ‘ho’s’), but how would that apply to himself and his continual membership in a church whose signature is racial hatred of whites, the United States, and conservative blacks? So just a few words about the rules of what gets one censured and ostracized, and what does not.

All in all—a mess.

Lost in all this is that the racial healer Obama has probably done more to set back racial politics than almost any recent public figure in memory. His Rev. Wright is worse than Farrakhan whom the reverend praises.

Had a Colin Powell or Condoleezza Rice run for President, the black vote would have split 50/50, there would have been no such extremists in the closet to worry about, and race would have been irrelevant. But Obama, who talked about making race as unimportant from the very beginning, through his ties with this racist church, with his pandering to Wright, with his wife’s outbursts, and by his own words in his memoirs, has made racial identity the center of his political existence. The final irony? A Powell or Rice no doubt experienced racial prejudice far more than did the younger, bi-racial Obama who did not grow up as an African-American on the mainland.

Chickens Coming Home to Roost…

…are not, as Wright professes, what we deserved on 9/11, but they reflect the presently composed Democratic party. It is completely captive to identity politics, and defines its leftwing African-American candidates not as post-racial, but as a constituency deserving a particular percent of the political spoils, whose rhetoric and extremisms are given broad exemption.

And this is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg—gay marriage for the gay community, open borders for the Hispanic community, Iraqi pull-out for the Moveon.orgers, all without the realization that most gays can get along fine with civil unions and without marriage comparable to straights, that most Mexican-Americans don’t want open borders, and those opposed to the war don’t want necessarily a surrender.

No Sense of Self

I see the Wright fury and the tepid response to it by Obama, and the even worse distortions and special pleading by the elite media as symptomatic of a larger problem. We have millions in this postindustrial, postmodern society who have no sense of identity, what they are for, what they are against. They have no code, but instead simply adapt to the perceived consensus. Thus when an Elmer Gantry-like figure such as Obama comes on to their television screens, they have no barometer of values to spot such a transparency.

Remember, this was someone who went to prep school as Barry in Honolulu, then to elite Occidental, then Columbia, then Harvard, who was raised by his white grandparents, married a Princeton graduate and fellow Harvard law school graduate, was a beneficiary of numerous grants and loans, filed an income tax return of over $1 million dollars, got a sweetheart deal on house and grounds, was largely outside the African-American experience—and yet parlayed that all into a sense of victimhood, whether evidenced by the pique at having to pay back Ivy-League loans, or frequenting a rabid race-baiting and hate-mongering preacher, or putting his wife on the stump who expresses no pride in the U.S.

All the old rules of moderation and humility never applied to this couple. Michelle bragged openly that we had only once chance at redemption, and that was to vote for her brilliant husband (e.g., “Barack is one of the smartest people you will ever encounter who will deign to enter this messy thing called politics”). His speeches were more like sermons on his utopian morality and what he could for the lesser others (“You will experience an epiphany. And you will say to yourself, I have to vote for Barack. I have to do it.”). Their narrative of America was one of a failed, “mean” society—despite their own stunning success. Both showed arrogance and ingratitude—and so are meeting nemesis as every would-be mortal who thinks himself a god does.

What Happened?

Obama is superbly educated, bright, very well-spoken, and politically astute. So what happened? He did not grow up or frequent the proverbial “middle America”, a much different place than the Ivy League or south Chicago. Had he, then the first time he or she started in with that nonsense someone would have set them straight. But being indoctrinated in the abstract by Harvard law professors and in the concrete by Rev. Wright warped his sense of what America is and is about. All America wanted was for Sen. Obama to condemn Wright with the same passion as he rightly did, say, a Don Imus or the Clintonian race-baiting, to hold Wright to the same standard of censure as he does any other abject bigot. And when he failed that test repeatedly, he lost America—and I don’t think he is ever going to get it back.

When he starts in the messianic speeches about healing, and going beyond race, and a new political kindness and honesty, millions will hear in the background only the coarse shouting of a hate-filled Wright “God Damn America!” and the softer falsetto-spoken whispers and excuses of “scholar” and “my pastor” and my “uncle.”


The economy, Wall Street, mortgages, the war, Tibet, the dollar, oil, and gold go unremarked upon. God help us all.