March 21, 2008

The botched solution to Obama's Rev. Wright Problem

Obama had to know all along that his Rev. Wright was a potential millstone around his neck. Last fall, though, fate handed him a potential solution when Don Imus made a vulgar off-hand comment on the radio about black lady basketball players. This set off one of our routine national moral panics over race where the usual suspects rushed to call for the white guy's head.

My vague recollection is that Obama was a little slow off the mark to demand Imus's firing, but with Jesse Jackson taking the lead, Obama, always worried about being black enough, soon fell into line and denounced Imus. And Imus got fired. (But now he's back on the air on a different network, because it was all pretty stupid).

What Obama should have done with the silly Imus brouhaha was to take a stand for Imus in order to pre-emptively laugh off the Wright controversy before it (inevitably) started. Obama should have said, "Imus apologized, so let's give it a rest. Come on, lots of people say something outrageous now and then. Hey, at my church, we'd have to fire our pastor about once a month -- he's alway saying something over the top to get a reaction out of the congregation. Yeah, Rev. Wright's kind of a shock jock of the pulpit. So, let's not get so huffy about every little thing somebody says."

Would this have worked?

Maybe. It certainly would have reframed Rev. Wright as a less serious figure, while letting Obama look even-handed and even-tempered.

But there would have been problems:

- It would have been out of sync with the High Pompousness of the rest of the Obama's campaign.

- Obama was trailing Hillary among blacks at that point, and without a majority of blacks, he had no chance in the primaries, so breaking ranks with Jesse and Co. would have been dangerous.

- Wright might have gone ballistic. Keep in mind that Wright is not necessarily on Obama's side. He just might prefer to go down in history as the Willie Horton of 2008. It's not implausible that he's been passively-aggressively sabotaging Obama for some time -- his November 2007 lifetime achievement award for Farrakhan was clearly a bid for attention at Obama's expense. Who knows what damage Wright could do to Obama if his amour propre was seriously offended? Perhaps he taped a few private conversations with Obama?

So, the Obama-Axelrod calculation that it was best to rely on media political correctness to bulldoze over their Rev. Wright problem may well still be proven correct.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

27 comments:

Anonymous said...

BHO could even have added a little constitutional lipstick to the pig by throwing in some 1st Amendment rhetoric around ("... but I'll defend t o the death blah, blah, blah ...")

You're right 'bout Wright's Pass/Ag tendencies -- being Hortonized will suit him better than a BHO presidency.

Johnson said...

Charles Krauthammer isn't convinced. There's hope that some people are being reasonable about this. If only Pennsylvania was yesterday...

Mikko Ellilä said...

Somebody contrasted my court case with Obama's racebaiting:

http://politicalbeachgirl.blogspot.com/2008/03/mikko-ellils-freedom-of-speech-vs.html

Sideways said...

I've got to link to http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=220213910901&ssPageName=MERC_VIC_ReBay_Pr4_PcY_BID_Stores_IT&refitem=320225689098&itemcount=4&refwidgetloc=closed_view_item&usedrule1=CategoryProximity&refwidgettype=cross_promot_widget&_trksid=p284.m183&_trkparms=its%3DS%252BI%252BSS
which is Obama miracle toast. Hilarious. One of the question/answers on it:

Q: Do you know what the nutritional content of this miracle toast is?
A: None. Just liberal amounts of filler.

Anonymous said...

Obama, Schmobama. Way too much of this stuff, Steve.

I like you as an analyst of race, demographics, pop culture. But it doesn't matter that much which of the three clown-dancing warfare/welfare freaks is going to "win" in November. Our problems are way too deep-seated for that.

Let's get back to your unique perspective on larger trends, not the irrelevant minutiae of a bankrupt political system.

tommy said...

My vague recollection is that Obama was a little slow off the mark to demand Imus's firing, but with Jesse Jackson taking the lead, Obama, always worried about being black enough, soon fell into line and denounced Imus. And Imus got fired. (But now he's back on the air on a different network, because it was all pretty stupid).

He was, however, the first presidential candidate to jump into the Imus fray if I recall correctly.

Anonymous said...

"I understand MSNBC has suspended Mr. Imus," Obama told ABC News, "but I would also say that there's nobody on my staff who would still be working for me if they made a comment like that about anybody of any ethnic group. And I would hope that NBC ends up having that same attitude."

"He didn't just cross the line," Obama said. "He fed into some of the worst stereotypes that my two young daughters are having to deal with today in America. The notions that as young African-American women -- who I hope will be athletes -- that that somehow makes them less beautiful or less important. It was a degrading comment. It's one that I'm not interested in supporting."

From ABC News.

As a typical white person (to use Obama's quote), I think that Wright did not just cross the line, he fed into some of the worst stereotypes.

And the fact that Obama still considers him a mentor of equal morality with his own white grandmother is just despicable.

Anonymous said...

Is Wright the father that Obama never had?

That would explain some things.

michael farris said...

"Is Wright the father that Obama never had?"

I will be your father figure,
Put your tiny hand in mine.
I will be your preacher, teacher.
Anything you have in mind.
I will be your father figure,
In my church, you're resident,
I will be the one who leads you
till you the president...

(apologies to George Michael)

Garland said...

Here was Obama's position on Imus:

“I understand MSNBC has suspended Mr. Imus,” Obama told ABC News, “but I would also say that there’s nobody on my staff who would still be working for me if they made a comment like that about anybody of any ethnic group. And I would hope that NBC ends up having that same attitude.”

http://www.abcnews.go.com/Politics/story?id=3031317&page=1

As we all know, Wright was officially part of his campaign at the time and continued to be until he got busted.

michael farris said...

last line 'you the' should be 'you're the'

Udolpho said...

Yeah Steve you are publishing way too much stuff on Obama. But even worse, two months later big media repackages it and I have to listen to the same observations a second time.

Clearly you are out of control and only your own obsessiveness with Obama causes you to think his campaign has anything to do with the intersection between race, politics, and media.

Born Again Democrat said...

I think you are obsessing on Obama too much, Steve. As I recall, your first impressions over a year ago were much more favorable. I think they were closer to the mark. It is possible that Obama will turn out to be the best thing that has happened to this country since Lincoln. He certainly seems to have the talent. And he is way past the identity crisis he had in his youth, which is where you seem to be stuck right now. He is a moderate liberal, for Christ sake, something that every moderate conservative ought to be able to accept. You need to get back to the center where you belong.

dollmaker said...

Obama's main problem is that his rise was too fast. Guys like Wright and Rezko are the small fish a politician has to cut deals with on his way up. They're beneath a fuy running for President. But the ant-Hil faction was so strong on the left that they catapulted Obama over her before he had time to ditch them and cover his tracks. What scares me about him is how badly he handles national issues: look at the blowback from his drivers' license comments and his backtrack there; look at how off-balance he is with the pro-Israel groups (see Scott M's pieces in the new amcon mag for this); and listen to how he fumbles questions about race. There's a reason experiences politicians stay away from topics like these, and it's simply because there are too many mines in the field. The bad job he does whenever he strays off the script makes me nervous about how he'll try to implement "change."

Anonymous said...

CNN played more of the Pastor Wright sermon from 5 days after 9-11, which includes the “Chickens coming home to roost” line. The additional audio confirms that the phrase “chickens come home to roost” was copied from Malcolm X, whom Wright quoted to that effect. In fact, Wright even noted that Malcolm X had been suspended for his statement in the wake of JFK’s assassination. Recall that Malcolm X had stated that he was glad that the chickens had come home to roost.

Thus, I think it is perfectly reasonable to infer that we have a statement by Obama’s Pastor and Mentor of 20 years that he (Pastor Wright) was glad that 9-11 had taken place.

Obama claims that he wasn’t present on that date (9-16-01) and that is likely true. However, it is simply unbelievable that Obama wasn’t aware of the ideology, black liberation theology, that informs Pastor Wright’s opinions. This isn’t a case of just a few words or fiery sermons. Obama has followed a man for decades who bases his worldview on an ideology of racial hatred against “whites.”

I think it would have been difficult for Obama to have “distanced” himself from Wright in any event, unless he had done so years before running for President or even the US Senate.

mnuez said...

Steve, you're boring me with your obsession!

Your blog is the one I check most often and is hands-down one of my favorite, but your obsession with Obama to the degree that you're now wasting your time imagining theoretical possibilities from years back (and analyzing them as if the President just declared war on the Soviets) is NUTS!

I love your blog (and you by extension - did you get my Valentine? :-) as well as many of your comment-threads for a whole host of reasons, but by exploring the crevices of Obama's anus day after day after day after DAY you run the risk of boring away many of your smartest fans (myself included of course! :-) and being left with none but the race-obsessed dregs who have no interest (or ability to comprehend) anything else.

Your knowledge of Obama, your scoops regarding him and his campaign (and his family) and your insights are all fantastic, but Stevey, this post takes it all just a wee bit too far. Come back from the light! COME BACK FROM THE LIGHT!!!

Happy Purim everyone!!

{and apropos being left out of Easter wishes so as to spare my feelings... seriously dude. For the record, I have no qualms with Easter bunnies, Christmas trees or large flaming crosses on my lawn. ; - }

mnuez
www.mnuez.blogspot.com

mnuez said...

to clarify for the (potentially) humorless:

I'm not actually equating easter-egg hunts with klan meetings. See, that's how jokes work. They're not actually true. I, in fact, will be pleased to accept wishes for a happy easter or for any other day that one might wish me a happy one. To that effect, allow me here to heartfeltly wish every single one of you a beautiful day.

mnuez

David Davenport said...

Let's get back to your unique perspective on larger trends, not the irrelevant minutiae of a bankrupt political system.

Here ya go:

Proportionally more deleterious genetic variation in
European than in African populations

Kirk E. Lohmueller1,2, Amit R. Indap2, Steffen Schmidt3, Adam R. Boyko1,2, Ryan D. Hernandez2, Melissa J. Hubisz4,
John J. Sninsky5,Thomas J. White5, Shamil R. Sunyaev6, Rasmus Nielsen7, Andrew G. Clark1&Carlos D. Bustamante2

Quantifying the number of deleterious mutations per diploid
human genome is of crucial concern to both evolutionary and medical
geneticists1–3. Here we combine genome-wide polymorphism
data from PCR-based exon resequencing, comparative genomic
data across mammalian species, and protein structure predictions
to estimate the number of functionally consequential singlenucleotide
polymorphisms (SNPs) carried by each of 15 African
American (AA) and 20 European American (EA) individuals. We
find that AAs show significantly higher levels of nucleotide heterozygosity
than do EAs for all categories of functional SNPs considered,
including synonymous, non-synonymous, predicted ‘benign’,
predicted ‘possibly damaging’ and predicted ‘probably damaging’
SNPs. This result is wholly consistent with previous work showing
higher overall levels of nucleotide variation in African populations
than in Europeans4. EA individuals, in contrast, have significantly
more genotypes homozygous for the derived allele at synonymous
and non-synonymous SNPs and for the damaging allele at ‘probably
damaging’ SNPs than AAs do. For SNPs segregating only in
one population or the other, the proportion of non-synonymous
SNPs is significantly higher in the EA sample (55.4%) than in the
AA sample (47.0%; P,2.3310237). We observe a similar proportional
excess of SNPs that are inferred to be ‘probably damaging’
(15.9%in EA; 12.1% in AA;P,3.3310211). Using extensive simulations,
we show that this excess proportion of segregating damaging
alleles in Europeans is probably a consequence of a bottleneck
that Europeans experienced at about the time of the migration out
of Africa.
...

Thus, both the PolyPhen analysis and the forward simulations
suggest that, given the lower levels of genetic diversity found in
Europeans than in Africans, the former have a higher proportion
of deleterious alleles, which can be explained by the ‘out of Africa’
bottleneck and subsequent expansion that outbred European populations
endured. This result is important for two reasons. First,
whereas previous work has highlighted examples of Europeanspecific
positive selection14,18–21, the importance of adaptations for
the evolution of European populations needs to be tempered by our finding that negative selection is less effective at removing slightly deleterious alleles from European populations. Second, the idea that bottlenecks and founder effects could lead to an increase in damaging alleles in human populations was historically reserved for isolated populations that experienced severe founder effects (for example Ashkenazi Jews22 and Finns23). Our work suggests that the interaction of demographic processes and purifying selection can have an important impact on the distribution of deleterious variation, even in populations that did not undergo a severe founder effect. ...


http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v451/n7181/pdf/nature06611.pdf


“… isolated populations that experienced severe founder effects (for example Ashkenazi Jews22 and Finns23) …”

Huh? Isolated populations? Severe founder effects? Wazzat?

Lucius Vorenus said...

Anonymous: Let's get back to your unique perspective on larger trends, not the irrelevant minutiae of a bankrupt political system.

It's not just our "political" system - it's the entire demographic structure of our society.

Circa 2020 [maybe a little earlier, maybe a little later], because of diverging demographic imperatives, our nation will fall apart at the seams:

Senior benefit costs rise 24% since 2000
usatoday.com

The cost of government benefits for seniors soared to a record $27,289 per senior in 2007, according to a USA TODAY analysis...

The Fiscal Cost of Low-Skill Immigrants to the U.S. Taxpayer
heritage.org

...When the costs of direct and means-tested benefits, education, and population-based services are counted, the average low-skill household had a fiscal deficit of $19,588 (expenditures of $30,160 minus $10,573 in taxes)...

Of U.S. Children Under 5, Nearly Half Are Minorities
washingtonpost.com

...Forty-five percent of U.S. children younger than 5 are minorities...

Statistical Abstract of the United States
Section 1, Population
[see especially Table 8 & Table 9, pages 11-13]
census.gov

Statistical Abstract of the United States, Section 1, Population, Table 8
i175.photobucket.com

The question before us now is whether tyrants like Jeremiah Wright [and his followers, like Barack Hussein Obama] will hold the keys to power when the fateful day arrives.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps Obama just wants to move in on Jesse and Al's turf in the shakedown game. He's in a win/win position as long as running for office is the lucrative game that it is. There are lots of bennies to having a steady flow of "campaign funds" and a high political profile whether you ever win or not. Remember, after this is over he will command some pretty good speaker's fees.

I imagine he's a lot more concerned about how he stands with his "constituants" than whether or not he wins the race.

neil craig said...

He could just have quietly, with no fuss, moved to a different church. If Madelein Albright can become episcopalian this would be a much lesser conversion.

In fact, since he has clearly been ambitious, I am astonished he didn't years ago.

Reg Cæsar said...

Keep in mind that Wright is not necessarily on Obama's side.

Nor are the Clintons. Ask Al Gore.

Democrats are united only by a common desire to elect a president Republicans hate. And this they will do.

But it increasingly appears like that president will be John Sidney McCain III.

rightsaidfred said...

>>>>Anonymous: Let's get back to your unique perspective on larger trends, not the irrelevant minutiae of a bankrupt political system.

Keep up what you are doing, Steve. I see this as a battle between the meritocracy and the kleptocracy. The kleptocrats are banking on gaining political power so the village can take our stuff and 'give to each according to their needs...'

Roy said...

Notice how Obama, while "understanding" white resentment, never seems to accept it as being justified.

Obama says whites:
"don't feel that they have been particularly privileged"
"as far as they're concerned, no one's handed them anything"
"hear that an African American is getting an advantage"

He can't bring himself to admit that these things are actually true, only that he "understands" why whites might think these things are true.

Ben Franklin said...

Roy has noted Obama’s standard operating procedure. It is said that he used it to get elected editor in chief of Harvard Law Review, by appealing to “conservatives” there as understanding their point of view.

Well, Obama could well understand the “white” or “conservative” point of view, but he sure doesn’t share it. In fact, he rejects it out of hand.

Obama just uses the “friendly summary” of the opposing point of view to pretend not to be as extreme, radical and partisan as he really is. It makes Obama look more objective than he is, and many people are still falling for it.

braindead said...

Seve, keep up the Obama postings! People don't realise that he is just another corrupt black race hustler from the hood. The damage to the US will be enormous if he is elected, so even if he gets in, at least your hands are clean.

braindead said...

roy sed:
"He can't bring himself to admit that these things are actually true, only that he "understands" why whites might think these things are true."

roy, of course he cannot admit to these statements. It would shatter his whole life. He has been an uber-beneficiary of anti-white discrimination, so why should he end it?