The Dead Hooker in the Trunk

During John Kerry’s rise from has-been to Democratic nominee, I and my friend Aaron developed the “in the Trunk” measure of political invincibility. “Kerry will win the nomination, unless they find a boyscout in his trunk.” Then “Kerry will win the nomination, unless they find a dead boyscout in his trunk.” The last stage, that he will win the nomination unless the media finds a dead hooker in his trunk, occurred on Super Tuesday.

Obama’s wins in the Potomac Primary made him just as inevitable as Kerry was on his Super Tuesday. But then the media opened Obama’s trunk.

The reason I bring this up is that tonight I unsubscribed from a friend (and regular tdaxp commentator’s) Google Reader “shared items” feed. My friend had a penchant for sharing snarky if empty posts, but a particularly absurd one on Rev. Wright made me conclude that reading the feed was too wasteful from a time perspective. The particular shared item argument characterized criticism of Rev Wright as criticism of the idea that America can make mistakes, and that these mistakes can have negative consequences. That Rev Wright is racist (Jesus was killed by the whites!) and anti-American (God damn America!) is either ignored, or else believing that bad actions can have negative consequences is labeled as “anti-American,” and being white is used as a synonym of being racist.

It is interesting to see a campaign in meltdown. It’s interesting to a circle-the-wagons routine in action, especially at a time as interesting for this. I wonder if Woodward felt this horrified wonder when he wrote State of Denial.

It’s not over for Obama by any means. Rev. Wright to Obama may well be what the Potamic Primary is for Clinton — merely a grave wound that will haunt him through the summer.

I wonder if he will be that lucky.

32 thoughts on “The Dead Hooker in the Trunk”

  1. I’m assuming this is aimed at me?

    I shared the Greenwald post [1] because it made the direct comparison between the press’ treatment of Obama’s relationship with Wright (based on shared spirituality) with GOP politicians’ relationships with much more bigoted religious leaders, relationships that exist precisely because of those bigoted political views. McCain’s relationships with Hagee and Parsley are explicitly based on shared political views, or at least political advantage. Obama has repeatedly disavowed Wright’s controversial political views, and yet you and other commentators continue to hammer him over it, even to the point of Kristol lying in the NYTimes about it (or perhaps he was simply mistaken, ho ho ho). I’d like to see a post from you detailing Hagee’s controversial views [2], McCain’s political relationship with him, and why you think it is a non-issue.

    Frankly Wright’s remarks don’t bother me very much. Implicit in the criticism of Obama over his connection with Wright is the idea that a person (or at least a politician) should chose his or her church on the basis of that church’s political beliefs. This is the extent to which I think these things should be an issue:

    Q: Mr. Obama, do you agree with your pastor’s political views?
    Obama: No.
    Q: Then why do you continue to attend his church?
    Obama: Because I belong to the community and because I value his advice on spiritual matters.

    Rather telling I think is that this didn’t blow up into a huge story until the videos of Wright’s preaching came out. I think this story is driven less by the specifics of what Wright said (which of course are much less objectionable than stuff by Falwell, Robertson, etc.) and driven more by videos of an angry black guy preaching about racism in America.

    [1] http://www.salon.com/opinion/greenwald/2008/03/17/wright/index.html

    [2] God caused Katrina because of specific US policy, EU head is anti-Christ, war in Israel is desirable because it leads to the end of the world, etc.

  2. Adrian,

    Thank you for the comment.

    I shared the Greenwald post [1] because it made the direct comparison between the press’ treatment of Obama’s relationship with Wright (based on shared spirituality)… McCain’s relationships with Hagee and Parsley are explicitly based on shared political views, or at least political advantage. Obama has repeatedly disavowed Wright’s controversial political views, and yet you and other commentators continue to hammer him over it

    Talk is cheap. Converting to Christianity, being married, attending service for twenty years, having your kids baptized, and titling your book after someone isn’t.

    Implicit in the criticism of Obama over his connection with Wright is the idea that a person (or at least a politician) should chose his or her church on the basis of that church’s political beliefs.

    Demonstrate this claim.

    Rather telling I think is that this didn’t blow up into a huge story until the videos of Wright’s preaching came out.

    Indeed. Evidence is such an interesting thing. One can say “Obama’s preacher gave a hate-filled, anti-American rant,” but that doesn’t quite cover it, does it?

    I think this story is driven less by the specifics of what Wright said (which of course are much less objectionable than stuff by Falwell, Robertson, etc.) and driven more by videos of an angry black guy preaching about racism in America.

    Neither enjoining against asking for divine praise nor accusing the whites of killing Christ tell me much about racism in America, though they tell me a lot about the racist, anti-American outlook of Trinity UCC.

  3. Put it this way. I don’t know anyone who has been hurt by Rev. Wright’s sermons over the years. I promise you there are thousands of Americans who have felt the wrath of their family members, co-workers, neighbors and others because of hate-filled sermons from Robertson, Falwell and their legions of doppelgangers.

    Consider something like this:

    At the height of the AIDS crisis in the 80’s, when thousands of gay men were suffering and dying in hospitals and hospices, Falwell, Robertson, Hagee (McCain’s buddy) and others were condemning these people to hell and encouraging their flock to do the same. Gays were denied basic compassion like being able to die with their loved one by their side. Worse, many nurses at the time refused to console the gay dying, offering instead contempt and scorn.

    Do I need to list the thousands of books, news articles and personal statements made about such tragic events that unfolded directly from the climate of fear and hatred whipped up by preachers in the 80’s and early 90’s?

    These loathesome hypocrites have a new favorite target these days: Muslims. Many of them are convinced we are in a holy war and rather than counseling Americans of the diversity of the Islamic faith and the true nature of terrorists, they recycle old half-truths and outright lies decrying Muslims as unholy mongrels intent on wiping the US out.

    This to me is a far worse sin than anything Rev. Wright has done or said.

    Will this be damaging to Obama in the long run? I highly doubt it. More damaging will be how he is viewed by Republicans, and that may well poison his chances of making any inroads there. Already Fox News and co. are milking this for all its worth to portray Obama as the double-dealing anti-Christ.

  4. Eddie,

    You broadly discuss two separate issues: introducing a religious test in political discourse and response to gap-based violence.

    Your first contention, which appears to me that those who believe that salvation is not free and universal should be cordoned off from political discourse, is bizarre. It throws religious tolerance on its head, tolerating a mushy version of religious pomp while excluding any religious discoursee that comes with requirements.

    Your second contention, that recognizing a “holy war” is “a far worse sin” than “counseling Americans of the diversity of the Islamic faith,” is strange. Clearly we find ourselves in Holy Wars. Clearly, Islam contains diversity. A better question is what are the major central tendencies of Islam, and how can Islamic populations be processed in a way that limits our pain. The correct answer is a problem of strategy and wisdom, rather than virtue and sin.

  5. The problem is when you encourage from your position of responsibility the concept of a holy war between Islam & Christianity. That’s totally irresponsible both as a citizen of this country and in our national security interests, as the more polluted Americans view and understanding of Islam is, the more likely demagogues can seize on that ignorance to pursue policies dangerous to this nation’s interests.

    There is absolutely no defense of that and as I explored more than 14 churches in my area over the past 3 months, I have heard a version of this sermon more times than I can bear. And it worries the hell out of me.

    Besides, Obama’s speech this morning where he skillfully threaded the needle on the issue by making it a generational one and a multi-racial matter was interesting to say the least. Like his answers on Rezko, they may not be true, but they’re plausible enough for most Americans. He’ll never win the Fox News crowd or the Hot Air audience.

  6. I just watched Obama’s big speech. Overall, like most of Obama’s speeches, it was pretty good. The thing that stood out to me, as a European American, was that he “felt” the frustration that we feel with issues like Affirmative Action, quota’s, and the dangerous situations our children are placed in through busing.

    In the speech he suggested that we not be angry with blacks for AA but instead, be angry with the oppressive corporate system. In some ways I agree. I’ve been saying for a long time that whites should not be mad at minorities for these polices, as they really don’t implement them. Instead, we need to direct our frustration at the white politicians who do implement them.

    Now of course, Obama didn’t mean it this way. Instead, he’s trying to stir up class divisions and anti-corporatism for a smokescrean to protect the liberal policies that him and his white liberal colleagues have been using for the last 40 years. He played on the ignorance of the population by suggesting we should be mad at the corporations for outsourcing jobs, when we should be mad a system that wastes money on “underperforming kids” that should be used for more math and science education.

    Then he asked that the white community “invest” in inner city schools, fight for “justice” in a criminal justice system-that locks up black people-and plead further that whites give up their own interests for the interests of minorities. He kept talking about “people who don’t look like us” like that sums up the extent of the white community’s thoughts when it comes to race. He then went on about how “segregated schools are inferior.” Overall, nothing too new. How can Obama complain about whites not investing in black schools when the DC school system is the highest funded system in the country and the result has been failure? How can Obama complain about a criminal justice system that charges whites for 70% of hate-crimes when whites are the victims of interracial crime 85% of the time? By spreading these myths of a racist criminal justice system or underfunded schools, Obama causes more black hate that results in more violence against whites.

    What also bothered me was his excuses for “black anger” towards the white community. I’m a strong believer that these type of excuses are responsible for the amount of black on white crime that we see in America. After all, since blacks were slaves that means that violence towards whites is justified, doesn’t it? That’s what people like Obama don’t understand. Every time a Rev Wright or Obama excuses the anger of black people, another white child is beaten in Jena LA. This “anger” that we’re just supposed to excuse, is the cause of a lot of white suffering and until this is addressed, how can we take Obama seriously? 99% of white/black rape is committed against white women and if this was reversed, there would be riots in the streets. Speaking of riots in the streets, every now and then, blacks get mad and pull whites from their cars for a beating. Hate speech like Wright’s is responsible for these actions. And why would whites want to send their children to black schools when rates of violence are much higher at these schools?

    The good news is, the media covered the speech like it came from Jesus himself. So hopefully the sheeple will eat it up and get back in line. I really want to see Obama get elected and there is no question that this issue is hurting him.

    “Frankly Wright’s remarks don’t bother me very much.” (-Adrian)

    Adrian, the socialization seems to have had a strong effect of you. For you not to see the the difference between Obama’s relationship with Wright and McCain’s relationship with Hagee is proof of this. Obama was been going to Wrights church for 20 years. He named a book after one of his sermons and uses his ideas in speeches. He was married by the guy and had his kids baptized by him as well. The reason his sermons don’t bother you is because you suffer from white-guilt brought on from years of racial socialization. You sound like a young person so I won’t give up you. We mustn’t give up on Americas young people. To start your deprogramming, please read this report by the New Century Foundation:

    http://www.amren.com/newstore/cart.php?page=color_of_crime

  7. Eddie,

    Your latest reply drops mention of your earlier proposed religious test. Do you now disagree with the wisdom of a religious test for office?

    As to the discussion of unfavorable discussion of Islam…

    That’s totally irresponsible both as a citizen of this country and in our national security interests, as the more polluted Americans view and understanding of Islam is, the more likely demagogues can seize on that ignorance to pursue policies dangerous to this nation’s interests.

    True. It also makes action in the Gap easier, as the peace bias would be less widespread in such a situation.

    Besides, Obama’s speech this morning where he skillfully threaded the needle on the issue by making it a generational one and a multi-racial matter was interesting to say the least. Like his answers on Rezko, they may not be true, but they’re plausible enough for most Americans. He’ll never win the Fox News crowd or the Hot Air audience.

    Is “may not be true, but they’re plausible enough” the slam it looks like?

    Seerov,

    Obama’s speech was well written, well spoken, and empty. His assertions were hedged (such-and-such helps explain…), and he didn’t close the door to anything. Truly a campaign built on Hope, as opposed to specific promises, policy proposals, etc.

  8. Dan,

    Again, you can go to the man’s website and find a plethora of detailed policy ideas and proposals, as much as McCain and HRC. Quit using that tired line that is absolutely false.

  9. Eddie,

    You did not answer my question about your religious test, you did not answer my question about your “plausible enough” comment, and you jump conversations, providing the vaguest of references (“the man’s website”) as opposed to a specific URL or citation.

  10. Obama was faced with a difficult decision. Either he denounces what are clearly Wright’s views and tacitly admit that his membership to the Church was at least partially motivated by the desire to seek political cred in his neighborhood, or support those views through justification (or by ignoring them). He chose the latter.

    If the preacher of my church had so damned America a week after 9/11, that would have been the end of MY membership. If the preacher of my church had, one Sunday, railed black people (or any other minority ethnic or otherwise), I would have left that congregation. Complaining about cherry-picking is a false defense because by themselves, these statements, in a sermon, are damning.

    Now, despite his speech, Obama has left many people wondering who he is. If he is the fundamentally nice guy that he seems to be to everyone who meets him, you cannot help to conclude that he is so afraid to rock the boat that he would ignore the kind of statements that he must have heard in Wright’s church. Instead, it was go along to get along.
    This is not presidential timber. This is not the kind of guy I would want dealing with Putin, or Iran, or any of our allies for that matter. Right now, to me, the most charitable explanation of Obama is that he is an empty vessel and that worries me.
    Since his still quite possibly the next President, I hope he stands for something in is heart more that what he appears to, and I hope that what he stands for isn’t reflected by him that he calls his mentor.

  11. Eddie and Dan, I really don’t know what you’re arguing about? It appears as if Eddie is trying to say that the Christian Zionists are more dangerous or hateful than Obama’s Pastor -Mr. Wright or other America hating black nationalists.

    I’ve had some experience in life with Christian Zionists/Evangelicals and for the most part I can say that they really don’t talk or think much about Muslims or homosexuals. In fact, Falwell’s church had gay members that they worked with in an attempt to make un-gay. As far as their thoughts about Muslims, they pretty much thought of them the same way they thought of me, as people who were going to hell for not being Christian.

    I’ve also spent a lot of time with blacks. I can say I heard a lot of “anti-American” rhetoric out of them. In fact, 5 years ago today, I was on the Kuwait-Iraq border waiting for the order to attack Iraq for it having WMD’s. The African American soldiers weren’t too happy about the possibility of war. One of them told me that Bush was no different than Hussain (That’s Saddam not Barrack Hussain) and that he had killed African Americans in the state of Texas the same way Hussain killed the Kurds with Chemical Weapons. One guy from Jamaica kept saying “what the Iraqis do to us.” I assured them that if the WMD’s got into the hands of Al-Qaeda, we’d be in some real trouble. While I’m sure that every African American soldier was not openly against the war, it seemed as if a lot didn’t want to “fight for a white mans country.”

    I believe strongly that this attitude is the result of anti-American rhetoric like the kind we hear from Rev. Wright. While we all know the history of slavery, I don’t think that its a legitimate excuse to hate this country. In America today, blacks are given every chance to succeed. All a black person has to do is graduate from high school. If they graduate from HS, its almost guaranteed that their education is paid for. If or when they graduate from college, there are laws in place that force companies and organizations to hire a certain number of black people. To say that blacks have no opportunities is to ignore the facts.

    One could say that blacks face challenges in their communities from having negative role models which results in bad decision making. But this isn’t the result of lack of opportunity, this is a result of a breakdown in the black family. Obama addressed this today-sort of-but here again, Obama excused this behavior when he said something about “years of oppression making African Americans frustrated so they turned to crime and violence” (please understand that was not an exact quote.

    My point is, my whole life, from high school to college-to the military I heard blacks sing the same tune about being oppressed. This constant emphasis has to be responsible for the amounts of violence blacks commit against whites. I can’t see how it could be anything else?

    I happen to be Finnish in origin. I suppose if I wanted to I could say that this country supported the Soviet Union during WWII which led to the death of my grandfather which caused my father to grow up without a father. I could make the US partially responsible for the death of my grandfather for supplying the USSR with trucks which were used to truck my grandfather to the trains which brought him to the Gulag. When my father immigrated here in the mid 50’s he was also discriminated against. He was discharged from the Army for speaking no English and had no programs open to him to help him or his family get on their feet. In fact, my fathers mother went back to Europe because she didn’t have any health-care. Even worse, his step father died of pneumonia for lack of access to health-care.

    I guess if he or I wanted to, we could hate America for all the ills our family faced. But instead, we both like this country very much and would rather live here than anywhere else.

    And even the Muslims and homosexuals that you (Eddie) are so concerned for, they have it pretty good here too. Considering the attacks of 9-11, I haven’t heard anything about Muslims being killed by anyone in this country.

    Its important to point out that I want Obama to win and I don’t care for John Hagee, Pat Robertson, or Jerry Falwell. But when it comes to Rev. Wright I believe the results of his “hate-preach” not only hurt African Americans by putting a chip on their shoulder, but also help propagate the myth of a racist America. It is this myth of racist America which dehumanizes white people. This dehumanization is no different than atrocity propaganda reporting like WWI reports about German soldiers throwing French Babies on their bayonets. The result of this atrocity propaganda is the creation of an “enemy.” And since this “enemy” is the reason behind the problems that African Americans face, then just about anything can be justified to put an end these problems.

  12. I am writing a post with my thoughts on all this, I’ll post a link here when it’s finish – probably not for a few days as the soon-to-be-missus is in town.

  13. ElamBend,

    Unfortunately, yes.

    If Obama would have said something along the lines of “If you took the words ‘white’ and ‘black’ and you reversed them, you might think David Duke was giving that speech.” [1], he would be fantastic shape. But instead, he gave one of the worst speeches of his career. [2]

    As Clinton’s race-baiting gins of black support for him anyway, one wonders why Obama won’t denounce this cult.

    Seerov,

    Good point on the long-term harm hate-spakers like Rev. Wright cause. Also excellent tie-in to your own family’s background.

    Adrian,

    Looking forward to it!

    [1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sister_Souljah_moment
    [2] http://www.tdaxp.com/archive/2008/03/19/obamas-awful-speech-on-race.html

  14. (From e-mails exchanged between Dan & myself, he can post his comments as he sees fit)

    I think about religious effects on our social fabric, common citizenry, etc.

    Its a test I’ve applied to the churches I’ve visited as I looked for one for my wife and I to attend. I’m not impressed by preachers peddling irrational fear and mistrust of Muslims (as trusted leaders in the community they are intenionally misleading their people), denouncing homosexuals and telling people to ostracize them, tying wars now to Jesus (If I hear “Jesus in combat boots” one more time I’m rushing the stage and punching somebody), etc etc.

    To me, this is behavior and rhetoric that weakens our social fabric. What Rev. Wright said was obviously wrong, but he said to a community that was just enslaved up until 140 years ago, only just rcvd its full rights 30-40 years ago (and that’s debateable given the war on drugs, the white flight from cities and neighborhoods that destroyed muncipal budgets for schools and decades of redlining) and thus therefore I will give a certain amount of leeway to.

    Now the fascinating part would be that Rev. Wright and other black ministers share some of the same rhetoric I mentioned above (preaching holy war with Muslims, hatred/ostracizing of homosexuals, end of the world/war for Jesus). I condemn that even more than that same loud-mouth preacher bitching about America’s domestic and foreign policy.

    I’ll happily post these comments now.

    This is a false test avoiding what I am saying to you.

    You can condemn gays and Muslims to hell all you want, though I think that too has questionable properties in our society. Nevertheless, preaching holy war, spreading false information about Muslims, condemning gays in the present physical Earth and implying/saying they should be ostracized and whipping up fear crosses a line politically to me. You have freedom of religion, but if you seek the support of such people as a politician or community leader you should be called out on the carpet for it as much as Obama does for his pastor denouncing American foreign & domestic policy.

    The Rev. Wright’s comments do not tear at our social fabric or disturb our society or misinform it to the degree that the aforementioned behavior of the religious figures mentioned above.

  15. Eddie,

    As I wrote yesterday:

    You did not answer my question about your religious test, you did not answer my question about your “plausible enough” comment, and you jump conversations, providing the vaguest of references (”the man’s website”) as opposed to a specific URL or citation.

    Please do not move on to new topics before addressing those you already raised. It is not helpful to me.

  16. Again,

    per your definition of religious test.

    “Where you stated that the correct answer to the question of who was
    going to haven is an acid test for support. Defining the political
    arena by unfalsifiable religious beliefs turns religious tolerance on
    its head.”

    Read my answer above regarding this. I didn’t evade it or move onto a new topic.

    Further, that’s your religious test and I won’t waste my time getting into a silly sideshow with you over who should go to heaven or not. That’s not the issue at hand, that’s not the original topic you brought up and its not the original topic I commented on.

    The religious test I answered in regard to is one of harm/help in religion. The ongoing misinformation and demonization efforts by people like Pat Robertson and Hagee are far more damaging to America’s social fabric and national security than anything Rev. Wright has said or done.

    I’ll repeat I’m not saying the religious figures deserve to be censured, but the politicians who support their views by currying their favor (whether they hold their noses or not) like McCain (who flat-out flip flopped/pandered to Falwell in 2007 at Liberty University) deserve to be censured as much if not more as Obama is right now.

    The John McCain I knew and respected called Falwell, Robertson and their ilk by their real names in American society in 2000: “agents of intolerance”. Now they’re his friends and political allies. How honorable of him….. And Obama’s the hypocrite, liar or anti-American? Please.

  17. Eddie,

    Thank you for your comment.

    Read my answer above regarding this. I didn’t evade it or move onto a new topic.

    I also noted your habit of giving vague references that are unhelpful to me. You are doing this again.

    Further, that’s your religious test

    I am not sure what you are speaking about.

    and I won’t waste my time getting into a silly sideshow with you over who should go to heaven or not.

    This is probably wise, though it makes me more confused as to why you brought up correctly guessing who is going to heaven as a political acid test.

    That’s not the issue at hand,

    It’s one you introduced.

    You can retract the statement, you can defend it, but it’s intellectually dishonest to ignore it after it’s been criticized and move on to something else.

    that’s not the original topic you brought up and its not the original topic I commented on.

    No, but it’s one you did comment on, and it’s a puzzling one. I assume your words aren’t empty, which is why I read then and why I respond to them.

    If your religious test was without meaning, say so and this thread can progress.
    If your religious test was correct and right, so so and defend it.

    Don’t make assertions, refuse to support them, and then make further assertions on other subjects.

    That wastes my time.

  18. More from Huckabee’s speech about this on YouTube:
    “We’ve gotta cut some slack to people who grew up being called names; being told you have to sit in the balcony when you go to the movie; you have to go to the back door to go into the restaurant; you can’t sit out there with everyone else, there’s a separate waiting room in the doctor’s office; here’s where you sit on the bus .. . And you know what? Sometimes people do have a chip on their shoulder, and resentment, and you have to just say, “I probably would, too. I probably would, too. And in fact, I may have had more of a chip on my shoulder had it been me.”

  19. I tell you what Dan… do you want me to give you the link for where its proven humans need oxygen to survive?

    Or the link that proves there are Christians who don’t like Muslims or gays?

    Have you lived under a rock the past few years or ? I’m not going to pore over the most basic of stuff with you because that’s not debate, that’s school, class or instruction, and I already have enough of that going on as do you I’m sure.

    If you want to have a debate about whether Wright’s comments were worse than those of Robertson, Falwell, Hagee and the rest of the 700 Club/Liberty University etc. crowd, then so be it, I welcome it.

    If you want to have a debate about a religious test that rates religious speech as helpful or harmful to society, then sure, we can have that.

    If you want to have a debate about Obama & McCain the hypocrites… feel free, politics is rich for such opportunities.

    If you want to portray yourself as completely ignorant of some of the less than honorable and decent activities of the Christian right that have been widely reported for years (Even decades), then I suggest you grab an encyclopedia and get cracking.

    Let’s look up some names, places and events just for basic giggles.

    McCain South Carolina 2000 primary.
    http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9A0DE2DA1239F93AA15751C0A9669C8B63

    McCain Liberty University 2007 Commencement Speech
    http://www.newsadvance.com/lna/news/local/article/mccain_to_speak_at_liberty_graduation/2382/

    John Hagee
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Hagee

    Pat Robertson
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pat_Robertson

    I give you general sources on Hagee and Robertson b/c I shouldn’t have to do your legwork for you if you challenge the basic facts about them and their close associates. Feel free to read through the free NYT archives for articles aplenty about them.

    This is rational, orderly debate. Except you don’t participate in it b/c you seem to not know basic facts and general knowledge, leading the debate nowhere because you want everything proven to you that most people already know.

  20. Furthermore, how is Huckabee’s POV off-topic on this? He just got done running for President and has a valid opinon on this.

  21. Thank you for censoring the comment I left behind. No answer on McCain’s double-dealing with Robertson, Falwell & Hagee, the “agents of intolerance” in 2000 who are now his friends and allies (well Falwell is mercifully dead but his followers and university remain an adequate theological structure)?

    Oh I forgot… its alright to demonize gays and Muslims, but not at all okay to criticize America.. no matter your experiences in the country (as Huckabee gracefully pointed out)…. just wrap your hatred in the flag and its all gravy. Thank you Dan for clarifying that for me.

  22. Eddie,

    Thank you for addressing the religious test you proposed in another thread [1]. I will use this thread to respond to your other assertions.

    I tell you what Dan… do you want me to give you the link for where its proven humans need oxygen to survive?

    No need. If you assert that fact, I will grant it without evidence.

    Or the link that proves there are Christians who don’t like Muslims or gays?

    Again, trivially true.

    Have you lived under a rock the past few years or ? I’m not going to pore over the most basic of stuff with you because that’s not debate, that’s school, class or instruction, and I already have enough of that going on as do you I’m sure.

    If you want to have a debate about whether Wright’s comments were worse than those of Robertson, Falwell, Hagee and the rest of the 700 Club/Liberty University etc. crowd, then so be it, I welcome it.

    Sure. Wright’s comments were both racist and anti-American, they tore at a national open wound by condemening the nation itself.

    Let’s look up some names, places and events just for basic giggles.

    I give you general sources on Hagee and Robertson b/c I shouldn’t have to do your legworkThank you for censoring the comment I left behind. No answer on McCain’s double-dealing with Robertson, Falwell & Hagee, the “agents of intolerance” in 2000 who are now his friends and allies (well Falwell is mercifully dead but his followers and university remain an adequate theological structure)?

    I was distressed in 2000 when John McCain’s attacked fellow conservatives from a different wing of the movement. I was happy when he helped heal the wound he caused.

    Oh I forgot… its alright to demonize gays and Muslims, but not at all okay to criticize America.. no matter your experiences in the country (as Huckabee gracefully pointed out)…. just wrap your hatred in the flag and its all gravy. Thank you Dan for clarifying that for me.

    Defend your assertion.

    [1] http://www.tdaxp.com/archive/2008/03/19/should-there-be-a-religious-test-for-office.html#comment-36657

  23. 1.

    I don’t care that they think gays and Muslims will go to hell. I care that they tell their congregations that. There’s a huge difference between believing something and then saying it, over and over again, in a position of influence and power. Not only that, but telling people to fear these people, to ostracize them, to view them as Satan’s influence.

    You won’t answer my question, what impact does that have on social cohesiveness, and re: the Muslims, national security?

    Above all else, I find it hypocritical for McCain & Obama to be associated with these pastors with their rich hatred of other Americans so public and the public images of both candidates being of “unifiers” and “men of honor”. There is no honor in the rhetoric of Wright, Robertson, Hagee, etc.

    I want equal standards for McCain & Obama. Not to mention the fact that McCain once viewed these men as “agents of intolerance” yet all of a sudden is now respectful of them and appreciative of their support.

    In no way do I call for a religious test, merely that if Obama’s pastor’s comments get him in hot water (and trust me, there’s a lot more there than what the media is reporting, as are many other black pastors who support Obama who reguarly sound like Falwell or Robertson, which makes Obama’s support of gays and abortion in these churches in front of the congregations that much more striking), then so should the pastors who support McCain and whom McCain accepts financial and political support from.

    2.

    I am not aware of Falwell or Robertson making such explicit requests of their congregations to “damn America”. I have stated their comments are as bad as what Wright said if not worse. That is an opinion, not a fact. So is an opinion that Wright’s comments damning America are “terrible” or whatever else you want to call it. I certainly find them terrible, but again, I am willing to (a) give Wright some room b/c he was a victim of severe racial discrimination in this country and I view most of his generation that experienced that as rather unlikely to “forgive and forget” what they experienced and what was denied to them by white racism for decades, to include the 60’s & 70’s. (I think things have honestly gotten better since the 80’s) and (b) attacking America itself and attacking groups Americans are one and the same to me on the “bad” scale.

    What Falwell, Wright & Robertson said was one and the same… they blamed groups of Americans for the 9/11 attacks. My understanding is that Wright blames the government officials, and Robertson & Falwell blamed gays, feminists, multi-culturialists, liberals, etc. Where is the difference here? Are government officials entitled to more protection than gays, feminists, etc?

    I am honored to be a participant in debates and discussions with you. That never changes. My precision will not always be complete, given that the only time I have to participate in any blogging, debate, etc. is usually at work between customer phone calls. To be honest, throughout my life, I have noticed my arguments and points clearly and dramatically refined by debate and discussion with others, going from a typical “shotgun spray” method of debating into a more concise, accurate and clean series of points and questions that evolve over time. Others are far different and greatly more talented.

    So to wrap things up…

    – We agree Wright’s comments are horrendous and Obama is a hypocrite of sorts in the public eye for standing by him even as his views are quite different.
    – We don’t agree that McCain, who once labeled the leadership of the Christian conservative wing of the party as “agents of intolerance”, is a hypocrite for changing his mind on them after little to no change in his views or theirs (that we are aware of) in the past 8 years and now actively seeking and accepting their support.
    – We disagree on what what I view as the equally offensive/harmful nature to American social cohesiveness and thinking of Wright’s comments condeming America, its leadership and its policies and Falwell/Robertson/Hagee/etc’s comments condemning groups of Americans. Or “God Damn America” is far worse than “God Damn Gays, Liberals, Feminists”.
    – We agree that I either mis-stated or just didn’t explain fully enough in comparing Wright’s words and Robertson/Falwell’s, etc. words regarding “condeming America”. Wright has obviously said “GD America”, we do not know of and doubt Falwell & Robertson & Hagee have said “GD America”.

  24. Eddie,

    If I may,

    Broadly, you question why Wright’s anti-Americanism is worse than various divisive comments by Roberts, Falwell, and others. I’m interested in how Wright’s comments are qualitatively worse than the others you cite, so I will discuss that.

    Politics has two purposes: the improvement of our welfare and the division of welfare between us. This is true whether you use the talimans of the State, the Flag, the Republic, the Union, the Constitution, the Nation, or the Country when you evoke the ghost of us. It’s clear that Wright wishes to divert wealth to blacks that might otherwise go to whites. It’s also clear that Falwell wished to divert wealth to heterosexuals that might otherwise go to homosexuals. So it goes.

    However, Wright also supports the confiscation of social wealth from all of us. Uniquely among figures respected among our potential leaders, he is against our country as such. “God Damn America” isn’t a positive-sum message of growth — it isn’t even a zero-sum message of confiscation — it is a negative-sum message of hostility to us. He is not just wrong and he is not just divisive. He is anti-American.

    The last movement I am aware of that achieved similar respect in the mind of a serious presidential candidate is the Confederacy. Likese Wright’s “Black Value System” (BVS), the CSA was not interested in altering the balances in the country but in sundering the country.

    Now, from Wright’s perspective this may be reasonable. He believes the US government is conducting a 0GW against him and other blacks aimed at genocide. He preaches this message to others, and tries to sound the alarm. Likewise, I’m sure he was treated very rudely in his youth.

    Similarly, the leaders of the Confederacy also had grievances, both real and imaginary.

    That doesn’t mean that CSA politicians and agitators deserved anything better than to be placed outside the quarantine line of American politics. And that doesn’t mean BVS political celebrities like Wright deserve any better, either.

  25. Adrian,

    Thank you for the links.

    Both posts make claims that are, I think, wrong.

    Your first takes Wright’s words out of context, and analogizes to an indeterminate part of the Old Testament where a Prophet instructs Israel not to beseech God for their nation’s deliverance.

    Your second states that Obama (unlike McCain) chose his religious friends for exclusively religious, exclusively apolitical reasons. I would appreciate a defense of this claim.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *