Who Obama Might Associate With For “Community” and “Identity,” According to His Supporters

One sign that a propaganda effort is in disarray is that the propagandists become internally consistent. This doesn’t mean their objective is necessary wrong, however. Major Combat Operations of the Iraq War had not even begun by the time that the White House was providing competing story lines as to why it was worth it. Still, the idea that Obama may have an Iraq War level public relations debacle on his hands is one worth considering, I think.

Up until this morning, the explanation I had derived from Obama apologists was as follows:

As Barack Obama prepareted for public life, he correctly saw he had no natural consistuency. His family is not wealthy and Kenyan-Kansans nowhere in the United States form a significant minority. Therefore, Obama joined a large “fraternal organization,” Trinity United Church of Christ, to provide political sympathy and organizational manpower early in his political career. Trinity UCC membershp proved invaluable in his political organization and State Legislature Careers, and even helped him in his Senate campaign by allowing him to be somewhat independent of the Chicagi City and Illinois State democratic party machines.

Quite reasonable, and I’ve been operating from this assumption. Obama’s great wrong in associationg with Rev. Wright was that he elevated a paranoid anti-American above the quarantline line of American politics. But it’s not like he actually believed that nonsense.

a517dogg disagrees, however. It turns out that politics played no role in happening upon the largest black church in Chicago! Rather:

Why is Obama close to Wright? Because of factors that have nothing to do with Wright’s controversial political views. Obama joined Wright’s church looking for a sense of community and seeking to identify with the people he represented in office. Hilzoy writes more on the connection between Obama and his church. Bottom line – it’s not about politics, it’s about community and identity.

Of course, no evidence is provided for this explanation. In the comments, Adrian provides an excerpt from one of Obama’s books, in which Obama doesn’t cite political calculation, as proof.

Earlier in the post, Adrian has to stoop to providing “Reverend Wright comes off as a scary black man” as a defense for Obama. This is part of a wider retreat by Obama and his sympathizers, away from the “Race Doesn’t Matter” line he once peddled, to a past-oriented, grievence-oriented, prophetry-oriented line of divisiveness that is bad for his party, his country, and his reputation.

Too bad. Some Democratic candidate needs to be better than Clinton.

15 thoughts on “Who Obama Might Associate With For “Community” and “Identity,” According to His Supporters”

  1. “It turns out that politics played no role in happening upon the largest black church in Chicago!”

    That’s not my argument – as you quote me in the next paragraph, one reason was Obama “seeking to identify with the people he represented in office.” Maybe I was unclear – saying “it’s not about politics” meant “it’s not about Rev. Wright’s politics.”

    Did Obama argue that race doesn’t matter? He argues that race _shouldn’t_ matter.

  2. Maybe I was unclear – saying “it’s not about politics” meant “it’s not about Rev. Wright’s politics.”

    That’s trivially true.

    I thought your post was go some step farther than repeating the political consensus.

    Did Obama argue that race doesn’t matter? He argues that race _shouldn’t_ matter.

    He merely let his supporters chant that in his presence on national television, so his smiling and nodding.

    Perhaps he thinks as little of his association with them as with his association with his church?

  3. Steve Chapman, a conservative political commentator for the Chicago Tribune who has been skeptical of Obama since Day 1 gave Obama a break here, noting especially (as a few other commentators who have critized Obama, like Jason Whitlock) the blind spot men who grow up without fathers have for strong men with leadership skills. They often over-idealize them and this comes back to haunt them.

    (1) http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/columnists/chi-oped0323chapmanmar23,0,1829615.column

    As conservatives have maintained, the decline of the family is a serious issue in our culture and society. Obama is a candidate who can speak to that, from personal experience, and he does, though he certainly could more forcefully and more often.

    Can McCain? Though he walked out on his first wife and first children for his current one years ago, I think he can. I think he must, I think both candidates should talk about this and talk about it often.

  4. Conservative Jack Kelly probably hits the nail on the head here (1)…

    “I don’t think Barack Obama shares Rev. Wright’s hateful views. I think theirs was more an alliance of convenience. As a half white guy who went to prep school in Hawaii and then to Columbia and Harvard law school, Barack’s street cred on the South side of Chicago wasn’t all that great. His affiliation with Rev. Wright’s 6,000-member church gave him politically useful ties to the community he wouldn’t otherwise have had.”

    http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2008/03/the_character_suicide_of_rev_w.html

  5. Eddie,

    It seems no one believes that Obama is subscribes to the core philosophy — the Black Value System — of the church he belongs to.

    Adrian (I believe) hypothesizes that he does so out of the intersts of “community” and “identity.” I, and it looks like Jack Kelley, believes it was convenient for Obama’s political career. You might be suggesting he does so out of a psychological need for a father figure.

    The concern is his embrace of anti-Americanism, and his elevation of it above the quarantine line, and into political discourse.

    KKK, BVS, and other anti-American ideals should belong to loonies shunned by all sides. Politics is barbaric enough without forming political alliances with those who believe the government is conducing an active campaign of HIV-genocide against its citizens!

  6. I don’t see how this scandal will affect his ability to perform and judge and lead as president. And that’s all that this is. It’s a scandal designed to throw up racial tension.

    No matter who you are, or what sort of a life you have led, if you had thousands of people looking into every little detail of your life trying to find dirt, they’ll find it. And they’ll reduce it to sound bites and let it spin.

    I think that the question needs to be asked is, even if he does subscribe to the Black Value System that you speak of, what does that mean in a presidency?

    What would happen in a Black Value System presidency? Considering that a reelection would still have to carry the South.

  7. Whooh! What a relief to find out that Obama is just a crass politicion who will use anybody and do anything to get elected.

  8. “his embrace of anti-Americanism”

    This is simply silly.

    Of course, while ‘wishing’ bluntly for a better candidate than Hillary for the Dem side, conservatives would like nothing more than to tank Obama in order to insure that HRC is the nominee: which accounts for the endless, silly, myopic and somewhat orgasmic pronouncements like the one quoted above.

    It is possible that Wright’s lambasting of America comes from a love for America: a more perfect union which doesn’t quite exist yet. But the endly 4GW-style attacks which conservatives have been hurling at Obama (and Dan is doing it too while trying to appear objective and ‘fair and balanced’ in tone; i.e., pseudo-academic) is an example.

  9. Curtis,

    What is silly about the contention that Obama formed a convenient political coalition with a BVS anti-American pastor of a megachurch?

    It is possible that Wright’s lambasting of America comes from a love for America:

    Anything is possible. But Wright’s a smart man, and I’ll take him at his word.

    He enjoined his parishioners against exhorting God to bless America. He enjoined them instead to exhort God to damn America.

    Barack Obama is a member of a politically organized, paranoid, racist, church, has been for twenty years, named his book after a sermon from that church. Whether mentioning that is a “4GW-style attack” or not, it is true.

    Obama’s campaign has been based on the following principles:

    a) hope
    b) change
    c) post-racism
    d) judgment

    This central element of his life goes against all four of those. And his heartfelt speech [1], which he wrote, revealed his philosophy to be a grievance-based repeat of the past.

    Biz,

    What would happen in a Black Value System presidency? Considering that a reelection would still have to carry the South.

    An expansion of institutional racism [2], perhaps? This is already causing Obama trouble.

    [1] http://www.tdaxp.com/archive/2008/03/19/obamas-awful-speech-on-race.html
    [2] http://www.tdaxp.com/archive/2008/03/05/barack-obama-should-denounced-affirmative-action-and-race-based-politics.html

  10. >>An expansion of institutional racism [2], perhaps? This is already causing Obama trouble.

    Really? Trouble with you maybe. I don’t think most people really are that upset about it. However, your crazy idea that he should denounce it doesn’t make any sense. If he denounces it to gain the affection of a small block of white voters, he’ll lose a large block of his minority support. That’s dumb. Why should he market to you? You’re not going to vote for him anyway.

    And how would that be expanded anyway? An executive order stating “All black people get free jobs and cookies.”? He still has to at least nominally acknowledge the will of the people (It’s not like he’d be a Republican president)
    He’s running for president, not some sort of all powerful overlord. So, I ask again, what would A BVS presidency look like, that it has you so upset?

  11. Biz,

    Thanks for the comment.

    Really? Trouble with you maybe. I don’t think most people really are that upset about it. However, your crazy idea that he should denounce it doesn’t make any sense. If he denounces it to gain the affection of a small block of white voters, he’ll lose a large block of his minority support. That’s dumb. Why should he market to you? You’re not going to vote for him anyway.

    Clinton’s coalition is based on two large groups, uneducated “ethnic” whites and latinos, with asians thrown in as well. Her coalition is reproducible, which means any state where these groups form a majority of the Democratic electorate is one where she wins. These groups often find themselves in resource competition with blacks. However, because Clinton’s groups are less politically organized, they often experience an unfair playing field in attempting to gain those resources. Asians are the hardest hit by affirmative action programs that move college slots to less educated, less accomplished blacks, while latinos and uneducated ethnic whites enjoy governmental and regulatory advantages in low-skill employment.

    If Obama would have been able to crack Clinton’s coalition in Ohio or Texas, or else do so in Pennsylvania, the race would be over and he would be the nominee. Instead, he allows the campaign to become increasingly divisive, running up his percentage with blacks while sustaining Clinton’s coalitoin.

  12. well, thanks for the reply Dan. But I hope you know that since you didn’t acknowledge the primary question (How would this BVS thing actually affect a presidency?) that means I win!

    Huzzah! And for my next debate point: That guy at China Express: Creepy deathbringer, or piano playing Polish person?

  13. Biz,

    Sorry for missing your big Q.

    The President has tremendous power over the day-to-day running of the government. Questions such as where attention goes, how laws are interpreted and how rules and regulations are made, whether a black firm that subscribes to BVS [1] and so doesn’t hire latinos is sued, what “friend of the court” briefs are filed, what laws are enforced, etc, are largely under political.

    On top of this, along with Congress the President has power to name judges, make laws, etc.

    [1] http://www.tdaxp.com/archive/2008/03/25/the-black-value-system.html

  14. The problem with this line of thinking is that it doesn’t correspond to a sustainable future for the BVS presidency. If Americas first black president shows an obvious favoritism to all things black, they hurt the chances of another black president ever being elected and would reflect poorly on black leadership in general.

    I’m not saying that he wouldn’t have the option and ability to affect a change in what you call institutional racism. I’m saying that he’s not that dumb.

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