Bruce Parker

Too Little, Too Late

Filed By Bruce Parker | April 29, 2008 5:48 PM | comments

Filed in: Politics
Tags: Barack Obama, Religion, Reverend Jeremiah Wright

My mother called me last night in an incredibly upbeat mood. She had just finished watching clips of Reverend Jeremiah Wright's latest statements. In a joking way she asked me if Hillary and Bill had paid Reverend Wright to get him to make the statements that he made.

We talked a little bit about the coverage and I tried to explain to my mother how frustrating all of this was for me. The complexities of the campaign regarding race, social class, and gender have left me feeling discouraged lately. As desperately as I support Hillary Clinton, I don't want her to win based on racism and xenophobia alone. But, that isn't what this post is about. After we got off the phone I let the conversation go and went back to writing about Butlerian approaches to autobiographical theory within education.

Today, sitting at Highland Coffee (my favorite local coffee shop in Baton Rouge) taking a break from the same paper described above, I saw the Huffington Post's coverage of Barack Obama distancing himself aggressively from Reverend Wright and his comments. Ladies and gentlemen, clearly Barack Obama has put on his "big-girl panties" and is ready to be a politician.

Suddenly Obama is attempting to distance himself from a pastor that, until very recently, he continued to praise even with potential political damages facing him because of that support. He compared disowning Reverend Wright to abandoning his grandmother. Although some doubts remained in lots of people's minds, the campaign continued. Honestly, I was a little more supportive of Obama than I had been before.

The courage to stand behind such a controversial figure working for racial justice, in a misguided style, was to be applauded. Maybe, just maybe, Barack Obama would try to be who his campaign says he is.

Today Obama said:

I'm outraged by the comments that were made and saddened by the spectacle that we saw yesterday. I have been a member of Trinity United Church of Christ since 1992 and have known Jeremiah Wright for almost 22 years. The person I saw yesterday was not the person I met 20 years ago. His comments were not only divisive and destructive, but they also give comfort to those that prey on hate and I believe they do not accurately portray the perspective of the black church. They certainly do not accurately portray my values and beliefs.

It seems apparent that as questions about Obama's electability with white working class voters become central to both the ongoing Democratic primary and the upcoming general election, Reverend Wright became a little too much of a burden to carry on what has become a long walk to the White House.

I cannot help but believe that if Obama truly disagreed with the sentiments that Wright has consistently expressed, that he not only would have not been close with him for twenty years but would have distanced himself more aggressively when the controversy first surfaced. Calculations regarding votes are undeniably present in Obama's decision. Disavowing Reverend Wright will most likely not hurt Obama's support within black communities, but may help him with white working class folks.

My mom still won't vote for him and my guess is neither will Indiana's white voters. To quote a wise political philosopher's breakout hit,

It's just too little too late,
A little too wrong,
And I can't wait,
Boy you know all the right things to say,
You know it's just too little too late.


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So, I'm curious as to your position on this? You seem to be implying that Obama agrees with Wright but due to the demands of the campaign, has been forced to distance himself aggressively from him and that in the end, it won't help him anyway. To me, this conflicts with his campaign's message of not playing old school politics and doing whatever is necessary to obtain votes. On the other hand, Wright was getting pretty aggressive and clearly had no care for the damage his media-blitz would do to Obama, so his anger is understandable. But I'm wondering what you think?

JoJo love!


Don Sherfick Don Sherfick | April 29, 2008 7:54 PM

Cheer up, Bruce. For one thing, this campaign has taken so many twists and turns before that it truly ain't over 'til it's over.

And keep this in mind, too. Although he annonced his availability for the Vice-Presidency at the National Press Club yesterday, it's clear that the Wright campaign to get the Veep not will go nowhere.

But an October Larry Craig vs. Jeramiah Wright VP debate would have been one for the history books.

markandrew | April 29, 2008 9:07 PM

"As desperately as I support Hillary Clinton, I don't want her to win based on racism and xenophobia alone. " ALONE? huh. so your admittedly desperate support of Hillary is so complete and , if I may borrow a frame from other pro-Clinton posters here, cultish , that you would be cool if maybe she gets some support here and there because of racism and xenophobia. Wow. I mean, I'm not surprised , as this sentiment is the same thing coming from the campaign and surrogates and supporters all the time for the last 3 months. Not surprised that you would be so frank about what depths you're comfortable with in trying to secure the crown for the Clinton dynasty. Sadly, I fully expect the most vile and depraved pandering to fear, difference, and hatred that I'm not surprised at all anymore.
This party and this country will be so much better off when Barack is elected and the kind of nastiness and pettiness currently displayed by the
"cult of Clinton" are relegated to the past from whence they came.
Oh, but I guess at least she's not "a pansy" , so at least you have that .

After we got off the phone I let the conversation go and went back to writing about Butlerian approaches to autobiographical theory within education.

I'd like to read about that when you're finished! Any chance we could get a post on that here?

Oh, Don. If Jeremish Wright is campaigning for Obama's VP slot, and Larry Craig for McCain's, then who's up for Hillary's? I'm currently looking for a new job, so....

Bruce Parker Bruce Parker | April 29, 2008 9:53 PM

In reverse order just because.

Alex,

God willing if I ever finish it I can send it you and you can work your grammar magic on it.

markandrew,

Yea, I am figuring that as long as only forty nine percent of Hillary's support comes from skinheads, neo nazis and kkk members that she is probably doing okay.

Seriously, I feel like racism and sexism are undeniably a part of this campaign. I think that to say that sexism or racism aren't a part of how either candidate is doing is foolish. You might disagree with me since your reading seems nuanced and unbiased and clearly my thoughts are from my hillary talking points memo that I got in the mail today.

Don,

If you start writing in Alex, I will nominate Bil just to add some sort of balance to the contest.

Carrie,

That is pretty much what I think. You summed it up pretty well. I think that Obama probably agrees with Wright regarding the general notion that the country is super racist and well I agree with him too. I don't think that Obama likes the aggressive style currently so he is getting off that ship quick.

Bruce

Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | April 29, 2008 10:53 PM

Thank you Bilerico Project for coming through again.

This morning when I turned on CNN Asia for my "fix" of news and heard Obama's denounciation of Wright I immediately read the text of the speech Rev Wright gave at the Washington Press Club.

In reading the text of Rev Wright's full speech I would have to say that I believe and understand him to be speaking his truth. I also learned a new level of understanding of the faith tradition he represents. Key to this being forgiveness and a certainty that no one is inferior to anyone else. He also chided the media a dozen times for pulling a phrase and using it out of context. And guess what? It was done again.

The Reverend delivered a thoughtful speech at the press club and a logical series of answers to questions given him. The fact that most people only heard media snippets is all the more disheartening. Obama is the weaker for not having a relationship with this pastor.

Example: For the first time I learned that when Wright said: "America's chickens are coming home to roost" he was quoting the Ambassador from Iraq.

Yeah, it would be convenient for Obama if Rev Wright had just crawled away into obscurity, and many media outlets are calling this his attempt to salvage "his" reputation. He is really speaking his truth and extensively quoting his footnotes. I have a newfound respect for Rev Wright and hope you all find the ten minutes to read the full speech and followup questions.

I can't provide a link because I am not that computer savvy, but I merely googled: "Rev Wright Washington Press Club".

Example: For the first time I learned that when Wright said: "America's chickens are coming home to roost" he was quoting the Ambassador from Iraq.

When a comment is on the cable news 24/7 for two weeks, we should not have to wait a month to learn its source. Those "journalists" should have mentioned it at some point.

UGH!

Although, the rev argued today that Obama never agreed with Wright, and just said he did to score points on Chicago's South Side. Pretty much the opposite argument as Bruce's here. Go TBP!

OMG, Lori Morris and Jerame have started an internet meme with "big girl panties."

I agree with your post, Bruce. It's a good'un. While I understand his reasoning, I'm still disappointed that he tossed his grandma under the bus. :(

I think Wright should be Hillary's veep. That would make it interesting.

Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | April 30, 2008 9:36 AM

The only chink in Wrights armor is his failure to admit the exaggeration of equating Aids as a government plan to kill black people. His defense for this was the Tuskeegee project where our government knowing allowed men infected with syphilis to suffer for twenty years when they could have been easily cured. I am sure from his perspective if our government could be this racist and uncaring anything is possible.

Is there an upper limit to the number of adults who can legally fit all at one time into one pair of "big girl panties"? Does the Fire Marshall have that number stamped somewhere along the elastic band, perhaps? Does the number go up if the first person to crawl in is Charlie Sheen?

An idle question, yes ... but curious minds want to know!