Apr 29 2008
I rarely find anything to agree with Bob Herbert on – he is so liberal I sometimes think we live on different planets. But today Herbert seems to be right on the mark as he exposes the dirty little secret about Jeremiah Wright’s sudden notoriety.
The Rev. Jeremiah Wright went to Washington on Monday not to praise Barack Obama, but to bury him.
Smiling, cracking corny jokes, mugging it up for the big-time news media â€” this reverend is never going away. Heâ€™s found himself a national platform, and heâ€™s loving it.
Itâ€™s a twofer. Feeling dissed by Senator Obama, Mr. Wright gets revenge on his former follower while bathed in a spotlight brighter than any he could ever have imagined. Heâ€™s living a narcissistâ€™s dream. At long last, his 15 minutes have arrived.
What he is succeeding in doing is diminishing the stature of Senator Obama. A candidate who stands haplessly by as his former spiritual guide roams the country dropping one divisive bomb after another is in very little danger of being seen by most voters as the next J.F.K. or L.B.J.
The thing to keep in mind about Rev. Wright is that he is a smart fellow. Heâ€™s been a very savvy operator, politically and otherwise, for decades. He has built a thriving, politically connected congregation on the South Side of Chicago that has done some very good work over the years. Powerful people have turned to him for guidance and advice.
So itâ€™s not like heâ€™s naÃ¯ve politically. He knows exactly what heâ€™s doing. Forget the gibberish about responding to attacks on the black church. That is not what the reverendâ€™s appearance before the press club was about. He was responding to what he perceives as an attack on him.
I finally got around to watching some of the Bill Moyers interview with Wright and I found myself impressed with the Jeremiah Wright from 1978 who was shaking Church dogma on how to deal with problems in the neighborhood. He is a very smart and articulate man. But something has twisted him as he as aged over the years. The young man from 1978 who was full of hope and drive, who was on a mission to make a difference in his community, has been replaced with a very bitter and angry man who has propped up his ego on the fanciful righteousness found in the conspiracy theories he nows clings to. Apparently it was not enough to save a neighborhood from soft bigotry of low expectations.
No, this man grabbed onto fictional evils, such as AIDS being a US government plot to kill minorities, so that his enemies could be as big as his ego required. He is out to save a people, and maybe the world. How else can one explain someone supposedly so smart falling for stories like the HIV myth?
Herbert is right about Wright. I think the man could not stand being shunted off to the sidelines by Obama, one of his own flock (and I am sure he thinks he ‘owns’ his flock). Wright has found the spotlight to reaffirm his beliefs and show America the wonders of his insights. Wright is so enamored with himself (whereas he used to be so enamored with his work in the community) he probably cannot envision the collective shudder that is going through the nation as he babbles on about his fanciful liberal world view.
And I do think he is paying back Obama for the slight of being rebuffed. Poor Obama delayed his action as long as possible, but Wright’s dementia could not be kept off the airwaves. A dementia so firmly fixed Wright even joked about being Barack’s Vice President. Obama now has to stand up and defend himself and defend this nation. He cannot let Wright make him look like the light weight. It doesn’t matter how much he cares for the one time Wonder Boy of South Side Chicago. Only one of them will be left standing – and I expect Jeremiah Wright is too smart, too bitter and completely unrestrained by the mandates of a presidential election for Obama to be able to handle.
This is the irony of it all – Obama felled by one of his own most trusted advisors. Not by white racism but by the anger of a black racist. Now if someone wants to run with wild conspiracy theories one could ask what did the Clintons offer Jeremiah Wright to go on his little revenge road show? Or is it just that Clinton ‘luck’ coming through in the last moments of a near dead campaign?
Update: Dana Milbank has a great video clip up at the Washington Post site on how to destroy a presidential campaign (hope they don’t mind the link through):
Hat Tip to Andrew Sullivan for that historic gem of a video clip, it is now part of America’s history highlighting when the black movement imploded on itself and lost its first best chance at the top office.
Update: Looks like this is Barbara Reynolds’ website – lots to read.
Update: Oh, if I could only write as well as The Anchoress – her take on all this is so much crisper than mine. Enjoy!
Update: Wonder what this black democrat will think if it comes out Wright destroyed Obama for something he got from Hillary or her supporters?:
I’m Black and Wright broke my heart today at the National Press Club. He was ‘clowning’.
I could literally hear my heart tear into pieces with every question, because he did it on purpose. He’s an old Black Man – he knew how White folk would spin it.
He had gone 2 days without providing soundbites; so today he clowned, stabbed Obama in the heart, and everyone else who had defended him, and threw Obama under the bus.
I’m so mad STILL.
I wrote passionately about why Obama couldn’t disown Wright, when this first went down.
As my Mama said tonight, ‘ He clowned for them White people on purpose – to hurt Barack’. Indeed he did, Mama, which is why Obama needs to divorce himself from Wright IMMEDIATELY.
After Wright’s performance today, Black folk won’t come down on Obama anymore.
They would have when this first shook out because those were soundbite snippets.
Today was a full-on ‘shock’ performance of the highest order. And since we saw that he can do better (Moyers and the NAACP Dinner), what conclusion could one come to, other than this was done ON PURPOSE TO HURT OBAMA.
He displayed Crab-in-a-barrell to the nth degree, and I am hurt as hell.
I doubt this person would consider voting for Hillary in return for Wright’s actions against Obama for Hillary (if that is where this all came from).
Update: For some interesting insight into how Hillary Superdelegate could have pulled this media road show off check out the comments section in this article at Huffington Post – quite enlightening. For example:
O.K. a message from Detroit. To anwser the above question on whether or not the Detroit NAACP would purposely have Wright speak? YES! Wendall Anthony, President of NAACP (Detroit chapter) is considered a “political hooker” here. He will sell out his mama if the price is right. I also thought that was strange. The NAACP is mostly funded by the Jewish community. A few years ago, Ben Chavis then head the NAACP invited Louis Farrakhan to speak at a NAACP event against the opposition of the NAACP and the Jewish community wishes was later fired and replaced by Mfume (can’t remember the last name) for doing anyway. So thought Anthonys decisiont was strange at first. But then I thought about who we were talking about. In Detroit, there’s a politcal click here, and all polical figures want to be a part of the club. Anthony pander’s to Governor Jennifer Granholm (Superdelegate and Hillary supporter). Who’s head of push to seat Michigan. Anthony is also effective in getting out the Black support and vote for the chosen candidate. So, it is no suprise that Granholm convinced ‘Swendall Anthony’ to schedule Wright as the guest speaker knowing it impact. At this point he is in deep “do do” for this. Stay tuned, Congresswoman (D) Carolyn Kilpatrick (Superdelegate/ Clinton supporter) is next. Her son Kwame Kilpatrick (Superdelegate) controlls the city clerks election office here, and needs a favor right now to stay out of jail.
Many strings lead back to Hillary and Bill C.
Update: Another interesting piece to this puzzle: it seems Team Obama has tried to reach out to Wright and been rebuffed.
Obama aides said Wright had rebuffed their recent offers of public relations assistance. They stressed that they had no warning about a media blitz that included an appearance with Bill Moyers on PBS on Friday night, a nationally televised speech to the NAACP in Detroit on Sunday evening and yesterday’s appearance at the National Press Club.
And the campaign had no warning on his latest media blitz so all this media was not meant to help Obama – or it would have been coordinated. The lack of warning makes this a hit job on Obama, now the only questions is how deeply tied is Wright to Clinton’s supporters and her campaign. She is the only one benefitting from all this. And why is Wright smiling like he just won a $10 Million lottery? You would think if this was for revenge he would be angrier – but he seems so damn happy! I still wonder what the quid pro quo was for all this.
Update: An interesting glimpse into the very liberal mind of Barbara Reynolds from January 21st of this year.
First, other than entertainers and athletes, it is rare to see Whites lavish affection on a Black man that would actually be beneficial to African-Americans and other non-Whites. Clarence Thomas, maybe, but could you imagine masses of Whites ever cheering Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X or Rep. John Conyers (D.Mich.)
Secondly, Obama is a spell-bounding orator, but the African-American community has been blessed with an overflow of political oration, from former congressman Barbara Jordan, to Rev. Jesse Jackson, to Rev. Al Sharpton, to Pastor Jeremiah Wright. I believe what African-Americans want most is substance. Is a senator who has not finished one term in Congress experienced enough to handle the nation’s top job?
On the other hand, African-Americans have had eight years of productive experience with Bill and First Lady Hillary in the White House, which resulted in the most diverse Cabinet administration in history, strong support for affirmative action and the doubling of small business loans to African-Americans. Sen. Clinton through her work with the Children’s Defense Fund and scores of service-oriented groups has more than 35 years of aiding causes important to African-Americans and women.
Very interesting. More here:
Like many African-American women, I have struggled with the dilemma of selecting a Black man or a White woman to go against warmonger Sen. John McCain. My problem was that both Senators Obama and Clinton are darn good.
Finally I voted for Sen. Clinton. My first reason was that as seductive as Obamaâ€™s mantra of hope, the Clintons legacy of help is more substantive and stronger.
Now since one Clinton cleaned up the first mess created by Bush I, why not let another Clinton clean up the mess created by Bush Light and why not a woman?
Traditionally, I have sympathized or cast my lot with the â€œunderperson,â€ the one needlessly being picked on or ridiculed. Media treatment of Sen. Clinton has been degrading.
Much of the news media have gone bonkers over Sen. Obama, pandering and refusing to ask tough questions, while intensely and sometimes nastily grilling Sen. Clinton. Pundits continue to stress that Clinton is â€œpolarizing,â€ and that 41 percent of voters say they wonâ€™t vote for her as if to cement a self-defeating prophecy.
I also find it troublesome that so many influential Republican conservatives are confessing their love for Sen. Obama. When people who are my enemies become friends of my friends, I am just naturally suspicious. For example, I remember how Republican Bill Bennett was excoriated on his national radio show for inferring that if Black women had more abortions that would reduce the crime rate. Bennett, no friend of Blacks, is now in love with Obama. I wonder why?
Seems we have the right kind of person to connect Clinton to Wright, make some deals happen and help Wright slip the knife into Obama’s back. Politics is an ugly game my friends. I have seen this before and we will see it some more.
Update: It seems the website of Barbara Reynolds (the Clinton supporter who arranged Wright’s torpedoing of Obama) has been emptied of all content? What kind of site shuts down when it gets its national attention? Clearly one with something to hide.
Major Update: In my post this morning about Reverend Wright I hinted that this smelled of a Clinton hit piece, and that somehow ‘Ol Jeremiah had become aligned with Clinton – maybe for some favors and some green. It seems I was not far off the mark:
Shortly before he rose to deliver his rambling, angry, sarcastic remarks at the National Press Club Monday, Wright sat next to, and chatted with, Barbara Reynolds.
A former editorial board member at USA Today, she runs something called Reynolds News Services and teaches ministry at the Howard University School of Divinity. (She is an ordained minister).
It also turns out that Reynolds – introduced Monday as a member of the National Press Club “who organized” the event – is an enthusiastic Hillary Clinton supporter.
On a blog linked to her Web site- www.reynoldsnews.com- Reynolds said in a February post: “My vote for Hillary in the Maryland primary was my way of saying thank you” to Clinton and her husband for the successes of Bill Clinton’s presidency.
I predicted the Clintons would do whatever it would take to win the nomination, and that includes turning one-time allies against Obama. It seems Rev Wright has decided to switch camps and undermine his one-time parishioner, which he has done. The black community could split wide open over this act of betrayal. – end update