Obama's "Mission Accomplished"

A mostly political Weblog.
June 21 2008 6:21 PM

Obama's "Mission Accomplished"

What his new faux-presidential seal symbolizes.

(Continued from Page 66)

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Patterico thinks there's more to the Chuck Philips/LAT scandal  and has imported a mysterious guestblogger ("WLS") to give some background. ... Update: For more, follow the links in Jill Stewart's survey of the disaster zone. ...  5:17 P.M.

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Page 293 (paperback edition): On   his radio show yesterday, Hugh Hewitt played excerpts of Barack Obama reading from his autobiography, Dreams of My Father. In one, Obama remembers a sermon by Rev. Jeremiah Wright:

[T]he pastor described going to a museum and being confronted by a painting title Hope.

"The painting depicts a harpist," Revernd Wright explained, "a woman who at first glance appears to be sitting atop a great mountaintop. Untill you take a closer look and see that the woman is bruised and bloodied, dressed in tattered rags, the harp reduced to a single frayed string. Your eye is then drawn down to the scene below, down to the valley below, where everywhere are the ravages of famine, the drumbeat of war, a world groaning under strife and deprivation.

It is this world, a world where cruise ships throw away more food in a day than most residents of Port-au-Prince see in a year, where white folks' greed runs a world in need, aprtheid in one hemisphere, apathy in another hemisphere ... That's the world! On which hope sits."

And so it went, a meditation on a fallen world. While the boys next to me doodled on their church bulletin, Reverend Wright spoke of Sharpesville and Hiroshima, the callousness of policy makers in the White House and in the State House. ... [E.A.]

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Sounds ... controversial! Keep in mind: a) Obama isn't disapproving of this sermon. In the book he weeps at the end of it; b) Demonstrating that at least some blaming of "white greed" for the world's sins--which Obama now criticizes-- isn't an exceptional topic for Rev. Wright in a few wacky sermons ("the five dumbest things") that Obama may or may not have missed. It's at the quotidian core of the Afrocentric philosophy that Obama says drew him to the church;  c) Indeed, in his big March 18th race speech Obama reads the passage from his book that describes his emotional reaction to this very sermon (his "first service at Trinity")--how it made "the story of a people" seem "black and more than black." d) This is also the sermon that gave Obama the title of his next book, The Audacity of Hope.e) The "profound mistake" of this sermon is not that Wright "spoke as if our society was static"--Obama's analysis on Feb. 18th. The problem is that "white folks' greed" is not the main cause of a "world in need."

I'm not saying voters shouldn't cut Obama a lot of slack on Wright's anti-white fulminations. But the Senator should have spoken up publicly against the semi-paranoid "white greed" explanation a long time ago, no? And he could show a little humility. Again, this wasn't the occasion for him to be lecturing everyone else. ...

"Had the reverend not retired, and had he not acknowledged that what he had said had deeply offended people and were inappropriate and mischaracterized what I believe is the greatness of this country, for all its flaws, then I wouldn't have felt comfortable staying at the church," Obama said Thursday during a taping of the ABC talk show, "The View." [E.A.]

Tom Maguire is on the case, noting that Obama has now left the rarefied air of transracial elevation and entered conventional political BS-land, given that there is no evidence of any sort of Wright apology (though maybe now one will be produced) or a previous Obama inclination to leave the church. ... Meanwhile, Perry Bacon of WaPo tries to figure out  which "controversial" or "objectionable" sermons Obama heard. Again, I don't think this is necessary. Wright's sermon at Obama's very first service, highlighted in his book and his 3/18 speech as an epiphanic moment, was controversial and objectionable enough. And it didn't make him leave the church. It made him join the church. At least a bit of self-criticism seems in order. ... [via Instapundit and JustOneMinute ]

Update/Backfill: Oddly, the "white folks' greed" line and the Haiti reference do not appear in the seemingly official version of the sermon. But Obama has them in his book within quotation marks. Sweetness & Light asks: "Did Mr. Obama hear something that Mr. Wright didn't even say." And if so, why pick those particular lines? Or did the spoken version differ from the official text? ... Here's a recording of Wright delivering the sermon, which tracks the "official" text above. It sure doesn't sound like Wright is talking in church. Maybe there are two versions, one more palatable. ... See also Lowry, Smith. ... 4:02 A.M. link

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