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Obama: Speech vs. Video (update)
Posted by: McQ on Thursday, March 20, 2008

I quoted Thomas Sowell's analysis of the Obama speech yesterday. A key point was this:
Someone once said that a con man's job is not to convince skeptics but to enable people to continue to believe what they already want to believe.

Accordingly, Obama's Philadelphia speech - a theatrical masterpiece - will probably reassure most Democrats and some other Obama supporters. They will undoubtedly say that we should now "move on," even though many Democrats have still not yet moved on from George W. Bush's 2000 election victory.

Like the Soviet show trials during their 1930s purges, Obama's speech was not supposed to convince critics but to reassure supporters and fellow-travelers, in order to keep the "useful idiots" useful.
"The speech" has been praised by many in the pundit class as a "courageous" speech, one filled with "soaring rhetoric" and "nuance". It was "well-crafted" and spoke to the "heart" of the race issue in America.

Given - it was a good speech. But it may only have accomplished what Sowell outlines above.

What it apparently hasn't been able to accomplish is to change many minds. That's primarily because what people have seen with their own eyes and heard with their own ears was essentially not discussed to their satisfaction and instead was tacitly embraced as "reality" and something which simply couldn't be 'disowned' or changed. That's the way it is - get used to it. To many, it appeared that Obama wanted to have it both ways - condemn and embrace - and given what the public has seen of his pastor's words plus Obama's decades of attendance in that church, most aren't buying.

Carrie Budoff Brown refers to them as the "Budweiser class", but it is that class of voter - blue-collar, multi-ethnic white and religious - who may be the swing vote in both the Democratic primary and eventually the general election. And if Brown's anecdotal evidence is indicative of a more widespread attitude, what the pundits found enthralling did not at all impress the Budweiser class:
Stephanie Gill, a bartender in a white working class neighborhood in this Rust Belt city, noticed the shift immediately.

A week ago, her customers at Rauchut’s Tavern in Tacony didn’t have much to say about Barack Obama. But when she returned to work Wednesday, a day after the Illinois senator attempted to quell the furor over his pastor’s racially incendiary remarks, the reaction inside the corner bar was raw and unapologetic.

“People are not happy with Obama,” Gill said. “It’s the race stuff.”

Obama has always been a tough sell in largely white Northeast Philadelphia and in the city's blue-collar river wards, a collection of white ethnic enclaves where customers at the local watering hole are often born and raised in the neighborhood that supports it.

And his speech Tuesday, although widely praised by the pundit caste and Obama supporters, has only seemed to widen the gulf with the Budweiser class here.
What is the primary reason this is so? Well, mostly because, as I pointed out in a post a couple of days ago, people feel he has lied about the whole thing:
A day after the speech, local residents were left wondering whether Obama was candid in the last week when he said he hadn’t heard any of Wright’s most objectionable remarks, but then said Tuesday that he had heard “controversial” remarks while sitting in the pews.

“He lied to Anderson Cooper,” said Rodica Mitrea, an aesthetician and immigrant from Romania, referring to an Obama interview Friday with the CNN anchor.
You can find that interview here. One of the points to which Mitrea is probably referring is this:
COOPER: His conversations regarding 9/11, which you said you were not there for but was made aware of a year ago when you were running, have you talked to him about that?

SEN. OBAMA: I told him that I profoundly disagreed with his positions. As I said before, he was on at that stage on the verge of retirement. And you make decisions about these issues and my belief was that given that he was about to retire that for me to make a political statement respecting my church at that time wasn't necessary.
Except the statement about 9/11 was made within days of the tragedy and he didn't retire until 7 years later. As Thomas Sowell says, you can't go to a church regularly and not be aware of what the pastor is saying about certain subjects, especially if they're controversial. And, as is obvious, Mitrea isn't buying his explanation. Why? Because to her, and to most people, it is simply improbable, unless Obama is the most blissfully unaware person on God's green earth.
Larry Ceisler, a Philadelphia political strategist, said the unvarnished look at race in America could help Obama in the suburban counties that surround Philadelphia, which carry an identity as a well-to-do, increasingly Democratic battleground.

“The speech plays only among the elites,” Ceisler said. “The average person on the street cares about the economy and the war and everyday life.”
But the average person on the street is more sophisticated than either politicans or pundits like to acknowledge, and they know BS when they hear it:
Glenn Peter, 54, a patron at Rauchut’s Tavern, said he heard finger pointing, not reconciliation. He took issue with Obama’s explanation that Wright’s observations of a racist America were reflecting the racial scars of his past.

“I don’t want to hear that you are blaming us for him saying this,” said Peter, who is white and worked at an auto parts factory until it was shuttered several years ago. Cutting ties with the church “would have been the best way to do it. That way, I could have been able to listen to him again.”
Again, much more powerful than Obama's "soaring rhetoric" were the YouTube videos. His attempt to persuade listeners that his continued attendance at church is acceptable while also claiming what was said in that church is unacceptable isn't selling among those with any common sense.
Michael Smerconish, the morning drive-time host on 1210 AM WPHT, a radio station with a conservative lineup, watched the speech in person Tuesday at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia. He appeared that night on MSNBC’s “Hardball” and called the speech “stunning.”

The comments from his listeners Wednesday morning were far different.

“It was a great speech,” one man said. “But what concerns me is that on the website for his church, they say they are unabashedly Afro-centric. … The underlying message is they are perpetual victims and they enjoy the victim status and by proxy, me as a white person is their victimizer. And as long as we perpetuate these divisions, we will never heal.”

Smerconish, in an interview later in the day, said voters needed to spend time absorbing the speech — “the most unmuzzled speech about race in my adult lifetime.”
But if you read the quotes, there's no further "absorption" going on. As pointed out by Smerconish's caller, those "lyin' eyes" see what they see, and what they see isn't jibing with what Obama is telling them. Obama can be the greatest racial healer in the world, not have a shred of racism in his body or psyche, but to the guy who looks at his church's website and watches as his preacher of 2 decades spews vile hate from the pulpit, that's very hard believe.

Said Smerconish in conclusion:
“So here the problem is Jeremiah Wright is conducive to a 10-second sound bite and the speech is not,” he said. “This is the problem. The Wright thing is perfect for our short attention spans, and this requires a little bit of attention. It takes some sitting down and settling in and not a lot of folks are willing to do that.”
Bingo. Although he grossly understates the Wright problem his point is solid. They've seen what they've seen. They obviously believe what they've seen. What they've seen has been acknowledged as vile and hateful.

What they haven't heard or seen is what they want to hear and see - an explanation as to why, given that level of hate was being preached in his church, Obama stayed there. They've heard his attempt at an explanation, but as should be obvious, it was rejected. And secondly, if the focus of the church was that of black anger and grievance, why did Obama choose it in the first place? He claims to reject that philosophy, but 23 years of attendence doesn't support his claim.

Until those sorts of questions are answered, YouTube will continue to trump "the speech" and no further "absorption" among the critical "Budweiser class" should be expected.

UPDATE: Rasmussen gives us the first indication of the impact of the Wright controversy and the speech:
Two days after Barack Obama gave the most important speech of his life, it remains unclear what impact the controversy over Pastor Jeremiah Wright will have on the race for the Democratic Presidential Nomination. However, early data suggests that it has already had a negative impact on Obama’s chances of winning the general election against John McCain. The good news for Obama is that his numbers have stopped falling since his speech on Tuesday. The bad news is that they haven’t bounced back.
And:
Obama’s favorable ratings have also fallen below the 50% mark since the world learned of his former Pastor. This can be seen as part of a larger trend that began shortly after Obama’s victories in the Wisconsin Primaries. At that time, just before Hillary Clinton began raising questions about her competitor, Obama was viewed favorably by 56% of voters nationwide. That had slipped to 52% just before Pastor Wright’s views became big news and to 47% just before Obama’s speech. Two days after the speech, Obama’s favorables remain at 48%.
As for Wright:
Just 8% hold a favorable opinion of Wright, while 58% hold an unfavorable view.
I think that's a fairly solid rejection of Wright and his views.
 
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Previous Comments to this Post 

Comments
Apparently, I respected Smerconish far more than I should have...
 
Written By: Scott Jacobs
URL: http://
You blockquote Carrie Budoff Brown as saying:
...although widely praised by the pundit caste and Obama supporters...
"pundit caste"—I like it.
 
Written By: tom scott
URL: http://
I’ve come to the conclusion that the American electorate is nowhere near as stupid as people think. People mistake "having a different ideology" for "being stupid" pretty routinely.

In practice, "having a different ideology" seems to explain things a lot better. Naked attempts to manipulate people in ways they don’t want to be manipulated don’t work. Manipulation is like hypnotism; you can only hypnotize someone into doing something they don’t really mind.
 
Written By: Jeremy Bowers
URL: http://www.jerf.org/iri/
"People are not happy with Obama," Gill said.

And it shows:
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has moved into a significant lead over Barack Obama among Democratic voters, according to a new Gallup poll.
 
Written By: Linda Morgan
URL: http://
The part I liked best in the speech was the part about ’to the untrained ear" - What’s the ’US of KKKA’ sound like to the trained ear?
 
Written By: Bandit
URL: http://
I liked how the talking heads keep telling me the Rev was just taken out of context. As if "The white man created HIV to commit genocide on the black man" had a context were it DIDN’T sound f*cking insane.
 
Written By: Scott Jacobs
URL: http://
In my opinion, Smerconish has it exactly backwards - the more deeply you delve into this speech the better I, or we, recognize that he answered to few questions, and attempted to deflect much of back onto us as Americans as "not getting it" and therefore "you’re the problem, not Wright". For those that think the speech was osaring and magnificent, or, the greatest speech about race in our time, then do this: read it. Don’t listen to it - read it.

I work all day, and have little access to television, and none to YouTube (can’t stream media). So the best I can do is read either exerpts from websites, or, if I’m lucky, a whole speech. In this case, The Atlantic.com - Marc Armbinder I think - had the whole speech posted. So I read it, instead of watching it, and I wondered from reading pundits and bloggers if we read the same thing. I then realized most or all had seen him give it, and then listened to the endless talking heads pontificate about it ad nauseum Tuesday and yesterday. I think now though, with a couple of days past, those paying attention are past the sizzle of Obama’s rhetorical skills, and are looking for the steak, which is turning out to be much less than expected. Not only less than expected but leaving you with almost more unanswered questions than before, and (to carry on the anology), a slight touch of nausea as you realize he was attempting to turn this around onto Americans as it’s "our fault still".
"It was a great speech," one man said. "But what concerns me is that on the website for his church, they say they are unabashedly Afro-centric. . The underlying message is they are perpetual victims and they enjoy the victim status and by proxy, me as a white person is their victimizer. And as long as we perpetuate these divisions, we will never heal."
This guy I think encapsulates the feeling I’m talking about.

Look, I get that we have a past that involves slavery for hundreds of years, and Jim Crow and didscrimination for a hundred more. I won’t disagree that discrimination still exists [although I will argue scope, and where the discrimination exists]. I don’t like that it’s part of our national past, as well as the subjugation and exploitation of the indians, the practiced discrimination against the Jews, Chinese and even Catholics. It happened, I won’t deny it, and I absolutely denounce it.

However, I must ask, what should I do about it? When you have men like Wright, preaching it, revelling in it, inciting it every Sunday for twenty plus years, how do you get past it? How am I, just a middle-class white man that wants to raise his family and try and do what’s right, help heal this racial divide? What can I do, since it’s fairly obvious that what the government has tried hasn’t worked? Because if it had, then men like Wright wouldn’t have more than a dozen in his flock. Instead he’s got thousands, including the only African-American US Senator, and the most powerful African-American in the country as members.

Can someone answer this for me?
 
Written By: Warrior Needs Food Badly
URL: http://
But if you read the quotes, there’s no further "absorption" going on. As pointed out by Smerconish’s caller, those "lyin’ eyes" see what they see, and what they see isn’t jibing with what Obama is telling them. Obama can be the greatest racial healer in the world, not have a shred of racism in his body or psyche, but to the guy who looks at his church’s website and watches as his preacher of 2 decades spews vile hate from the pulpit, that’s very hard believe.
It appears to me that at least some of what we’re seeing, here is that we’ve been lied to, too often before by people who have the ability to be soaring speakers, and have a certain, likable aura about them. IE; Blll Clinton for example. From that experience, the American people.... even some of the liberals... learned a hard truth about trusting someone who says the right thing at the right time... and may well be lying... and likely is.

(Rustle of clothing)
Oh, Hi, Mr. Jones. No, I wasn’t making out with your daughter.

Look, Mr. Jones, are you going to trust what I tell you, or what you saw?



 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitsblog.florack.us
I remember on Monday saying that I wondered if "the speech" would make things worse.

The real problem here is the media. They have done such a good job schilling for Obama and, earlier for Hiliary, that instead of immunizing these candidates by giving a slow dose of this stuff, the wait till they can’t hold it off any longer and then they kill the patient with a fatal dose of bad news.


On the other hand, some politicians seeme to be self-destructive as it looks like NY might need another governor.

Gov. Paterson says he may have used campaign cash for hotel hookup
 
Written By: Neo
URL: http://
Neo,

What the hell is in the water in NY???
 
Written By: Scott Jacobs
URL: http://
Paterson said he "believed" he’d reimbursed the campaign for the Quality Hotel stay with the woman. The News could find no record of such a repayment.

"If I didn’t, I will do it now," he said.


And this will make it all better? HUH? Aren’t we closing the barn door after all the animals have run out into the country side? I don’t want to know what next. Really, think back to how this would have been taken 50 yrs ago. Look at today. {shrug}
 
Written By: Cindy
URL: http://
And at the risk of straying from the topic, let’s consider Global Warming.
McQ ran a post this morning about how the oceans are actually COOLING.
So, are we going to trust what AlGore is telling us, or are we going to trust our lying eyes?

 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitsblog.florack.us
The real problem here is the media.
So, do you agree with Lynndie England?

If Obama had pro-actively dealt with this at the beginning of the campaign, it would have quickly turned into a non-issue. However, I think in doing that he might have alienated a certain amount of his base for being not "black" enough.

Of course, what he should have done all along, is work with his pastor to actually address the issues, and grievances the black community has.
 
Written By: Keith_Indy
URL: http://asecondhandconjecture.com
How about facts and common sense.
 
Written By: Cindy
URL: http://
Cindy,

I would be willing to let him slide on this, depending on the answer to the following question: How did we find out about the use of the funds, from Paterson, or from outside investigation?
 
Written By: Scott Jacobs
URL: http://
Scott,

Looks to be outside investigation prompted the confession. I could be wrong though. That is a very good question. Now I’ll have to research that.
 
Written By: Cindy
URL: http://
Even if people were just digging and didn’t have it yet, and he stepped forward, I’m more likely to believe the "I thought I paid the campaign back" and let him do it now.

After all, he did just get a raise. :)
 
Written By: Scott Jacobs
URL: http://
That’s a "cop out". Don’t you remember what you paid for or not? I don’t buy it. And I have issues with married people running around on each other too. But hey, today, it’s seems to be just another oops.
 
Written By: Cindy
URL: http://
I’ve come to the conclusion that the American electorate is nowhere near as stupid as people think.
(hijack)
Consider the first and second place finishers for US President for the last 20 - 30 years, not viewed with 20-20 hindsight but with what was known at the time:

1) Carter v Ford.
2) Reagan v Carter.
3) Reagan v Mondale
4) Bush v Dukakis
5) Clinton v Bush
6) Clinton v Dole
7) Bush v Gore
8) Bush v Kerry

I’d argue that, from a non-partisan perspective and with what was common knowledge at the time, the American people made the best choice. Each time.

For example, looking back it is hard to image anyone being worse than Carter, but in ’76 a fresh face and southern gov sure sounds better than an accidental President who pardend Nixon.

 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
Don’t you remember what you paid for or not? I don’t buy it. And I have issues with married people running around on each other too. But hey, today, it’s seems to be just another oops.
Oh, I’m definately no fan of what he did, but yeah, I do forget if I’ve paid something or not. I have to keep pretty close records/reminders, or I’m screwed.

I’m not giving a pass on the screwing around on his wife, but I would be inclined to let pass the funds...
 
Written By: Scott Jacobs
URL: http://
Scott,

Did you joke in your last entry? I would have to say much later here I believe I see one. Patterson did indeed get a raise...actually may of them and not all from his wife.
 
Written By: Cindy
URL: http://
but I would be inclined to let pass the funds...

Scott, the problem here is that infact, it is illegal.
 
Written By: Cindy
URL: http://
However, I must ask, what should I do about it?
Umm. Vote for Obama. Obviously.
 
Written By: Retief
URL: http://
So, are we going to trust what AlGore is telling us, or are we going to trust our lying eyes?
This line reminded me that the Kangaroo (Carol Burnett) in "Horton Hears a Who" seemed so very much like Hiliary Clinton, and it did her no favors.
 
Written By: Neo
URL: http://
Retief,

So I’ll take it that you’ll be having "the steamed crap with a side of burnt lionns head".

I wouldn’t trust that man running this country for anything in this world but that’s my opinion and you are entitled to yours as well.
 
Written By: Cindy
URL: http://
However, I must ask, what should I do about it?
Umm. Vote for Obama. Obviously.
Nice sarcasm....
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
Post updated with post-speech Rasmussen data.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.QandO.net
The good news for Obama is that his numbers have stopped falling since his speech on Tuesday. The bad news is that they haven’t bounced back.
But, But, I was assured this incident would not impact his poll numbers.
 
Written By: Keith_Indy
URL: http://asecondhandconjecture.com
YouTube will continue to trump "the speech" and no further "absorption" among the critical "Budweiser class" should be expected.
Leaving aside for the moment the question of how much time the budweiser class spends on YouTube, the viewing stats show the speech getting quite a lot more eyes than Wright.
 
Written By: Retief
URL: http://
There, there Keith, It’ll be fine, there’s still Hillary. And maybe he’ll make a come back and we can see all this sh*t again just in a different way. ;)
 
Written By: Cindy
URL: http://
I don’t want any more fine words from Obama. I want action. No, I don’t mean disowning Rev. Wright. I don’t care about him anymore. Wright’s retiring and he’s toast. He will be remembered henceforward as the anti-American bigot on those YouTube clips.

I want Obama to either leave that church or use the full force of his influence to transform it into a decent Christian community where hateful words like Rev. Wright’s will never again echo through the sound system, and the congregation will feel shame that they smiled, nodded, and clapped at such vicious, lying rhetoric.

But it won’t happen. I suspect that Trinity United is a black racist church deep down in its bones and so far we have only seen glimpses of that. Obama obviously knows this, and aside from whatever lack of character he suffered that the didn’t take action to oppose Rev. Wright, it would have been as pointless as complaining about prejudice at a Klan meeting.
 
Written By: huxley
URL: http://
Leaving aside for the moment the question of how much time the budweiser class spends on YouTube ...
As you might not have figured out, "YouTube" is simply a metaphor for "video" seen on TV, the net, cable, where ever.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.QandO.net
Umm. Vote for Obama. Obviously.
Hey Retief, I was asking a serious question.

Voting for "I’m not a crook" [I just know and deal with crooks that can get me houses on the cheap], "I hate earmarks" [although I got my wife’s hospital millions in earmarks, and she got a sweet raise!], "I’m not anti-American or a racist" [while I go to an anti-American racist’s church for twenty-two years] Obama is out of the question.

Anything else stupid you want add?
 
Written By: Warrior Needs Food Badly
URL: http://
I think MKH has a very good take on this whole issue...
I appreciate the nod to personal responsibility in the black community at the end of that paragraph, but it’s overshadowed by the fact that Obama refuses to condemn those who have risen to power preaching the systematic abdication of exactly that responsibility. Note that while Obama conceded that not all of whites’ race issues are entirely unjustified ("And yet, to wish away the resentments of white Americans, to label them as misguided or even racist, without recognizing they are grounded in legitimate concerns – this too widens the racial divide, and blocks the path to understanding."), he did not ask the black community to try to understand them.
 
Written By: Keith_Indy
URL: http://asecondhandconjecture.com
Warrior Needs Food Badly, I’m sorry. I thought you were asking a rhetorical question to introduce the tired old idea that the real racism in this country comes from black pastors like Wright.
 
Written By: Retief
URL: http://
Not "the real racism", Retief. Just plain ol’ racism.

Racism is racism, period. From whites, or from black, it still shows a closed mind of limited intelligence...
 
Written By: Scott Jacobs
URL: http://
If he isn’t I will.
 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitsblog.florack.us
Retief — I’ll chime in here to say that IMO the serious racism in this country currently is black racism. Pastors like Wright are just the tip of that particular iceberg.

Whites are bending so far backward not to be racist and not to notice black racism that a junior black senator with no executive, business, or military experience and no notable accomplishments is—or was until this past week—very close to becoming president of the United States.

And this junior senator, after spending twenty years as a member of a black racist church and accepting its black racist pastor as his mentor, presumes to campaign on a platform to heal the racial divisions in America.

It’s crazy. Yes, racism is a big problem in this country. Thanks to Senator Obama we understand that much better now.
 
Written By: huxley
URL: http://
Am I correct to understand that that there are no "operational ties" between Barack Obama and Hiliary Clinton ?
 
Written By: Neo
URL: http://
"I liked how the talking heads keep telling me the Rev was just taken out of context."
A "context" is the sum of cognitive elements that conditions that conditions the acquisition, validity or application of any item knowledge.

Bear in mind that the media idiotocracy could not state that — much less put it to practice — under threat of strangulation with their own microphone cables. (In this, however, they are not greatly different from the average person in the street.) In popular usage now, the word "context" is an escape-hatch. It’s a withdrawal into epistemic territory where anything can be made-up or (most often) summarily ignored on a whim, as it suits pragmatic purpose. Whenever you hear it, you would do well to suspect that something has is being willfully evaded by (and this is the really perverse part) appeal to "the whole story".
 
Written By: Billy Beck
URL: http://www.two—four.net/weblog.php
Warrior Needs Food Badly, I’m sorry. I thought you were asking a rhetorical question to introduce the tired old idea that the real racism in this country comes from black pastors like Wright.
Not entirely, it also comes from white liberals who are too scared/guilty to treat minorities as adults who are responsible for their actions just like anyone else.
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
Scott Jacobs, I counldn’t agree more. Racists can come in any flavor. But tu quoque isn’t a useful response to the question of race in the US. It is a way to avoid the question.
 
Written By: Retief
URL: http://
Retief, thank you for the reply, and apology accepted. I’m sorry for the bit of rudeness of my last post.

Understand though, I am sincere with the question. So, I must ask again, what do you think should be done to heal this racial divide?

And how is it possible to bridge this divide if men like Wright - whether black, white, hispanic, or whatever color - say those things that they say which are racist and yet we’re told that because you’re white you don’t and won’t ever get it, so just forget it? I think that’s what makes this pill so tough for most of us to swallow.
 
Written By: Warrior Needs Food Badly
URL: http://
Retief — It’s not "You too" to recognize that the greater problem of racism is one or the other. There is no doubt that white racism has been the greater problem in the past.

Raising tu quoque is a golden way to avoid the question of race in the US today. One of the main defects of Obama’s was this evasion.
 
Written By: huxley
URL: http://
And before we get too locked in on racism, let’s remember also the loudly anti-American views Wright was spraying.... views which Obama avoided addressing. The problems with Wights views are not limited to race relations.

 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitsblog.florack.us
Bithead — Excellent point. Actually I consider Wright’s anti-Americanism the more serious issue here since Obama is running for president.

As such, Obama is running for the job is to preserve, protect and defend America. He has little enough to record to judge him on that score—aside from his frequently fine words—but we do know that he failed to do so when America was unjustly and viciously attacked in Obama’s church.

And copping the beginning of his speech from Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address annoyed the heck out of me.
 
Written By: huxley
URL: http://
huxley, your commentary on this topic has been insightful and I look forward to reading your further thoughts, but I gotta tell you, that was the Preamble of the Constitution Obama annoyed you with.

As bad if not worse, huh?
 
Written By: Linda Morgan
URL: http://
Hi Linda — Thanks!
Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
Two hundred and twenty one years ago, in a hall that still stands across the street, a group of men gathered and, with these simple words, launched America’s improbable experiment in democracy
You be the judge.
 
Written By: huxley
URL: http://
The side-by-side comparison shows that, for all the media’s oohing and ahhing, Obama is a hack compared to Lincoln.
 
Written By: huxley
URL: http://
Oh. I should have known you didn’t mean the straight up "we the people" kickoff.
The side-by-side comparison shows that, for all the media’s oohing and ahhing, Obama is a hack compared to Lincoln.
Maybe: Eleven score and one year ago, with these simple words, a group of men brought forth in a hall across the street, an improbable experiment...

Nah, I’m still not feeling it.
 
Written By: Linda Morgan
URL: http://
Billy Beck:
In popular usage now, the word "context" is an escape-hatch. It’s a withdrawal into epistemic territory where anything can be made-up or (most often) summarily ignored on a whim, as it suits pragmatic purpose. Whenever you hear it, you would do well to suspect that something has is being willfully evaded by (and this is the really perverse part) appeal to "the whole story".
David Horowitz, rejecting the evasions:
There are many who already are explaining Obama’s failure to repudiate his racist pastor as a matter of context. American slavery, segregation and discrimination it is argued make black racism understandable. Nonsense. [...]

There is no context that would excuse black racism. Being a slave did not make Frederick Douglass a racist; living under segregationist rule did not make Martin Luther King a racist. The Jews have been the most persecuted people on earth for 2000 years yet Jews are in the forefront of every civil rights and human rights movement of our time and one would be hard put to identify a Jewish leader who is a hater of Christians or any other group that has persecuted them. We are not as a nation going to be able to put the legacy of race behind us if we perpetuate the double standard that is at the root of racism. Either we are all equal before the moral law or we are not. Either we repudiate the racists in our midst or we do not. Jeremiah Wright is a prophet of bigotry and hate. Barack Obama is a presidential candidate who will not repudiate bigotry if it comes in a black skin. This is unacceptable. If it is not, we are in deeper trouble as a nation than we suspected. Hate breeds hate. That is a law that no context can change.
 
Written By: Linda Morgan
URL: http://
Good link, Linda!

In fairness to Obama, Abraham Lincoln poses such a high standard that very few can match it.

But I must say that upon further reflection I find Obama’s speech deeply manipulative, evasive, and grating. Yet the adoration this speech has gotten:
...a speech worthy of Abraham Lincoln...I think this is the kind of speech I think first graders should see, people in the last year of college should see before they go out in the world. This should be, to me, an American tract. Something that you just check in with, now and then, like reading Great Gatsby and Huckleberry Finn.

—Chris Matthews
This is absurd. I have to wonder whether Matthews actually read Fitzgerald or Twain since high school, or if he read them at all, or Lincoln for that matter.
 
Written By: huxley
URL: http://
Heh.... I told you, you were good, Linda.
Remember?

 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitsblog.florack.us
Good link, Linda!
Yeah. Horowitz is an eloquent and unflinching ally of those better angels, whatever the context.

As for Obama’s speech, I found especially grating his insistent implication that we can’t really afford to question his decades of support for Wright, since such terrible crises as “climate change,” “crumbling schools” and – my favorite – “the corporation you work for” acting “for nothing more than a profit” all demand our immediate and unvexed attention.

Oh brother.
Heh.... I told you, you were good, Linda.
Remember?
Uh, not sure exactly, but thanks! and same to you.
 
Written By: Linda Morgan
URL: http://

 
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