Racism Review: The Meaning of Wright in the Obama Campaign

Racism Review

The Meaning of Wright in the Obama Campaign

What does it mean that white Americans are (apparently) willing to elect Barack Obama, a black politician, but still unwilling to engage the discourse of race and discuss continued, un-equalized race relations between people of color and whites and the long, on-going history of white racism in America? How is this socio-psychological paradox explained?

At the center of this paradox of race and politics is Reverend Dr. Jeremiah Wright (image fromRobinDude via Flickr). I agree with Joe that Wright is “actually an American prophet, indeed a prophetic hero who is not afraid to condemn this country’s racist government actions, past and present.” But I would stress that Wright’s demonization andcomplete marginalization, not just by mainstream media and Republican circles, but also by Obama and the Democratic party, demonstrates a much deeper problem in American race relations and in ways that Americans understand and deal with the ‘race problem.’ Obama’s distancing himself from Wright and categorical condemnation of Wright’s social philosophies about American government was clearly stated. One hopes this was only a temporary, strategic political move to reach a powerful office (wouldn’t be the first time a politician momentarily masked their ideological position to win an election) and that, in fact, Obama will champion policies that amend the disempowerment and disenfranchisement of blacks and other nonwhite minorities.

Whatever is behind Obama’s decision to sever his relationship with Wright, the fact remains that he was forced to denunciate Wright and suppress Wright’s message about the history of white racism in order to maintain political viability in American politics, illustrating that mainstream America is not yet willing to seriously address the murky, taboo issue of race. As Obama’s society-sanctioned sacrifice of Wright demonstrates, both republicans and democrats—Fox News and MSNBC—and the American public at large call for Obama to disassociate with and denounce Wright’s unsettling message.

BoycotOprahSponsors: Daily Dish API | Claims to be airing Michelle Obama Racist Tape today


Daily Dish API | Claims to be airing Michelle Obama Racist Tape today

[Editor’s note:  this feels like that movie Ground Hog Day. ]

API Counsel in the final stages in his arrangements to have Michelle Obama tapes aired

by africanpress on Nov 4, 2008

Notice to cancel the deal to air the Michelle Obama tape was send yesterday the 3rd of November to Fox News Network’s Senior Counsel Cassidy. API expected a reaction from Fox N.N but got none and that opens the way for API to look for other means to have the tape aired.

Now that API has got no reaction  from Fox News network, it is to be assumed that they are not ready to act tonight. API Counsel is now in the final stages in his arrangements to try and have Michelle Obama tape aired one way or another as soon as it is practically possible in collaboration with willing partners that he is now negotiating with as we go to press.

For us in API, we now have to leave things to the lead counsel who, together with his colleagues, will take all necessary steps so that the tape is released within the legal framework and in accordance with the laws of the United States.

After we issued the last bulletin informing the readers that API was cancelling the deal, some readers who would like to see the tape released immediately have been very critical on us. It is very important that when one is releasing sensitive information there is absolute need to be very careful because of the repercussions that may follow.

We should not forget that politics is a very deadly game and can hit back very hard on those who have information that may lead to disqualification of ambitious and non-ambitious candidates.

API, even through the pressure mounted has been high, had to thread very carefully. The tape contains highly sensitive information and what API and the legal advisers have been doing the whole day is to ensure API does not get hurt in the end or faced with many lawsuits to be initiated by those affected with the contents of the tape.

The fact that the legal team wants API to thread very carefully is because API risks being sued if when releasing the information is not careful enough in blocking any loopholes that enable those mentioned in the tape to take legal action.

This however, does not mean the tape will not be released. The people who do not want to believe,

– that API is speaking the the truth,

– that API has had agreement with Fox since the 28th of last month,

– that API is not lying to the readers, fooling any one, or trying to scam any persons, are at liberty to leave the site instead of complaining all the time and accusing API of malice.

Nobody is holding the legs of those complaining forcing them to come to the site here. Readers have a right to choose where to get information and if some readers do not believe in us and are only interested to call us Fraudsters, scammers and other dirty names, such people know only too well that they can decide not to visit our site at all. We will not miss them, if they do not visit this site at all, because they must not assume that their presence here is giving us any financial gains. Instead, we have to endure disrespect and abuse all the time, even after allowing non-moderation commenting system.

Some have become professional abusers on the site and some are professional doubters. When people call for the release of the tape, we understand them, but they should understand us as well when we tell them that we have to do so in a manner that does not kill API. To accuse us is that we may have written a letter to a non-existing Fox News Counsel is unbelievable.

We have communication between API and Fox News Network headquarters. If there was no truth in all this, we would have called it quit. The readers may become witnes to all the correspondence from the 15th October to the 1st of November between API and Fox News Network if the need arises.

To continue abusing me and calling me all kinds of names on earth does not make me stop what I am focused on. Those writing bad about me must now get it in their heads that calling me all sorts of names will not change the person I am and will not take my friends who know me away from me, because what is written by some readers about me is simply an attempt to discredit this site, a thing that they will not succeed.

I am not able to update the readers every hour now that the lawyers are working on the Case, but I will not relent until the tape is made public. In the finality of all this, API may end up asking for support from you, but for now the legal team have the control of things and they may not need any help from any one in putting their act together in seeing through what is to be done as immediate as possible.

My silence does not mean ignoring those who support API at this moment. It is just that the legal team have decided that they do the job because they are of the opinion that all I do is releasing a lot of inside information that may be used against API.

I would like to inform those who are against me and API, that when all this is over, despite their abuses, name calling and all the negative they have directed towards me, I will still remain here in API executing my duties deligently because I am a strong-will person who does not get shaken easily because I draw my strength from God who loves you and me.

Newsweek: Howard Fineman: Campaign Avoided Racial Warfare

Newsweek: Howard Fineman

Campaign Avoided Racial Warfare

You knew it was going to happen. I’m only surprised it took so long. 

In Pennsylvania, Sen. John McCain’s must-win blue state, local Republicans now are up with a TV ad linking Sen. Barack Obama to his former pastor, the corrosively race-based Rev. Jeremiah Wright.

The ad plays Wright’s familiar “no, no, no” and “KKK” clips from incendiary sermons, and asks how Obama could ever have countenanced the guy. In fact, Obama no longer does. The split was final. 

The McCain campaign distanced itself from the ad, insisting that they didn’t approve of–but could not prevent–the spot being aired.

But here is the good news, and I don’t mean for either campaign but for the entire country: so far as I know, the ad was the first of its kind to be sponsored by a state party or other above-ground entity.

Obama’s longtime relationship with Wright–and especially the Illinois senator’s shaded and reluctant characterizations of it–may be valid topics of debate. But McCain and the GOP largely have stayed away from the subject. 

And that is a good thing. There are plenty of other topics to discuss.

I am willing–we all should be willing–to give McCain the benefit of the doubt on his motives. True, he voted against the Martin Luther King holiday a quarter century ago, and, in this year’s South Carolina primary, he allied himself with some of the same operatives who savaged him on racial grounds (over his adoptive daughter from Bangladesh) when he ran against George W. Bush in 2000.

But I know McCain and know that he does not have a racist molecule in his body, and that he is no fan, at heart, of the kind of politics that pokes at racial or religious sore spots in someone else’s life.

AmSpec Blog: Obama Surrogate Says Obama Lacked “Political Courage” To Leave Wright’s Church

AmSpec Blog

Obama Surrogate Says Obama Lacked “Political Courage” To Leave Wright’s Church

Pamela Geller of Atlas Sruggs captured this video of New York Rep. Jerrold Nadler, arguing with Jews at a Boca Raton, Florida synagoguge. Nadler, who made the visit to make the case for Obama, argued that Obama joined Trinity United Church for political reasons because it was the largest church in his Senate district, and “he didn’t have the political courage to make the statement of walking out” once he had joined, even though he didn’t share the views of Rev. Wright. It’s actually an explanation that I think is a lot closer to the truth than what Obama and most of his defenders have argued, but quite shocking that Nadler would make that argument so close to the election. In another clip, he declared, “Let Russia invade [Georgia]. It’s right next to them.”

Talking Points Memo: Republican Mailer In Ohio Targets Wright, Says Obama’s “Friends” Are “Hostile To America”

Talking Points Memo

Republican Mailer In Ohio Targets Wright, Says Obama’s “Friends” Are “Hostile To America” 


The Republican Jewish Coalition — which recently hit Pennsylvania mailboxes with a mailer implying a vote for Obama could produce a second Holocaust — is now hitting Ohio with a wave of incendiary new mailers that directly target his association with Reverend Wright.

“Barack Obama’s friends and advisors: Pro-Palestinian, Anti-Israel, even hostile to America,” reads the mailer, adding that his associates harbor “anti-Israel views” that are “dangerous, naive and reckless.”

A second mailer attacks Obama on Israel with a picture of the Wailing Wall, a holy site whose use in a political attack could prove offensive to many Jews.

Ironically, both mailers, which are presumably targeted to Jewish voters, landed in the Columbus-area mailbox of Cliff Schecter, the author of the anti-McCain book “The Real McCain.” Schecter sent them in to us.

Here’s the Wright mailer, with the Reverend’s photo squarely in the center, above the words “hostile to America” (click on the images to enlarge):


And here’s the Wailing Wall mailer, which hits Obama for supposedly backtracking on his support for an undivided Jerusalem, a claim strongly disputed by the Obama camp:


Racism Review: Smearing Dr. Wright: White Fear and Republican Leaders, Again

Racism Review

Smearing Dr. Wright: White Fear and Republican Leaders, Again

Reportedly Senator McCain has said he will not use the Dr. Jeremiah Wright “story” against Senator Obama, but some Republican Party operatives (listed as the Republican Federal Committee of Pennsylvania) in Pennsylvania have ignored that inclination and are now running anti-Obama attack ads highlighting Dr. Wright. CNN has had this weak story up today:

. . . a last-minute television ad that calls attention to Barack Obama’s relationship with the Rev. Jeremiah Wright. “If you think you could ever vote for Barack Obama, consider this: Obama chose as his spiritual leader this man,” the ad’s narrator says before clips of Wright’s controversial statements are shown. “Does that sound like someone who should be president?” the ad asks.

The CNN story meekly continues with this:

Sen. John McCain has repeatedly said he does not believe Obama’s relationship to Wright should be an issue — to the ire of some Republicans who feel it raises questions about the Illinois senator’s judgment.

McCain deserves some credit for this if it is true, and apparently it is, or was. Governor Palin has ignored it lately, and presumably McCain could stop her:

“[Obama] sat in the pews for 20 years and heard Rev. Wright say some things that most people would find a bit concerning. But again that is John McCain’s call,” Palin told reporters. The state GOP … defended airing it. “We feel that it is necessary that the American people remember that Obama sat in a church and listened to this man preach hate for many, many years,” said a statement on its Web site. “What does that say about his judgment? Do we want the next president of the United States to have spent years listening to hateful rhetoric without having the good judgment to walk out?”

I pointed out the misrepresentations in such nonsense here in early April. Let us look again briefly at Dr. (notice the media and white politicians rarely give him his correct title) Jeremiah Wright’s famous (and old) sermon with the famous statements that ABC News first spread like wildfire. Five years ago, Dr. Wright gave a 40-minute sermon discussing the racist history o

Politico: What if Wright played a bigger role?


What if Wright played a bigger role?

Castellanos, a Romney adman during the GOP primary, noted that McCain could have used Obama’s attendance at Trinity at the start of the general election campaign to reinforce his larger argument that Obama avoids taking hard stands in politics and beyond. 

“He sits in a church pew for 20 years because he wants to become part of that Chicago community,” noted Castellanos, sounding out the message. “He does not raise his voice. He goes along in silence. He votes present.” 

Howell said the most damning line of attack would have been to contrast Wright’s fiery sermons with Obama’s conciliatory speeches, raising questions about just what Obama believes. 

“The most credible ad you can make is one where the person’s own remarks indict them,” said Howell. “I would have as much real audio and video as possible to lend credibility to my argument.” 

Added Forti: “Tell the facts, and let the viewer draw the conclusion.” 

It’s a commercial that, after Wright’s sermons emerged this spring, seemed a no-brainer to many on the right. The belief, though unstated publicly, was that white voters would be frightened by clips of a controversial black pastor and the images would cloud Obama’s soothing, post-racial aura. 

Heading into Election Day, it appears from the final round of pre-election polls that the vast majority of the remaining undecided voters in battleground states are white. They are keeping Obama below the telltale 50 percent mark in many state polls and represent McCain’s last best hope to pull an upset. These fence-sitters may not ultimately support Obama — but they also may not be roused enough to even vote for either option. 

Could Wright have been enough to drive them en masse to McCain? 

Rick Wilson, a Republican media consultant, crafted the Wright ad currently being aired by the National Republican Trust. It is replete with some of the pastor’s most inflammatory statements and serves as a reminder of what could have been. While airing in some key states and on national cable, it didn’t go on the air until the final days of the campaign and has not stood out amid a flurry of other political commercials, nor gotten the sort of media attention as the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth in 2004. 

“The dog is barking,” Wilson insists, ”but the story is that it took an outside group to step up and smack Obama in his smug mouth.” 

It may be too little, too late. 

Or, more significantly, in an election that turned more on economic issues than the character of the candidates to a degree not seen since 1992, this dog may not have been heard even if it had howled.

Asked Sunday night about McCain’s decision not to touch Wright, campaign manager Rick Davis acknowledged that many in the party’s grassroots would liked to have seen them use the pastor as an issue. 

“You’ll never find a single person out there who thinks that that was a good idea who is part of our coalition,” he said. 
As for what he thought of the decision to stay away from Wright, Davis said: “I love it. I think it’s exactly what John McCain is all about. I don’t need him to win.”

Wall Street Journal: New Ads Focus on Obama’s Ties to Jeremiah Wright

Wall Street Journal

New Ads Focus on Obama’s Ties to Jeremiah Wright

Rev. Jeremiah Wright re-entered the campaign conversation this weekend as two new ads — one by a Republican 527 group and the other by the Pennsylvania Republican Party — focused on Barack Obama’s former pastor.

Obama made several efforts to distance himself from his former pastor during the Democratic primary, renouncing his pastor and, later, leaving Trinity United Church of Christ. John McCain insisted that he would not use Wright’s more incendiary comments about race and American foreign policy in negative attacks, and until now, he has succeeded in keeping the Chicago cleric out of the campaign.

“If you think you could ever vote for Barack Obama, consider this: Obama chose as his spiritual leader this man,” a narrator says before a picture of Wright flashes on the screen. The 30-second spot plays a series of controversial remarks by the pastor and describes Obama’s relationship with him.

The ad asks: “Does that sound like someone who should be president?”

In a statement to PolitickerPA.com, which reported the story, state party chair Robert Gleason Jr.defended the ad: “The media has allowed Barack Obama to escape public scrutiny on countless issues and has been silent on Obama’s connection with the Rev. Jeremiah Wright since the Primary Election. When Pennsylvanians vote for a president, they should have a full picture of that candidate’s character, including the people they chose to intimately align themselves with for many years.”

Separately, an independently funded 527 group, the National Republican Trust PAC, said it had put $2.5 million into a Wright-themed ad running in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Florida, all key battleground states that McCain will likely need to win on Tuesday. Like the other spot, the ad serves as a Wright highlight reel, and a voiceover in the ad says, “For 20 years, Obama never complained, until he ran for president.”

NY Times Caucus: In Pennsylvania, Wright and Clinton Remarks Are Revived

NY Times Caucus

In Pennsylvania, Wright and Clinton Remarks Are Revived

 Here come the final Republican attacks on Senator Barack Obama, authorized and unauthorized, in the last 48 hours of the race.

The Pennsylvania Republican Party has cut a television ad – which the McCain campaign said was unauthorized — reminding people here that Senator Barack Obama’s former pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, had said “God damn America” in a sermon.

The ad, titled “Judgment,” juxtaposes images of Mr. Obama and Mr. Wright, noting that the Democratic presidential candidate chose the Chicago preacher to baptize his two daughters. A narrator says: “Barack Obama, he chose as his pastor a man who blamed the US for the 9-11 attacks. Does that sound like someone who should be president?”

Senator Obama distanced himself from the pastor during the primaries after some of the his more controversial remarks were made public. He also quit his membership at Chicago’s Trinity United Church of Christ where Rev. Wright preaches.

“Well, we wish they wouldn’t do Wright ads, but as McCain said back in the spring, he can’t be the referee of every ad,’’ Charlie Black, a senior adviser to the McCain campaign, said on a flight here from Philadelphia. “People know how he feels. If they cared what he felt about the issue, they wouldn’t run the ad.’’

It was unclear how often the Pennsylvania Republicans were able to broadcast the ads, and the party was raising money on its web site to try to keep them on the air. Robert A. Gleason Jr., the state party chairman, said in a statement on the party’s website: “Why did Barack Obama associate with a man who has clear disdain for our country?’’

NY Times Caucus Blog: The Ad Campaign: Unauthorized Ad Reminds Voters About a Certain Pastor

NY Times Caucus Blog

The Ad Campaign: Unauthorized Ad Reminds Voters About a Certain Pastor

PRODUCER Not provided.

THE SCRIPT A narrator says: “If you think you could ever vote for Barack Obama, consider this — Obama chose as his spiritual leader, this man.” The Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr.: “Not God bless America, God damn America.” Narrator: “He also picked Wright to baptize his children.” Mr. Wright: “The U.S. of K.K.K.A.” Narrator: “Barack Obama, he chose as his pastor a man who blamed the U.S. for the 9/11 attacks. Does that sound like someone who should be president?” Mr. Wright: “God damn America.”

ON THE SCREEN The advertisement opens with a profile photograph of Senator Obama followed by one of Mr. Wright. Then the advertisement cuts to the sermon Mr. Wright gave in which he declared, “God damn America.” More images juxtaposing Mr. Obama and Mr. Wright lead into a clip of a second fiery sermon by the preacher. The advertisement ends with a shot of Mr. Obama next to the words, “Judgment to Lead? No.”

ACCURACY The advertisement includes short excerpts of Mr. Wright’s most incendiary remarks and accurately notes that he was Mr. Obama’s pastor and the man who baptized his children. After Sept. 11, 2001, Mr. Wright delivered a sermon suggesting that the terrorist attacks were a consequence of American foreign policy. But there is no evidence that Mr. Obama was present for this or the other sermons cited. And it omits the fact that Mr. Obama began distancing himself from Mr. Wright months ago after some of the preacher’s controversial remarks surfaced. Mr. Obama delivered a speech in late April denouncing some of Mr. Wright’s statements as “divisive and destructive.” He withdrew his membership at Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, where Mr. Wright served as pastor for more than three decades.

SCORECARD This last-minute effort by the Republican Party to bring up the Wright issue is aimed at the crucial white voters Mr. Obama must court to win an important state like Pennsylvania. Though some voters may be aware that Mr. Obama severed ties with Mr. Wright during the primaries, the spot’s aim is to keep the controversy front and center and to plant doubts in the minds of voters considering backing Mr. Obama. Mr. McCain once indicated he would avoid using his opponent’s ties to Mr. Wright as a line of attack but since has been less rigid on the point. On Sunday, Charlie Black, an adviser to Mr. McCain, confirmed that the campaign did not authorize the advertisement and wished that the party had not made it.