Jay Reding.com

The Beginning of the End?

Power Line takes a look at Barack Obama’s lame response to the Rev. Jeremiah Wright scandal. If Rev. Wright had made a few questionable comments, I doubt this scandal would go very far. However, we are talking about years of anti-American and racially divisive rhetoric. Obama’s half-hearted effort at denial is keeping this story alive, and even some on the left are starting to get nervous.

For all the talk about how gifted a politician Barack Obama is, he’s never had to face a major scandal like this. If he keeps handling the media so brusquely, he’s going to have a serious problem on his hands.

If the sheen comes off Obama, it’s quite possible he could lose the nomination. The superdelegates want to win, and if Obama keeps making mistakes like this, there superdelegates are going to start having visions of all the attack ads that 527 groups will be running all throughout the general election season. If Obama doesn’t get the nomination, his supporters are going to go nuts—which will divide the Democratic Party and likely lead to President McCain. At the same time, if Obama can’t handle this scandal, how can he handle the heat of the general election?

More and more this election is starting to look like 1968, and Democrats have every reason to be worried about what will happen in Denver.

11 responses to “The Beginning of the End?”

  1. vbdietz says:

    Hi Jay,

    Someone asked about “a good conservative blog” and I thought of you. I stopped in to see what you’d been posting about and found your post about Obama and Rev. Wright. I just wanted to point out Obama’s post on Huffington Post which is quite clear about where he stands.

    On My Faith and My Church

    The pastor of my church, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, who recently preached his last sermon and is in the process of retiring, has touched off a firestorm over the last few days. He’s drawn attention as the result of some inflammatory and appalling remarks he made about our country, our politics, and my political opponents.

    Let me say at the outset that I vehemently disagree and strongly condemn the statements that have been the subject of this controversy. I categorically denounce any statement that disparages our great country or serves to divide us from our allies. I also believe that words that degrade individuals have no place in our public dialogue, whether it’s on the campaign stump or in the pulpit. In sum, I reject outright the statements by Rev. Wright that are at issue.

    […]

    Let me repeat what I’ve said earlier. All of the statements that have been the subject of controversy are ones that I vehemently condemn. They in no way reflect my attitudes and directly contradict my profound love for this country.

    With Rev. Wright’s retirement and the ascension of my new pastor, Rev. Otis Moss, III, Michelle and I look forward to continuing a relationship with a church that has done so much good. And while Rev. Wright’s statements have pained and angered me, I believe that Americans will judge me not on the basis of what someone else said, but on the basis of who I am and what I believe in; on my values, judgment and experience to be President of the United States.

    Now let’s see if John McCain will be as explicit as Barack Obama has been because Pastor Hagee’s many proclamations over the years have been just as outrageous.

    As for the guilt by association comment, might I point out that Jesus associated with thieves and prostitutes. I find it somewhat humorous that conservatives who presumably believe in grace and redemption are so eager to use the guilt by association attacks. Wasn’t that the Pharisees’ approach?

  2. Mark says:

    “Power Line takes a look at Barack Obama’s lame response to the Rev. Jeremiah Wright scandal.”

    There was unanimous consent on the news and all the evening talk shows last night that Obama could not have handled the Rev. Wright scandal more perfectly. Even if Obama had spit on a photograph of Wright in front of the cameras, you guys who have a vested interest in taking him down would say it was a “lame response”.

    And I remind you again. MCCAIN RECEIVED A FIRST-PERSON ENDORSEMENT TWO WEEKS AGO from a “religious leader” who said the Gulf Coast deserved Hurricane Katrina as God’s retribution for gays. Guilt-by-association works both ways you know. I don’t know how you Republicans put up with those gaping cuts that must always be on your flesh after throwing rocks in your glass houses.

    “even some on the left are starting to get nervous.”

    They have reason to be nervous. I could tell months ago that Obama was probably an unelectable candidate and that the relentlessly softball treatment he was receiving would ultimately do more harm than good. There was zero chance that an election with Barack Obama on the ticket would not become all about race, no matter how much Obama himself tried to distance himself from racial politics. Through little fault of his own, his candidacy will ultimately tear the country apart worse than it already has been with Bush.

    “If Obama doesn’t get the nomination, his supporters are going to go nuts—which will divide the Democratic Party and likely lead to President McCain.”

    Which they’d have every right to be. Hillary Clinton refuses to play by the rules everybody agreed to going in, and the only way she can win now is by stealing the election through kingmaking superdelegates. It is going to be 1968 all over again, allowing the Dems to once again snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

  3. Jay Reding says:

    Now let’s see if John McCain will be as explicit as Barack Obama has been because Pastor Hagee’s many proclamations over the years have been just as outrageous.

    Which he already did, some time ago. Bill Donohue of The Catholic League has already accepted McCain’s denouncement. Hagee endorsed McCain, not the other way around.

    Sorry, but the spin that McCain’s relationship with Hagee is even close to what went on between Wright and Obama is just silly. Wright was Obama’s personal pastor for years. The title of his book comes from one of Wright’s sermons. You want to tell someone with a straight face that Barack Obama attended Rev. Wright’s church for years and not once did he denounce the anti-American and racist content of Wright’s many speeches. That when Wright was accusing the government of manufacturing the AIDS virus that Obama was conveniently using the restroom?

    That kind of spin only makes things worse. Trying to turn the Hagee endorsement of McCain into an equal scandal is not only spin, but really bad spin.

    Barack Obama attended Rev. Wright’s church for years. He could not have failed to notice what his own pastor was saying, and he made Rev. Wright an advisor to his campaign. The left can spin as furiously as they want, but this is not going to go away. Obama’s lawyerly apologia for Wright doesn’t cut it either. Sen. Obama can’t come up with any rational explanation as to why only know he’s discovering what his friend and pastor actually believes, and it takes a special kind of willful blindness not to see the problem here. Obama could not have failed to know what Rev. Wright was saying week after week at his own church—and knowing Rev. Wright’s radical views, Sen. Obama still chose to make him part of his campaign.

    All this spin, all the media flacks trying desperately to defuse a looming scandal: Barack Obama is starting to look more and more like a more eloquent version of Hillary Clinton…

  4. Mark says:

    If I was Barack Obama getting hammered with this, I wouldn’t let a single day pass between now and November without reminding voters that John McCain graciously accepted a first-person endorsement from a man who HE KNEW called the pope a whore and said that Hurricane Katrina was God’s punishment on the Gulf Coast for the gay culture in New Orleans. At the very least, he’ll succeed in making the battle-of-guilt-by-associations a draw. The Republicans prove their desperation by waging a faith-based war on Obama’s pastor. When it comes to kooky religious zealots handing out endorsements, I’ll bet McCain wins them by a 10-1 margin over Obama between now and November.

  5. Jay Reding says:

    Let Obama try. For one, it’s a dumb argument to make. “I know you are, but what am I?” doesn’t usually work past the third grade. For another, it looks as desperate as it is. McCain didn’t go to Hagee’s church every day for years. McCain didn’t hire Hagee as an advisor to his campaign. McCain’s book wasn’t based on a concept from one of Hagee’s sermons. Hagee didn’t baptize any of McCain’s children.

    All of those things are true about Obama and Wright. Moreover, McCain immediately and unequivocally denounced Hagee’s comments. Obama doesn’t have that luxury: their relationship spans years.

    Of course, if Obama does that, say goodbye to Mr. Uniter. Forget Mr. I’m-Above-The-Partisan-Fray. Forget Mr. Healing, Mr. Hope, Mr. Untouchable. Senator Barack Obama will be just another politician, and by hitting back all he becomes is Hillary Clinton with a more vocal fanbase.

    By all means, let the Obama campaign push back—because if they do, it’s only going to hurt them even more.

  6. Mark says:

    “it’s a dumb argument to make.”

    Why is that? If Republicans really want to choose a battle over which candidate gets the support of the most kooky pastors who make outrageous comments, that’s a battle the Democrats should welcome. Hard to imagine a more clearcut case of throwing rocks inside a glass house.

    “Moreover, McCain immediately and unequivocally denounced Hagee’s comments.”

    AFTER receiving an onstage endorsement from the man, having known his past obscene comments.

    This whole debate reeks of desperation and hypocrisy (that’s not to say that waging war against a flamboyant black preacher won’t be effective) when you consider how many of us have priests, pastors, and rabbis whose sermons we listen to, but whose lifestyles and/or worldviews we’re either not fully aware of or do not condone. Since the Boston archdiocese was responsible for covering up the molestation of hundreds of little boys, should that have disqualified Massachusetts native John Kerry from being elected President in 2004? Since Michelle Bachmann’s church views the pope as the antichrist, should her 30% Catholic district categorically reject her candidacy based on those religious teachings? And we won’t even get into Mitt Romney’s religion believing in magic underwear and the Garden of Eden being Jackson County, Missouri.

    If the Republican nominee was in the identical position as Obama, you would be breathless in your outrage towards the “liberal media” making the parallel…so don’t insult everybody’s intelligence by trying to sell this snake oil elixir from your covered wagon.

  7. adb67 says:

    Mark, the problem goes deeper than Wright. Obama has ties to individuals (see william Ayers) who have antiamerican pasts. None of that helps him. It doesnt make him antiamerican. What it does do, is put into question the judgement and credibility of a candidate with a very short resume. I want to reference the Geraldine Ferraro comments for the simple reason that she was somewhat correct. If Obama was a white candidate, where would he be now? Case in point, John Edwards, the white candidate had a far better resume than Obama. He was a far better candidate, but Obama’s race most certainly played a huge role in attracted a core of democratic voters that Edwards could not. Personally, I still think the Dem’s blew it. Edwards bested every GOP candidate in the polls. He was a far more polished and reputable candidate. McCain will win becuase Democrats chose glamour over substance…

  8. Mark says:

    adb67, I am not disagreeing that this is likely to be a major problem for Obama, but I contend it would be less of one if for every reminder of Obama’s ties to a hotheaded black pastor, we had a similar reminder of the numerous hatemongering white pastors patting John McCain on the backside every few days.

    Obama’s color is an asset to him in some ways and a liability in others. For every New York liberal supporting him out of “white guilt”, there is most likely an Ohio conservative voting against him based on racial prejudices (or religious prejudices for the millions who are likely convinced he’s a Muslim).

    I’m half with you on John Edwards. I believe Obama is a better politician than John Edwards (a guy campaigning on “Two Americas” won’t get away with $400 haircuts). Still, he would theoretically put more states in play than Obama, but again, mostly because of race, which at the end of the day I believe is more liability than asset, if not necessarily in Democratic primaries.

  9. adb67 says:

    Mark, ya know why the $400 haircut argument and multimillion dollar mansion argument never flew with me against Edwards? Bill Gates may be the 2nd richest man in America, but he has every right to campaign for charitable causes. he has devoted his life and the majority of his long term fortune to helping them. I dont care if Edwards lived in a huge house and got a $400 haircut, he walked the walk by dedicating himself to the cause of poverty and middle income america…..there isnt another candidate who can make that claim with any credibility……al three , Hillary, Obama and McCain have not a clue the pain middle and lower income families are feeling right now.

  10. Mark says:

    adb, I concur with you in regards to Edwards. Actions speak louder than words. But I know just from personal interactions with an otherwise friendly audience that alot of would-be Edwards supporters wrote him off as a phony. Ultimately, I think they’d vote for him if he was the nominee, but either way, he flunked Politics 101 by living a lifestyle so far removed from his campaign message.

    And I don’t necessarily agree with you that Obama doesn’t have a clue about the pain in middle and lower-income families. He spent much of his adult life fighting directly on behalf of unemployed steelworkers in the Chicago area.

  11. adb67 says:

    Mar, I did have the pleasure of meeting John Edwards at an event, and did have the opportunity to speak with him for about 15 minutes…..I liek to think I am a good judge of character. There was nothing phony about his honest concern and desire to help middle and low income Americans……remember I am a moderate republican (conservative in many respects though). He was the only candidate I honestly respected and admired…..I really dont have all that much confidence in McCain or the others. Unfortunately this was a popularity contest not an election of honest principles and issues. It it had been than the candidates likely would have been Edwards and Romney….