A conservatory of Ldotter blogs.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

For the single ladies. . .

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. . .who need to be reminded to lock their doors.

The Church of Oprah. . .

. . .appears to have nailed a list of grievances to Jeremiah Wright's door, via Newsweek. Cynic that I am, though, I can't help wondering if this is a genuine reformation, or a very clever attempt at inoculation, known to all parties involved.

On one hand, you have Jeremiah Wright in 2002 speaking to Christianity Today, stating that when he encountered her in social situations, she would tell others, "Here's my pastor!" On the other hand, friends of Obama went to pains to draw a distinction between the rationale behind Oprah's decision to leave the church and Obama's decision to stay:
"[His] reasons for attending Trinity were totally different,'' said one campaign adviser, who declined to be named discussing the Illinois senator's sentiments. "Early on, he was in search of his identity as an African-American and, more importantly, as an African-American man. Reverend Wright and other male members of the church were instrumental in helping him understand the black experience in America. Winfrey wasn't going for that. She's secure in her blackness, so that didn't have a hold on her.''

On yet another hand, we have Oprah's friends seeking to establish further distance between the Oprah-Obama tandem and Jeremiah Wright, stating:
"She felt that Wright would never do anything to hurt a man who looked up to him as a father figure," said her close friend. "She also never thought he'd intentionally hurt someone trying to make history and change the lives of so many people.''

Given the fact that the Wright quote is of a certain vintage, it's hard to say whether or not the sting still lingers for either of them. It could very well be that there's been a meeting of the minds since then, with Obama's candidacy in mind, and that there's an agreed-upon course that all signed onto when Wright inevitably became an issue. The cynic in me who has spent entirely too much of his life observing the antics of the politically ambitious tends to lean in that direction.

At the same time, it's hard for me to believe that Obama would have gone to the trouble of giving a major address on racial issues like the one he gave in Philadelphia, wherein he flatly refused to disown Wright and even compared him to his own grandmother, unless he still felt some sense of loyalty to him. Could it be that his campaign felt that to immediately disown Wright would have alienated the black community more than it would if he had made an initial show of support, only to have Wright theatrically undermine his campaign, giving him the perfect opportunity to rid himself of the troublesome preacher?

Oh, to hell with it all. There's no point in trying to read all these people's minds, really. But, what I do know is that my original inclination to give Barack Obama the benefit of the doubt when it comes to the most cynical exercises in modern politics has been utterly destroyed.

And, for the first time in my life, I was interested in what Oprah Winfrey had to say about something.

Carl Bernstein's broadside. . .

. . .against Hillary Clinton today is pretty revealing. It not only shares a few intriguing details about the former first lady, but it also reveals a tickle of the truth that those of us on the right have been trying like hell to shine a light on for many years. Now that Hillary is running as the latter-day Scoop Jackson to some degree of success, it seems at least one of her erstwhile media allies feels sufficiently betrayed to stop sitting on a few facts that were, at least according to him, irrelevant up until now.

Meanwhile, Joe Conason is putting on a valiant show of loyalty to who might possibly be the only man in politics who exceeds him in intellectual squalor, longtime Clintonista Sidney Blumenthal. It appears that Sid has been taking heat from his fellow travelers of late due to his legendary ability to fling political scat into the whirring, oscillating fan that is the Beltway press. It's an old habit of Blumenthal's, says Joe, whose countenance never strays from that of an old man in a diner who has just shoveled a spoonful of cold gravy into his gob.

According to Conason, Blumenthal is being tarred in a manner similar to that in which Bernstein claims Obama is, i.e., the guilt-by-association pule that nearly everyone on the left seems hasty to employ these days. It seems that some on the left shouldn't be angry about what Sid Vicious has been sending out in his blast emails so much as they ought to be outraged about the recipients who made use of materials sent out by supposedly other Clinton campaign aides, e.g., The American Spectator and WorldNetDaily.

You see, according to Conason, Blumenthal's communications should have all been considered confidential, since he himself replies to the emails with the occasional "mocking jab" which he didn't feel in any way obligated to report to the public. And, since the people who reported the materials that Blumenthal distributed weren't listed among the intended recipients, Sid shouldn't be blamed for the fact that they reported on them. After all, how could he have known that someone might use the "forward" function upon receipt of such juicy tidbits? (Then again, how does Mr. Conason know that Blumenthal didn't "BCC" these materials to offending journalists like Jake Tapper and Joe Klein? Hmmmm?)

Ah, but this is the world of Democrat politics, replete with all the titillation and slimy associations that it implies. In a just world, this all ends in a Shakespearean flourish, when Barack Obama turns to Hillary, and says, "Come, let's away to prison. We two alone will sing like birds I' th' cage."

Thursday, May 01, 2008

The Messiah's pariah. . .

. . .took it on the chin today, when Northwestern University yanked his honorary degree from the lectern. That has to smart, given the standards of your typical university, and Northwestern's stellar reputation as a haven of leftwing thought.

Aside from the implications with regard to the broader left, you have to wonder what this all means for the so-called "black community". That, actually, has been the most troubling aspect of the whole uproar. Since Obama has distanced himself from Wright this week, there's been considerable gnashing of teeth among the black left punditry. Witness the article by Mary Mitchell to which I linked last night.

What offended me, aside from the outright politico-racial whorishness that the entire column embodied, was the way in which Mitchell sought to draw a dividing line between the "black community" as it is represented by Jeremiah Wright, and the rest of the world. Not only did she take offense at the notion that "white punditry" might dare utter a disparaging word about what is said within black churches, she seemed to be trying to make the case that anyone who was offended by Jeremiah Wright's unmitigated idiocy was attacking the entire "black community".

Taken to its logical conclusion, Mary Mitchell's defense of Wright seems to be based on the fatuous notion that, as a representative of the "black community", Jeremiah Wright is off-limits with regard to criticism. That being the case, it doesn't matter whether or not you're a member of the dastardly "white punditry" class. You can be black and still find yourself on the outs with Mitchell. You will have "sold out" the community.

What it amounts to is racial McCarthyism. It's a way of bullying dissenters into acquiescence. And, if Barack Obama doesn't take a firm stand against the kind of filthy stupidity that Mary Mitchell and others are propagating in an attempt to shield the radical black left from any form of criticism, it will be an indication of just how weak a leader we can expect to have should he somehow be elected to the White House.

The time to rid political culture of the influence of the likes of Mitchell has come. Until she and her ilk (Tavis Smiley, Cornel West, Michael Eric Dyson, et. al.) are honestly and frankly challenged before the eyes of all Americans in their moronic assertions of black infallibility , they will continue to be a noxious presence in the quest for liberty and justice for all.

I daresay that anyone who has had occasion to engage me on matters of racial politics, particularly over the last few years when such matters seem to have taken on a more prominent role in political discussions, will agree that I'm not one who is quickly stirred to anger by people who choose to celebrate their cultural uniqueness. I frequently go out of my way to impute the most innocuous of motives to people who make overt celebratory displays of pride in the cultures of their non-American forebears, very often at odds with my fellow conservatives. I believe that it is not only possible, but ultimately desirable for people to truly and deeply love America while embracing the traditions and cultures from which their progenitors hail. I don't want to live in an America that can't tolerate a St. Patrick's Day or a Columbus Day out of a sense of insecurity that it might be somehow deleterious to Americanism.

But, when the shrieking banshees of various "communities" seek to wall off themselves from the the criticism of Americans at large, especially when America at large is the target of so much of the communities' criticism, I'll draw a bright, defiant line every time. And, when folks like Mitchell, West, Dyson, and Smiley seek to play the role of overseer when much-needed dissidents break free of their intellectual shackles, I'm filled with an almost indescribable disgust that, from now on, I feel absolutely no desire to disguise.

People like Rev. Wright, to a minute degree, can be excused for their heresies simply because their views are so plainly and obviously ignorant and loathsome that moral outrage can be easily expressed, and their statements can be openly and objectively put into context and criticized. But, when there's a cadre of intellectuals, writers and pundits who enforce a blatant code of intellectual segregation within the "black community", the violation of which carries the threat of excommunication, there must be a loud, unremitting voice speaking truth to that iniquitous power.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Obama's separation from Wright. . .

. . .over the past couple of days has had the odd effect of giving me a slight twinge of empathy. Granted, it is the barest hint of a twinge of a pang, but it's there nevertheless. I suppose it's because, while I think Barack Obama is wildly wrong, and in some respects dangerous to our nation, I can't help feeling that at the center of his elitist, arrogant, left-liberal core is a somewhat befuddled, but well-meaning heart.

Most likely, this is a product of his undeniable ability to connect with people through the spoken word. Listening to the man, you can't help but feel as though you're hearing the words of a person who truly does care about the plight of his fellow human beings. Whether this is a well-practiced bit of flim-flam picked up over the years as he's polished and perfected his craft, or an outgrowth of his deep conviction that he, and he alone, is prepared to shape America into a place where everyone can beam with pride in being a part of it, I'm not qualified to say. What I am qualified to say is that, as one of those people of whom he spoke at that San Francisco speech, he has come to embody the single most offensive element of left-liberal ideology: the smug condescension that allows some people to conclude that liberals could fix everything for the people, if only the people would get the hell out of their way.

What stirred my sense of human compassion for Obama was a piece by CBS's Jay Levine which questioned whether or not Jeremiah Wright intentionally set out to damage Obama's campaign. The very title of the piece, "Pastor vs The Pol: Did Wright Mean To Hurt Obama?" somehow has the effect of sad puppy eyes. It reminds me of every time I've carelessly said something that made a woman cry without meaning to. Suddenly, the head drops a little and I find myself wondering, "OK, am I really a human being at all, or just some cold, heartless automaton specifically designed to crush souls?"

And, just when the media had me at "hello", it rudely interrupted itself and stopped at "hell". Hell came in the form of today's column by the execrable Chicago Sun-Times columnist, Mary Mitchell -- a woman for whom my distaste can't be properly expressed without using the kind of language that would cause the staff of the Ohio Attorney General's office a case of the vapors. Here's a sampling of the offending screed:
This is a sad day for Black America.

At a time when African Americans are on the cusp of watching a barrier come crashing down, up jumps a divisive issue that is being driven by those outside of the black community.

Obviously, Wright's timing for a press conference about his sermons couldn't have been worse.

Still, when Obama says he is "offended" by Wright's latest comments -- given in defense against an orchestrated assault on his character and on his ministry -- he's opening up a can of worms.

There is no institution in the black community more respected than the black church. And the notion that white pundits can dictate what constitutes unacceptable speech in the black church is repulsive to most black people.

Even so, after Wright's fiery speeches surfaced on the Internet, most African Americans understood why Obama had to distance himself from Wright.

This filth-flarn-filth-flarn-such-and-such-and-so-and-so (apologies to Bill Cosby) is such a complete moral dullard that she manages to saddle "white pundits" with the up-jumping "divisive issue" at hand!

No, Jeremiah Wright isn't the problem, says Mary. The problem is the issue. And, the issue is being foisted upon the public by "white pundits" who should be minding their own damned business.

Well, Mary, white pundits were gleefully going along with the premise of the Obama campaign, and for years they had completely ignored what was going on in the apparent secret society that is the "black church". And look what that got them. While they were dutifully keeping their noses pointed the other way, celebrating you as a voice of diversity in the nation that has allowed you to make a comfortable living spewing your insipid nonsense by the barrel, your deeply respected institution -- or at least this iteration of it -- spent twenty years teaching you that it's your spiritual obligation to loathe the very idea of America.

So, Mary, what started out as a day of post-partisan recognition of common humanity has turned into an evening of bowel-roiling disgust leading me to make a solemn vow to rethink every charitable thought I have for Barack Obama until I see him, with my own eyes, throttling you like the moral and intellectual rag doll that you are.

Rove's piece on McCain. . .

. . .in today's Wall Street Journal contains some details that I never knew about the senator. I am far from an expert on McCain, but I thought I at least had a pretty good handle on the what he experienced as a POW. If there is much more to his story that resembles what Rove shared in his column today, it would be a crime to allow this great man to lose to either one of the pikers currently flaying one another trying to grab the top spot on the opposing ticket.

Here's a particularly poignant passage:
Mr. [Bud] Day relayed to me one of the stories Americans should hear. It involves what happened to him after escaping from a North Vietnamese prison during the war. When he was recaptured, a Vietnamese captor broke his arm and said, "I told you I would make you a cripple."

The break was designed to shatter Mr. Day's will. He had survived in prison on the hope that one day he would return to the United States and be able to fly again. To kill that hope, the Vietnamese left part of a bone sticking out of his arm, and put him in a misshapen cast. This was done so that the arm would heal at "a goofy angle," as Mr. Day explained. Had it done so, he never would have flown again.

But it didn't heal that way because of John McCain. Risking severe punishment, Messrs. McCain and Day collected pieces of bamboo in the prison courtyard to use as a splint. Mr. McCain put Mr. Day on the floor of their cell and, using his foot, jerked the broken bone into place. Then, using strips from the bandage on his own wounded leg and the bamboo, he put Mr. Day's splint in place.

Years later, Air Force surgeons examined Mr. Day and complimented the treatment he'd gotten from his captors. Mr. Day corrected them. It was Dr. McCain who deserved the credit. Mr. Day went on to fly again.

I won't deign to speak for others, but the discipline and "testicular fortitude" required to force a bone into its proper alignment for someone you care about, without the aid of painkillers of any kind, is of a kind I cannot imagine in myself. I suppose under the given circumstances -- which I have no way of ever being able to fully grasp -- anything is possible. But, as I sit here and think about what it must have been like for him to do that, I can't help feeling like a much, much smaller man than the Republican nominee.

Yes, it had to be hell for Col. Day to endure. I know what a severely broken bone feels like, having crushed my wrist in the past. But, the kind of psychological and, yes, moral strength required to do what McCain did in the name of camaraderie and respect strikes me as almost superhuman. I'm sure he would say that it was "just something he had to do". Somehow, that doesn't cover it for me. Not even close.

For all the puling and carping coming from the outer reaches of sane conservatism over this man being the Republican nominee, for me, it will be an unvarnished honor to pull the lever in his name this November.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

More light blogging. . .

. . .tonight as I have to step out for the evening. With any luck, I'll have plenty to say upon my return to the blogosphere tomorrow. Hell, I may even come back tonight -- though, I'm skeptical.

Wright's Press Club appearance. . .

. . .seems to have stirred a bit of controversy, huh? And not just the content, but the way in which he found himself there. It appears that Barbara Reynolds, a Clinton supporter, is at least partially responsible for greasing the skids to get him behind the podium, according to Ben Smith at Politico.

Apparently, it wasn't the first time she'd tried to get him a spot at the National Press Club -- having attempted to get him a speaking slot there a couple of years ago, only to be rejected. But, now that the reverend has become "newsworthy", Press Club president Sylvia Smith managed to make room for the anti-American cleric and bane of Barack Obama's presidential aspirations.

Apparently, Barbara Reynolds and Rev. Wright go back a ways, at least with regard to one another's work. Her name popped up in an article that Wright penned for Trumpet magazine (the circular for Wright's church) back in 2005. Here's a link to a downloadable .pdf file of the article. Of course, this doesn't prove, or even suggest collusion between the reverend and the Clinton supporter. But, if I were Obama, or a member of his campaign, my eyebrows would be chasing my scalp over the top of my head right now.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Rev. Wright's P.R. blitz. . .

. . .has got to be giving Barack Obama a very serious case of indigestion right now. I'm not talking about a Maalox moment. I'm talking about a full-blown bleeding ulcer in need of surgical intervention. Like Jim Geraghty, I think Wright may have sunk Obama's campaign with his loose cannon antics over the past three days. He also speculates along with some of his readers that he may be setting Obama up for a Sista Souljah moment, which is plausible, though I'm a touch skeptical.

It would be the most idiotic time to try and pull a dangerously cutesy move like that, given how close the North Carolina and Indiana primaries are, both in temporal and polling terms. He's already given Americans a major address on race relations and missed the opportunity to put sufficient distance between himself and his pastor -- err, former pastor -- with it. There's really no way that he can top the favorable coverage that he received from that outing. Any attempt to repeat that performance would not only be anti-climactic, the message would be muddled by the ongoing debate over Wright himself.

The best thing Obama can hope for right now is for Hillary to suffer a bout of alcohol poisoning while out downing shots with the great unwashed, and for John McCain to be somehow tied to that polygamist sect in Texas. And, at this point, the degree to which even that would help is dubious.

I would caution any conservatives who happen to be walking the streets of San Francisco for whatever reason to be on the lookout for falling liberals. This could very well turn out to be Black Monday.

Did I miss something. . .

. . .about the government passing legislation barring people from using the word "jihad", or what?

I've never quite understood the point of flamboyant sarcasm in cases like the one Andy McCarthy seems to be on these days. It always seemed good enough to me to simply go on using the word.

For example, I don't think I've ever used the word "African-American" in conversation. I may have used it in writing on occasion, simply to keep down the redundancy in the use of "black" in a race-related piece.

It always seemed to me that when you engage in that kind of dramatic parody, you've pretty much demonstrated that you've let "them" get into your head. Just keep using the word and forget the sideshow. No biggie.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

McCain's view on Wright. . .

. . .as an issue in the campaign going forward is pretty much in line with my previous post on the matter. And, the simple fact of the matter is that there is only one group of people who find the Wright issue out of bounds, and we already know who they're voting for.

Ben Smith and Jonathan Martin at Politico both have him "shifting" his position on the matter, as does Byron York at NRO. While I don't think that's a necessarily unfair characterization, I can't say it's entirely accurate, either. It seems to me that what McCain is doing is simply recognizing a reality that neither he, nor anyone else, has any power to change. The undeniable fact is that a great number of people find Obama's relationship with Jeremiah Wright troubling, and you don't have to subscribe to the notion that he holds views similar to those of his minister to be troubled by it. His complete silence on the matter up until confronted by it is troubling by itself.

If Barack Obama and his campaign feel that this issue is an illegitimate one, why on earth did they go to the trouble of giving a major speech on it in order to limit the fallout? The fact is, the Obama campaign was perfectly happy to discuss the issue so long as he was basking in the glowing coverage of the speech. But, now that it's turns out that it didn't solve the problem, they don't want to discuss it anymore.

What it all boils down to is that the only people who get to decide whether or not any given subject is a legitimate one in the course of a presidential campaign are the voters. If the Obama campaign wants to quibble over whether or not his pastor problems are legitimate, he needs to take it up with voters. McCain has made his feelings known, and its up to the electorate to decide whether or not they agree with him. It's not up to McCain to thwart the will of people who want an open, honest discussion about Obama's relationship to Wright. And, if Obama didn't want the people to discuss it, he shouldn't have engaged them in the discussion on that fateful day in Philadelphia.

Amazingly enough. . .

. . .there are still some conservatives out there who are clawing at themselves like a bunch of cats trapped in a fishing net over McCain's denunciation of the North Carolina GOP ad tying their Democrat gubernatorial opponents to Jeremiah Wright. They seem to be under the false impression that, by criticizing this ad, that McCain has "taken criticism of Wright off the table," which is absurd. It has done no such thing.

What it has done is take an embarrassing and ineffective ad off the airwaves. In describing McCain's actions in this matter in such a way as to make people believe that he has precluded any reference or criticism of Jeremiah Wright, or Barack Obama's relationship to him, as out of bounds, they're employing the kind of rhetorical excess many parents are familiar with. I remember employing it myself as a teenager trying to obtain permission to use the car on a weekend night.

Me: "Hey, Mom. Can I borrow your car to go and hang out with some friends tonight?"

Mom: "No."

Me: "GAAAH!!! You never let me do ANYTHING!!!!"

I'm skeptical, but perhaps I can lend a little perspective to all of this by putting the shoe on the other foot for a moment.

Imagine that the GOP had a gubernatorial candidate running in a Catholic-heavy state, like Pennsylvania, for example. And say the DNC went up with an ad that stated,
"Republican candidate for governor, Joe Smith, has endorsed John McCain for president. So has John Hagee, who has likened the Catholic Church to a great whore and a cult. Joe Smith knows this, and has still endorsed John McCain. That seems like very questionable judgment. Joe Smith -- too extreme for Pennsylvania."

What would these angry conservatives be saying about such an ad?

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