So… Oprah Has More Brains Than Obama?

Posted: May 5, 2008 in Politics

“Winfrey was a member of Trinity United from 1984 to 1986, and she continued to attend off and on into the early to the mid-1990s. But then she stopped. A major reason—but by no means the only reason—was the Rev. Jeremiah Wright.”

  1. Sean says:

    Great, just what the midwest needs. THE BATTLE OF THE O’S!

  2. jjchandler says:

    Maybe she can be his VP.

  3. Bill Myers says:

    Personally, I wish people would move on from this non-issue. I’m far more concerned about the food crisis, rising oil prices, the mortgage crisis and the resulting financial crisis (the worst in decades). The extent to which we discuss the Wright issue is the extent to which we benightedly ignore the fire raging around us, threatening to consume us.

    Obama’s mother was white. His family was on food stamps for a time. The facts simply don’t fit the thesis that he is divisive or elitist. And his ability to dethrone Hillary Clinton, who had been annointed by many as the Democratic nominee before the race began, belies the idea that his association with Wright is reflective of a man with poor judgment.

    Obama has taken everyone’s worst shots and he’s still standing. It’s time to get over these “gotcha” games and discuss the issues, and which presidential candidate (Obama or McCain) has the better ideas for addressing them.

    Jerry, you know I love you like a brother, man. But you’re beating a long-dead horse.

  4. jjchandler says:

    There’s more to this than just the older Rev. Wright issue of whether or not Obama or his wife shares some of those views. This also goes towards how honest Obama is being with people over this issue.

    Obama has said that he certainly never heard sermons like the ones being aired on the TV news when he was at the services and that these were merely rare, 30 second blips used to caricature Rev. Wright. But many other people claimed that Wright gave those sermons far more often than Obama made them out to be done and now Oprah says that she left the church years ago in part due to Wright’s older sermons based around the same themes.

    As to his heritage, it doesn’t mean as much as you think. I’ve met both whites and blacks for whom you wouldn’t be able to guess their mixed ancestry without help who identified themselves to one race or the other and held less than kind feelings for the race (as a whole rather than on an individual bases) that they did not identify themselves as. Whether that’s Obama or not I can’t say.

    But there are things here that, when looked at next to other Obama issues, do raise questions about Obama’s thoughts and beliefs. There’s certainly things here that raise questions about his judgment.

    Look, to some degree this is just disappointment talking. I never bought into the Obama package of change and a new type of politician, but I was hoping for more out of Obama. As the shine wears off he’s quickly being exposed as just another Democratic who’s just another politician and little more. But there is also that nagging bit of doubt about other issues as well.

  5. Bill Myers says:

    Okay, first, why is my avatar effed up? Did you choose that for me? If so, put it back the way it was, dammit!

    @Jerry: “This also goes towards how honest Obama is being with people over this issue.”

    People are generally not purely honest or purely dishonest. We tend to lean more to one side of the spectrum or another. One instance of something is by definition *not* a “pattern.” So what else has Obama been dishonest about? And how do you know he’s been dishonest about it?

    More important, Jerry: how important is it? Bill Clinton lied about his affair with Monica Lewinsky during a deposition, but the Judge in that case ruled the line of questioning was immaterial to the case. Richard Nixon lied repeatedly about Watergate, which was a crime that struck at the heart of our democratic system of governance. My point? There are degrees, Jerry.

    @Jerry: “There’s certainly things here that raise questions about his judgment.”

    It’s one thing to associate with a criminal, Jerry. The Rev. Wright’s sermons were hard-edged, but as Obama rightly pointed out, Wright grew up prior to the civil rights movement. It’s easy to judge someone whose shoes you’ve never walked in. Knowing my temperament, however, I believe if I grew up black and persecuted I might not be as even-handed in my views as I am today. I think Obama understood that, and it (no pun intended) colored his view of Wright.

    I realize that when it comes to issues of racial justice, you believe the principles must be applied rigidly across the board without respect to context. I believe that construction of the universe is antithetical to how reality is truly designed. Context matters.

    @Jerry: “I never bought into the Obama package of change and a new type of politician, but I was hoping for more out of Obama.”

    The fact that this relatively young man named Obama has overcome the juggernaut that was the Hillary Clinton campaign suggests he is more remarkable than you are willing to believe. The ability to inspire is a rare and important gift, and I believe Obama has it. My brief forays into the world of corporate leadership (albeit at a very junior level: “team leader” is the bottomest rung of the corporate ladder, and that’s what I was) taught me that a leader’s ability is not measured by what he or she alone can do. A leader must move other people to action, and I believe Obama is that sort of man.

    I think I’ll make this my last word, though, as I believe you and I will simply never agree about this. And our friendship is more important to me than a political disagreement.

  6. Bill Myers says:

    Upon further thought, I made an unfair statement above when I wrote: “I realize that when it comes to issues of racial justice, you believe the principles must be applied rigidly across the board without respect to context.”

    Please allow me to amend the thought. It is more accurate (and fair) to say that I *believe* you apply principles of racial justice too rigidly and I *believe* you give too little weight to context.

    Forgive me. I’m trying to write this as I juggle multiple other tasks, including getting another sketch ready to post in my blog.

  7. jjchandler says:

    Dude, it’s fine. I took in in the spirit that it was meant and it didn’t bother me. Look, there’s some other stuff about this that’s more related to me and less to Obama that I was going to respond to your other post with, but it’s for later. I’ve got to shave and get out the door to work right now and can’t type much. On my dinner break tonight I’ll explain a few things that might help you figure out where I’m coming from even though it won’t change your mind at all.

  8. Bill Myers says:

    You still haven’t addressed the most important issue: what’s with my $&%$^% avatar???

  9. jjchandler says:

    The important issue first:

    I have no idea what’s up with your avatar. I noticed that Micha’s was goofy looking over on Sean’s blog as well. I think one of the upgrades that WordPress just did randomly assigns designs to people who aren’t registered.

    And now the other bit:

    There are several things going on here. The first is my own intolerance of the race card. If personally watched the propagation of Rev. Wright’s type of racial garbage destroy lives. I’ve known people who have destroyed their own lives and hurt others in many different a varied ways because of it.

    When I see someone like Wright spewing his venom and his garbage and a huge audience full of cheering people applauding his every word… Not my favorite image. Former members of that church who had left it in between 5 and 15 years ago have all said that these types of sermons and those types of reactions were not uncommon. Several people have cited those things and Wright himself as the reason that they left the church.

    But Obama didn’t leave. That caused some questions in my mind. Then Obama further stated that he hadn’t personally seen Wright give one of those sermons. Given what other former members of the church have said about the frequency of Wright’s less than sane sermons, that caused me to have even more questions.

    Are my doubts and misgivings fair to Obama? Probably not. Everyone has things that they’ll give a pass to and things that mean to much to them personally to simply let go without massive scrutiny. Race issues, race baiters and destructive racially charged sermons are one of my “scrutiny” issues.

    But we’ve discussed that at length before.

    I think some of this also has to do with my reaction to the reactions of the press and other people to Obama and any gaff he makes. Some of my skepticism may be stemming from the overwhelming number of people who almost seem to not be skeptical or who seem to actively try to discourage it.

    In the media, there are more than a few people who you can count on to be mindless cheerleaders for the right or the left. Some are so predictable in their shtick that their reliability of living down to their reputations is slightly greater than the reliability of the sun coming up tomorrow morning.

    But you’ve also got the people in the media who try and call it down the middle a little more often than not. So I’ve found myself looking at the TV or radio with a WTF look on my face more than a few times of late. I’m watching people go through some amazing mental gymnastics to paint anything that’s not pro-Obama as bad and downplaying even the dumbest things done or said by the obama camp while simultaneously playing up anything that comes from the McCain or Clinton camps to be as though they’re just shy of being the devil themselves.

    Ok, maybe it’s not quite that bad. But still…

    I had issues with Obama before. Early on I felt that Obama was too inexperienced for the job he’s running for right now. I still do really. I also felt that Obama was acting as an empty vessel for his supporters. There’s always a large group of the voting population that’s ignorant of about 50% or more of what’s being discussed, but I kept meeting Obama supporters who talked about how he was about change, wasn’t like the other politicians out there and didn’t stand for what those old school politicians stood for. Thing was, when asked they could tell me absolutely nothing about what his platforms and positions actual were (other than “change”) and would act shocked when it was shown to them that his platforms and positions are almost identical to Hillary’s on every level and that they weren’t that different than most mainstream Democrats.

    But the Obama packaging and advertising was everywhere and a lot of people, not all, but a lot, were falling in love with the packaging and advertising. And sometimes they were taking 1+1 and getting 5 with their arguments. One of the things I found funny was how many would point to the various senators, political figures and movers and shakers who were coming out and supporting Obama as proof that Obama was an agent of change and was going to change Washington and how it does things. Thing was, I kinda figured that it wasn’t a good sign that the most entrenched members of the old-school Washington power players were supporting Obama. Me, I kinda figure that there’s something wrong with so many of the people who benefit from and represent the things you say that you’re going to change are coming out and holding you up as their man.

    And all that was on top of my nose itching. No, my nose doesn’t physically itch, it’s just what I call it. From day one, Obama has bugged my on some level that I can’t quite figure out. I don’t know why, but I’ve never found him 100% sincere and I’ve never found his charisma all that compelling. Jenn put it better than I can I think when she once said that Obama, when he’s on a roll, reminds her of some of the used car dealers that she grew up around in New Jersey.

    He just makes my nose itch sometimes and I don’t him as genuine, sincere and inspirational as many others package and promote him to be. And the “he’s the greatest thing since ever” that he gets hyped as in some quarters on top of that makes me scrutinize more.

    I hope I’m wrong. If he gets into office then I hope for nothing less than eight years of a great job and good times. I hope he lives up to everyone else’s hopes. But he makes my nose itch and the growing number of little gaffs and big questions don’t help that.

    Maybe I’m just the fifth man.

    Oh, you don’t know that one?

    I know some older guys who used to be military intelligence back in the day. Several of them take what could kindly be called informed pessimistic views about things that others are high on. their reasoning is that, back in the day, it was what you did. If four guys all think something is a slam dunk it was the job of the fifth guy to pick it apart and look at the other options; especially if their gut said that something wasn’t all sunshine and roses.

    Something in my gut doesn’t react well to the packaging and promoting of the Obama image. There’s something there that just makes my nose itch. I might be, I hope I am, completely wrong about him. But until the itch goes away I have to scratch at it.

    Trust me, it ain’t fun. I’m not big on Hillary and the Last Crusade (and she ain’t getting the nod anyhow) and McCain is making me vomit of late. I would like to be able to vote for someone this November without feeling that I’m voting for the lesser of two evils.

  10. Bill Myers says:

    I was going to respond but decided to stick with my promise to let it rest. Let’s just say that what you’re seeing isn’t what I’m seeing and leave it at that.

  11. Sean says:

    FIRST AND BY FAR THE MOST IMPORTANT THING–I checked out some stuff over at my blog. WordPress apparently has these random thingamabobbers showing up for people who don’t have avatars. So, there goes the theory that both Micha and Bill’s avatars are pictures taken from chest level after raiding Al Borland’s closet.

    SECOND–I’m having A COLOSSALLY CRAPPY DAY, so if anything I write here is offensive, I’ll apologize now.

    THIRD–Clinton got a lot of media play early on. It seemed that quite a few in the media wanted to help her either pick a new china pattern for the White House or reccomend that she use the one they had last time. Obama(it seemed to me) was the AV Geek in the back of the class that everyone admits is talented but no one takes seriously. (I liked that, sorta, that used to be me. First one to say “Used to be?” remember, bad day, short fuse, heavy blades.) Now, when I first heard way back in the Before Time that she was trying to get into Congress from NEW YORK, I thought, what, Arkansas not GOOD enough anymore? Or do you want to be a President from New York?” Unfortunately, politics is largely peopled with politicians. Just like the news media is largely peopled with media types. That’s why I do sports and music videos. As for Wright–hey, religion gets some weird people. (I could tell you STORIES….) But, if he’d come out saying, “You know, I’m not THAT religious,” everyone and their brother would’ve come out calling him atheist, or Muslim, or whatever they thought would fire up their particular base.

  12. jjchandler says:

    Yeah, I wasn’t too thrilled with having Hillary crammed down my throat either. Like I said, some of this may just be me not being fond of a 24/7 news blitz advertising a political candidate.

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