Matthew Hoy
By Matthew Hoy on March 21, 2008

I must confess that while I'd read about Obamamania I hadn't quite grasped its depth and the hold that it has over Obamamaniacs until I read the comments on my "Obama's big speech" post.

Obama is brave to give this speech. Obama's talking about unity and I should only judge him by his words and not his actions. I'm stupid. I'm silly. I broke up his speech into paragraphs but didn't understand what he was saying. I can't comprehend what Obama is saying unless I listen to the speech -- reading it is insufficient.

Those complaints are all indicative of some weird cultish group think. The last complaint was especially amusing, it makes me think that Barack Obama's voice does have the power to drive the wits out of some people's brians and that the best way to prevent your mind from dribbling out your ears as he speaks is to mute the screen and read the closed captioning.

Barack Obama did two things in his speech. First, was to propound a level of moral equivalence that should seriously make you wonder if he's got the moral fortitude to be an adult, let alone president of the United States.

According to Obama, the following things are all morally the same.

  1. Preaching from the pulpit: "God Damn America," promoting the slander and lie that white Americans created crack cocaine in order to destroy black people, promoting the slander that the HIV virus was engineered by the white American government with the purpose of killing blacks, and that America deserved the 9/11 attacks because it treats black people poorly.
  2. Geraldine Ferraro's un-PC, yet undeniably accurate observation, that a white, first-term senator from Illinois with no business experience, no executive experience and no notable legislative achievements of any sort would be the front-runner for the Democratic nomination. Fact: Barack Obama's skin color is helping him.
  3. Barack Obama's grandmother -- in his words a "typical white person" -- once expressed fear at being harassed by an aggressive black man who was panhandling. That is not the characterization he gave in his big speech -- it's the one he gave in his autobiography.

Are those three things equivalent? Are they even close?

Obama can say again and again how he deplores the comments made by the Rev. Jeremiah Wright. He can tell us again and again how he condemns those sentiments.

But the facts remain. For 20+ years he was unwilling to take a stand against them. For 20+ years he tithed to that church and financially supported that "ministry." He's exposed his daughters to that poison for their entire lives.

And we're somehow supposed to believe that as president, he's going to stand up for America? He'll stand up to terrorists and dictators who would do us harm when he won't even stand up to his pastor?

The second part of his speech was nothing more than the standard liberal stump speech. We need more money for A, B, C, tax the rich, affordable health care, a chicken in every pot, etc. I've heard it all before -- from Hillary.

But, once again, judging from the comments, there are a lot of true believers out there. As Thomas Sowell wrote over at National Review Online earlier this week:

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.

Mission accomplished.

I also encourage those who might be questioning their allegiance to Obama to read this article by Charles Krauthammer.

It's not too late to step away from the Kool Aid pitcher.

0 comments on “Obamamania”

  1. I'm not an Obama supporter. I'm remaining uncommitted until November. But I'll vote for the person I think is most likely to improve a lot of bad situations, and in the process engender greater action, participation and cooperation domestically and overseas. I think Obama might have the stuff to do it.

    But what I don't understand is how people such as yourself find it so difficult to see the positive side of his message, and instead seem determined to destroy its context, connection and intent, rushing off to the National ScareView for one-eyed articulation. I've read Krauthammer's piece and he works very hard to reduce and mangle Obama's words. For example, from Krauthammer: Sure, says Obama, there’s Wright, but at the other “end of the spectrum” there’s Geraldine Ferraro…
    But the words Obama actually uses are: “On one end of the spectrum, we’ve heard the implication that my candidacy is somehow an exercise in affirmative action; that it’s based solely on the desire of wide-eyed liberals to purchase racial reconciliation on the cheap. On the other end, we’ve heard my former pastor, Reverend Jeremiah Wright, use incendiary language to express views that have the potential not only to widen the racial divide, but views that denigrate both the greatness and the goodness of our nation; that rightly offend white and black alike.”

    Krauthammer bases his objection to the speech on two points: moral equivalence (as you’ve also said) and white guilt. But on both his points, he’s missing the point:
    - Moral equivalence: Obama is not comparing the comments of Wright to those of Ferraro or his grandmother. He’s comparing society’s continual knee-jerk reaction regarding devisive comments by dismissing the source and avoiding a real conversation about race.

    - White guilt
    Krauthammer uses big paint brushes here: “Obama’s purpose in the speech was to put Wright’s outrages in context. By context, Obama means history. And by history, he means the history of white racism. Obama says, “We do not need to recite here the history of racial injustice in this country,” and then proceeds to do precisely that. And what lies at the end of his recital of the long train of white racial assaults from slavery to employment discrimination? Jeremiah Wright, of course.”

    (cont’d) “This contextual analysis of Wright’s venom, this extenuation of black hate speech as a product of white racism, is not new. It’s the Jesse Jackson politics of racial grievance, expressed in Ivy League diction and Harvard Law nuance.”

    The point that Obama reaches is not about justifying Wright’s (and the black community’s) anger, but about how the politics of resentment and anger have been expressed (Obama: “Talk show hosts and conservative commentators built entire careers unmasking bogus claims of racism while dismissing legitimate discussions of racial injustice and inequality as mere political correctness or reverse racism.”) and how they ultimately have been counterproductive and taken our eyes off the real ball, and created a racial stalemate with no discussion of a way out.

    You should consider Mike Huckabee’s comments on the speech: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gTFLOu8fjxU

  2. You just don't learn, Hoystory; you just don't learn. You must NEVER criticize Saint Obama; you must always, and ONLY, venerate Saint Obama. If you fail to show sufficient respect and adoration to Saint Obama, you will be vilified and scorned, you heretic you! HAH!

    The blatant lack of thought and intelligence in the comments from the Saint Obama adoring fans and cultists would be funny, if they were not so rabid and closed-minded. Can you imagine if these intolerant bigots were in power?

  3. Terrence, please go back and pick up your education from 4th grade onwards, because that's clearly where you stopped thinking.

  4. HAH! HAH! Thanks for the laughs, Stuart!

    But, are you trying to look stupid? You sure did a good job of it.

    Go back and worship Saint Obama. You seems to be on the same very low level of intelligence as Saint Obama is. Oops, I forget that Obama worshipers are about FEELINGS. Please forgive me for saying you look stupid; like a good Obama worshiper you were being emotional. Sorry about that; your feelings are all that matters.

  5. Terrance - Read my reply at the top and respond rationally. Stop sounding like a 12 year old on the playground. Let's see if you have one micro-clue what the election issues are. Come on. Let's hear this 'intelligence' you claim to have.

  6. Stuart - do read any of the twaddle you dump here?

    Stop acting like a twelve year old, and demonstrate something other than EMOTIONS and FEELINGS. Do you REALLY think you understood Hoystory’s post and my comment? HINT – they are NOT emotional; you may have to think about them, rather than react EMOTIONALLY. I am sure that is very hard for you, if not impossible; but why don’t you try?

    Do you know what irony is? You clearly do NOT know how to deal with it.

  7. Sorry Stuart, but you can appeal to Obama's rhetoric all you want, but his whole speech, for me, comes down to little more than "do as I say, not as I do." Yes, Obama appeals to racial reconciliation in his speech, but he hasn't practiced it in his own life.

    Obama says we should feel free to discuss race, but condemns Geraldine Ferraro for having the audacity to point out that Obama's race has obviously aided his political effort. Is it affirmative action? No, but Obama's race has been a net plus for his campaign, just as Hillary Clinton's gender has been a net plus for hers.

    I'd buy Obama's unity line if he hadn't spent 20 years at a church that preaches disunity. I'd buy Obama's reconciliation line if he hadn't spent 20 years at a church that was more interested in condemnation of racial and political opponents than reconciliation.

    Stuart, would you seriously buy into similar rhetoric from a white politician if it was proven that he attended a church for decades where the pastor regularly used the n-word and warned the all-white congregation about African-American males' interest in raping their daughters?

    I tend to give everyone -- including politicians -- credit for sincerity in their public statements. That predisposition to take their words at face value, however, stops the second they betray their words by their actions.

    That's the point Obama has reached with me. As I said on my original post on his speech, I don't think there was anything he could say that would sufficiently explain away 20 years of attendance at that church.

  8. Hoystory:

    This is a good debate and thanks for responding.

    I agree with you that:
    - Obama came off as hypocritical regarding Geraldine Ferraro. A week before his Philly speech, he said her comments were “devisive and patently absurd”. Then in his speech he said we shouldn’t avoid the race issue by instantly dismissing those who make misguided racial comments*. If I were him, I’d suggest that she be allowed to return to the Clinton camp. (I also think the pressure to get her to quit was paypack for Samantha Power’s exit from the Obama team.)
    * For the record, she said “If Obama was a white man, he would not be in this position. And if he was a woman of any color, he would not be in this position. He happens to be very lucky to be who he is. And the country is caught up in the concept.” It’s the “caught up in the concept” part I think is wrong. People aren’t lining up in droves and donating massively just because he’s black. It’s part of who is, but he also seems to a lot of qualities and a message that people respond to.

    - politicians should be sincere in their statements. But while that principle is noble in spirit, it’s unobtainable in practice. Given the hyper-reactive, flaw-finding, 24/7 media glare that presidential campaigns operate under, it’s virtually impossible to find a perfect candidate. Also, if a two-faced public servant is painful, the Bush presidency requires a morphine drip. And yet I think Bush has achieved plenty of good which hasn’t been reported much. Like in Africa for example: http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1717934,00.html

    I don’t agree that:
    - Trinity United preaches disunity. Their website doesn’t say anything about fighting other races or causing disruption in society. If anything, it preaches the opposite, with the purpose of getting the black community to make positive change by becoming part of the system.

    And if you look at Jeremiah Wright’s various comments, they say nothing about black vs. white. They’re all about American government versus it’s own and other countries’ citizens. Yes, they’re inflammatory and misguided but no, they’re not accusing the white race nor asking blacks to rise up in hatred. He preaches empowerment for blacks, not separatism.

    I guess my whole point is that let’s talk about the bigger issues and not waste time on the small stuff. How does Obama intend to turn the economy around? How does Hilary plan to fund universal health care? Does McCain have a plan for ending the sh*t in Darfur?

    Like I said, I haven’t decided to vote for anyone yet, but if I don’t vote for

    Terrance: You’re only embarassing yourself, buddy. Step away from the keyboard and go watch a Disney DVD.

  9. Sorry, I didn't finish my next to last sentence: I haven’t decided to vote for anyone yet, but if I don’t vote for Obama it won’t be because of the church he attends. Thanks, S

  10. Stuert, you are the only embarasment here, bozo. But for someone who is 12 years old and in grade four, I guess we can't expect much more than name calling. How many time did you fail grade school? Perhaps, Stuert, when you learn how to spell, you will do so.


Why, one must ask, was the suit against Biden's student debt wipe “inevitable”?

Was it because the Biden admin is in flagrant violation of the law, and because *everyone* in America knows it?

Not in Waldman’s view, apparently. | @charlescwcooke


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