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Obama And The Art of Throwing Loved Ones Under A Bus

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For supporters who tuned in last week to listen to Senator Barack Obama's A More Perfect Union speech, it was very likely encouraging to hear him take on, finally, the issues raised by his Pastor, Jeremiah Wright. Statements Pastor Wright has made over the years while preaching from the pulpit of Senator Obama's church have dogged his campaign with growing regularity,  and a response was long overdue.

At the same time, this speech should serve to reinforce Obama's status as a highly skilled politician. No one delivers a speech like Senator Obama, and this one was no exception.

Unfortunately for all those true believers out there, this speech should also erase any doubt that the Senator is just a politician, not the saviour he is often billed as by supporters. He's just a politician because, in this speech, he did what any good politician would have done: he threw his loved ones under the proverbial bus in an attempt to keep his presidential ambitions alive.

Senator Obama first threw his beloved Pastor Wright under the bus, calling his view of America "distorted" and "racist," rejecting the hate-filled statements that his former pastor had, at various times, uttered. And this was the correct thing for the Senator to do.

At the same time, this was also a pastor who had, as Senator Obama himself admitted, introduced him to the Christian faith, had married him to his wife Michelle, and had baptized his two daughters. Pastor Wright was one of Obama's spiritual advisers up until very recently, and a man who Obama graciously introduced during a speech he gave in front a room of pastors just a few months ago, giving a "special shout out" to the man whom he claims "puts up with me, councels me, listens to my wife complain about me," and whom he declared is "a friend, a great leader; not just in Chicago, but across the country."

It sounds rather like there is true admiration on the part of Senator Obama for Jeremiah Wright. Perhaps not enough admiration to keep the Senator from sending his pastor into immediate exile as soon as he became a political liability.

But this abrupt turn on a pastor who he chose to follow for 20 years was nothing compared with what he was about to do to a member of his own family. Why did the Senator not "disown" his pastor when he heard him utter radical things from the pulpit? As he goes on to say in his speech, "I can no more disown him than I can my white grandmother. A woman who helped raise me, a woman who sacrificed again and again for me, a woman who loves me as much as she loves anything in this world. But a woman who once confessed her fear of black men who passed by her on the street, and who on more than one occasion has uttered racial or ethnic stereotypes that made me cringe."

Loosely translated, Senator Obama is giving us the simple argument that, while his pastor at times made racial statements, so did his grandmother. Of course, what he fails to mention — but which we all know anyway — is that you can pick your pastors and your church, but you cannot pick your family members.

But pulling his grandmother into the fray and airing her private statements before the entire nation gives the Senator some cover; so that makes it acceptable — if you're a politician. But was the Senator really accusing his grandmother of racism?

Just a few days ago during a radio interview Senator Obama was asked this very question. His response, in a nutshell, was to call her "a typical white person." Obama's answer to the question was to say, in so many words, "my grandmother is a typical white person, she's racist because it's been 'bred' into her." Too bad the host of the radio show didn't ask him what he meant when he said racism was "bred" into his grandmother.

Does Senator Obama really believe that whites are the only ones who might fear walking down a dark street at night? How might the Senator himself feel walking down the street of a tough neighborhood at night? Jesse Jackson himself said back in 1993, while addressing Operation Push members, that "there is nothing more painful to me at this stage in my life than to walk down the street and hear footsteps and start thinking about robbery. Then look around and see somebody white and feel relieved"

In his attempt to answer the question of why he would spend 20 years following a racist, anti-American pastor, Senator Obama was willing to offer up even his own family members on the alter of political expediency. But the question still remains: why would the Senator stay so long in a church that espouses beliefs he claims are not his own?

There is a definitive answer to the question and Senator Obama himself answered that question years ago when he published his book, "Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance." In that book, Obama recounts that he went to meet Pastor Wright because he had been advised it would help his "community service" to have a church home. So he sought out the pastor of the largest black church in the area, ultimately garnering a great deal of support from the church's 8,000 members.

But Senator Obama, politician that he is, cannot give you this answer. Why? Because it makes him look like any other shallow, vote-grubbing politician rather than the "faithful, visionary, progressive leader" he's been selling himself as over the past few years.

As John Adams once said, "facts are stubborn things." In light of the facts on hand today, it appears that Senator Obama joined Pastor Wright's church to further his political ambitions. And when it became necessary to throw his own grandmother under the proverbial bus for political gain, what was Senator Obama's response?

Yes we can!

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About David

  • Baronius

    Good article, Dave. It makes an interesting companion piece with the recent “Hillary’s Lies”.

    I disagree about the quality of the speech, though. I’ve never found Obama compelling. A lot of his oratorial appeal (I think) is the Beatles Effect in the audience. This recent speech was delivered without crowds, and it really didn’t soar. He sounded like an anchorman.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    The more articles like this appear, the more focus on this red herring and not on the issues of the election.

    Commentators were clamoring for Obama to address the issue of his pastor. He did so, and now he’s being criticized for that.

    Secondly, the author and the other wolves know perfectly well why Obama spoke about his grandmother: all this pretend outrage is rather pathetic. Was it politically expedient for him to do so? Of course – he’s a politician. But throwing her under a bus??

    Come on.

  • http://cqpinion.blogspot.com Krutic A

    The Clinton people know all of this and yet can’t use it to their advantage. I bet it makes them pull their own hair out.
    It is clear that Obama is in a tough spot – if he rejects the pastor he alienates his base and his church and if he accepts him like he has, it alienates the majority of the country. But this is all his doing so no sympathies here.
    It is amusing how he cannot resist praising the man. Its like, well he said stupid deplorable things but he is like family;. He made insensitive demeaning comments, but he introduced me to Jesus and gives peaceful sermons most of the time; he is stuck in the past but I still take my children to his sermons because he is my spiritual mentor..

    We all know Obama is close to the pastor – that is the problem! Does he really need to continue reiterating that fact and going out of his way to praise him? The speech was analogous to a grilled cheese sandwich. His crticisms are the cheese, they are sandwiched between layers of praise. He should have just rejected the comments instead of trying to rationlize them. Some things are beyond rationalization.

  • http://cqpinion.blogspot.com Krutic A

    The more articles like this appear, the more focus on this red herring and not on the issues of the election.
    Like the Bosnia issue with Clinton you mean? Or the Ferraro story?
    Red herrrings are on both sides Dr D., so lets not pretend Obama is above it all.
    In fact the pastor issue is much more serious than a trip to Bosnia 12 years ago (imaginary or not).

  • Baronius

    Krutic, I disagree. Weaseling on race is lousy, but flat-out lying is worse.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    I’m not pretending anything, Krutic.

    The Ferraro story disappeared from the radar in fairly short order; the Bosnia thing likely will as well – somewhat slower perhaps, because it’s Hillary.

    But I’ve lost count of the number of Obama-and-his-pastor articles that have appeared on this site, none of which have anything much positive to say.

    They’re all meteorological disturbances in fine china.

  • http://cqpinion.blogspot.com Krutic A

    #6 The pastor story is important though. It shows the character of Obama by showing who he associates with (closely). He did a good job changing the subject by making it about race instead of anti American hate speech, which is what it really was and remains. He still hasnt answered why he sat there and why he made his children listen to it.
    He wants people to believe his words and yet his actions say the exact opposite of his speeches. Its like ‘who are you gonna believe: me or your lying eyes?’

    #5
    You know, I have to wonder if she genuinely had a memory of some other trip that got mixed up with Bosnia. If that’s not the case, then she is a great actress, much better than most real Hollywood actresses.
    The way she described it in that clip it sounded like she could recollect it like yesterday. There is no way thats a misstatement. Either it is a flat out lie to pad her resume or a mixing up of memories from one of her trips somewhere else. Dont know where else that would be though..i’m pretty sure she never went to Somalia..
    Maybe it was Los Angeles like Jay Leno suggested!

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    The pastor story is important though. It shows the character of Obama by showing who he associates with (closely).

    Then consider that, and that only, when weighing your vote.

    Would you agree, though, that it’s hypocritical for people to demand that Obama cast Wright adrift – and then condemn him for casting Wright adrift?

  • http://cqpinion.blogspot.com Krutic A

    Would you agree, though, that it’s hypocritical for people to demand that Obama cast Wright adrift – and then condemn him for casting Wright adrift?

    I dont think any reasonable person would condemn Obama for severing ties with Wright. The man is obviously deranged.

  • Cannonshop

    #8

    Weeelll doc, I suppose if Rev. Wright had been of the sort that keeps such views a secret, and it wasn’t part of his normal public face, I might applaud Obama tossing the man under a bus once he found out the man was a bigot.

    Thing is, he didn’t “Just find out”. Obama goes to the man’s church for twenty years, it’s likely he knows him, and his views, already.

    When you already know the man, you’ve already accepted him into your circle, and it only becomes hard to accept him because something he ALWAYS DOES is embarassing?

    That’s a little bit different. Fastest way to defuse that isn’t tossing him under a bus, or making that nasty ‘grandmother’ speech. It’s standing up, and saying, “Well, he’s my friend-he’s wrong, but his other qualities as a friend out-weigh it, and I know when NOT to listen to his advice.”

    Obama didn’t do that. He tossed his Pastor (and his gramma) under the bigot-bus and pretended not to know him. It’s doing THAT that makes him less of a ‘man’, and draws the scorn.

    What does the Wright situation show us about Obama, and Obama’s coping mechanisms in a MINOR crisis? Sure, it’s gotten a lot media, that’s pretty much to be expected when the candidate has nothing but his slogans and ads to counter with, but Obama could have stood up like a man, instead of a cowering teenage boy, telling stories in hopes the bullies will stop.

    If his speech indicates anything, it is that Barack Hussein Obama hasn’t got the juice to be “Mister President”.

  • http://viewpointjournal.com David Flanagan

    Obviously, Obama supporters are worried more about whether or not this whole thing will hurt the Senator than about the actual questions this whole thing raises. And likely this thing won’t hurt Obama a great deal among Democrats.

    But I think that once the primary begins this stuff will come back to haunt him. But that is just my opinion. For me, it just stuck out in my head as very strange that Obama would pull his grandmother into this controversy. If I did something like that to a family member, my brothers would hunt me down and hurt me.

    You just don’t do that to family. And with that said, I would be more sympathetic to Obama if he had just come out to say that he knows Pastor Wright is wrong on some things but that he loves and admires the guy for his ability to foster a community of believers. THAT I can understand. We are all imperfect people, pastors included.

  • http://viewpointjournal.com David Flanagan

    Obviously, Obama supporters are worried more about whether or not this whole thing will hurt the Senator than about the actual questions this whole thing raises. And likely this thing won’t hurt Obama a great deal among Democrats.

    But I think that once the primary begins this stuff will come back to haunt him. But that is just my opinion. For me, it just stuck out in my head as very strange that Obama would pull his grandmother into this controversy. If I did something like that to a family member, my brothers would hunt me down and hurt me.

    You just don’t do that to family. And with that said, I would be more sympathetic to Obama if he had just come out to say that he knows Pastor Wright is wrong on some things but that he loves and admires the guy for his ability to foster a community of believers. THAT I can understand. We are all imperfect people, pastors included.

  • Baronius

    Cannonshop, you say that Obama didn’t just find out about Wright. I guess you’re right but I’m not sure.

    This isn’t a normal pastor/parishioner relationship. Obama said that he went looking for a church that would give him community access and credibility. He chose the largest church in Chicago. Only then did Obama become a Christian. (I’m not saying that to push some kind of Manchurian Muslim story. My point is that, if Wright introduced Obama to Christ, Obama must have chosen a church before he had any religious orientation.)

    So Obama “attends” a church for twenty years, gets his picture taken with a popular pastor, and has his kids baptized there. How often did he really attend? Had he heard Wright more than half a dozen times? It’s not unheard of for a politician to pretend to be a churchgoer. It’d be kind of funny if Obama used a famous preacher as a stage prop only to have the “GD America” sermon sneak up on him.

    PS – Obama said that he didn’t attend services the Sunday after 9/11. That’s unusual for a devout person. It makes me think he’s not awfully religious.

  • Dan Miller

    The comments about Senator Obama throwing his grandmother under the bus, while repeated with sufficient frequency to attain a patina of credibility, strike me as specious.

    I am probably a “typical” White guy, born in 1941 and raised in that context. Senator Obama was exactly right about me. He didn’t offend me in the least. I still remember Amos and Andy with fondness — one of the most popular radio shows when I was a kid — and I laughed along with most of the country. When Amos and Andy came on the radio, everything stopped. The audience was enthralled. The “N” word was frequently used, not on Amos and Andy, but in normal conversation. Go back and listen to some of the old Jack Benny radio shows — remember Rochester?

    Things have changed. I think, for the most part, for the better; though I am still put off by our obsession with political correctness.

    Senator Obama could have done more to throw his preacher under the bus, but didn’t. Although he didn’t disavow the preacher, he disagreed quite clearly with his racist views. To equate what Senator Obama said about his grandmother, and what he said about the Reverend Mr. Wright, is just plain silly.

    Dan Miller

  • Ngoo Nam

    Barack is a brilliant politician, he knows how to push people’s buttons.

  • james

    obama is a racist pig. He’ll burn in hell for his black racist anti-american dribble.