February 27, 2008

Obama, Farrakhan, and how Hillary Clinton took the opening and then squandered it.

What happened in the debate last night when Tim Russert confronted Barack Obama about Louis Farrakhan? In real time, I thought that Obama failed to denounce Farrakhan and that Hillary Clinton caught it and confronted him. It was the single most impressive thing I've seen Hillary Clinton do in the debates. But then Obama managed to cloud things up and make her point seem silly, and she backed down.

Now, let's look at the transcript:
MR. RUSSERT: Senator Obama, one of the things in a campaign is that you have to react to unexpected developments.

On Sunday, the headline in your hometown paper, Chicago Tribune: "Louis Farrakhan Backs Obama for President at Nation of Islam Convention in Chicago." Do you accept the support of Louis Farrakhan?
Russert challenges Obama to show what he's made of. Farrakhan offers his support: Do you have the courage to say no, I don't want your support, I reject it?
SEN. OBAMA: You know, I have been very clear in my denunciation of Minister Farrakhan's anti-Semitic comments. I think that they are unacceptable and reprehensible.
Obama makes 2 significant rhetorical moves: 1. He reverts to the use of the past tense and 2. He refers to not to Farrakhan, the man, but to some of the things that Farrahkan has said in the past. This distances him from the question asked and leaves room for him to accept the support of the man.
I did not solicit this support. He expressed pride in an African-American who seems to be bringing the country together. I obviously can't censor him, but it is not support that I sought. And we're not doing anything, I assure you, formally or informally with Minister Farrakhan.
Clearly, this is a failure to reject Farrakhan. It's extremely clever, but don't be fooled by the cleverness, which was hard to catch in real time. He's creating the space for Farrakhan to operate separately, bringing him support. Farrahkan didn't coordinate with the campaign in any way. Fine. That wasn't the question. Farrakhan has said some good things about Obama, and Obama doesn't want to say I don't accept support from this man. He talks about the nonissue of censoring him. Of course, Obama can't make Farrakhan stop, but he can do what Russert asked him to do: Say that he rejects the support.
MR. RUSSERT: Do you reject his support?
Russert sees what is happening and asks the perfect follow-up.
SEN. OBAMA: Well, Tim, you know, I can't say to somebody that he can't say that he thinks I'm a good guy. (Laughter.) You know, I -- you know, I -- I have been very clear in my denunciations of him and his past statements, and I think that indicates to the American people what my stance is on those comments.
"Of him" here matters. This is the one place where there is a reference to the man — though perhaps only the man and his comments — the man if he continues to come attached to the kind of statements he's made in the past. And there is still a failure to say that he rejects the support. And he's still speaking in the past tense. He still won't say "I denounce Farrakhan" or "I reject his support." He must want the support for the good it can do him. That's understandable, but it is an opening for Hillary Clinton.
MR. RUSSERT: The problem some voters may have is, as you know, Reverend Farrakhan called Judaism "gutter religion."

OBAMA: Tim, I think -- I am very familiar with his record, as are the American people. That's why I have consistently denounced it.

This is not something new. This is something that -- I live in Chicago. He lives in Chicago. I've been very clear, in terms of me believing that what he has said is reprehensible and inappropriate. And I have consistently distanced myself from him.
Obama neatly packages the issue into the statements and the denunciations of the past.
RUSSERT: The title of one of your books, "Audacity of Hope," you acknowledge you got from a sermon from Reverend Jeremiah Wright, the head of the Trinity United Church. He said that Louis Farrakhan "epitomizes greatness."

He said that he went to Libya in 1984 with Louis Farrakhan to visit with Moammar Gadhafi and that, when your political opponents found out about that, quote, "your Jewish support would dry up quicker than a snowball in Hell."

RUSSERT: What do you do to assure Jewish-Americans that, whether it's Farrakhan's support or the activities of Reverend Jeremiah Wright, your pastor, you are consistent with issues regarding Israel and not in any way suggesting that Farrakhan epitomizes greatness?
Russert opens the matter back up with details and with the figure of Jeremiah Wright, from whom Obama has not distanced himself.
OBAMA: Tim, I have some of the strongest support from the Jewish community in my hometown of Chicago and in this presidential campaign. And the reason is because I have been a stalwart friend of Israel's. I think they are one of our most important allies in the region, and I think that their security is sacrosanct, and that the United States is in a special relationship with them, as is true with my relationship with the Jewish community.

And the reason that I have such strong support is because they know that not only would I not tolerate anti-Semitism in any form, but also because of the fact that what I want to do is rebuild what I consider to be a historic relationship between the African-American community and the Jewish community.
This too is a clever set of rhetorical moves. How can he reassure Jews? 1. Jews already support him. 2. Jews were historically great benefactors of black people. (I love Jews.) 3. He has the capacity to rebuild the connections between Jews and African-Americans. (Jews should love me.)

That implies, I think, that people should worry less about what second-rate leaders like Farrakhan and Wright have been doing in the past and think more hopefully about what a first-rate leader like him can do in the future. In this view, garishly severing ties to Farrakhan and Wright is either beside the point or counterproductive. Let those 2 characters operate at a distance, helping Obama achieve power, and, at that point, Obama will get everything right and then he can transform everyone and root out all traces of anti-Semitism.
[OBAMA:] You know, I would not be sitting here were it not for a whole host of Jewish Americans, who supported the civil rights movement and helped to ensure that justice was served in the South. And that coalition has frayed over time around a whole host of issues, and part of my task in this process is making sure that those lines of communication and understanding are reopened.

But, you know, the reason that I have such strong support in the Jewish community and have historically -- it was true in my U.S. Senate campaign and it's true in this presidency -- is because the people who know me best know that I consistently have not only befriended the Jewish community, not only have I been strong on Israel, but, more importantly, I've been willing to speak out even when it is not comfortable.

When I was -- just last point I would make -- when I was giving -- had the honor of giving a sermon at Ebenezer Baptist Church in conjunction with Martin Luther King's birthday in front of a large African-American audience, I specifically spoke out against anti-Semitism within the African-American community. And that's what gives people confidence that I will continue to do that when I'm president of the United States.
These 3 paragraphs filibuster the same point. Please forget the nasty things Tim Russert said so long ago.
WILLIAMS: Senator...

CLINTON: I just want to add something here, because I faced a similar situation when I ran for the Senate in 2000 in New York. And in New York, there are more than the two parties, Democratic and Republican. And one of the parties at that time, the Independence Patty, was under the control of people who were anti-Semitic, anti-Israel. And I made it very clear that I did not want their support. I rejected it. I said that it would not be anything I would be comfortable with. And it looked as though I might pay a price for that. But I would not be associated with people who said such inflammatory and untrue charges against either Israel or Jewish people in our country.
Great! She saw what just happened. She made the exact point that needed to be made. And she had a personal example of courage, doing precise thing that Russert invited Obama to do. Perfect.
And, you know, I was willing to take that stand, and, you know, fortunately the people of New York supported me and I won. But at the time, I thought it was more important to stand on principle and to reject the kind of conditions that went with support like that.
Perfect.
RUSSERT: Are you suggesting Senator Obama is not standing on principle?
In other words: Please, Hillary, explain, for those out there who might not have noticed what you said you did and which Obama just wriggled out of doing.
CLINTON: No. I'm just saying that you asked specifically if he would reject it. And there's a difference between denouncing and rejecting.
Make it clear! Don't let this look like a Clintonesque word game. This isn't "what the meaning of is is." There is a real difference. Say what it is so your best point isn't lost!
And I think when it comes to this sort of, you know, inflammatory -- I have no doubt that everything that Barack just said is absolutely sincere. But I just think, we've got to be even stronger. We cannot let anyone in any way say these things because of the implications that they have, which can be so far reaching.
From her best moment to her worst! She melted into near gibberish. Why? What was she afraid of? Did she lose her grip on the subject? "Sort of, you know"? "I just think"? The filler words pop up everywhere. Bland praise seeps in: Obama is "absolutely sincere." And the distinction she just made between him and her becomes a lame wish to become "even stronger." So then, he's already strong, so what are you quibbling about? What a lost opportunity!
OBAMA: Tim, I have to say I don't see a difference between denouncing and rejecting.
He doesn't miss the opportunities. He just drove in the knife, yet it sounded lighthearted and funny.
There's no formal offer of help from Minister Farrakhan that would involve me rejecting it.
Huh? Clinton should be preparing her attack based on this nonsense. You can reject help that isn't formally offered!
But if the word "reject" Senator Clinton feels is stronger than the word "denounce," then I'm happy to concede the point, and I would reject and denounce.
This is the part everyone notices. It's hilarious. We love him. And she now seems ridiculous. Come back up for air, Hillary! Fight it! He gave you an opening! Point out where he failed.
CLINTON: Good. Good. Excellent.
Astounding! Hillary Clinton does not have the instinct for blood. She either gave up or she lacks the chops to keep up with him.
(APPLAUSE)
Ah, see? They like you when you concede to him. Hopeless.
WILLIAMS: Rare audience outburst on the agreement over rejecting and renouncing.
And the "moderator" Brian Williams scores a victory for Obama.
We're going to take advantage of this opportunity to take the second of our limited breaks. We'll be back live from Cleveland right after this.
The referee stops the fight.

***

Video:



ADDED: What others are saying. Andrew Sullivan, live-blogging:
Does Obama understand that saying he has consistently denounced him is not the same as simply saying, "I denounce him"? A weak response - reminiscent of Dukakis. (By the way, why is it somehow only a question for Jewish Americans that Farrakhan is a fascist hate-monger? It's a question for all Americans.) Obama's Farrakhan response suggests to me he is reluctant to attack a black demagogue. Maybe he wants to avoid a racial melee. But he has one. He needs to get real on this. Weak, weak, weak. Clinton sees an opening and pounces. She wins this round. He is forced to adjust. His worst moment in any debate since this campaign started. I'm astounded he couldn't be more forceful. His inability to say by himself, unprompted, that Farrakhan's support repels him and he rejects it outright really unsettles me.

I have not believed that Obama has an ounce of sympathy for a creep like Farrakhan. But Obama has now made me doubt this. If David Duke called John McCain a good man, would McCain hesitate to say he'd rather Duke opposed him? If this is how Obama wants to tackle this emotive issue, he needs to get real.
Josh Marshall (referring to this segment of the debate as "Russert's run of shame"):
I would say it was borderline to bring up the issue of Farrakhan at all. But perhaps since it's getting some media play you bring it up just for the record, for Obama to address.

That's not what Russert did. He launches into it, gets into a parsing issue over word choices, then tries to find reasons to read into the record some of Farrakhan's vilest quotes after Obama has just said he denounces all of them. Then he launches into a bizarre series of logical fallacies that had Obama needing to assure Jews that he didn't believe that Farrakhan "epitomizes greatness".

As a Jew and perhaps more importantly simply as a sentient being I found it disgusting. It was a nationwide, televised, MSM version of one of those noxious Obama smear emails.
Wow, I thought Andrew Sullivan was the one who was blinded by love for Obama. What an interesting comparison between Andrew "why is it somehow only a question for Jewish Americans" Sullivan and Josh "as a Jew" Marshall!

Don Frederick at the LA Times: "He could have saved himself some potential grief if he had been less circular arriving at that point" (of equating "reject" and "denounce"). Oh, Don, don't you see? It's all about the circular. It only worked because of the circularity. I mean, it's the circularity that made you think it was only circular!

Sticking with the MSM blogs, here's Katharine Q. Seelye for the NYT:
One of the more revealing bits — and a new subject to these debates — was over Minister Louis Farrakhan’s endorsement of Mr. Obama.

Asked if he rejected that support, Mr. Obama joked that he couldn’t really say that to someone who “thinks I’m a good guy,” but added, “I have been very clear in my denunciations of him.” Mrs. Clinton then said she had rejected the support of an anti-semitic party in New York and that it had been “important to stand on principle.” “There’s a difference between denouncing and rejecting,” she said. Whereupon Mr. Obama said he didn’t see a big difference but, “I’m happy to concede the point, and I would reject and denounce.”

The exchange showed both of them in a strong light — she spotted an opening, portrayed her own heroics and pushed him to her side, while he showed flexibility and good judgment in quickly agreeing with her and defusing the issue.
Yes, isn't it nice that they're both good? He's better though. And she was, you know, right.

Marc Ambinder:
[T]here were was his weird language about the endorsement by Louis Farrakhan. There are some things you just don’t do in American politics: calling Farrakhan “minister Farrakhan” is one of them. He’s been declared persona non grata by everyone in the mainstream of our politics. It seemed to take badgering by Clinton for Obama to reject it explicitly (although he did not embrace it and had distanced himself from it before). I don't think Obama's at fault here... I think the circumstances conspired against him... but it just didn't sound right...
Circumstances conspired against him? What's that supposed to mean? Didn't sound right? It wasn't right!

MORE: Noam Scheiber brings up an incident from Hillary's 2000 Senate campaign relating to Suha Arafat: "I was sure she was going to invoke the firestorm she ignited after watching Suha Arafat deliver an anti-Israel tirade." Here's a 2000 NYT article that gives background on the Suha Arafat incident:
On [a trip to the West Bank in 1999], Mrs. Clinton was photographed kissing the wife of Yasir Arafat, after Mrs. Arafat, speaking in Arabic, accused the Israeli government of employing toxic gas against Palestinian women and children. Mrs. Clinton condemned Mrs. Arafat hours later, after receiving, she said, an official translation of her remarks.
So what's Scheiber's point?
She lectured Obama about how it's not sufficient to denounce anti-Semites; you have to actively reject their support. It was a sanctimonious turn, and Obama defused it with typical good humor.
Taylor Marsh says "Obama Blows his 'Sister Soujah' Moment":
As a Scots-Irish broad, I saw Obama's tepid response to Farrakhan, and was appalled. Emails from Jewish friends confirmed that I wasn't alone. That Obama had to be led to this reality is proof of his ruffle no feathers at any cost mentality. It has nothing to do with him believing in our "special relationship" with Israel, or insinuating anything remotely anti-semitic. It's about moral courage and the conciliatory reflex he has to extend grace to people who haven't earned and don't deserve it. People like Louis Farrakhan.

186 comments:

George said...

Excellent post. Outstanding.

MadisonMan said...

Good analysis.

But should Presidential Candidates have to denounce the support of every skeevy little gasbag who holds to bizarre positions? If Obama is the Democratic nominee, and some Right-Wing paramilitary White 'R' Great group leader endorses McCain, and gives him money, can't we respect the intelligence of the American People enough for them to distinguish between the beliefs of a Candidate and the weirdo beliefs of some of the candidate's supporters. A campaign to denounce renounce and condemn? It seems like a race to the bottom to me.

Middle Class Guy said...

I think that Russert either embarassed himself last night or in a very cleverly designed method of questioning Obama, actually tried to trip up Clinton; knowing she has rhetorical weaknesses.

What is lost ia all of this is a little perspective. Barack Obama has worked and lived in a neighborhood that is populated by a large number of Jewish people. Further, there are large numbers who also work in the area.

He has a large jewish constituency in Chicago and it has carried over to other places.

As to Farrakhan, in Chicago he is known as Calypso Louie. He is not taken seriously by anyone here, including Blacks; except for his small congregation of Black Muslims. He is somewhat irrelevant.

The real problem Obama has to watch out for is if people like Al Sharpton, Maxine Waters, or other overtly racist or anti-semitic national public figures back him. People who have a record of action and words, versus Farrakhan, who just gives a speech.

Joe said...

Obama disgusted me in this debate, mostly for stuff like this.

Excellent analysis.

I thought Hillary made a strong point (perhaps a little stronger than you give her credit for--it seemed so in real time, anyhow), but she didn't move in for the kill (and what a sweet kill it would have been).

AllenS said...

The white woman has to be very careful when discussing what black people say, or what black people might be perceived as saying. Too funny.

Fen said...

This is why I keep coming back here Ann. Nicely done.

But should Presidential Candidates have to denounce the support of every skeevy little gasbag who holds to bizarre positions?

Nope. But if your campaign's touchstone is "uniting the country", then its telling how you respond to divisive people who support you.

Kinda like how going John Kerry's miltary service was fair because he made it a central point of his campaign.

Obama has a history of association with black supremists and separatists. He needs to denounce and reject that.

Fen said...

MM, I guess the short version is:

since Obama is marketing himself as a healer/uniter, we deserve to know if he's capabale of recognizing the disease.

Danny said...

Jews may dislike Farrakhan, but not as much as we love an argument about nothing. And really, a slightly bigger red flag goes up when we heard:

SEN. CLINTON: We cannot let anyone in any way say these things because of the implications that they have, which can be so far reaching.

MadisonMan said...

I think McCain is also running as a uniter -- I appreciated his castigation of someone going off on BHO before McCain took the stage somewhere. If the campaign devolves into both candidates routinely saying I renounce the support of X because of Y it's going to be a long and tedious summer.

rhhardin said...

None of them are standing in principle. They're calculating what's best to say.

It's a chess game played with soap opera memes.

Hillary's queen is in danger, is all.

The link to debating contest formats overwhelms the ability to listen.

``This is all crap,'' it shouts, if you listen.

Where there's room for value is in words that capture something perfectly. That doesn't happen often.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Told you so. Obama and Michelle attend a racist and anti semitic church that also advocates Black Separatism. The media has been frantically trying to cover it up like a cat covering scat in the litter box.

The Muslim upbringing of Obama has also been the poop in the box.

His former Roman Catholic and Muslim teachers, along with two people who were identified by Obama's grade-school teacher as childhood friends, say Obama was registered by his family as a Muslim at both schools he attended. That registration meant that during the third and fourth grades, Obama learned about Islam for two hours each week in religion class.

The childhood friends say Obama sometimes went to Friday prayers at the local mosque. "We prayed but not really seriously, just following actions done by older people in the mosque. But as kids, we loved to meet our friends and went to the mosque together and played," said Zulfin Adi. … Obama's younger sister, Maya Soetoro, said in a statement released by the campaign that the family attended the mosque only "for big communal events," not every Friday.


If I were registered as a Catholic by my parents, went to Catechism once a week for several years on Saturday for a several hours a week, and attended Christmas and Easter Mass and other significant religious holidays and sometimes went to Mass on other occasions......wouldn't you say I was raised as a Catholic? So....how-come, we can't say the same for Barak Obama as a Muslim.

Given this history and his refusal to distance himself from his and his wife's radical church and from the well known anti semite Farrakhan, shouldn't we be just the least tiniest bit curious or concerned about the poop in the litter box?

When we walk blindly often we walk into a wall and injure ourselves. I suggest we open our eyes and try to see clearly instead of being blinded by political correctness and overcompensation for the racism of previous generations.

Danny said...

Dust Bunny, when you talk about the "racism of previous generations," are you aware that you're talking about yourself?

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Danny: Yes. I am quite aware of the racism of the generation of my parents and mine own. I was carefully taught by my parents to NOT be racist and grew up in a very ethnically mixed environment in California.

At one time we lived briefly in the deep south and I still remember segregation as a small child.

A short story to illustrate how "I" was raised: We had just arrived in some little town in Mississippi where my parents had a job opportunity. My brother an I (about age 7 and 5)were thirsty from the long ride in the car. Stopping at a park we spied a water fountain and raced to get a drink. A woman stopped us and said forcefully "Don't drink out of that. That's the colored fountain" and made us drink from another one. We were surprised but obedient and after she left went back to turn on the "colored" fountain and were very very disappointed that the water was just regular clear water. We were hoping for red or blue or some other color.

So, your assumption that all "white" people of any certain age are racist shows your own bigotry.

former law student said...

Has Hillary renounced the support of those who vote for her because she's white? They have to be out there, especially in the homeland of Marge Schott. Has she appeared on television and said, "Now I know some of you are ignorant, disgusting bigots. Please, don't vote for me on that basis. Only vote for me because you think I'm the better candidate."

George said...

Danny--

DustBunny is linking to Daniel Pipes. Is he a racist?

If you dislike Pipes, you'll really loathe Spengler....

"America has the great misfortune to have encountered Obama at the peak of his powers at its worst moment of vulnerability in a generation. With malice aforethought, he has sought out their sore point."

Read the Spengler piece, also, for his look at Obama's mother...

Also, the Slate video explaining that the West Wing's presidential candidate was based on Obama! (Plus, apparently L.A. Law's Blair Underwood, too...) All that, plus, David Alexrod's 4-year odyssey videoing "virtually everything" Obama "has done in public" as recounted in the NYT Mag. It is all too, too bizarre...

Kirk Parker said...

MM,

"every skeevy little gasbag"

Well, I'd be satisfied with qualifying that as "every ... gasbag that has the prominence of Farrakhan*"; sure!

I mean, is there a single person here who can even name one "Right-Wing paramilitary White 'R' Great group leader"? And if that miracle were to happen, would any of the rest of us recognize the name? I feel very confident the answers are Almost Certainly Not, and Not A Chance.

--------------------------------
*Yes, I know it's totally undeserved prominence, but nevertheless it's real.

Ben (The Tiger) said...

I've said it before and I'll say it again: Barack Obama is running with the persona -- uniter of the country across partisan divides -- that John McCain actually is and has been.

And we'll see that play out over the next eight months.

Jeremy said...

Dust Bunny Queen:
"I was carefully taught by my parents to NOT be racist and grew up in a very ethnically mixed environment"

Are you doubtful that this is also true of Barack Obama?

Hoosier Daddy said...

DustBunny is linking to Daniel Pipes. Is he a racist?

Daniel Pipes is highly critical of Islam (with good reason). Just for those who aren't aware, Islam is a religion not a race. It is not exclusive to a specific ethnic group.

Then again crying racism is the last refuge of those who have no credible argument.

fred said...

silly notion that Obama should denounce every single person and group that supports him. The poster uses hzer rhetorical lawyerly skills as a way of dumping on a candidate--surprise!--she would not ever vote for...Why bother? Look at the gujy you will support and ask aboutg McCain supporters!

Mortimer Brezny said...

Again, Obama denounced Farrakhan personally in reply to Richard Cohen's smear piece in the Washington Post. That denunciation was sent to TPM.

As for the part about Obama "only talking about the past," that seems fairly silly and over-parsing to me. The past is all that has happened. The present is all there is. Obama is siting right there in the moment saying he has consistently denounced the guy and his horrible statements AND THEN THROWS IN WHAT HE PLANS TO DO ABOUT JEWISH-BLACK RELATIONS IN THE FUTURE. Perhaps there is more than past, present, and future in the Universe, but if not, it appears Hillary Clinton was just cosmically wrong.

As for not using the word "reject" or the present tense, the concern of the question is not "Do you reject his support right now?" -- that's just Russert's news-making phrasing. The concern is "What will you do in office?" (That's why Russert bridged the questioning to Israel policy.) Obama's answer is not filibustering or skirting the issue; it's a direct answer: you can expect the same behavior in the future that you have seen from me in the past. I denounced him then, I'll denounce him in the future, and I'll work to bridge division as I have done before this campaign and in this campaign.

Hillary didn't expose anything; Josh Marshall is correct. She is a disgusting, opportunistic piece of filth.

By the way, denounce means: To condemn openly as being evil or reprehensible.

Denunciation is far more severe than rejection. You reject a girl when you turn her down for a date; that doesn't mean you openly declare her to be a force of evil.

Hillary was so off-base on this it's no wonder she flunked the D.C. bar.

Jim Hu said...

Question for any New Yawkers who might remember - on balance, did Hillary's rejection of that party really entail a measurable political risk? Hard to imagine that it would be very risky compared to not rejecting them.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Are you doubtful that this is also true of Barack Obama?

How do we know, since we are "forbidden" to enquire about it?

But, then again, as my Mother always said, people will judge you by your friends. I suggest if Obama wants to be judged differently he more than just denounce his new buddy Farrakhan. Another Mom, saying..... actions speak louder than words.

Mothers...the wisdom of the ages.

rcocean said...

Great Analysis by Althouse.

That said, this whole issue is simply Russert at his worst. There is no evidence that Obama supports Farakhan or is anti-semeitic.

Further, every Presidential candidate is supported by weirdos, extremists, and bigots. No candidate is responsible for his supporters. And this game of whether you denounced them sufficiently is simply a waste of time.

Just more MSM moronic emphasis on meaningless side-issues and pandering.

Finally, I'd love intelligent people of both right and left to stop this kind of attack - but thats impossible since our leftist friends will defend Obama today and attack McCain tomorrow for being supported by (fill-in name of obscure Nazi, bigot or crazy religious zealot).

Meade said...

former law student said...
"Has Hillary renounced the support of those who vote for her because she's white? "

How is that analogous?

She clearly rejected the offered support of a group that explicitly hates Jews and is anti-Israel. Obama had the opportunity to do the same thing regarding Farrakhan but he failed to do it.

Mortimer Brezny said...

She clearly rejected the offered support of a group that explicitly hates Jews and is anti-Israel. Obama had the opportunity to do the same thing regarding Farrakhan but he failed to do it.

Farrakhan hasn't offered his support.

Sweating Through fog said...

Jim Hu,

I'm a New Yorker that remembers her "denunciation and rejection." It cost her nothing, and took no courage on her part.

As I said on my blog, this came across as silly parsing of words - Clintonism at its worst. Obama was laughing at Hillary, and he got the audience to laugh too.

Middle Class Guy said...

William F. Buckley has passed away at the age of 82.


He was the epitome of what a politcal pundit and opinion maker should be. Unlike the pundits today on both sides, he never spewed hatred, only facts. He used intelligence, research, and logic instead of emotion to get his points across. He was also a true gentleman in every sense of the word.

Michael said...

I think you totally missed the point of that exchange.

The old politics is the kind of gotcha that expects a black man running for office to carefully distance himself from every black man you don't approve of. And since the black community is full of scary characters like Farrakhan who nevertheless are going to be excited as hell to see a black man running for president, you get to keep the black man busy all summer long apologizing for every unsavory thing in black America.

And Obama looked at that game and said, "Hey, whatever, lady. I denounce, renounce, reject, eject, whatever magic verb you think matters. But I think your whole game is stupid." And since the whole audience was sitting there thinking, "What stupid games our politicians have to play," he wins and she looks like out of touch and unpleasant.

You got something real, and there are a few things about the church Obama actually attends that are kind of worrisome, bring it up. But the headline "Scary Black Man Praises Nice Black Man" does not disqualify Nice Black Man from office.

former law student said...

Daniel Pipes says he's not a racist, and really, who would know better than him?

http://www.danielpipes.org/article/3144

Daniel Pipes complains: "My talks at university campuses sometimes occasion protests featuring Leftists and Islamists who call me names. A favorite of theirs is 'racist'. This year, for example, a 'Stand up to Racism Rally' anticipated my talk at the Rochester Institute of Technology, I was accused of racism against Muslim immigrants at Dartmouth College, and pamphlets at the University of Toronto charged me with 'anti-Muslim racism'."

And it's not just Daniel who is traduced in this way: "When U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo raised the idea of bombing Islamic holy sites as a form of deterrence, a Nation of Islam leader in Denver, Gerald Muhammad, deemed his comments racist."

Pipes has the answer to these slanders. "Islam being a religion with followers of every race and pigmentation, where might race enter the picture?" he demands.

New York Sun, 22 November 2005

ricpic said...

Any American with a brain in his head should instantly reject Obama as a presidential contender on the basis of his failure to reject Farrakhan's support.

What if it were McCain failing to reject David Duke's support? McCain would be dead. So then why not Obama? I think we all know the reason.

Mortimer Brezny said...

Any American with a brain in his head should instantly reject Obama as a presidential contender on the basis of his failure to reject Farrakhan's support.

If McCain tries this kind of racist crap in the general, he's going down in flames.

Tim said...

It seems like a missed moment. The difference between denouncing and rejecting--that's the difference between words and deeds she's been trying to draw. Denouncing is standing apart while saying he's bad. Rejecting is actively turning his back on him.

former law student said...

She clearly rejected the offered support of a group that explicitly hates Jews and is anti-Israel.

Hillary solicited the Independence Party to select her as their party candidate for Senator, then withdrew when the IP refused to remove Pat Buchanan as their Presidential candidate. In contrast, Obama never asked for Farrakhan's support. If she knew the IP was anti-Semitic, why did she want to run under their imprimatur in the first place?

http://ipny.org/photos1.html

Craig said...

Isn't the real point that Obama CONTINUES to attend a church whose pastor idealizes Farrakahn?

There's no past tense in denounce here. It's ongoing support.

Chip Ahoy said...

What an interesting and well-researched post! And that's coming from a guy with an inability to listen to either one of them for longer than ten seconds, check that, five seconds.

... Reverend Farrakhan called Judaism "gutter religion."

↑ Exactly backwards. Plus, Muslims don't rightly call their hate mongering leaders Reverend or Minister.

SGT Ted said...

I love the attempt to separate Obama from prominate black racists that support him. Obama belongs to a racist church, yet because he claims he disagrees with the pastor, he is given a pass, simply because the racists are black.

Sorry, not buying it. This dishonesty opens the door to question anything else he is claming.

I would have nothing to do with any white seperatist church, much less be a member or be married to a member of such. His continues membership in such shows what he considers acceptable in a religion: anti-white/Jewish racism.

If this were a white Republican, you lefties would be screaming this from the rooftops.

Jeremy said...

"How do we know, since we are "forbidden" to enquire about it?"

That's a pressing, yet-to-be-asked question? Whether Barack Obama's white mother taught him that racism is wrong? Actually, I'm assuming that's not quite what you meant. But, I mean, really... we're here talking about an instance of him being questioned on the topic.

"But, then again, as my Mother always said, people will judge you by your friends. I suggest if Obama wants to be judged differently he more than just denounce his new buddy Farrakhan. Another Mom, saying..... actions speak louder than words."

Farrakhan is Barack Obama's buddy? I have not seen evidence of this myself. What was it David Brooks wrote in defense of McCain?... Something like, "it is the gospel of the mediocre man to fault someone for failing in part when striving for greatness." I don't like the term mediocre man, because it's personal and insulting, and I'm not addressing that part to anyone. But it drives home the point. It made me look at myself, too. I do it.

:)

"Mothers...the wisdom of the ages."

I agree. The rest seems like hysteria, though.

Obama denounced Farrakhan last night in a reasonable, firm, measured way. This has generally proven to be the best way to address objectionable behavior. (I can't be sure, but I'd like to think most of the folks here would agree with me there.) Of course, because of the nature of Farrakhan, and the nature of politics, many people see Obama's response as woefully inadequate. I'm struggling to give much validity to his doubters on this one, though.

I think escalation of negative rhetoric, and the expectation that everyone follow suit, is a problem. This is one reason why I am inclined to support Barack Obama.

former law student said...

Oh my god. Not only did Hillary seek the Independence Party endorsement, it was the New York affiliate of Ross Perot's Reform Party.

Everyone who thinks Ross Perot's an anti-Semite, raise your hands.

http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9805EED61439F933A05757C0A9669C8B63

Mortimer Brezny said...

Denouncing is standing apart while saying he's bad. Rejecting is actively turning his back on him.

I didn't realize Farrakhan was a Klingon. In any event, how do you turn your back on someone you have always condemned, has never offered you support, and whom you never accepted support from?

Doyle said...

Ann why are you under the impression that Obama is under some obligation to prove that he doesn't welcome the support of Farrakhan?

Marshall's right, and you're a whacko.

ricpic said...

Let me get this straight, MB, it's racist to come to the conclusion that Obama is not a viable candidate because he can't bring himself to reject Farrakhan's support? Have you any idea of the pue hatred of whites and Jews that Farrakhan spews? And Obama can't, just can't seem to bring himself to reject that worm. And to call Obama on that is racist?! Why, he's just too magically magical to touch, isn't he?

MadisonMan said...

I'm going to make the obvious observation that Obama and McCain's supporters, whose views/thoughts I might find objectionable, are nevertheless Americans -- even though they may decry that idea -- and they deserve to support whomever they wish to.

I reject the notion that because person A supports candidate B that candidate B supports the notions of person A. It's not like the Objectionables have a lot of candidates among whom to choose to support. To put it more concretely -- could Louis Farrakhan have any influence on his constituency if he backed McCain?

And I agree with ben's 10:06 comments wholeheartedly.

Bender said...

But should Presidential Candidates have to denounce the support of every skeevy little gasbag who holds to bizarre positions?

This nails it in showing how modern politics and commentary has sinked to the idiotic level of constantly demanding that folks respond to what someone else has said, rather than substantive talk about real issues.

Every fricking day we are forced to endure the spectacle of candidates and/or others being pressured to respond and comment and condemn some "outrageous" thing that someone else has said.

"Can you believe what X has said?? What is your response?? Do you repudiate it?? Repudiate it!! Repudiate it!! Repudiate it NOW!!!!! Why haven't you rejected it already??" and on and on and on. It is idiotic. Enough already.

Doyle said...

That said, this whole issue is simply Russert at his worst.

Someone reasonable has hacked rcocean's account!

Mortimer Brezny said...

And Obama can't, just can't seem to bring himself to reject that worm.

Well, what do you mean by reject?

Obama has never accepted him; he's always denounced him.

Your position is nonsense.

I imagine your nonsensical animus must have some explanation.

PatCA said...

Great analysis. The American people will catch on, especially when the real campaign begins.

Both of them missed their Sista Souljah moment, Obama for strategic reasons and Hillary because she choked.

More background on Obama: http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Front_Page/JB26Aa01.html

John K. said...

The reason Hillary descended into near gibberish on the follow-up and missed her "opportunity" to really cut Obama is because her initial point wasn't strong at all. MadisonMan, former law student, and Fred make the point very well above: why should a candidate have to reject support from unsavory characters, so long as it's understood that the support isn't mutual? People tried to tar Ron Paul with this same brush.

I thought it was interesting that Russert followed up with a real softball when it came to Obama's pastor, Rev. Wright. He didn't suggest like he did with respect to Farrakhan that Obama should denounce or reject Wright, but merely asked what Obama would do to "assure Jewish-Americans" that he was on their side.

Personally, I'm casting my vote for Cthulhu ("Why Vote for the Lesser Evil?"), but if I were voting for the lesser evil I think it clearly would be Obama, over both Hillary and McCain. Obama's policies suck almost as bad as theirs, but in terms of both charisma and character he appears to far exceed both of them. He, relative to both of them, appears to be a real family man. I actually met Obama when he was a state senator in Springfield. The local pro-life lady activist I was walking around the state capitol with actually spoke highly of him to me as we approached him in the hallway. The oddity of her doing so is presumably why I remember the brief encounter years later, and not because I was particularly impressed by him then. I do worry a little about his charisma, in light of what the Book of Revelations prophesies regarding the qualities of the anti-christ.

Henry said...

Superb. I'm not sure that Obama is trying to preserve support from Farrakhan and his crowd, as he has simply conditioned himself to be agreeable.

It reminds me of an unintentionally comic passage in Geraldine Ferraro's remarkably disingenuous op-ed on superdelegates from a few days ago. Here it is:

In 1984 I headed the party’s platform committee. We produced the longest platform in Democratic history, a document that stated the party’s principles in broad terms that neither the most liberal nor the most conservative elected officials would denounce.

That is Obama's strategy in a nutshell. The longest platform in the broadest terms, with the fewest upsetting specifics.

Richard Dolan said...

Many here want to dismiss the exchange over Farrakhan as a "silly parsing of words." That fails for a reason Obama noted, and for the many additional reasons that Ann details.

As part of his long semi-response to the questions, Obama took credit for "sp[eaking] out against anti-Semitism within the African-American community" during a recent appearance at a Baptist church. Good for him if he did that. But the reality of "anti-Semitism within the African-American community" is precisely why it is important for leaders such as Obama to be clear and direct in rejecting Farrakhan as the pre-eminent avatar of that view. It's just not something about which equivocation, windy speechifying or other forms of obfuscation will do. But that's what Obama delivered. The entire episode was a sad exercise in slip-sliding away, even if he did it with a certain skill.

For the same reason, complaints that "you can't expect politicians to go around denouncing every nut who supports them" fall flat. Farrakhan is just any old nut; anti-Semitism in the African-American community is, as Obama notes, a problem that keeps getting stoked by charaltans like Farrakhan for their own reasons.

The concern here is not whether Obama himself harbors anti-Semitic views. No one is suggesting any such thing. But he is seeking our highest office. On matters of deep principle, presidents have to be clear, even if it means rejecting root and branch someone who says nice things about you but stands as the embodiment of an evil that continues to fester. This response, I thought, was especially disappointing: "He expressed pride in an African-American who seems to be bringing the country together. I obviously can't censor him, but it is not support that I sought. And we're not doing anything, I assure you, formally or informally with Minister Farrakhan." Linking Farrakhan with the idea of "bringing the country together" in a single sentence is astonishing.

It's also an issue about which Obama needs to be careful. One of the things that Nader said when he announced his latest bid was that Obama had been a supporter of the Palestinian cause before launching his political career, and changed positions only when he entered Chicago politics. Nader was, not surprisingly, lamenting Obama's abandonment of the Palestinian cause; the essence of his charge was opportunism and hypocrisy. Whether Nader's facts or his charge against Obama are true, I don't know. But I suspect we will be hearing more about all of this, and not only from Nader.

Martin Weiss said...

I think Sen Obama's fans assume that Farrakan has no influence on Obama and Obama is taking advantage of Farrakan.

The only way we'll really know is if we elect Obama as Prez.

How convenient

paul a'barge said...

So Althouse, are you still going to vote for this guy?

peter hoh said...

I couldn't help but think of Emily Dickinson's lines:

Tell all the Truth but tell it slant---
Success in Cirrcuit lies

Bullwinkle4Amy said...

This exchange certainly doesn't do anything to mitigate the concern that some people have that Obama isn't merely liberal, but is, in fact, too close by half to the point at which the lunatic left meets the nativist nuthatch right. Next we'll be hearing that Pat Buchanan backs Obama, and Obama won't come right out and say that he rejects that support without prodding from someone.

John K. said...

Just to be clear, my comment above about Obama maybe being the anti-christ was meant to be a joke. The joke might have been lost because the rest of the comment reveals that I am in fact more or less socially-conservative, though I'm not an evangelical by any means.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

"How do we know, since we are "forbidden" to enquire about it?"

That's a pressing, yet-to-be-asked question? Whether Barack Obama's white mother taught him that racism is wrong? Actually, I'm assuming that's not quite what you meant. But, I mean, really... we're here talking about an instance of him being questioned on the topic

No, Jeremy, I mean that we seem to be hit in the face with accusations of racism whenever we try to question Obama's core beliefs, his history, basic biographical facts and his associations today with some shall we say unsavory views.

The pressing question is: What does Obama really believe in and how will these beliefs affect his ability to deal with the sensitive issues of the Middle East (Israel and Muslim terrorism), race issues in the US (Black anti-semitism and the increasing racial wars between black and Mexican gangs in cities in California) terrorism issues in the US ( open borders policy and illegal immigration

These are just a few of the ...oh...somewhat important issues that are a blank slate because the press is giving him a free pass and anyone who dares to question is immediately accused of being a racist.

If the child was raised as a Muslim and by parents who were anti-American leftists, don't you think this just might have some influence on the man. Aren't you just the least bit curious about who this man is who may actually be the next President of the United States?

If it all turns out to be just fluff and rumours don't you think we have the right to know? If it isn't fluff, I sure has HELL want to know.

The Senator said...

Interesting post and excellent analysis.

As I read Hillary's comments, I was reminded of something I learned in my gender psych class--that women are more likely to use "hedge" words (I think, sort of, etc.) instead of being assertive. For all her rhetoric and role as the "feminist candidate", it seems like Hillary has still been socialized for meekness.

If she won't be assertive in a debate against a fellow Democrat, how can we trust her to be assertive against any opposition--Republican or international--she'll inevitably face as President?

mschaff said...

Obama and blacks in general need to be confronted with the likes of Farrakahn and his ilk.

Do you denounce and distance yourself from racist organizations like the NOI or do you tap dance around the issue because some element of these groups do "good works"?

If Obama cannot bring himself to stick a fork into Uncle Louie, he's not worthy of my vote.

GBGBusiness said...

Both of these candidates it seems will remain "gray" to get elected.

Just please everyone.

Stand for everything & Stand for nothing....

This makes me sick....

Danny said...

Once again, Hillary's rather German approach to anti-Semitism:

SEN. CLINTON: We cannot let anyone in any way say these things because of the implications that they have, which can be so far reaching.

caplight777 said...

Obama will receive the support of many, many African American ministers who preach that gay sex is a sin, who do not support gay marriage and who reject the notion that gay rights is on a civil rights par with Black civil rights. Should he preemptively "denounce" all of them or should he make his positions known (which I believe he has) and accept whatever support they give?

ZPS said...

I never read "long" posts...but this one was great.

I think the US relationship with Israel is creepy and hurtful to both nations...but anti-Semitism is an easy and obvious thing to reject. I am (was) an Obama supporter, but both he and Hillary looked like idiots. I wish I could feel good about my candidate.

What's worse...voting for a bad candidate simply because he's from your party, or not voting at all...

Jim Howard said...

Astounding! Hillary Clinton does not have the instinct for blood. She either gave up or she lacks the chops to keep up with him.

Since at least 1992 Hillary has lived in a bubble. She has been protected by corps of yes-people and pampered by a loving press. She has virtually no experience in actually exchanging ideas in real time with anyone other than sycophants.

It's no wonder that she goes into 'Nurse Ratchet, victim' mode so quickly. She has never been required to think on her feet.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

What's worse...voting for a bad candidate simply because he's from your party, or not voting at all...

LOL...welcome to my world, and I'm a Republican (this year anyway).

MarkP said...

I consider Russert's question to be gutter politics. It's particularly used, in my experience, in the North. "Denounce So-And-So." What on earth does this have to do with anything? It's just an effort to AVOID dealing with issues. Worse, it's an effort to have political leaders attack individual citizens in order to divide the electorate along class/ethnic/racial/religious lines.

It's worse coming from a journalist. I expect this type of gutter politics from the politicians in Manhattan and Boston, where I've lived, but Russert doesn't have to play this game. He chooses to. He could have taken the same time and asked Obama about policies, his votes as a legislator, or about his potential cabinet/court nominations. But Russert didn't. He asked Obama to "distance himself" from Farrakhan. Russert's implication is that Obama is close to Farrakhan. It's a question that is logically akin to "when did you stop beating your wife, Mr. Obama?"

Even worse, this line of questioning plays into the "Jews can't trust blacks" fear that, in my experience, is so prevalent in the North. Obama is trying to fight this sort of prejudice, which is very prevalent in the Democratic Party (and I'm a Democrat). Russert's question is designed to prey upon the fears that still linger from the 60's & 70's.

This type of gutter politics harms our democracy by focusing voters' attention on personalities (and extreme ones at that) and clan-ties, not on policies or shared citizenship. Russert, and NBC, can do better, but they lack the judgment and class to stick to the issues.

A victory for Obama will be a defeat for this type of fearmongering, gutter politics within the Party, for which I am grateful.

Hoosier Daddy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Hoosier Daddy said...

Personally, I'm casting my vote for Cthulhu ("Why Vote for the Lesser Evil?")

Well I'm going one better

Fans of Babylon 5 will know what I am talking about.

Jeremy said...

Yes, Dust Bunny, I am curious. I've been taking a good look. Some things about him raise questions. I haven't seen any of them pan out. Most of the things folks point out as potentially dangerous, I actually end up seeing as positives, after taking my careful look. Some will see this as evidence of my failing, weakness, gullibility, or whatever. So it goes, I know.

Of course these are extremely serious issues. Noting your alarmed tone, and phrases like "anti-American leftist," leads me to think you take them even more seriously. I just hope you'll keep a level head.

Take care.

Hoosier Daddy said...

I think the US relationship with Israel is creepy and hurtful to both nations

Creepy? Hurtful? Please, do tell.

(gets popcorn)

Mortimer Brezny said...

But the reality of "anti-Semitism within the African-American community" is precisely why it is important for leaders such as Obama to be clear and direct in rejecting Farrakhan as the pre-eminent avatar of that view.

Farrakhan isn't pre-eminent at anything but being a boogeyman. He runs a newsletter -- the Final Call -- which has a distribution of 20,000. There are tens of millions of African-Americans in this country.

William said...

I share your unease with Obama's courteous rejection of Farakhan. I understand that black people have sufficient reason to be distrustful, even hostile to white people. What is the appropriate level of distrust? I do not know, but clearly Farakhan goes way too far. Rascism is part of the DNA of America, and most white Americans are willing to admit that historically we are in the wrong. I think adaptability is also part of our DNA. At one time our morality led us to believe that racial purity was the great good. Now we genuflect at the altar of diversity and tolerance. Change is the only constant in American life. I think it is fair to say that Americans have done more to overcome their racial prejdudices than. say, Kikiyus have done to overcome their tribal prejudices against Luos. Black nationalists should look at what America does right and what Africa does wrong.

Palladian said...

Hoosier Daddy, may I have some of that popcorn? I'm waiting for the inevitable comment by Cedarford; it's a thread pitting two of his enemies- "rich Jews" and "po' angry blacks"- against each other. I think he'll side with Obama because, after all, there's nothing worse than those "rich Jewish gentiles".

halojones-fan said...

Ann, what exactly were you looking for? I mean, you seem to think that Obama should have gone on a five-minute Hunter S Thompson-style rant about how Farrakhan should be strung up by his thumbs and chain-whipped by a pack of drug-crazed Hell's Angels, and then given the bastinado.

Indeed, I think that Obama handled it perfectly. "I don't agree with anything he says, but there's not really anything I can do about him saying it." Is there a better response you can imagine?

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Noting your alarmed tone, and phrases like "anti-American leftist," leads me to think you take them even more seriously. I just hope you'll keep a level head.

Jeremy: I'm mostly alarmed at the lack of curiosity on the part of the public and lack of vetting by the press. I am incredibly alarmed at the charges or racism thrown lightly about whenever there is any questioning or doubt about Obama. Just as I am also alarmed by the charges of Anti-Feminism or misogyny when Hillary is questioned or taken to task. Thought police anyone?

What ever happened to critical thinking and the ability to disagree without being called names. Questioning of Islam (in general) or any of these other issues that Obama and Hillary bring up as racist/misogynist is indicative of poor thinking and the inability to face the argument logically. Also indicative of having a weak position. Speaking as an INTJ :-)

Mortimer Brezny said...

What ever happened to critical thinking

It apparently went out the window when the non-issue of Farrakhan was raised.

Palladian said...

"I understand that black people have sufficient reason to be distrustful, even hostile to white people."

I think, from observing the "black community" in my city, that they have more reason to be distrustful, even hostile, to other blacks than they do urban whites.

But it's hard to be critical of your "own kind". I know how I am sometimes smeared when I dare to criticize my "own kind" in the "gay community". Obama knows this, and knows that he can't win the election with the support of the NPR-Chardonnay crowd alone. He needs the black vote, and I believe that many American blacks would perceive a more direct rejection of Farrakhan as a sleight against another black man more than as a sleight against that one particular black man. For some people, I believe racial, sexual, or other kinds of "tribal" unity trumps ideological differences. Obama must think that the number of such people is large enough to be careful.
NOTE: There's nothing inherently wrong with the Chardonnay grape, though I prefer how it's vinified in Chablis in Burgundy to the fruitier, ditzier New World styles. But I can't resist using it as the common descriptor of a type of upper-middle and upper class white educated urbanite. It's too perfect.

And God I love "scare quotes"...

ZPS said...

Hurtful because it enflames hatred from "the terrorists" (I hate phrasing like this, but whatever)...

Creepy because there are plenty of small, pseudo-defenseless nations that the US could be pouring money into...but Israel is our BFF.

$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

Pop Secret

Palladian said...

"Indeed, I think that Obama handled it perfectly. "I don't agree with anything he says, but there's not really anything I can do about him saying it." Is there a better response you can imagine?"

Yes. "I have rejected and denounced Farrakhan and his ideology and tactics in the past and I continue to reject and denounce him and his ideology and tactics. I can't stop him from supporting my candidacy, but let it be known that I do not seek or desire the support of Farrakhan or others who espouse divisive, hateful ideas. Now can we move on to more important topics?"

Terry said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mister Snitch! said...

What a GOD-AWFUL post. If Glenn didn't link you, would anyone come here?

A president (or presidential candidate) MUST get support from child molesters, thieves, the KKK, the Anti-Defamation league, teachers' unions, Democrats, Republicans, Catholics, Aetheists, the Kos Kids, Rush, Aerosmith groupies, drug addicts, alcoholics, murderers, wife-beaters, priests and pedophiles. That does NOT mean he endorses or encourages everything THEY believe.

It's that simple. As for Russert's ridiculous baiting: Does his show reject ratings from Farrakhan's followers? Doesn't he in fact have people on his show all the time who he disagrees with? Or does he endorse the viewpoints of every guest and every viewer?

This post is just asinine, and yet you go on and on and on with it.

Mortimer Brezny said...

"I have rejected and denounced Farrakhan and his ideology and tactics in the past and I continue to reject and denounce him and his ideology and tactics. I can't stop him from supporting my candidacy, but let it be known that I do not seek or desire the support of Farrakhan or others who espouse divisive, hateful ideas. Now can we move on to more important topics?"

Isn't that a synopsis of what he said?

Doyle said...

This post is just asinine, and yet you go on and on and on with it.

It's how she does.

Palladian said...

You shouldn't need a synopsis of what you allege is a clear and concise rejection of Farrakhan. That's what we're talking about. There may have been a rejection in there somewhere, but you really have to dig and glue things together. This obfuscation was purposeful, therefore meaningful.

Mister Snitch! said...

I can't let this go quite yet.

"Are you now, or have you ever been, a member of the Communist Party?"

When someone wants to label you a Communist, or an Anti-Semite, or a racist or a communist or a wife-beater or a child-molester, all they have to do is put you in the position where you have to prove you're not. It's called smearing, red-baiting, playing the race card - and it's not a new (or difficult) trick. No matter what you say to defend yourself, it's not quite enough.

Russert wanted to appear as if he was standing up for something. So did McCarthy.

"Does Althouse have the courage to denounce this sort of destructive rhetoric?"

Not when it's so much easier to buy into it.

Doyle said...

Obfuscation?

[Bangs head against desk. Abandons all hope for humanity.. or at least wingnuttery.]

Palladian said...

It's a legitimate question, Mr. Snitch!. And Obama supporters hate when he's asked legitimate questions.

Palladian said...

"[Bangs head against desk. Abandons all hope for humanity.. or at least wingnuttery.]"

Bang a bit harder, Doyle.

Harder.

Harder now.

Keep doing it.

matt [d] said...

Tell you what.

Let's concede the point that Obama still continues to attend a church which has a leader who supports Farrakhan.

If supporters of Hillary are willing to condemn Obama for that, are they also willing to condemn Hillary for continuing to attend a church whose leaders allow priests and minister to sexually abuse children with no legal ramification? Is Hillary PRO pederasty?

See how silly this argument can become? Because it's silly season.

The Senator said...

Hoosier, I'm voting for the Capricorn ticket: Roslin/Airlock. Sensible solutions for desperate times. ;)

Doyle said...

I'd knock myself out before I could do the kind of damage that would be necessary for me to claim that Obama's response to Russert's smear was "obfuscation."

Mortimer Brezny said...

There may have been a rejection in there somewhere, but you really have to dig and glue things together. This obfuscation was purposeful, therefore meaningful.

Except many people heard no obfuscation and thought his denunication was just that.

Bruce Hayden said...

The problem I see is that Obama really needs a 'Sister Souljah' moment with Farrakhan. Farrakhan is Muslim, Obama has Muslim roots, and we are currently at war with a brand of Islamic terrorism. He is also anti-Jewish, Obama likely needs Jewish support to win, and that Islamic terrorism that we are at war with has Israel at the top of its enemies list (along with Jews in general).

This may not be fair to Obama, but it is the reality of the 2008 election. If he had been running in 2000, or maybe if he runs in 2016, these may not be pressing issues. But I don't see the American people electing a Commander in Chief who shows that much sympathy to those who attacked us on 9/11.

That said, I would suggest that the best thing that Obama said concerned Jewish/Black relations. He acknowledged the role that Jews have had in helping African-Americans overcome Jim Crow and discrimination. That may go a long way in overcoming the doubts of a demographic group that is likely well disposed towards him.

Doyle said...

But I don't see the American people electing a Commander in Chief who shows that much sympathy to those who attacked us on 9/11.

God what an ignorant hick.

Palladian said...

"Except many people heard no obfuscation and thought his denunication was just that."

Yes, that was the point of putting like he did, that "many people" would hear what they wanted to hear, and think what they were already thinking without his having to say anything clearly, directly and in the present tense. It's his way.

Fen said...

Every fricking day we are forced to endure the spectacle of candidates and/or others being pressured to respond and comment and condemn some "outrageous" thing that someone else has said.

Again, this is different. If your campaign's touchstone is "uniting the country", then its telling how you respond to divisive people who support you.

Obama has a history of association with black supremists and separatists. He needs to denounce and reject that.

Since Obama is marketing himself as a healer/uniter, we deserve to know if he's capabale of recognizing the disease.

And if you don't think Farrakhan is part of that disease, then we don't have a common point of reference to continue further discussion.

Fen said...

"Does Althouse have the courage to denounce this sort of destructive rhetoric?"

Here we go. Tough but valid questions for Obama are answered with acccusations of hatemongering.

We are not allowed to question the Prophet.

former law student said...

Farrakhan is Muslim

Farrakhan is not Muslim. Black Muslims are not Muslim. The Honorable Elijah Muhammad coopted the name when he ginned up his Afrocentric religion. The only thing they have in common with Muslims is they don't eat pork. Farrakhan is no more a Muslim than Mary Baker Eddy was a Scientist.

Too many jims said...

Farrakhan is Muslim, Obama has Muslim roots

Farakhan is not a Muslim. He is a despicable anti-semite, but he is not a Muslim.

I am curious why you think Obama has shown sympathy to those who attacked us on 9/11. Has he said something positive about AQ that I am not aware of?

Doyle said...

We are not allowed to question the Prophet.

More characteristic idiocy from the lizard brains.

You can "question" Obama. You just can't blame him for the fact that a bad person supports him. That's obviously not his fault, you twit.

Terry said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Terry said...

Correcting my last post to be fair to Obama's pastor. In actuality, he did not give a "Man of The Year" award to Farrakhan, rather he bestowed a "Lifetime Achievement Award" for what refers to as his "commitment to truth, education and leadership".

Text correction included below...

Farrakhan was given the "Reverend Jeremiah Wright Lifetime Achievement Award". The pastor of Obama's church heaps glorious praise on Farrakhan - a man who hates whites and spews a hateful, degenerate philosophy everywhere he goes. So Obama's links to Farrakhan are uncomfortably close - far closer than 'White'R Great' to Clinton or McCain. This will come back to haunt Obama as damn well it should.

Imagine if the pastor of McCain or Bush's or Clinton's church gave Hitler their "Lifetime Achievement Award"...

Russert actually gave Obama the opportunity for a 'Sister Souljah' moment. Obama could have quickly and clearly told America what should be obvious regarding Farrakhan - but he did not take that opportunity. Instead he equivocated and Clinton insipidly aided and abetted his equivocation on the matter.

Imagine if Obama had answered Russert's initial question, "Do you accept the support of Louis Farrakhan?" with, "No. Absolutely not. I reject Farrakhan and everything he stands for".

But tellingly, Obama chose not to do so. This is yet another data point stacking up against Obama. I'm sure there will be more.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Farrakhan is not Muslim. Black Muslims are not Muslim. The Honorable Elijah Muhammad coopted the name when he ginned up his Afrocentric religion. The only thing they have in common with Muslims is they don't eat pork. Farrakhan is no more a Muslim than Mary Baker Eddy was a Scientist.

I basically agree with this statement from FLS, but....when you call yourself a Muslim, as they do, then who can blame us for thinking that they are Muslim. It is similar to the fringe Christian sects that dance with snakes and speak in tongues. Fringe, but Christian nevertheless.

The bigger issue is not that Farrakhan calls himself a Muslim and shares the rabid Anti-Semitism that many Muslim sects also believe in, it is that Obama has by default allowed himself and his campaign to be affiliated with an extreme group.

This, coupled with the known fact that Obama was raised by a Muslim step-father and was registered in his schooling as a Muslim (even though he is not now practicing Islam) should be enough to give us pause for thought when he declines to distance himself from these fringe beliefs and radical hatemongers.

Guilt by association, fair or not, is what people will think. Either there is no there there.....or there is some substance. Obfuscating it by weasel words and calling people who want to know racists is not answering the questions. Instead it is more and more confirming suspicions.

If Obama wants to win this election, he needs to be clear, concise and direct with the American public. So far he is a nebulous gas bag. But then, so are most of the rest of these politicians. The difference is that we have some track record, history, knowledge of them. Obama is a cypher and purposely so. What is he hiding behind the curtain. Hmmmmmm?

Titan said...

I know I'm alone on this, but I was disappointed when Obama conceeded the point. The fact that some racist said something horrible induces no duty on me. Now some people may be curious whether I am connected to that racist, so in that case I might say "I completely disagree with his statements and I think they're terrible."

Yes, Hillary went farther, but I am uncomfotable with how far she went. Did you see what SHE said??

"We cannot let anyone in any way say these things...."

Her position comes dangerously close to saying "Barack, I think you should take some step to censor him."

Obama initially went just as far as I wanted him to go - I want to hear that he disagrees, and that was good enough for me.

Terry said...

Not to belabor the point, but Black Muslims, believe themselves to be Muslim. Elijah Muhammad the found of NOI in his book, "Message to the Black Man in America", makes it clear that he believed Wallace D. Fard aka W. F. Muhammed (the founder of the original NOI), to be Allah:

"Allah (God) came to us from the Holy City Mecca, Arabia, in 1930. He used the name Wallace D. Fard, often signing it W.D. Fard. In the third year (1933), He signed His name W.F. Muhammad, which stands for Wallace Fard Muhammad. He came alone. He began teaching us the knowledge of ourselves, of God and the devil, of the measurement of the earth, of other planets, and of the civilizations of some of the planets other than earth."

The NOI is a sect of Islam and do consider themselves Islamic and have been accepted as such by representatives of other sects of Islam. Those other sects may have disagreements with the NOI on theological issues, but just as Sunni and Shia are Islamic, so is NOI.

Paul Collacchi said...

Obama on Farrakhan in response to questions from Jewish Community members:

see http://blog.washingtonpost.com/
the-trail/2008/02/26/
obamas_ohio_grilling.html

"I am member of the Unity Church of Christ, Trinity United Church of Christ, been there for 20 years. And although this is an improvement because you don't think I am Muslim, which is the other... [laughter] You know, so, slowly we are progressing here. It is a very conventional African American church. If you go to, if you were there at the church, you would be hearing gospel music and people preaching about Jesus. It is very conventional in that sense.

It is true that my pastor, Jeremiah Wright, who will be retiring this month, is somebody who on occasion can say controversial things. Most of them, by the way, are controversial directed at the African American community and calling on them [to] start reading books and turn off the TV set and engage in self-help. And he is very active in prison ministries and so forth. It is also true that he comes out of the '60s -- he is an older man. That is where he cut his teeth. That he has historically been interested in the African roots of the African American experience.

He was very active in the South Africa divestment movement, and you will recall that there was a tension that arose between the African American and the Jewish communities during that period when we were dealing with apartheid in South Africa, because Israel and South Africa had a relationship at that time. And that cause -- that was a source of tension. So there have been a couple of occasions where he made comments with relation, rooted in that. Not necessarily ones that I share. But that is the context within which he has made those comments.

He does not have a close relationship with Louis Farrakhan. Louis Farrakhan is a resident of Chicago, and as a consequence he has been active in a range of community activities, particularly around ex-offenders and dealing with them. I have been a consistent, before I go any further, a consistent denunciator of Louis Farrakhan, nobody challenges that. And what is true is that, recently this is probably, I guess last year. An award was given to Farrakhan for his work on behalf of ex-offenders completely unrelated to his controversial statements. And I believe that was a mistake and showed a lack of sensitivity to the Jewish community, and I said so. But I have never heard an anti-Semitic [remark] made inside of our church. I have never heard anything that would suggest anti-Semitism on part of the pastor.

He is like an old uncle who sometimes will say things that I don't agree with. And I suspect there are some of the people in this room who have heard relatives say some things that they don't agree with. Including, on occasion, directed at African Americans that maybe a possibility that's just -- I am not suggesting that's definitive. So the point I make is this, that I understand the concerns and the sensitivities, and one of my goals constantly in my public career has been to try to bridge what was a historically powerful bond between the African American and Jewish communities that has been frayed in recent years. For a whole variety of reasons. I think that I have served as an effective bridge, and that's the reason I have overwhelming support among the Jewish community that knows me best, which is the Jewish community in Chicago . And I think that anybody who has friends among the Jewish community in Chicago should check out those credentials.

But I do appreciate the opportunity to clarify those concerns. And as I said, that last point I would make is that you know my pastor is going to be retiring over the next month. So my general view, and the reason that I raise this, this is always a sensitive point, what you don't want to do is distance yourself or kick somebody away, because you are now running for president and you are worried about perceptions, particularly when someone is basically winding down their life and their career."

Titan said...

Thanks for that info Paul.

Synova said...

The thing is... white people *do* have to constantly apologize for the actions of others and do have to constantly maintain a strict appearance of propriety. So why not ask Obama to do the same? That would seem fair.

Personally, I find self-imposed segregation troubling. And I find it hard to separate this from the statements by Powers (?) that the thing to do in Iraq is give everyone warning so they can move to segregated neighborhoods. And I wonder...

What part of the *badness* of segregation do these people not understand?

Donald Douglas said...

I thought you liked short posts?!!

American Power

Too many jims said...

The NOI is a sect of Islam and do consider themselves Islamic and have been accepted as such by representatives of other sects of Islam.

Can you please point me to something from a representative of a sect of Islam that accepts the NOI as a sect of Islam.

I am sure there was also some guy running around Detroit in the 1930s claiming he was Jesus Christ. I suspect maybe somebody believed him. I wouldn't be surprised if that believer called himself a "Christian." But that is no christian that most people would recognize.

Revenant said...

I said this about Ron Paul, and I'll say it again about Obama -- is "I'm not a racist or an anti-Semite, I just hang out with racists and anti-Semites and accept their support" really a legitimate defense?

Doyle said...

The thing is... white people *do* have to constantly apologize for the actions of others and do have to constantly maintain a strict appearance of propriety.

Please give us an example of what you're talking about.

Smilin' Jack said...

Palladian said...
I believe that many American blacks would perceive a more direct rejection of Farrakhan as a sleight against another black man more than as a sleight against that one particular black man....NOTE: There's nothing inherently wrong with the Chardonnay grape, though I prefer how it's vinified in Chablis in Burgundy to the fruitier, ditzier New World styles. But I can't resist using it as the common descriptor of a type of upper-middle and upper class white educated urbanite.


Your laughably pretentious oenophilia might almost convice us you were one of them, were it not for your ignorance of the distinction between "sleight" and "slight."

Anyway, I think this was a brilliant piece of verbal jiu-jitsu by Obama. He lures Hillary into attacking by looking a bit weak in his rejection of Farrakhan, she lunges desperately at the bait, and he smoothly snatches it back ("happy to concede...reject and denounce"), leaving her with nothing to do but grin and look like an idiot. I don't think he's really that smart, but he played this beautifully.

PWS said...

I think Hillary probably saw what she could have done but don't agree with you Ann as to why she stopped short.

I think it is because Hillary does not want to be nailed down in the same way on all the issues SHE wants to equivocate on.

This is classic Clinton. Do you remember the interview with Bill Clinton on 60 Minutes about Gennifer Flowers? When asked do you deny the affair, Bill says, "I've said that before." Same rhetorical stuff.

Hillary did not close the deal because it would have subjected her to the same thing. I'm not following the campaign that closely, but I'm sure she's wiggled out of similar jams by parsing her words.

Revenant said...

But should Presidential Candidates have to denounce the support of every skeevy little gasbag who holds to bizarre positions?

When Obama was asked about Farrakhan, he didn't reply "who's that?". Why is that, do you think?

Answer: because everybody in politics knows who the guy is. A year ago he had broader name recognition than Obama himself did. He's the guy responsible for the "Million Man March" and the head of the religion that brought Malcolm X to fame. Like it or not, he is a significant national figure. Much moreso than, say, David Duke, and I don't think it would be unreasonable to ask what a candidate thought of Duke's support.

If Joe-Bob Jones of the National Association for the Universal Understanding that All Colored People Should Be Pickin' Cotton endorsed McCain I think asking McCain what he thought of that would be unreasonable. Similarly, asking Obama what he thinks of the support of the support of some unheard-of nut would be unfair. But the Nation of Islam has a national profile, especially in the black community, and that means that it matters.

Yehudit said...

"....Let those 2 characters operate at a distance, helping Obama achieve power, and, at that point, Obama will get everything right and then he can transform everyone and root out all traces of anti-Semitism......"

Just like his foreign policy. Now he's distancing himself from Brezhinski "We didn't know he went to Damascus." "He's one of many advisors, we don't agree on everything."

Then Obama will get everything right and transform oppressive regimes and root out all traces of terrorism.

Yehudit said...

"....But should Presidential Candidates have to denounce the support of every skeevy little gasbag who holds to bizarre positions? ....."

McCain just did that a few days ago, disapproved of a rightwing talkshow host - who was introducing him in Ohio, where he has to win - for emphasizing "hussein" in Obama's name.

And that wasn't even a skeevy gasbag, that was his base.

Jeff Alworth said...

In all that transcript, you managed to skip the part right at the outset where he says: "I have been very clear in my denunciations of him and his past statements."

Funny how he doesn't seem to talk around this at all--but you sure do.

Terry said...

too many jims: Yes, thanks for asking.

The "World Islamic People’s Leadership Conference" whose president is Col. Muammar Qaddafi and whose vice president is Louis Farrakhan.

Ibrahim B. Syed, Ph. D., President
Islamic Research Foundation International, Inc. who said, "Muslims of North America will derive immense benefits and rewards by uniting with the Nation of Islam and by welcoming them as our brothers and sisters in Islam. It is highly gratifying to know that the Nation of Islam and the Ministry of Imam Wartih Deen Mohammed have united to advance the cause of Islam and the Muslims in North America. May Allah (SWT) guide us and show us the right path and bring us from darkness unto light. Ameen!"

There are more - many, many more. Also, it is grossly ineffective to attempt a rhetorical comparison between the NOI and some '1930's guy' that has nothing whatsoever to do with Obama or any other presidential candidate.

Cedarford said...

Obama simply has delicate balancing acts to do within the Democratic Party between 4 key constituency groups.

1. The Left wants a balanced ME policy, blaming USA's excessive tilting towards Israel for a number of American national security and foreign policy problems. Along with the antiwar dilemma, which is he has positioned to be antiwar and especially anti-Iraq war, but not so weenie that he loses the the Dem centrists and independents as a weakling when it comes to protecting American lives from a lethal Islamic foe...

2. Jews are an important constituency, providing much of the "brains" in candidates campaigns, including Obama's Team Axlerod. And the wealth. AIPAC proudly notes that Jews, close to 2% of the population, are responsible for 50% of the donation money to the DNC, and key funders through the loosely linked "club" of Jewish billionaires like David Geffen, George Soros, Peter Allen, Feinstein's husband - of groups like Moveon.org, Planned Parenthood, the ACLU, the Gay Network - all core Dem Groups.

So it is important that Obama not associate with the more incendiary anti-Zionists that demonize Jews more than they seek Israel be treated as just another foreign country.

3. Within the black community, there are still strong emotions about Jews - credit for some positive things - but serious resentments about Jewish economic exploitation, the patronizing use of blacks to gain more power for Jews in cities until the late 60s, and Jewish domineering of groups organized for blacks.
The perception in black communities is that the black past after slavery was one of growing self-reliance and advancement in the professions until the Depression, when blacks, especially those in the North and West - were replaced by Jewish storeowners, principals, teachers, elected leaders, and professionals from lawyers to dentists. That blacks were always secondary to the various Jewish agendas for communism, progressivism, more Jewish power - when Jews set up, financed, and with benevolent dictatorship "guided" blacks in organizations and unions like the NAACP, Pullmans from the early 1900s to 1966-67.
A considerable number of blacks see "their day" did not actually
come when the Civil Rights Act passed, but when they gained actual political power and shed the Jews, many "well-meaning", that were nevertheless, overlords to blacks.
Jews were tossed from selectmen, state Senators & Rep spots, even Congressional seats in majority black Districts so blacks could have the self-determination to represent themselves. Jews lost control of black schools - as from Brownsville to Watts, blacks used the vote to allow blacks to replace Jews as teachers, school board members, principals, judges, prosecutors, and more generally, replace Jews from plum jobs in city patronage machines.
Barack Obama was a community organizer - which is also a euphemism for continuing the revolution to invigorate the black community with more black merchants, jobs in a black community and less for outsiders to get black money from wages and take it away off to their communities.
But Obama is also part of the 50% of blacks who have made enormous strides in the last 40 years and who do not see Jews as obstacles to black advancement and do not want a second "war" with Jews after they won the ugly battle for black control in black communities in the 60s and early 70s.
More than that, Obama is a biracial man who never had any significant black figure involved in his development. Whites, Muslims, Asians in Indonesia & Hawaii, Jews in his schools, Jewish mentors in his law and political career - not blacks.

4. Balancing between blacks and other races, Especially hispanics, and the white Dem Centrists and the Reagan Democrats now returning back to the Democratic camp.


Obama seems to be doing a pretty good job of balancing his priorities between the Democratic and Independent constituency groups, not favoring one, keeping the most strident and angry - other than his "unproud" wife, at arms length.

Revenant said...

In all that transcript, you managed to skip the part right at the outset where he says: "I have been very clear in my denunciations of him and his past statements."

Here's an idea -- read what Ann wrote, then whine about it. She quoted the exact sentence you just mentioned, and explained why it didn't pass muster.

Synova said...

"Please give us an example of what you're talking about."

If you don't already see it, then I can't, Doyle. If it's transparent to you then it's transparent to you.

I could ask a hypothetical.... pretend I was running for office and someone asked about some race issue.... suppose I answered thusly, "You know, my family didn't come to America until long after the Civil War and when they did come they settled in the far north and the idea that I or my family had anything to do with the suppression of racial minorities in this country is ludicrous."

No. I'm white. Therefore I MUST express regret for whatever white people did even if I could not possibly be connected to the people who actually did it.

If you don't see this, Doyle, then you won't see it no matter how many examples I give. I'm tempted to think that you never associate with racial minorities and have never been shocked by the freedom with which they tend to express racist attitudes, Asians toward Blacks, Blacks toward everyone, and don't even seem to be aware of it.

Or I could google search and see if I could find a link to one of the various, seemingly sincere, statements that it's not *possible* for a black person to be racist. If you never noticed that, Doyle, my pointing to those statements won't make any difference. Or arguments that white people are racist no matter what, even when they're not, because they're white and because they live in a world racism built... or something. That it's not escapable.

The truth is, that white people have always been at the forefront of combating racism, of working to end slavery, of pushing for equality of every person. But even those who follow that tradition have to make a nod to racial guilt.

I'm not saying it's not *stupid*.

Scott said...

Tom Russert, Amy Althouse and their ilk believe it is fair and necessary that Barack Obama be expected to "reject" Louis Farrkhan's support and denounce not just his anti-Semitic statements, but the man himself, in absolutely clear and unequivocal language. I would therefore ask them whether they would also support a demand that John McCain go on national television and make the following statement (or words to the same effect):

I, John McCain, reject the political support, in any form, of any individual who believes that the Confederate flag is a proper state symbol or who believes that it is proper for anyone to display this racist flag in public. I want to be clear: I do not merely denounce the views of these individuals about the Confederate flag. I denounce them as human beings. More importantly, I reject their support for my candidacy. Let me be very clear, if you believe in the Confederate flag or think that it is appropriate to display this disgusting flag in public, then you are a racist and a despicable human being who is not worthy to speak my name. I do not want your vote; indeed, I demand that you not vote for me. Let me repeat, anyone who supports the Confederate flag is a loathsome racist who should under no circumstances vote for John McCain.

If Ms. Althouse, and others who are demanding that Obama dance the Hora around Louis Farrakhan’ s political grave, don’t believe that McCain should be expected to make such a statement, I would be curious to know what they see as the difference.

In the interest of disclosure, I am a Jew and an Obama supporter. And I am tired of seeing baseless allegations of anti-Semitism used to attack progressive leaders.

MadisonMan said...

and explained why it didn't pass muster.

Why it might not pass muster. Depending on what you want to hear.

donald douglas (2:51): LOL! Yes, whatever happened to CRISP!

Palladian said...

"Your laughably pretentious oenophilia might almost convice us you were one of them, were it not for your ignorance of the distinction between "sleight" and "slight."

I love that someone who uses the word "oenophilia" and then proceeds to flash a little dickless pedantry over a misused word in a blog comment has the audacity to call someone else pretentious. Laughable! Usually when people call other people pretentious it's a sign that they're classless dolts who want to be protected from embarrassment over their ignorance of a subject by making fun of people who actually know and care about it.

In other words, go fuck yourself. How's that for pretentious?

And, amazingly, both "sleight" and "slight" work in this situation: Obama used sleight of speech to avoid a slight against Farrakhan.

MPH said...

I think this is your greatest post of all time. Loved it..

Smilin' Jack said...

Palladian said...
...classless dolts...go fuck yourself.


A scathing rejoinder, Palladian...consider me suitably chastened. I can only assume you didn't mention that I'm worse than Hitler because you, like Hillary, lack the instinct for blood.

mschaff said...

The Left wants a balanced ME policy, blaming USA's excessive tilting towards Israel for a number of American national security and foreign policy problems....

It might be helpful for someone to unambiguously define the term "occupation" before we get started with the "balanced" ME policy.

Till then, keep dreamin'.

Palladian said...

"I can only assume you didn't mention that I'm worse than Hitler because you, like Hillary, lack the instinct for blood."

You, unlike Hitler, aren't important enough to waste any more time on.

Christopher Althouse Cohen said...

I think Hillary should have gone after him more aggressively here. In her defense, though, it's possible she thought she let the cat out of the bag, made the distinction between them clear, and that the damage had been done without pushing the issue further in the actual debate. Sometimes it's the post-debate back-and-forth that gets the attention. She should, then, use this time now to put out statements attacking him on this point, the way she did after the YouTube debate on the meeting with foreign leaders issue. Her strategy there was to make her point clearly but not attack him during the debate, and then follow it up later with the back-and-forth mailings and statements that turn it into an ongoing story in the media rather than just a moment in the debate. Maybe we'll have to wait and see if it's part of an ongoing media savvy scheme. Or perhaps she blew the opportunity in the actual debate because she thought she could use that strategy, only to find that his one-liner changed everyone's memory of the exchange to the point where she could no longer do so.

Smilin' Jack said...

She should, then, use this time now to put out statements attacking him on this point...

She can't do that now...not after that simpering "Good. Good. Excellent."

whiskey_199 said...

Wow. What a shock Obama won't refuse Farrakhan's help or REALLY denounce him. Take him to task for his racist, anti-Semitic, anti-White sayings.

Why is ANYONE SHOCKED?

Obama is like most Blacks. RACIST. Black people, if ANYTHING, are far more racist in general than Whites. THEY have to maintain (as Michelle Obama wrote in her thesis) cultural and racial separation.

Obama by all accounts is at least if not more racist than David Duke. He's just slicker. Obama's identity as Black is far more important to him than say David Duke's identity as White. Because Duke does not face intermarriage and absorption by a larger White population. As Michelle Obama pointed out.

Obama refuse Farrakhan's help? Why should he? They are on the same page. They both worship the God of Black Identity and fear the Satan of Intermarriage (check out Obama's Autobiography where he talks of revulsion at the thought of being related to whites).

Barack Hussein Obama is what you get with a slicker Louis Farrakhan. It's why Obama's campaign and Senate Staff are filled with Nation of Islam people. It's why he joined Wright's nutty-insane Black Nationalist Church. That's the way most Black People are. Racist.

Go ahead, vote for Obama. But don't expect him to be anything other than what he is. Racist. He's just not the type of Racist you always imagine. He won't prance around in a White Sheet. He'll instead pal around with Louis Farrakhan.

carib said...

This is of course complete nonsense by Ms. Althouse. As one blogger points out, denounce is a stronger word than reject.

So here, in the interests of edification, is “denounce“:

1. speak out against;

2. to accuse or condemn or openly or formally or brand as disgraceful

or,

1: to pronounce especially publicly to be blameworthy or evil

Denounce is an extremely strong word, and it carries with it much deeper levels of meaning than the simple word “reject“:

1.to refuse to have, take, recognize, etc.

3.to refuse to accept (someone or something); rebuff:

or,

1 a: to refuse to accept, consider, submit to, take for some purpose, or use

http://themoderatevoice.com/politics/debates/18052/reject-vs-denounce-the-power-of-words/

learn some english, folks

Terry said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Terry said...

Fixed mixed metaphor (one of those days)...

Regarding the denounce/reject thing, sure Obama "denounced" Farrakhan - what the heck else is he going to do? Big deal, politicians denounce things every day that the do not actually reject in practice, like earmarks for example. Farrakhan is a racist, dangerous scumbag. Obama, by virtue of attending a church for 20 years whose minister idolizes Farrakhan, is much closer to him politically than Clinton or McCain or most anyone for that matter. Obama should have taken what was in actuality a softball from Russert and hit it out of the park by condemning Farrakhan with gusto. But he chose to do otherwise and these discussions and even more lasting ramifications are the the result. The question is why did he choose such a tepid response to such a hot-button subject?

Regardless, both Obama and Clinton screwed up on this one. Obama lost some people and Clinton failed to gain some people.

Henry said...

Revenant, I think you made a slight mistatement. Farrakhan is technically not "the head of the religion that brought Malcolm X to fame." He is the head of a radical offshoot of that movement, which has been returned to orthodox practice of Islam under the leadership of Wallace Muhammad. Muhammad changed its name to the American Muslim Mission allowing Farrakhan to reclaim the name "Nation of Islam."

For those folks loudly shouting out dictionary definitions, you might, as Revenant suggests, actually read what Ann wrote.

The key issue here is not the parsing of "denouce" vs. "reject" -- in fact, as Ann notes, Obama wins the exchange by turning that point into a joke. The key issue is Obama's tense. He has the opportunity to make a strong, declaritive statement and instead steers the exchange into a rhetorical, historical fog.

You might disagree with Ann's belief that this is an important question for Obama to answer, but you may still wish to consider whether the way he answered was effective.

Trooper York said...

"Tom Russert, Amy Althouse and their ilk believe it is fair and necessary that Barack Obama be expected to "reject" Louis Farrkhan's support"

Cool the professor changed her name to Amy Althouse. I quess she is going to get a tatoo and smoke crack and run out in the street barefoot in just a bra and jeans and ...what...that's Amy Winehouse...nevermind.

Fen said...

Doyle: You can "question" Obama. You just can't blame him for the fact that a bad person supports him. That's obviously not his fault, you twit.

Idiot. No one is blaming Obama for Farrakhan's support. Of course, you already knew that, you're just desperately throwing up whatever fallacy is at hand. The fact that you can't even address the point reveals how weak Obama's position on this is. But go ahead, throw your hissy fit of ad homs. Its all ya got.

Revenant said...

Revenant, I think you made a slight mistatement. Farrakhan is technically not "the head of the religion that brought Malcolm X to fame." He is the head of a radical offshoot of that movement, which has been returned to orthodox practice of Islam under the leadership of Wallace Muhammad.

Wallace Muhammad's organization is closer to mainstream Islam, sure. But Farrakhan's Nation of Islam is much closer to the original nutty racist cult that Malcolm X belonged to. The schism happened because Wallace tried to change the NoI from what it originally was.

Revenant said...

Why it might not pass muster. Depending on what you want to hear.

Madison, I'd have to ask you what the objective evidence is that Obama isn't racist and anti-Semitic. He attends a church for racists and anti-Semities, he accepts the support of racists and anti-Semites... sure, he "denounces" them (while accepting their money and political support), but what of it? George Bush denounces wasteful government spending. You gonna take his word on that?

If Obama believes, as any decent person would, that Louis Farrakhan is a bad person with no place in American political discourse, I'd love to hear him say it; better yet, I'd like to see him return whatever money the NoI has sent his way. Why not do so?

Too many jims said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Too many jims said...

But Farrakhan's Nation of Islam is much closer to the original nutty racist cult that Malcolm X belonged to.

It is worth mentioning that Malcolm X left (or was thrown out of) that "nutty racist cult."

clarice said...

After kissing Suha and ignoring her blood libel, Hillary was simply in no position to screw down this point against Barak.

Gary Rosen said...

"So it is important that Obama not associate with the more incendiary anti-Zionists that demonize Jews"

That's rich coming from C-fudd, with his sweaty, compulsive obsessions with "Jewish Bolsheviks" and his fawning idolatry of antisemitic terrorist gangs like Hizbullah. Go back to your flophouse room, loser.

Margaret Ann said...

It is surprising that Mr. Obama should choose to name his book after his Ministers Sermon when this minister travels with Farrakan and praises him in the church newspaper.
If my minister traveled with David Duke and praised him in our church newspaper I and 99% of the parrishioners would be gone the next week. I would certainly NOT be NAMING MY BOOK AFTER SOMETHING HE SAID !!!!
The American people may not follow the intricacies of the exchange with Russert but they can sure understand how very, very weird it is for Mr Obama to stay in such a church.

rcocean said...

"Wow, I thought Andrew Sullivan was the one who was blinded by love for Obama. What an interesting comparison between Andrew "why is it somehow only a question for Jewish Americans" Sullivan and Josh "as a Jew" Marshall!"

LoL. Sullivan is becoming the Geraldo Rivera of blogging.

Mortimer Brezny said...

Or perhaps she blew the opportunity in the actual debate because she thought she could use that strategy, only to find that his one-liner changed everyone's memory of the exchange to the point where she could no longer do so.

Or maybe her bigoted, condescending opportunism was pathetic from the get-go and she was laughed at for it. Watch the tape.

Mortimer Brezny said...

Yes, that was the point of putting like he did, that "many people" would hear what they wanted to hear, and think what they were already thinking without his having to say anything clearly,

This requires (a) mind reading and (b) ignoring the conventional semantic meaning of Obama's words.

It think Occam would take a razor to your interpretation.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Hurtful because it enflames hatred from "the terrorists" (I hate phrasing like this, but whatever)...

I see. So better we turn on our back on the only liberal democracy in the Middle East in order to placate murderous thugs. Gotcha.

Creepy because there are plenty of small, pseudo-defenseless nations that the US could be pouring money into...but Israel is our BFF.

So lets cut off aid to the only liberal democracy in the Middle East and provide help to some other country that ZPS likes instead.

Seriously, after reading that stuff I could almost hear the Horst Wessel playing in the background.

former law student said...

The "World Islamic People’s Leadership Conference" does not maintain a web presence, so I cannot comment on them.

Warith Deen, the son of Elijah Muhammad, rejected his father's black separatist teachings and led his followers into mainstream Sunni Islam. That's why Syed was able to embrace him and his group. Muslims can accept Farrakhan and his followers only insofar as they abandon THEM's black separatist teachings, because, unlike American Protestant Christianity, Islam sees no races and never has, as Daniel Pipes points out.

Under the leadership of Warith D. Muhammad, the former Nation of Islam has become an orthodox community of Sunni Muslims. From the moment he took over as leader, he sought to align the doctrine of the organization with the Quran. He did away with Elijah Muhammad's doctrine of racial separation. He struggled to dismantle the cult-like structure. He also restored Malcolm X to a position of honor, naming a mosque after him. Warith began honoring the Constitution and encouraging participation in the political process. Most of the real estate holdings were quickly sold off. He redefined W.D. Fard as a 'wise man', and began to teach the five pillars of orthodox Islam. The name of the organization was changed to the Bilillian Community and later to the World Community Al-Islam in the West (WCIW).
http://www.islamfortoday.com/africanamerican02.htm

The NOI's belief that W.D. Fard was Allah come to earth places NOI in the same relation to Islam as the Unification Church's belief that the Rev. Sun Myung Moon is the Second Messiah places it in relation to Christianity, that is, far far away.

former law student said...

Hoosier Daddy, When questioning why Israel does some of the things that it does, they always complain that it's unfair to hold them to the "only liberal democracy in the Middle East" standard. They would much rather be graded to the local religious dictatorship standard. So treat them as if they were Sudan, not France.

Jeff H said...

In the end, O-Bama-Lama-Ding-Dong STILL didn't "denounce" or reject support from Farrakhan. Instead, he simply said "...if the word 'reject' Senator Clinton feels is stronger than the word 'denounce,' then I'm happy to concede the point, and I would reject and denounce." He simply conceded a semantic point to Shrillary, and said that, if that point were to be true--the semantic point he conceded--then, and only then, would he "reject and denounce" support from Farrakhan. But he hasn't yet truly conceded that the semantic point translates to political reality. Thus, he still tacitly accepts Farrakhan's support.

DemoCaster said...

Thank you for dissecting this issue - you reassure me I wasn't the only indignant viewer! You have a wonderful blog and great community here. I will link to this thread from my blog, DemocracyBroadcastingNews.com (aka DemocracyBroadcasting.blogspot.com (unsolicitedly selected 'Best Blog of the Day' last Thursday. Well, I had to tell somebody). :-)

Are you aware of a similar 'semantic argument substituting for an injustice trial' of great importance in the Dreyfus-Affaire-esq, Al-Durah Affair trial?

France2 TV News' complicity in knowingly airing fabricated, Israel-damning Palestinian propaganda-footage is being whitewashed in a Paris appellate courtroom.

You can listen to the recorded-live audioblog from TheSecondDraft.com's Prof. Landes, (courtesy of Pajamas Media's Roger Simon), on Joo-Tube.com (aka www.blessingbank.blogspot.com/.

Let me know how you like it. Where are your cross-links to affinity sites? Thank you for your zeal in battling injustice! Does it seem like Judaic issues are like a lightning-rod for drawing it out into the open?

wrecktafire said...

Discriminating voters will look at this as of a piece with his statements that he will sit down face to face with ImOnAJihad, Castro, Chavez, etc. Isn't Obama really saying, "nobody is going to make me call anybody names. Nobody is going to tell me who I can and cannot talk to. I am above all of you and your negativity."
Opinions may vary as to whether this is a good quality in a presidential candidate, but it does make people suspicious.
One wonders if Chamberlain held the same attitude?

amba said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
amba said...

Titan (2:02 PM):

If Louis Farrakhan had said something nice about Obama and there were no other connection between them, then Obama would be free and clear based on no more than what he said in the debate.

The problem is Obama's membership in Jeremiah Wright's church (incidentally, or maybe not, Wright just retired) and Jeremiah Wright's black militancy, separatism, heavy hints of anti-Semitism, and fulsome praise of Farrakhan. Trinity Church is in many respects a sort of Christian sister of the Nation of Islam.

This double albatross threatens to take Obama down. I don't think he himself is a racist or an anti-Semite. In fact he has long had strong support among liberal and moderate Jews and recently called Israel's security "sacrosanct." But he has to actively dissociate himself from Farrakhan. If it puts him in a bind and requires him to appear disloyal to a certain narrow slice of the electorate, so be it. That's the bed he made.

Tolerance said...

Althouse: Your shallow analysis and your unabashedly racist contempt for the possibility of a renewed Black/Jewish alliance are more disturbing than anything Obama said. I agree that Obama's response was woefully inadequate. However, your racially disturbing pseudo-analysis is also inadequate. How is the desire to reform a historically powerful alliance and to acknowledge the role of Jewish Americans in the Civil Rights movement narcissistic or anti-Semitic? I would respect you more if you admitted your generalized contempt for African Americans, your hostility to the idea of a Black president, and your discomfort with a nominee whose name invokes an association with Islam. Racism is just as bad as anti-Semitism. Frankly, I am stunned that you are a professor given your poor writing skills and your inability to construct or sustain a complex analysis. I certainly hope you don't have any Black students as I can imagine how poorly you must treat them. In Clinton's work, shame on you and do take some remedial writing classes.

Synova said...

Hehe... glad I checked back. Wouldn't have wanted to miss the deep piled sanctimonious racism charges.

Docta V said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Docta V said...

Please tell me you are not that naive! Let politicians be politicians. Hillary did the exact same thing. It's all about the votes.

Politicians don't care about the offensive things people say when they have a group of people behind them with voting power. Take a read and stop being idealistic. We're all too old for that.

http://cbs11tv.com/campaign08/obama.hispanic.vote.2.665589.html

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2008/02/27/ap/politics/main3885275.shtml

reality said...

I have supported Obama from the beginning but since I found out about Farrakhan and his relationship to his church, I have been disheartened.
ANN ALTHOUSE does an outstanding job in
this article in her analysis of the what transpired at the debate. I myself was left after that debate feeling unsettled and not satisfied by Obama's answers but I wasn't sure why, and now I know.

madisonman said:
"But should Presidential Candidates have to denounce the support of every skeevy little gasbag who holds to bizarre positions?"

The thing is, Farrakhan is not someone who just popped out of the woodwork to support Obama.
The problem is that Farrakhan was given an award, honoring him as a great man, by a publication of the church that is put out by the daughters of the pastor, Wright. (The name of this award, by the way, is named after Wright.) And Farrakhan, by the way, for those people who are not familiar with him, has been on an hostile, oratory attack for most of his life (he is in his 70's) against Jews, and his views are not just "bizarre" they are hateful. And furthermore, it's not just that it's the pastor of his church. By Obama's own admission, Wright is his mentor. He prayed with Obama and his wife before he decided to announce his candidacy. How can Obama possibly respect and look up to and want to learn from someone who thinks Farrakhan is a great man?

It seems clear that Obama is afraid of coming out too strong against Farrakhan for fear of losing votes, which like the article says is understandable. But for me what is most disappointing, is that he chose to continue a close relationship with a church and pastor who supported someone like Farrakhan to begin with. I can tell you right off, that if my synagogue's newletter gave an award to the head of the KKK, I'd have been out of there in a minute.
I also understand how hard it is for already established Obama supporters to deal with the reality of the facts in this situation. It is easier to rationalize and come up with excuses for him because we want to believe in him so much. But the facts are the facts, and I hope that the press continues to pressure him to give us as an answer that we can live with, which at this point there may be only one left: I made a mistake and was blinded by the influence that the church had on me, and I didn't see how supporting the church was wrong and enables this kind of anti-semitic thinking.
I can only hope, if Obama's learning curve is as great as is claimed, that even if Obama doesn't have the courage to say this publicly, that he knows it in his heart.

Stuart said...

I have never met Farrakhan, and likely never will. I don't see any reason to demonize Farrakhan as a person.

On the other hand, I'm familiar with the very nasty and ignorant ideas that Farrakhan has championed. It's vital that these ideas are condemned. I find it far more useful and mature for our political debate to be a battle of ideas, not an us-vs-them battle of personalities.

In this essay, as elsewhere, I've read commentators object to Obama denouncing Farrakhan's views, rather than painting him as an evil person. I find this 180 degrees wrong. Farrakhan as an individual is trivial, but standing up against, e.g., anti-semitic views is just what a presidential candidate ought to be doing.

Stuart
http://stuart-randomthoughts.blogspot.com/

MikeG said...

In my opinion, Russert's challenge to Obama was out of order the moment he tried to press the issue after Obama let his record on denouncing Farrakhan anti-Semitic views speak for itself. It's one thing to denounce a person's opinion, yet quite another to denounce the individual who holds them. It seemed as though Clinton and Russert wanted him to do both.

Senator Clinton was out of order when she tried to make Obama appear soft on the matter. Obama should not have conceded. By definition "Denounce" and "Reject" are synonymous. In fact, Merriam-Webster's definition would suggest that "denounce" is probably a stronger form of "rejection." They define it as "to pronounce especially publicly to be blameworthy or evil." Such a rejection cannot get any worse than that, and neither Clinton, Russert, Israel, or the America people should ask for more.

Mike an Obama supporter from NC

lcd4lhad said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
shi stey said...

the question was way out of line.
This is one of those TOUGH on Barack moments people do not catch.
Race is a tough issue with any candidate especially Barack. He has to walk a fine line.

Clinton Endorses Farrakhan's Hate-March
By Don Feder
FrontPageMagazine.com | Friday, May 13, 2005

On its website, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) proudly proclaims its mission -- "To stop the defamation of the Jewish people … to secure justice and fair treatment for all."

But when a Democratic ex-president supports a march by the most notorious anti-Semite and hatemonger in America, the ADL runs for cover.

Bill Clinton has endorsed Minister Louis Farrakhan’s Million More March (scheduled for October 14-15, 2005, in Washington, D.C.). The event will mark the 10th anniversary of Farrakhan’s so-called Million Man March of 1995. (The 100,000-man march probably would be more accurate.)

In an exclusive interview with the Amsterdam News, a black newspaper published in New York City (and posted on its website on May 4th), Clinton calls the Farrakhan project "a very positive idea." Elaborating, the ex-president explains, "Jesse (Jackson) and Mr. Farrakhan and Rev. Sharpton probably have some internal domestic differences, but they’ve agreed on" the rally’s importance.

Clinton also retroactively endorsed the 1995 weird-fest, explaining that Farrakhan and friends, "were basically standing up for the dignity of the family and asking African American men and fathers to be more responsible." Moreover, "it was totally non-violent and got a big participation…."

So, there you have it: There was no looting. No one was assaulted. No Korean stores were torched. Lots of people showed up. That’s supposed to be a recommendation? Say the Klan held a well-attended rally urging rednecks to be better husbands and fathers – and no one was castrated or lynched. Would Monica’s playmate say that was "a very positive idea," too?

To state the obvious, Farrakhan is the biggest Jew-hater in America. Though, in all fairness, he also hates whites, Asians, Catholics and America itself. Did I forget anyone?

* In a February 27, 2005 speech in Chicago, the Nation of Islam leader proclaimed: "Listen, Jewish people don’t have no hands that are free of the blood of us (blacks) (sic.). They owned slave ships. They bought and sold us. They raped and robbed us."
* In 1995 and 1998, at the same venue, Farrakhan disclosed that besides running the trans-Atlantic slave trade, Jews also financed the Holocaust. ("German Jews financed Hitler right here in America.")
* Though few in numbers, in the world according to Louie, Jews control American foreign policy. ("The war in Iraq is not your war; that’s Israel’s war… The rudder that is turning America is not your elected officials; it’s that small, influential group of (Jewish) neo-conservatives that are using America’s power to destroy the enemies of Israel.") Has Farrakhan been talking to Pat Buchanan again?
* He doesn’t hate Jews, Farrakhan pleads. It’s just that Hollywood Jews continually stereotype black people. And Jewish landlords and merchants cheat black folks. And Jewish agents and employers exploit them. "I don’t like the way you (Jews) leech on us. See a leech is somebody that sucks your blood, takes from you and don’t give you a damned thing. … . You become our manager. You become our agent." You see, it’s just coincidence that everyone the Calypso Kid despises is Jewish.
* Also, Jews are, "wicked deceivers of the American people. You have sucked their blood. You are not real Jews (who everyone knows were black) You are the synagogue of Satan, and you have wrapped your tentacles around the US government, and you are deceiving and sending this nation to hell… . But if you choose to crucify me (subtle reference to the Deicide charge), know that Allah will crucify you." Oh, alright – he does hate Jews.
* Little wonder that you’ll usually find copies of notorious anti-Semitic tracts -- like "The Jews and Their Lies," "The Secret Relationship Between Blacks and Jews" (purporting to "document" Jewish control of the slave trade) and, that favorite of Aryan Nation-types and holy warriors alike, "The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion") -- on sale at Farrakhan events, as they were at the 1995 March.
* That Minister Farrakhan is concerned about alleged Jewish control of America, doesn’t mean he’s enamored of the Land of the Free. In a 1997 article in The Amsterdam News, Louie-Lu-i disclosed, "A decree of death has been passed on America. The judgment of God has been rendered and she must be destroyed." Farrakhan and God regularly exchange e-mails.
* Doubtless, one reason Mullah Louis detests America is ‘cause it’s full of – Caucasians. Farrakhan: "White people are potential humans…they haven’t evolved yet." The black fuhrer has also been known to refer to the white race collectively as the "anti-Christ."
* Although Herr Farrakhan rarely pulls his punches, there are things he’d rather not say directly. So, in organizing the next Million Morons March, he’s partnered with one Malik Zulu Shabazz, leader of the (anti-Semitic/racist) New Black Panther Party. At a 2002 protest in front of the B’nai B’rith building in Washington DC, Zulu Shabazz told the mob: "Kill every goddamn Zionist (Jew )in Israel. Goddamn little babies. Goddamn old ladies. Blow up Zionist super-markets!" The better to kill Zionist babies and Zionist grandmothers?

Clinton is willing to brush all of this aside with a wave of his pudgy hand. Here, the ex-president is correcting an egregious oversight. With the exception of Farrakhan, there isn’t a brutish black leader that Clinton hasn’t fawned over. (Think Al Sharpton, think Jesse Jackson – both honored members of Clinton’s party.) By applying lips to Louie’s posterior, Clinton’s groveling is complete.

For the man who fancies himself America’s first black president, there’s one standard for blacks and another for whites. There’s one standard for American leaders, and another for those with a prefix before their names. What would never be tolerated in a Strom Thurmond or a David Duke, is excused in a Louis Farrakhan.

But Clinton isn’t the only one handing out free passes. The Anti-Defamation League is refusing to comment on, let alone condemn, the ex-president’s embrace of Farrakhan’s upcoming orgy of hatred – The Million Stooge March: Part Deux.

On the ADL’s homepage (www.adl.org) you’ll find a statement posted on May 2nd. confessing that the group is "saddened and disheartened" by the involvement of prominent black leaders in the Farrakhan/Shabazz event. It plaintively inquires, "When will someone in the African-American community stand up and say that the Million Man March has a positive message, but the pied piper is a racist and an anti-Semite?"

When will Clinton? And when will the ADL have the guts to condemn/criticize/confront an ex-president who is now an enabler of the pied piper of racism and anti-Semitism?

Despite repeated calls to the Anti-Defamation League’s press office over several days, I couldn’t get any one to talk to me about Clinton’s endorsement of Farrakhan’s march and, by extension, of Farrakhan.

When it comes to attacking conservatives – Pat Robertson, Mel Gibson – the ADL leaps to the fray swinging a battle axe. Of Gibson’s film "The Passion of The Christ," ADL National Director Abraham Foxman warned it "can fuel, trigger, stimulate, induce, rationalize, (and) legitimize anti-Semitism." Like me, you probably missed all of the Bible-Belt pogroms following showings of "The Passion."

Gee, Abe, what will Clinton’s endorsement of Farrakhan’s upcoming Nuremberg rally on the Mall trigger, stimulate, induce, rationalize (and) legitimize?

The ADL has betrayed its original mission. Today, it’s just another leftist group with a leftist agenda. That it refuses to comment on Clinton’s criminal stupidity is un-surprising. Much of its funding comes from wealthy Jewish Democrats who think Clinton is the messiah. The ADL is no more likely to slam a prominent Democrat than the Council on American Islamic Relations is to criticize the Saudi religious authorities.

I hope Clinton takes his endorsement of the Farrakhan’s march to the next logical step.

He could be a guest speaker at the event. If we’re fortunate, the Nation of Islam whack-job will again regale the crowd with his bizarre excursions into numerology. ("In the background is the Jefferson and Lincoln Memorial, each one of these monuments is 19 feet high. Abraham Lincoln, the 16th president. Thomas Jefferson, the third president, and 16 and three make 19 again. What is so deep about this number 19? … When you have a nine, you have a womb that is pregnant. And you have a one standing by the nine. It means there’s something secret that has to be unfolded.") This the Minister presumably learned while eating magic mushrooms with Tibetan lamas during a full solar eclipse, and listening to a Beatles album played backward.

With Clinton standing proudly at his side, perhaps Farrakhan will elucidate some of the other esoteric aspects of his theology – how the white race is the result of a genetic experiment by an evil black scientist, named Yacub, 6,000 years ago. Or how the minister was taken up to a UFO "mothership" where he got the inspiration for the original Million Man March. (Beam him up, Adolph.)

Farrakhan is an uber-bigot. Clinton is a boob. The ADL is a pathetic fraud. The next time you hear Foxman wailing and rending his garments over anti-Semitism, remember how Clinton’s TLC for the Nation of Islam got a free pass from the ADL.

A Christian Prophet said...

Obama can be beat, not by exposing his minister or his associations, but by exposing his theology. See:
http://miraclesdaily.blogspot.com/

Tony T said...

I thought there was no need for Barak Obama to denounce or distance (himself from) Farrakhan. Clearly Obama was a skilled debater in college and has continued to demonstrate the same as a legitimate candidate for the highest office in this country. He is certainly will not say (or do) that which makes you comfortable. As ministers and their respective ministries are to address the spiritual (and more often than not, in this country, their ECONOMIC needs that this country's mainstream citizenry and businesses fail to provide or demand on behalf disadvantaged humans and communities), I believe Minister Farrakhan was telling the truth about this country's disparaging treatment of humans in this country by the mainstream. And what mainstream conservatives will not and do not understand is the disingenuous manner that mainstream media pepper it news broadcasts with sound bites of Minsters Farrakhan (and more recently of Reverend Jeremiah Wright's sermons to incite confusion to the television audience to question Senator Obama's loyalty to this country, in public office or his integrity as our country's future President.

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