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Obama Has the Wright Stuff

Obama famously pronounced that the radical Rev. Jeremiah “God damn America” Wright that emerged in the 2008 campaign “is not the Rev. Wright that I know,” but the new videos suggest that Obama knows exactly who Rev. Wright is, and has no problem with it.  Charles Kesler points out in I Am the Change that a close reading of Obama’s much-praised Philadelphia speech that supposedly threw Wright under the bus shows that Obama didn’t really express a fundamental disagreement with Wright at all:

The dog that didn’t bark on March 18, 2008, was that the crucial words “all men are created equal” do not appear in Obama’s carefully composed speech. And so that “already classic address,” as James Kloppenberg calls it, on a topic that Obama declared he’d been thinking about for twenty years, constitutes a very different kind of argument, with a very different view of America, than one finds in, say, Martin Luther King’s great speech in 1963 at the Lincoln Memorial. Obama invokes neither Jefferson nor Lincoln. He refers to the Constitution briefly, noting its “ideal of equal citizenship” and that it “promised its people liberty, and justice, and a union that could be and should be perfected over time.” But he doesn’t mention the conclusion that he had announced in his book, namely, that the Declaration’s and the Constitution’s “people” did not include blacks, and especially not black slaves.

In short, Obama regards the original intention of both the Declaration and the Constitution to be racist and even pro-slavery. But he refrains from making the point explicit because it would confirm the Reverend Wright’s fundamental charge, that the United States is a racist country. And the point of the speech in Philadelphia, at the National Constitution Center, close by Independence Hall, the scene of the great events of 1776 and 1787, was not merely to repeat his condemnation of Wright’s remarks “in unequivocal terms” but to put the whole controversy behind him, without dwelling on his fundamental agreement with Wright’s interpretation of American principles.

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