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"The people who cast the votes don't decide an election; the people who COUNT the votes do." -- Joseph Stalin

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Is Clinton Behind Rev. Wright Speaking Tour?


Bill Clinton and Reverend Wright at White House in 1998

Mr. Wright was invited to the 1998 prayer breakfast at the White House after Bill Clinton's lies about his relationship with Monica Lewinsky had been exposed. He received a thank-you note from former President Clinton for his expressions of support about six weeks later.

Oct. 28, 1998:

Dear Pastor Wright:

Thank you so much for your kind message.
I am touched by your prayers and by the many expressions of encouragement and support I have received from friends across our country.

You have my best wishes.

Bill Clinton

article by Errol Lewis of New York Daily News

The Rev. Jeremiah Wright couldn't have done more damage to Barack Obama's campaign if he had tried. And you have to wonder if that's just what one friend of Wright wanted. Shortly before he rose to deliver his rambling, angry, sarcastic remarks at the National Press Club Monday, Wright sat next to, and chatted with, Barbara Reynolds.

A former editorial board member at USA Today, she runs something called Reynolds News Services and teaches ministry at the Howard University School of Divinity. (She is an ordained minister).

It also turns out that Reynolds - introduced Monday as a member of the National Press Club "who organized" the event - is an enthusiastic Hillary Clinton supporter.

On a blog linked to her Web site- Reynolds said in a February post: "My vote for Hillary in the Maryland primary was my way of saying thank you" to Clinton and her husband for the successes of Bill Clinton's presidency.

The same post criticized Obama's "Audacity of Hope" theme: "Hope by definition is not based on facts," wrote Reynolds. It is an emotional expectation. Things hoped for may or may not come. But help based on experience trumps hope every time."

In another blog entry, Reynolds gives an ever-sharper critique of Obama: "It is a sad testimony that to protect his credentials as a unifier above the fray, the senator is fueling the media characterization that Rev. Dr. Wright is some retiring old uncle in the church basement."

I don't know if Reynolds' eagerness to help Wright stage a disastrous news conference with the national media was a way of trying to help Clinton - my queries to Reynolds by phone and e-mail weren't returned yesterday - but it's safe to say she didn't see any conflict between promoting Wright and supporting Clinton.

It's hard to exaggerate how bad the actual news conference was. Wright, steeped in an honorable, fiery tradition of Bible-based social criticism, cheapened his arguments and his movement by mugging for the cameras, rolling his eyes, heaping scorn on his critics and acting as if nobody in the room was learned enough to ask him a question.

Wright has, unquestionably, been caricatured and vilified unfairly. The feeding programs, prison outreach and other social services he has built over more than 30 years are commendable, and his reading of the Judeo-Christian tradition as an epic story of people trying to escape slavery is far more right than wrong - and not something to be caricatured or compressed into a 10-second sound bite.

But Wright should have known - and his friend and ally Reynolds, a media professional, surely knew - that bickering with the press can only harm Wright and, by extension, Obama.

I hope that wasn't their goal.


Hillary Clinton's campaign is hanging on by a thread. Her "kitchen sink" strategy is truly representative of the old-style politics that Senator Obama is trying so desperately to change. Now it appears that she is using Reverend Wright's obvious jealousy of Senator Obama's rise to popularity as a weapon against Senator Obama in her never-ending cesspool of tricks. The resort to racism in this race has been a very carefully planned strategy by the Clintons and shows just how low politics has sunk in this country. Let's hope for the good of democracy that dirty tricks and media manipulation are insufficient to stop a true movement of the people.

Let's rise up America, especially the voters of Indiana and North Carolina, and NOT BE FOOLED by this disgusting attack on a man who has dedicated his life to the service of others. It is time to put Senator Clinton and Reverend Wright out to pasture -- permanently.

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  1. Interesting point. It's not surprising that Obama's opponents, seeing Wright as a potential weapon against him, are likely to create the opportunity to give the MSM more chances to distort things.

    On the other hand, if I were organizing things for the National Press Club and had a chance to get Jeremiah Wright as a speaker at this dramatic juncture, I wouldn't be doing my job if I passed on it -- no matter who I'm supporting for president.

    And I'm not sure what your subhead of "CLINTON - WRIGHT TEAM UP AGAINST OBAMA" and reprint of the photo and letter imply. Are you suggesting that Wright is consciously doing this to support Clinton over Obama? If not, then I don't understand what the photo and letter are doing there.

    But Wright should have known - and his friend and ally Reynolds, a media professional, surely knew - that bickering with the press can only harm Wright and, by extension, Obama.

    Even though the MSM is caricturing him and his words, on most of the discussion boards I read, a substantial portion of people understand what he's saying. Wright's no fool, and can't have been surprised by the media reaction. He will never have a better time than the next six months to spread his true message. I can certainly see why he's prioritizing that, even despite the additional attacks on him and Obama.

    And I'm not at all convinced this is really hurting Obama. If it weren't Reverend Wright, it would be something else. With the complicitness of the mainstream media, there's no shortage of issues to manipulate people who are considering the issue so superficially -- or those who deep down inside are looking for any excuse to vote against the black guy -- can be manipulated

    Let's rise up America, especially the voters of Indiana and North Carolina, and NOT BE FOOLED by this disgusting attack on a man who has dedicated his life to the service of others.

    I totally agree.

    Even though it's not helping Obama, I think it's important not to deny Wright a chance to put his views in the spotlight after this lifetime of dedication. Much of what Wright says speaks for a lot of people whose voice doesn't usually get heard.

    You certainly seem to get what Wright stands for. Given that, why do you end your column by advocating "putting him out to pasture"?

  2. I admire Rev. Wright and his accomplishments over the years but he has retired and I don't think he is used to being out of the spotlight.

    In my opinion, Rev Wright is somewhat jealous of Obama at this time in his life and sees a way of getting himself in front of the cameras. That performance during the Q & A session was way over the line.

    "Putting him out to pasture" is my way of saying he should stay retired.


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