Elections '08 Presidential Race Religion

Sigmund Freud….. Meet Jeremiah Wright – UPDATED X 2


UPDATE 2: Barack Obama held a press conference this morning and came out forcefully and appropriately on the Wright issue. Link to coverage and video is here and NPR has the entire press conference here. It’s long and it’s very, very interesting.

This is such a strange and sad drama
that it almost defies political analysis and frankly begs for a literary interpretation.


Unlike others, I haven’t been all that bothered
by Reverend Jeremiah Wright’s more inflammatory remarks that have been played repeatedly" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen> on YouTube.

And then came the 48-hour Jeremiah Wright-a-thon

His Moyers appearance and his NAACP speech were fine.

But in some kind of horrifyingly cringe-making reverse Oedipal thing,
Wright was so entirely full of himself and so creepily competitive with Obama yesterday when he spoke to the National Press Club, it was hard to understand what he was thinking.

Yes, of course he has the right to defend himself against out-of-context clips and scurrilous attacks, but timing is everything, buddy. If Barack’s the guy Wright wants in the White House, this was the moment to shut up and take one for the team.

But he didn’t. Instead we got the smirky narcissism-on-parade he displayed at the press club.

On the other hand, why the press had to do All Wright
All the Time last night—complete with the worst kind of talking-head screamers—is another issue altogether. (See yesterday’s post.)

All this and the Supremes decide that voter ID
requirements are just fine and dandy.


UPDATED: Commenter Woody provided this link to an interesting story by New York Daily News columnist Errol Louis who suggests that maybe there was more to Reverend Wright’s sad and destructive appearance at the National Press Club than meets the eye.

also has a good post on the subject.


  • I missed the press club event. It’s fascinating, because he and the press seem like a marriage made in heaven based on the coverage. The “wannabe celebrity” meets the papparazzi thing. From accounts I’ve seen of this, after a quite appropriate appearance on Moyers, Rev. Wright has jumped the shark. There’s some irony here, because after the dust settles – assuming that it will – Obama can establish even greater distance between himself and Wright personally than he did in his earlier speech without any feelings of betraying an old friend. I doubt if it’s conscious strategy, because – like the Bill Clinton phenomenon we’ve witnessed in recent months – unbridled ego is on parade, but Wright is setting himself up. There’s something sad about this, because Wright is a talented, accomplished man who has apparently, over years of being at the center of energetically building his church, lost perspective on himself and any capacity for humility.

  • Woody has an interesting link on who planned this press club event over at Cooperstown that I’ll let him post here.

    At long last I’m getting tired of this electoral season. And where is our Hunter Thompson or Norman Mailer for this one ? It’s writing itself in terms of the national psychodrama and, increasingly, the surreal but there’s no literary journalist I’ve been reading who’s able to consistently or artfully distill it. Appears to be one of the great missed opportunities in American political literature. Has Youtube killed the literary star ?

  • Thanks, Woody (and reg for bringing it up). I moved it to the front.

    Reg, your comments reflect my feelings precisely. Wright is obviously a very talented man who has done great good. That’s what makes this whole thing all the more disheartening.

  • Another weird aspect of this is that, based on a video Marc C posted in comparison to your video link, there appear to be 2 Rev. Wrights speaking at the Press Club. First, a fairly erudite, sensible man – if a bit pompous – making a case for more in-depth familiarity with the folkways, mores and socio-theological context of the black church. Then, in spontaneous Q&A a guy who seems to be riffing like a standup comic or some such – in an absurdly inappropriate context. He’s obviously a seasoned performer – part of the problem actually – but it’s like he switched to the wrong “voice” in the wrong venue. Also can’t let go of past statements or notions that were wrongheaded or unsubstantiated, probably out of sheer self-regard (we see some of that here on occasion.) Clearly he’s more than a bit used to hearing “amens” most every time he opens his mouth.

    The only “upside” I can see to this is that Barack can, more pointedly but again without simply demonizing him, use the Press Club performance as clear evidence of how different Wright’s approach is from his own. And Wright needs to humble himself and STFU because he’s quickly losing the tolerance even of friends. Then we need to move on to McCain…

  • The current Associated Press/IPSOS Poll shows Hillary leading McCain by 9 pts., while he and Obama are about even. She’s made inroads with the elderly and young people under 30, and is seen as stronger on the economy than McCain.

    Bolsters her claims that she’s the most electable; as one unafiliated Dem pollster notes in the Daily News write-up of this poll, with Obama getting more scrutiny as a result of his own statements and his Pastor Wright’s, the “infatuation” period as the pre-chosen candidate has faded, and people are looking more closely at who’s actually the most qualified. Apart from the insular group on this blog, it’s clear that Obama can’t regain his momentum.

    Look out, Woody, Hillary your nightmare Zombie Shapeshifter is going to take down not only Obama but your man McBush. But McCain is stable, while O is going down. (Based on the rabid support Obama’s had form certain seniors politically and emotionally stunted in their own adolescence, I’ll be relieved not to hear about Obama for the next 4 years.)

  • Wow, I think I just witnessed a miracle. No, not Obama’s denunciation of Pastor Wright, but an actual civil exchange–dare I say even friendly?–among Woody, Randy, and reg. Of course, this WBC flake had to end the streak with an asinine remark, but it was good while it lasted.

  • WBC’s “asinine remark” about polls showing Clinton’s lead, throws off “civil exchange” of the bash the witch-Zombie- Shapeshifter cabal? That’s just exactly they devoted a whole thread to calling her. Boy, the Obots sticking to this blog like brainwashed flies to flypaper are pieces of work: and Woody and the reg/ Obots’ alliance of convenience against her will end with a bang none too soon. Once Woody isn’t dishing them dirt on their common enemy, the r’s will revert to form.

  • A to Woody’s Q: Of course not. He’s black. What was Nichols thinking ? He’d have to be a white preacher who has political connections/pretensions and goes over-the-top with dire rants in order to be “mainstream.” This is America, goddamnit ! (Ooops. That last line was meant In the emphatic, not the “prophetic” sense.)

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