June 04, 2008

We were talking about Wright before it was cool!

This weekend brought us another crazy preacher?this one white and Catholic and demanding that we give up all our worldly possessions (to whom? I might ask) so that we might better understand our racist wickedness.

The last 2+ months of the Rev. Wright scandal has reinvigorated and reoriented the conservative movement. The anti-McCain rebellion is a distant memory, but then war-talk of ?bomb, bomb, bomb Iran? has also been less frequent. The GOP backers understand that they?re not in a very strong position and that they should concentrate on winning and not overplay their hand with an adventure in Tehran. The new task for the Beltway Right is to deconstruct the ?God of Black Power? and go through all the back issues of the Trinity United Church?s house organ. Even Harry Jaffa has gotten in on the act, arguing that the theology of Rev. Wright is incompatible with the doctrine of Natural Right and America?s ?proposition? of human equality. (Whew, I?m glad we cleared up that controversy!)

I have serious philosophical problems with Jaffa, but I?ve generally found Kurtz?s pair of articles to be informative and interesting. It?s certainly legitimate to study Wright; however, it seems clear (to me at least) that Obama is not a black nationalist and that he?s not going to appoint black nationalists if elected (pace this crazy guy.). For better and for worse, Obama?s more likely to promote horrible establishment white people like Samantha Power and Zbig Brzezinski! (The question has always been why Obama is so fascinated with black nationalists, even to the point of marrying one?) 

With all the brouhaha, it?s easy to forget that there was a time, not to long ago, when the conservative movement was afraid of even mentioning Obama?s connections with the crazies, and indeed wanted to shut people up as ?racist? who did. (They preferred instead to focus on the ?transcendent challenge? of Iraq.) 

Steve Sailer deserves most of the credit for starting up the conversation on Obama?s racialized theology, beginning with his brilliant article for TAC a year ago and resulting in countless articles and blog posts since. 

(Aside: I?ll always be grateful to Steve?s first Obama piece as it got me my first job in Washington: my predecessor at the TAC staff read Sailer?s interpretation of the Great Transcender and went into hysterics (I?m not sure he?s recovered since, or at least I haven?t heard from him…) Somehow TAC was able to survive loss of this find young mind.) 

There were of course some other people who were talking about Obama and his crazy preacher when it was verbote?US.

Take, for instance, the young Evan McLaren?s first ever blog post:

On the long drive home to Pennsylvania for my winter break, I decided to listen to some of the evil Nazi-Republican radio jockeys in order to hear some really treasonous stuff. Within five minutes of turning the dial to Rush Limbaugh?s flatulent program, the pill-popping oaf took a call from an honest-sounding gentleman who attempted to start a conversation about Barack Obama?s fiercely ethnocentric church in Chicago and what political meaning this relationship might have. If I were a dumber college student and more prone to the cascades of unchallenged left-wing pap that circulate on my campus, I would have braced myself at that moment for the unbridled racism that such a call was sure to trigger in Limbaugh?s extremist brain. ??

Instead, I heard the response I expected from a sensitized slightly right-of-center social democrat. Limbaugh, striking some button or flipping some switch with one of his porky digits, ended the call and announced that his show was above the caller?s sordid question. He would not be discussing ?such matters,? he said, and he did not much like the idea that people were discussing them at all, on his show or anywhere else. Clearly Limbaugh did not want to upset the established image as racists of those who would discuss Obama?s obvious and direct links to an aggressive black nationalism. Lucky are we to have a corps of Republican loudmouths like Rush who help us understand that discussion of racism and ethnocentrism on the Left is totally verboten.

We?re always doing stuff before it becomes cool!

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