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2Chronicles7:14-“If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”

Deconstructing Obama’s lawyerly evasions on Wright

Posted by wordforit on March 18, 2008

By An American Thinker editorial

Barack Obama desperately needs to distance himself from his spiritual mentor and pastor of two decades, Jeremiah Wright, Jr.  But the man who wants America to believe his promise of unspecified change adopts the carefully-parsed language of a Harvard-trained lawyer. There is a fundamental discordance in spirit between a canny, evasive lawyer inserting loopholes, and the smiling vision of unity and change you can believe in.

Here is the key paragraph of Obama’s statement, bizarrely first published on the Huffington Post, a website that once featured Senator Joseph Lieberman in minstrel blackface. There are multiple evasions buried in each line, analyzed below:

The statements that Rev. Wright made that are the cause of this controversy were not statements I personally heard him preach while I sat in the pews of Trinity or heard him utter in private conversation. When these statements first came to my attention, it was at the beginning of my presidential campaign. I made it clear at the time that I strongly condemned his comments. But because Rev. Wright was on the verge of retirement, and because of my strong links to the Trinity faith community, where I married my wife and where my daughters were baptized, I did not think it appropriate to leave the church.”

Take a close look:

The statements that Rev. Wright made that are the cause of this controversy…”

Obama avoids getting pinned down on any specific statement. As with his promise of “change”, the reader or listener’s imagination supplies the specifics, so Obama can be everything to everyone, no matter if the private interpretations differ. Translation:  “If  any words offended you, I am against them.”

“…not statements I personally heard him preach while I sat in the pews of Trinity…”

This leaves so many doors open for evasion. We noticed on the videotaped sermons that when Rev. Wright fires up the crowd, they jump to their feet. A Harvard-trained lawyer like Obama inserting the phrase “sat in the pews” knows exactly what he is doing. If he was on his feet applauding and shouting approval like so many other Trinity congregants, then this statement becomes true, if utterly misleading.

“…or heard him utter in private conversation.”

So if his wife Michelle, or any other person (a staffer or fellow congregant, for instance) was with Obama when he heard such statements, then he didn’t hear them in private conversation. Harvard-trained lawyers know that every adjective adds a condition which must be met in order to prove that a denial is false, not just misleading.

When these statements first came to my attention…

“Came to my attention” is a wonderful phrase. That’s the sort of artistry that earns Harvard-trained lawyers their hundreds of dollars an hour rates. “Attention” requires an active psychological engagement. If Wright routinely makes such statements, Obama would pay no attention to them because they are almost boilerplate. Israeli state-sponsored terrorism? Why bother paying attention? Wright has been attacking Israel for years. God damn America? Wright has been railing against this country for years. Who pays attention to routine stuff?

“…it was at the beginning of my presidential campaign.

That would be a very good reason finally to pay attention to the routine language of his pastor. That’s why Senator Obama disinvited his mentor from the launch of his presidential campaign. It might come to voters’ attention the sort of man who has inspired, counseled, and mentored him for two decades.

I made it clear at the time that I strongly condemned his comments

John Hinderaker (also a Harvard-trained lawyer — the good kind) of Powerline already has examined this beauty: 

I’d like to see the statements Obama allegedly made denouncing Wright’s comments once he says he learned of them. The statements by Obama that I’m aware of characterized Wright’s comments as merely “provocative” (that, according to ABC News, was Obama’s reaction to Wright’s statement that the U.S. had 9/11 coming) and the kinds of things an eccentric uncle might say. That’s far from a denunciation. In fact, ABC News quoted Obama as saying, “I don’t think my church is actually particularly controversial.” That’s even further from a denunciation. And we also know that Obama placed Wright on a special committee of religious leaders supporting his candidacy after Obama became aware of at least one of Wright’s statements in issue.

But because Rev. Wright was on the verge of retirement…”

We suppose one could say that Rev. Wright has been on the verge of retirement ever since he started preaching. If one ignores all the evasive language conditioning Obama’s non-denial denial that he knew Wright thinks and feels the way the videos portray him, then one is left with the conclusion that he suddenly discovered Wright has radical views and was shocked, shocked, just about the time his presidential campaign kicked off. The day before, in fact, when he disinvited the Pastor. But the “verge of retirement” argument assumes that for twenty years Obama sat in the pew, stood in the aisles, jumped up and down and clapped to the good shepherd he chose, just like the other congregants, and it never occurred to him that Wright hates America and Israel. There’s a classic Chicago expressions for this: “Yeah… right!”

“…because of my strong links to the Trinity faith community…”

He means the people yelling, clapping, jumping up, and approving of Wright as he spews hate.

 “…where I married my wife and where my daughters were baptized…”

Obama has preached the virtues and duties of parents to raise their children in nurturing ways. Yet he has no problem with placing his children in the pews to imbibe the anti-Americanism that his Pastor promotes. How does  exposing his children to this teacher of hate square with his calls for responsible parenting?

“…I did not think it appropriate to leave the church

People stay in churches for 20 years because they agree with the pastor’s philosophy. When they disagree, they leave, as this retired pastor avers. Not only did Barack Obama stay at Pastor Wright’s church, he made it his number one charity, giving over $20,000 when he was financially able.

Of course, he didn’t think it was appropriate to leave.

We watched Obama interview with Major Garrett on Fox News.  He said he was a frequent attendee at the church except when his kids were born, and he stayed at home for awhile. It is simply implausible statistically that he attended all the sermons with good Christian stuff and missed all the sermons with hate. That is an obvious lie. Beyond that is the idea that he did not know what was said in those sermons he missed. That is another obvious lie.

This is backtracking, and now even riskier if he can be proved to have lied about what he knew and when he knew it. Because he claims to have frequently attended Trinity, any Sunday that he was in Chicago (except when his children were born), one can reasonably assume he attended church. All that is necessary is to track down when each of Wright’s outrageous statements were made, and then compare it with Obama’s travel schedule. If there are multiple Sundays on which Obama was in Chicago and Wright made outrageous statements, it defies his own claim of attendance to believe Obama was at home for all of those sermons.

Obama told FOX News he wouldn’t have quit Wright’s congregation if the pastor’s more controversial statements were isolated, but if that became “the tenor or tone on an ongoing basis of his sermons” Obama said he would have quit.

“Obviously they are ones that are from my perspective completely unacceptable and inexcusable,” Obama said.

More lawyerly evasions here “tenor or tone on an ongoing basis” raises the possibility that he did hear some of the verbiage.

Here is some more backtracking: the crazy uncle comment to the Jewish group in Cleveland (transcript now available) includes one audience member reading to Obama all the inflammatory stuff Wright said. So Obama knew of all of this well before yesterday when he first chose to disassociate himself from Wright and kicked him off his religious campaign council.

Acting surprised yesterday abut the tapes is also a lie and proves only Obama’s evasive, slippery character. Video is a lot more powerful than the printed word. All hail Brian Ross. Without his 3 minute segment on ABC’s Good Morning America, this would all have been viewed as right wingers like Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity or “smear artist” (via The Nation) Ed Lasky going after him.

This is the best part! ABC and FNC both bought from the website of Trinity Church a video collection of the best of  Pastor Wright! All this very bad stuff is what Wright and the church think the best of his work!

By issuing such lawyerly evasions and implausible claims in his statements, Barack Obama treats the American voting public as rubes who can be fooled, a jury that wants to get on with the trial and go home after a quick and painless deliberation focusing only on general impressions.

It strains credulity to believe that he never picked up a hint of Wright’s vehement hatreds. We don’t think he can get away with it. The American public has been schooled by Bill Clinton in the arts of lawyerly evasion on the meaning of the word “is”. How ironic that his rival’s husband’s use of the tool makes it harder for Obama to re-use it.

Contrast Senator Obama’s pattern of behavior and evasions with McCain’s straight talk express perspective. Did Obama think he quelled controversy over Rezko when he stalked out of a news conference when he had let reporters ask their quote of “like 8 questions”. How does that square with his calls for transparency and honesty in government? 

Barack Obama is not a new type of politician; he is a very old type — a blusterer who lived before the age of google and DVDs and YoutTube, when politicians could blithely make statements and promises that bear no relation to previous promises and statements. Veracity can be checked and monitored.

Senator Obama reveals a type of arrogance and smugness in thinking and a  low regard for the people and their right to know. Contrary to his evident beliefs, Americans are not mostly dopes.

Update: Rich Lowry checks Obama’s first autobiographical (and admittedly fictionalized) book, 1995’s (thirteen years ago!) Dreams from My Father, and discovers Obama certainly did know and write about some of Wright’s extreme views. 

Rocco DiPippo of The Autonomist notes  this from Newsmax  in August last year, when a reporter attended a Trinity service that Barack Obama attended:

Presidential candidate Barack Obama preaches on the campaign trail that
America needs a new consensus based on faith and bipartisanship, yet he
continues to attend a controversial Chicago church whose pastor routinely refers to “white arrogance” and “the United States of White America.”
In fact, Obama was in attendance at the church when these statements were made on July 22.

. . . Wright’s strong sentiments were echoed in the Sunday morning service attended by NewsMax.

Wright laced into America’s establishment, blaming the “white arrogance” of
America’s Caucasian majority for the woes of the world, especially the
oppression suffered by blacks. To underscore the point he refers to the country as the “United States of White America.” Many in the congregation, including Obama, nodded in apparent agreement as these statements were made. [Emphasis added]

The sermon also addressed the Iraq war, a frequent area of Wright’s
fulminations. “Young African-American men,” Wright thundered, were “dying
for nothing.” The “illegal war,” he shouted, was “based on Bush’s lies” and is
being “fought for oil money.”

In a sermon filled with profanity, Wright also blamed the war on “Bush
administration bulls–t.” Those are the types of statements that have led to
MSNBC’s Tucker Carlson describing Wright as “a full-blown hater.”



2 Responses to “Deconstructing Obama’s lawyerly evasions on Wright”

  1. Drake said

    Anyone questioning why Obama attended Wright’s church needs to read Obama’s 1995 book, Dreams from my Father. It is a sickeningly racist book “in his own words”. His deep hatred toward whites is discussed in every chapter, and sometimes on every page in every chapter! Sadly his white grandparent’s that raised him, are the one’s he discriminates against the most–The first two chapters in this book are heartbreaking and show a very cruel, self-important, self-centered, Obama, takes great lengths to tear apart every shred of dignity and character of his grandparents, even belittling his grandfather’s service in the war under Patton by saying “he sloshed around the mud in France” but never saw TRUE COMBAT!!! (Page 15 DREAMS); Obama belittles his grandmother working in a bomber assembly line calling her “Rosie the Riveter” (Page 15 Dreams)–Then tonight his his pathetic speech about Rev. Wright mentions his grandfathers service and grandmothers work on the assembly line as if this made them great Americans. On page 14 he reveals his grandfather had a troubled past, mother committed suicide & the grandfather found her body when he was 8, and that he was possibly the reason (or his philandering father?- for her suicide…-that was the “undoubtable cause of the mother’s unfortunate demise”! (Page 14 DREAMS). He ridicules his grandparents for the “world they were raised in…”That was the world in which my grandparents had been raised, the dab-smack, landlocked center of the country, a place where decency & endurance & the pioneer spirit were joined at the hip with conformity and suspicion & the potential for unblinking cruelty” where white trash “farm boys” who got sewn into their woolen underwear at the beginning of winter and STANK LIKE PIGS as the months wore on.” Page 13 DREAMS.

    He goes on to describe what his granparents must have looked like when they met, his granfather looked like a “wop” and grandmother he desribes as a “dyed blond, smart talking girl w/too much red lipstick, cigarette smoker, etc. (Page 15 DREAMS. His grandfather wanting to escape the “empty, dust-ridden plains, where big plans means a job as a bank manager & entertainment means ice cream soda…”. Obama describes his grandparents BY LOOKING AT A PHOTOGRAPH OF THEM ON A BOOKSHELF THAT SPOKE “ELOQUENTLY OF THEIR ROOTS” (Page 12 DREAMS) . “Theirs were the faces of American Gothic, the WASP bloodline’s poorer cousins”

    On Page 17 he describes his grandfather as “considering himself something of a freethinker–bohemian even”; because he “counted a number of Jews he’d met in the furniture business as his closest friends.” On the same page, Obama describes them as “vaguely liberal, although their ideas would never congeal into anything like a firm ideaolgy (because they were) in this too AMERICAN”! “An American character, one typical of men of his generation…whose enthusiasms could as easily lead to the cowardice of McCathyism as to heroics of World War II…men prone to, in the end, disappointment”! (Page 16). On page 18, Obama says “The truth is that, like most white Americans at the time, they had never really given black people much thought” Apparently Obama can not only read the minds and thoughts of his grandparents, but knew the minds and thoughts of all of white America of their generation (before Obama was even born!). On Page 21, Obama likens his grandfather’s recollections of events as “another act of white revisionism”, but couldn’t completely dismiss them altogether because “I know how strongly gramps believed in his fiction; how badly he wanted them to be true. Obama later states on Page 21 that “for many white people of my grandparents’ generation and background,” their instincts were in “the direction of the mob.”. On Page 23 Obama says that “part of the story his grandfather told himself (Obama once again spends page after page on supposition as if he knows what other people are thinking etc.) was “with his black son in law & brown grandson, Gramps had entered the space age”. Obama likens his grandfathers “breezy chatty style” as a calculated effort to help him with customers. (Page 24)

    The saddest and cruelest part he leaves for his grandmother. In his speech tonight he says his grandmother once told him she was afraid of black men she passed on the street. In his book DREAMS, Page 88 he refers to this ONLY IT IS MUCH DIFFERENT THAN HOW HE DESCRIBED TONIGHT IN HIS SPEECH! He overhears his grandparents and walks in and asks his grandmother what is wrong. She says “a man asked me for money yesterday. While I was waiting for the bus.” Obama says “that’s all”. She says “her lips pursed with irritation. He was very aggressive, Barry. Very Aggressive. I gave him a dollar and he kept asking. If the bus hadn’t come, I think he might have hit me over the head” Next Obama walks into the other room where Gramps is at & tells him “it’s probably a little scary for her, seeing some big man block her way….” Apparently Obama left out some of the conversation w/his grandmother because he did not mention his grandmother said the man was “big” or that he “blocked” her way!!! ONE THING IS VERY CLEAR IN OBAMA’S BOOK DREAMS—HIS GRANDMOTHER NEVER SAID THE MAN WAS BLACK OR THAT THIS WAS THE REASON SHE WAS AFRAID!!! Obama says on Page 88 he learned the harrasser was black from his Grandfather–NOT GRANDMOTHER!!! Now in my opinion there is a big difference between Obama saying tonight his grandmother told him she was afraid of “BLACK MEN SHE PASSED ON THE STREET” and the incident of one black man who was big and BLOCKED HER WAY SO SHE COULD NOT “PASS”. Apparently Obama thinks Americans are so stupid they won’t read his book or notice the “details” are a little different. On Page 89 he says men who “might easily have been my brothers could inspire their (his grandparents) rawest fears. Again, Obama writes as if his supposition of what people feel is fact!

    His description of the sermon “Audacity of Hope”–the 1st sermon he heard of Rev. Wright’s is in itself a racist hatefilled sermon basically saying Hope for blacks is Audacious to a black back, because White’s control the Hope & fate and evils of the world, hunger, apartheid and all–“where white folks’ greed runs a world in need….” that’s the World! On which hope sits!” (Page 293–Dreams)

    His first meeting w/Rev. Wright prior to hearing his sermon, he learned from Wright himself that he was a confessed “former” Muslim, black nationalist, studied the teachings of very controversial literature and incorporated all of “this” into Trinity (Page 282)
    8 hours ago

  2. Angie said

    Like the title here, Lawyerly evasions, a good description. eh?


    WfI Reply~

    Oh, even his speech the other day was all deflections, evasions and the “blame whites and gov’t game”!! I can’t tell you how happy I am that most people “get it” with who this crowd really is and what they’re all about!

    While I was teaching, and this may have been my last year, a black substitue told me that whites & blacks should never have been allowed to go to school together. Imagine if I had said it. I never responded but she assumed I agreed, I guess b/c I didn’t chide her, and she didn’t like me after that! She’s loud, aggressive and abrasive like Michelle OB so I never liked her in the first place.

    Why can’t people like that understand others are actually laughing and making fun of them? Do they miss the point that all of us suffer with the ‘human condition’ and have insecurities we don’t take out on the world?

    Sigh. . .

    Love & Hugs!

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