March 19, 2008

Throwing Grandma Under the Bus.

So, Barack Obama cannot disassociate himself from his racist pastor, but has no trouble insulting his still-living grandmother. Nice.

I mean, I do have one racist grandparent, but (1) he didn't raise me; (2) he was as mean to me as he was to everyone else; (3) he isn't alive anymore, and (4) I don't talk about him that much. ("Chilipods, chilipods, chilipods!"; "Grandpa, do they speak a lot of Spanish where you are now?" That would tell me what I'd like to know.)

But: Obama's grandmother is afraid of black men who pass her on the street? Hell: everyone is afraid of black men who pass them on the street. I got mugged twice trying to pretend I wasn't afraid of black men passing me on the street. Jesse freakin' Jackson has admitted that he's afraid of black men passing him on the street. That's racism? I thought it was the survival instinct. Some people call it "street smarts," which means that there's a whole different set of rules for vetting people you might pass on a sidewalk, versus those you meet in the grocery store, or a bar, or a friend's living room.

This guy's sleaze factor is kind of rising, here. I'd almost prefer a straight shooter, like Senator Clinton. After all, there are things she just won't do for the sake of gaining power. Not many, but they do exist.

Posted by Attila Girl at March 19, 2008 02:55 AM | TrackBack

How did he "throw is grandma under the bus"? He lit up Rev. Wright, not his grandma. He explained how he can't disown two important people in his life because of what they say and said. If that's throwing under the bus, then all of us are habitual "under the bus throwers".

And as a 6' 4" black man who used to be an offensive lineman in college, I purposely smile (even when not in the mood) when I pass white women on the street because I can't stand being feared. Even when I'm with my wife and kids I do it. That's a DAMN SHAME but oh well. If that's what I have to do to keep improving race relations, so be it.

Posted by: T-Steel at March 19, 2008 05:35 AM

T-Steel, you're missing the whole point of Ms. Attila's third paragraph. Obama made an equivalence between Wright's G-D America, U.S. of KKK A, America deserved 9/11, and general hate-whitey rhetoric, and Grandma's understandable fear of young black men on the street.

Understandable? Yes, obviously: YOU understand it.

But the two are NOT the same. Grandma is not the other side of the Jeremiah Wright coin: that would be the love child of David Duke and Cindy Sheehan. And Obama, with his false equivalence, is making Grandma out to be just that -- the flip side of the abominable Jeremiah Wright.

Grandma doesn't deserve that treatment. THAT's why 68 thousand google hits agree that Obama "threw grandma under the bus"

Posted by: bob at March 19, 2008 06:58 AM

Yeah... 68,000 google hits speak volumes. OK...

I'm done with this. I've said too much (I'm a co-blogger at The Moderate Voice) already. I still don't see the Grandma "under the bus throw" but it's ok. Senator Obama isn't getting the nomination anyways.

Regardless, I still feel it's a landmark speech on race in America and it stands by itself.

Posted by: T-Steel at March 19, 2008 07:32 AM

I'm afraid of most young men/teenagers passing me on the street when they are dressed "thuggishly" and walk with a swager. I generally do not fear any young man who is well dressed and walking normally. My fear of thuggish looking black men is therefore, NOT racist.

Posted by: Lily at March 19, 2008 07:48 AM

Nice, T-Steel. Ignore the entire argument, and focus on the throwaway line at the end.

Landmark speech my *ss. KJL at The Corner accurately summarized that speech: "Damn straight, Rev. Wright is angry. That's how I wound up at his church. That's why I stay there. I'm mad too, I just control it better. Now let's get electing me president so we can all feel good."

Posted by: bob at March 19, 2008 08:01 AM

Let's all cool down, here. And let me clarify: I don't let ANYONE get near me on a sidewalk--white or black, male or female--unless it's good and light outside, and there are people around. And they're carrying a baby. And groceries. (The third time I was mugged, it was by a light-skinned woman--a junkie, I presume. I think she was Latina, but I had other things on my mind--like the sharpened screwdriver in her hand.)

And a smile helps a LOT. If you're with your family, that does, too. But I'm tiny, and I do what I have to do--just like Obama's grandmother.

Quite frankly, a person loses more points on the getting-near-me-on-the-sidewalk thing by being male than they do by being black. (After all, most serial killers are white.) But being black doesn't gain you any--particularly with black people; most African-American crime is black-on-black rather than black-on-white.

I have no problem with studying Obama's speech as a study in race relations in this century. What I have a problem with is the idea that we're supposed to give him a pass on supporting Rev. Wright's hate--when we wouldn't do so for any other politician who supported bigotry.

I mean, what if Ron Paul could explain hanging out with anti-black people and anti-Jewish people because someone in his family had been wronged by a black or a Jew? What if he'd been cheated by a Jewish in-law? Would you give him a pass on anti-Semitism then? I wouldn't.

Thanks for coming by, T-Steel. I really appreciate your willingness to engage in an open exchange, here. I hope you'll be back.

(Oh, wait. That didn't cool things down much, did it? I think I meant that everyone else should cool down, so I could spout off.)

Posted by: Attila Girl at March 19, 2008 09:00 AM

Please note Obama's Grandmother had a problem with ONE agressive panhandler at the bus stop who was black ... not with the odd black man passing her on the street ...

Posted by: Jeff at March 19, 2008 09:36 AM

"What I have a problem with is the idea that we're supposed to give him a pass on supporting Rev. Wright's hate--when we wouldn't do so for any other politician who supported bigotry."

How does Obama support Rev. Wright's hate? He 's said over and over again over the past 5 days he doesn't support it, that he in fact vehemently disagrees with it. You're not supposed to give him a pass for supporting it, because - and this is the important part here for you slow thinkers - he isn't supporting it.

See how that works? I just solved your problem.

Posted by: Levi at March 19, 2008 12:13 PM

He was a member of his church, by choice, for 20 years. He supported the man by his presence in the pew, and by donating money.

He subjected his daughters to the modern-day equivalent of a Nazi rally. He cannot say, retroactively, that he "doesn't support it" because he is now willing to publicly disagree with it. No.

There is a distinction between maintaining cordial relations with someone who has bigoted views because you may be able, someday, to carry a "beneficial" message to that person--and being a member of their church for two decades and giving them money.

Posted by: Attila Girl at March 19, 2008 03:45 PM

This is Obama's big unforgivable sin then, is it? Sitting in the audience of somebody that said something that you thought was offensive, and think that everyone should find offensive. But we're not all you. And Obama's no worse for the wear, it's not like 20 years of Reverend Wright turns you into some sort of Black Panther terrorist. Maybe he was a little bit tamer back in the day, who knows? You certainly don't, and it's an impossibly pointless question anyways. I mean since when did "Well, has there pastor ever said anything crazy?" become a necessary question for our Presidential candidates?

This whole manufactured controversy doesn't say a single meaningful thing about Obama. It says a whole lot about the conservative movement, and how there's still lots of insincerity and racism therein, but not so much about Obama.

You know Barack is 50% white, don't you? And I know you people need this controversy as much as you've ever needed anything, but really, 'modern-day equivalent of a Nazi rally'?
That's a bit much.

Posted by: Levi at March 19, 2008 06:29 PM


1) Do we all--"conservatives," however you define that--look the same to you? That's what it sounds like.

2) Politicians lose their careers all the time for being associated with bigots, or appearing "soft" on bigotry. So do entertainers and sports figures. In this country we're way into this "all men [humans] are created equal" thing.

And I'm not sure this debate has anything to do with "conservatism." First of all, there are no conservative candidates running. If one concedes that John McCain is the closest thing to a conservative out there (and it's debatable), then to want Obama knocked out of the race I'd also have to assume that Hillary is the weaker of the two candidates (also debatable).

What I do not want to see is a situation in which "black people" (however one defines "black") are allowed to support bigotry when those of other ethnicities are not. The only thing worse would be if we were all encouraged to develop our own bigotries, and became even more Balkanized in the process.

3) I don't like racism, and I don't think black racism is any better than white racism. It might even be worse, inasmuch as it destroys more lives by increasing feelings of hopelessness and "victimhood" in the black community. Black supremacy is certainly more in danger of becoming a potent political force than white supremacy will ever be.

Posted by: Attila Girl at March 19, 2008 07:39 PM

The time travelers sent me an email--

From the NYT Bestseller "Who The Hell Gives Their Kid A Name That Starts With A "B" When Their Last Name Starts With An "O" ???" (Why not go all the way and make it
a "J" ???)

Reminiscing on my first visit to Trinity United Church of Christ . . .

"It was like I found a home--for the first time in my life. Remember I had to put up with those Hawaiian punks smoking dope at the Polynesian Cultural Center throwing bricks at those
bus-loads of tourists calling me a "Haole" when I flash them the "hang-loose" sign. "But I was born here," I said. "Don't make no difference, Bro if you ain't got the blood," one of the
less-sensitive, ill informed punks said. What is it with that f'ing blood stuff? One drop makes you an outsider. None keeps you from being an insider? And how come everyone isn't mixed with everyone else? Who goes to Baskin-Robbins and only orders the vanilla every fucking time? Or chocolate, even! C'mon! Mix it up, people! You like ice cream? Get them all, all the time! Shit! What's so hard? After listening to Rev. Wright blasting America and everything it holds dear for nearly two hours, without ever bringing up any of that Christ-stuff that I could never get into sitting there pretending to pray while a peeked through my fingers and saw that dried-up Nun trying to scare a bunch of brown-skinned children senseless and noticing that not a single Angel was descending to slap me upside my head for what I was doing. Finally I knew what I had always known but never spoke aloud--GOD WAS A COMMUNIST JUST LIKE ME!!!! This was PERFECT! I knew that I would be President of the United States from the time that I was 5, promising everyone that when I became President I would give them all a MILLION DOLLARS each and having to listen to those heartless Republican bastards tell me that if everyone was rich nobody would be rich because a hamburger would cost $1000 or some such shit, "If you could even get someone to make you one" they mock with that stupid grin that was supposed to tell me that they knew what they were talking about. Shit! Now I didn't have to pretend that I was a Christian to get elected, but the kind that really didn't go to Church but reflected on it in private--which I knew that nobody would buy. Now I had a Church! One that would give me "cred" (street talk for 'Gravitas') in the Hood as I launched my political career! The rest was just a bonus! Being all-white is immoral. YES! Being all-white and rich is immoral" Double yes!
Take that Grandma! Take that Grandpa! Take that Ma! Tell me to take out the trash and clean my room? Ha! YOU"RE GONNA BURN! Ha! Now I knew I could start that long journey that would end at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW. I had to get my platform ready. I am going to give everyone a million dollars. And hope!

Posted by: Darrell at March 19, 2008 08:48 PM

1. Uh huh. Bush voters, basically.

2. How is Barack saying it's okay to support bigotry? Is he saying that? Does he support bigotry? Has Obama actually done anything but disagree with Wright?

I honestly don't understand how you can be mad at someone for listening to what someone else said. You realize that when you strip it down, that's what has you all so hysterical? He listened to a guy for 20 years. Big deal? Why do we care? You can't make any sort of honest judgment about Barack Obama through his pastor, they're DIFFERENT PEOPLE. They obviously have different opinions, Obama has made it redundantly clear that they do, what else is there to say? That Republicans are unsatisfied? Of course you are. If you've hung with Bush through the war and New Orleans and the economy then you're obviously just never going to let go. That means throwing tantrums about what Obama's friends say.

3. Yes, racism is bad. Obama agrees with you, so what's the problem?

Oh yeah.

"He listened to a guy!"

Posted by: Levi at March 19, 2008 11:45 PM

The problem in a nutshell, Levi, it that it apparently was a one-way "dialogue." He didn't speak up to the man. That's my beef.

Posted by: Attila Girl at March 20, 2008 08:43 AM

The problem in a nutshell, is that your use of the word 'apparently' denotes that you're just rampantly speculating and assuming the worst based on what amounts to a few seconds of sound bites, like everybody else with regards to this story.

Maybe they talked about race all the time? How could they not have? They're black politicians, they spent lots of time together and worked on lots of different stuff. How do you know it was a 'one-way dialogue' behind closed doors? What, do you need YouTube to post video of Barack springing up in the middle of church to interrupt and counter Rev. Wright? Until then, you'll just assume the absolute worst, huh? That Wright was forcing all this B.S. down Obama's throat and Obama just took it?

You have to realize you're letting your imagination run with this, at this point. Do you?

Posted by: Levi at March 20, 2008 10:45 AM

Twenty plus years!
What part of that don't you understand? I haven't met a preacher/minister/priest who doesn't save their whole collection of sermons for future reference. How about publishing your 30-year collection Rev. Wright? That will go a long way towards ending the talk of imagination/speculation/cherry-picking, wouldn't it? I would be interested in hearing/reading the sermons that were delivered during the Carter/Clinton years. MSM?

Maybe hatred continues because we keep on exposing our kids to hatred? Without speaking up. Without voting with our feet by walking out and finding a new spiritual home.

Posted by: Darrell at March 20, 2008 11:26 AM

Wright and Obama are separate people, with separate experiences and separate opinions.

What don't YOU understand about that? It's not like the pastor/church-goer relationship is some special, sacred bond, wherein everything one person says reflects what the other person believes. Obama got some sort of religious fulfillment out of going to church and it's as unfair as it is unrealistic to assume that Wright spent 100% of his time on these few topics. We can't leave it at that?

Just because you want to leave when you hear something disagreeable doesn't mean we all want to. Some of us find the disagreeable bits more interesting, as a matter of fact.

Posted by: Levi at March 20, 2008 02:00 PM

Show me what you wrote when G. W. Bush giving that 30 minute speech at Bob Jones U. during the 2000 race.

I do contend that Rev. Wright spent most of his time on Anti-Americanism, white hatred, class warfare, pro-Communist/Socialist agendas and the establishment of a permanent African-American victim class. Once in a while you got gems like "Jesus said you are your brother's keeper. You ARE your sister's keeper!" No. No, he didn't. That was Cain trying to cover his ass after killing his brother..."Am I my brother's keeper?" Unfortunately, he was talking to God at the time, and he was hit upside his head with a telephone directiory, if I recall(The mark of Cain).

I know the Christianity preached there is light. How else can Muslims be overt members? Without losing their heads, that is. A church even Marx and Lenin would love!

Posted by: Darrell at March 20, 2008 03:30 PM

Darrel, this is exactly what I'm talking about. Assuming the worst.

You 'contend' he spends most of his time on all that stuff? Based on what? Based on a total of 45 seconds of videotape that you've seen?

How is that fair?

Also, I don't know anything about the Bible or Christianity, so please don't start with a bunch of particularities. It's all a big, uninteresting, counter-productive fairy tale to me.

Posted by: Levi at March 20, 2008 03:46 PM


One of the more mainstream notions behind orthodox Christianity (note the small "o"--not discussing Eastern or Middle-Eastern Orthodox churches, here) is that we aren't really big on hate. Hating people is bad. Hating whole groups of people is also very bad. Jesus preached against both.

Why don't we turn it around? Where are the other members of Trinity out there who can tell us that Obama spent years denouncing the "God Damn America" rhetoric? Where are the church elders ready to go on record that Barack Obama threatened to withold financial support if Wright didn't stop condoning the white people = the devil formulation?

If Obama has been against these rhetorical excesses (that is, the hate speech) all along, surely that's well-established at Trinity, and other people can tell us how strong the objections have been . . . all along.

Posted by: Attila Girl at March 20, 2008 06:39 PM

I live in Chicago. South Side, even. Morgan Park. I've been hearing about Trinity since the '80s, from co-workers who went there a few times. They walked away, saying that if they're going to go to Sunday services they might as well hear about a path that leads to Salvation. Let's see the whole book of sermons. And we'll check the ink, btw. Let's share the love!

Posted by: Darrell at March 20, 2008 07:59 PM


Why do we have to do all that though? Can we not safely assume that he has always been against this type of rhetoric? He did good work in Chicago for poor people of all races for years, doesn't that count for anything at all?

I mean, you make it sound like Wright was pouring this stuff into him every Sunday and then he'd spend all week plotting against Whitey. He did have a whole existence outside of that church for the last 20 years, and none of what he did supports the oh-so-baseless notion that he's some black supremacist Manchurian Candidate that hates his white grandma.

You can't judge 20 years of a man's life based on a cumulative minute and a half of video tape, you just can't. There was more to Obama's life than the church in Chicago; he practiced law, he gave lectures, he worked with the poor, do none of those things earn him any credit with you whatsoever? You just want to ignore a very civil-minded and accomplished career and just base all your estimations of the man on a few seconds of video?

Posted by: Levi at March 21, 2008 12:03 AM

He worked with Tony Rezko doing legal work for him and others that Tony sent around, making sure they cleared all the hurdles and received all the variances for the various construction projects that Rezko was putting together, to assure that got maximum community development grant money to pad the bottom-line for the investors. Investors from Syria and the Middle East who apparently are fronts and middlemen for other, as of yet, unidentified deep-pocket individuals or governments. Rezko's trial just started here, nut apparently Tony can get $5 million- $10 million with a single short phone call. Something he just did after showing zero assets in pre-trial motions.

Obama joined Trinity because no one has ever stated their "religious beliefs" as secular humanist and made a serious run for high political office. It also gave him a leg-up in his early political career as being "one of us" among the voters in his geographic launching base. It also signaled that he was "OK" to the Left and liberals who has a track record of not donating to candidates with a traditional Christian background.

Living in Chicago, I know that Obama first got on the political radar by making at run at Bobby Rush's US Congressional seat in 2000. Bobby Rush is a Chicago legend, having co-founded the Illinois chapter of the Black Panthers, and working with Leftist radicals of the time. Rush pretty much used Obama's record in the IL Senate(1997) to convince voters that Obama didn't do anything for the African-American community up to that point, and Barack wasn't able to dissuade voters of that notion. When you look at articles telling you about BO's record, make sure they are contemporaneous to his service. Remember names can get added to Bills years later under current law. (Truthiness in politics). The buzz here was that not too many people knew much about Barack, even those who served with him in the IL Senate. Bobby Rush was able to fend off charges that he never paid a penny in alimony and child support with his various wives/children(and if fact they had been on welfare/public assistance from the beginning, spanning a 20+ year period) by simply telling voters that of course he took care of them--a few 'honeybees $100 bills)' may have appeared when needed or even if they weren't. Just nothing that would appear on record getting the nasty, cold-hearted "Man" to take away their benefits. I saw one of his supporters shout "He's one of us!" with that little revelation. Bobby's become 'mainstream' since his radical days, and I haven't read a word in the newspapers about any repercussions from this disclosure. How mainstream Democrat? In March 2006, Rush was co-author, along with conservative congressman Joe Barton, of the controversial Barton-Rush Bill. The bill would significantly benefit telecommunications companies like AT&T, Verizon and Qwest — a bill that generated some controversy after it was revealed that the charitable arm of major telephone company SBC (now AT&T) paid over $1 million to an Englewood charity Rush and his wife founded to create the Bobby L. Rush Community Technology Center.

What was Wright and other ministers of his ilk saying in the past in Chicago? We'll see. But the general theme with AIDS in the 80's, if I recall correctly, was that it was a plague being visited on the white devils for their evil acts and lifestyle. And money was being wasted on that instead of their concerns like Sickle-Cell anemia and hypertension. I remember AIDS being called the "Diet Plan" after those weight-loss caramels that eventually left the market due to poor sales with the association. Something Jesse Jackson helped put a stop to, with multiple group meetings of ministers, because it was causing a schism with the Left and money from the Left. And it was starting to affect the Black community in greater numbers.I'm pretty sure that's when Rev. Wright moved on to his current meme of US Gov't plot. And to set the record straight, ABC apparently just sent someone into the super-church to purchase a handful of DVDs that were for sale. Hours worth. Not the seconds that have been shown so far, or on You-Tube. And that doesn't mean that the rest of the DVD is inspirational. I saw a continuous 20-minutes of one that I would review by saying "the hits keep coming and coming" ABC and the MSM is being kind. Or cowardly. When people went to see Chevy Chase they expected him to fall down. When they went to see Steve Martin, they expected to see him with that arrow through the head. When they went to see Rev. Wright, they expected what they expected. And he never disappointed. You can't when you have 10,000 seats to fill.

Posted by: Darrell at March 21, 2008 01:33 PM

I guess it's true the little ones always suffer most. The little one in this case being subject/verb agreement, et. al., when you're typing in a little box and revising--all with Fluffy nipping at your heels. I leave it to readers to make the requisite corrections.

Posted by: Darrell at March 21, 2008 02:29 PM

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