Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Angry Young Man

I have spent my entire adult life trying to bridge the gap between different kinds of people. That's in my DNA, trying to promote mutual understanding to insist that we all share common hopes and common dreams as Americans and as human beings. That's who I am. That's what I believe. That's what this campaign has been about.

Yesterday, we saw a very different vision of America. I am outraged by the comments that were made and saddened over the spectacle that we saw yesterday.

And the fact that Rev. Wright would think that somehow it was appropriate to command the stage, for three or four consecutive days, in the midst of this major debate, is something that not only makes me angry but also saddens me.

-Barack Obama, April 28, 2008
Praying and Preying
By MAUREEN DOWD
Published: April 30, 2008

Maureen Dowd has been searching for a new moniker for Obama for a while. Obambi (which she stole from John Kass) is getting a little stale. She tried Golden Child for a bit, but now with Barack making a clean break from Reverend Wright she has a new Rude Name®. Let’s see if we can figure it out:
Barack Obama has spent his life, and campaign, trying not to be the Angry Black Man.

On Tuesday, the Sort Of Angry Black Man appeared, reluctantly spurred into action by The Really Angry Black Man.
Dowd notices that despite, or because of, his anger, the latent nicotine need is still there:
Speaking to reporters in the heart of tobacco country in Winston-Salem, N.C., the poor guy looked as if he were dying for a smoke. “When I say I find these comments appalling, I mean it,” Obama said. “It contradicts everything I am about and who I am.”
Dowd says that having to distance himself from the controversial preacher is difficult because since he was raised in a white household, Wright was his touchstone to African American culture:
At Trinity, he may have ignored what he should have heard because he was trying to assimilate to black culture. Now, he may be outraged by what he belatedly heard because he’s trying to relate to the white lunch-pail set.

Having been deserted at age 2 by his father, Obama has now been deserted by the father-figure in his church, the man who inspired him to become a Christian, married him, dedicated his house, baptized his children, gave him the title of his second book and theme for his presidential run and worked on his campaign.
That book was titled The Audacity Of Hope and was taken from Wright’s signature speech “The Audacity To Hope.” At least the good reverend got the preposition right. The more grammatically correct title would have been The Audaciousness Of Hope. (Audacilious?) You would think a Harvard-trained lawyer would know better.

This was all in response to Reverend Wright’s barnstorming tour over the weekend. Dowd says this was motivated by anger of his own:
He was certainly sore at Obama, after helping him get connected in Chicago politics, for distancing himself. But he was also clearly envious that Obama has been hailed by his flock as the halo-wearing Redeemer of America’s hope.
And I use that quote just so that I can recycle my halo photoshop.

Dowd makes at least one old school reference to one of Bill Clinton’s many campaign kerfuffles as well as Hillary Clinton's claim that she is fully vetted, a prediction that is starting to carry some weight.
Tuesday was more than a Sister Souljah moment; it was a painful form of political patricide. “I did not vet my pastor before I decided to run for the presidency,” Obama said.

In a campaign that’s all about who’s vetted, maybe he should have.
Sister Souljah, a Clinton supporter way back in 1992 had said:
If black people kill black people every day, why not have a week and kill white people?
Her defenders said the quote was taken out of context. But like many of Reverend Wright’s more inflammatory statements, it’s hard to think of a context where it isn’t offensive.

But if Maureen was really as down with the hip-hop scene as she pretends to be, she would have renamed it a Sister Souljah Boy Tell ‘Em Moment. Crank that.

3 comments:

Grace Nearing said...

I will -- begrudgingly as ever -- give MoDo a bonus point for not using the phrase "crazy uncle." That phrase has been popping up all over the NYT (and probably elsewhere) in the past few days, both on and off the editorial pages.

Has the media assigned itself the task of embittering the one guy who is probably the last unembittered person in the country?

Mo MoDo said...

Obama is bringing that metaphor on himself. According to ABC News, Obama called Wright that in so many words:

'He said Rev. Wright "is like an old uncle who says things I don't always agree with," telling a Jewish group that everyone has someone like that in their family.'

Dowd used the "old uncle" part in quotes on March 19. I guess she was just ahead of the curve.

Emma said...

Thanks for stopping by the Darker Mind -- leading me to learn a new word - "fisking." Yeah, I get quite a few Dowd-haters which is kind of funny since I don't really write about her that much. Not as much as you at any rate! Though when I do it tends to be negative. I just don't see what she adds to the political discourse, other than a lot of negativity, and in an election year as important as this one (and 2004, and 2000),it annoys me that she's the Times' "liberal" but spends so much of her time bashing the Democrats. Is she actually a closeted Republican?