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March 28, 2008

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bgates

This reminds me of the outrage from some Iraqi cabbie who was quoted by NRO in 2003 saying that the invasion was unnecessary because we had invaded just as Iraq was about to rise up and overthrow Saddam. Likewise, Obama's discomfort had been rising for 20 years, until this spring, when he'd finally had enough - only the pastor had already retired.

To be replaced by somebody who sounds exactly the same. Obama should tire of the new guy around 2035.

clarice

He just wants us to know he's as sparing of the truth and as creative in his recountings as his rival, Hill, is.

ROA

Instapundit just posted a link to a Fox News story about the Reverend’s new $1.6 million dollar, 10,000 sq/ft house in a gated community.

http://instapundit.com/archives2/017057.php

Soylent Red

Obama should tire of the new guy around 2035.

Or when his sermons show up on YouTube. Whichever comes first.

Allahpundit

Wright hasn't apologized. I think what Obama means is that he would have left the church if Wright was still pastor and refused to apologize; if, however, he did apologize, Obama wouldn't have left the church.

Other Tom

Reminds me of fawning sycophant Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., telling us that had JFK lived, he would have got us out of Vietnam instead of allowing it to escalate. This despite the fact that the speech he was on his way to give in Dallas on the day he died was to be a ringing defense of the war.

Tom Maguire

I think what Obama means is that he would have left the church if Wright was still pastor and refused to apologize

Clever and generous; praise Allah.

Of course, Obama learned of Wright's attitude issues (he says) in Feb 2007, and Wright retired a year later. That worked for him?

And it is a very generous reading - the argument is that everything that follows "if he had not retired" is hypothetical, since Wright did in fact retire, but it certainly leaves the misleading impression that Wright did those things.

I am going to take a hard line and go No Sale on that - as a matter of logic (I am pushing it on a Thursday night here), Obama ought to have said "if he had not retired *OR* if he had not cured AIDS" I would have left the church - "OR" requires either clause to be true, "AND" requires both.

Even the "OR" formulation would have been very misleading, but it would have been logically defensible as a bridge that Obama never reached.

Hmm, that said, there is some other logical rule about negating both clauses and reversing "ORs and ANDs", which might apply since Obama is using a negative construction here. Oh, boy... I am going to post this and mull for a while.

Sara

Wright is building a 10,340 sq. ft. $1.6 million home in a gated community for his retirement.

Link

Cecil Turner

Reading through some of the Black Theology stuff, it's pretty interesting. It's metaphorical of course ("white" means oppressor, "black" means oppressed . . . not [horrors] racist), and over-the-top:

Cone's rhetoric sounds strident if one fails to understand his use of the terms black and white. For example: "To be black is to be committed to destroying everything this country loves and adores." Or again, "Black theology will accept only a love of God which participates in the destruction of the white enemy." In looking back on these earlier books, Cone later admitted that he would no longer use such extreme language, but, nevertheless, his condemnation of racism and oppression was as strong as ever.
But essentially, it's a Marxist-Leninist cant (whatever brand insists equality of result is the goal, and lack of it demonstrates oppression rather than any personal failing) wrapped up in "hate whitey" language.

And I'd note TUCC's Black Value System is still on the website (though less prominent after the Fox interview. This isn't a few cherry-picked statements, it's their core value system . . . and Obama actively sought out this congregation, presumably aware of the creed. Yeah, I'm not buying any, either. And I don't think this one is going away any time soon.

SAM

Boy, the pastor's new home looks pretty swanky. Is it in the parts of the sermons that aren't played that he says that he's just kidding and that he's really in it for the money.

His new Tinley Park home will be a hike from the South Side church. He may be shopping for a new church.

The thing that gets me in all of this is that only after Obama saw the roof beginning to cave did he seize the inititiative and offer his speech in which he redefined the issue as a race issue and dump it at everyone else's doorstep. I'm still scratching my head at how 95% of the press is lauding the speech as a watershed moment in race relations. He pull a classic rhetorical sleight of hand. It's nonsense.

In truth, it's about a foul-mouthed bully who spewed anti-American, anti-Semitic, and now anti-Italian invective. On top of that he spewed three colossol lies: HIV, crack, and atomic bombs (without batting an eye). In other words, it's about a guy who apparently did some exemplary outreach work with his church, but he also did some hateful things in his sermons. With all this shuffling, can he or Obama tell us how they plan to put the hate that he infected his congregants with all these years?

The guy abused his position as a pastor, and Obama--an intelligent, well-educated, and prominent member of the congregation-- didn't have the courage when it mattered to confront this guy. It's an extraordinary act of cowardice, but it was politically essential to keeping the political base.

bgates

You know, everybody is jumping all over this $1.6 million dollar home Wright is moving in to, and asking how coming up with that kind of money squares with his sermons about not pursuing wealth, and that's just not fair.

Do we know for sure Rezko didn't pay for the house?

Thomas Collins

I suspect that B_O is still talking about this for one reason: his campaign's internal polls must be telling him that there is trouble ahead. This is consistent with my polling system, which is speaking with folks who don't listen to NPR.

capitano
But why is Wright apologizing to Obama, who only heard these remarks second hand .... Shouldn't Wright be apologizing to those of us who took offense?
Wright is only apologetic that he has provided ammo for Obama's critics, which explains why Wright has canceled recent public speaking events.

More to the point, will Obama the Uniter explain how the U.S. will ever achieve racial unity with "spiritual leaders" like Rev. Wright poisoning the young minds of each new generation?

Radical Islam brainwashes its youth in hate-filled madrasas; black separatists use the neighborhood church.

clarice

It's an American tragedy--young hustler and street organizer seeks help and gets enmeshed with crazpypants race baiting preacher and a Dem- financing crook with Iraqi ties. He goes on to the US Senate (with their help) and then to a hotly contested race for the presidency only to be forced held back by these ties. There's something Faustian in all this.Only because he's running as something that hs is not--a high minded unifier, rather than a pol--he's a bit stuck . (Now he knows what it's like to be a Republican--held to a higher standard like kosher hotdogs)

Jamesofengland

So, just to get this straight, he'd have disowned Wright (since that has to be a reasonable description of leaving a church in protest against the pastor) if Wright had not changed his ways.

Are we to believe that the reason he didn't disown his grandmother is because she changed her ways, or because she'd already stepped down as his primary carer before the clock ran out on the 20 years of toleration?

Jeff

Obama is a racist con man ...

MDR

Lets all agree that Obama lied through his teeth 6 times before admitting what he couldnt hide, that his 20 year association with wright shows he has no jugement no character no conviction and no courage OR he swallowed all of Wrights nonsense,(which would explain no hand over the heart for the pledge of allegience) and lets all agree that having the man who made those statements baptize your children, marry you and who you call an uncle makes Obama unfit to spend a night at the white house much less live there and then let's move on.

clarice

I think James Lewis has written yet another winner:
Far too many black people don't feel good about themselves, and are constantly looking for answers from somebody else. That quest for the impossible has been turned into an accusation against the invisible but all-powerful white racist establishment. Michelle and Barack Obama were indoctrinated with those toxic beliefs at Princeton and Harvard, so that they are now making more than a million bucks a year, living in a mansion in Chicago while still feeling sorry for themselves. Give me a break. (Michelle Obama's salary increased by almost 200,000 dollars in one year at the University of Chicago. How many people get that kind of raise?)


No doubt the Obamas tell themselves that they are the lucky exceptions, and that they are just identifying with poor blacks, who surely are out there in the hundreds of thousands. But that's just the self-serving generosity of politicians handing out taxpayer money. The Obamas are rich, highly educated, extremely successful professional politicians. They are the darlings of white liberals. Are they anything more than that?


For politicians, voter dissatisfaction is the fuel of personal careers. You can't get anywhere by promising all the answers to people who don't need you. So the first order of business is to find dissatisfied voters, and if they're not there, stir up some dissatisfaction. That's why Obama needed the Rev -- to get him in good with a proletariat, any proletariat, in this case a black one. If Obama had stayed back in Hawaii or Indonesia, he would suddenly have discovered his inner Hawaiian or his authentic Balinese. Now he is "authentically Black," and the Rev guarantees his blackness. That's why Obama can't renounce the Rev. The Rev is his meal ticket.
http://www.americanthinker.com/2008/03/whites_cant_make_blacks_happy.html>Make yourself happy, no one else can

hit and run

Who said anything about an apology?

The question is has Wright acknowledged inappropriate and offensive remarks.

Of course he has.


Obama: Reverend Wright, I strenuously object to your controversial comments in today’s sermon.

Wright: Controversial? Damn. They were meant to offend. Did they offend white people?

Obama: They were inappropriate, sir.

Wright: What, they weren’t offensive enough? Sonuva… You don’t think they pissed people off? Well, then yeah, I guess they were inappropriate. I’ll have to try harder.

Good enough for Obama...

clarice

*thwack!!!*

DebinNC

That Rolling Stone article filled in some timeline gaps for me. Obama "worked with" Wright during his 4 "street-level organizer" years between Columbia and Harvard. Does that mean he's been exposed to Wright/Wrightisms longer than the 20 years he's been at Trinity?

This apology business reminded me of the scene in Jerry McGuire where the agent pleads with his angry, controversial client, "Help ME (pause) help YOU" .. be viewed in a better light by the public. The defiant client answers, "I won't dance, Jerry. I won't dance." I think "Barry" has had the same conversation with Wright, and any Wright "dancing" now will cause a black backlash of sorts against Obama.

Porchlight

Why does everything Obama says require an advanced degree in parsing to understand? I swear he's worse than Clinton. This alone should be a warning sign.

Jane

TM,

You have once again outdone yourself. That was a joy to read.

marsh2011

Someone needs to ask Mr Obama the question: "If you are elected President will you welcome Rev Wright into the White House"?

Foo Bar

Allahpundit is correct.

Hmm, that said, there is some other logical rule about negating both clauses and reversing "ORs and ANDs", which might apply since Obama is using a negative construction here. Oh, boy... I am going to post this and mull for a while.

Yes, the rules are known as De Morgan's laws, if you want the formal name, although they really amount to common sense. The relevant rule here is :

not (P or Q) = (not P) and (not Q)

Obama is saying that in order for Obama to stay in the church either Wright had to retire or he had to apologize. The logical equivalent is to state, as Obama did, that if Wright did not retire and, while remaining pastor, did not apologize, then Obama would have left.

Please update your post.

Fen

There's simply no getting around the fact that Obama is a 20-year disciple of a "religion" that encourages racial hatred of whites. Black Liberation Theology is no different than the philosophy that penned "Mein Kampf".

DebinNC

I think we've reached a tipping point where, unless new Wrightisms appear, any more confrontations of Obama about Wright will seem like unfair piling on.

There's probably a treasure trove of outrageous Wright stuff out there waiting to be discovered or being held until the best time to report it ... which imo would be during the fall campaign, not now.

SteveMG

Another outstanding post, Tom.

Perhaps Brian Williams will see it (if he still visits here) and pass it on to Chris Matthews (ahem). This should fix those feelings that shoot up his leg.

Dr. Maguire heals all. You just have to believe.

This is, frankly, nonsense from Obama.

Sue

I'm sorry, but the greatest speaker ever to grace the huddled masses has to have his words explained? And/or. Typical white. And something I noticed recently. He stutters. If he doesn't have a script he stutters. His oratory skills are limited to written text.

centralcal

So, I wake up this morning, cup of coffee in hand, and start see Tom Maguire all around the internet! Way to go Tom!

Obama spent his Easter vacation meditating on how he was gonna get out of this Wright, BLT, mess. From the sounds of things, he shoulda stayed awhile longer on the beach.

And, oh yeah, anyone heard from Michelle O lately? How long do you think her silence is gonna last? Tick, tick, tick . . .

hit and run

So rev Otis is now on the hot seat.

Otis shouldn't get all the benefit of the doubt Obama gave Wright though, right?

Don't think Otis will mind...vile rhetoric packs in the pews apparently and there is no such thing as bad publicity, right...

JB

So Obama would have left the church had Wright stayed and had been unrepentant about his statements?

Is he implying he only heard such statements within a short period of time before Wright retired? Or does he mean that he would have "eventually" left the church (let's say, no later than 20 years or so)?

If first, and factually false, Obama is digging a deeper hole. If second, he seems to possess a talent for insulting people's intelligence.

Mitch from Chicagoboyz

Why did it never occur to Obama to claim he had slept through the sermons? So many of us would have sympathized and forgiven.

Ranger

Kaus has a nice little bit up about how much Obama knew and when:

http://www.slate.com/id/2187358/#folksgreed

Given Rev. Wright's new digs, should he now be considered an "honorary white folk"?

JB

Guess the follow-up question is, "what did you hear, Sen. Obama and when did you hear it?"

ben

...."I believe is the greatness of this country, FOR ALL ITS FLAWS, ..."

I think that pretty much sums it all up, that even in trying to backpedal and obfuscate, Obama can't bring himself to say something good about America without a qualifier.

Cecil Turner

Obama is saying that in order for Obama to stay in the church either Wright had to retire or he had to apologize.

Which doesn't make a lot of sense in a past-tense construction where one of the clauses is known to be false (i.e., Wright hadn't apologized). The correct way of saying that would be:

"Had the reverend not retired, then I wouldn't have felt comfortable staying at the church"

Please update your post.

I think it works pretty well the way it is. Or, if you [TM] must, highlight the superfluous clause

had he not acknowledged that what he had said had deeply offended people and were inappropriate and mischaracterized what I believe is the greatness of this country, for all its flaws
with an explanation that Obama's construction suggests it's meant to be taken as B.S., not fact.

PeterUK

""Black theology will accept only a love of God which participates in the destruction of the white enemy."

This sounds uncannily like the branch of Christianity called Islam.

boris

Not P AND not Q = not (P OR Q) is all very fine to quibble about but the sense of the statement is that AND works and so does OR. Because P is public info (retired) while Q is described in detail as a real event:

had he not acknowledged that what he had said had deeply offended people and were inappropriate and mischaracterized what I believe is the greatness of this country, for all its flaws

Since the statement indicates both elements are true the logic construct used doesn't matter. Otherwise the long detailed Q is fabrication.

JB

White man's greed, eh?

So it is the first. Obama hit bottom, digs deeper.

Neo

Don't miss this selection via Christopher Hitchens' piece ..

"If Barack gets past the primary," said the Rev. Jeremiah Wright to the New York Times in April of last year, "he might have to publicly distance himself from me. I said it to Barack personally, and he said yeah, that might have to happen."

Pause just for a moment, if only to admire the sheer calculating self-confidence of this. Sen. Obama has long known perfectly well, in other words, that he'd one day have to put some daylight between himself and a bigmouth Farrakhan fan. But he felt he needed his South Side Chicago "base" in the meantime. So he coldly decided to double-cross that bridge when he came to it. And now we are all supposed to marvel at the silky success of the maneuver.

Perhaps Obama didn't hear them, but he certainly knew of them at least a year ago.

Jane

"Had the reverend not retired, then I wouldn't have felt comfortable staying at the church"

Now now this is a tribute to the great one's tolerance. After 19 years he had to put his foot down!

Rick Ballard

"Obama hit bottom, digs deeper."

I have to disagree, JB. BHO isn't anywhere near the bottom. He'll reach that point when Rezko spills in exchange for either a plea deal or a lighter sentence.

Right now we're just getting to the "would you buy a used car from this jerk?" point. Mendacity can be presumed from this point forward. The extent of his meretricious behavior has yet to be revealed. Is there any reason to believe that Tony Rezko is the only crook with hooks under BHO's thin skin?

Cecil Turner

Hey, the real news here is that the AP intro is spot-on with its logic:

WASHINGTON - White House hopeful Barack Obama suggests he would have left his Chicago church had his longtime pastor, whose fiery anti-American comments about U.S. foreign policy and race relations threatened Obama's campaign, not stepped down. [emphasis added]
You can't go further than "suggests" on the first bit, both because Obama's secondary clause (Wright "acknowledg[ing] . . . deeply offended . . . inappropriate . . . mischaracterized") coulda happened (okay, okay, but we're just talkin' theoretical, here); and because Obama didn't explicitly pledge to leave, merely said he'd not have "felt comfortable staying."

So the writer gets it right and [correctly?] strips most of the BS from the statement. Elegant.

Charlie (Colorado)

I think this whole election is giving me a headache.

clarice

Nor is there any reason to believe he told his aides of other bombshells he knows of and just wished away as he did Wright.

GMax

Well I want to call BS on the retirement meme. Too the man is still listed as Senior Pastor, isn't that like going from Grand Kleagle to Immediate Past President? Do you guess he is still drawing a stipend for whatever duties still fall in his lap? Dont you think he might need an income to service debt on a 1.6 mm house mortgage?

DebinNC

In TM's link above -"follow-up blast to Times reporting" - Wright castigates NYT reporter Jodi Kantor:

"When I told you, using one of your own Jewish stories from the Hebrew Bible as to how God asked Moses, “What is that in your hand?,” that Barack was like that when I met him...."

Wright pointed out Kantor's Jewishness by referring to "your own Jewish stories" and "the Hebrew Bible". I know why Farrakhan would emphasize that a perceived enemy was a Jew, but what benign reason would Wright have for doing so?

JB

Rick, Obama is rapidly becoming a character straight out of The Wire television series.

Foo Bar

Which doesn't make a lot of sense in a past-tense construction where one of the clauses is known to be false

Since when is Obama not allowed to explain how he would have acted had a certain set of events (hypothetically and counterfactually) occurred in the past? He's simply saying what he would have done if the following 2 conditions had held simultaneously: Wright does not retire and Wright does not apologize.

It's analogous to Bush saying that had we known what we now know re:WMD he still would have invaded.

It's perfectly reasonable to explain what you would have done if certain events that didn't end up occurring had, in fact, occurred.

JB

"Too the man is still listed as Senior Pastor, isn't that like going from Grand Kleagle to Immediate Past President?"

Whitey Hater Emeritus.

GMax

PUK what is it with the Times of London? the only folks other than ABC to be putting the wood to Obama are bunch of Brit journalists? Did Cherie Tony and now Gordy convince them of the dangers of socialism or is it just funny making fun of the colonists?

I do understand that the Times is far to right of the Guardian, but come on they are journalists so we are moving the furniture around on Lenin patio for the most part.

Patrick R. Sullivan

Foo Bar is wrong...as usual.

Obama didn't say, 'not (P or Q)', he said, 'not P AND not Q':

"Had the reverend not retired, and had he not acknowledged that what he had said had deeply offended people..."

JorgXMcKie

Sue @9:38 -- I've been noticing that, too. I think (I'd have to look up the references) that the stuttering in these cases is a a tip-off that he is internally conflicted about what he is saying and is searching for the 'right (parsed) word or phrase that will allow him to speak 'truthfully' (i.e. not tell a direct lie) while being misleading.

When he reads a speech he has already filtered this and *knows* that he has artfully bridged that gap. Thus, no stutter, even if he's saying the same stuff. When he speaks extemporaneously, he must carefully (internally) monitor his words. Of course, all politicians do this some, but even then you can hear the 'stutter' when they get ready to lay a plausible whopper on the audience.

Also of course, it's no longer easy to speak to a friendly audience and let fly, given that everything is either officially or likely unofficially being recorded.

GMax

Lets give Rev Wright a little credit for consistency with the message. He certainly avoided the dreaded middle classism. He shot right past that into the upper class with that 10,000 SF house in a gated community.

If he is not careful though, he might get confused with the bourgeois when the revolution comes!

Rick Ballard

"Dont you think he might need an income to service debt on a 1.6 mm house mortgage?"

Wright has no obligation or reason to disclose how much he lifted from TUCC suckers over the years so we can't really know how big a mortgage he'll be carrying - nor can we know what machinations the Rezko/Soros/Auchi circle of thieves used to ease him out of the church.

Auchi can afford to buy Wright's silence. If you were a billionaire crook (say, Soros) what price would you put upon having a President in your pocket?

DebinNC

I bet Wright has railed for years against successful blacks who left the urban poor behind to live in "gated communities".

Sue

I heard somewhere that the home was part of Wright's retirement package from the church.

clarice

I have listened to the Fox report on Wright's new digs, but I believe they found out about it by tracking some new church debt..ie, the suckers are paying for it, not the good Rev.

GMax

Am I just to dense to get it or someone please tell me what I am missing. Who besides Michael Bloomberg ego extraordinaire thinks he is a good potential V/P selection?

Well yes he is Jewish and if Jews are ready to leave the reservation, perhaps that is the reason. Somehow I doubt that Bloomberg is going to stem the bleeding from Jews reacting to some pretty strong anti semetic comments from advisers and a past for Obama that certainly was strongly Pro Palestinian at least until he decided to push forward his Presidential aspirations.

But the guy is not anything other than a life long Democrat. He did change his affiliation to Republican to game an easier path to the nomination, but has neither acted like a Republican in office, repudiated his Democrat Past and now has officially changed his party affiation and is no longer even calling himself a Republican. An ex liberal RINO?

So that sells to who?

If Obama does not carry NY, he might only get Vermont so I dont see how Bloomberg climbs past any number of moderate Democrats from Red or Purple states who might add to the Electoral College pile.

clarice

It is a preposterous notion, GMax..Only a hair slightly less ridiculous than the thought of Bloomie running for president on an independent ticket.

thelonereader

Should the President gig fall through for BHO he should consider the position of Secretary General of the U.N., he certainly qualifies, 20 years of listening to BS at his church before he decides he may have to leave is pretty much equivalent to issuing Resolution after Resolution after Resolution and really never expecting to follow through,plus Black Liberation Theology is right in line with 3rd World Marxist dictatorships,and lest we forget, he is really good at voting present in the Senate instead of taking a stand. That also should be a good U.N. resume enhancer.

More I think about it the more qualified he becomes I definitely think he's in the wrong campaign, let me be the first to encourage him to switch his campaign to position of U.N. Secretary General.

E Buzz Miller, Rev Dr

"had he not acknowledged that what he had said had deeply offended people and were inappropriate and mischaracterized what I believe is the greatness of this country, for all its flaws,"

Too bad for Barry that the Rev. Dr. did neither.

So he stayed at the church, and would have...

Wait, did he leave the church? He didn't.

BTW, the Rev. Dr. would still be there if not for the youtube vids, I am confident in stating that.

Barry is full of shit.

kim

Dare I say, oh wothehell, that Wright is Obama's Tarbaby?
===================================

Patrick R. Sullivan

Mark Steyn on 'Dreams From My Father', to Hugh Hewitt yesterday:

...the reason I think it’s better than so many political autobiographies is because it feels like a novel. In a sense, you get the feeling that he created a character for this book. It’s not the usual political memoir in which the guy retells a dull story of how he got the airport parking lot extension bill passed. It’s actually, it actually feels as if Barack Obama is an invented character.
clarice

Kaus quotes from Dreams of my Father about how Barak was moved to tears by the very first Wright sermon he heard which blamed Black need on white greed, so moved in fact it inspired his second book. Kaus adds:
"Sounds ... controversial! Keep in mind: a) Obama isn't disapproving of this sermon. In the book he weeps at the end of it; b) Demonstrating that at least some blaming of "white greed" for the world's sins--which Obama now criticizes-- isn't an exceptional topic for Rev. Wright in a few wacky sermons ("the five dumbest things") that Obama may or may not have missed. It's at the quotidian core of the Afrocentric philosophy that Obama says drew him to the church; c) Indeed, in his big Feb. 18th race speech Obama reads the passage from his book that describes his emotional reaction to this very sermon (his "first service at Trinity")--how it made "the story of a people" seem "black and more than black." d) This is also the sermon that gave Obama the title of his next book, The Audacity of Hope. e) The "profound mistake" of this sermon is not that Wright "spoke as if our society was static"--Obama's analysis on Feb. 18th. The problem is that "white folks' greed" is not the main cause of a "world in need."

I'm not saying voters shouldn't cut Obama a lot of slack on Wright's anti-white fulminations. But the Senator should have spoken up publicly against the semi-paranoid "white greed" explanation a long time ago, no? And he could show a little humility. Again, this wasn't the occasion for him to be lecturing everyone else. ..."

http://www.slate.com/id/2187358/

narciso

Gmax it's because he's they consider him more a creature of Her Majesty's
Commonwealth (Kenya)than an American
politico. As someone pointed out, he was
at one point a Kenyan citizen by birth;
even though he was born in Hawaii. Jomo
Kenyatta and the Mau-Mau seem an interesting
link. Heck, this feels like a long delayed
Magnum P.I. episode, like the one where a colleague of Higgin's old scout units is
killing his mates, so to speak in Mau Mau
garb in Hawaii. The character was played by Ian McShane, the future evil tycoon Al Swearingen from Deadwood. Speaking of dramatic touches,

Cecil Turner

Since when is Obama not allowed to explain how he would have acted had a certain set of events (hypothetically and counterfactually) occurred in the past?

He can say pretty much anything he likes, of course . . . and I am allowed to make fun of him afterward. As long as he admits he's not suggesting the counterfactual is factual, I don't see any harm in it at all. Though it's kinda a mystery why he thinks it's terribly compelling. Unless, of course, he intended folks to infer that the counterfactual bit was reality.

He's simply saying . . .

Er, no. There's nothing simple in that construction at all. Which is why it's worth examining.

Obama didn't say, 'not (P or Q)', he said, 'not P AND not Q'

The contention (correct, IMO) is that the statements are equivalent.

DebinNC

Mark Steyn on Obama's autobio: "It’s actually, it actually feels as if Barack Obama is an invented character."

I think the fear of Obama as a Manchurian Candidate is well justified. Despite his tumultuous, unorthodox childhood, the official Obama website offers the public 4 short, content-free paragraphs on his "Early Years" (*click on my name) before forging ahead to Columbia U.

I think those formative, but unexamined early years are pivotal to understanding BO.

M. Simon

GMax,

I have been following polling numbers in the Jewish community. Normally they are reliably 75/25 for the Ds.

At this point it is 50/50 and the free fall hasn't stopped. That represents 1/3 defections from the Ds so far.

I'd put NY, NJ, and FL in Mc's column at this point if BO is the nominee. I have anecdotal evidence to support that as well.

Maybe Clarice could chime in with some anecdotes of her own.

Jane

I have listened to the Fox report on Wright's new digs, but I believe they found out about it by tracking some new church debt..ie, the suckers are paying for it, not the good Rev.

Sue, you and I all heard the same report. He bought the land and then sold it to some church trust and now it's their obligation. I don't know if it included the house. But at least it's on a golf course.

JB

Well, if Obama loses NY and NJ we're looking at an electoral college landslide. I don't think that will happen.

But it's probably enough if he loses Florida, Pennsylvania and Ohio.

boris

TM, pretty sure this is Allahpundit: "Since he’s not still pastor, there’s no need to quit irrespective of whether Wright has apologized or not."

The logic of the Obama statement is better understood as algorithm.

"Had he not retired I would have quit, had he not acknowledged I would have quit".
The comma can be replaced with AND, the comma can be replaced with OR.

In C code it would look like ...

if (not_retire) break;
if (not_acknowledge) break;
continue

capitano

Porchlight:

Why does everything Obama says require an advanced degree in parsing to understand?

Doesn't matter. Those video clips of Wright haranguing his flock are like the Abu Ghraib photos -- which while representing a small fraction of the U.S. military in Iraq, became the storyline. Video images are very powerful.

People see the video with their own eyes; it's not a transcript or a news story and all the spin in the world isn't going to remove those images from voters' memory when they walk into the voting booth.

Tom Maguire

The Captain read it the same as AllahPundit and Foo Bar - that prompted a long update which will please no one. I also think most of you will spot a contribution in there.

Since when is Obama not allowed to explain how he would have acted had a certain set of events (hypothetically and counterfactually) occurred in the past? He's simply saying what he would have done if the following 2 conditions had held simultaneously: Wright does not retire and Wright does not apologize.

Well, even if you allow that, it opens a lot of questions about the time frame during which he sought an apology (if ever).

Per the current cover story the scales fell from Obama's eyes about Wright in Feb 2007. So either the news that Wright was stepping down over a year later was good enough, or Obama sought an apology. What happened in that conversation?

Or, was "well, he is quitting in another year, no biggie" the operative modality? In that case, Obama knew the day he learned of Wright's toxicity that no apology would be demanded. So describing it in detail is pretty phony.

Finally, as Patrick notes plenty of people apologize *and* resign; the notion that we ought to immediately parse Barack's words and realize it was one or the other seems odd.

On the other hand, there is some rule of charitable construction advising that if it takes a strained interpretation to conclude a person is lying, maybe you ought to go with the favorable interpretation.

Tricky - I still think he blew smoke deliberately.

BarrySanders20

No No No. You all simply do not understand.

Wright apologized because Obama SAID HE DID.

Obama = Messiah = the Word.

It is gospel because Obamamessiah says it is.

Now ye of little faith, repent and believe.

Jane

Is it Jesus or is it Barack?

Link to quiz under my name.

Paul Zrimsek

Had Obama not associated with Wright for 20 years, and had he not proposed a vast expansion of welfare benefits to be funded by a 10% surtax on white people, then I wouldn't have found it necessary to oppose his candidacy.

Jsilverheels

"When a skilled speaker delivers a false-but-favorable idea wrapped in a true-if-parsed-favorably cloak"

Obama isn't a skilled speaker. He's a skilled speechifier. When he speaks extempore, he often stumbles over his words.

Jane

I'm starting to think Obama just makes everything up when the questions arrivem and he is deliberately vague so he can change it later. Sheesh he should change his middle name to Hillary.

Cecil Turner

On the other hand, there is some rule of charitable construction advising that if it takes a strained interpretation to conclude a person is lying, maybe you ought to go with the favorable interpretation.

I agree this doesn't support a "lying" charge, but the De Morgan interpretation leads one to conclude that he meant that whole "Wright acknowledged" bit to be taken as smoke. Not sure how "favorable" that is (though I guess it's better than outright fabulism).

DebinNC

"I'm starting to think Obama just makes everything up when the questions arrivem and he is deliberately vague so he can change it later."

That Rolling Stones article TM added today makes the Obama = empty vessel idea very clear. From the article:
..........................................
"Obama is trying to pull a less-conventional trick: to turn his own person into a movement. "I'm not surprised you're having trouble categorizing him," one of his aides says. "I don't think he's wedded to any ideological frame." With Obama, there is only the man himself — his youth, his ease, his race, his claim on the new century. His candidacy is essentially a plea for voters to put their trust in his innate capacity for clarity and judgment. There is no Obama-ism, only Obama."

Rick Ballard

Is BHO going to "explain" his adherence to the Conehead Afrocentric Fabulism embraced in BLT as well? Will we have parsing contests regarding his acceptance of the "fact" that Jesus was black?

I think I'll go with Capitano's assertion that the "word according to BHO" will be understood by pictures of him hanging on Wright's neck followed by selections from Wright's sermons.

Any bets on when the Red Witch will drop the next tidbit? I'll take Sunday.

I wonder if the "New Days of Rage" BHO supporters who announced their intent to come to Denver will put together a little foretaste in Philly for the debate?

Other Tom

"Since when is Obama not allowed to explain how he would have acted had a certain set of events (hypothetically and counterfactually) occurred in the past?"

Heaven forbid that he not be allowed. By all means, let him explain, explain, and explain yet again.

McCain gets 300+ EV's.

Porchlight
People see the video with their own eyes; it's not a transcript or a news story and all the spin in the world isn't going to remove those images from voters' memory when they walk into the voting booth.

Hope so, capitano. I am really beginning to be irritated at Obama's overly calculated statements. They are red herrings - the media goes after them, trying to Figure Out What He Said, and misses the forest for the trees.

Not that I don't value TM's parsing above - the BS needs to be nailed down. I just think Obama needs to speak more plainly. Bush may have his communication problems but dissembling overcomplication certainly isn't one of them.

Then again, as Other Tom points out, the more he "explains" the more he gets tangled in his own net.

PrestoPundit

In his autobiography Obama spends most of the book putting words and thoughts in other peoples mouths and heads. And some of those portrayed in the book say much of these words and thoughts put into their mouths were the words and thoughts of Obama himself, and were NOT their own thoughts or words.

As a community "organizer" he spend much of his time writing scripts for others to memorize before the press and before welfare state bureaucracies.

Read Obama's books and you'll literally hear him become the voice of other people -- a cross between a ventriloquist and a puppeteer.

So no surprise that he assumes its OK to be the ventriloquist or puppeteer for the "thoughts" and "words" of his pastor Jeremiah Wright.

The man is a BS artist, and this ventriloquism is part of his great artistry.

Prestopundit

Sorry, make that "listen to" Obama's books. Hugh Hewitt has some of Obama's audio recording of his book up on his blog.

Neo

It's nice to see that BHO has managed to evolved from saying that he "might" have to distance himself to saying that he "would" maybe perhaps actually distance himself if this would just go away and let him look more like a decisive leader and such.

I'm impressed. He's moved from indecisive to hypothetically indecisive. I'm not sure if that's an improvement.

Sue

Since when is Obama not allowed to explain how he would have acted had a certain set of events (hypothetically and counterfactually) occurred in the past?

He can explain all he wants. That doesn't mean we have to buy the explanation if it doesn't pass the smell test.

boris

hypothetically and counterfactually

Obama could say "Had he not retired ... AND were I not a space alien ... I would have quit". In normal conversation that construct is not often used to spin counterfactual hypotheticals on a lark.

Neo

I have to ask ..

boris: R U a space alien ?

Jane

There is no Obama-ism, only Obama."

That is just soooo Deval Patrick!

Barney Frank

Having observed this guy for some time now I think the empty vessel, typical corrupt Chicago pol, mixed race racial bargainer ideas are all off the mark.
You can't understand this guy through either race or culture. It's purely politics.
He's a far left radical and a very smart and manipulative one. His race and culture no doubt informed his politics, but the politics themselves are far to the left of even George McGovern's and are at the core of his false public facade. A smart, manipulative radical knows that an open radical polls along the lines of Ralph Nader so he systematicly and quite skillfully dissembles. Hillary could take his correspondence course.
People routinely say he's the most liberal Senator without stopping to consider just what a feat that is to pull off in a Senate full of nutters like Barbara Boxer, Bernie Sanders and Sheldon Whitehouse. That that is not the only topic being discussed demonstrates his facility at prestdigitating his way to the White House I'm afraid.

Tom Maguire

Sheesh he should change his middle name to Hillary.

The penultimate fear bomb. Gets to keep all his monogrammed shirts and towels, though.

GMax

So to a liberal, McCain misspeaks while in Iraq, and immediately catches himself and corrects but we still hear about it for more than a day or was it three as if it revealed something so deep and inner to his core that it had to be wallowed in, but then fast forward to the Obamatron and he makes a statement that without Masters in English can not be contorted into anything except to be a statment false on its face and we are subjected to a string of you just dont understand...

boris

boris: R U a space alien ?

Were I not a space alien I wouldn't have stayed at a Holliday Inn last night.

Jane

I just think Obama needs to speak more plainly.

He can't. Think of how you speak when you have complete command of the subject matter, and know exactly what you feel and think. Most people in that situation are very direct. Now think about how you talk when you have to answer but need a little more time to think about how you should answer. Or watch any lawyer on his feet. All those superfluous words let his brain wrap around whatever he is parsing at the moment. Hell I do it. I think most people do.

What is troubling is the hint that when it comes to his core principles, he can't be direct. He has to dance around his answers, without telling us the answer, because the answer would offend most people. He knows exactly what he thinks about Reverend Wright, and my guess is that he loves him, thinks he's got it just right. He also knows he can't say that.

Or he's clueless:

Think about him talking about the economy. Dance dance dance, because he really hasn't a clue. Once the slogans have been uttered, he needs to leave the room.

Both things are at play at different times.

ben

Obama likes these hypothetical non-statements...like where he said "to the extent my wife's statements were offensive to someone, I disavow them" or something like that....

The epitome of the non-apology and meaningless retraction.

M. Simon

IF not A and IF Not B then C.

Is the proper logical parsing. But I have to tell you when you have a badly written spec it is hard to get the code Wright.

DebinNC

RCP 12/06:
"Obama Scores as Exotic Who Says Nothing"

* click my name for article

"This leave-them-guessing strategy slips out in the book's prologue. "I serve as a blank screen," Obama writes, "on which people of vastly different political stripes project their own views." He notifies readers that "my treatment of the issues is often partial and incomplete." It takes some doing for a politician to write a 364-page book, his second volume, and skate past all controversy."

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