My Messiah-supporting pal Steve Sherman notes a trend in our blogging lately. Honestly, I’m bored with writing about it, although e-mail tips about new angles continue to trickle in. Let’s see if we can close the show with this one. Not a rant, just a redirect to a rant — namely, Ace’s on CNN analyst Roland Martin’s hacktacular apologia for Wright’s 9/11 sermon. You need to read Bob Owens’s update here to appreciate how dishonest Martin’s selective quotation is, but laying aside the source, what exactly is the argument? That celebrating the glorious karmic payback delivered by St. Osama is fair game so long as you’re quoting Ed Peck, a Reagan official, when you do it? Old old old-school HA readers might recall that Peck has popped up on this site before. The Reagan administration wasn’t the only one he worked for, and the chickens coming home to roost isn’t the only “nuanced” opinion he holds when it comes to jihadist elements.
To come full circle with the quote from his speech that I found so irritating on Tuesday, if Obama sincerely believes the great national conversation on race can’t wait a moment longer, why didn’t he use the bully pulpit of being a presidential candidate to start it last year? Why now, if it’s not just a cynical attempt to distract attention from his own scandal? The obvious answer: Because to force a discussion of race then would have it made too easy for Hillary to ghettoize him as a “black candidate” before the primaries. He held off to preserve his chances. That’s fine, but contrast his approach to race with McCain’s approach to Iraq. As far back as eleven months ago, before the surge results were in and doom awaited any candidate who dared take a hawkish line, Maverick was telling audiences that he’d rather lose the election than lose the war. The issue came first, his own political ambitions came second. There’s a little character comparison worth mulling. And since we’ve already had one exit question today that’ll be asked forever, here’s another: If the Wright thing had never blown up, would Obama have ever delivered this allegedly urgently important, historically significant meditation on race? You think?
One more. How come Spitzer didn’t think to take this approach with his own scandal? He could have delivered the Great Speech on Gender that had been gestating in his soul for decades, born at last unto the world by the shock of him getting caught handing a hooker four bills to work him over. “I can no sooner disown ‘Kristen’ than I can disown gender in its entirety.” The SNL skit writes itself.
Update: See what I mean about new angles? Pay attention to Karl’s last paragraph, as it’s the most important one.
Update (Ed): I generally post on items that interest me. Stephen, who’s a great guy, counted 22 Obama posts in three days, which accounts for a little less than a third of the work AP and I did over that period of time. I don’t apologize for that; it was a dominant story with a multitude of further developments. If more come, I’ll probably comment on those, too. I don’t feel compelled to either write about or not write about any particular topic based on the level of existing commentary that precedes it.
My specific issue with Fox was focusing two hours on one particular development — the “typical white person” comment. If we did three posts on that point, I’ve missed at least one of them.
Update: Karl was promising another new angle in the comments. Here you go. Chris Matthews will be inconsolable.
Most startling is that blacks by 56% to 31% said the speech made them less likely to vote for him. That may be because Obama had some gutsy perspectives on blacks as well as on whites, and black observers of the speech may have been annoyed. But it’s hard to imagine that there’s going to be an appreciable retreat by blacks from the Obama column.
Democrats disapproved 48% to 28%, which looks sobering for Obama on first glance, but might portend otherwise. If blacks irritated by Obama’s remarks will return to the fold, than impressing whites is probably a more vital read on the numbers. And Democratic whites were more sympathetic with the speech’s message than black ones.
The disturbing numbers for Obama are the independent voters. By 56% to 13%, they said they’re less likely to vote for him because of the speech.
Read the Politico story about the bar in Pennsylvania if you haven’t yet.