Thursday, March 20, 2008

Karl Rove on Senator Obama's Pastor Wright

FOX News (3-18-08) invited Karl Rove to comment about Senator Obama's speech explaining Pastor Wright's anti-American rants. [Watch video 1 and video 2].

Karl Rove observed:

Well, first of all, let's just say what [Senator Obama] did right. It was a well-executed speech, brilliantly staged. They moved quickly to deal with this issue. They didn't leave it out there for a long time. It was soaring rhetoric. It's gotten good notices from the mainstream media.

But I think, upon reflection, it's going to be found to be troubling and unsatisfactory and perhaps even cynical. And at the end of the day, the issue has not gone away. The issue remains. Why did Senator Barack Obama for 20 years tolerate a relationship with a pastor who had such vicious and paranoid views of our country? I mean, he believed that AIDS was created by the government as a tool of genocide [See evidence that this lie about AIDS was KGB disinformation], that Jesus Christ was a poor black man oppressed by white men, just like all blacks were today.

I mean, these — you know, he called on people to God damn America and said that it was even in the Bible. I mean, these are pretty outlandish views. And the question remains, why did Senator Obama for 20 years associate with such an individual?

...ABC News tonight pointed out that the speech contradicted all the spin and all the statements from the campaign before this incident broke, that Senator Obama was somehow unaware of these controversial statements and these very controversial views.

I was, frankly — I watched the speech, and you can't help but be moved by some of the sentiments in the speech, particularly at the beginning. It had a wonderful construct, talking about our Constitution and the troubled and flawed portion of the Constitution dealing with slavery.

But on reflection, look, the views that Reverend Wright talked about are reprehensible not because they are racially motivated but because they are so divisive and negative about our country. And in the speech, which I've read and reread, Senator Obama attempts to make those views a question of race. It's almost like he condemns them on one hand but refuses to disavow Reverend Wright on the other, saying he could no more disavow him than the black community, and then basically, asks us to accept that these views need to be understood, not accepted, but need to understood because they are legitimate expressions of black anger about discrimination. I just think most Americans — I think virtually all Americans would disagree with that.

...This whole thing has tarnished the image that he had attempted to build, first as a uniter, as somebody who'd bring everybody together. How can you claim to be somebody who can unite America if you're so tone deaf as to for 20 years be associated with an individual filled with such hatred for our country and for his fellow citizens?

And second of all, how can you claim to be something new and different when it turns out that you have misled people about the nature of your association with him? And how can you claim to be something new and different when it turns out you applied one standard to one individual and different standard to another?

This is deeply troubling, and particularly because we now live in a culture of the visual. These statements by Reverend Wright, which were, interestingly enough, given away or sold by the church on DVDs to people — you know, they're on YouTube. They'll be viewed and talked about continually between now and the election. And they're going to cause deep concerns about people because, again, it gets down to — these are bad. These are bad, paranoid and vicious things about our country. Why did you tolerate them for 20 years?

...if he had come out and said some of the things that he said about our country in this speech but said, Look, I recognize — I realize now how deeply troubling these comments by Reverend Wright were. I wish I'd spoken out at the time. I wish I had not tolerated them. I took part of our relationship, the relationship of faith, and allowed me — that allowed me to — that blinded me to how divisive these comments were. I made a mistake. I won't make that again. I think Americans would be applauding him.

Nobody expects our candidates for president to be perfect, but here he basically said, I now condemn them after I didn't acknowledge them before. But you need to really understand them in their context, and everybody in America, black and white, has reason to be angry, and we all ought to be angry at the same people. He talks about it towards the end of his speech, where he talks abut we need to be — you know, white and black together ought to be angry about, you know, corporate malefactors and people who've engaged in accounting abuse and people who are moving jobs overseas, which is basically to excuse almost anything that anybody would want to say, as long as we all have the same enemy.

...He equates the comments of Geraldine Ferraro with those of Reverend Wright. Now, Geraldine Ferraro was wrong to suggest that his presence in the race was a result of Affirmative Action, but I got to tell you, I find that, as reprehensible as it is, to be far less troubling than the suggestion that our government created AIDS in order to — as a tool of genocide. The moral equivalence that he drew between them was troubling.

It's even worse when it goes on to equate all these things that Reverend Wright says to what his grandmother said. Look, the private comments of an elderly grandparent are not equivalent to the public rantings and ravings over a 20- year — over several decades by a pastor of a very large church which are then disseminated into print and provided on diskette to anybody who wants to see it. I just thought throwing his grandmother under the bus like he did was — you know, showed an unattractive ambition that he should have kept contained.

...Americans don't like to talk about race. They'd like to get beyond race. They would like a post-racial society, black and white, yellow, brown, colorblind. But what Senator Obama did was deliberately say, We can't have this conversation about Reverend Wright except in and of a discussion about race. And as a result, the left-central media, the mainstream media, the left-center of American media applauded it, and a lot of people feel uncomfortable talking about it. But it will remain. It will remain a question for a lot of voters. Why did you associate with somebody who said such ugly things about America and made such outlandish, paranoid statements about our country? [Full text]

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