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I dont think your comment works. At least not for me. You are basically saying that we cant judge Obama because we arent him and dont have his experiences. Wouldnt that work in reverse, too? Wouldnt that mean that we can only elect someone who has had our experience in life because only they could judge right and wrong correctly - or at least the way we would?

Mike Schilling

"If I'd been married to that man, I would have ... "


Mike, I'll try it

"...if I were married to that man, why - he would be a bigamist!"

Chris the Cop

Lance - I really like the mental picture I have of you asking Rev. Wright: "excuse me, Reverand, can I ask you what exactly you're doing in Our Lady of Perpetual Help? Uh, sir? just so you know - we don't bellow here.

"Oh God, thank you for not making me Barack Obama but if you had I would have been a better Barack Obama than the one you actually did make."

THAT is a brilliant and painfully (if you're a Hillary supporter) accurate interpretation on her motives here.

Mike Schilling - outstanding and pithy flip side of the coin.


Chris - too general - I am a HRC supporter and I dont read her comments that way. I think it was clever and fun but certainly not persuasive.

Since somebody needs to be the more perfect me here. I think it will be me. :-)

Still love ya, Lance!


"He's a politician, after all. They're all given the Ring."
Thank you. I voted for Obama and fully embrace those words. A lot of people can't understand that those notions aren't mutually exclusive; I just prefer the way he's done his politickin' so far. I reserve my starry-eyed moments for my wife.


Just a follow up to OutOfContext's thoughts.

Obama admitted in The Audacity of Hope that his motives for joining TUCC were less than pure, I agree with Andrew Sullivan:

what is remarkable about the book is that Obama is able to show how his mixed motives were at one point overwhelmed by sincere religious faith. What strikes me about that is its human honesty, not its cynicism.

That sort of honesty from a politician is one of the things I like about him.


But wait, wouldn't that be like saying that if you were married to Bill then, you'd be divorced now. What's the dif? Why didn't she dump him? Maybe because he was family?


I find it hard to vote for anybody who has "a spiritual advisor". I also agree with Hitchens (for once):

"Mark my words: This disappointment is only the first of many that are still to come."


The truth of the matter is that in the fall the GOP is going to fill the airways with ads tying Obama to Wright. It doesn't matter if you think Wright is admirable, or that that is unfair to Obama, that is what is going to happen. If Hillary uses Wright against him and it works, we will know he could never be elected. If it fails, it might help innoculate him at least partially. So I'm not going to object to anything Hillary throws at Obama: if he can't take it, we better know that now.


I've been leaning toward Hillary, but...

I'm getting tired of the tactics her campaign is using. They appear to me to be very similar to what Scaife and his crowd did to her family for all of the 1990s. Now she's cozying up to that man, and her campaign is apparently throwing ethnic BS at one of Obama's advisors.

I'm about to the point of saying to her (not that she'd listen), "give it up; you're toast." Or, as Atrios sez here:

Remember back in junior high, when you had that friend that the bullies picked on all the time? And you defended that friend, who really never did all that much for you, which led to you getting your ass kicked a few times yourself? And then you got to high school and your friend joined up with the bullies? It's kind of like that.

Bill Altreuter

This is one of the problems I have with religion in general, and Protestantism in particular. The notion that you get to pick and chose what elements of your doctrine you like is peculiar to me, I suppose because I'm a failed Catholic. You either buy in all the way-- take it on faith, as we say-- or you don't. Believing that you have some sort of insight that is superior to the tenets of your religion means that you are not really a member of that particular religion. You are off on your own, and once you are there, pretty much anything goes, doesn't it? Your beliefs are self-justifying, and because you hold yourself out as being religious, it isn't you that is justifying them, it's g-d. We've seen where this leads; it's called European History, and it is not a pretty sight.


Why is anyone even analyzing the quality of her Wright comments? She used them to change the subject from her Bosnia fabrication. It was obviously not thought through very well.

Ezra Klein makes the point: If this primary contest is going to be ultimately decided by judges (superdelegates), why is she doing this stuff? She now can't win with regular votes alone. Garnering another five percent of blue collar white people in Pennsylvania is not going to get her to the nomination.

She needs to reassess the audience she now needs to win. She'd have been better off to be publicly seen as "moving on" from Wright.

Her campaign has come unhinged.



Keep in mind, as you read this, that Obama came to this church as an adult. He was 27. In other words, he didn't inherit his parents church. He didn't inherit his parents religion. Indeed, his father had no religion and his mother was a long standing, non-practicing Protestant.

He chose THIS church because it was a) on the South Side of Chicago, and b) had 3,000 congregants. An ambitious black man...hell, an ambitious MAN... in Chicago would gravitate to this church like it was steak on a grill and he was hungry.

He could more easily walk away from that church as make a speech against the war in Iraq, with no skin in the game.

I left my church, the church my parents were lay officials in, the church I was baptized and confirmed in, for a lot less reason, because I found it morally repugnant: a point (many, in fact) of formal church doctrine.

Obama didn't leave a church of expediency because of hate-speak?

That's not going to play well in the general election.


That sort of honesty from a politician is one of the things I like about him.

Given his pandering speakifying this year and last, I'd wager good money he'd take back those words in a heart beat. Indeed, when the book was put on tape in 2005, he redacted his cocaine use from the audio version.


Her campaign has come unhinged.

So you're suggesting that anytime a campaign tries to change the subject, it's unhinged itself?

like when Obama went after her tax returns the day after the Wright story broke? :-)



Lutheranism, the very basis of Protestantism, is founded on the belief that each individual has a one-on-one relationship with the Christ and the Triune God.

In other words, no need for a priesthood to mystically endow us with salvation for our sins. Good works, and a good life, and above all, faith, are all that is required.

I obviously don't want to start a flame war here, but part of the charm of Protestantism is, yes, you can tailor your belief system along those lines, picking and choosing. You have, in other words, free will.

Which means Luther, and Protestantism by extension, is directly responsible for our freedom as a people. This cafeteria religion system also allows us to do as we please in real life, therefore, as opposed to being in a doctrinaire society.

And free will is messy, to be sure.

And I think you'll find it was Catholicism that was at least partly responsible for a lot of the troubles in Western Europe.

Bill Altreuter

Actor 212--

I certainly did not mean to exempt Catholicism from my critique of Western History, or even late 20th Century history.

The concept of free will is inexorably tied up with faith in all of the Christian religions, including Catholicism. Notwithstanding your defense, it seems to me that there are doctrinal core beliefs in them all as well. The difference between free will and moral relativism is significant, however, and it is the lack of intellectual rigor in Protestantism that seems to me to create the problem. How do we know what is right? Is it because it is written in a book that has been assembled from multiple sources, translated multiple times, and is just about the most ambiguous thing ever reduced to language? Is it because of a personal revelation? I'm not sure which of these I trust least, and I may distrust the advice of a cleric even more.

But that's my crisis of faith, not yours. As long as people keep their beliefs to themselves, I have no problem. My issue is when religious beliefs are used as a justification for doing whatever you want. My experience has been consistent with William S. Burroughs' advice, which I will link to, rather than quote, so as not to fill Lance's nice site with vulgarities. (Full quote here, which gives it a better context.) IN a nutshell, you can justify anything if you say g-d said it was okay.


Maybe because I grew up on a street full of Catholic families (easy to get two full baseball teams on any hot summer day)and I was the lone Presbyterian who ran down to St. Andrews with them on Fridays while they all said confession...maybe because most of my best college friends are Jewish...maybe because I taught women's studies at a Christian Brothers college full of gay priests and Brothers...maybe because I have attended more than a few black churches here in Oakland and "get" what they do...maybe because I'm married to someone raised - kicking and screaming- in the Greek Orthodox Church...or maybe just because I have a proper set of boundaries, I can't presume to judge the personal religious choices of someone I have never met or talked to directly. That so many people think they can is just sad and silly. - I see Martin Marty has a smart and thoughtful piece out on Reverend Wright, and I fully expect his church's members will step up with some history and context. This is the best I hope for: that more of us will be a little wiser once we wade through this junk.

Bluegrass Poet

Something to think about from Big Tent Democrat.

Hillary should probably have stayed above the fray on this one but I don't know why we always have to look at her negativity and not his.



I believe the Obama camp has been screaming about her tax returns forever.

There's nothing wrong with changing the subject. It's just that realistically her only hope is to convince superdelegates to put her ahead of Obama. Choosing to not comment on Wright 10 days ago, then bringing it up again after the story just got replaced with her Bosnian adventure, made her look petty and desperate. How does that get her superdelegates? Suddenly switching from her "no comment" stance to the awfulness of Wright just rang hollow and ridiculous.


Hillary should probably have stayed above the fray on this one but I don't know why we always have to look at her negativity and not his.

Yes. That goes for looking at McCain, too.

Either all of them deserve to go under the magnifying glass, or none of them should be subjected to that level of scrutiny.

It's the unevenness of the scrutiny (and not just of HRC) that bothers me. I don't like being told that one set of behaviors is "worse" than the others by the media. I'm a big girl - I can decide for myself which I want to pay attention to, and what I think about it.

Personally, I think that questions about personal beliefs (religious, relational, etc.) ought to be off the table. If any of those sorts of questions came out in a job search in my field, not only would the resulting information be inadmissable, the search (an expensive, year-long process) could very well be canceled for breach of professional ethics.

Obsessively poring over the candidates' personal lives only makes sense when there are no other standards by which to judge them. But there are. The media just doesn't find them as fun to talk about, and so it pretends that they don't exist.


HRC only has the negativity card left to play here. She has lost the popular vote and her only chance is to try to get nominated through the back door... else keep Obama from getting nominated so she has some chips to bargain with. As has been said, playing to the supers is her only play left. I look for her to employ a scorched earth policy if she can't get what she deems as what is rightfully hers... Spoil the election for the party and gear up for 2012.


HRC only has the negativity card left to play here. She has lost the popular vote and her only chance is to try to get nominated through the back door... else keep Obama from getting nominated so she has some chips to bargain with. As has been said, playing to the supers is her only play left. I look for her to employ a scorched earth policy if she can't get what she deems as what is rightfully hers... Spoil the election for the party and gear up for 2012.


I don't understand the flack Hillary has gotten on this. It's my understanding that she was asked a direct question and gave an answer. It's not as if she called a press conference out of the blue to make that single statement.

So, what was she supposed to do? Say: "well, he's not my pastor and I'm not a member of his church, so it's not my business to make a judgment"? Dollars to donuts that answer would have been parsed to mean that she approved of Wright or didn't have the guts to take a stand.

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