Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Not enough

Barack Obama had a press conference in Winston-Salem, N.C., a short while ago. He distanced himself from his former pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright.

I only caught the last few minutes of Q&A. But from what I saw – and what I’m hearing in the after-analysis – Obama didn’t do enough to shut this thing down.

He said he considered Wright’s performance yesterday at the National Press Club “a show of disrespect to me.”

That “made me angry,” Obama said, “but it also made me sad.”

But his tone – again, as much as I saw of it – was chilly, detached. Which only feeds into public perceptions of Barack Obama as “aloof.”

I’ll post the full video here as soon as I can find it, and I will unpack my thoughts throughout the day regarding this latest turn in the campaign...

11:54 a.m. (Pacific Time) – CNN will replay the Obama news conference in full a few minutes from now... at 3 p.m. Eastern time, noon Pacific...

12:37 p.m. – Having seen the full news conference, I can now put my finger on what seemed so ineffective about it.

It’s the cold legalism with which Obama phrased things. He said Wright’s remarks yesterday “don’t portray accurately my beliefs” and are “antithetical to my campaign.”

Yes, Obama clearly denounced Wright’s words yesterday as “appalling,” “divisive,” “destructive”... “a bunch of rants that aren’t grounded in truth.”

But the manner in which he did so, in my opinion, didn’t allow him to connect emotionally with the American people.

This is important, because he’s in a contest with Hillary Clinton, who in recent weeks has put forth an emotionally compelling image of herself as a “fighter.” Hillary showed heart.

Obama’s news conference today wasn’t about his heart. It was all intellectual.

7:21 p.m. – You guys should check out Kellybelle’s “Five Stages of Dis-Obamallusionment.”


Thordaddy said...

Mr. Mills,

These two are working in concert. That will explain your perception of Obama's aloofness.

RFB said...

I'd have to disagree with Thordaddy.

It's disappointing to watch this unfold, and I'd agree he's not addressing this with very much "heart," but when was the last time we saw much enthusiasm out of Obama over anything? His "politics of change" seem to have been sucked of all emotion, positive or negative.

This is truly tragic: a campaign brought low by the self-serving rantings of a fading and outdated preacher, while Mrs. Clinton takes another victory lap, pointing and laughing her way back into power.

I think it's a tragedy of Shakespearean proportions.

Anonymous said...

He just looks worn out.

Jeff Vaca said...


I didn't see it as either aloof or intellectual - what I heard and saw was a man feeling a great amount of hurt, and a deep sadness in what has transpired. I'm just one person, but it worked for me, and I thought the tone was effective. I guess only time will tell.

wanda loves... said...

That has been an Obama issue in his debates and other press conferences. He seems to put a lot of thought into his statements, but he needs to filter it through his heart (so to speak). That would help with the compassion, that he needs in this situation.

He also needs to call Rev. Wright and ask him to just lay back in the cut.

Anonymous said...

His heart is breaking. Sometimes you have to put on the armor of intellect to protect the voice of the heart.

I still think there's a double standard at play. If he spoke from his heart, he's too emotional or angry. If he's speaks from his head, he's too aloof, too cool. If Hillary speaks from her "heart" she's passionate; if she speaks from her head, she's smart. He has to give up his associations, make the break. She gets to go on O'Reilly tonight. BTW a friend sent me a link on YouTube with Rendell at a Farrakhan event. What do Clinton, Wright, and Rendell have in common? No big deal of course. He's just the governor of PA and a key Clinton supporter. It's okay right???

Kellybelle said...

Why is this happening?

Anonymous said...

^The media giveth, the media taketh away. And the media beateth a dead horse every chance it gets, bleah.

Anonymous said...

It's happening because the fix is in.

Undercover Black Man said...

Here's the thing, cuz: Obama should've said his heart is breaking.

He should've said it breaks his heart to see a man he's respected as a pastor now displaying such contempt for the United States.

And let's be real: Wright on Sunday was also dripping with contempt for white people. He mocked the way white folks can't clap on the beat. Which is true enough, but shit... why mock it?

Michael Fisher said...


"Why is this happening?"

It was inevitable, because of the deep fissure in this society as well as on the planet. Any campaign for a modicum of actual or perceived power by a black person will expose the contradictions inherent in the current socio-political set up, especially if the black person trying to acquire that power moves to paper up these contradictions.

In order to become palatable to the "white" constituency in the United States, Obama was continuously pushed to deny certain basic truths. Eventually he would have to run up against the folks that operate on the basis of that truth, people like Rev. Wright.

That's because at the end of the day, there is no room for compromise. White Supremacy is about black/white, not black/gray/white.

And that is exactly why I love this Obama campaign. Once we sit down and think it provides clarity.

Obama is required to beat down Rev. Wright, a man who has accomplished immeasurably more than Obama or any of us and who has only a marginal connection to Obama's campaign, in order to be acceptable.

Ed Rendell who sat on a dais with Farrakhan and praised him in no uncertain terms can be an active leading member of the Clinton campaign not only get a pass, but Clinton gets to strut through the air ways with him. Her acceptance guaranteed.

The incessant desire to paper up the most fundamental fissure in human society leads to the practice of hypocrisy of the most malevolent kind.

When humans bows down to malevolent power, then they have no choice but join the devil they bow down to. For folks that bow down to Evil, the conditions of life of the poor and ignorant, of people driven crazy and self-destructive by the deliberate miseducation of billions of people, become the inherent or "genetic" fault of these victims of this inhumane system.

Rev. Wright is a believer in a compassionate all-power he calls God. He's a preacher that believes what he says. He's not responsible to Obama or the White Supremacists who dictate to Obama what's acceptable or not. He spoke his mind.

Good for him.

The truth is more precious than the Presidency.

More powerful, too.

In the future you'll likely see more black folks flocking to the Rev. than to Obama.

Obama has, finally, become the white folk's candidate.

David Mills should be ecstatic for that very reason.

Me? I'm lovin' it, too. Because truth is revealed.

CNu said...



Undercover Black Man said...

^ You want to know what the "deep fissure" is in this society, Fish?

White folks do things like explore Mars and cure polio.

Black folks talk shit. And act as if the most admirable black people in America are those who talk the most shit (Wright, Farrakhan, Sharpton...)

CNu said...

Really though, there's trifling, and then there's responsible kneegrows....,

Heaven forbid the media cover something consequential to vast numbers of Americans directly effected and the collateral victims of this collapse - while there's a good old fashioned coonshow to keep these poor and pissed folks distracted.

The American sheeple will get EXACTLY the POTUS that you richly deserve......,

Anonymous said...

Fisher, you summed it up!

The truth is more precious than the Presidency.

...thank you, it's all about truth.

If you ask me, Obama is a rookie going thru "baptism by fire". Now he must either search within himself and hopefully re-align and be driven by truth/principal and not worry about consequences, or he must continue to play their game and sink into an abyss of confussion and broken-ego and eventually drop out.


Anonymous said...

"In the future you'll likely see more black folks flocking to the Rev. than to Obama."

Well since I am an African American who happens to be aethiest this does me no good. I have no use for a Rev. Wright or any man of the cloth for that matter. What I did have use for, was a strong African American presidential candidate. And I find it ironic that this "non-issue" might be what destroys that. And btw, what other choice did Sen. Obama have? Rev. Wright pretty much attacked him. It's sad how people portray each other. And for what?

Anonymous said...

ah UBM, the reason white people can explore Mars and find cures for polio is that because they have NASA, they have research facilities,they have better schools, they have the resources and the power Black folks were deprived of. How the fuck does one ride a bike if one doesn't have a bike?

Undercover Black Man said...

How the fuck does one ride a bike if one doesn't have a bike?

Uhhh... try BUILDING a bike.

Anonymous said...

Um who the fuck cares about Mars?

I would say that statement by you underdercover was one of the dumbest things I've seen you write.

But I'm sure you will find a way to top it.

Michael Fisher said...


"White folks do things like explore Mars and cure polio."

What's "white folks" David? Are you trying to tell me that the Armenian Bubba who lives next door to you can take the credit for what a "white" person does who works for NASA, or, for that matter, for the work my "black" father did when he worked at the Goddard Space Center?

How much of Mars are you exploring?

Keep this shit real and stay grounded, Dave.

Anonymous said...

...seems like the Egyptians did Mars and everything else 5000 or so years ago. Too bad some idiots stole their math books and burned their library.

Undercover Black Man said...

Um who the fuck cares about Mars?


Anonymous said...

...actually, they need to start caring about earth.

Anonymous said...

...plus, if we keep spreading our filthy ways to other planets, the creator might send an inter-galactic-cosmic-human-specific-anti-biotic our way and then our shit will go up in smoke --poof - in a word, or is it "of the word!"

game over

Michael Fisher said...

Well, David?
Can the Armenian Bubba who lives next door to youtake the credit for what a "white" person does who works for NASA?

Yes or no?

Anonymous said...

Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice, Michael Steele, Walter Williams, Larry Elder...


Even Bill Cosby, Tiger Woods, or David Mills would have been more electable.

20 years in the pews of a bigoted minister is not an electable quality.


SJ said...

"White folks do things like explore Mars and cure polio."

Oh snap.

Fisher has a point though. Why should all white folks take credit for what some white folks have done? Idiotic people sometimes tell me how white people are responsible for all the great things in the world, and then I ask them what the hell they have done to take credit for that.

Great advancements have been achieved throughout history by various societies, not just white ones.

Thordaddy said...

Why would one black radical thwart the ascension of another black radical to the POTUS after clearly discussing such an effort between friends of 20+ years?

Last week we were supposed to believe that Obama "didn't know nothing" about Wright's views and this week we forget all about it and bandy around silly stories about sabotage and white racism.

This is a classic hustle. We are seeing the Hollywood falling out that allows Wright's views to be propagated and by their shear absurdity allows Obama to pose a graceful disassociation. When the time is right and assuming Obama is POTUS then a reconciliation will take place. Such a reunion will almost certainly be under the guise of affirming Wright's black-centric view of America.

Undercover Black Man said...

Can the Armenian Bubba who lives next door to youtake the credit for what a "white" person does who works for NASA?

Well, if he must also, in your view, shoulder the guilt for a "Global System of White Supremacy"... then sure, Michael, why not?

Fair is fair.

Anonymous said...

Here's the thing, cuz: Obama should've said his heart is breaking.

Or get Jane Austin about it (Sense and Sensibility): "What do you know of my heart?"

Come on UBM - then he gets called out as a "wuss" and we're back on the merrygoround of "not strong enough" blah, blah, blah.

I feel for both of these people.
And whoa!!! here
White folks do things like explore Mars and cure polio.

Black folks talk shit. And act as if the most admirable black people in America are those who talk the most shit (Wright, Farrakhan, Sharpton...)

I hope this was just a bad, bad joke or a brief meltdown moment (we're all allowed at least one) and not your heart.

Undercover Black Man said...

^ I didn't stutter.

Ann Brock said...

UBM this has brought the ugly out in every body we need prayer.

Unknown said...

He seemed beat-down tired to me. And sad. And pissed. I think he's between a rock and a hard place and he handled it the best he could. This is such a non-issue to me, considering what we're facing as a nation. I mean, really. I'm wondering when the silly season is going to end.

Anonymous said...

Fisher has a point though. Why should all white folks take credit for what some white folks have done?

This happens across all racial lines, though--especially when it comes to sports :-)

DeAngelo Starnes said...

Seemingly intellectual people debate this topic and give in to the manipulation.

Sad. Real fucking sad.

I'm out on this one. Because I know what's important.

And it ain't some pseudo-intellectual talk about some brotha expressing his opinion and whether the public accepts the six degrees of separation guilt by association candidate's response.

With all due respect, you guys are silly for giving in to this.

My viewpoint, and I can take the rotten tomatoes.

No ding. And could care less if you respond.

Anonymous said...

Obama just looks tired. He needs another few days off with his family, time he can't afford. He looks like he's bottling too much up - a melt down waiting to happen. The fatigue seems to be impacting his judgement.

Could this all be an elaborate ruse for Obama to get out of the race? I'm partly of the mind to let Hillary win the nomination and then lose to McCain. Then we'll be done with her and her husband for good. If Obama loses in November, she can come back again in four years with "I told you so" plastered on her forehead. A loss for her in November would be the stake through her heart that our country needs.

McCain will only stick around for one term. Obama could then come back stronger and with more experience, provided that he does some serious work in the Senate. He will only be accepted as a candidate again if he campaigns hard for Hillary, or at least pretends to be. The DNC chair Dean said, the loser is going to have to campaign for the winner and to convince his/her constituents to vote for the winner.

If it weren't for McCain's ability to stick even more far-right judges on the Supreme Court, I'd go for this option. Then again, I'm sitting in Switzerland and not having to worry about inflation, health care, etc. I'm already used to $7 a gallon gas and paying through the nose for health care.

CNu said...

The motive for the distraction.

The great game being camoflaged by domestic coonshow antics.

Anonymous said...

Hey man, really I'm so tired of people wanting a fucking connection to someone they will never "connect" with in their lives. Fuck a connection. We're talking about the leader of the free world. By all means be an intellectual and get shit done.

Reagan connected, Bush connected, that ass Bill Clinton connected. Are we having fun yet?

C'mon man, really. Don't we want a president who is better and smarter than everyone else on the planet?

Undercover Black Man said...

Fuck a connection.

You know the game of politics better than that, Eric. I am being purely descriptive.

Shit... remember Sharon Pratt Kelly? Was she smarter than Marion Barry? What did that get her in 1994?

And why-da-flunk is Barack Obama playing some highly publicized three-on-three in the Hoosier State and Tar Heel country?

Obviously, he understands a truth about "connecting" that you're stubbornly reluctant to admit.

Undercover Black Man said...

^ Or maybe you do acknowledge it and are just bemoaning it. My bad, Eric.

But still, maybe it's human nature to make this decision on the level of feelings. I've never questioned John Edwards' intellect... but something always rubbed me wrong about him.

Anonymous said...

^I'd guess the helmet hair ;-)

Undercover Black Man said...

^ His hair was probably my favorite thing about him. ;^D

Anonymous said...


Now we just need McCain to confront this.

Sorry to be late to the party.