Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Why Right-Wing Character Attacks Are Now Irrelevant

I posted this as comments on another blog, but realized it was so wordy that I should probably post it here. It is basically an explanation of why I DO understand all of these attacks on Obama's associations and why I still think they are largely irrelevant. I do believe associations taken as a WHOLE can give some insight into character, yes. I also know that Republicans will try and find the handful of people, no matter how tangentially related to Obama's universe of people, that are tainted in some way. They're not going to find a list of the several hundred or so people that are closest to him and do a really balanced assessment of who has had the most impact on his life because they are not going to help them make the case they are trying to make. So, we know their task is to disqualify him on the basis of being a radical and to do that they need to cherry-pick his associations, no matter how misleading the technique used. If you believe what the right-wingers say, then Rezko, Ayers, and a few other people were his best buddies and closest confidants. Aside from Wright who probably knew Obama better than the others, this just doesn't hold water and it's clear that people are not buying it. They want people to look at 1% of the story and think it's 100%. It isn't working and it shouldn't work.

I believe the stuff that Reverend Wright said is of course way way off base. Unfortunately there is a segment of the population that believes in that AIDS conspiracy nonsense, or even that HIV isn't really what causes AIDS. It's ridiculous of course, but Wright used it to play to some portion of who he thought his target audience was. Some people enjoy being victims. On a side note, I actually believe that a great side effect of a President Obama could be that nobody will have an excuse to not achieve any more. No more excuses. What higher barrier is left than leader of the free world? I am very big on pulling yourself up out of defeatism and self-inflicted malaise. I want a tax code that is geared toward encouraging people to get to the middle class, but not punishing the rich. If 3% more on the top 5% of earners is considered socialist, well, we've had dozens of socialist presidents already then.

I also don't think Obama was a particularly frequent attender of Wright's church. Certainly he was a friend, and people can forgive a lot of faults in a friend. I have friends that I think are half-crazy, and if I ran for office, people might dredge them up, but I know they are good people underneath it all. This spotty church attendance may undercut his "Christian credentials" a bit, but of course most Dems, while around 3/4 of us or so are Christian, don't really care about that in a candidate. I wouldn't even care if he was Muslim or if he was atheist, or agnostic, but I believe he is Christian as he says. Do I honestly think Obama knew the stuff Wright was saying? I don't think he was there to hear the "God Damn America" thing or the AIDS rant. I *certainly* don't think Obama would ever say or even believe to any extent what Wright said about America or about AIDS. I'm not even sure that Wright believes it, but he might. Wright may well have been playing to what he thought the crowd wanted to hear. The bottom line is, if I thought that Obama had heard that speech and was OK with it, or believed these things himself, then I would have a serious problem with Obama. If I thought he had directed Acorn to commit registration fraud, or if I thought he agreed with Ayers' use of violence to achieve a political goal, then ALL of those things would cause me to reconsider. Short of that, and we are far short of that, I believe the country will be better off with Obama leading it, and I will be voting and volunteering in Virginia for his campaign on November 4th.


Boorish said...

so you're saying that those Rev Wright sermons that were caught on tape were just one-offs, anomolies which were untypical of past sermons or underlying themes of the church. Yet Rev. Wright often references black liberation theology, specifically Wright has cited James Cone as one of his primary influences.. Cone often speaks of destroying the "white enemy" and claims that blacks are the "chosen people".

Rev. Wright and his daughters head a church magazine which gave black supremist and jew hater Louis Farrakhan an award a little over a year ago when Obama was still an active member, an award for Farrahkan's "epitomized greatness". Rev. Wright has a close multi-decades relationship with Farrakhan, traveling to Libya with him in 1984. But you believe that Obama never sat through near identical hate-filled sermons like Wright's "God damn America" rants, right?

Are you serious? You're like a wife who refuses to see that her abusive dirtbag husband is cheating on her, making absurd excuses for him to friends and family.

nicnerd said...

This is a weak argument. Are you seriously contending that Mr. Obama attended a church for over 20 years while diametrically opposed to the pillars of the church's belief? I am not buying that at all. You know if another candidate were attending Klan meetings there would be a shitstorm over it, and rightfully so. Can you make Mr. Obama accountable for everything Mr. Wright has said? No. But it does illustrate the principles of his viewpoints. If one is religious, then religion is an influential factor. Many would argue that religious ties are much stronger than political affiliation, and certainly many times the two are intertwined.

I also don't think Obama was a particularly frequent attender of Wright's church.

Is that a fact, or an assumption? I think 20 years is a long time to listen to someone spew hatred without standing up to it. It makes me question whether he will stand up to other leaders who hold radical views. Will Mr. Obama listen to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad spew hatred about Israel for 20 years before he decides it may not be fashionable to be silent?

Erik Grow said...

For some reason, the nutty black preachers get a pass from a lot of people. I don't know why this is, but they do. I also would not equate Wright with the Klan. He is a nut, but he was never advocating violence.

Obama has not been silent about nutty-cuckoo in Iran already. He said that he was a threat. Not like the USSR was a threat, but a threat.

John2Tone said...

OK, First off let me say that I was A major Bill Clinton supporter (both terms) and I voted against Bush twice. I was going to vote Clinton again this time if she was still in the race. Ron Paul was the only candidate that would have been able to fix the economy.

Individuals that aspire to leadership positions must have impeccable track records and unquestionably squeaky clean associates. What would Erik and the rest of the Obama-lama-dingdongs say if McCain had Mob ties. Hmmmm?

WTF? I think that the political system in the USA is dead. Flat Tax for every one. Stop the war safely and everyone works for their bread. No free handouts.

Erik Grow said...

OK, well here is what is wrong with the McCain mob ties comparison. Put it in exactly the same context as Obama and Ayers. A former mob guy is on a board that has to do with education. He left the mob when McCain was 8 years old. McCain is also on that board. McCain is acquainted with him, and works with him a bit. He goes to his house for a fund-raiser. Then later it comes out that the former mob guy isn't doing mob stuff any more but he's still maybe sympathetic to the mob, even though he's not doing anything about it. Is that McCain's fault? Not really. I would not use that to smear McCain.

Sure, I would rather that everyone's ties were perfect. McCain has things in his past that aren't the best. He cheated on his first wife for instance. It has almost everything to do with policy for me, unless there is evidence that the person hold PERSONAL views that are just abhorrent. I supported Clinton too despite his personal weaknesses because I supported his policies. I don't think McCain is a nutjob, but right behind the 72 year old is Sarah Palin, theocon extraordinaire. No thanks! We have already seen where that leads.

As for taxation, I think there has been a lot of lying going around in terms of Obama and his tax policy. Anyone that takes a look at his plan knows it's targeted toward the middle class, which is the bulk of America. Some on the right that are intellectually dishonest call it a "hand-out" for some reason. I don't understand the point of demagoguing the welfare issue in post-welfare reform America, but that is what they are trying to do, despite what the statistics say.

I would also be curious to see what your idea of a flat tax is. It seems there are many different proposals out there, but all that I have seen simply serve to push the tax burden further down the ladder. I haven't seen a very good defense of that yet.

nicnerd said...

Clever, the argument would not fit your response, so you just change the object of the discussion. I believe that we were talking about Mr. Wright and "spiritual leaders". You know the sort of people that influence you enough to say, ummm... dedicate the title of your autobiography to.

Ad for the argument about Mrs. Palin, let us be clear that you were drinking Obama-aid long before she was selected to the GOP ticket. Your decision was not based on running mates.

When you "refund" money to people that never paid in, that IS a handout. A refund or rebate implies the return of some or all of what you paid in. The plan of Mr. Obama is to take from some people and give to others.

Incidentally, what was the genesis of welfare reform?

Erik Grow said...

No, it was not based on running mates. However, McCain's decision to pander to the right wing of his party cost him tons of votes, and it certainly galvanized the support of voters like me. If you noticed the maps before the choice of Palin, McCain's support was a bit weak in some red states, but he was very competitive or ahead in some blue states! Blue states went right back to solid blue after he picked her. That pick turned it into another race to 51%, which is exactly the style that Republicans would not be favored in this cycle.

"Drinking the Kool-Aid" is a really stupid charge to put on me. I could say that about any supporter of a candidate. All that says is "You're stupid for supporting so-and-so." It's meaningless. I've enumerated my reasons here, in person, and in my comments. I made this decision before Obama was expected to win anything, much less be in the position he is today. You don't have to like my reasons, but I am clear about why I am voting as I am.

I read the tax plan. I didn't see the part where people producing zero were getting a rebate. I wouldn't be "for" that if it is.

nicnerd said...

You see under the Obama plan he claims 95% will get a refund. However only 65% of us actually pay taxes, so you figure that out. Apparently I am part of that lucky 5%, but I am pleased to know that you will get some of the money that I could have used to support my kids. I am not hurting, but it does seem suspect that my family with two kids is less worthy than two high income earners with no family.

Perhaps saying drinking the kool-aid is offensive, maybe I meant to say that you were already on the bus before he selected hi Maverick.

I do not think that you are stupid and since I do not like Mr. McCain either, you could vote for Goofy for all I care.

michilines said...

NicNerd: When you "refund" money to people that never paid in, that IS a handout. A refund or rebate implies the return of some or all of what you paid in. The plan of Mr. Obama is to take from some people and give to others.

This is already the law. There is a difference between tax credits and deductions. I'm not going to explain it here -- you can look it up.

It's my understanding that they way Obama's plan would give a tax break to 95% of us tax payers is through a tax credit. Different types of credits already exist (so why the bellyaching about Obama's plan?) and depending on income and circumstances, many families are able to not only offset the taxes they have already paid in, but also get a little coin back. It's been that way for a number of years now.

What has bothered me most with this "take from some people and give to others" the most is that to qualify for the credits and for them to reduce the tax burden enough to result in a refund, one has to have at least two or three dependents and a very low income. And yet those who presumably don't quailify for the same credits and/or makes enough moeny to still owe a bit are screaming bloody murder about shifting a relatively small amount of money around to bring about at least some equity.

I ask you, nicnerd, have you had a problem with tax credits for years now?

michilines said...

nicnerd: However only 65% of us actually pay taxes

Amazing! I first heard 30%, then 40%, then 50%, but 68%? We have a winner?

Everyone who works pays income taxes throughout each year. When everyone settles up their bills, some 38% either don't have to pay any additional taxes or through credits and deductions, get a refund on what they paid in. A very few get a little more back than what they paid in.

Taxes are hard to figure out. I guess it's a good thing we have accountants.

DAVE BONES said...

I quite like pastor wright. He is not a preacher of hate. I like him more than Obama anyway.