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Barack Obama and the Jeremiah Wright Wars

Updated on July 11, 2012

Obama Presidential Campaign Reading List

Is this how Conservatives perceive Jeremiah Wright?

A preacher who really does preach...but at what cost!
A preacher who really does preach...but at what cost!

A campaign platform links the President to the firebrand preacher


Reverend Jeremiah Wright has been accused of anti-Americanism and by extension President Barack Obama has been put on the defensive. For over a decade the aspiring politician was a member of Wright’s Church. During his successful campaign for the Presidency, Obama disowned the ‘anti American’ views espoused by the preacher.

Nevertheless in the eyes of some people, this is a troubling association. Of course his political opponents will score cheap points (they would be foolish not to do so). Why is this man controversial and why is the President being shielded from him? The New York Times reported that a GOP super PAC was planning an ad campaign designed to revisit the issue of Jeremiah Wright. [1]

The politicians and their lukewarm denials

The presumptive GOP nominee for President of the USA is Mitt Romney. He is not known for the consistency of his views. However he tepidly condemned the ad campaign and hinted that there was some sort of ‘character assassination’ attempt aimed at him. The so called ‘Liberal Media’ would have to be a partner in this crime. Many Conservatives feel
(with some justification) marginalized by the mainstream media.

Some would argue that this is nothing more than ‘race-baiting’, a charge that is strenuously denied on the Political Right. Politicians are professional hypocrites and it is futile to try changing them. However they have to take responsibility for ad campaigns even where they are done by ostensibly ‘arms-length’ organizations. The successful ‘swiftboating’ of John Kerry in 2004 shows the dangers of ignoring these issues.

Delicate political and cultural issues

A charge of racism or anti Americanism does not necessarily have to be proved. Once an accusation is made then the person being accused is left with few options. Both denial and acceptance are construed (by the opinion-leaders) to be an admission of guilt. Likewise ignoring the accusation is going to be misconstrued as tacit approval. It is a catch 22 situation.

There is no doubt that Jeremiah Wright is unhappy about certain aspects of American government policy (just like many Americans are). It is also true that he was a mentor and spiritual adviser to Barack Obama. The President says that he is patriotic and there is something distasteful about the constant, stubborn disbelief that he has to deal with. Even his citizenship has been challenged unsuccessfully on numerous occasions.

The lessons for politicians and campaign managers

It is far too easy to say that these are nothing more than a bunch of racist rumors. However some fairly respectable people have joined the ‘birther’ movement (an extrapolation of the Jeremiah Wright problem). They claim a vast conspiracy that involves virtually every major American institution including the President’s political opponents. Senator John McCain refused to play dirty when he was vying for the top job. Some argue that this is precisely why he was never fit to be a presidential candidate.

As for Barack Obama, he needs to pay serious attention to these allegations even if he personally views them with disdain. The Affordable Health Care Act (ObamaCare if you hate it) has a miserably polling of 39%. The President’s job approval rating is a lukewarm 48% despite the fact that 60% of those people polled like him on a personal basis. [1]

If in addition to these problems he is successfully painted as an anti American extremist, the election will be lost. The question of Jeremiah Wright needs to be answered and answered quickly. The ‘soft’ swing voters only need an element of ‘doubt’ to pull the lever against a President of whom so much is demanded and so little credited.

Resources:

  1. CSM,” Three lessons of Jeremiah Wright plan against Obama”, 18th May 2012, Christian Science Monitor
  2. J.L. Riley,” The Jeremiah Wright Distraction”, 18th May 2012, Wall Street Journal

Obama Stuck between Jeremiah Wright and Mitt Romney

The Jeremiah Wright Controversies and the Presidential Election
The Jeremiah Wright Controversies and the Presidential Election | Source

Mitt Romney Presidential Campaign Reading List

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    • FitnezzJim profile image

      FitnezzJim 4 years ago from Fredericksburg, Virginia

      The bumbling research that I've done hints at 1961-1969 being the years of interest. During that time he apparently served as a United States Marine. He left the Corps to join the Navy in 1963. He was stationed in North Chicago, which by pure coincidence is roughly three miles from Lake Forest Academy, where Bill Ayers graduated (the SDS activist and Weather Underground dude). Wikipedia is your friend to get you started on this one, and so is Glenn Beck if you can stand all the hypothesizing he does. Pure guess, but the MP’s at Great Lakes might have something if he became involved in any of the stuff that was going on in Chicago at that time. He did transfer to the DC area during this same period, probably sometime after Navy Boot Camp. I’d be curious as to what sort of position he held while in the Marine Corps, and why he transferred to the Navy.

      Also, ‘Dreams from my Father’ says that BO heard of JW through a third party, who provided a phone number for contact. BO was planning to leave Chicago at that time, but apparently came back. My guess (pure gut, no data) is that JW knew of BO sometime in the 60’s, but BO didn’t hear of JW until sometime in the 80’s.

      The other thing I would offer is that whatever you find will be interesting for its historical lessons, but not really the sort of thing that should be a presidential campaign issue.

    • Johnkadu123 profile image
      Author

      Johnkadu123 4 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      I think there is lots material that is yet to be discovered on both Presidential candidates. Thanks for the tips FitnezzJim. I think I might even do a follow-up feature (this time based on the history of the personalities involved outside the presidential campaign).

    • Johnkadu123 profile image
      Author

      Johnkadu123 4 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      This is a very helpful comment FitnezzJim. You have set me up on a new research path. I now want to find out whether they are all coincidences and how it contributes to our understanding of the political players.

    • FitnezzJim profile image

      FitnezzJim 4 years ago from Fredericksburg, Virginia

      Everything I've found is inconclusive. Chicago was a center point for all sorts of activism in the 60's. Political and race protests and events both went through there, plus, Chicago had an International Airport. It's more than a coincidence, but less than purposeful fact. Chicago had all the ingredients to draw activists (and subversives) and anybody traveling in and out of the US into its area, and to provide them with opportunities to meet.

      In the end though, if there is a connection to Obama somehow, it is more likely that it was because folks were doing to him because he was a child, or doing for him because he was a child. It is not likely to be anything he did himself. How a child was nurtured is the not the sort of thing that normally becomes a political issue. We head down a path paved with good intentions if we try to make it one.

      On the other hand ... what that child did as an adult could be an issue. What those who nurtured him as adults could be, and Jeremiah Wright was a full grown adult at that time. Obama would have been just learning to read, and learning the awful 60’s lessons about race and hatred. If you get the chance, read ‘Dreams from my Father’.

    • Johnkadu123 profile image
      Author

      Johnkadu123 4 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      Ironically Jeremiah Wright has effectively accused Obama of cowardice and refusing to own up to his true nature. In an interview (I forget the time) he argued that Obama is and was always a politician. Therefore he fully expected the connection to be denied. It turns out he was not too far off the mark.

    • Johnkadu123 profile image
      Author

      Johnkadu123 4 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      Thanks for this. I am currently reading the book (in between writing my hubs). Somehow I feel it is a PR exercise rather than a book but that may just be me. On the other hand I am quite interested to find out why Jeremiah Wright is so incensed by American public policy. That is yet another segment that I will be examining in the future but thanks for the response.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 4 years ago from Southern Illinois

      I love President Obama. I worked hard to get him elected and i will continue to do so. Who knows what a man like Jeremiah will do, seems like a bitter man who may have been paid to harm the president. The left wing will do anything to discredit him..

    • Johnkadu123 profile image
      Author

      Johnkadu123 4 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      Thanks for the comment always exploring. It seems so razor thin in the elections. We will wait and see what happens. I am not an American so I have zero influence on the outcome. However I think that the USA is the greatest nation on earth and hopefully they can get the president they deserve (whatever their choice is).

    • Johnkadu123 profile image
      Author

      Johnkadu123 4 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      Thanks for the comment. I must admit I had never thought of the possibility that Jeremiah Wright might actually want to damage Obama. Politics is full of intrigue. I admit to a soft spot for leftwing politics. LOL.

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