Posted by: beattieblog | May 4, 2008

Obama, Wright – Painful to Watch

I was listening to Barack Obama talk this morning about his rapidly disappearing friendship with Rev. Jeremiah Wright on Meet the Press. Now, like many, I’ve debated the question of ‘who’s betraying who more’. I think Obama has much more at stake here and I wish that Wright would stop inserting himself into the campaign in ways that can only hurt the Illinois Senator. But I can empathize with Wright and what must be the sting of betrayal he feels over Obama’s recent words. Clearly Barack has been distancing himself from Wright, using increasingly a-relational language to minimize their connection. I’m not sure anyone really buys this – Wright is essentially Obama’s spiritual father and presided over some of the most significant events in his adult life (conversion, wedding, children’s’ baptisms, etc.). What should be a time of profound pride for Wright and celebration for them both has deteriorated into a very public redefining of their relationship. Ouch – nothing worse than two people feeling strongly justified in denouncing each other – especially on CNN. Obama suggested today that Wright may have ‘resurfaced’ to be in the limelight in lieu of his retirement. Ouch. At the National Press Club, Wright said that if Obama becomes president, he’s ‘coming after him’ just as he would any other president. Ouch:

“And I said to Barack Obama, last year, “If you get elected, November the 5th, I’m coming after you, because you’ll be representing a government whose policies grind under people.” All right? It’s about policy, not the American people.”

Wright has also stated he knows he’s hurting Obama’s campaign but doesn’t care about that. Then Obama really closed the book today, saying:

“SEN. OBAMA: I ultimately trust the American people that they’ll put this in context and they’ll say, “You know what?  This is not who Barack Obama is. It’s not what he stood for.  It’s not what he’s said.  It’s not what he’s written.” And so I think a lot of people understand that, you know, you have people in your lives over periods of time.  They change sometimes, they may go off in a different direction.  Sometimes the rupture in relationships may be painful, but they’re necessary.  And, and that’s what’s happened here.

MR. RUSSERT:  You’re done with him?  If you’re elected president, you won’t seek his counsel?

SEN. OBAMA:  Absolutely not.”

Have you ever come to a point in a close relationship where something happens to fundamentally change the nature of it? It can be especially painful when you’re talking about a younger / older mentor and parent type relationship. When this has happened to me or folks I know, I always ask myself some questions: Do I want to be saying and doing what this older person is saying or doing when I’m at that point in my life? The obvious answer is ‘no’ – and then the question becomes how do I avoid this? What kind of mentor do I want to be to younger leaders? I think one of the hardest things as an older leader must be to truly ‘make room’ for someone you’ve guided and now is ready to step up on their own. Of course there’s a level of self-reflection needed as well: how do I avoid being in this situation again? What am I doing now to hurt this relationship? How have I not honored this person who’s invested so much in me?

I’m not sure this kind of reflection really works for Obama and Wright. But I’ll bet when the media’s gone and these men are alone with their spouses or their own thoughts, they must wonder how things got to this point with such an important, beloved person in their lives. Can you relate?



  1. […] Wright – Painful to Watch mothanskin wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerptI was listening to Barack Obama talk […]

  2. There are at least ten reasons to not vote for Obama, that do not include his lack of judgement in choosing Wright as a pastor:

    1)Obama refuses to speak to reporters/walks out of conferences. He is not a transparent politician.

    2)He was involved with Tony Rezko, who was indicted for influence peddling and is a corrupting influence in Illinois politics. 

    3)Tony Rezko got millions of dollars from the government to create affordable housing in Obama’s district, now 11 of the buildings he was supposed to fix are boarded-up and are unlivable.

    4)Obama voted “present” hundreds of times instead of taking a stand because he did not want to offend contributors, like Robert Blackwell, who Obama helped obtain state grants for. 

    5)Obama chose as his mentor Bill Ayers and Dohrn, who are terrorists who detonated bombs on US territory and they helped him start his career. 

    6)Obama lied about filling out a questionnaire that details his stand on many important issues like abortion, the death penalty and gun control. It has his handwriting but he said a staffer filled it out. Obama also lied about the Kennedy family helping his father. 

    7)Obama also has acknowledged that he “voted by mistake” many times?! 

    8)Obama made a statement that said his grandmother is “a typical white person” who has a “reaction bred” into her when she sees someone she does not know. 

    9)Obama made a statement that small-town Americans are bitter and cling to guns, religion, and anti-trade sentiment.

    10)Obama lies about the Clinton economic boom, if you go to, you will see that Clinton is credited for passing the 1993 budget that helped create the boom of the 1990s.

    If you want to see it on YouTube, here it is:

  3. LE, thanks for coming by and posting. I suppose some of what you’ve posted has credence but it’s all a little like the pot calling the kettle black.

    1. I’m not sure what news clips you’re watching these days. Right after the controversy about Wright occured I did see Obama struggle in press conferences. Fast-forward to the past couple of weeks, and he’s been on the hot seat and in front of media more than Hillary (see today’s Meet the Press, for example).
    2. You’ve gotta be kidding – can you say ‘cattle gate’ and any number of shady Clinton dealings? I’m afraid Hillary wins on the ‘shady business dealings’ front.
    3. Is Tony Rezko an alias for Barack Obama? I thought we were talking about Barack Obama?
    4. Voting “present” may not be desirable but is common for literally any legislator.
    5. He did not choose them for mentors. He served on a board with them and knew them socially in the neighborhood. How old was he when those horrible bombings happened? 6 or 7? Was he driving the get-away tri-cycle?
    6. Don’t know about this one – could be true.
    7. I’ve never heard him say that – can anyone say “Bosnia sniper fire”. Sure, you might not remember the only time you were actually shot at. No trained military soldier ever does, but I’m sure someone who’s only experienced it once might be fuzzy about it.
    8. That one’s true. Well, what he said was true. What you wrote is false. He said she reacted about seeing black men.
    9. Yep – bet he’d like to take that one back. Like when Hillary said, “what do you expect, should I be at home baking cookies?” and offended every stay-at-home mom (and dad!) in America. Obama just offended gun-toting Pennsylvanians.
    10. Well, Bill was more fiscally conservative. Of course he had a fiscally conservative Republican congress to do all the work. But one can’t deny things were economically better under Bill. Maybe he’d consider being Barack’s treasury secretary?

  4. Someone said if Obama wins all the hate mongering preachers and the free ride affirmative action programs will end. Thats why Wright and all the other scum like Al Sharpton dread the day a black man becomes president. They are getting rich playing the race card.

    Notice how racist blacks are. They listen to you talk. Blacks really are bad. If you think whites are to blame for all the murders they do to each other in the cities which by the way are over 300 a day in America then you belong with the blacks. But you will dread the day when your surrounded by blacks and they kill your family or beat you to death. Just ask Hillary now they are calling her racist after she did everything to help blacks just for votes…

  5. wow – that’s a disturbing comment, ton mow. Thanks for coming by to comment, though. How does this tie into Wright and Obama’s deteriorating relationship?

  6. Somehow i missed the point. Probably lost in translation 🙂 Anyway … nice blog to visit.

    cheers, Segovia

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