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Forgiveness In The New Age Of Political Bipartisanship


A lot of attention is being paid to President-elect Barack Obama’s cabinet choices and his willingness to pull people from the other side of the political aisle as well as his old political opponents.  There is talk that Mr. Obama has offered the post of Secretary of State to his Democratic nominee competitor New York Senator Hillary Clinton with all of her foreign policy experience and tarmac ducking experience.  Mr. Obama is entertaining this even after Ms. Clinton planted the idea during the campaign that while Ms. Clinton and Arizona Senator John McCain have years and years of experience, Mr. Obama has little more than a speech to his credit and is little more than a warmed over version of Jesse Jackson.

More talk has Mr. Obama extending an olive branch to his Republican rival Mr. McCain even though Mr. McCain went off the deep end and called the new President-elect a dangerous choice for America and made the suggestion that Mr. Obama isn’t one of us, the patriotic Americans who love America.  Mr. McCain couldn’t even look at his rival for the presidency during their first debate.  And now, the man Mr. McCain blatantly disrespected is willing to bury the hatchet and talk about some political collaborative efforts that he could use Mr. McCain’s help on.

Mr. Obama has even forgiven the political turncoat Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman, who deliberately and unabashedly worked hard to get Mr. McCain elected.  In December of 2007, Mr. Lieberman endorsed Senator John McCain for the presidency.  Mr. Lieberman even went so far as to denounce the entire Democratic Party in a speech to the Republican faithful when he made an appearance on stage during the Republican National Convention.  Mr. Lieberman faced serious retribution for his betrayal of his party.  Many of Mr. Obama’s supporters wanted Mr. Lieberman stripped of his chairmanship of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.

However, Mr. Obama had urged Senate majority Leader Harry Reid not to remove Lieberman from his position.  Mr. Reid has made public his anger over Mr. Lieberman’s criticism of Obama during the election.  The Senate Democratic Caucus voted 42 to 13 to allow Mr. Lieberman to keep his chairmanships, although he did lose his membership in the Environment and Public Works Committee.  Mr. Lieberman credited Mr. Obama for helping him keep his chairmanship and for his favorable treatment.

Without a doubt, there is a serious amount of forgiveness and clemency and hatchet burying going on in Washington these days.  People compare Mr. Obama’s overwhelming impression of political exculpation to the behavior of President Abraham Lincoln who pondered had to literally reconstruct the country after the civil war as Mr. Lincoln and his cabinet deliberated over how to reintegrate the states that tried to secede from the nation and what to do with Confederate leaders and the freed slaves, determined to find a course that would not alienate anyone.  People in Mr. Lincoln’s day thought that his policies were too lenient.  But nevertheless, Mr. Lincoln will go down in history as a President that worked to heal a nation and mend fences.

Mr. Obama is willing to forgive any and everyone except his former pastor Reverend Jeremiah Wright.  Mr. Wright gained national attention when excerpted parts of his sermons were subjected to intense media scrutiny in an attempt to paint the new President-elect as little more than an undercover, typically angry black man who wants to make America pay for its so called abuses of the black community that happened so long ago because racism no longer exists.  Mr. Obama took extraordinary steps to calm the issue.  He denounced his pastor’s statements in a speech titled A More Perfect Union in which he sought to place the pastor’s comments in a historical and sociological context.  Many people thought the speech was historic.

But the scrutiny of critics continued to press the issue of his relationship with Mr. Wright.  The controversy came to a head when after trying to just fade away to oblivion Mr. Wright made a series of high profile media appearances in which he claimed amongst other things that Mr. Obama was simply a politician fighting for a political office.  He had to distance himself to look more acceptable to the American public.  Mr. Obama had enough.  Mr. Obama called a press conference and spoke more forcefully against his former pastor, saying that he was outraged and saddened by his spiritual mentor’s behavior and resigned his family’s membership in the church Mr. Wright help to make.

It’s interesting to note that right after Mr. Obama made his forceful condemnation of his former pastor, the interviews by Mr. Wright ceased.  Mr. Wright never retorted.  Mr. Wright, who many accused of trying to bring attention to him self and injure his spiritual protege, quickly returned to his path of obscurity, as if he had accomplished whatever he had set out to do.  Whether it was intentional or not, scripted or not, real or not, planned or not, the public action of severing his relationship with Mr. Wright was enough to bring closure to that particular issue for the vast majority.

Still, it is interesting that people who called Mr. Obama naïve, dangerous, a Muslim, unpatriotic, a terrorist, irresponsible, and wrong for America, are being welcomed back into the fold with open arms.  People who accused Mr. Obama of trying to teach children porn, of trying to turn the United States into a socialist country by taking away rich people’s money and giving it all to the poor, of palling around with terrorist, and of being the antichrist amongst many other accusations.  People who did their best to destroy Mr. Obama’s character are being forgiven.

But the one man that says Mr. Obama is who he is, a politician trying to win a political office, is just too offensive for even Mr. Obama to forgive in this new age of political enlightenment where even the greatest political devil can be made an ally.

Monday, November 24, 2008 - Posted by | Barack Obama, Jeremiah Wright, John McCain, Life, News, Politics, Socialism, Thoughts


  1. I hope that Obama is, at heart, a cold blooded killer. He seems to be kissing and making up with people who are too powerful for him to challenge. Reverend Wright, on the other hand doesn’t represent a concentration of power, so he can be safely dismissed. Hopefully, when Obama has consolidated his position, some of his forgive and forget pals will be waking up with a political dagger in their chest. I’m saying this because I can’t believe he rose this far by being naive. Then again, his appointments so far are pretty disappointing. I wasn’t expecting his cabinet to look like ‘Putney Swope’, but I was hoping he would take a couple of chances.

    Comment by Jon | Monday, November 24, 2008 | Reply

  2. Thanks for the feedback Jon,

    But from what I understand about Mr. Obama’s history, he works the middle very hard. I believe he honestly wants to be Abraham Lincoln reincarnated. And like Mr. Lincoln, black people are nothing but pawns in this political landscape. Nobody has to worry about waking up with a dagger in their chest from Mr. Obama. If anything they will find nothing but roses.


    Comment by brotherpeacemaker | Monday, November 24, 2008 | Reply

  3. I wonder if Obama had lost the election, if hillary or mccain, or any of them for that matter, would bury the hatchet with Obama?

    Comment by Shabazz | Monday, November 24, 2008 | Reply

  4. Thanks for the feedback Shabazz,

    I’m pretty sure had Hillary Clinton or John McCain had won the situation would be more like bury the hatchet in Obama!


    Comment by brotherpeacemaker | Monday, November 24, 2008 | Reply

  5. Interesting post.

    There is no surprise on my part on the current policy positions and appointments of President-elect Obama. “There is none so blind as he who will not see”… and during Obama’s 2 year presidential campaign, most people… especially African-Americans… turned a “blind eye” and a “deaf ear” to whom President-elect Obama was truly courting and speaking to in his bid to become President. He spoke loudly and clearly to the political and economic establishment to reassure them that they had nothing to fear from him, regardless of all his beating the empty rhetorical drum about being a “candidate of change”. He made certain that they understood that he would be their “man friday” if elected to the White House and would do everything in his power to protect their interests (as we saw in his support for the bailout of the financial institutions and his current support of a bailout for the auto industry). I give him a lot of credit as a politicain… the “old school” political establishment, especially the Clintons… under-estimated his political savy, skills and strategy during the campaign. Once he won the demoncratic nomination though, there was no doubt that it was all over for the McCain and the republicans.

    From his first appointment of Rahm Emanuel as his chief of staff, which wasn’t really a surprise if you ever listened/read his policy positions, it confirmed that he was going to rule from “right” of the political centre. So it is really no surprise that he has appointed former Clintonistas… centrists and right of centre policy honks. There is no doubt about their qualifications (and more importantly, their commitment) to substantively maintain the current status quo.

    So Obamas overtures to Clinton, whom he had refered to as “Bush-light” during the democratic campaign; McCain, whom he had warned if elected would represent a third term of Bush policies; and Joe Lieberman, the most right wing Democratic in the party, can be understood as not all that surprising if seen in the same vein. They all play and compete in the same sandbox like school children… so at the end of the day, regardless of what is done and/or said among them is forgiven and forgotten…. everyone shakes hands and are friends again the next day.

    Except in the case of Rev. Wright. He refused to play nice in the sandbox with the others. He refused to jump on the train and get swept away on the “magical mystery tour”. He refused to sell his soul for the proverbial 30 pieces of silver and betray the truth. He refused to play by the rules of the sandbox… like Clinton, McCain, Lieberman, Obama and even Bush… so for Rev Wright there is no forgiveness in Obama’s new age of political enlightenment. In Obama’s world Rev Wright is the “greatest political devil”.

    There are excellent and insightful articles over at Black Agenda Report about the inner workings Obama and the political establishment for those interested in devlving a little deeper… or just being exposed to another point of view.


    Comment by asabagna | Tuesday, November 25, 2008 | Reply

  6. I agree that Obama is no threat to the status quo. But Reverend Wright IS. He, if left unbridled, could possibly have opened a few black eyes. And that would be disaster not only for Obama but for the status quo.

    So it is not surprising that Obama who is acting protector is definitely working to keep that antagonist at bay. He probably will never have any relationship with Wright again. He is old news for the Obamas and that is sad.


    Comment by theblacksentinel | Wednesday, November 26, 2008 | Reply

  7. Over at the Black Agenda Report, Margaret Kimberley has I think the most compelling explanation as to why Obama let Lieberman off the hook:

    As always, the explanation for seemingly irrational behavior is quite obvious. Lieberman’s supporters have the deepest pockets of all Democratic party supporters. Simply put, there is money behind Lieberman, lots of money.

    Barack Obama knows this better than anyone. When he entered the Senate as a freshman in 2005 he chose Joseph Lieberman as his mentor. The following year Obama endorsed Lieberman when he faced his primary challenge. It seemed incongruous for a politician thought of as a progressive to support the most conservative Democrat in the Senate.

    How better to make the case with wealthy Democratic neo-cons than to cozy up to Holy Joe? Anyone serious about becoming president must have their support and the Lieberman stamp of approval surely gave Obama entre to sources of funding he would not have had otherwise.

    The two men are equally cynical. Obama got over any hurt feelings he may have had when he remembered how Lieberman helped him amass the biggest campaign treasury of all time. If he acts against him now, he risks the wrath of the same check bundlers he, Reid and the rest of the party still need.

    Comment by Colin Brace | Thursday, December 4, 2008 | Reply

  8. Thanks for the feedback Colin Brace,

    If this is true then Barack Obama has made the conscious choice to go against the majority of his interest for the sake of his interest in money. After all, Mr. Lieberman was a staunch opponent to Mr. Obama to the very bitter end. That means the people with the money were against Mr. Obama to that end as well. And that kind of support will call the shots and will be very pro status quo to anything being done in this administration. All those hopes for change will have to face the music that the American public will be sold out again.


    Comment by brotherpeacemaker | Thursday, December 4, 2008 | Reply

  9. Interesting piece. I was going to comment, but I actually wanted to just blog it myself.

    Comment by Tyler | Thursday, December 4, 2008 | Reply

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