March 19, 2008

Obama: It Looks Like There’s More Where Wright Came From (See Update 3 for Contrary View)

Filed under: Taxes & Government — Tom @ 4:47 pm

Barack Obama may have at least one additional “close religious adviser” to explain away.

At the very least, he was involved with one James Meeks before and during Obama’s 2004 Illinois US Senate run:

Obama’s closest religious advisers — Fr. (Michael) Pfleger, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright of Chicago’s Trinity United Church of Christ, and Illinois State Sen. James Meeks, who moonlights as the pastor of Chicago’s Salem Baptist Church – may have quotes from Scripture always handy, but are theologically closer to Karl Marx and black nationalism, than to Christianity.

….. According to State Sen./Rev. James Meeks’ humble, personal church Web page, “Meeks’ practical and charismatic style of instruction motivates the hearer to take action and has resulted in accomplishments of miraculous proportions.” When the good Senator/Reverend is not accomplishing miracles and other feats “never before documented in history,” he serves as the executive vice president of Jesse Jackson Sr.’s National Rainbow-Push Coalition.

Meeks, Meeks ….. where have I heard that name?

Ah yes, what a coincidence ….. I first heard about this guy during an all-night round-trip drive to Chicago in August 2006. The city’s all-news station was bringing up this Meeks guy every half-hour, prompting me to post the following (last item at link; paragraph breaks added today) on my return:

Chicago’s Mayor Dictator for Life Richard Daley apparently has a real live rival in the next election, an African-American pastor named Meeks, who is currently a state legislator. Apparently, in the course of criticizing the mayor and his handling of Chicago’s public schools (which the mayor essentially seized control of in the mid- or late-1990s), Meeks used the N-word (yeah, THAT N-word) in some fashion. Outrage ensued.

PASTOR(!) Meeks sort-of apologized for his use of the word, said he wouldn’t use it again, but said that his allegations about how the schools were being mismanaged were more important. (Fill in your own blank in this sentence — “If ___________ said this, his or her political life would be over” — On that basis, Meeks appears to be getting quite a pass.)

Mayor’s Dictator’s response was on the order of “That’s nice, but it should never have happened; however, it is nice that he has seen the light.” The genius of Daley, inherited from his father (who was on TV so much during the local newscasts in his heyday that he was essentially the co-anchor at all the stations) is that he NEVER, EVER misses an opportunity to get in front of a camera and say something reasonably memorable (note the pastoral play on words in response to Meeks) — which explains why, barring a scandal of earth-shattering proportions or his simply tiring of running the city, he is indeed Dictator for Life.

So what did the Rev. Meeks say? Sit down first:

Rev. James Meeks made an about face and promises now that he will never use a racial slur after setting off a firestorm when he used a slur in a sermon.

CBS 2 Political Editor Mike Flannery reports Meeks said the battle goes beyond language.

“I won’t use the word, but what about all of the ills that the word has caused society?” Meeks asked on WBBM Newsradio 780.

The chairman of the General Assembly’s Black Caucus says he’s “officially retiring” the “n” word from his vocabulary, just a few days after fiercely defending his use of it to denounce African-Americans with whom he disagrees.

“You’ve got some preachers that are house n——. You’ve got elected officials that are house n——. And rather than them trying to break this up, they’re going to fight you to protect that white man,” Meeks said in the sermon last month.

….. It is clear this controversy is not over.

Among other things in that controversial sermon last month, Meeks referred to unnamed white mayors and white governors, accusing them of running a lousy educational system that intentionally kept young African-American students from learning how to read and write.

These “unnamed white mayors and white governors” have such power, don’t they?

It’s clear from the context of the article, confirmed by what I heard broadcast at the time, that Meeks had to be dragged kicking and screaming into apologizing semi-backtracking after refusing to do so for what I believe was at least several days (see UPDATE 2 below).

Hannity also brought Meeks up on his radio program today, and played audio of the above “n-word” remarks. It may not seem possible to those who haven’t yet heard it, but Meeks sounds every bit as unhinged, if not moreso, than the Reverend Jeremiah A. Wright.

Now perhaps Barack Obama disassociated himself from this ugliness, and at the time denounced what another one of his “closest religious advisers” said once his remarks became widely known. You’ll have to excuse for wanting to see proof of that.

More fundamentally, why would Barack “More Perfect Union” Obama surround himself with at least two such people, as he clearly did in 2004? (Why would I not be surprised if Fr. Pflegler ends up being a similar piece of work?) And how many others are still hanging around Obama in 2008?


UPDATE: Note that Meeks, as a fellow State Senator, would likely be a political as well as religious mentor to Obama.

UPDATE 2, March 20: This timeline pic from CBS Chicago’s web site indicates that it took about 6-7 days for Meeks to announce his retirement of the N-word:


I see no evidence of an apology at the August 3, 2006 CBS story, nor do I recall hearing one, or of one, in the numerous WBBM radio reports I heard when I was in Chicago. I would suggest the lack of apology reflects a total lack of being sorry for what he said. I would also suggest that Meeks’s semi-backtrack came about because he saw his political career evaporating before his very eyes. Recall that he was considered a mayoral candidate at the time. After the slur, that possibility disappeared (he didn’t run). What little he did was likely necessary to salvage any kind of future viability for higher office.

UPDATE 3, March 21: Reporter Mike Flannery of CBS Chicago hotly disputes the contention of the original report above. In an e-mail to me that I will only partially excerpt, he says –

Based on my many years of REAL reporting, it is ludicrous for him to (put) Fr. Pfleger and Sen. Meeks in the same sentence with Rev. Wright as the “closest religious advisors” of Sen. Obama.


Previous Related Posts:
- March 19 — Obama: The Pummeling by Perceptive Pundits Proceeds (with the Candidate Inadvertently Pitching in)
- March 18 — Analyses of the Day: Allah and Shelby Steele Nail Obama’s ‘Checkers’ Speech
- March 18 — Ahead of Obama’s ‘Checkers’ Speech ….
- March 17 — TUCC’s Church Bulletins from July 2007 Probably Make Whether Obama Was Present on July 22 Irrelevant
- March 17 — Blogger Patterico Calls Out LA Times Coverage of Obama-Wright
- March 16 — Obama Gives a Nod to Wright
- March 15 — Obama Has Not Set Things Right about Wright
- March 13 — The People Who Have Given Me Grief Over the Use of Barack Obama’s Middle Name …..


1 Comment

  1. [...] community service. I know a Clay Davis when I see one. And as Sen. Davis would say, “sheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeit.” Obama, buddy, you’re in it waist deep, and I’d be damn surprised if talking [...]

    Pingback by OK, this guy I’ll throw under the bus « Constitution Club — March 19, 2008 @ 11:29 pm

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