The Greatest Speech on Race (Ever Written By a White Guy?)

Politics — By on March 19, 2008 at 12:36 am

Yesterday Senator Barack Obama gave an impassioned and heartfelt speech on race in America. After reading the text online my first reaction was, “Great speech…I wonder who wrote it.”
Now if that wasn’t your first thought it’s probably a sign that you don’t live in Washington, D.C.
Wait? You thought Obama wrote it himself? Well, I suppose that’s not outside the realm of possibility. And I suspect he did throw in an anecdote and had a hand in adding a line or two. But wrote the whole thing himself? Extremely unlikely.
What is more probable is that the Great Race Speech was written by the “baby faced, 26-year-old white guy” Jon Favreau, the Obama campaign’s head speechwriter. (Ironic, isn’t it, that such a lauded speech on race was most likely written by a Liberal White Dude?) Favreau has become something of a star because of his ability to put words in Obama’s mouth. After the Illinois Senator gave his victory speech in Iowa, Michael Gerson, the conservative former speechwriter for George W. Bush, complimented Favreau on his great work. And rightly so.
Still, there is something unseemly about the practice, even if it is an open secret. In most of America, if you take someone else’s words and pass them off as your own it’s called plagiarism and it’s considered a heinous breach of ethics. In D.C. if you take someone else’s words and pass them off as your own it’s called ghostwriting and it’s considered the way business is done. Everyone in town acknowledges that, unless the person is part of the professional class of scribes, most big-wigs in D.C. aren’t writing their own material. Indeed, if you want to stump a politico in Washington, ask them about something they wrote in their latest op-ed. They’ll need to have some twenty-something staffer “remind” them of what they supposedly wrote.
(Fortunately, Christians are above this sort of chicanery. As the Apostle Paul wrote, “But we have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways. We refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God’s word, but by the open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God.” (2 Corinthians 4:2) When we put our name on a work and give the audience the impression we wrote it then it means we wrote it…right?)
But my concern is not that politicians and other Beltway insiders lipsync the tunes produced by unacknowledged wordsmiths. What bothers me is that we watch some politician read someone else’s words off of a teleprompter and then fawn over their speech as if we just witnessed the oratorical pyrotechnics of a a Cicero or Churchill .
Technical excellence in delivering a speech is certainly a notable, albeit minor, skill. But if we are moved by the brilliance of the rhetoric why do we not lavish our praise on the person that actually produced the words and ideas? In other words, why do we swoon for the dummy rather than the ventriloquist?


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  • JOhnW

    Well, Joe, if Obama’s speechwriter is on the ballot in November, I’ll vote for him….meanwhile, I’ll be happy with a democrat in the whitehouse and greater majority of democrats in the congress.
    When January 2009 comes along, it won’t be a time to rest-there will be lots of hard work to do presuring our leaders to be responsive to “we, the people” instead of big business and the military industrial complex lobby.
    There will be plenty of work for the religous right lobby too. That’s not going away any time soon. Although if the economy gets seriously bad, people are going to be a little less concerned about those horrible gays and islamofascists….

  • ex-preacher

    You guys must really be scared, Joe. Now you’re attacking Obama for using a speechwriter? I guess Reagan was a big phony since Peggy Noonan wrote many of his speeches? You don’t even know who wrote Obama’s speech or how much he originated and yet you pull the race card? I’m embarrased for you.

  • http://benedictionblogson.com Bene Diction

    Are you looking for a gig as a speech writer?

  • http://www.evangelicaloutpost.com Joe Carter

    ex-preacher You don’t even know who wrote Obama’s speech or how much he originated and yet you pull the race card?
    The race card? What in the world are you talking about now?
    And its true, I don’t know how much was written by someone else. Perhaps that should be clearly stated. At least when Presidents do it we know they aren’t writing their own speech.
    By the way, just because Reagan did it doesn’t make it right.
    Bene Are you looking for a gig as a speech writer?
    No, speechwriters are usually uncredited and I prefer to take the blame for the stuff I say. ; )

  • JohnW

    Idea for a campaign slogan-Obama’s Speechwriter for President!

  • Mike Toreno

    Joe, I know who wrote Obama’s speech, and how much of it was written by someone else, and ZOMG, you’re dumb.

  • http://www.evangelicaloutpost.com Joe Carter

    Mike Toreno Joe, I know who wrote Obama’s speech, and how much of it was written by someone else, and ZOMG, you’re dumb.
    Good grief, what are you, a 13-year-old?
    Sheesh.
    There was once a time when I had some of the brightest commenters in the blogosphere. Now I’m stuck with guys like this.

  • http://dontdrinkthekingswine.blogspot.com Daniel Briggs

    John W wrote: “When January 2009 comes along, it won’t be a time to rest-there will be lots of hard work to do pressuring our leaders to be responsive to “we, the people” instead of big business and the military industrial complex lobby.”
    Since you mentioned the preamble of the Constitution, let’s check it out:
    “We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”
    Ensure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, secure the blessings of liberty…After 9/11, our domestic tranquility was certainly disrupted. Ever since, we have been on a path towards ensuring it once again, providing for the common defense, and securing the blessings of liberty. The next time you drop “we, the people,” please remember the context within which it is found.

  • Donna

    Still worried about Obama, Mr. “Righteous” Evangelical?? All American member of Christendom??
    Hmmm… do you think we should sing God Bless America for the 20 million plus babies murdered in the womb or is worrying about Obama’s speech and if he wrote it or not a more pressing matter?
    Should we sing it for the legitimizing of EVERY perversion of sex imaginable (not just sodomy but adultery, fornications and everything in between as Romans 1:18-32, shows the progression of a nation when it turns from God… and the WRATH that ensues).
    Are we fighting a war in Iraq to protect THESE freedoms (murder of children, sodomy, adultery, fornication, idolatry, blasphemy, greed, pedophilia, etc.), or is it more important to pontificate about things you know nothing about?
    Your racism is showing. Step away from the satanic religion of Americanism and get back into the Word.

  • Roberta

    A man delivers a speech calling for people to put aside old hatreds and work together to care for one another. He stands by his pastor, loving the sinner while rejecting the sin. He reaches out to people, offering sympathy for their pains and understanding for their suffering. And you can only respond with snark because some of the words may have been provided to him by someone else. It is a very ungenerous, even unChristian response. If Mike Huckabee had given that speech, would you have been so dismissive? Can you not hear inspiration when it comes out of the mouth of a Democrat?

  • http://www.evangelicaloutpost.com Joe Carter

    Roberta Can you not hear inspiration when it comes out
    of the mouth of a Democrat?

    What I heard was political pandering. Obama refused to distance himself from his racist pastor because he knew it would cause a backlash with some black voters. But he also knew he couldn’t fully embrace such racist rhetoric without alienating white votes.
    So he took the middle path and focused on race rather than addressing the concern about his judgment in being associated with a racist church for two decades.
    Aren’t you folks embarrassed to be holding Obama to such a low standard?

  • rico

    He wrote it…over 2 days sunday and monday

  • http://dontdrinkthekingswine.blogspot.com Daniel Briggs

    Roberta wrote: “Can you not hear inspiration when it comes out of the mouth of a Democrat?”
    It is true that inspiration can certainly come out of the mouth of a Democrat. That much is clear. The question is, what KIND of inspiration is it and what does it inspire?
    Wright certainly inspired the members of his congregation…to hate whites, to blame America for the sufferings of the world, but mostly just to hate.
    Obama brings inspiration, too. But when he says “change we can believe in,” do you stop to ask yourself if it is possible to believe in CHANGE itself? Aren’t we supposed to believe in changing SOMETHING? If so, what kind of change will Obama bring? His brief–very brief–voting record falls squarely within the radical left wing of the Democratic party; no change there. He throws his own grandmother under the bus to make a political point; that’s definitely a change. And Donna, he is more radical than NARAL when it comes to newborn infants who survive abortion and are born alive. He would rather leave them on a table until they eventually breathe their last; that is change we must run from!

  • phasespace

    Joe,
    I think ex-preacher’s point here is that you are applying a rather convenient double standard. Or perhaps more to the point, you’re manufacturing an issue just so that you can beat Obama over the head with it while paying minor lip service to the same problem in your own camp.
    If you’re going to make this an issue, then at least have the fortitude to call out your own as well, instead of just putting in a one sentence acknowledgment in a throw away comment.
    Frankly, I see this as a complete non-issue (hence my characterization of this as something you have manufactured). As you say, political speech writers are a pretty well known open secret. So intimating that this is an underhanded practice is at least (to me) just as underhanded, particularly given the biased way in which you are applying your standard.
    While I’m at it, let’s turn this example around a little bit. Are men who give anniversary cards to their wives with words of love not written by themselves being disgraceful and underhanded? Should a wife receiving such a card instantly fall head over heels in love with the writer of the card instead of her husband? Or is it that the card writer was able to express something better than the woman’s husband could himself, and he should at least be credited for expressing those feelings even if he didn’t write them? If the words in the card express what the husband is truly feeling, then I see no problem. They poor guy may not be the most articulate on the planet, but I don’t see any reason to fault him for that in this instance.
    Back to politics, if a politician reads a speech and he agrees with what was written, then its largely irrelevant who wrote the speech. Of course part of our dilemma is in trying to figure out if our politicians really mean what they say, and in that respect, who’s writing the words is also largely irrelevant. Its the honesty and integrity of the speaker himself that we need to judge. Talk is cheap, and we have to evaluate their actions especially when their actions don’t measure up to their words.

  • Mike Toreno

    phasespace, your points are well taken, but irrelevant in this case. See rico above.
    What I would ask Joe is, why is the idea that a black person could write a speech like that so alien to his thinking that he wrote his idiotic comment without even bothering to look into whether or not Obama had written the speech himself.

  • http://www.evangelicaloutpost.com Joe Carter

    rico He wrote it…over 2 days sunday and monday
    Um, yeah. And he had never heard Wright say anything controversial either. ; )
    I’m sure that he was deeply involved in its writing. But I seriously doubt a busy Presidential candidate wrote a 5000 word speech in two days all by himself.
    phasespace Or perhaps more to the point, you’re manufacturing an issue just so that you can beat Obama over the head
    with it while paying minor lip service to the same problem in your own camp.

    This post is not really about Obama. It’s about us. It’s about how we’ve dumbed down the political process so much that we don’t even ponder why politicians don’t think (or write) for themselves.
    The only real connection that point has to Obama is that his supporters are a prime example of this disturbing attitude. He’s an empty suit that people project their political longings onto–and yet everyone seems fine with that.
    Seriously, even Hillary Clinton is more qualified to be President. Yet people fawn and swoon over Obama as if he was a man of substance because he can read off a teleprompter using the voice of Duane “The Rock” Johnson.
    Now I’ll admit that the other side isn’t much better. But while the GOP may be stuck with McCain, at least he’s done something in life. the same can’t be said for Obama which makes the syrupy affection over him all the more mbarrassing.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    What is more probable is that the Great Race Speech was written by the “baby faced, 26-year-old white guy
    Just keeping score:
    1. Obama’s a secret Muslim.
    2. Obama’s a secret white hater.
    3. Obama has white speechwriters.
    I see Joe, in his ongoing attempt to be intellectually honest, admitted to twisting words here. Don’t see it? Notice that little word ‘probable’ up there in that quote? Joe has no idea if this particular speechwriter wrote some, most or all or any of the speech but hey, why should the truth matter? The intellectual corruption of the GOP is why it deserves to lose very badly this election cycle, and at this point there’s no pretending that it is simply confined to the swamp of the Bush admin.
    What I heard was political pandering. Obama refused to distance himself from his racist pastor because he knew it would cause a backlash with some black voters. But he also knew he couldn’t fully embrace such racist rhetoric without alienating white votes.
    From the speech:

    But the remarks that have caused this recent firestorm weren’t simply controversial. They weren’t simply a religious leader’s effort to speak out against perceived injustice. Instead, they expressed a profoundly distorted view of this country – a view that sees white racism as endemic, and that elevates what is wrong with America above all that we know is right with America; a view that sees the conflicts in the Middle East as rooted primarily in the actions of stalwart allies like Israel, instead of emanating from the perverse and hateful ideologies of radical Islam.

    As such, Reverend Wright’s comments were not only wrong but divisive, divisive at a time when we need unity; racially charged at a time when we need to come together to solve a set of monumental problems – two wars, a terrorist threat, a falling economy, a chronic health care crisis and potentially devastating climate change; problems that are neither black or white or Latino or Asian, but rather problems that confront us all.

    And on why he doesn’t just ditch him (or never dealt with him to begin with)

    But the truth is, that isn’t all that I know of the man. The man I met more than twenty years ago is a man who helped introduce me to my Christian faith, a man who spoke to me about our obligations to love one another; to care for the sick and lift up the poor. He is a man who served his country as a U.S. Marine; who has studied and lectured at some of the finest universities and seminaries in the country, and who for over thirty years led a church that serves the community by doing God’s work here on Earth – by housing the homeless, ministering to the needy, providing day care services and scholarships and prison ministries, and reaching out to those suffering from HIV/AIDS.

    Strikes me as not only honest but amazingly honest given our political culture. If it turned out that a white speechwriter helped him write it, well so what? Joe has now suddenly decided that speechwriting is no longer an honorable profession. I have to ask, before Joe came up with this insight, what exactly did he think the word “speechwriter” meant and why did the people who made the English language bother to create a word for it? Could it possibly be because writing a speech and giving it are two different things just like there’s a difference between writing a song and singing it?
    Daniel
    He throws his own grandmother under the bus to make a political point; that’s definitely a change.

    I am the son of a black man from Kenya and a white woman from Kansas. I was raised with the help of a white grandfather who survived a Depression to serve in Patton’s Army during World War II and a white grandmother who worked on a bomber assembly line at Fort Leavenworth while he was overseas. I’ve gone to some of the best schools in America and lived in one of the world’s poorest nations. I am married to a black American who carries within her the blood of slaves and slaveowners – an inheritance we pass on to our two precious daughters. I have brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, uncles and cousins, of every race and every hue, scattered across three continents, and for as long as I live, I will never forget that in no other country on Earth is my story even possible.

    I invite you to point out:
    1. What is untrue in the above.
    2. If his grandmother is still alive, what she should be offended by in the above?
    Or

    I can no more disown him than I can disown the black community. I can no more disown him than I can my white grandmother – a woman who helped raise me, a woman who sacrificed again and again for me, a woman who loves me as much as she loves anything in this world, but a woman who once confessed her fear of black men who passed by her on the street, and who on more than one occasion has uttered racial or ethnic stereotypes that made me cringe.

    What’s good for the goose is good for the gander, is it not? If Obama has an obligation to spurn any black person who makes racist comments doesn’t he likewise have to spurn whites who do likewise? If he isn’t allowed to have a “George Jefferson” then shouldn’t he also not be allowed to have a “Archie Bunker” and shouldn’t this prohibition apply to you as well?
    His point was dead on because it was true. Good people can be and are deeply flawed. This shouldn’t be an amazing observation for someone as steeped in Christian doctrine as Joe is. If he missed that part of theology school, though, Joe should be able to get a good Cliffs Notes version of that lesson by looking in the mirror.
    And the other point is also true. Slavery, segregation, and racism didn’t just corrupt ‘bad people’….stock cartoon characters like Archie Bunker or KKK wackos who got booked on Phil Donahue’s show all the time but corrupted people who were otherwise good. Joe has a point, a white speechwriter and maker had that point before Obama. His name was Abe.

  • http://dontdrinkthekingswine.blogspot.com Daniel Briggs

    “I can no more disown him than I can disown the black community. I can no more disown him than I can my white grandmother – a woman who helped raise me, a woman who sacrificed again and again for me, a woman who loves me as much as she loves anything in this world, but a woman who once confessed her fear of black men who passed by her on the street, and who on more than one occasion has uttered racial or ethnic stereotypes that made me cringe.”
    Boonton, do you not see the difference between a preacher who publicly spews venom from the pulpit for at least 20 years and a grandmother who privately confesses her own racial misgivings to her grandson? Seriously? Yes, both are wrong but surely you see that there is a HUGE difference between the two, don’t you??
    He took a private confession made in confidence–the kind family members often make when they are able to let their guard down at home–and actually compared it as being morally equivalent to Wright’s vitriol. That is simply unconscionable.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    I’m sure that he was deeply involved in its writing. But I seriously doubt a busy Presidential candidate wrote a 5000 word speech in two days all by himself.
    Doing a quick cut and paste in Word I get at least 2300 words written by you in the last two days not counting comments or ‘below the fold’. 5,000 words is hardly like writing a novel and considering how important the speech was I doubt he had many things on his plate that were more pressing to do.
    This post is not really about Obama. It’s about us. It’s about how we’ve dumbed down the political process so much that we don’t even ponder why politicians don’t think (or write) for themselves.
    Then why is it important to flag the race of one of Obama’s speechwriters? Does John McCain have any of these white speechwriters? Since you care so much about thinking (as you do blogging as they don’t seem to be very much overlapping activities) please let me know exactly what thoughts in the speech you feel are not Obama’s.
    Seriously, even Hillary Clinton is more qualified to be President. Yet people fawn and swoon over Obama as if he was a man of substance because he can read off a teleprompter using the voice of Duane “The Rock” Johnson.
    And exactly what makes Hillary more qualified to be President?
    Now I’ll admit that the other side isn’t much better. But while the GOP may be stuck with McCain, at least he’s done something in life. the same can’t be said for Obama which makes the syrupy affection over him all the more mbarrassing
    You’re not going to get it. Yes McCain has done something in life. That’s great. In his twilight years, though, he has choosen to essentially run as George Bush’s 3rd term.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    He took a private confession made in confidence–the kind family members often make when they are able to let their guard down at home–and actually compared it as being morally equivalent to Wright’s vitriol. That is simply unconscionable.
    First you have no idea if it was a ‘private confession’. Having people of that age in my family I can tell you it is very unlikely it was a ‘private confession’. Racial sterotypes were hardly private vices back then.
    Second, they are equivalent from the Christian perspective. Wright may not be Obama’s biological family but he is someone’s father and someone’s son. As flawed as he is Obama is honest when he points out the public good he has done as well as the private good (leading him to Christianity). Like the good his grandmother did for him, these cannot be shunned for a cartoon political correctness that divides the world between good ‘sensitive people’ and bad ‘insensitive’ ones. As a matter of fact, if you are a Christian I do believe you’d have to say Wright leading Obama to Christ would make him as important as any member of his family if not more so. Jesus does seem to make it clear in the NT that he transcends the tribal bounds of family.
    So if Wright is as much part of Obama’s family as his grandmother then he has to be honest about both of them both in terms of what is good and what is bad.

  • phasespace

    Joe,
    I realize your essay wasn’t strictly about Obama, and neither was my response. But I do think it’s convenient that you just happened to single him out on this issue (regardless of his qualifications, or lack thereof). It’s just an observation. Democrats do the same sort of thing, and as you said, that doesn’t make it right either. I personally would like to see these sort of issues brought up in a way that is less partisan, so that people on both sides can at least make an attempt to discuss the issue without getting too idealogical about it. Just my 2 cents….
    The rest of my response did address the point you’re trying to make. Granted, anniversary cards is kind of a silly example, but I think it gets the point across. I think that you’re taking a grade school rule, “Everyone should do their own work.” and using it to cast aspersions of wrong doing in a context so far removed from where it is intended to be used, that its practically nonsense for all intents and purposes.

  • ex-preacher

    With yesterday’s and today’s posts, Joe has made it clear that he realizes what a powerful candidate Obama is. He’s throwing whatever he can find at him. Yesterday, it was that Obama is not an orthodox Christian. I didn’t realize that agreeing with Joe’s religious positions was a requirement for presidents. By one scholar’s reckoning, 18 of the first 19 presidents were not fully convinced members of orthodox Christian congregations.
    Today, he tells that Obama cannot possibly be president because – brace yourself – he uses speechwriters. Furthermore, he may have used a white speechwriter, a white liberal no less, to write a speech on race. How ironic he tells us. Except Joe has no idea who wrote the speech. he whole thing is an exercise in creativity (BS) to try to smear someone. Joe cannot find anything to critize in the speech. Indeed, he admits, though in a backhanded way, that it is a great speech and perhaps the greatest speech on race (by a white guy). What are you smoking, Joe? Are you this completely out of touch with reality? Are you this partisan? If you oppose Obama, do it on the basis of his policies or ability to implement those policies, not on his religion, his use of speechwriters, or his race.

  • http://dontdrinkthekingswine.blogspot.com Daniel Briggs

    Boonton, you crack me up. :o) I enjoy it, though, particularly since I am stalling from completing a paper that is due tomorrow. :o) So many rabbits but I’ll try to limit my chase to a few…
    First, I have to flatly disagree with your assertion that Obama’s grandmother’s comment/confession and Wright’s prolongued unChristian and unGodly hatred are morally equivalent, ESPECIALLY from a Christian perspective. Yes, sin is sin. But calling upon God to damn America is hardly a minor offense and it is surely only one of many.
    Second, you speak of Wright leading Obama to Christ. Obama’s faith is ultimately between himself and God–I cannot know his heart–but I firmly believe in the truth and application of Matthew 7:20 (By their fruit they will be known.). Obama’s indifference (if not antipathy) to the innocent unborn and even NEWBORN is certainly contrary to a Godly viewpoint.
    Finally, yes, Jesus does make it clear that He transcends natural family boundaries. If Wright is as much a part of Obama’s family as his grandmother, I pity his grandmother and I am even more scared of Obama’s relationship with his pastor (and the influence the latter has had over the former).

  • http://braincrampsforgod.blogspot.com/ JCHFleetguy

    I think the part of the speech that dealt with the dynamic of race in America was probably the best I have ever heard by a politician in this country. He hit the right points:

    • Racism has existed and still exists
    • It is possible for black folks to lend to that
    • It is not all in black folk’s heads
    • It is not etched in granite – it is not part of the genetics of race
    • Things have gotten better, and will continue to get better, because we are at core a great nation with the right values built into our country’s ideological foundations

    I think he distanced himself perfectly from Wright. His criticism of Wright’s error was perfect. That he didn’t attack him as a person, and edifying him as much as he could (on the right points in fact) was the Christian thing to do. He was talking about a brother in Christ and a member of his church.
    The political parts of the speech about the issues that pull us together despite our disparate racial backgrounds are where I have an issue. That, and his voting record as a state Senator in Illinois, and a US Senator. And, his rise with the support of one of the most corrupt party machines in the country. Then there is his lack of experience, and his pandering on Iraq.
    I have lots of issues with him – but his perspective on race in the US as represented by this speech is right on. Give him some credit.

  • http://brendacoulter.blogspot.com Brenda Coulter

    When a pastor repeatedly shouts from the pulpit, “God damn America!” there is something VERY wrong in his church, no matter how many worthy community service projects they’re involved with. Obama would have us believe he simply (albeit vehemently) disagrees with his pastor in the same way that the rest of us often disagree with our pastors. But this was no small doctrinal issue on which sincere believers might differ. This was hate speech, and a pastor who has so little control over his tongue that he can yell such words (repeatedly!) from the pulpit is a pastor who should long ago have been taken to task by the leaders of his church.
    So it wasn’t good enough for Obama to distance himself from his pastor’s remarks. He should have distanced himself from that church. That he didn’t says plainly that while he likes to be seen taking the high road on race issues, he has no problem turning a blind eye when those he closely associates with choose the lower path.
    As for the ghostwritten speech, I find ALL ghostwriting abhorrent, from political speeches to Hollywood “tell all” books. The practice is just plain dishonest.

  • http://brendacoulter.blogspot.com Brenda Coulter

    [Phasespace writes] Are men who give anniversary cards to their wives with words of love not written by themselves being disgraceful and underhanded?
    Not in the least, because those men are not pretending to have authored the sentiments expressed on those Hallmark cards. They’re just saying, “Here. This expresses how I feel.” That’s entirely different from what a poised, polished politician does when he gazes into a camera oozing trustworthiness while reading words somebody else has written not so much to impart information, but to “sell” the candidate.
    Giving ghostwritten speeches is a sleazy practice, even when my candidate does it.

  • Ben

    Joe, you say, “But while the GOP may be stuck with McCain, at least he’s done something in life. the same can’t be said for Obama which makes the syrupy affection over him all the more mbarrassing.”
    Well, he doesn’t seem to believe in killing everyone who looks at us sideways, which I’d argue makes him a darn bit more qualified than Clinton or John “Bomb, bomb, bomb Iran” McCain.
    It really shouldn’t be a surprise that people who believe in voting for the lesser of two or more evils find Barack Obama appealing. I mean, seriously.
    (For the record, I agree with you that I wish politicians wrote their own speeches. Of course, I also wish a lot of things about politicians, starting with, I wish they weren’t all scumbags. Incidentally, I note that no less an orator than Abraham Lincoln had speech writers, though if I remember correctly some of his more memorable speeches he did largely write by himself.)

  • Grant

    I find it completely laughable that anyone would even believe that Obama wrote this speech. While running for President there is no way he would be able to write 5000 words, let alone at the quality of the speech. As I write, I am attempting to complete a 4000 word essay that I have been writing for 4 hours. It will also be a B paper, no where near close to the quality of Obama’s speech. The man just simply does not have enough time. That being said there is nothing wrong with speechwriters because the practice is so prevalent. It is not a moral issue because the speechwriters are known, the fact that the white kid got an article in the NYT attests to this.
    I see alot of Obama cultists trying to say that critics should criticize on policies. This is hard to do, however, when 90% of Obama’s speeches are the variations on the word “change.” Obama is indeed bringing change to DC, he’s a black man with an Arabian background who’s running for president. That’s as much change as we can know for sure.
    The problem with Obama is his relationship with a man like Reverend Wright. It does not matter what happened 100 or 50 years ago. A reverend has no right to make the statements that Wright did (no pun intended). The very fact that Obama would call this joker a Spiritual Advisor is enough to make me wanna run to the hills.
    What a pathetic election we have upcoming. We either get Bill’s wife with her 6 years of experience, we get Obama with his 3 years, or we get a decrepit McCain with the very real possibility that he will continue to run this country into the ground. Let’s all just pledge to write-in Tommy Lee Jones’ character in No Country. That guy was likeable, right?

  • http://www.generalthinker.blogspot.com NBooth

    I dunno, this seems like needlessly cynical sniping to me. I do not doubt, personally, that Obama wrote most of the speech, as his campaign claims. To nitpick over such a detail is exactly the sort of sidetracking Obama predicts in the speech. I see this on both sides–Liberals are mad at a perceived diss of Hillary, and here we’re mad because he didn’t write the speech himself and refused to burn his ex-pastor in effigy.
    Wouldn’t a more effective Conservative response be to say “Yes, we agree on the problem–here’s your solution (as presented in your voting record) and here’s ours?” This would focus the campaign on issues, rather than personality, and give Obama a chance to move away from his sometimes one-note “hope” rhetoric. It’s win/win.

  • ucfengr

    There was once a time when I had some of the brightest commenters in the blogosphere. Now I’m stuck with guys like this.
    Oh, how far the mighty have fallen. It saddens me that we are such a burden to you, Joe;).
    Yet people fawn and swoon over Obama as if he was a man of substance because he can read off a teleprompter using the voice of Duane “The Rock” Johnson.
    Do you smell, what the “Ba-Rock” is cooking? Sorry, Joe, but I couldn’t resist.

  • Tim L

    My misgivings are different (or seem to be) than what everybody else has expressed the last two days.
    Doesn’t anybody want to try to understand Cole, Wright, Obama? Doesn’t anybody want to try to understand the concerns of Carter and others as well? Everybody is simply taking their “position” and going with it. No intention of understanding (which does not mean agreeing with), no intention of loving!, no intention of reconciliation!
    Hmmm

  • http://www.flashpointfiles.blogspot.com Sarah Flashing

    Jeremiah Wright wouldn’t be so fortunate to be able to blame a speech writer ;)

  • ucfengr

    Yet people fawn and swoon over Obama as if he was a man of substance because he can read off a teleprompter using the voice of Duane “The Rock” Johnson.
    Maybe the Democrats should get rid of all these super-delegates and decide the nomination with a good old “Texas Death Match”. I’d pay money to see Bill toss Hillary a chair to smack Obama upside the head with and then Michelle distract the “ref” while Obama gets Hill in his “Cobra Death Lock”. Then just as Hill is about to submit, in drops Al Gore from the rafters and knocks them both out with his patented “Gorebasm” (it’s really not so much a wrestling move as it is PowerPoint presentation that bores them both to sleep), stealing the nomination. Can you imagine the Democrat Convention on pay-per-view?

  • Grant

    That is the best idea that I have heard in weeks. With ideas like this you should get into speechwriting….

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    First, I have to flatly disagree with your assertion that Obama’s grandmother’s comment/confession and Wright’s prolongued unChristian and unGodly hatred are morally equivalent, ESPECIALLY from a Christian perspective. Yes, sin is sin. But calling upon God to damn America is hardly a minor offense and it is surely only one of many.
    It’s nice that you have access to his grandmother’s life so you can evaluate her sins and compare them to Wright. I didn’t realize youtube was that powerful, then again Google is a pretty big company and maybe they’ve upgraded it.
    Second, you speak of Wright leading Obama to Christ. Obama’s faith is ultimately between himself and God–I cannot know his heart–but I firmly believe in the truth and application of Matthew 7:20 (By their fruit they will be known.). Obama’s indifference (if not antipathy) to the innocent unborn and even NEWBORN is certainly contrary to a Godly viewpoint.
    So you disagree with him on abortion. That’s all well and good but that has nothing to do with the argument here. You are free to say Obama’s an imperfect Christian. Even if he did have your position on abortion he would still have to confront the fact that he has both a grandmother and a preacher.
    Finally, yes, Jesus does make it clear that He transcends natural family boundaries. If Wright is as much a part of Obama’s family as his grandmother, I pity his grandmother and I am even more scared of Obama’s relationship with his pastor (and the influence the latter has had over the former).
    Not only that if you take Christianity halfway seriously, Wright, the grandmother and he is part of your family too.
    Grant
    I find it completely laughable that anyone would even believe that Obama wrote this speech. While running for President there is no way he would be able to write 5000 words, let alone at the quality of the speech. As I write, I am attempting to complete a 4000 word essay that I have been writing for 4 hours. It will also be a B paper, no where near close to the quality of Obama’s speech. The man just simply does not have enough time.
    I’m not sure why it matters but 5000 words is not a lot to write, you just admitted to writing 4000 in 4 hours. Obama had two days plus a lot more motivation than you. I would suspect that he wrote all or most of it but like most speeches let his speechwriter(s) propose revisions and other changes until it took final form.
    Obama is indeed bringing change to DC, he’s a black man with an Arabian background who’s running for president. That’s as much change as we can know for sure.
    Actually he is half black and his background is African. Last I checked Kenya was not an Arabian country. I hope your 4,000 word essay was not for geography class.

  • Mike Toreno

    Grant, no one is saying that YOU wrote Obama’s speech. The fact that he wrote a great speech, and you are writing a crummy paper, is that he is talented and you’re not.
    The fact that YOU don’t have what it takes to do something well doesn’t mean that NO ONE has what it takes to do the thing well.

  • http://mumonno.blogspot.com Mumon

    Yes, Joe Carter is a liar:
    http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2008/3/18/17135/6770
    He wrote the speech himself.
    And this guy claims some moral benefit from a deity!

  • Loki

    “Then just as Hill is about to submit, in drops Al Gore from the rafters and knocks them both out with his patented “Gorebasm” (it’s really not so much a wrestling move as it is PowerPoint presentation that bores them both to sleep), stealing the nomination. Can you imagine the Democrat Convention on pay-per-view?”
    Wouldn’t that be a “Boregasm” then?

  • JohnW

    Daniel Briggs,
    Thanks for quoting the constitution.
    You think we’ve been moving towards following the constitution and these last few years and not away from it? Interesting point of view.
    Our government is responsive to corporations and the military industrial complex and not “we, the people”. I repeat-there is a lot of work to be done after January 2009.

  • http://mumonno.blogspot.com Mumon

    Yes, Joe Carter is a liar:
    http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2008/3/18/17135/6770
    He wrote the speech himself.
    And this guy claims some moral benefit from a deity!

  • phasespace

    Brenda, you haven’t really explained why you think the use of speech writers is sleazy in comparison to anniversary cards. All you’ve said is that the men buying cards aren’t pretending to have written the words in them, but I question your assertion that politicians are pretending that they wrote the words in their speech. Again, it is a well known open secret that this happens, so are politicians really pretending? And your characterization of politicians being poised and polished isn’t exactly true either. Politicians hire image consultants, public relations reps, strategists, etc. I honestly don’t know how poised and polished any politician really is beyond the image that they project. Similarly, whoever helped them create their image is largely irrelevant, because the politician is still ultimately responsible for it, the politician doesn’t do anything that they haven’t passed judgment on themselves.
    As I said before, if the speech given by a politician does correctly express his views even though it was written by someone else, what difference does it make whether or not he actually wrote it? Again, you can fault the politician for not being articulate enough (or not spending enough time) to write his own speech, but if he means what he says, then who wrote the words is irrelevant.

  • ucfengr

    Wouldn’t that be a “Boregasm” then?
    You are confusing a “Gorebasm” with a “Borgasm”, which is caused by repeated watching of Star Trek: The Next Generation, though the results are pretty much the same.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    For those who think speechwriters are sleezy, I’ll ask it again. Why do we have the word “speechwriter” in the English language? There is a difference between writing a speech and giving it just like there is a difference between writing a song and singing it.
    Those who want to impose a radical new set of rules entirely divorced from over 2000 years of tradition (rhetorical skills were taught in Ancient Greek) should present a case for it that is somewhat stronger than “I think it’s wrong”

  • http://mumonno.blogspot.com Mumon

    Boonton:
    It’s not the speechwriters who are sleazy, it’s Republican goons like Joe Carter who’s sleazy.
    Carter has not offered an iota, a scintilla, a neutrino of evidence to support what is being overwhelmingly reported and corroborated in the media: that Barack Obama and Barack Obama only write this speech.
    Of course, it wouldn’t have been wrong or detracted from Obama’s authority to have given the speech, but it does show the man to be far more literate and eloquent than any Republican office holder in my lifetime.
    But it’s Carter and his immorality, and the immorality of racism, and the immorality of the Republicans on a host of issues that’s the real problem. And it’s the inability of these people to repent of their wrongdoing that’s the issue.
    So Carter’s trying to avoid culpability by any means possible.
    It’s sick and disgusting, but at least we can say, “Yes, Joe Carter bears responsibility for the horrors we have witnessed in the past 7 years, and yes, Joe Carter continues to persist in his dishonesty and immorality.”
    Now if he’d only have the strength to repent.

  • http://www.evaneco.com Don Bosch (evaneco.com)

    Joe,
    Not all that different from Leno and O’Brien and Letterman using joke writers, isn’t it?
    Clearly D.C. needs a speech writer’s strike to get more appreciated/better compensated for their craft, which will in turn make those jobs more appealing/lucrative.
    Opportunity’s knocking here, bro. :-)

  • http://evangelicalperspective.blogspot.com Collin Brendemuehl

    Mumon,
    After that job (attempted) on Joe last year @ Kos & Max B., I’m surprised that you’d come out with such a strong staement about an apparent “lie”. Seems hypocritical, moral authority-wise and all.
    Collin

  • http://www.cabarruscheapseats.com Justin Thibault

    As a long time EO reader, I wondered how being involved on a national campaign would affect Joe; and this post showed me that it was positive.
    I’ve been entertained by the people who commented who, by far and large, haven’t ever done much besides type into someone else’s comment field. So, I’d like to address them:
    Go stick some signs in the mud; speak at some venues where you know nobody, but you see they are all wearing the other guys’ buttons; and stand out in the cold, November rain on Election Day handing out the soggy materials that represent the last penny of a hard-fought campaign. After that, you will not write this drivel; but find it entertaining to watch a dilettantes spread their ignorance in the one place that’s kind enough to host it.
    Now, to Joe: I don’t see speech writing as being on par with plagiarism. We ask a lot of officials. Quite frankly, I’d rather have a lousy writer who has a clear vision for the future than someone with a silver tongue he got in trade for his backbone.
    A good speechwriter is another advisor; and I’d have some trepidation about voting for a person for President who didn’t have one. Proverbs reminds us that plans are successful because of a multitude of advisors.
    Finally, to Mumon. Joe isn’t a liar. RTFP:
    “You thought Obama wrote it himself? Well, I suppose that’s not outside the realm of possibility. And I suspect he did throw in an anecdote and had a hand in adding a line or two. But wrote the whole thing himself? Extremely unlikely.”
    In most cases, Obama doesn’t write his own stuff. Same goes for the remainder of the candidates. Behind all of the glamor and media fawning, he’s just another liberal – plain and simple.

  • Rob

    Joe can find a negative in a great speech if a democrat delivers it, but if Bush gave a great speech, he would be praising it to the skies. Shouldn’t we focus on the content of the speech instead of the authorship?
    If anything negative, however minor, comes out about Obama, look for Joe to jump all over it and tout it as the iceberg that sank the Titanic. If nothing negative comes out, it will be the fault of the fawning liberal media, or Joe will find something positive on which to put a negative spin. Like a great speech.

  • http://www.evangelicaloutpost.com Joe Carter

    ex-preacher With yesterday’s and today’s posts, Joe has made it clear that he realizes what a powerful candidate Obama is.
    Actually, just the opposite is the case. I used to think that he was unbeatable. Now I hope is the candidate because McCain will thrash him in the general election. Obama has shown that he is the Democratic version of Mitt Romney—trying to be all things to all people (a “post-racial” candidate for liberal whites, a Black theology embracing candidate for radical blacks) and ends up alienating the center.
    JCHFleetguy I think he distanced himself perfectly from Wright. His criticism of Wright’s error was perfect.
    The problem is that it is too little, too late. Why did it take the press focusing on Wright’s extremism before Obama distanced himself and criticized the pastor? He can wrap it in great rhetoric but he’s just a pandering opportunist who will say what he needs to in order to get elected.
    Ben Well, he doesn’t seem to believe in killing everyone who looks at us sideways,…
    No, he just sticks to protecting the killing of babies, even those that managed to be born before they had a chance to be effectively aborted.
    NBooth Wouldn’t a more effective Conservative response be to say “Yes, we agree on the problem–here’s your solution (as presented in your voting record) and here’s ours?”
    I didn’t intend the post to be a response to the speech itself (which as I pointed out, I believe to be a red herring) but rather to highlight the fact that we get so excited about a guy reading someone else’s words.
    Phasespace As I said before, if the speech given by a politician does correctly express his views even though it was written by someone else, what difference does it make whether or not he actually wrote it?
    That’s fine with me as long as it is made clear everytime that the words are someone else’s. When I quote someone I give the source. Politicians should do the same. At the end of each speech they should say something like, “Thanks to X for giving me these words to say.” While most of us know the practice is common (blog readers tend to be more politically savvy than most citizens) not everyone is aware that politicians don’t write their own speeches.
    Justin Now, to Joe: I don’t see speech writing as being on par with plagiarism. We ask a lot of officials. Quite frankly, I’d rather have a lousy writer who has a clear vision for the future than someone with a silver tongue he got in trade for his backbone.
    No, I don’t’ consider it plagiarism either, technically speaking. I just think it is silly to give these guys (Obama, Reagan, whoever) so much credit for work they didn’t do themselves.

  • http://www.evangelicaloutpost.com Joe Carter

    Rob Joe can find a negative in a great speech if a democrat delivers it,
    but if Bush gave a great speech, he would be praising it to the skies.

    Bush has been in office the entire time that I’ve been blogging. Please point out a single speech that I have praised. Seriously, point one out for us.
    Shouldn’t we focus on the content of the speech instead of the authorship?
    Why don’t we instead focus on the fact that Obama’s actions are directly contrary to his speech. For 20 years he’s attended a church that repudiates the “good stuff” that is found in his oration.

  • http://mumonno.blogspot.com Mumon

    Collin Brendemuehl :
    As far as I know, Carter’s still not repented for his racist associations.
    Nor has he repented for the lies and innuendo he’s peddling here falsely claiming that Obama wasn’t the author of his speech.
    It’s disgusting, really.

  • http://mumonno.blogspot.com Mumon

    Justin Thibault :
    No, Carter is a liar. The words you quote only prove the point. It’s been widely reported with independent confirmation that Obama wrote this speech himself.
    Where’s Carter’s proof otherwise? He has none, other than his assertion that it’s “extremely unlikely.”
    Given the overwhelming evidence for its extreme likeliness, we can only conclude that Joe Carter is a liar.
    Collin Brendemuehl :
    As I recall Max Blumenthal’s charges were never countered by Carter, and to date it stands that Tony Perkins was involved in getting David Duke’s mailing list.
    That is, of course Carter’s riguht, to associate with racists.
    But we can still denounce it.

  • JohnW

    Tim L.,
    You make a very good point-communication and listening to other is very difficult, especially when the words and viewpoints of others make us furious. You are right though.
    It might be helpful in this discussion to recognize the role of the Media which defines the boundaries of acceptable public discourse. Pastor Wright is portrayed as going past these boundaries. Look at what he is saying though and ask why these issues can not be discussed in the media:
    Why can’t we discuss how our nation’s foreign policies contributed to 911? Those who live by the sword die by the sword. Chickens did come home to roost.
    We are the only country to have used nuclear weapons and there was little concern for the deaths caused by it.
    3000 deaths on 911 were a tragedy, but what about the millions of lost civilian lives resulting from our government’s activities in Vietnam, Latin America, the Philippines, and in Iraq since the first Gulf War?
    Our Constitution said “all men are created equal” a hundred years before the slaves were free and almost two hundred years before blacks started receiving their civil rights. The black man might no be so happy on the July 4th.
    No, the media wants us all to believe the fairy tale that our country is always right and to question this is unacceptable and anyone who does so “hates America”.

  • http://evangelicalperspective.blogspot.com/ Collin Brendemuehl

    Mumon,
    As far as I know, Carter’s still not repented for his racist associations.
    Nor has he repented for the lies and innuendo he’s peddling here falsely claiming that Obama wasn’t the author of his speech.
    It’s disgusting, really.

    and
    As I recall Max Blumenthal’s charges were never countered by Carter, and to date it stands that Tony Perkins was involved in getting David Duke’s mailing list.
    That is, of course Carter’s riguht, to associate with racists.
    But we can still denounce it.

    Then you don’t recall the threads. It came in sequence:
    First He was a Racist.
    Then he was a Racist’s Racist.
    Then he was just a Moron.
    Joe answered and Blumenthal backed off at every step of the argument.
    All because Max didn’t want to practice nettiquite but preferred to whine.
    And how far do you want to carry “associate”?
    If you want to leave the door open I’m certain there are a lot of associations that we can discuss regarding the Left and racism.
    (Isn’t that one of the core issues here?)
    Are you really so naive as to think the Left is immune from this horror and only conservatives deserve this criticism?
    I have some friends who are racists and other friends who, in an equally-disgusting fashion, are Marxists. I don’t agree with them on these points and I’ve worked side-by-side with some of them. I don’t agree with them, but still associate with them. There are many things far more important.
    I’ll leave with this question: Is a vote for Obama an affirmation of a specific class of racism?

  • ucfengr

    3000 deaths on 911 were a tragedy
    No, those were “chickens comin’ home to roost”.
    but what about the millions of lost civilian lives resulting from our government’s activities in Vietnam, Latin America, the Philippines, and in Iraq since the first Gulf War?
    No, those were genocides.
    Come on JohnW, you really need to get with the program here.

  • JohnW

    Uncenger,
    Pretty callious of you to be joking around about deaths like that.
    It’s almost like you want to say as long as my gasoline is under $4 per gallon and I can live in relative comfort, “god damn the world”.

  • http://braincrampsforgod.blogspot.com/ JCHFleetguy

    Joe

    The problem is that it is too little, too late. Why did it take the press focusing on Wright’s extremism before Obama distanced himself and criticized the pastor? He can wrap it in great rhetoric but he’s just a pandering opportunist who will say what he needs to in order to get elected.

    Regretfully, cynic about politicians that I am, I feel this way about what all politicians say – pretty much across the board.
    Scripturally, since I cannot know their heart, I have to take their words as the window on their beliefs. His words, on racism, were right. Whether he was pandering (and lying as you imply) or not is not mine to know.
    I can also grant that, in coming to grips with the theology he has been a part of and its contradiction with the necessity of uniting Americans across racial (and other) lines to accomplish goals that benefit everyone, he might actually be changing and moving in his views.
    He was dead on right that racial politics are a distraction from the common work that we must do as a country; and a distraction from deciding what that is. DEAD.ON.RIGHT.
    As I said, in this last area I have plenty of reason not to vote for Barack Obama – but, whether sincere or not, his words on race and its importance in America should be admired.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    Joe’s intellectual honesty
    At this point zero evidence has been presented that Obama wrote the speech himself. There has been ZERO evidence that any speechwriter let alone the white one Joe alleges wrote the speech. Zero evidence unless you count the moronic argument that no person could write 5000 words over two days.
    Considering this Joe should change the title of this post and indicate the correction below. If he was really honest he would apologize to Obama. After all if using a speechwriter is sleezy then Joe should apologize when he incorrectly accuses someone of it.

  • ucfengr

    JohnW, how typical of you to completely miss the point.
    It’s almost like you want to say as long as long as George Bush is in office and we have troops in Iraq, how dare anybody be happy.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    Post 59’s first sentence should read “Evidence has been presented that Obama wrote the speech himself”

  • The One

    The most amusing thing about all the comments here is that people think they are actually discussing something of importance. Neither Obama or Clinton has enough delegates to capture the nomination and therefore it will come down to super delegates. Hillary has more favors to call in then Obama due to her duration of time in the game and she will be get the nomination. All this talk of grandmother’s and speeches is for naught. Please write about something of significance Joe and you will get better comments then ZOMG.

  • The One

    The most amusing thing about all the comments here is that people think they are actually discussing something of importance. Neither Obama or Clinton has enough delegates to capture the nomination and therefore it will come down to super delegates. Hillary has more favors to call in then Obama due to her duration of time in the game and she will be get the nomination. All this talk of grandmother’s and speeches is for naught. Please write about something of significance Joe and you will get better comments then ZOMG.

  • Rob

    Joe: “Bush has been in office the entire time that I’ve been blogging. Please point out a single speech that I have praised. Seriously, point one out for us.”
    I said “if Bush gave a great speech, he would be praising it to the skies.” Now I realize that was a bit outlandish even as a hypothetical. Even if someone wrote a great speech for Bush, Bush would still have to deliver it, and that would be tantamount to William Hung singing “Bridge Over Troubled Water.”
    My point is that your purpose in attacking Obama’s pastor and questioning the authorship of Obama’s speech has little to do with anything other than your preference for right-wing politics. You are going to attack the democrat du jour regardless.
    You know what interests me more than whether or not Obama wrote the speech he delivered? How a foreign policy expert like John McCain could conflate Al Qaeda and Shiite extremists. Joe Leiberman’s quickly whispered correction made him Nancy to McCain’s Ronald Reagan.

  • Nick

    Rob wrote: if Bush gave a great speech, [Joe] would be praising it to the skies.
    Joe replied: Bush has been in office the entire time that I’ve been blogging. Please point out a single speech that I have praised.
    That exchange was a thing of beauty. Best part of the entire thread.

  • ucfengr

    The most amusing thing about all the comments here is that people think they are actually discussing something of importance.
    I defy you to find anything in any of my posts on this thread that imply that I find this topic important. In fact, I double-doggone dare you to.

  • http://mumonno.blogspot.com Mumon

    The One:
    Actually a lot more Democrats owe their office & influence to Howard Dean nowadays than Clinton.
    The Clintons detest Howard Dean’s “50 State Strategy” because it removes them and their Washington based consultants from the nexus of power.
    That’s why they’re fighting like wounded beasts against Obama.
    And the Supers know that ultimately if they went against the will of the people there’d be serious bloodletting.
    My congressman has said quite a few “New Democrat” things, but unlike our Senators who came out early in favor of Hillary (WA state) my congressman came out for Obama.
    And Maria Cantwell is definitely keeping lines open with Obama supporters – they know that if Obama gets this they’ve got to keep the dialog going.
    Conversely, if Hillary doesn’t get the nomination, she might try to sabotage Obama’s run because an Obama loss (a) still leaves Bill Clinton as titular head of the Democratic Party, (b) sets up Hillary for a ‘012 run for the white House, and (c) gets them to try to fire Howard Dean again.
    And that’s what’s really going on in the Democratic Party, as opposed to Joe Carter’s nonsense.

  • http://dariusteichroew.blogspot.com Darius

    Greatest Race Speech ever???
    Melanie Phillips begs to differ…
    http://www.spectator.co.uk/melaniephillips/564951/trashing-grandma-yet.thtml

  • http://metalutheran.blogspot.com Josh S

    Joe, I’d like to extend my sympathies to you for having to deal with all the people who are incapable of responding to what you wrote, but instead simply verbalize the emotions that your writing evoked within them, as though such emotions necessarily correlate to what you actually said. I deal with this constantly in my own sphere (though I rarely blog politics). It’s frustrating, I know, and just displays the complete breakdown of analytical thought in our culture. People do not think; they feel. Words do not communicate meaning; they evoke emotions, and the speaker is responsible for whatever emotions he evokes regardless of what he actually said.
    Now what did Joe Carter actually say? He simply pointed out that when a politician gives a great speech, it reflects on the brilliance of the speech writer, yet the general public swoons over the man who delivered the speech. His concern is not over the politicians or the speech-writers, but the swooners.
    In other words, he’s not criticizing Obama. He’s criticizing you. He’s criticizing your lack of any ability to analyze what happens before your very eyes, which you have so adequately demonstrated by your failure to accurately analyze what has been said. Instead of dealing with what was said, you react to whatever you think the motives of Joe here were–how his little blog post made you feel.
    But criticize the actual thought? Impossbile! We are Americans! We don’t think, we react!

  • Dave

    Re: the article. It’s a petty complaint, grasping at straws… and most probably the charge that Obama didn’t write the speech is not even true.

  • Dave

    Re: the article. It’s a petty complaint, grasping at straws… and most probably the charge that Obama didn’t write the speech is not even true.

  • http://braincrampsforgod.blogspot.com/ JCHFleetguy

    Josh S.
    What you are saying it true. Joe’s direct criticism is what you specify. However, is this an epiphany he just had? Did Mike Huckabee write all of his own speeches? If no, did Joe ever criticize that – or point out that we should be awarding the kudos for his ideas to his speech writers and only praising Mike for his delivery? If Mike did write his speeches, what just happened to “candidates not having time”
    You see the problem. It is impossible to separate the text of the criticism from the sub-text of who is being criticized and it’s timing – and I hope I know Joe well enough that that sub-text is only about him being a Democrat who knocked a speech out of the park; and Joe, as a partisan in the fight against him, hoping to deaden the blow.
    I think it is attempting to remove the partisan nature of the criticism that fails to

    analyze what happens before your very eyes, which you have so adequately demonstrated by your failure to accurately analyze what has been said.

  • The One

    ucfengr I must decline your dare considering you are one of the more colorful commentators on here.
    Actually a lot more Democrats owe their office & influence to Howard Dean nowadays than Clinton. ~Mumon
    I’m curious as to why you believe that. Considering Dean lost the nomination while Bill Clinton won it and the presidency twice(plus Hillary’s seat in NY) ;wouldn’t the Clinton’s have more influence and be the ones sitting members of Congress as well as super delegates are more likely to gravitate too?

  • ex-preacher

    Huckabee did claim while running for president that he had never used a speechwriter while governor. But conservative columnist David Sanders, a former aide to Huckabee, said he wrote some of Huckabee’s speeches.
    I wonder if Joe knows that every president (and probably every governor) has also signed letters that he himself did not write. Even Abraham Lincoln! It’s all very shocking, I know. And I hope Joe never finds out that Matthew plagiarized huge portions of his gospel from Mark.
    I’m still waiting for Joe to provide the slightest bit of evidence that Obama did not write his own speech and not just “an anecdote” and “a line or two.” It is completely believable to me that Obama wrote most or all of it. He has been preparing his entire adult life to deliver this speech. The notion that he had only a small part in composing it is hard to swallow. Even if he had help in writing it, it is his speech. He takes credit or blame for what is in it.

  • ucfengr

    ucfengr I must decline your dare considering you are one of the more colorful commentators on here.
    Colorful? Is that a crack about my race?

  • http://cbldf.com Sasha

    Technical excellence in delivering a speech is certainly a notable, albeit minor, skill. But if we are moved by the brilliance of the rhetoric why do we not lavish our praise on the person that actually produced the words and ideas? In other words, why do we swoon for the dummy rather than the ventriloquist?
    By your reasoning, one should conclude that Reagan was nothing but an empty mouthpiece and conservatives should not give him nearly the amount of reverence his memory currently holds.

  • http://cbldf.com Sasha

    I’m sure that he was deeply involved in its writing. But I seriously doubt a busy Presidential candidate wrote a 5000 word speech in two days all by himself.
    Considering he was mostly out-of-sight for the weekend and this speech would be among the most important and personal in his life, I could easily see Obama finding time in his busy schedule to write it.
    This post is not really about Obama. It’s about us. It’s about how we’ve dumbed down the political process so much that we don’t even ponder why politicians don’t think (or write) for themselves.
    A worthy endeavour. Just make sure you give credit and demerit where it’s due. I think you aim for the wrong target here. It is logical and likely that Obama wrote most, if not all of his speech. As such, he should be lauded for coming up with one of the best treatises on race I’ve ever heard from a public figure.
    The only real connection that point has to Obama is that his supporters are a prime example of this disturbing attitude. He’s an empty suit that people project their political longings onto–and yet everyone seems fine with that.
    Are you sure about that? I wasn’t an Obama supporter orginally, but after hearing/reading his speeches, going over his record, and doing some research, I believe that despite his youth, he is the best and most qualified candidate of the current crop. Don’t assume that because you aren’t familiar with the man, that everyone else is enamored with a shadow.
    Seriously, even Hillary Clinton is more qualified to be President. Yet people fawn and swoon over Obama as if he was a man of substance because he can read off a teleprompter using the voice of Duane “The Rock” Johnson.
    Perhaps his supporters are ardent because he’s a charismatic man of substance who also can deliver a speech with power. Just because he can orate well doesn’t make him superficial.
    Now I’ll admit that the other side isn’t much better. But while the GOP may be stuck with McCain, at least he’s done something in life. the same can’t be said for Obama which makes the syrupy affection over him all the more mbarrassing.
    You’re showing laziness here, friend. Obama has accomplished quite a bit, both on a local and national level. Just a little bit of research bears that out.
    . . . . .
    You admit that it was a great speech on race and race relations in the United States. Why not post on the content of the speech itself rather than its authorship? (Message more important than the messenger and all that.)
    A well-considered post and energetic debate on the what the proper Christian stance should be on race issues in America, and how to bind and heal the wounds that still fester, is a far more worthy undertaking for a man of Christ than the navel-gazing you are succumbing to.

  • http://thebronxblogger.blogspot.com Matthew Goggins

    Hi everybody!,
    I left a post in the last comment thread decrying Rev. Wright as a purveyor of hate with an evil mission. I pointed out his similarity to Louis Farrakhan.
    I listened today to Senator Obama on YouTube deliver his race in America speech. I was keenly interested in what he had to say about this big, ugly mess.
    Some reactions:
    1) The speech was too long and too nuanced. It had something for everyone, so it lost the focus and impact it otherwise might have had. It was almost as if he was trying to filibuster his way out of his hole.
    2) I like the way he refused to dis Rev. Wright personally. I am concerned, though, about the way he dissed his grandma. Did she know this was coming her way? Does Senator Obama have the right to strongly imply to the whole world that his beloved childhood guardian was a racist?
    3) I really liked the part where he made a passing reference to his own very “imperfect” campaign. It struck me as a moment of genuine modesty.
    4) I am most concerned that he refused to condemn Rev. Wright’s rhetoric in strong enough terms. He went as far as saying, “not only wrong, but divisive”. To me, divisive is saying I’m right, and you’re wrong. Saying, “you people killed millions of my people with the AIDS virus” is not divisive, it is hateful and crazy. It is on this point that I believe Senator Obama is trying to eat his cake and have it too.
    On the other hand, Obama specifically rejected blaming Israel for its problems, and he cited the violent ideology of “radical Islam” as the root cause of MidEastern crises. He sounded like Mitt Romney on this point.
    He also mentioned welfare in a negative way, and chastized Rev. Wright for promoting a victim mentality in his congregation. So on the specifics of what Rev. Wright actually said, Senator Obama gets a passing grade for forcefully contradicting what he said, even while failing to characterize it properly.
    I suppose that, in the context of his speech, “divisive” could be interpreted as a coded synonym for hateful. But I would have been much, much more impressed if he had labeled things more accurately and forcefully.
    Senator Obama has made a big deal about the power of words, the power of ideas. But that cuts both ways, and he seems to be ducking the implications of that in this particular instance.
    Love the sinner, but hate the sin. Senator Obama did a very good job of loving the sinner, but he was making too many excuses for the sin, and not enough condemnation.
    5) I liked the anecdote at the end about his South Carolina organizer, Ashley. I know it’s corny, but I’m a sucker for stories like that.
    However, also towards the end, he strongly reiterated his opposition to the Iraq War. If he doesn’t change his tune on Iraq before November, that will be a deal-breaker for me and Senator McCain will get my vote.
    6) Overall, I liked the speech a lot. I won’t be satisfied with it until I feel I can trust him to walk the walk as well as talk the talk. That is going to take some time. But if he slays the Hildabeast for the nomination, I will be very favorably disposed to him, to say the least.
    7) One more thing: Joe mentioned in this comment thread that Senator Obama hadn’t done anything really important in his life when compared to Senator McCain. Senator Obama was a community organizer in Chicago and a state representative. Not as impressive as being a war hero and torture survivor, but not nothing either. I’d say Senator Obama’s experience is just as praiseworthy as Bill Clinton’s was when he was running for president.

  • http://mumonno.blogspot.com Mumon

    The One:
    In case you missed it, Dean’s been chair of the DNC for about the past 3 1/2 years; as such he had a major role in where Democratic Party national funds went.
    He chose to spend that money way down on the totem pole; for example, at county level races.
    Did it help? You bet your a!# it did. In 2006, Dean ‘s DNC funded candidates, e.g., locally won elections here, that had no relation to the mess that Bush made.
    Obama’s campaign follows the Dean strategy. Clinton’s follows the Kerry strategy (“small states don’t matter”)

  • Alex

    I kinda like listening to Obama talk. He would be a cool guy to hang out and talk with. I don’t agree with any of his politics, but I am proud that this country is overcoming race and voting for him, although I don’t think it will take any steam out of the “racist America” movement. I had hoped he would emphasize his bi-racialness, which is a natural fact, instead of side stepping it. That would have been interesting to observe. Would it offend many blacks if he talked more about his white mother and insisted of calling himself what he is? But…
    I believe he is the “Manchurian Candidate”. He is so much smarter than eveyone else that he is effectively “hoodwinking” millions of voters. He had hoped to snag the nomination before his “militant”, black power, church issue surfaced so he could counter it in the general with the racist retort, but it is harder to do that in the Dem primary. Is he a closet people’s revolutionary? I don’t know, but I hope he wins the nomination and sends an army full of Mumon’s out in the streets to campaign for him. Hatred of whites and Jews will not get much beyond the black power community, particularly if his opponents are white and Jewish.

  • Alex

    I kinda like listening to Obama talk. He would be a cool guy to hang out and talk with. I don’t agree with any of his politics, but I am proud that this country is overcoming race and voting for him, although I don’t think it will take any steam out of the “racist America” movement. I had hoped he would emphasize his bi-racialness, which is a natural fact, instead of side stepping it. That would have been interesting to observe. Would it offend many blacks if he talked more about his white mother and insisted of calling himself what he is? But…
    I believe he is the “Manchurian Candidate”. He is so much smarter than eveyone else that he is effectively “hoodwinking” millions of voters. He had hoped to snag the nomination before his “militant”, black power, church issue surfaced so he could counter it in the general with the racist retort, but it is harder to do that in the Dem primary. Is he a closet people’s revolutionary? I don’t know, but I hope he wins the nomination and sends an army full of Wright’s out in the streets to campaign for him. Hatred of whites and Jews will not get much beyond the black power community, particularly if his opponents are white and Jewish.

  • giggling

    I find no reason to believe Obama wrote it all in 2 days. It’s difficult to believe that he hasn’t been thinking about these issues for a while, or jotting down notes and ideas for a speech. It’s difficult to believe he didn’t have any help whatsoever.
    That said, I find no reason to believe Obama did NOT write it over a longer period of time (perhaps finalizing it in two days). I think he is capable of the content of the speech, and he probably has been thinking about these issues for a while.
    My question is: who cares? In many ways, it was a great speech, but so what? It still represented certain actions as morally equivalent that were not so. There are no groundbreaking ideas in it.
    Obama still had not answered the real questions regarding his pastor:
    If you position yourself as one who can move the country beyond race, then why do you go to a church that can’t move beyond race?
    Why do you think you can help the country move beyond divisions, especially racial division, when you can’t help your own church do it in 20 years?
    Did you ever even challenge your pastor’s remarks?

  • smmtheory

    If you position yourself as one who can move the country beyond race, then why do you go to a church that can’t move beyond race?
    Why do you think you can help the country move beyond divisions, especially racial division, when you can’t help your own church do it in 20 years?
    Did you ever even challenge your pastor’s remarks?

    Those are some very good questions Giggling. Fortunately, I’m not in the mood to channel any of the Kos Kids to answer them.

  • http://scienceblogs.com/mixingmemory Chris

    Joe, this post is beneath you. Seriously. Your only evidence that Obama didn’t write it is your knowledge of what other candidates do? And since Obama has generally used a speech writer, but explicitly claims this speech to be his own words, written (taking him until 2 in the morning the night before the speech) largely if note entirely by himself, you assume that he’s lying? Why would he, when he’s never claimed to not use a speech writer? What would it buy him?
    And by the way, even in the speech he admits having heard his pastor say things that were controversial, so I don’t know why, in the comments sections, you’d bring out someone (whose) claim that he’s never heard him say anything controversial as a little dig on him. Seriously, Joe, between the Romney rumor that never materialized and this, it’s looking like presidential politics bring out the worst in you.

  • Baggi

    I thought this speech gave us real insight into his character as a man.
    He threw his Grandmother under the bus for political expediency.

  • http://cbldf.com Sasha

    I thought this speech gave us real insight into his character as a man.
    He threw his Grandmother under the bus for political expediency.
    I keep hearing that soundbite parroted around in pretty much those exact words. But on what basis? If Obama denounced his grandmother as a racist and declared he would distance himself from her, then the accusation would be accurate.
    Rather, he used his grandmother of how a basically good and decent person can still be flawed or hold flawed ideas. He didn’t condemn her at all. (Love the sinner and hate the sin and all that.)
    (And I’ll be willing to bet that Obama asked his grandmother for permission. I cannot imagine that he used her as an example against her wishes.)

  • melone

    Joe, I really think this post was silly. If your main point was to talk about how we have dumbed down the political process, why didn’t you talk about McCain’s speech writers? Or Bush’s? Just talking about Obama is not even-handed, so you completely come across as making a dig at Obama, rather than a generic point about the political process. I’m surprised you didn’t anticipate people’s reactions and put in something about Republican speech writers.

  • http://cbldf.com Sasha

    My question is: who cares? In many ways, it was a great speech, but so what? It still represented certain actions as morally equivalent that were not so. There are no groundbreaking ideas in it.
    You agree it was a great speech. So why are you insisting on missing the forest for the trees? Why aren’t you as interested in the parts you consider good as the bits you consider lacking?
    Which actions exactly do you think he represented as morally equivalent?
    The ideas themselves may not be new, but they are ideas no one has been willing to discuss openly. What is groundbreaking is that a high profile politician actually discussed a historically taboo subject in a clear, balanced, and intelligent manner, without condescending or trying to make it simplistic. I wish more political speeches were more akin to this and not merely an excuse to string together soundbites.
    Obama still had not answered the real questions regarding his pastor:
    If you position yourself as one who can move the country beyond race, then why do you go to a church that can’t move beyond race?
    Why do you assume that the church itself cannot move beyond race? The congregation almost certainly has a mix of all walks and generations. Do you honestly believe that every member has the exact same view as Wright?
    BTW, this is a question about Obama, not his pastor.
    Why do you think you can help the country move beyond divisions, especially racial division, when you can’t help your own church do it in 20 years?
    I suspect that after 20 years, the evolving view on race relations at Trinity United Church of Christ is closer to Obama’s than it was for his retiring pastor. How much of it is Obama’s doing is unknowable. If you’re interested, check out this video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lY6qjeJ5mG8) of Reverend Otis Moss, the incoming Senior Pastor at Obama’s church. He strikes me as much more of Obama’s worldview than Wright’s.
    And again, this is a question about Obama, not his pastor.
    Did you ever even challenge your pastor’s remarks?
    IIRC, I read an article that discussed Obama having spoken to Wright, disagreeing with him. If I can find the link, I’ll quote more accurately.

  • Baggi

    But on what basis? If Obama denounced his grandmother as a racist and declared he would distance himself from her, then the accusation would be accurate.
    On the basis that he equated her with the vile racist Wright. He said that her private misgivings shared with him are the same as Wright’s very public racism.
    Hopefully you and I can agree that the things Wright preached were not just divisive, but wrong. And yet you say above that Obama only would have thrown his Grandma under the bus if he denounced her as a racist. He didn’t even denounce Wright as a racist, why would he do it to his Grandma?
    Rather, he used his grandmother of how a basically good and decent person can still be flawed or hold flawed ideas. He didn’t condemn her at all.
    And he didn’t condemn Wright either. So he didn’t make Wright look better (Which was his intent) by comparing him to his Grandma, instead, he made his Grandma look like Wright. A horrible thing to do to your family.

  • Rob

    “So he didn’t make Wright look better (Which was his intent) by comparing him to his Grandma, instead, he made his Grandma look like Wright. A horrible thing to do to your family.”
    I don’t think that was intended as a comparison at all points. I see it more as an anecdote relating his discomfort with racism in all its manifestations. If it is the truth, I can’t really see it as a “horrible thing to do to your family.” And I don’t think it was intended to make Wright look better. It was more an attempt to place Wright’s failings in perpective.
    I suppose some people are inclined to interpret the comparison more charitably than others, and one’s politics probably colors one’s interpretations.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    Baggi
    And he didn’t condemn Wright either. So he didn’t make Wright look better (Which was his intent) by comparing him to his Grandma, instead, he made his Grandma look like Wright. A horrible thing to do to your family.
    I don’t think he intended to make Wright look better. As I said before, Baggi you have no idea who Obama’s grandmother was or is. You have no idea if she was ten times worse than Wright or only a tenth as bad. He wanted to be honest about Wright and to be honest about someone is to view them in full. Wright is more complicated than 30 seconds of highly emotional sermons.
    I have no idea what passes for honesty with people like Baggi. Baggi decries Wright’s racism but he then tells us that Obama fails to show sufficient respect to blind family loyalty. But what is racism but an extended form of blind family loyalty? The essential point of both black nationalist type racists as well as Aryanists is that people of the same race must be loyal to each other because they are ‘family’ and the other race is not.
    What would Baggi say if tomorrow some historian discovers that Wright happens to be some distant relative of Obama related through some forgotton uncle or something? Would Obama then be prohibited from criticizing Wright and if he did he would be ‘throwing a family member under the bus?”
    A fascinating aspect of the speech is that it illustrated how pointless such a model is. Obama cannot seriously pretend he is only black while his mother is white and he has numerous white family members. Likewise he cannot pretend to be white. The ‘family only’ advocates on both sides are selling something that is fundamentally broken. It can only work by being dishonest, by pretending you’re all black or all white and there’s always a clear line in between. While it hasn’t gotten as much airplay on Fox and other outlets, Obama has been attacked on the other side for not being ‘black enough’. Wright mentions this in one of his ‘angry’ sermons when he points out that Hillary was never accused of being not white enough. Who would accuse Obama of not being black enough? Black racists.
    The right has now become the water boy for political correctness. The latest discovery by them is now ideological purity must trump all. They would tell us that Obama must forget all human connections and denounce Wright and pretend the man is nothing but evil as if this was a Soviet show trial or Mao’s Cultural Revolution. Perhaps Joe’s next post can be titled “Obama guilty doubleplusbad thoughtcrime!”
    Obama’s response is essentially conservative. Elders should be respected, both family members and those who have helped you should be given credit for the good they have done. At the same time perfection is something no human beign enjoys, all of us are flawed so we have no obligation to follow even out elders blindly. Maybe 15-20 years ago they would have gotten that but nearly a decade of corruption and growing fat on power has taken its toll.

  • http://www.evangelicaloutpost.com Joe Carter

    Chris And since Obama has generally used a speech writer, but explicitly claims this speech to be his own words,…
    He did? If that is true then I will update my post accordingly. Can you provide a reference where he claims to have written it all by himself (something from Obama, not one of his staffers)?
    Why would he, when he’s never claimed to not use a speech writer? What would it buy him?
    A better question is why should it matter if he wrote it himself? According to his defenders it doesn’t matter if someone writes his speeches for him…yet it does matter when he writes them? I don’t get it.
    And by the way, even in the speech he admits having heard his pastor say things that were controversial, so I don’t know why, in the comments sections, you’d bring out someone (whose) claim that he’s never heard him say anything controversial as a little dig on him.
    Wait a minute. Before he said that he never heard such talk. Then in his speech he admits that he has. So why exactly are we supposed to be believer him?
    Seriously, Joe, between the Romney rumor that never materialized…
    You mean hasn’t materialized yet. The case is still pending.
    Joe, I really think this post was silly. If your main point was to talk about how we have dumbed down the political process, why didn’t you talk about McCain’s speech writers?
    Because no one is praising McCain for his speeches. If everyone fawned over McCain’s scripted “authenticity” the way they do for Obama I’d be all over that too.
    But you’re missing the point. This isn’t about Obama. It’s about us. The voters who have dumbed down the process so much that we swoon over the ability to read from a teleprompter.

  • Mike Toreno

    Baggi, you are pulling a clumsy and dishonest slight of hand by saying that Obama was comparing his grandmother to the “vile racist” Wright. You are presenting this characterization of Wright as if it is a proven factual statement, but it isn’t. You’re not telling us about Wright, only about how you feel about Wright. But you have not claimed to know much about Wright’s actions over the course of his life, and such knowledge is a necessary thing if we are to judge a man’s overall character. Therefore, any suggestion that we should simply accept your characterization of Wright is insufficiently supported and must fall on deaf ears.
    You are essentially trying to make an argument from authority, with yourself as the authority. But in order to be accepted as an authority, you must, at the very least, present some evidence that you are not the stupidest person in the world. This you have, so far, failed to do. Now, you may with justice claim that Joe Carter, at least, is stupider than you are, based on his assertion that Obama did not write his speech. But that still leaves you as the second stupidest person in the world and still unworthy to be accepted as an authority.
    Your whole argument about Obama’s morality in making the comparison therefore collapses into the heap of ashes it is.
    My question to you is, would you be so exercised if an extremely obese white fundamentalist minister (one so fat you couldn’t drive around him without stopping for gas) said shortly after September 11 that America deserved the September 11 attacks?
    Or is only black ministers whose condemnation of America renders them “vile racists”?

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    A better question is why should it matter if he wrote it himself? According to his defenders it doesn’t matter if someone writes his speeches for him…yet it does matter when he writes them? I don’t get it.
    Errr, for the same reason you would give a great singer credit for also writing her own songs but you wouldn’t hold it against a singer if she sung other people’s songs.
    This criticism would work if you had a case that Obama was just an empty bag who just happened to luck out when he called up the temp agencies and hired some speechwriters who were really great. In reality, though, a candidate uses his speechwriters to communicate his ideas. If all they did was simply read from a teleprompter they are unlikely to be very moving.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    Joe,
    You mean hasn’t materialized yet. The case is still pending.
    Give it a rest. Romney dropped out long ago and will probably never be a candidate for Pres. again. Why don’t you just tell us what that devasting story was going to be.

  • Mike Toreno

    Joe, it isn’t about “voters who have dumbed down the process so much that we swoon over the ability to read from a teleprompter,” it is you, whose racism makes you unable to comprehend the idea that a black man is able to write a speech, rather than merely read the words of a white man from a teleprompter.

  • http://www.evaneco.com Don Bosch (evaneco.com)

    Peggy Noonan loved it, which may prove your point, Joe.

  • http://scienceblogs.com/mixingmemory Chris

    Joe, Obama said he was not at the church when Wright made the comments that have been circulating the web. In fact, he wasn’t (he was in Miami). He never said that he hadn’t heard him say anything controversial or inflammatory, and in his speech, if you’d read or listened to it, you’d hear him say that he has heard Wright say things that he disagrees with.
    As for Obama vs. his staff claiming that he wrote it, I haven’t seen him say it, but his staff has said it many times, and since in a campaign like this, that amounts to the same thing, I’m not sure why you would quibble.
    Also, I think it’s understandable that candidates employ speech writers in today’s day and age — as all of them do — because we live in a sounbite culture, where every single word you utter will be scrutinized by bloggers and the mainstream media, but I do think it matters that candidates can, when it comes down to it, speak their own words. And since this was a very personal speech, I think that it’s important that the words were personally written. Of course, I wasn’t one of the ones defending the use of speech writers, so I’m not sure why you gave that reply. Again, there’s a tone in your writing about the campaign that just doesn’t seem very… you.

  • http://missional.blog.com Jamie Arpin-Ricci

    The use of speech writer by political figures has a long and varied history in American politics. The fact remains that a good speech writer is hired to utilized their skills into communicating the intentions of the candidate better than they might do so themselves. After all, we are not voting for speech makers, therefore why shouldn’t they utilize these writers?
    Without question the role can be abused. When clever language and political pandering is used in speech writing to avoid the issue, the candy-coat reality, etc. then it is wrong. It has clearly been done before and will be done again. However, this is not a problem inherent in the issue, but having to do with the ethics of the candidates in question.
    As someone familiar with Obama’s other writing, I have little doubt that this speech was primarily written by him. However, as I stated above, I don’t have an issue with the use of a speech writer (though I have no reason to suspect one was used).
    Regardless of where you stand on Obama or this specific speech, the reality is that it would be impossible to please everyone with his response. Though some commentators here suggest otherwise, having read and listened the speech several times, Obama clearly condemned the racist comments of his former pastor (more than once). He was not excusing these comments when he explored their motivation, but rather was challenge Americans to recognize that even within the wrongfulness of these statements there could be seen one of the country’s most deeply held and unhealed wounds.
    Frankly, if he was going to pander in his speech, he took the wrong path. He expressed an honesty and frankness that is rare in politics (and life) today. Even if you disagree with him, his politics, etc. we should at least acknowledge those points in his speech which are true and desperately need addressing. Whoever ends up in office, I hope this speech has planted the seeds of change that they intended to.
    Peace,
    Jamie

  • http://teresatwocents.blogspot.com Moonshadow

    “Listen. Everything in that speech are things a certain man believed in. He was my father, John. And when he talked, people listened. They’ll listen to you, too.”
    Columnist/journalist Ann Mitchell to political puppet Long John Willoughby, aka “John Doe” in Capra’s Meet John Doe (1941).

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    I know of no case where an ‘empty suit’ conned his way into greatness simply because he had good speechwriters. Some on the left would like to assert Ronald Reagan was one such example but the publication of his private letters proved the man was one sharp writer himself.
    Speechwriters are necessary for the simple reason that it is physically impossible for a single person to write and give every speech required in this day and age.

  • http://www.apostlepress.com Apostle Press

    I’m struggling to see why the use of a speech writer is noteworthy. Is it because it was a powerful speech? Is it because the speech successfully put an end (which the exception of Sean Hannity of course) to the seemingly endless coverage about this? Because it knocked it out of the newscycle?
    Is it because it brought Richardson out to support Obama?
    I won’t speculate on the motivation of making a big deal out of Obama using a speech writer. I do know that as a Christian, I appreciate Obama’s stated desire to reconcile the parties and races in this country. That’s more Christ-like in my opinion, than we are currently getting from the promise-of-war McCain.

  • http://missional.blog.com Jamie Arpin-Ricci

    Well said, Apostle Press.

  • http://www.apostlepress.com Apostle Press

    Mr. Carter, it seems that Obama did in fact write the speech himself. I’d like to see you retract your charges.
    I’ve blogged about my specific issues with this post on my own blog. The entry can be found here.
    Specifically, I’m curious as to why you insist on painting Sen. Obama as a non-Christian when he has said countless times that he is. You have also implied that he has deliberately deceived us in regards to this speech when is clear now that he did not. Thanks for your time.
    Apostle Press

  • http://www.apostlepress.com Apostle Press

    Joe, I’ve waited to fact-check this link as much as possible and all indication says that it is true. Obama wrote this speech himself. I’m confident that you’ll come to the same conclusion and update this entry with a retraction.
    Link

  • http://gogogolemjhuyjmh.com/ dessRoacted
  • Trevor Niksik

    I think that was a good speech

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  • http://wordpress.pocosin.com Counsel

    The “back-and-forth” seems more like the “bickering” my two children engage in during their disagreements…
    Why can’t either of the “sides” agree that ghostwriting occurs and that it might not matter if a purple alien wrote the speech.
    I pick up the Declaration of Independence, and I read the words. If I give a speech using just that document, does it mean anything that I didn’t write the document if I support and agree with the document?
    I agree that credit should be given to the writer(s). However, bickering, and it is…, about who COULD write it means all of you are assuming much about what others are writing or about those who can write. We don’t know what anyone else is thinking (with 100% certainty), and presuming that we do means we are prejudging.
    Why not just ask? Has anyone tried to ask the Obama ticket who wrote the speech?
    Many of us can write a great speech. To make the candidates (or movie stars, writers, or anyone else) seem that much “above” the average person is, in my humble opinion, the mistake everyone is making. Unless they are jumping or sitting, they put their pants on one leg at a time…

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