Was Clinton Behind Jeremiah Wright’s Resurface?

I knew something about this didn’t smell right. Initially, watching Reverend Jeremiah Wright on PBS was really useful and informative, and then seeing him in front of the National Press Club was, well, interesting.

I actually very much appreciated his opening (and scripted) remarks. But as the Q&A went on, I had to wonder, WHAT THE FUCK IS HE DOING? AND WHY NOW?

I know it must have been hard for Wright, or anyone, to be publicly thrashed the way he was in the media over the last month or so. I understand it must have been hard to listen to someone you helped acclimate himself to Chicago, baptized their children and preside over their wedding, to distance themselves from you in order to appeal to white voters. I also agree with Wright’s notion that the media attack on him was less about him per se, or Obama really, but was really about white America’s continued fear and anxiety that Black people really can’t stand them–and that the Black church, even after the Civil Rights Movement was long destroyed, still can be a place to radicalize Black people! And they really ain’t tryin to have no President who has anything to do with Black “radical-ism”.

In any case, Wright really seemed to be doing more than responding to his critics yesterday. He seemed to be both mocking the “press” and all its fakery of objectivity and fairness, and by extension, mocking the people who have tried to paint him into the box of the angry (and foolish) black preacher. But his mockery, in many ways, seemed to re-inscribe himself into that very box he seemed to want to move out of. He seemed to be caught up in the celebrity that the moment has given him, and less like someone who was really trying to redeem his reputation or that of his church, or the Black Church as a whole.

I am not arguing for a bourgie politics of respectability. I am not saying he should back away from his statements about the US, 9-11, HIV or anything of the sort (though in some places I wish he had more factual information and data to back up or re-frame his messaging in these issues). I am saying he has to know that the way he came off was cocky and at moments buffoonish– and really did very little to salvage his reputation of that of the Black church.

What’s interesting though, whether you believe he was trying to protect himself and the Black church, or that he was caught up in the moment or the idea of his own bravado and celebrity, he might have been a pawn in a political game, and did not see it coming.

Daily News columnist Errol Louis seems to suggest that Wright may have been set up by a Clinton supporter, who was the person who asked him to speak at this press conference. Errol writes:

Shortly before he rose to deliver his rambling, angry, sarcastic remarks at the National Press Club Monday, Wright sat next to, and chatted with, Barbara Reynolds.

A former editorial board member at USA Today, she runs something called Reynolds News Services and teaches ministry at the Howard University School of Divinity. (She is an ordained minister).

It also turns out that Reynolds – introduced Monday as a member of the National Press Club “who organized” the event – is an enthusiastic Hillary Clinton supporter.

On a blog linked to her Web site- www.reynoldsnews.com– Reynolds said in a February post: “My vote for Hillary in the Maryland primary was my way of saying thank you” to Clinton and her husband for the successes of Bill Clinton‘s presidency.

If it turns out that Wright was set up, and this was a ploy to cost Obama the nomination, I wonder how Wright will reconcile this with himself.

Or worse even, as NYTimes columnist Bob Herbert expresses, was this Wright’s way to get back at Obama?

6 thoughts on “Was Clinton Behind Jeremiah Wright’s Resurface?

  1. Why I don’t agree with Rev. Wright’s comments, I will agree with you.. it is not outside the realm of possibility that he was set up. Politcs is a nasty, evil game on all accounts. No matter what your views on the world, under no circumstances should that be considered playing fair… and I am sorry for he and his family if that is the case.

  2. Pingback: Hillary Clinton Updates » Blog Archive » Was Clinton Behind Jeremiah Wright’s Resurface?

  3. Hi Kenyon,

    My name is Derrick Mathis. I sent you a friend request on Facebook. You took my Gone Too Soon quiz a while ago. Anyway, I came across your blog and remembered you from the quiz…hence the Facebook friend request.

    After reading it I liked your blog and I subscribe to it now. But to the point at hand:

    I wouldn’t be surprised either if Clinton and her posse had a role in the whole Rev. Wright situation. It wreaks of political sabatoge. And politics is a very dirty business as the previous commentor pointed out. And in terms of politics and it being dirty business, nobody knows this better than THE CLINTONS. I wouldn’t put anything past them to do what they think they have to do to get what they want.

    There’s a silver lining in all this, though. I think that by Obama publicly denouncing Rev. Wright, the politician made black history. He catapulted black America into another socio-political dimension. Kinda’ like what Berry Gordy did for black music and black image and our culture. It’s time for us to let go of the blinding ways of christianity that we’ve held on to since European religious practice were introduced to us by the African slave owner. I know I won’t create any friends for saying this. But I’m saying it anyway. Those beliefs served us powerfully during and before the civil rights movement. I don’t discount the power of a religeous faith made unstoppable by a collective mind. But in the new millenium as Rev. Wright so painfully demonstrated, those beliefs and ways of thinking have no place in today’s political arena. I’d dare to say they don’t even have a place in black leadership, not in the national or civic lawmaking realm.

    I’m betting that Obama will recover from this. But the implications from this event will continue to reverberate within the nation’s black community. I think it is a sign that we are yet again in the process of redefining what it means to be black here in America. Obama, I believe, is symbolic of this.


  4. I’m a cynic, particularly when it comes to politicians. No politician is spared from my deepest cynicism.

    I believe Hillary would do anything to keep this in the news.

    I also believe that Obama knew about (and perhaps encouraged) Wright’s catapult back into the news. Every time Wright says something outrageous from now on, Obama will use it as an opportunity to distance himself from Wright and label Wright an extremist.

    Obama is a politician, and he knows that strategy will work with mainstream America.

    Give it a few weeks, and A.D.D. America will get bored with Wright, and the last thing they’ll remember will be Obama demonizing Wright.

  5. Is there anything behind Michael Moore’s linking of Rev. Wright to Bill and Hillary? From his website:

    Finally, I want to say a word about the basic decency I have seen in Mr. Obama. Mrs. Clinton continues to throw the Rev. Wright up in his face as part of her mission to keep stoking the fears of White America. Every time she does this I shout at the TV, “Say it, Obama! Say that when she and her husband were having marital difficulties regarding Monica Lewinsky, who did she and Bill bring to the White House for ‘spiritual counseling?’ THE REVEREND JEREMIAH WRIGHT!”


  6. First off,
    Derrick, you are SO on the money. People get defensive about religion, just like white America gets its panties in a bunch when you point out how racist this country was and continues to be.

    Rev. Wright was right, but he went about it all wrong.

    OF COURSE the Clintons have a hand in this. PUH-leeze. But as I listen to Obama’s victory speech in NC (he flattened the @$%!) … I can see that its to no avail, and …

    … to use the words of Miss Sofia … “I know’d that dere is a God!”

    LOL. Eat it Hillary!!!

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