Remind me not to piss off Melanie Philips…
I wrote a piece about Farrakhan’s endorsement of Obama for FrontPage, but they had to spike it after Obama’s semi-repudiation of Farrakhan at the debate.
But here it is anyway:
With friends like Louis Farrakhan, Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama doesn’t need enemies.
Speaking to thousands of supporters in Chicago on February 24, the controversial Nation of Islam leader praised Illinois Senator Obama as the “hope of the entire world that American will change and be made better.”
The endorsement won’t reassure voters already concerned about the candidate’s rumored ties to Islam, even if it’s just the ersatz version of the faith practiced by Farrakhan’s followers.
During Farrakhan’s two-hour speech in Obama’s hometown, the Nation of Islam minister declared, “This young man is capturing audiences of black and brown and red and yellow. If you look at Barack Obama’s audiences and look at the effect of his words, those people are being transformed.”
“A black man with a white mother became a savior to us,” he told the crowd, referring to Nation of Islam’s founder, Fard Muhammad, who also had a white mother and black father.
“A black man with a white mother could turn out to be one who can lift America from her fall.”
The minister’s messianic message coincided with the release of a photo on the Drudge Report. Taken on Senator Obama’s trip to a Muslim region of Kenya in 2006, the photo shows him wearing a traditional white turban and tribal robes.
Meanwhile an anonymous email message with a sinister, insinuating tone continues to circulate, emphasizing Barack Obama’s Arabic middle name, Hussein, and accusing the Senator of being a “secret” Muslim who pretends to be Christian for the sake of political expediency.
Obama campaign spokesman Bill Burton quickly disassociated the candidate from Farrakhan’s endorsement, saying, “Sen. Obama has been clear in his objections to Minister Farrakhan’s past pronouncements and has not solicited the minister’s support.”
Those notorious “past pronouncements” are thoroughly documented at DiscoverTheNetworks.org:
“Farrakhan also has a long, well-documented history of venom-laced references to the ‘white devils’ and Jewish ‘bloodsuckers’ who purportedly decimate America’s black community from coast to coast. He has referred to Judaism as a ‘gutter religion,’ and to Adolf Hitler as ‘a great man’ — though he later claimed that he had meant only that Hitler was ‘wickedly great.’ He has made innumerable statements depicting whites and Jews as loathsome, racist oppressors of blacks.”
Farrakhan has also referred to Jews as “the synagogue of Satan” and called whites “vicious beasts” and “the skunks of the planet.”
However, this isn’t the first time Barack Obama’s name has been linked to Farrakhan’s.
In January of this year, the Washington Post’s Richard Cohen reported:
“Barack Obama is a member of Chicago’s Trinity United Church of Christ. Its minister, and Obama’s spiritual adviser, is the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr. In 1982, the church launched Trumpet Newsmagazine; Wright’s daughters serve as publisher and executive editor. Every year, the magazine makes awards in various categories. Last year, it gave the Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr. Trumpeter Award to a man it said ‘truly epitomized greatness.’ That man is Louis Farrakhan.”
Blogger David Bernstein at the Volokh Conspiracy observed trenchantly:
“Obama campaigns as a ‘uniter.’ Yet his spiritual mentor, and longtime pastor of his church, is an ardent admirer of Louis Farrakhan. One can even argue that Farrakhan has done some admirable things, despite his racist demagoguery. Unfortunately, Rev. Wright’s praise for Farrakhan is precisely based on Farrakhan’s racist demagoguery, what Rev. Wright calls Farrakhan’s ‘astounding and eye-opening’ analysis of the ‘racial ills of this nation’, a ‘perspective’ that is ‘helpful and honest.’
“Such as ‘White people are potential humans — they haven’t evolved yet’? Or ‘they [the Jews] are the greatest controllers of black minds, black intelligence.’ For Obama to merely brush this all off as ‘I don’t always agree with Rev. Wright’ doesn’t exactly satisfy. People are routinely judged, after all, by the company they keep, and one would think that someone running for president as a ‘uniter’ would have kept rather different company.”
In fact, Obama’s pastor has a relationship with Farrakhan dating back to at least 1984, when Rev. Wright went with Louis Farrakhan to Libya to meet dictator Muammar Qadhafi, violating a Reagan Administration travel ban. Qadhafi and Farrakhan later formed a partnership in which the dictator “pledged $1 billion to help Farrakhan develop a Muslim political lobby in the U.S.”
Obama has repeatedly tried to distance himself from his pastor’s embarrassing admiration for Farrakhan, telling a meeting of Jewish leaders in Cleveland this month that he believed giving the Nation of Islam leader an award was “a mistake” and comparing his pastor to “an old uncle who sometimes will say things that I don’t agree with.”
Presumably one point of disagreement concerns Rev. Wright’s habit of referring to “the United States of white America,” in stark contrast to Obama’s star-making keynote address at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, in which he famously declared:
“There’s not a black America and white America and Latino America and Asian America; there’s the United States of America.”
However, Barack Obama thought highly enough of his pastor to borrow the title of the Reverend’s most famous sermon for this own bestselling memoir, The Audacity of Hope.
In that memoir, Obama writes that his favorite book in his younger days was The Autobiography of Malcolm X, the notorious 60s-era Nation of Islam leader who railed against Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s doctrine of nonviolent resistance.
But did Obama’s youthful enthusiasm for the assassinated Nation of Islam figure end when he became an adult?
This month Debbie Schlussel discovered and popularized a YouTube video montage assembled from scenes from Spike Lee’s 1992 biopic Malcolm X, along with clips of recent Barack Obama speeches. Interestingly, the YouTube video depicts the Malcolm X character and the real life Senator using the same highly idiosyncratic words, warning their audiences not to be “bamboozled” and “hoodwinked” by pandering politicians.
It’s wise advice, whatever the source.
Obviously, politicians have little control over who decides to endorse them. They can only follow Barack Obama’s lead and quickly issue statements disavowing the support of anyone they consider to be a liability.
Yet the fact remains that of all the Presidential candidates Louis Farrakhan could have singled out for praise, he chose Barack Obama. Farrakhan repeatedly referenced Obama’s mixed race heritage in the speech, so perhaps his enthusiastic rhetoric reflects nothing more than old fashioned identity politics as usual.
If Farrakhan finds the Senator’s policy proposals as agreeable as his finds his skin color, however, it rais
es serious questions about what kind of America a President Obama would try to create.