Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Deja vu?

Back when the tapes of the anti-American, anti-Caucasian rants of Jeremiah Wright became widely circulated, Senator Barack Obama on March 14, 2008 condemned the statements of his pastor of twenty+ years. He declared

I vehemently disagree and strongly condemn the statements that have been the subject of this controversy. I categorically denounce any statement that disparages our great country or serves to divide us from our allies. I also believe that words that degrade individuals have no place in our public dialogue, whether it's on the campaign stump or in the pulpit. In sum, I reject outright the statements by Rev. Wright that are at issue.

Then Rev. Wright went before the National Press Club. Big mistake- at least for Obama. The Senator knew that he had to distance himself not only from the statements but also from the individual himself. He appeared to most observers to do this by asserting at a press conference, in a statement and in response to subsequent questions:

The person that I saw yesterday was not the person that I met 20 years ago....Well, as I said before, the person I saw yesterday was not the person that I have come to know over 20 years....Now, to some degree, I know that one thing that he said was true, that he was never my, quote/quote, “spiritual advisor.” He was never my spiritual mentor. He was my pastor. And to some extent how the press characterized in the past that relationship, I think, was inaccurate.

Now to the present:

In his new song, "Politics: Obama Is Here," Ludacris- the Artist Formerly Known As Christopher Bridges- condemns George W. Bush, John McCain, and Hillary Clinton while heralding Barack Obama. Here are some (or perhaps all) of the offending lyrics:

Hillary hated on you, so that b^$&%* is irrelevant.... paint the White House black and I'm sure that's got 'em terrified
McCain don't belong in ANY chair unless he's paralyzed
Yeah I said it cause Bush is mentally handicapped.

The Obama camp reacted quickly as campaign spokesman Bill Burton told Politico:

As Barack Obama has said many, many times in the past, rap lyrics today too often perpetuate misogyny, materialism, and degrading images that he doesn’t want his daughters or any children exposed to," said spokesman Bill Burton. "This song is not only outrageously offensive to Senator Clinton, Reverend Jackson, Senator McCain, and President Bush, it is offensive to all of us who are trying to raise our children with the values we hold dear. While Ludacris is a talented individual he should be ashamed of these lyrics."

Note Burton's points: the song is "outrageously offensive" and Ludacris "should be ashamed of these lyrics." Nothing about Ludacris himself being shameful, that his lyrics (as those of this song indicate) frequently are offensive, and certainly nothing suggesting Obama is displeased that one of his favorite rappers heartily supports him. Shades of March 14.

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