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Wednesday: Fire Festival

Today is Beltane Eve, that time of year in the Celtic calendar marking the first day of the summer pasture season. It’s also the time when the world of faerie and the world of men collide and unusual things are apt to happen. Beltane celebrations feature fire, a sort of purification symbol, and can range from the ancient rustic innocent where participants dig a hole in the earth, fill it with fire and make egg custards and oatmeal cakes, finishing it off by leaping over the flames, to the wiccan versions where the May Lord and Lady are “united”. (makes you almost want to convert, huh?)

The modern version of the Fire Festival of Beltane is celebrated every April 30 in Edinburgh. There are elaborate processions and rituals and bonfires.

Our own primary season is a trial by fire of sorts. How are our candidates doing this morning?

  • Hillary Clinton is wearing out her press corps as she leads them in a merry chase from state to state. NPR’s David Greene recounts yesterdays schedule for our Energizer Bunny in A Candidate on the Campaign Trail.
  • Yesterday, she practiced leaping over some bonfires at her interview with the Indianapolis Star. Her response on China policy will make your jaw drop. (The link is from TalkLeft. Hint for using the player: Click the On Demand link)
  • Did Obama pull his bacon out of the fire yesterday? The New York Times ponders his problem with Rev. Wright in Obama’s Break with Ex-Pastor Sets Sharp Shift in Tone. The issue now extends to the superdelegates. Is it enough to give them pause? Will they be worried that he won’t be able to withstand the flames of the general election? I’m a little concerned that people are focusing too much on the quality of the excuse and not the credibility. As to the latter, it’s pretty much shot in my estimation. The last part of the NYTimes editorial on the subject was just bizarre:

    This country needs a healthy and open discussion of race. Mr. Obama’s repudiation of Mr. Wright is part of that. His opponents also have a responsibility — to repudiate the race-baiting and make sure it stops.

    Are they serious?! What kind of fools do they think we are? (don’t answer that) If they want repudiation of race baiting, they need look no further than Obama himself and their own writing on the subject. His “opponents” didn’t start this. Obama did and now it’s coming back to get him. Well, even if the NYTimes doesn’t get this, the voters most likely do. They are the next trial by fire and, right now, Obama looks a bit flammable.

  • Eriposte at TheLeftCoaster is burning and smoldering over the latest character assassination attempts from Obamaphiles directed towards Rev. Barbara Reynolds, a member of the National Press Club’s board, and by extension, Hillary Clinton. Eriposte thinks along the same lines that I do on the Wright matter: He’s said some pretty preposterous things but he has been a respected preacher for years. It’s a shame that his character has also been destroyed, even if he gave it a little help. Just go read it. These Obama supporters know no shame. I guess they figure we’re just too stupid to know what’s really going on. They must be friends with whoever wrote that ridiculous NYTimes editorial for ttoday. Can we talk about something else now? Like the incendiary price of gas?
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35 Responses

  1. I saw that NYTimes piece last night and was pretty stunned. I don’t really see where race-baiting fits into the narrative of this past week at all.

    Hasn’t it been pretty much about judgment and experience?

  2. Kbird: Race baiting is at the heart of this. It’s likely that the Republicans would have used Wright anyway. That’s just the kind of people they are. But the whole “Clinton and her surrogates are racists” thing was started by Obama’s cynical and destructive campaign staff. He was desperate to *over* win in SC so he played it to get all of the AA’s to himself and skew some of the Feb primaries in his favor. But the problem is, he left himself open to the attacks from the GOP by NOT being that post racial candidate after all. The Clintons had nothing to do with it. That’s what’s so infuriating about the editorial. She’s getting slimed again through no fault of her own.

  3. I do not believe in coincidences when it comes to politics.

    A while ago, when they were announcing Rev. Wright’s upcoming tour de force with the media I wonder, why now? I predicted to my wife that Obama would find something “transcendentally terrible and shocking” to denounce/reject/repudiate about the man and his views…. It seems that I was not too far off.

    Now the question remains, is it too little to late? Why did Obama not do this a month ago during his “better-than-MLKing” speech on race in America… My guess is that the Wright issue must be hurting him badly (or has the potential to hurt him) in NC and/or with the SDs.

    Then again, what do I know….

  4. I wondered…. heh

  5. Upstate:

    If this was planned, I really don’t want Obama to win. His advisors must be sit-com writers.

  6. I really don’t want Obama to win anyway. Are we really supposed to believe he just now realized what Wright is all about?

    Why is the media doing this? (wailing) (gnashing)

  7. I don’t believe the Rev. Wright tour was planned. I think Wright is really angry with Obama for not standing up for him. I guess we’ll really find out when Wright’s book comes out in the fall–just in time to affect the November election.

    And yes, it’s too late. Obama’s excuses aren’t credible. He was a member of that church for 20 years. This isn’t going to go away, because the Republicans will use it in the general election and the superdelegates know that. Obama is done as a presidential contender. If the Democrats nominate him anyway, he’ll be another McGovern-Mondale-Dukakis.

  8. Wright is not going away. In my hometown paper, in KY, the second page of the editorial pages, home of the nationally syndicated columns, was nothing but Wright. The reader letters are full of it too.

  9. I agree 100% with bostonboomer, This stuff between them is deeply personal. Obama’s ambition just got in the way of a former friendship. Overboard you go!!

  10. Nothing like sagging poll numbers to help a guy find Jesus, hey, Barack?

  11. Well, a humiliating loss in Pennsylvania can also cause a come to Jesus moment, DC.

  12. BB: I fully agree. And lest we forget, there will be the Rezko and Ayers/Weather Underground stories that the GOP will no doubt tie-in with Wright to establish the quality of Obama’s “judgment”. Do they really despise the Clintons THAT much, that they’re willing to flush the entire party down the toilet for the sake of a dreamweaver? Good grief.

  13. Too little too late? I think so, yes. He hasn’t got time to fix things before getting trounced in Indiana, and North Carolina may be a squeaker for him. The rest of the primary season looks pretty grim for him, except maybe for Oregon. Unfortunately, he’s likely incapable of recognizing that he’s finished. He’ll spend the summer further damaging the party–er, patching things up with the SDs–before the convention.

  14. I love how the Times conveniently failed to mention that Clinton already said we have to move on from Wright and condemned the Republicans for politicizing the issue (not she didn’t say anything about race). Also, the Times doesn’t stress that Wright simply repeated the same assertions that got him into hot water before and which Obama previously refused to disown him over.

    Fundamentally this is not about race but judgment, trust, and character. Wright called him out as a two-bit politician who’ll say anything to get elected and Obama proved him right.

  15. I don’t know….. probably all of you are right about Wright (no pun intended), but if the reverend did this because he is angry at Obama then he is not a very savvy leader is he….Anyway….

    Plus the media likes Obama and his “courage”. Yahoo news says that “Obama shows fiery side in denouncing former pastor’s comments” so there, he is fiery and smart and popular (in an upscale kind of way….)

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/time/20080430/us_time/obamatriestodigout

    Must run, hasta luego.

  16. Obama’s story is not credible. That dog won’t hunt.

    It would be like me saying “I went to Oakland Coliseum every Sunday for 20 years. But I had no idea they played football there!”

  17. I think what’s becoming clearer is just how different this may play out NC and IN’s local media.

    NYT’s input receives far more sweeping and broad coverage. However, when it comes to these upcoming contests, local media will cover the races from the perspective which speaks to THEIR political constituencies. Neither of which are exactly the most NYT-seduced kinda crowd. And to the extent local and state races are continuing to be affected by this latest flap will only receive more intense coverage over the next week, not less.

  18. Riverdaughter, Love that picture! I love to read about pagan festivals. Thanks for the links. I wish I could be in Scotland for the festival tonight.

  19. Way back in my Greenwich Village days, friend H****hh*** celebrates Beltane with an ancient Druid chant:

    Hooray!
    Hooray!
    It’s the First of May!
    Outdoor *u**ing starts today!

  20. Edwardian,

    I’m not so sure how the local media here in NC is going to differ that much. As an example, here is the headline in the News and Observer (the major Raleigh newspaper):

    http://www.newsobserver.com/politics/story/1055175.html

    check out the byline:
    “Jeff Zeleny and Adam Nagourney, The New York Times”

  21. gary: OT, but did you notice that the domain, newsobserver could be read “New SOB Server”?
    Ok, I got that out of my system.
    Oh and thanks for the cheer, ronk. I think it’s time to bring Old World traditions to America, don’t you agree? Why did Christianity not develop rituals like that? And why the heck would pagans ever give them up?

  22. Riverdaughter, HA! never noticed that before. I always type in newsandobserver, and it goes to the site too. I just read their latest editorial too. They are backing Obama on the gas tax holiday:

    http://www.newsobserver.com/opinion/editorials/story/1054991.html

    Not surprising, the media has tilted in this market to Obama for a while now. I was thinking of maybe doing a local media roundup for NC and posting it later today…

  23. If you haven’t already seen this, please definitely read:

    http://corner.nationalreview.com/post/?q=MTdmMmJmOWFlZDZkOGUyOTgwNTYyMjQ3YmRlNTAzZjE=

    Amy Holmes is an Oracle.

    “I just figured out how Obama gets out of this. It’s devious. But it may be only way.
    [snip] he deploys The Pastor Plan. It goes like this. Pastor Wright arranges to give a speech. In it, the pastor makes such outlandish and slanderous claims, not unlike we’ve already heard, that Obama has no choice but to say, “Enough! Jeremiah has gone too far. I cannot abide his divisive, harmful, and inappropriate language. [snip] .”
    It helps here if the pastor has used some swear words and invented new conspiracies.
    [snip]Obama ….holds a press conference to inform the public that he has spoken with the pastor privately and explained his position…..
    [snip]
    Bam! It’s over. Pastor problem solved.

    I don’t have a problem with Obama having a scheme, but that that scheme is so transparent. so predictable basically proves that he thinks we’re idiots waiting for Salvation from the All-Knowing-One.

  24. Sorry, my comment’s formatting lost itself so you can no longer see what was directly quoted from that link vs. what were my words …..dunno how to recify that!

  25. So she is not even getting good local press? That happened in PA too. Previously, she had always gotten good local press, but I noticed after the March 4 primaries that stopped. What’s wrong with a little gas tax holiday provided it’s covered by taking back subsidies from the oil companies?

  26. Check out the commentary from a BBC guy at http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/7374555.stm. My nomination for best take-home quote was from Bambi his own self: “His [Wright's] comments have shown disrespect to me.” Bambi, darlin’, your comments have shown disrespect to ME.

  27. Gary, an eveining “roundup” of NC news media would be great. Much appreciated.

    BTW, anyone else read Sugar’s post today? Fanfriggintastic.

    http://sugarnspice.typepad.com/

  28. Guess my post was deleted. Again, just wanted to thank Gary for updating us all with “roundup” posts on the goingson in NC. Not to mention all things Hillary Clinton — very much appreciated.

    Also, has anyone else read Sugar’s latest entry. She’s terrific. http://sugarnspice.typepad.com/

  29. Guess my post was deleted. Again, just wanted to thank Gary for updating us all with “roundup” posts on the goingson in NC. Not to mention all things Hillary Clinton — very much appreciated.

    Also, has anyone else read Sugar’s latest entry. Do check it out. She’s terrific.

  30. B*llshit it’s race-baiting.

    Obama made his religious practices part of his political appeal, emulating — and I know this will come as a surprise to you — the Republican Playbook.

    Now it turns out that Obama’s political choice has political consequences. Well, boo hoo. Obama’s the one who put his religiosity in play in the first place, and if voters take a look at the nature of Obama’s choices, and don’t like what they see, that’s their prerogative, yes?

    Personally, I hope the consequences for Obama are negative, long-lasting, and severe, partly because I don’t want him to be nominated, but even more because I want less religiosity in the public square, not more.

  31. rd: ” latest character assassination attempts from Obamaphiles directed towards Rev. Barbara Reynolds, ….” This was brought up by that smarmy Lawrence “John Edwards is a Loser” O’Donnell on Hardball last night.

    Lynn Sweet of the Chicago Sun-Times, also on last night’s spit fest, said (paraphrasing): “let’s just put a stop to that right now. It’s not true!” Anyway, she went on to mount a vigorous defense of Rev. Barbara Reynolds and said that she (Sweet) was also a member of the NPC and she KNOWS how the decisions to invite a speaker are made, and that the allegations that HRC was behind this are ludicrous and absolutely false.

    Anyway, as soon as the transcript is up for last night’s show, I’ll try to remember to post a link, so everyone can read it for themselves. Summary: it’s a big gd bs lie from the Obama campaign that their minions have gone viral with in order to taint the good name of Rev. Reynolds. Is there ANYTHING BO won’t do to win this election?

  32. ufa: Here’s a statement from the National Press Club refuting that very lie.

  33. Continuing my theme of Obama’s narcissism, his disorganized and clearly distressed reaction to Wright’s latest performance is largely due to the severe threat Wright poses to Obama’s fantasy of being surrounded by people who showcase his perfection.

  34. Davidson: Thanks!

  35. The fellow who kidnapped Josh Marshall is starting up the new racist-Clintons drumbeat. It never fails.

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