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Tuesday, October 28, 2008
FrontPageMag Gets Obama's Comments Even More Wrong
Topic: Horowitz

In an Oct. 28 FrontPageMag article, ex-WorldNetDaily reporter Paul Sperry gets it even more wrong than his fellow conservatives about Barack Obama's statements on a Chicago public radio station in 2001.

Not only did Sperry assert that "Obama said it's a 'tragedy' the Constitution wasn't radically interpreted to force redistribution of wealth for blacks" -- in fact, Obama said it was a "traged[y]" that the civil rights movement relied so heavily on the courts to advance its agenda -- he repeated the lie that Obama said "the Warren Court was not 'radical' enough" -- in fact, Obama stated that the Warren Court's refusal to address the issue of "redistributive change" was evidence that it wasn't as radical as critics claim it was.

Sperry then takes a huge leap of logic and common sense by declaring that Obama's "remarks can only be interpreted to mean one thing: economic reparations for slavery." He then insists that government programs such as "universal health care, universal mortgage credits, college tuition, job training and even universal 401(k)s" are tantamount to "stealth reparations."

Sperry also embarks on creative reinterpretations of Obama's other work as well. He writes:

He also wrote in his recent autobiography that he sympathizes with militant black activists who fear that "white Americans will be let off the hook" for past crimes, such as "a hundred years of lynching under several dozen administrations."

Sperry takes two apparently random statements hundreds of pages apart out of context to stitch together something Obama never said. From "The Audacity of Hope," page 248:

Old habits die hard, and there is always a fear on the part of many minorities that unless racial discrimination, past and present, stays on the front burner, white America will be let off the hook and hard-fought gains may be reversed. I understand these fears—nowhere is it ordained that history moves in a straight line, and during difficult economic times it is possible that the imperatives of racial equality get shunted aside.

Still, when I look at what past generations of minorities have had to overcome, I am optimistic about the ability of this next generation to continue their advance into the economic mainstream.

From "The Audacity of Hope," pp. 21-22:

My wife will tell you that by nature I'm not somebody who gets real worked up about things.  When I see Ann Coulter or Sean Hannity baying across the television screen, I find it hard to take them seriously; I assume that they must be saying what they do primarily to boost book sales or ratings, although I do wonder who would spend their precious evenings with such sourpusses.  When Democrats rush up to me at events and insist that we live in the worst of political times, that a creeping fascism is closing its grip around our throats, I may mention the internment of Japanese Americans under FDR, the Alien and Sedition Acts under John Adams, or a hundred years of lynching under several dozen administrations as having been possibly worse, and suggest we all take a deep breath.  When people at dinner parties ask me how I can possibly operate in the current political environment, with all the negative campaigning and personal attacks, I may mention Nelson Mandela, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, or some guy in a Chinese or Egyptian prison somewhere.  In truth, being called names is not such a bad deal.

Those two statements have nothing to do with each other, except in Sperry's fevered brain. But since he's already lying about Obama said in the radio interview, why wouldn't he lie about what Obama said in his book as well?

Posted by Terry K. at 5:21 PM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, October 28, 2008 5:22 PM EDT

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