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Ben and Jen Campaign For Obama, But Is the Bloom Gone?

Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner hosted a Generation Obama fundraiser in Boston over the weekend. A typical celebrity event — except for the attention it grabbed from the New York Times resident conservative scribe, Bill Kristol. Taking umbrage with the concept "Generation Obama," and the wilting bloom of the Obama mystique, Kristol said,

But there’s not much audacity of hope there. There’s the calculation of ambition, and the construction of artifice, mixed in with a dash of deceit — all covered over with the great conceit that this campaign and this candidate are different.

Now before you rush straight to the comments, that's not even the controversial part of the piece. To find out,


The statement that has people buzzing is where Kristol uses a claim by reporter Ronald Kessler, to place Barack Obama in the audience when Jeremiah Wright was giving his "God Damn America" sermon. Kristol doesn't use direct quotes or source the tip to anything published which would give it credibility — but it gets the statement out there, and that has tongues wagging.

Given that the piece is opinion, and that the mention was to support the bigger question of a growing Obama backlash, is this mention problematic? Is Kristol wrong?


bellaressa bellaressa 9 years
Harmonyfrance, I never said your comments were meant as you taken them, they were not offensive. I just wanted others to know, as I have seen on this thread and others that the Church of Christ is not a real church and that they have ties to the Nation of Islam - which is untrue. I was just stating the obvious and since I have actually been in the church in question, not all sermons were as such. I, however, especially my mother, I was young at the time refuse to become a member because she did not like the pastor and what he stood for. She is from the South and was looking for a church with a more family appeal.
harmonyfrance harmonyfrance 9 years
Sigh...I suppose I knew that my comments were going to be misconstrued. I certainly don't think that every single Church of Christ is like that. I know that not all black churches are baptist. My whole POINT is that this particular church is not in the norm. Most (not all) white people have never been to a black church. So by sharing my experience I was simply trying to point out that, as a white girl, I have had extremely positive experiences in black churches. I have never felt uncomfortable, unwelcomed, or intimidated. Tresjolie you're right. I've never attended that church, but neither have the majority of America. Unless they do some research, unfortunately the only exposure they have had to it is those stupid clips that the media keeps playing over and over. I certainly don't believe that Obama is a racist. I don't even believe that his church is racist. I'm from Chicago; I know how much good his church has done for the community. It's easy to get passionate or frustrated and say things that people misconstrue from it's original meaning. Just look at these threads. :) I said that to alot of people Obama's church is COMING OFF as racist because of these stupid media clips. I don't understand why everyone is afraid to talk about race. Unless we discuss certain misconceptions and stereotypes how will we ever move past them? We live in such a "politically correct" age, which in some ways is great because we offend people less. BUT in other ways we've plateaued. Civil rights and Women's rights are rarely ever talked about anymore because most people assume it's no longer a problem or at least pretend that it isn't. I can tell you from being a veteran of the military that women's rights have a ways to go. AND obviously civil rights have a ways to go also. This election is stirring up a lot of these feelings and getting people to talk about them again. I don't think that that is a bad thing. I'm sorry if I offended anyone, I certainly didn't mean to. I have personally been sticking up for Obama on this issue against people who are now really concerned about his involvement in this church. (Family members, co-workers, friends, acquaintances)
lilkimbo lilkimbo 9 years
lilkimbo lilkimbo 9 years
I tend to disagree with you about Democrats being easy targets when it comes to patriotism. We don't know what would have happened had Cindy McCain made similar comments to Michelle Obama's because she hasn't made those comments. I can guess that if she had, though, we would have heard about it. (I'm sure the NY Times would have let us know.) Maybe I say this because I am definitely conservative, but I was one of the many people who commented that Michelle Obama's intention wasn't unpatriotic, but she just choose the wrong words.
trésjolie1 trésjolie1 9 years
"She explicitly stated that the church "comes off as extremely racist," not that the church IS extremely racist. BIG difference." Lil: Well, in my opinion it was these statements of the Reverend (one person)that came off as racist; and not the church(6000 individuals). That is the big difference. Also, I dislike being pigeon holed as much as anyone, but I was merely frustrated at the seriousness this topic was given compared to the NYT story about McCain's alleged affair/ties to lobbyist. If Cindy McCain said what Michelle Obama had said people would have thought she simply misspoke(which is what Michelle Obama has said she did), because her husband is a war hero, and because they are Republicans. Somehow, Democrats are easy targets when it comes to patriotism. I don't think it is because she is black, but because she is liberal. For all the three candidates in this race I think it is very important to reject/denounce inflammatory statements coming from people associated with them, and lead by example. Which is what they mostly do. Obama has been doing just that, consistently.
Zahara-Pitt Zahara-Pitt 9 years
Oprah left that chruch wonder why :PONDER: oh well more material for the general elction
baltimoregal baltimoregal 9 years
Bill Kristol has no integrity and little capability for free thought. He is the one who said Hilary faked any emotion on the campaign trail, let's not forget.
lilkimbo lilkimbo 9 years
By the way, who really cares who Ben and Jen are voting for?
Jillness Jillness 9 years
First, Church isn't just about 1 man, it is about COMMUNITY. It is about the people in the congregation as much as it is about the sermons. Obama has worked as a community organizer in THIS community for years. He was introduced to the church while doing work for the community. There are 6,000 people that go to this church. How many of those people has Obama worked with in other ways? How many of them has Obama helped? This is part of their mission statement, and it coincides with Obama's goals for lifting up the impoverished: "We are called out to be "a chosen people" that pays no attention to socio-economic or educational backgrounds. We are made up of the highly educated and the uneducated. Our congregation is a combination of the haves and the have-nots; the economically disadvantaged, the under-class, the unemployed and the employable. The fortunate who are among us combine forces with the less fortunate to become agents of change for God."
lilkimbo lilkimbo 9 years
I am going to defend HarmonyFrance really quickly (even though I'm pretty sure we don't agree on most things, politics-wise). She explicitly stated that the church "comes off as extremely racist," not that the church IS extremely racist. BIG difference. Also, she is not all that concerned about Obama's spiritual life, which she stated several times in her comment. As to the race issue, I agree with a poster a while back who said that some people vote based on race, but I think it balances pretty evenly. Sure, some people will not vote for Obama because he is half black. But, the majority of African-Americans do vote for Obama, and some of them do because he's black. I personally know of a few people who are black and like both Hillary and Obama, but voted for Obama "because he's black." Of course, there are many other reasons to vote for him, just as there are many other reasons not to vote for him. In the end, the effects of the voting for him and the voting against him because of his race probably equal out. (Just to clarify, I am not saying that the majority of Obama's supporters are African-American, but that the majority of African-Americans support Obama.) Also, I definitely do not think he has taken a worse beating in the media than Clinton. If anything, the media has sad less negative things about Obama. His situation has probably been focused on more than the McCain/Hagee situation for two reasons: 1. Obama has more of a personal relationship with his pastor. 2. Obama is VERY actively campaigning right now. McCain is still in "soft campaigning" mode while he waits to see who his opponent will be. In the recent weeks, Obama has gotten a lot more media attention, both good and bad, than McCain. Lastly, it's the New York Times. Does anyone take them seriously any more? (And, I am offended by the insinuation that conservatives are taking the times seriously on this. I believe several of the people who criticized the times in this post were the notable "CitizenSugar conservatives." (Just for the record, I personally don't think what either man said should affect the candidates, even though, unfortunately, it does.)
Zahara-Pitt Zahara-Pitt 9 years
so late to this... so Obama has attended this chruch for 20 years and has never heard the preacher say such hateful things, never,ever... waiting for his speeach at 10:30 i believe... our new messiah has a lot of expalining to do
bellaressa bellaressa 9 years
trésjolie, I just read your comment and I agree. My family is part of the Church of Christ in MS and have been for years. For one the church does not even sing with music, they feel that without music its more spiritual. So, Harmony - you would have not been their singing Gospel. Gospel music is mostly(hint-I just said mostly, there are other religions) in Baptist churches and not all black people are Baptist.
bellaressa bellaressa 9 years
Just to let you know Harmony - not all Chruch of Christ churches are like this particular one. Each pastor or priest have their own way they speak to their congregations and that is not a reflection on the religion but the individual. Jillness, good morning and I love that you have openness and your not close minded, it's refreshing to read your post and see that you can look at things from two angles instead of jumping on the bandwagon as this man is racist. I also, have a statement for people who talk about Obama's wife. Yes, she was ashamed to be an American, have you ever thought that in America - no one says your an American - you are African American, you have to have a separate history class and your "people" have to be celebrated separately, when in fact they were Americans, helping build America. How would you feel if you were African American in the United States, when your not even looked as such. People can say all they want that this is 2008 and racism does not exist but the truth of the matter it does, people are still struggling, there are people raising above their situation but look at Obama - people are saying he is where he is b/c he is black. Not b/c he worked hard or went to a top school, not because he worked his way up and did work in the community and help build a united front---No it's b/c he was black. So, if you were African American, let's say your 8- you would be watching TV or reading thinking wow, no matter what I do -I will always be seen as a color. So, before you say this and that, just try to put yourself in the other person's shoes.
trésjolie1 trésjolie1 9 years
Harmonyfrance: To proclaim that his church is racist is quite unfounded, as neither you or I have attended it, and an arrogant way of putting a candidate down. But if you are really that concerned about his spiritual life I suggest you read his book, "The Audacity of Hope" where he actually goes into to the subject thoroughly.
harmonyfrance harmonyfrance 9 years
Let me start off by saying I DON'T hold anything the reverend is saying against Obama. It seems to go completely against my impression of him. However, your biological make-up does not necessarily define how you choose to live your life. It can, but it doesn't have to. Deciding to attend a church with an extremely afro-centric message for over twenty years, get married there, have your children baptised there is a definite choice to identify yourself with that church...good bad or indifferent. With the specific incendiary remarks, I understand why people have concerns. I don't validate these concerns personally, but I get it. In college I sang in a black gospel choir that toured around Southern Georgia. I was the only white girl and I loved it. I've been to dozens of black churches and heard dozens of sermons.I always felt completely comfortable and had an absolute blast. I have never witnessed something like that church before. I personally wouldn't go near that church and I certainly don't think that makes me a racist. I wouldn't go there, because I wouldn't feel welcomed there. It's as simple as that. That's what people are worried about. Obama attended a church for over twenty years that comes off (whether they are or not)as extremely racist. I can get past it. Many people don't care at all. But some people do.
indielove indielove 9 years
Jude, you're AMAZING. It's like you're reading my mind but if I tried to explain what you said, so very profoundly, it would just be a jumbled mess. It's great how we're pretty much always on the same page, well at least I think it is. :D "Remember that there are many countries with whom America has issues, which can not be classified as "terrorist" nations, and not that many nations which can be called that, if one takes a "terrorist" nation to be a nation proven to support terrorist organizations and acts, not just a nation that has produced those." I could not have said that better than you did. Some people are so jaded, they've got to see things for what they are. Don't buy into EVERYTHING Bush and his admin are feeding you, not to mention the media. It's amazing how my words were twisted and it's like I said that we should hold hands and sing Kumbaya with Al-Qaida. I know they're a 'terrorist' faction and it's virtually impossible to be civil with them but they're worldwide, in Africa, Europe...God knows where else. We may never know all the countries Al-Qaida and other terrorist organizations are in but does that mean we should simply ASSUME where they are and punish those countries for having those people living there? Remember, those men who flew the planes into the Pentagon and the WTC lived in the US for at least 2 years, practically undetected. Also keep in mind that bad foreign relations doesn't bode well for import/export and considering our markets these days, you bet your ass we need to have good foreign relations. Look at Bush and Chavez...then explain to me why gas prices have surpassed the $4 mark. Tell me this...why is oil approximately $96, if not more, a barrel?
wren1 wren1 9 years
Hillary gets slammed left and right. This is how it goes when you run for president.
trésjolie1 trésjolie1 9 years
You know, there's a new study (NBC or ABC)saying that a whopping 13% of the American population seriously thinks Obama is Muslim. That shocked me, even though perhaps it shouldn't, but I'm still young and naive(and stupid according to Kristol). But I think it would be ignorant to say that the media didn't play a role in that process, playing it up to such a ridiculous circus that some people actually thinks he is Muslim for real. It's baffling nevertheless.
Jillness Jillness 9 years
"Being that Senator Obama is both white and black and, I doubt he has even an ounce of racism in him. That would hardly make sense." THAT is what I am trying to say! Ugh, long day! ;)
Jillness Jillness 9 years
One final thought for the night... People use Obama's racial make up when they want to tie him to extreme ideas, but they tend to forget that he is also half white. I have read on this board and in a Jewish newspaper that people were concerned that he might have latent Muslim "sympathies" or those for the Black Panther movement. No one is worried he might have latent white trash sympathies?? That was extreme, but I used it to make a point. If people are going to use race in this way, they might as well own up to the fact that biologically, Obama roots for both camps.
trésjolie1 trésjolie1 9 years
He(Obama) is going to hold a speech about it(this fallout) now(sometime soon), and I really wonder how it is going to be. I like it better when they speak out anyways, then you don't have to put words in their mouths. I really doubt that he feels anything like the Reverend in these (though taken out of context and being said some time back) inflammatory statements. But it must be a little difficult when it blows up like this. Being that Senator Obama is both white and black and, I doubt he has even an ounce of racism in him. That would hardly make sense.
Jillness Jillness 9 years
And through it all, Obama has said let's move forward together. Their are racial rifts, but the sad thing is Obama is trying to mend them, and people are painting him as someone who wants to enforce reverse apartheid.
Jillness Jillness 9 years
I don't think speaking with their government is lifting the embargo. That is something very different. In order to persuade them to become a democracy, you need to talk to them. Punishing them for decades on end with out negotiation has not worked, clearly. UAE has documented ties to 9/11. They were involved with the financial side of things. I have read several articles about this, when the port security was called into question. About the pastor... A lot of what people are offended about (it appears) is that he said "God dam* America for treating people as less than human." You have to remember, it was only 1965 when laws were finally passed that allowed citizens to vote with out taking literacy tests! Only 43 years ago! Just imagine the things this man has seen. As a white woman, I really don't blame him. Think of how old this man would have been during the things I only read about as a child. The civil rights movement wasn't just a fairy tale for some. People died, people were beaten, and people were intimidated. It is where the term "lynch" came from. I don't agree with him, but I don't blame him. He comes at the race issue with an older man's perspective. Seeing things like Katrina, and those pictures, must stir something in him that is quite different from what you would feel, or Obama. I could see to him, it would appear the continuation of a cycle. Obama grew up in a very different world. Just as I can love my uncle, even though it pains me when he goes on racist rants, I think Obama can love his pastor and still disagree with his positions on race. And just as I can disagree with my uncles ideas on a very deep level and still love him, so can Obama. Obama has said, in his book, that since he grew up in Hawaii, race wasn't as big of a divider as it was in the mainland. In his household, race wasn't as big of a deal as in the mainland. You can tell Obama has different views on race from this man in the way he handles it. It is just so odd to have someone ELSE talk, and then have people stress that this is what ANOTHER man thinks.
PeachyKeen19 PeachyKeen19 9 years
I absolutely agree with lula29's statement, I also feel that the Pastor has every right to his opinions. Much of what he has to say is taken out of context And to Lainetm, it's not all about wealth, White privilage is an issue, and it's a legitimate one at that. I don't think anyone is trying to paint African Americans as victims, contrary to what most people (and especially some White Americans) would have us believe the civil rights movement did not come and end. The leaders of that movement wanted us to continue their work and some want to gloss over figures like Dr. King and say everything for "minorities" is great, but just look at what Sen. Obama is going through with this whole debacle.
hausfrau hausfrau 9 years
oh it does! i sat in one when we went to easter europe! you would not believe, the are still all over the place there, people still drive them!
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