Obama’s sudden divorce from Rev. Wright is curious. After all, he’d already
denounced Wright’s comments. So why the sudden press conference? It’s not like it’s going to quiet the controversy.
… .. Obama’s Wright compulsion drove him to deliver a defensive and apologetic
so-called race speech in which Wright was the centerpiece. Next, he denounced
Wright’s views in an interview. Now he holds a halting, stumbling, anguished
voice press conference to denounce Wright again.
… .. Finally, and worst of all, no matter how much he protests that Wright
doesn’t represent him or his thinking, the fact is he sat in his church for
nearly two decades, called him a spiritual mentor and family confidant, appointed
him to an advisory post in his campaign, and in his so-called race speech
refused to disown his two decade experience and relationship with him. This
instantly makes his Wright protest sound like the wail of a politician running
scared, and who sees the long, arduous, time consuming and patient work he
put into building up public trust in him as the nation’s great political hope
fast washing down the drain.
But Obama is no different than other inexperienced politicians who get blind-sided
by damaging and hurtful allegations and associations. They panic, do their
public mea culpas, and hope and pray that it all blows over. It never does.
The clouds of doubt remain transfixed in the air of the voter’s minds, and
that doubt will always be there with whispers, wisecracks, and raised eyebrows
that maybe the politician with a taint who so many put their fervent faith
and hope in is not all that he’s cracked up to be. … ..
There’s a bigger problem for Senator Obama. His past statements don’t match
his recent indignation, unless of course you add the fact that he’s upset,
even outraged that Wright is dragging down his poll numbers and putting North
Carolina within low single digits for Clinton, when he’d had been a 10-point-plus lead, with a Clinton win in Indiana a very real possibility. So Obama’s presser actually opened up more questions than it answered, at least for those who haven’t been seduced yet.
Main issue for Obama: I didn’t vet my pastor enough. I’m innocent. Reverend Who?
It doesn’t work when looking at the record:
“The things he said and the way he said them I think are offensive.
And I reject them, and they don’t reflect who I am or what I believe in. In
fairness to him, this was sort of a greatest hits. They basically culled five
or six sermons out of 30 years of preaching. That doesn’t excuse them, and
I’ve said so very clearly, but that’s not the relationship I had with him.
That’s not the relationship I had with the church, and if I had heard those
kinds of statements being said, if I had been in church on those days, I would
have objected fiercely to them, and I would have told him personally.”
Obama defended Rev. Wright long after his greatest YouTube hits appeared,
which included some of the same snippets Obama cited yesterday as a defense:
“I think the caricature that’s been painted of him is not accurate.
And so part of what I’ll do tomorrow is just to talk a little bit about how
some of these issues are perceived from within the black church community,
for example, which I think views this very differently.” The
So all of a sudden, after Moyers and the NAACP speech, followed by the Press
Club, Obama decides… what? That he’s suddenly “surprised” by Wright
going off, even after 20 years in his church, as well as seeing the YouTube snippets weeks ago?
“You know, I guess Ã¢â‚¬” keep in mind that, just to provide more context,
this is somebody who I’ve known for 20 years. Pastor Wright has been a pastor
for 30 years. He’s an ex-Marine. He is somebody who is a biblical scholar,
has spoken at theological seminaries all across the country, from the University
of Chicago to Hampton. And so he is a well- regarded preacher. And somebody
who is known for talking about the social gospel.
“But most of the time, when I’m in church, he’s talking about Jesus,
God, faith, values, caring for the poor, family, those were the messages that
I was hearing.
“And so you know, I think that the statements that have been strung
together are compiled out of, you know, hundred of sermons that he delivered
over the course of his lifetime. …”
But since Senator Obama had made his speech in Philadelphia, he expected everyone
to just accept it and move on. After all, the traditional media has
been carrying him for over a year, as Richard Wolfe and Ryan Lizza did recently, with the gusto of two guys trying to save their own careers. So he had no intention of going any further
on Rev. Wright, until his preacher called him out. Then it became personal,
because the preacher was messing with Obama’s presidential campaign. But until
that moment, Wright was welcome by his side, because after all, it was Wright’s church that helped Obama get on the political map.
No, I would do not repudiate the man. As I said, this is somebody who I have
known for 17 years. He helped bring me to Jesus and helped bring me to church.
And, you know, he and I have a relationship, he’s like an uncle who has talked
to me, not about political things and not about social views, as much as about
faith and God and family.
And he’s somebody who is widely respected throughout Chicago and around the
country for many of the things that he’s done not only as a pastor but also
as a preacher.
The time for Obama to say what he said yesterday was after Wright’s YouTube
greatest hits came out. After all, Obama said he’d never heard the statements
before, so what better time to be enraged, or at least act the part, in order to distance yourself? The calculation
was clear. He didn’t want to get into a confrontation, either with Wright or
other supporters over it. It gets down to a question of being pushed to confront
the unacceptable, things that have been out there before. It gets down to courage.
It gets down to judgment. Obama was late on the courage. The judgment question