the pastor comes home to roost


Pastor Wright is now officially a cancer on the presidential aspirations of Barack Obama.

How about William Kristol’s referencing Marc Antony’s Brutus is an honorable man riff. Does it get any better that this in politics than calling upon Shakespeare to DAMN a modern politician?

“It wasn’t when he posed the rhetorical questions: “Why associate myself with Reverend Wright in the first place, they may ask? Why not join another church?”

The real question, of course, is not why Obama joined Trinity, but why he stayed there for two decades, in the flock of a pastor who accused the U.S. government of “inventing the H.I.V. virus as a means of genocide against people of color,” and who suggested soon after 9/11 that “America’s chickens are coming home to roost.”

But orators often ask themselves the convenient questions, not the difficult ones. And Barack Obama is an accomplished orator.

Nor was I shocked when Obama compared Reverend Wright, who was using his pulpit to propagate racial resentment, with his grandmother, who may have said privately a few things that made Obama cringe, or with Geraldine Ferraro, whom “some have dismissed … as harboring some deep-seated bias.”

After all, politicians sometimes indulge in ridiculous and unfair comparisons to make a point. And Barack Obama is an able politician.

And I didn’t shudder when Obama said he could no more disown Reverend Wright than he could disown the black community. I did think this statement was unfair to many in the black community, and especially to all those pastors who have resisted the temptation to appeal to their parishioners in the irresponsible and demagogic manner of Reverend Wright.

But ambitious men sometimes do a disservice to the best in their own communities. And Barack Obama is an ambitious man.

Not a fan of Kristol to put it mildly and the most unpleasant times in American politics are when the conservatives are the only ones who dare speak the truth.

Such is the grip that political correctness and identity politics has on the left.

Kristol’s piece was brilliant and I think his this isn’t the time to have a discussion on race theme is simply a controversial hook.

His central point is really something else and that is that Barack Obama may not be the person to lead us in this discussion, that in his speech he stepped too cute by half into something he had actually been pushed into dealing with by a firestorm, and that many Americans might not look at him as having the moral capital to be our national race guru, coming from this particular church and having sat under this pastor for so long.

And, by association to all that, of course, the piece begs the question as to whether this guy is presidential material. Because if there’s any unspoken implication to Kristol’s commentary it is that a lot of this clumsiness and political posturing by Obama doesn’t really recommend him for the job.

Add to all that the fact that it is certainly a political non-starter for the Democrats and that either of these candidates are probably not going to help themselves in the general election by having to engage, with Pastor Wright raging in the background, on the topic of race, when the hearts and minds of most Americans are somewhere else.


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