The Obama campaign is off the rails.
The entire tone of the race changed the moment we saw the first fiery Wright sermon. The sight of those sermons triggered a question in a lot of voters’ minds: How do you get the moderate-sounding, pleasant, agreeable student Barack Obama from an angry, divisive, radical, way-out-of-the-mainstream teacher like Jeremiah Wright? The sermons weren’t quite a deal-breaker, but many Obama supporters, leaners, and undecideds were asking… how did Obama choose this man as a mentor? How could he possibly not know that his mentor had these attitudes? And does Obama agree with any of Wright’s inflammatory statements?
In response, Obama gave a very eloquent speech about race relations in America. But it never quite answered the question, and in fact tried to blur the distinction between family we are born into and those we choose to turn to for guidance. Hillary jabbed at this in the debate, and Obama never quite had an appropriate response. He even said he disowned Wright, then backtracked and said he disowned his controversial statements.
And since then, it’s gotten worse, even with a Bill Moyers interview that wasn’t softball so much as it was Nerf Tee-Ball. We’ve heard Wright compare the Roman Legions who punished Jesus to the U.S. Marines, we’ve heard him argue that the U.S. and al-Qaeda are doing the same acts under different flags, etc.
Now we hear Wright analyzing the differences between white and black brains (!) and that the criticism of him for his comments was “an attack on the black church.” He didn’t retract his assertion that the U.S. government created the AIDS virus. He didn’t retract his accusation that the United States had committed terrorism. He raved about Louis Farrakhan.
And again, we’re left with that question… presuming Obama strongly disagrees with all of Wright’s statements in these areas… how did he end up selecting this pastor? This church? (I know we get the story in Obama’s autobiography. But did Obama once agree with all of the crazy conspiracy theories? Does he still agree, late at night, when the microphones and television cameras are far away?)
Obama is saying he should be president, instead of two much more experienced rivals, because of his superior judgment. But what kind of judgment is needed to select Wright as a surrogate father figure?
Jake Tapper: “He clearly was not doing Obama any favors, not only by reappearing before a ravenous media thus distracting from Obama’s attempt to relate better to white working class voters in Indiana and North Carolina, but by implying Obama’s condemnation of some of his sermons was not sincere.”
David Brody: “Jeremiah Wright did Barack Obama no favors. Pastor Wright’s appearance at the National Press Club today started out as a great opportunity to explain the importance of the black Church experience. Instead it turned into a circus atmosphere and ensured that the Wright controversy is not going away and has the potential to single-handily take down Obama’s campaign.”