On MSNBC today:
Obama has handled this about as well as anybody could…He made the point, and I think it’s a valid one, that you can’t hold a candidate responsible for everything that people around him may say or do. You just can’t, whether it’s me, whether it’s Obama, or anyone else. But he did distance himself from the very vitriolic statements…
It is interesting to me that there are some people on the Left who are having to be very uncomfortable with what Wright said when they were all over a Jerry Falwell or anyone on the Right who said things that they found very awkward or uncomfortable years ago. Many times, those were statements lifted out of the context of a larger sermon. Sermons, after all, are rarely written word for word by pastors like Rev. Wright, who are delivering them extemporaneously and caught up in the emotion of the moment. There are things that sometimes get said that, if you looked at them in print, you’d say, “Well, I wouldn’t have put it quite that way.
Huckabee added that he was not defending what Wright said, but I think he does let him and others off the hook a bit too easily. One would expect priests and pastors, as ministers of God, to take greater care in what they say than do politicians. Not that they have to say things people will like — often duty requires them to say things people will not like – but their authority comes with a greater, divine obligation to stay away from hatred and conspiratorial wackiness.
Huckabee also added the following reflection on race and its role in Wright’s statements.
…As easy as it is for those of us who are white to look back and say, “That’s a terrible statement,” I grew up in a very segregated South…We’ve got to cut some slack to people who grew up being called names, being told you have to sit in the balcony when you go into the movie, you have to go to the back door to go into the restaurant and you can’t sit out there with everyone else, there’s a separate waiting room in the doctor’s office, here’s where you sit on the bus. You know what? Sometimes people do have a chip on their shoulder and resenment. And you have to say, I probably would too.