The Corner

Wright Postmortem

Why the Obama Pass?

I think we have sort of reached an impasse on Rev. Wright. Most Americans, I think, accept the following realties. Obama, by what he wrote in his memoirs, by what he said when he spoke in his early campaign speeches, by his frequent praise of Wright, and by his 20-year presence in front of, and subsidies to, Wright knew exactly the racist and anti-American nature of his odious pastor.

But many also seem to accept that they have invested too much in Obama and have come too far to accept anything that might end his candidacy. (Hence their hysteria over the Wright “smear”.)

In other words, privately they acknowledge:

–that their candidate made a devil’s bargain with a racist to create an authentic black persona in order to jump start a political career in Chicago;

–that their candidate was so inured to de rigueur anti-American speech from his church days, black-liberationist friends, assorted reverends, and former radicals like Ayers, that he never really thought things that Wright said were all that big a deal — hence his deer-in-the-headlights approach to the initial scandal and serial hedging. After all, in Obama’s adopted world, his church really isn’t “particularly controversial;”

–that their Obama messiah is hardly a new politician, but instead a very gifted and charismatic actor, who, in skillful fashion, can talk about utopian politics but then backstep, hedge, and get away with more than anyone since Bill Clinton in his prime in 1992 (one of the reasons that those two dislike each other so is that they are so much alike) — and that is not such a bad thing after all.

So while Obama is hurt in the primaries, and perhaps mortally so in the general election (the white working classes have a long memory), he will probably get the nomination, because his base will overlook all the above: they despise George Bush, will do anything to prevent another Republican in the White House, are tired of the Clintons, and feel Obama offers them symbolic capital, making them liked abroad and free of guilt at home.

Bottom line: unless Obama was caught on tape nodding as Wright screamed his obscenities at the United States, or an angry and spiteful Wright produces some letter, e-mail, etc. that reveals a kindred soul in Obama, or Michelle gives another speech “from the heart” about how hard she has struggled and how in return she has had no pride in this country, or there is another off-the-cuff, but recorded sneer at the white working class (50/50 chance on all four counts), I think he will weather the current storm and get the nomination. Obama evokes pure emotion and raw politics now, and logic, honesty, and accountability have little to do with his nomination bid.

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