I don’t know exactly what to say about Obama’s speech, but here goes:
- given that Wright can be a bit wild and crazy with the sermons, its kind of surprising he didn’t become an issue until now; I’m glad he did. My main fear with Obama is that he will be nominated, then in October 2008 something “campaign ending” will pop up.
- will this be campaign-ending for Obama? Who knows. There are two ways to win elections: one, inspire more people to vote. Obama does and the Wright episode won’t change things. The other way is to get the independent voters. The Wright episode may hurt him here, but if his speech yesterday impresses voters the way it impressed the NY Times editorial board, he should come out of this a net winner. Although the NY Times endorsed Hillary, they praised Obama speech as a “profile in courage” that not only attempted “to draw a line between race and politics”, but went further:
“He put Mr. Wright, his beliefs and the reaction to them into the larger context of race relations with an honesty seldom heard in public life.
Mr. Obama spoke of the nation’s ugly racial history, which started with slavery and Jim Crow, and continues today in racial segregation, the school achievement gap and discrimination in everything from banking services to law enforcement.
He did not hide from the often-unspoken reality that people on both sides of the color line are angry. “For the men and women of Reverend Wright’s generation,” he said, “the memories of humiliation and fear have not gone away, nor the anger and the bitterness of those years.”
- I’d also give Obama points for not trying to toss Wright under the bus. How many times have we seen politicians take that route?
- This story may end up being more about the conservative base than Obama. One of the GOP’s fears about an Obama campaign had been that they couldn’t easily demonize him (like Hillary); but now that they know he secretly hates America, just like Pastor Wright, they’ve got a way to stir up the faithful. If Kevin Drum’s compilation of right-wing reaction is any indication, they are stirring. Vigorously.