The tin prophet

March 15, 2008

A lot has been written in the last few days about the racist and America-hating sermons of Barack Obama’s minister, Reverend Jeremiah Wright. (For examples, see here and here. What a sweetheart of a guy.) At first, Obama, the Prophet of the new, post-racial politics, tried to dismiss the flack surrounding Wright as “cherry-picking” his comments. When that didn’t work, and when Reverend Wright was caught on tape saying the US had created AIDS and that 9-11 was just “payback,” Obama was forced to denounce Wright, who then resigned from Obama’s campaign.

Should be “case closed” and “let’s move on,” right?

I don’t think so. Not this time.

Obama’s appeal has been for being above the old politics: beyond race, preaching hope and change (or is it change and hope?), peace instead of war, and, according to his wife, healing our souls.

Trouble is, it’s hard to be a prophet of change when you’re caught doing the same old things: letting a hometown political “fixer” help you buy your dream house with money that may have come from a convicted criminal; the strange coincidence of your wife’s employer tripling her salary, and then your sponsorship of a $1,000,000 earmark for that same employer a year later; and now your minister, with whom you’ve had a 20-year relationship, who performed your marriage and baptized your children, is shown to be a base racist who hates his country — and you expect people to believe you when you claim to be “shocked, shocked.”

Pay no attention to that commonplace Chicago pol behind the curtain.

I think Hillary (in private) is wearing the biggest grin of her life right now. I’ll let Victor Davis Hanson have the last word on this. As often is the case, he puts it best:

I think this will not go away, and ultimately damage Obama beyond repair, for it strikes at the heart of his very candidacy—that he was a healer who has transcended racial divides, and was introducing a new credo of transparent and painfully forthright politics. The Wright scandal and his reaction thus far belie both. This was precisely why Hillary stayed in the race, and mirabile dictu, perhaps what she imagined would eventually transpire.

Whatever one’s views, this is both a travesty and a tragedy.

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