15 March 2008

The Wright Stuff

Everyone (and by "everyone" I mean those strange bedfellows, Hillary Clinton and the conservative commentariat) seems to think that the various extreme claims made by Senator Obama's pastor, the Rev. Wright, hurt Obama. I'm not sure I see that. The fight right now, and probably in the general election, is for the moderate middle. If I'm right that the entire justification for the Obama candidacy is racial reconciliation ("A black president will help heal our racial divide, and I'm the only candidate who can deliver that promise"), doesn't Rev. Wright's extremism help Obama with the moderate middle?

When moderates contemplate reconciling radical and alienated blacks with the majority culture, what they want is for blacks to come to the middle -- for Rev. Wright to become (in tone and temperament) more like Senator Obama. They certainly don't contemplate changing themselves. In other words, for moderates Wright's extremism makes the work President Obama would do, just by being president, that much more urgent.

I understand that mine is a minority view, but it might be shared by the Obama campaign. OJ comes close to the truth by (almost) noting that the campaign is using the Wright kerfluffle as cover for what could be truly damaging admissions about his relationship with Tony Rezko.


aog said...

And you think there's no possibility that the moderate middle will think Obama shares Wright's radicalism? Even with his wife touting basically the same line?

I think the moderate middle doesn't like candidates who have close friends who are that radical. If Obama has to dump Samantha Power for her little comment to avoid taint, how can you think that Wright isn't a massive toxic spill?

Harry Eagar said...

Doesn't matter now. It's a Bear Stearns market and a one-issue campaign.

The issue will not be race.

I wouldn't have said so a week ago -- in fact, I'm down for several lunches if McCain loses -- but I got hit upside the head with a cluebat.

joe shropshire said...

There's an is and an ought here. As far as the is is concerned, you and Harry may both be right. As far as the ought, tell me what you are greedy for, and I will pick out which con artist is about to step up and take your money. The moderate middle is greedy for someone to heal their heartache over race.

Harry Eagar said...

Heartache over race?

Oh, yeah, that comes up all the time at cocktail parties.

My interpretation is that Pied Pipers like Obama find children only when there is absolutely no genuine problem in the public consciousness.

Now, I think there is a problem (Islam), but Democrats don't see that as a problem, and until last week there wasn't anything else on offer.

Tilt. Game over. Reset.

joe shropshire said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
jim hamlen said...

Wright is a problem for Obama because every day, some new low is found ('the United States of White America', Bush Administration bull****, and so on). And everyone is checking Obama's schedule, to see if he was there that Sunday. He will be apologizing and distancing for days to come, although he is unlikely to ever fall behind in the delegate count.

But, Hillary has her ticking time bomb, too. Obama would do well to press her on her tax returns - 2005, 2006, and 2007 will be very interesting, inasmuch as Bill probably took in $30 million or more from foreign governments and interests, including interests Hillary has decried on the campaign trail. Rezko is small potatoes compared to millions of dirty money from Nigeria, Kazakhstan, China, Indonesia, and who knows where else.

The truths about their income probably won't hurt her in a Democratic primary, but they will in a general election. Just like Obama's problems because of Wright probably won't hurt too much now (except with rural white voters in PA, IN, and NC, none of which he was going to win anyway), but they will just crush him in a general election. And, because this stuff is coming out now, nobody can blame the evil racist Republicans for bringing it up in October.

I don't think Bear Stearns will affect the election, but if a major commercial bank goes down to $2 a share in a few days, then watch out.

Anonymous said...

There is exactly zero chance that the election is going to turn on "the moderate middle" deciding they want to vote so as to try to reconcile Wright with America. The tiny fraction of people who might be so motivated are far leftists who want America to admit that Wright is, well, right.

I have no idea what may happen in the next 8 months economically or internationally that might influence voters. The likely insurmountable problem for the Dems is that they are about to nominate the most liberal candidate in history to lead a conservative country, one who will have no chance to hold onto the entire party base (that strange combination of the "intellectual class" plus blue-collar workers plus blacks), to run against a "moderate" (not even the LA Times could be bothered to try to portray him as an extreme conservative this weekend) undeniable war hero (unlike John Kerry, who was very deniable) who cannot be tied to the current administration in any serious way. Unless he nominates Condi or some other Bush holdover as VP, once he runs a few personal background ads in the fall, this thing is over.