Wright and Obama
Reverend Jeremiah Wright may
manage the impossible: sink Barack Obama
Article added on April 30, 2008 at 15:30 Naples (Italy) time
An African-American pastor out of control has become
the Democrat's frontrunner's worst nightmare. Reverend Jeremiah Wright may
manage the impossible: sink Barack Obama, if not in the Democratic
nomination process, than in the November 2008 election.
Wright's sermons had become a liability some time ago. Initially, Barack
Obama decided to defend his pastor of 20 years and at the same time distance
himself from him. However, the key line was that Obama could not
“disown” his pastor for 20 years more than his own grandmother.
As for his pastor's rants, Obama was never there and never heard any of
That line of defense backfired. When Wright came under
attack, the reverend decided to defend himself by counter attacking, without distancing himself from
some of his most outrageous sermons. On the contrary, he repeated them directly
and indirectly. Wright more or less openly decided to damage Obama, who had
distanced himself from him, the pastor, without breaking with him.
After the new rants, the
Democratic presidential candidate Obama had no other choice than to
clearly break up with the reverend who brought him to the church, married him
baptized his children. Obama even titled his autobiography
“audacity of hope” after one of Wright's sermons.
As it turns out, a lot of what Wright has been preaching for decades contradicts
Obama's claim to
be a uniter, not a divider; incidentally, George W. Bush won an election
with that slogan; we know how that story ended.
Wright's attempt to sink the Obama campaign began with:
“I do what pastors do. He does what politicians do”. It ended in several TV
interviews and a disastrous press conference in which he repeated some of
his outrageous attacks and claims, indirectly stating again that the CIA had
created AIDS in order to wipe out the African American population.
[Added on June 6, 2008: to be precise, Jeremiah Wright said that the
government lied about inventing the HIV virus as a means of genocide against people
John McCain has his own liabilities, among which a certain evangelical
minister named John Hagee stands out. McCain can of course not be held
responsible for all the endorsements he gets. However, there was no need to
go and visit the nut.
Unfortunately, for Barack Obama, the Wright case is worse. Not only
because of the 20 year association with Wright mentioned above - McCain has
no association with Hagee -, but also because of an article published in
On April 5, 2004 the Chicago Sun Times published an article in which
Cathleen Falsani mentions three spiritual mentors of Obama: Jeremiah Wright,
James Meeks and Michael Pfleger. Luckily for Obama, the senator not only
said that he had
“a deep faith”, but
also that he is
“a big believer in the separation of church and state”. Obama is never quoted as
directly saying that Wright was one of his spiritual mentors. Still, his
long association with a nut is a handicap.
In a press conference on April 29, 2008 Obama said about Wright:
“The person I saw yesterday was not the person that I met 20 years ago”. I am
not so sure. Even if Wright was different 20 years ago, some of his rants
date back several years, the one about the
“chickens coming home to roost” dates back to early after 9/11.
Obama used strong language on April 29, denouncing Wright's statements as
“outrageous”, although they are not new, he just repeated them. Both Wright and
Obama show disrespect for each other, which may well mean that Wright will
continue to seek the limelight, thus further sinking Obama's chances to
become the first African-American president of the United States of America.
Luckily for Obama, the way until November is long and many things that have
been said and written now will be much colder on election day.
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