[Wright's comments] offend me. They rightly offend all Americans. And they should be denounced, and that’s what I’m doing very clearly and unequivocally here today.
But Obama’s own remarks yesterday raised as many questions as they answered. Most of these concern Obama’s judgment or lack thereof.
In other words, he did nothing to resolve that question that Thomas Sowell asked in this piece written after Obama’s first race speech a month ago, “What did [Obama] know and when did he know it?”
If Obama hadn’t noticed Wright’s vile views before, then Obama is an undiscerning fool who should not be in any position requiring judgment, much less the Presidency. If he had noticed them before, then he is a self-serving liar when he insinuates that he was shocked by Wright’s disclosures now.
Because the only thing new in Wright’s speech was his unequivocal branding of Obama as a hypocrite.
Obama says he didn’t vet his pastor before deciding to seek the Presidency. Well, maybe he should have.
But if he didn’t vet him, what was this all about? Why did he ask him to give the invocation at the start of his campaign back in February of 2007, and then disinvite him? Once again, it’s Wright who manages to shoot Barack in the foot by saying that Barack had called him with the following message, “You can get kind of rough in the sermons, so what we’ve decided is that it’s best for you not to be out there in public.”
Sounds an awful lot like vetting to me.
Fact is, Wright used to be a political advantage to Obama in the context of the Chicago and Illinois politics in which he got his start. It’s only on the national stage—and when Wright took to the stage himself—that he became such a liability.
The time when Barack’s Sister Souljah moment might have been more effective would have been his speech a month ago. But he failed to deliver. It was disingenuous of Obama to claim back then that he didn’t know what Wright had been unequivocally stating for many years, in sermons and in print. It remains disingenuous now.
This controversy hits Obama where it hurts for two central reasons. The first is that, as Byron York writes, it calls into question “whether Barack Obama is telling the American people the truth about himself.” Does he secretly agree with Wright, as the pastor slyly insinuates?
And if not, why did it take him so long to denounce Wright? How could he not have noticed who and what Wright was? It only took a few moments of watching a You Tube video for most of America to make up its mind.
So if one believes Obama’s telling the truth about having only recently noticed just how pernicious the Reverend Wright’s message is, that brings up the second question: does Obama lack judgment, and maybe even common sense? Just how bad is he at sizing up people?
These questions are especially damaging to Obama because he has so meager a public track record on which to be judged. Therefore his character must be evaluated by the company he keeps, and by his reaction to crises that arise in the course of the campaign itself. The Wright entanglement—and especially Obama’s reaction to it—remains highly damaging on both scores. Whether it has dealt a fatal blow to his Presidential hopes remains to be seen.