Sunday, March 16, 2008

Sketching the Obama Crisis

I guess we're now going to find out how Barack Obama reacts when he gets calls at 3:00 in the morning. That's because he'll probably be getting some of those calls tonight. With the broadcasting of Rev. Jeremiah Wright's sermons on YouTube, my tube, and everybody's tube, Obama has a crisis on his hands. Wright's sermons are inflammatory to the nth degree and wide open to accusations of reverse racism and America-hating. The YouTube videos of Wright's sermons not only tar Obama with guilt by association, they locate Obama in the cultural place of African-American resentment over white oppression and that's a place Obama has been trying his best to avoid.

There's also the problem of truth-telling. The videos also make it hard to believe that Obama never heard one of Wright's aggressive sermons or heard of him making one of these sermons. It was pretty clear from the crowd reaction that the congregation at Trinity United Church of Christ expected this kind of sermonizing from Wright and reveled in it. I'm pretty sympathetic to Obama for a Hillary supporter, but I can't see how the "Barack Didn't Know" story can stand up for long and it will be interesting to see Obama try to re-spin another cover story after this one falls apart. But "re-spinning" is associated with sleazy politicians like Hillary Clinton. Obama wasn't supposed to do these kinds of things.

That's why Obama has a bit of an Eliot Spitzer difficulty here as well. Much as Spitzer had been particularly sanctimonious in his moralizing while he was also patronizing prostitutes, Obama has been calling for racial unity while being an enthusiastic member of a church of racial division. That certainly raises the question of whether Obama is a hypocrite or a phony.

Whether the answer is "yes" is another issue.


Anonymous said...

As a Hillary supporter I will categoricly state that if Senator Obama is the Democratic nominee, I'll support him 100%. That said, I think it less likely that Obama will be that nominee. Reverend Wright has made things a lot more difficult for him.
I don't blame Senator Obama for denying knowledge of Wrights sermons, I'd do the same if I were him. But I have to wonder whether his denials will matter. I am also a "sympathetic to Obama for a Hillary supporter" I suppose.
All I can say for now is that I believe Senator Obama is a top-notch public servant who will, if nominated by my party, get my full support. But I don't think he will get that nomination. I've been saying for some-time that the "Obama-Craze", is just a flash-in-the-pan deal that wouldn't sustain the nomination of my party. That said, I do think either he or Hillary will be the next president. It's just that if he is the nominee we'll end up with another one of those razor-thin election marjins and the courts will end up deciding...again. With Hillary I think we'd see a clean unquestionable win. Not necessarily a landslide, but a comfortable victory.

Anonymous said...

and then Obama spoke in Philadelphia with such passion there by effectively diffusing the reverend right powder keg..

Anonymous said...

Obama has been provided some good opportunities to crash and burn but manages to dodge the pitfalls on a pretty good basis. You have to hand it to him for that. Hillary has been waiting for Obama to hit the wall on one of these episodes where she could take the lead. He has a tough act to crack.