Cliff May

The same pundits who declared John McCain dead and Hillary Clinton inevitable are now saying Barack Obama has weathered the storm over his association with Jeremiah Wright. Color me skeptical. The reason? Tiger Woods.

Ask yourself: Why do Americans adore Tiger Woods? Because he’s a winner, of course. But also, I suspect, because he seems so comfortable with his multi-racial heritage. He calls himself a "Cablinasian” – a Caucasian-black-Indian-Asian. He famously told Oprah Winfrey: "I'm just who I am, whoever you see in front of you." How classy is that? And, if you are among those who still think of America as a melting pot, how all-American?

A few short months ago, it appeared Barack Obama was cut from similar cloth. He, too, is of mixed race, the son of a black, Kenyan, Muslim father and a white, Christian, mid-western mother. In front of the cameras, he looked and sounded like a winner as he called for unity, not division. His candidacy implied a historic promise: to move America beyond its long struggle and preoccupation over race.

But it now turns out that for the past 20 years Obama’s pastor, friend and advisor has been spouting anti-Americanism, neo-Marxist “black liberation theology,” and racism.

Jeremiah Wright has accused whites of “inventing the H.I.V. virus as a means of genocide against people of color.” He has dismissed the atrocities of 9/11 as “chickens coming home to roost.” He has called on God to “damn” America. He and Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan visited with Muammar Qaddafi in Libya in 1984 – a time when Qaddafi was known to be supporting international terrorists. Wright has slandered Israel as an apartheid state, and he has reprinted an article by Mousa Abu Mazook, a member of the terrorist movement, Hamas, on the “Pastor’s Page” of his church bulletin.

Let’s stipulate that Obama is being honest when he says he endorses none of this. Still, does it not speak volumes about his judgment that he chose to expose his daughters to such extremism? And what does it say about his moral compass that he never told Wright that his words were offensive and damaging? What does all this suggest about Obama’s ability to deal with the world’s terrorists and tyrants?

In response to the controversy stirred by the Wright revelations, Obama gave a speech on race relations. Most of the media swooned. But as columnist Charles Krauthammer pointed out, its tired themes were moral equivalence and white guilt. Geraldine Ferraro and Obama’s white grandmother were made to seem just as wrong as Wright.


Cliff May

Clifford D. May is the President of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies.