Jonah Goldberg
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Well, yeah. He explained that until American leaders apologize to Japan for the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki as well as to black Americans for slavery and racism, we will remain a damnable nation.

What about that bit about America's chickens coming home to roost on 9/11? Yep, we heard him right. "You cannot do terrorism on other people and expect it never to come back on you; those are biblical principles," he explained.

Asked whether he stood by his assertion that the U.S. government created HIV as part of a genocidal program to wipe out the black race, Wright mostly dodged but ultimately offered this nondenial denial: "I believe our government is capable of doing anything." He also offered a zesty defense of Louis Farrakhan - "one of the most important voices in the 20th and 21st century" - and dismissed criticism of Farrakhan as an anti-Semite.

To cap it off, Wright threw Obama under the bus. First, the pastor explained, Obama himself had taken Wright out of context. Moreover, Obama neither denounced nor distanced himself from Wright. And, besides, anything that Obama says on such matters is just stuff "politicians say." They "do what they do based on electability, based on sound bites, based on polls." So much for Obama's new politics.

On Friday, Wright appeared on Bill Moyers' PBS show, in which Moyers all but shouted "Amen!" every time Wright took a breath. The impression viewers were supposed to take away: Wright is on the side of the angels, not like those Swift-boating crazies at Fox News.

But then Obama himself told "Fox News Sunday" that he considers Wright fair game - as long as you don't quote him out of context.

It's a deal.

Wright is every bit as radical as his detractors claimed and explodes Obama's messianic rhetoric about standing foursquare against divisiveness. But, on Tuesday, Obama denounced Wright for repeating what the pastor had been saying all along, bolstering critics and diminishing himself even more. Which is why that chorus you hear rising up from the John McCain and Clinton campaigns sounds an awful lot like this: "God damn Jeremiah Wright? No, no, no: God bless Jeremiah Wright!"

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Jonah Goldberg

Jonah Goldberg is editor-at-large of National Review Online,and the author of the forthcoming book The Tyranny of Clichés. You can reach him via Twitter @JonahNRO.
 
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