The clever Sen. Obama has attempted to erect a firewall of protection from probing questions about which remarks he heard and tolerated and failed to object to while sitting in the pews. Dwelling on what he knew and where and when, he argued yesterday, would be "to simplify and stereotype and amplify the negative to the point that it distorts reality."
But it is Obama's pastor ("former" pastor, he is so quick to point out now, though he is a two-decade-long mentor) who holds a warped view of reality. And it is Obama who distorts the truth by likening this Ward Churchill of the United Church of Christ to an avuncular, yet lovable, family member who cannot easily be renounced:
"I can no more disown him than I can disown the black community. I can no more disown him than I can my white grandmother -- a woman who helped raise me, a woman who sacrificed again and again for me, a woman who loves me as much as she loves anything in this world, but a woman who once confessed her fear of black men who passed by her on the street, and who on more than one occasion has uttered racial or ethnic stereotypes that made me cringe."
Glad to know something made Obama cringe.
Even as he denied that he was justifying and excusing Wright's demagoguery, Obama was doing just that by invoking slavery, Jim Crow, segregated schools, violence in the inner city and, yes, denial of access to FHA mortgages, to explain how we get to Wright spewing "God damn America" on Sunday morning.
"These people are a part of me. And they are a part of America, this country that I love," Obama declared rather stiffly as he stood self-consciously in front of more American flags that he has ever been placed in front of this campaign season.
Well, you can't pick your grandma, but you can pick your pastor. And Obama picked the wrong one if he aspires to be the president of all America -- an America that includes citizens of all colors who cringe at self-serving racial rationalizations masquerading as moral salvation.