A reader of mine who is a clergyman e-mailed after Obama's press conference: "As a pastor, I have this take: It is inconceivable that Obama had no knowledge of Wright's views after 20 years as a member of that church. As a pastor, my heart-held, deepest beliefs and passions cannot be silenced. It is what I am. If I were given a microphone at the National Press Club, I would not speak on something that I had guardedly kept secret for most of my life. No, I would go to my main point, the center of my ministry, the core of my passion, to speak truth as I know it to be. How can Obama actually claim that this is news from his pastor? His mailman, butcher or plumber? No problem. His pastor? No way!"
It's not Wright who has changed his loony tune.
It was just last year that Obama was telling the Chicago Tribune that Wright was his sounding board for truth: "What I value most about Pastor Wright is not his day-to-day political advice. He's much more of a sounding board for me to make sure that I am speaking as truthfully about what I believe as possible and that I'm not losing myself in some of the hype and hoopla and stress that's involved in national politics."
It was just this March, in his Philadelphia racial reconciliation speech, that Obama was urging us not to dismiss Wright as a "crank or a demagogue" and protesting that he could "no more disown him than I can disown the black community."
Now, realizing how gravely his self-serving association with Wright has wounded his campaign, Obama himself has attempted to do both those things -- and expects the American public to believe him when he weakly and belatedly asserts that "when I say I find [Wright's] statements appalling, I mean it."
As those of us with non-European brains might put it: You be trippin', Barry.