An increasingly anxious Obama campaign had to have been watching in horror as Jeremiah Wright continued to elbow his way onto the national political stage with his performance at the National Press Club in Washington the other day.
The Washington Post's Dana Milbank short-handed Wright's remarks as follows: "Wright praised Louis Farrakhan, defended the view that Zionism is racism, accused the United States of terrorism, repeated his belief that the government created AIDS to extinguish racial minorities, and stood by his suggestion that 'God damn America.'"
Louis Farrakhan is the head of the Nation of Islam and has said things like: "Do you know some of these satanic Jews have taken over BET [Black Entertainment Television]?... Everything that we built, they have. The mind of Satan now is running the record industry, movie industry and television."
And that wasn't 10 years ago. It was five months ago in November of last year.
After claiming that the oft-viewed clips of his sermons were taken out of the context of 30 years of preaching, Wright is now - with, as the Chicago Tribune called it, "caustic sarcasm" - defending those very snippets and putting them very much into context.
On the campaign trail, Sen. Barack Obama said of Wright, "He does not speak for me. He does not speak for the campaign."
Obama is wrong. In the minds of many - if not most - Americans, Jeremiah Wright and Barack Obama are very connected, spiritually and politically.
The Boston Globe's Joseph Williams wrote:
A series of high-profile appearances by [Wright] defending some of his more racially charged remarks threatened to undermine Obama's campaign just when he is trying to connect with white, working-class voters on the eve of crucial Democratic primaries in North Carolina and Indiana.
And Obama doesn't need any more problems on the white, working-class voter front. Obama tried to shake the "elitist" tag a couple of weeks ago by going bowling, at which he was dreadful. Jell-O mold to the K of C Hall. For the annual Founder's Day Pot Luck Dinner.
The other day he threw a verbal gutter ball by saying:
"I was raised in a setting with my grandparents who grew up in small-town Kansas where the dinner table would have been very familiar to anybody here in Indiana: A lot of pot roasts and potatoes and Jell-O molds."
So … he was describing his grandparents' dinner table in small-town Kansas. The pot roasts and Jell-O molds and all. Was Obama faced with pot roasts and Jello-O as well?
I … don't … think … so.
And, we must assume, this was the same grandmother whom, Obama told a world-wide audience, damned-near fainted at the sight of Black people; "a woman who once confessed her fear of Black men who passed by her on the street." In that small-town in Kansas. As she carried her famous pot-roast.
That description was typical of an elitist, Ivy-League-educated, snobbish, pretentious dope who thinks Hoosiers still sit in front of their black-and-white TV sets watching Howdy Doody reruns while waiting for their Jell-O molds to set up in the Frigidaire.
Here's the thing: I was Congressman and Senator Dan Quayle's press secretary. I spent a lot of time in Indiana. I'm not certain I ever saw a pot roast or a Jell-O mold.
I did see a potato. But, it didn't have an "e".
Jeremiah Wright is basking in the glow of the national spotlight; the spotlight which has been denied him lo these many years in favor of fellow Chicagoan Jesse Jackson and New Yorker Al Sharpton.
Jeremiah Wright is working out the decades of frustration, having attempted to do good works for the poor and underserved in Chicago while Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton have been on the national stage in top hats and tails like Gene Wilder and Peter Boyle singing "Puttin' on the Ritz."
But the unkindest cut of all comes, again, from the Dana Milbank piece: "Most problematic for the Democratic presidential front-runner was Wright's suggestion that Obama was insincere in distancing himself from his former pastor. 'He didn't distance himself,' Wright announced. 'He had to distance himself, because he's a politician.'"
Maybe, on that, Wright was right.
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