Ross Mackenzie

So what’s up with Barack Obama?

We’ve just seen Eliot Spitzer augur into the ground, and Bear Stearns crash and burn. Tibetans have shot down any ambitions the Communist Chinese regime had for the Olympic gold in toleration of dissent. And Obama may be flaming out.

Not on personality or policy.

Certainly not. Hillary Clinton hardly is well-endowed in the former, yet the two are practically Siamese-twin inseparable in the latter — though in sheer leftism Obama takes the cake. As John McCain will continue to note, the midstream National Journal — which rates every member of Congress — finds him the Senate’s “most liberal” member.

On race, then? The preachings of his Chicago minister — the Rev. Jeremiah Wright?

Bingo. The sudden problem for Obama is this: For the past 15 months he has campaigned for the Democratic presidential nomination as a kumbaya-humming racial uniter, yet for the past 20 years he has sat regularly in a church overseen by a racial divider — indeed, as Obama acknowledges, by a racial divider who has doubled as a personal mentor (“like an uncle,” in Obama’s words). Wright officiated at Obama’s wedding. He baptized Obama’s children. He served as a no-pay campaign adviser until quotes from his sermons began circulating on the Internet and Obama, in damage-control mode, urged him to leave.

Yes, but a lot of people in the pews don’t necessarily agree with everything their preachers say.

Of course. Yet a lot of people in the pews do leave (these days are leaving in big numbers) their churches because of the routine message dished out from the pulpit — be it ideological, socio-cultural, liturgical, or whatever. Besides, not many people have mentors with whom they viscerally or deeply disagree.

Still, this remains a free country, and the Rev. Mr. Wright can believe and preach whatever he likes.

Yes indeed. But Obama’s 20-year membership in Wright’s church implies acceptance of Wright’s views broadly — and so suggests an Obama as not necessarily the racial uniter of his campaign rhetoric. This opening in his armor — into his beliefs — may undermine his appeal to those in the electorate inclined to vote for him to purge their racial guilt and vindicate their racial innocence.

How about some examples of Wright’s far-out views?

(1) Wright employs the phrase “U.S. of KKK-A” — KKK meaning Ku Klux Klan.

(2) Just days after 9/11, he gave a sermon saying America’s foreign and national security policies invited the Islamofascist attacks: “We bombed Hiroshima, we bombed Nagasaki, and we nuked far more than the thousands in New York and the Pentagon, and we never batted an eye. America’s chickens are coming home to roost.”

Ross Mackenzie

Ross Mackenzie lives with his wife and Labrador retriever in the woods west of Richmond, Virginia. They have two grown sons, both Naval officers.

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