That is what I think happened -- perhaps quite frequently, over the 20 years in which Obama listened to Wright's sermons. And Obama, who became a public figure of note only in recent years, sat quietly through these fulminations rather than tackling his pastor about them head-on. If he had done otherwise, he would swiftly have forfeited whatever leadership role he hoped to play among his fellow blacks.
That, I think, is the only reasonable explanation of the rather muddled situation in which Obama now finds himself. It doesn't cast him in a particularly courageous light. But if he was guilty of moral cowardice, whether that fact disqualifies him for the presidency is a question every voter will have to answer for himself or herself.
William Rusher is a Distinguished Fellow of the Claremont Institute for the Study of Statesmanship and Political Philosophy and author of How to Win Arguments .
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