In the 1967 comedy "A Guide for the Married Man," Joey Bishop's wife catches him in bed with another woman. As his wife stands at the bedroom door screaming at the sight, Bishop and the mistress calmly get up, make the bed and get dressed. The mistress leaves. Bishop nonchalantly sits down in the living room, lights up a pipe, picks up the newspaper and casually leafs through it. "What bed? What girl?" Bishop says. The wife begins to doubt her own eyes, even her sanity. Finally, she turns to Bishop and meekly asks what he wants for dinner. The culprit convinced the victim that she must be nuts.
On the issue of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Obama's defenders attempt to make you feel insane. How could you bring up the Rev. Jeremiah Wright?! It "injects race" into the contest! Obama supporters warn, "After four years, how dare you 're-litigate' the matter!"
In fact, it was never "litigated" in the first place.
2008 Republican candidate John McCain feared being accused of playing the race card. But Wright is not about "race." It is much, much bigger than that. Wright is about Obama's character, beliefs and policies. The question remains the same one that should have been addressed four years ago: Do Obama and Wright share the same view of "social injustice," a perspective that reveals Obama's character and beliefs -- and reflects his current and future policies?
Obama, in 2007, described the 20-year father/son-like relationship this way: "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."
But Wright is off-limits.
Obama was probably the most surprised politician in America when McCain refused to jam Wright down Obama's throat -- as Obama would most assuredly have if the situation were reversed. Reluctant to "inject race"? Obama's hand-picked chair of the Democratic National Committee routinely accuses the Republicans of wanting "to literally drag us all the way back to Jim Crow laws." People forget the bare-knuckled way Obama got every serious opponent kicked off the ballot in his first Illinois state Senate race -- and was therefore elected with no serious opposition.
But Wright, who described himself as a "second father" to Obama, is off-limits.
Obama selected Trinity United. He selected the Rev. Jeremiah Wright. Wright married Barack and Michelle. He blessed their home in Hyde Park. He baptized the Obamas' daughters. Obama initially wanted Wright to deliver the invocation when Obama announced his run for the presidency.
Wright calls the criminal justice system racially biased against blacks. So does Obama. Wright, in 2006, falsely said, "We've got more black men in prison than there are in college." A year later, Obama repeated the Wright canard almost verbatim: "More young black men languish in prison than attend colleges and universities across America." Pre-emptively deciding Trayvon Martin's death was a matter of racial profiling, Obama said, "If I had a son, he'd look like Trayvon." Obama sided with the indignant black Harvard professor instead of the white cop who was properly responding to a call about possible burglary. "The Cambridge police," Obama said, "acted stupidly."
Obama, in "Dreams From My Father," quotes Wright from the "Audacity to Hope" sermon: "White folks' greed runs a world in need."
What does Obama blame for the financial crisis? "Greed" and "fat cat bankers on Wall Street." Obama's greed-based view explains why he denounces "millionaires and billionaires" for failing to pay their "fair share" of taxes. It tells us why candidate Obama told an Ohio plumber, "I think when you spread the wealth around, it's good for everybody."
Wright's relationship with Obama helps explain the president's handling of the Israeli-Palestinian dispute.
Wright said in a 2007 interview, "When (Obama's) enemies find out that in 1984, I went to Tripoli (to visit Moammar Gadhafi) with Farrakhan, a lot of his Jewish support will dry up quicker than a snowball in hell." Wright also blamed "Zionists" for "ethnic cleansing" in Gaza. Does this not shed light on why Obama condemned the "reckless" building of Israeli "settlements" in east Jerusalem -- causing an immediate chill in America's relationship with Israel? Does Wright's anti-Semitism tell us something about why Obama said "nobody's suffering more than the Palestinian people from this whole process"?
But Wright is off-limits.
For his new book, "The Amateur: Barack Obama in the White House," reporter Ed Klein taped a lengthy interview with Wright. The reverend claims that Obama secretly met with him and tried to dissuade Wright from speaking out until the election. He says an Obama surrogate offered him $150K to stop giving speeches until after the 2008 election!
Even then-Sen. Obama thought Wright was fair game. "I think that people were legitimately offended by some of the comments that (Wright) had made in the past," said Obama in April 2008. "The fact that he's my former pastor, I think, makes it a legitimate political issue."
But Wright, four years later, is off-limits -- unless you're nuts.