Some Thoughts on the Wright Debacle

Carol Platt Liebau
|
Posted: Apr 30, 2008 12:08 PM
As most of the sentient American population knows by now, Barack Obama distanced himself definitively from his pastor and one-time spiritual mentor Jeremiah Wright.

It's hard not to feel some sympathy for Barack.  I have no doubt that he knew (or had a pretty darned good idea) of what Wright's views were -- Barack is anything but stupid, and one would have to be beyond stupid to have no clue about the opinions of someone as outspoken as Wright clearly is, especially after 20 years of close friendship (with all the attendant meals and social occasions they must have shared).

Even so, it's clear that Barack looked up to Wright as a father figure, and must have felt betrayed in a very fundamental way upon realizing that Wright was willing to gratify his ego even at the cost of Obama's campaign.  And that's sad (although he will, no doubt, have the satisfaction of seeing Wright mauled by the MSM, many of whose members are beyond angry with him for the damage he's inflicted on their darling).

As I have written before, I don't think that Barack shares in any way Wright's racist and hate-mongering views (although I'm less sure about his wife, Michelle).  He's a huge lefty, but not a hater.  The episode gives me misgivings about Barack nonetheless; it's a warning sign that he'd even be willing to tolerate those views (just as he was able to tolerate Ayers/Dorn).  It's a sign of a life lived too much amid the radical chic in the faculty lounge -- which, in turn, is poor preparation for dealing with someone like Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Finally, Republicans had better be careful what they wish for.  In my view, it's not to the GOP's advantage for Barack to lose the nomination now.  All that would mean is a race against Hillary "The Energizer Bunny" Clinton -- and the certainty that Barack would be back on the scene four or eight years from  now, with Jeremiah Wright far, far back in the rear view mirror and with a legislative record designed specifically to enhance his chances at the presidency.

If Hillary loses this race, she may well try again, but not with much chance of success.  Not only has she alienated a substantial portion of her party by her treatment of Barack, but the Democrat party loves new faces.  That's a tendency that Barack could overcome, but not Hillary, given the endemic "Clinton fatigue" that exists already.