It's Not Race, It's Wright

Carol Platt Liebau
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Posted: May 10, 2008 12:08 PM
Everyone knows that Democrats and Barack's friends in the media will attempt to portray any opposition to his candidacy as nothing more than racism.  But Stuart Taylor makes an important point -- that Obama's troubles attracting white votes seem to postdate the Wright imbroglio, noting that Barack "easily won the caucuses in overwhelmingly white Iowa on January 3 and, over the next seven weeks, captured the white male vote in Maryland, Virginia, and Wisconsin and as many white male voters as Clinton did in South Carolina."

Here's the question: Would Americans be offended if a white pastor had blamed 9/11 on The United States?  Yes -- in fact, the regrettable former rector at my church did the same thing, and his congregants were appalled.  Would some (at least) Americans be taken aback at the news that a candidate's close confidant (and spiritual advisor) had said, "God d**n America"?  Of course.

All this has taken a toll.  One anecdote: A close friend of mine, a moderate Republican who was initially receptive-to-enthusiastic about the Obama candidacy recently wrote me, "I'm rethinking it after this Wright thing.  And his wife is now proud to be an American for the first time? Forget her."  If some white voters are turning from Obama, it's not because of his skin color.  It's because of the views of those closest to him -- and what they suggest about the candidate's own views.

Just for the record: It's not Obama's Republican opponents who have made an issue of his race -- or who have most damaged his candidacy.  It's his closest compatriots (like Wright and Mrs. Obama) and his intra-party competitors (like Clinton).