As I am catching up on my reading today, I find that I have yet another Wright-themed post that has to be made. Because Eric Pianin at the Washington Post also saw and heard things that disturbed him today at Wright's appearance at the National Press Club – and he thinks Obama has a major, major problem on his hands.
The Rev. Jeremiah Wright, explaining this morning why he had waited so long before breaking his silence about his incendiary sermons, offered a paraphrase from Proverbs: "It is better to be quiet and be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt."
Barack Obama's pastor would have been wise to continue to heed that wisdom.
Should it become necessary in the months from now to identify the moment that doomed Obama's presidential aspirations, attention is likely to focus on the hour between nine and ten this morning at the National Press Club. It was then that Wright, Obama's longtime pastor, reignited a controversy about race from which Obama had only recently recovered – and added lighter fuel.
Speaking before an audience that included Marion Barry, Cornel West, Malik Zulu Shabazz of the New Black Panther Party and Nation of Islam official Jamil Muhammad, Wright praised Louis Farrakhan, defended the view that Zionism is racism, accused the United States of terrorism, repeated his view that the government created the AIDS virus to cause the genocide of racial minorities, stood by other past remarks ("God damn America") and held himself out as a spokesman for the black church in America.
In front of 30 television cameras, Wright's audience cheered him on as the minister mocked the media and, at one point, did a little victory dance on the podium. It seemed as if Wright, jokingly offering himself as Obama's vice president, was actually trying to doom Obama; a member of the head table, American Urban Radio's April Ryan, confirmed that Wright's security was provided by bodyguards from Farrakhan's Nation of Islam.
There's a lot more to be disturbed about. Go over and read it all.
Yes, Obama has a major problem Wright now. No, it isn't guilt by association, either. It is guilt by failure to disassociate himself from Wright a long time ago. The failure of Obama to realize that Wright was going to be a real liability speaks quite a lot about Obama's judgment – none of it good. Could this, in fact, be the real end of Obama's chances?
Very possibly. That popping sound you here is the champaign being opened over at Hillary Clinton's campaign.