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Exit Wright

Exit Wright

Rev. Jeremiah Wright Jr.

Rebecca Cook / Reuters

In the hour before he divorced himself from the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Barack Obama held a town meeting in Winston-Salem, N.C., and used the occasion to announce several other divorces. He divorced himself from Hillary Clinton and John McCain on the issue of a summer gasoline-tax holiday, which he correctly described as “not an idea designed to get you through the summer.

It’s an idea designed to get them through the election.” And then he divorced himself from some of the recent negative tactics of his campaign. “Over the past month or so, we’ve been getting whacked … and sometimes we’ve been hitting back in ways that we’re really not about.” It was as if Obama were putting his personal gyroscope in order for the main act, the press conference in which he said he was “appalled” and “outraged” by his former pastor’s views.

He did this with typical restraint—his demeanor, as always, precisely presidential—but also with the sad and belated realization that the Wright controversy was not merely a “distraction.” It was this year’s edition of a problem that has hurt the Democratic Party since the Vietnam era, a fixation on the (often spectacular) deficiencies of superpower governance while slighting this nation’s incredible strengths.

“I’m sick to death of [hearing] the sound bites of Rev. Jeremiah Wright,” a woman said to Obama at the town meeting, adding that she wished everyone could watch Wright’s public-television interview with Bill Moyers. It was a common sentiment on the left, especially in the blogosphere. And it was true that Moyers presented a fairer, more nuanced picture of Wright—especially the good works done by Wright’s church, the hundreds of lives saved and enriched by the church’s social ministry, which, if Saint Peter actually does sit on a cloud with an account book, will surely prove more important than Wright’s self-absorbed lurches into hateful speech.  Link to full Time article>>>


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