Barack Obama has finally said that he is outraged by the positions of long-time spiritual adviser, Jeremiah Wright. This after having famously avowed in his “landmark” Philadelphia speech that he could no more disown Wright than he could disown the black community or his white grandmother. At the time Obama made those remarks, I called him courageous. I guess a downturn in his election prospects was all that was necessary to make him a coward. Or maybe he just hadn’t yet learned the music.
The problem, of course, is that Obama’s partial defense of Wright in the Philadelphia speech still applies. Obama’s analysis was that Wright’s hateful statements were an understandable reaction to what he experienced growing up and that, although these statements cannot be condoned, they do not represent the totality of what Wright stands for much less what his church has accomplished. The addition of a few more hateful statements doesn’t affect this analysis. The addition of bad election and poll results clearly did.
In revising his position on Wright, Obama relies in part on his pastor’s association with Louis Farrakhan. But Wright’s admiration for Farrakhan has long been known; publicity over the award Wright presented to Farrakhan pre-dates the “outing” of Wright’s sermons. Moreover, it took some pushing by Hillary Clinton just to get Obama himself strongly to denounce Farrakhan.
In any case, Obama’s concession (finally) that Wright is beyond the pale arguably raises more acutely than ever the question of how this hatemongering crackpot could have been Obama’s spiritual mentor for nearly 20 years.