That’s the question posed by Michael Barone, who finds evidence in polling data subsequent to Jeremiah Wright’s National Press Club speech that both Democrats and the general public may be shifting decisively away from Obama.
Whether the Wright controversy is a temporary setback or the beginning of a long-term disillusionment with the candidate remains to be seen. With his usual incisiveness, Michael explains why the Wright fiasco has been so damaging to Obama:
One reason is that Obama now has taken two diametrically opposed stands on the minister whose church he attended for 20 years, who married him and his wife and baptized their children, whose sermon inspired the title of his 2006 book, “The Audacity of Hope.” On March 18, his response was: No, I cannot renounce my pastor. On April 29, his response was: Yes, I can.
Another and more important reason is that Obama’s long association with a minister who says that the federal government manufactured the AIDS virus to kill black people, who likens American soldiers to terrorists, who celebrates Louis Farrakhan as a great man — that long association tends to undermine the central theme of Obama’s candidacy. Obama has presented himself since his 2004 Democratic National Convention speech as a leader who can unite America across political and racial divides. He presented himself to American voters, most of whom, I believe, think it would be a very good thing if we elected a black president. (I personally feel that way.) “In the blue states,” Obama told the convention in Boston and the nation watching on TV, “we worship an awesome God.” Now it turns out that the God worshipped in the Rev. Wright’s church was “awesome” in ways we didn’t expect.