The Audacity of hate, Part Two

In the post just below, I argued:

Obama should explain why he retained his apparently close affiliation with [‘white America” hating Reverend Jeremiah] Wright and his church in more persuasive terms than he has to date. Otherwise, I think it’s reasonable to draw adverse inferences based on that affiliation, including the inference that Obama doesn’t quite measure up as a “post-racial” figure.

Here’s a possible explanation, which someone acquainted with Obama in his early days in Chicago finds quite plausible, but which Obama can’t proffer. Twenty years ago, Obama was trying to establish himself in Chicago with an eye (in all likelihood) towards a future run for office. Obama was an outsider. His Ivy League credentials, his having lived abroad, etc would have cut no ice on the south side of Chicago. He needed strong local connections. What better way to establish his authenticity on the south side than to affiliate with Pastor Wright and his influential church? (Obama reportedly also reached out to former terrorist and local political player Bill Ayers and, not ignoring another part of his future coalition, set himself up at the University of Chicago).
Why, under this theory, has Obama remained with the church? For one thing, leaving would be tantamount to acknowledging that there was something suspect about the affiliation. Politicians aren’t quick to acknowledge error, especially when doing so carries the risk of alienating one’s base constituency.
This is just a theory, of course. But other than affinity (or at least lack of disagreement) and opportunism, what other explanations are there for Obama’s tight, longstanding relationship with a religious leader like Wright?


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