Even Obama’s white supporters were starting to get put off by what Reverend Wright implied about Barack Obama. But they’re all back on board now . . . most especially, Andy Sullivan. The candidate of few accomplishments–legislative or otherwise–calmed them down once again with the right words.
He’s the candidate of hopeful words, after all. His speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention propelled him into the limelight. Since then he’s carefully–oh, so carefully–positioned himself for the national run. He’s avoided controversial votes and controversial people. Wright was the exception; he needed Wright back in the day to get an entree into South Side Chicago politics, and, Obama was loyal to him for this reason. Obama also had an emotional connection with Wright: the reverend and the scene at Trinity gave Obama the authentic blackness he has obsessed about since high school.
But Obama’s essentially a pundit running for president. Where leadership, tough choices, and tangible work were required–with Wright, in the Senate, as a law professor–Obama’s nowhere to be found. He makes mistakes of judgment because he’s unwilling to take risks. But his true believers are always willing to be sweet talked back into his arms. All is forgiven; in this case, 20 years of membership in a black racist church coupled with the unbelievable alibi that he never heard any of this crazy nonsense from Wright until recently, even though his talk is a core expression of black liberation theology.
In the meantime, conservatives are castigated for suspicious that these words were opportunistic, too late, slightly dishonest, and the product of political necessity. In the minds of Obama’s true believers, something is wrong with us for being skeptical about a smooth-talking, liberal, Chicago politician seeking national office.