Panicky A-Listers on Wright: "Please, can we talk about something else?"
Now, it's only natural that Obama's supporters would like to change the subject from All-Wright-All-The-Time, and talk about, you know, important stuffMR SUBLIMINAL Ponies for everybody!!!!! (at least when they're not imagining Hillary's death as the solution to all their problems). Kevin Drum, quoting John Cole, is typical:
Maybe it is because I am totally and unrepentantly in the tank for Obama, but I just can't get worked up over what his pastor said ... Or maybe I just refuse to spend any more time and energy getting worked up over and denouncing, distancing, and rejecting the wrong people — people who really don't matter in the big scheme of things.
What he said.
To begin with, it was Obama himself, all on his own, who decided to make his religious choices part of his political appeal. Here's Obama in October 2007 on religion in politics:
Republicans no longer have a firm grip on religion in political discourse, Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama told Sunday worshippers.
The senator from Illinois delivered his campaign message to a multiracial evangelical congregation in traditionally conservative Greenville, South Carolina. "I think it's important, particularly for those of us in the Democratic Party, to not cede values and faith to any one party," Obama told reporters outside the Redemption World Outreach Center where he attended services.
"I think that what you're seeing is a breaking down of the sharp divisions that existed maybe during the '90s," said Obama. "At least in politics, the perception was that the Democrats were fearful of talking about faith, and on the other hand you had the Republicans who had a particular brand of faith that oftentimes seemed intolerant or pushed people away."
He finished his brief remarks by saying, "We're going to keep on praising together. I am confident that we can create a Kingdom right here on Earth."
Obama's South Carolina campaign is in the midst of promoting Obama's values through a grass-roots effort called "40 Days of Faith and Family," which is reaching out to primary voters through gospel concerts and a series of faith forums.
So, I think it's entirely righteous that Obama's choice to use religion as a political tool should have consequences, and I hope those consequences are very, very bad indeed for Obama, because I'm sick of politicians pimping out their Gods to the voters. It's disgusting, and the public square needs a lot less of this behavior, and not more. (Matthew 6:2). It's even more disgusting when Democrats do this, because when they do, they're ripping out and re-using one of the uglier pages from Rove's playbook.
Yes, Obama made his bed; now let him lie in it. If people look seriously at the religious commitments that Obama made and then ran on -- and let's remember that Obama gave Wright's church $22,500 in just one year, so his commitment was very solid -- and reject Obama on the basis of his choice, is there any reason that's not an entirely legitimate decision? Apparently, not everyone thinks as highly of Wright as Obama
does did. So what? Obama's the one who put his own religious practice in play as a reason to vote for him, so turnabout is fair play: His religious practice can also be used as a reason to vote against him. Why not?
Finally, the relation between religion and politics is important. Arguably, the people Cole wants to talk about -- the people who "matter" in the "big scheme of things" -- got to where they mattered exactly because they exploited religion for political gain. Obama tried, and his effort blew up in his face. None of this "matters"?*
O felix culpa!
And all this is before we even get into the "character" issues, the judgment issues, the truthtelling issues, the unraveling biography, all that nonsense about the "flawless campaign" Obama's run, and so on and on and on, all of which will doubtless be endlessly analyzed on cable. Too bad none of this came out before. I would have expected the famous media critique from the A list to be able to do that. Silly me.
Obama pimped out his God to be President.
But God -- assuming, arguendo, that there is a God -- is not mocked.
And if Obama loses the nomination over this -- which he should, since he'll certainly lose the general over it -- I, for one, couldn't be more pleased.
NOTE * Oops, these are the Boiz. Dragging a flailing Obama over the finish line in Denver is more important than, like, anything. Sorry. Note also that VastLeft is a lot stronger on these issues than I am, but I felt this had to be said, and now, before the firestorm got damped down. I'm not finished with my popcorn!
NOTE Atrios, of course, is not a panicky A-Lister, despite his momentary lapse in the PA primary.
UPDATE Funny, there seems to be hardly any coverage at all of the Wright Story from WKJM. Odd, that. Or not. Meanwhile, the firestorm continues its raging yet entirely predictable course, with advice to Obama from the pundits, off-point tut-tuttery from the Times editorial page (the point of the Wright affair isn't race, but religion), a story from Izvestia on the Hudson on "tamp down the fallout" and from Pravda on the Potomac on "striving to distance himself".
You know, back in the day before the A-listers pissed away the media critique, they would have been able to defend their guy by deconstructing a typical media firestorm. [Leah: "Gennifer Flowers"] But now, they've forgotten how to do that, or don't want to, so all they can do is stop their ears and chant "La la la." It's sad, or would be said if it weren't so dangerous to the health of our democracy.