Reverend Wright redux…Obama goes for the thermonuclear option… April 30, 2008Posted by WorldbyStorm in United States.
With friends like this Obama can hardly wish any new enemies, for as CL notes “Wright thrown under bus: is Obama finished?” and in the Irish Times we read that:
Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama denounced his former pastor in his strongest language to date today, saying he was outraged by Reverend Jeremiah Wright’s assertions about the US government and race.
“His comments were not only divisive … but I believe that they end up giving comfort to those who prey on hate,” Mr Obama told reporters.
And lest the good reverend think that there is wriggle room in that for their continued friendship…well, best not to count on it…
“Whatever relationship I had with Reverend Wright has changed as a consequence of this,” Mr Obama said.
And all this on foot of Wright attempting to get out of the hole he had been inadvertently dug into by the dynamics of the US Presidential nomination campaign, by recourse to… er… further digging.
So it was that he suggested that:
…the US government as imperialist and stood by his suggestion that the United States invented the HIV virus as a means of genocide against minorities.
“Based on this Tuskegee experiment and based on what has happened to Africans in this country, I believe our government is capable of doing anything,” he said.
Now this is impolitic stuff, to be sure and as also reported, it is potentially worse for the Senator, for Wright decided to do a bit of looking into, well, not his own heart but that of Obama and came out with…
“If Senator Obama did not say what he said, he would never get elected,” Rev Wright said. “Politicians say what they say and do what they do based on electability, based on sound bites, based on polls.”
Now, whatever one thinks of the these matters, this is supremely odd as statements go during election campaigns. Odd, to the point of destructive of his supposed friends campaign. Which makes one wonder why these sentences were uttered. Is this the cuing up of a sort of sub-Kinnock Militant moment where Obama can shine as he slays a dragon? The danger is that this sort of talk is uncontainable, that it feeds into a discourse of ‘we always knew that’s what he believed, how he felt, etc’…
Certainly Obama’s response has been sharp and rapid, damage limitation at its best (but perhaps most ineffective):
“What became clear to me is that he was presenting a world view that contradicts who I am and what I stand for,” Mr Obama said. “And what I think particularly angered me was his suggestion somehow that my previous denunciation of his remarks were somehow political posturing. Anybody who knows me and anybody who knows what I’m about knows that I am about trying to bridge gaps and I see the commonality in all people.”
Ouch. I think Reverend Wright should forget about Christmas cards this year.