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April 29, 2008



Eugene Robinson's piece is quite interesting, and basically, I agree with most of what he says. However, I think he is slightly missing the mark in his central thesis, that being:

"[Wright's] basic point -- that any attack on him is an attack on the African American church and its traditions -- is just wrong. In making that argument, he buys into the fraudulent idea of a monolithic, monocultural black America -- one with his philosophy and theology at its center."

Now, I agree with that statement in principle - black America is not monolithic, and Wright certainly does not speak for it. Fundamentally, Robinson is right. But that's not the whole story.

The flip side of this is that entire Wright story, and the way it is conflated with Obama's candidacy, IS BASED ON THAT EXACT IDEA. The subtext of the Wright controversy is that Wright's comments represent black America, and Obama comes from black America, therefore Wright's comments reflect Obama's core beliefs. It is, at its core, an appeal to white fear and white prejudice.

This is why Hagee's remarks don't stick to McCain the same way - everyone knows that some random crazy white preacher doesn't speak for white America. (Well, that, and the fact that the left doesn't stir up dirt on leading Republicans with the same vigor that the right stirs up dirt on leading Democrats.)


I don't really have an issue with Wright parading around defining himself on his own terms, for two main reasons:

1) It's April, not October. While the media's appetite is insatiable, the public appetite for Wright information presumably is finite. The more Wright stuff that gets outed now, the less it will matter in the general election. Ditto for every Ayers story or Rezko story. (Is it just me, or is the amount of coverage those stories get inversely related to their newsworthiness?)

So yes, the primary campaign has "vetted" Obama to a significant degree.

2) As Wright talks more and more, the distinctions between Wright and Obama become more clear. He becomes his own man, and less of an "angry black man" caricature that can be stuck on Obama.

The worst news on the Wright front this week was the line by Obama in the Fox news interview where he acknowledged that it was a "legitimate issue". It was really the only thing he said in that segment that I thought was stupid, because it adds fuel to the fire.

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