02 May 2008

Heretic pride

Chris Floyd has already done a great job righteously slamming Obama's craven denunciation of his former pastor. I don't have a lot to add.

What Obama looks like now is another oily politician who uses church membership to burnish his resume. The great majority of what Wright said over the weekend was a restatement of standard liberation theology, yet Obama attended his church for 20 years and claims he has just now discovered what his preacher was about? He needed Wright and his church to give him some legitimacy in the community; apparently he slept through all the sermons. If Wright's charm offensive was the result of having his ego shattered by Obama not fully standing behind him in March, as the popular liberal psychoanalysis goes, it's awfully hard now to fault him.

Yes, if I were moving Wright's lips I probably wouldn't have said everything he did over the weekend, especially since he should know more than anyone how the press would leap at the more fantastic moments of bombast and ignore the meat of his message. He might not have expected Obama to swing right off the tee the press had laid out for him. The uproar over Farrakhan is especially absurd. I never heard Wright defend Farrakhan (and Floyd catches Obama misquoting the Reverend); what I heard was him refusing to bash Farrakhan for the delight of the assembled vultures of the press. Would that Obama had similar decorum.

Instead, the beatified savior of American politics went back into the old playbook to do what the shallow, shit-eating pigeons of the political establishment wanted him to do. Issue a broad, unspecific denunciation reassuring everyone that American exceptionalism will rule the day. Our government would never lie to you, we can solve racism by ignoring past injustice, and our military only bombs civilians with flowers and candy. Go on about your business.

I think Obama has deserved credit at points during the campaign for his willingness to fit simple narratives with nuance. His steadfast refusal to cave on the flag-pin nonsense has been especially admirable. But since he's gone into full-on prevent defense mode in the past two months, he's looking a lot more predictable and unappealing.

SEE ALSO: Pastor Dan here and here, and Sara Robinson.